[Gllug] Controversial Joel Spolsky article

Bernard Peek bap at shrdlu.com
Mon Dec 22 13:06:34 UTC 2003

In message <20031221113703.GA12544 at phaistos.bruce>, Bruce Richardson 
<itsbruce at uklinux.net> writes

>The author has a good point, in that traditional packaging schemes don't
>allow for user-installed software.   Users on *nix systems have
>traditionally simply unrolled tarballs into their own ~/src directories,
>compiled them and installed them into their own ~/bin directories.  A
>packaging system that addresses the same needs would be interesting.
>Beyond that, however, his argument is specious.  The most misleading
>part of it is the title, "Zero Install".  This is intended to imply no
>installation overhead, no administration overhead and that is simply not
>true.   The admin tasks have simply been moved from the sysadmin to the

That's partly what I was getting at. The traditional sysadmin has 
already disappeared from most computer sites, because most sites are now 
a single home user with a single PC. The jobs that were done by 
sysadmins are either done by the user, or don't get done at all.

Perhaps its a question of terminology. The way I see it if the job has 
been de-skilled so much as to be almost unrecognisable should it still 
be called sysadmin? If not then every PC owner is a sysadmin. They 
manage a cold-boot of the system every day, and quite a lot of them 
handle backups too. Both of those were once sysadmin jobs.

I remember hearing of a program called The Last One that claimed to have 
made programmers obsolete. I didn't believe those claims any more than I 
believe claims that sysadmins aren't needed any more. But it is 
definitely true that a lot of programming is now done by people who 
aren't programmers and a lot of systems administration is done by people 
who aren't sysadmins.

Bernard Peek
London, UK. DBA, Manager, Trainer & Author. Will work for money.

Gllug mailing list  -  Gllug at gllug.org.uk

More information about the GLLUG mailing list