|FROM ||From: "Inker, Evan"
|SUBJECT ||RE: [hangout] SysAdmin to SysAdmin: It's the documentation, stupi d!
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From: "Inker, Evan"
To: "'Michael Richardson'" ,
Subject: RE: [hangout] SysAdmin to SysAdmin: It's the documentation, stupi d!
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 20:18:41 +0100
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REVOLT! REVOLT! REVOLT!
But Only after we adjoin for our customary Beer Fest
Evan M. Inker (New York) x. 4615
From: Michael Richardson [mailto:MRichardson-at-abc.state.ny.us]
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2004 2:52 PM
To: 'Adam Kosmin'; Inker, Evan
Subject: RE: [hangout] SysAdmin to SysAdmin: It's the documentation, stupi
Does this mean SysAdmins are going to revolt?
"In The Business World
An Executive Knows Something About Everything,
A Technician Knows Everything About Something,
And the Switchboard Operator Knows Everything."
No one person is smarter than their team!
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Adam Kosmin [mailto:akosmin-at-nyc.rr.com]
> Sent: Friday, July 30, 2004 1:58 PM
> To: Inker, Evan
> Cc: hangout-at-nylxs.com
> Subject: Re: [hangout] SysAdmin to SysAdmin: It's the documentation,
> From a sysadmin's point of view, this is the laaaaaaaaaaamest thing
> I've read in a long time.
> " Here's a Letter every Sys/Admin has wanted to send to at least 1 "
> Developer/Programmer.... "
> " SysAdmin to SysAdmin ,
> " Administration
> " SysAdmin to SysAdmin: It's the documentation, stupid!
> " Wednesday July 28, 2004 (08:01 AM GMT)
> " By: Brian Jones
> " Dear open source developers: We sysadmins are tired of the crap you've
> " throwing at us. It seems you've been assuming all these years that we
> " sysadmins are coders, and thus, "the code is the documentation." In
> " we are not coders. We are systems administrators, which is precisely
> why the
> " word "coder" does not appear on anything which also has our name on it
> " and thus, your mantra is no longer cute.
> " We are but lowly sods who mill about in the background, ensuring
> things like
> " email and backup are working, and that users can get to the resources
> " need to do their jobs. Some of these users are even coders; but not
> " We wish not for fame, but for stability. We dream not of the next
> " app, but rather have nightmares about the next killer worm. We don't
> " forward to going to work every day to mangle bits, but rather to leave
> " without maiming a luser.
> " We are the Men In Black, completely invisible to all but those who
> seek our
> " help (or who market products to us). We want to be in the background
> as much
> " as possible. We don't even want to talk to others who aren't
> " We'll go so far as to refrain from joining a single mailing list, so
> as to
> " avoid the temptation of asking a question in some public forum, lest
> we be
> " deemed foolish in some way. Our greatest wish is that those who come
> " contact with us forget that we even exist only seconds after they
> leave. We
> " would kill for one of those "flashy things" like Tommy Lee Jones had
> in that
> " movie.
> " However, thanks to you open source developers, we instead look like a
> " conspicuous flock of shiny-headed, drooling lunatics, incapable of
> " deciphering even the simplest of tasks.
> " Why systems administrators don't use your stuff
> " You probably really do have the next killer app. You probably shout
> about it
> " on every BBS and every mailing list possible.
> > 1027
> " &op=click&page=%2farticle%2epl>
> > 1027
> " &op=click&page=%2farticle%2epl>
> " You've posted your release announcements to NewsForge. You even got
> " Slashdotted once. But still, nobody is downloading, and that email
> link on
> " your site saying "tell me if you're using it in production" hasn't
> " clicked on even a single time. You spend hours coding, coding, coding.
> " spend more hours promoting and generally keeping up with all things
> " source. You have an infinite number of IRC buddies who think you are
> " 1337.
> " Whatever. I'm not using it, and I'll tell you why. There is no
> " documentation.
> " When I say "there is no documentation," I don't necessarily mean that
> " is literally not a single file containing English text. What I mean is
> " there has not been one ounce of energy expended on the part of the
> " to make clear the ideas behind the creation of your alleged
> masterpiece. Not
> " an ounce of consideration has been given to the administrator who must
> " implement, maintain, upgrade, support, troubleshoot, roll back, and
> " possibly even hack it into submission using (gasp) actual code. There
> are no
> " "gotchas" listed anywhere in the README file, there is nothing but the
> " default INSTALL file, and the most thoughtfully created file in the
> " tarball is the file that gives thanks to all the people involved. And
> " is just the source tree I'm talking about.
> " GUI apps have a Help menu with nothing listed in there but an "about"
> " option, which pops up the slickest little thing I've ever seen. It
> must have
> " taken hours to create - and yet, there is no documentation worth
> looking at!
> " Please get your priorities straight, or delist your freshmeat project.
> " Sysadmins don't use your stuff because your documentation is
> " Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go write some. The bigger
> " for you coders, really, is that there are usually 20 different
> packages on
> " freshmeat that all do the same thing. Of those 20, probably one or two
> " real-life, usable documentation. With documentation, I can get to know
> " software. Then I'll install it on a test box. If it works, great, I'm
> " tickled pink. If it doesn't quite work, then I'm interested in giving
> " feedback, because here's someone who will roll it back into the
> product or
> " the documentation. This is a useful cycle that benefits millions, not
> " least of which is the coder! Documentation ends up resulting in a more
> " mature product! Wake up!
> " The code is NOT the documentation
> " The code might've been the documentation to some degree back when 90%
> of the
> " programs were written with 10% of the available programming languages.
> " Nowadays, this doesn't fly. As an administrator, my job is to keep up
> " the latest and greatest in strategies and technologies involved in
> " services for the benefit of some user base. I sift through information
> " looking for something relevant to my environment, filter that out, and
> " looking at software options I can use to deploy a service in a
> " way. Nowhere in my job description does it say that I have to learn
> " new programming language in the event that someone develops a useful
> " of software in it.
> " I'm not even supposed to be looking at what language it's done in. I
> " shouldn't have to care. You shouldn't want me to care. Hell, you
> " even want me to know about the different programming languages! Think
> of all
> " the Java apps I might've deployed if not for the fact that I know it
> " intimately and avoid it like the plague! But if the code is the
> " documentation, this pretty much forces the issue of getting into the
> guts of
> " all of these languages, not to mention buying way too many O'Reilly
> " No, my job is to read the documentation available for the software.
> The goal
> " in this stage of research is to get the coder's philosophy on dealing
> " the problem at hand. Hopefully, I can find an explanation that fits my
> " brain. Once that's done, it's time to read on through the technical
> side of
> " the documentation to gain an understanding of the implications of
> " said software. What does the software need? How does it do its job?
> How does
> " it handle concurrent users? How much memory will it take under some
> " load? What ports does it open? How do I secure this thing? Does this
> " another tool I'm already using? Why should I use it if I'm already
> " another app that seems to do the same thing? What other pieces of
> " complement this one? How is that software traditionally configured so
> " this software can take advantage of it?
> " I could go on like this for days. Really. So can most other
> " about random packages, or no packages at all. Our job is to be
> " lazy, and a bit suspicious. We ask questions as much to justify our
> " skepticism as to gain knowledge. Your job, as a coder, is to either
> answer a
> " reasonable number of our questions up front (and point to a place
> where even
> " more are answered), or get an open source devotee to volunteer to help
> " write the documentation for you. Please do so.
> " Exceptions? There are none. I've seen CLI programs that take only five
> " six flags, but there's nothing there to tell me how they actually do
> " job. Is it largefile aware? Is it scriptable? Is it comparing values
> " or after operation "x"? Sure, I'm an experienced systems guy, so I
> know how
> " systems generally work, and I understand a good number of system
> calls; this
> " doesn't mean I should have to run strace or tcpdump to get a grip on
> " this thing is doing!
> " I have refrained from naming names here. It would serve no useful
> " as my sysadmin colleagues can probably think of exactly the projects
> " talking about (as can the respective coders). I hope that this open
> " gives someone some insight into how systems administrators approach
> " a solution to a problem.
> " Sincerely yours,
> " Brian Jones
> " This message contains confidential information and is intended only
> " for the individual or entity named. If you are not the named
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> "Yes, Your Honor. Now, where we are so far, in at least my line of
> reasoning, is I want to walk the Court through enough of our complaint
> to help the Court understand that IBM clearly did contribute a lot of
> the Unix-related information into Linux. We just don't know what it
> -- Kevin McBride SCO vs. IBM 12/05/03 ____________________________
> NYLXS: New Yorker Free Software Users Scene
> Fair Use -
> because it's either fair use or useless....
> NYLXS is a trademark of NYLXS, Inc
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Fair Use -
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NYLXS is a trademark of NYLXS, Inc