[KyOSS Discuss] Know your system administrator: a field guide

Deven Phillips deven.phillips at gmail.com
Thu May 10 09:21:32 EDT 2012


Definitely a technical thug. You should have seen the 4 screen monitoring
system I built a few years ago!

Deven
On May 10, 2012 9:10 AM, "Jeff Squyres" <jeff at squyres.com> wrote:

> BTW -- spot poll: which type of sys admin do you associate with the most?
>  (i.e., which type did you laugh at the hardest?)
>
> I'm apparently a Maniac.  :-)
>
>
> On Thu, May 10, 2012 at 6:30 AM, Jeff Squyres <jeff at squyres.com> wrote:
>
>> Per some discussion last night, here's one of my favorite old usenet
>> posts...
>>
>> ------------
>>
>> KNOW YOUR UNIX SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR-- A FIELD GUIDE
>>
>>
>>
>> There are four major species of Unix sysad:
>>
>> 1) The TECHNICAL THUG.  Usually a systems programmer who has been
>> forced into system administration; writes scripts in a polyglot of the
>> Bourne shell, sed, C, awk, perl, and APL.
>>
>> 2) The ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST.  Usually a retentive drone (or rarely,
>> a harridan ex-secretary) who has been forced into system
>> administration.
>>
>> 3) The MANIAC.  Usually an aging cracker who discovered that neither
>> the Mossad nor Cuba are willing to pay a living wage for computer
>> espionage.  Fell into system administration; occasionally approaches
>> major competitors with indesp schemes.
>>
>> 4) The IDIOT.  Usually a cretin, morpohodite, or old COBOL programmer
>> selected to be the system administrator by a committee of cretins,
>> morphodites, and old COBOL programmers.
>>
>>
>>
>> HOW TO IDENTIFY YOUR SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR:
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: Low disk space. ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Writes a suite of scripts to monitor disk
>> usage, maintain a database of historic disk usage, predict future disk
>> usage via least squares regression analysis, identify users who are
>> more than a standard deviation over the mean, and send mail to the
>> offending parties.  Places script in cron.  Disk usage does not
>> change, since disk-hogs, by nature, either ignore script-generated
>> mail, or file it away in triplicate.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Puts disk usage policy in motd.  Uses
>> disk quotas.  Allows no exceptions, thus crippling development work.
>> Locks accounts that go over quota.
>>
>> MANIAC:
>> # cd /home
>> # rm -rf `du -s * | sort -rn | head -1 | awk '{print $2}'`;
>>
>> IDIOT:
>> # cd /home
>> # cat `du -s * | sort -rn | head -1 | awk '{ printf "%s/*\n", $2}'` |
>> compress
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: Excessive CPU usage. ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Writes a suite of scripts to monitor
>> processes, maintain a database of CPU usage, identify processes more
>> than a standard deviation over the norm, and renice offending
>> processes.  Places script in cron.  Ends up renicing the production
>> database into oblivion, bringing operations to a grinding halt, much
>> to the delight of the xtrek freaks.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Puts CPU usage policy in motd.  Uses
>> CPU quotas.  Locks accounts that go over quota.  Allows no exceptions,
>> thus crippling development work, much to the delight of the xtrek
>> freaks.
>>
>> MANIAC:
>> # kill -9 `ps -augxww | sort -rn +8 -9  | head -1 | awk '{print $2}'`
>>
>> IDIOT:
>> # compress -f `ps -augxww | sort -rn +8 -9  | head -1 | awk '{print $2}'`
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: New account creation. ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Writes perl script that creates home
>> directory, copies in incomprehensible default environment, and places
>> entries in /etc/passwd, /etc/shadow, and /etc/group.  (By hand, NOT
>> with passmgmt.) Slaps on setuid bit; tells a nearby secretary to
>> handle new accounts.  Usually, said secretary is still dithering over
>> the difference between 'enter' and 'return'; and so, no new accounts
>> are ever created.
>>
>>  ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Puts new account policy in motd.
>> Since people without accounts cannot read the motd, nobody ever
>> fulfills the bureaucratic requirements; and so, no new accounts are
>> ever created.
>>
>> MANIAC: "If you're too stupid to break in and create your own
>> account, I don't want you on the system.  We've got too many goddamn
>> sh*t-for-brains a**holes on this box anyway."
>>
>> IDIOT:
>> # cd /home; mkdir "Bob's home directory"
>> # echo "Bob Simon:gandalf:0:0::/dev/tty:compress -f" > /etc/passwd
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: Root disk fails. ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Repairs drive.  Usually is able to repair
>> filesystem from boot monitor.  Failing that, front-panel toggles
>> microkernel in and starts script on neighboring machine to load binary
>> boot code into broken machine, reformat and reinstall OS.  Lets it run
>> over the weekend while he goes mountain climbing.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Begins investigation to determine who
>> broke the drive.  Refuses to fix system until culprit is identified
>> and charged for the equipment.
>>
>> MANIAC, LARGE SYSTEM: Rips drive from system, uses
>> sledgehammer to smash same to flinders.  Calls manufacturer, threatens
>> pets.  Abuses field engineer while they put in a new drive and
>> reinstall the OS.
>> MANIAC, SMALL SYSTEM: Rips drive from system, uses ball-peen
>> hammer to smash same to flinders.  Calls Requisitions, threatens pets.
>> Abuses bystanders while putting in new drive and reinstalling OS.
>>
>> IDIOT: Doesn't notice anything wrong.
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: Poor network response. ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Writes scripts to monitor network, then
>> rewires entire machine room, improving response time by 2%.  Shrugs
>> shoulders, says, "I've done all I can do," and goes mountain climbing.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Puts network usage policy in motd.
>> Calls up Berkeley and AT&T, badgers whoever answers for network
>> quotas.  Tries to get xtrek freaks fired.
>>
>> MANIAC: Every two hours, pulls ethernet cable from wall and
>> waits for connections to time out.
>>
>> IDIOT:
>> # compress -f /dev/en0
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: User questions. ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Hacks the code of emacs' doctor-mode to answer
>> new users questions.  Doesn't bother to tell people how to start the
>> new "guru-mode", or for that matter, emacs.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Puts user support policy in motd.
>> Maintains queue of questions.  Answers them when he gets a chance,
>> often within two weeks of receipt of the proper form.
>>
>> MANIAC: Screams at users until they go away.  Sometimes
>> barters knowledge for powerful drink and/or sycophantic adulation.
>>
>> IDIOT: Answers all questions to best of his knowledge until
>> the user realizes few UNIX systems support punched cards or JCL.
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: *Stupid* user questions. ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Answers question in hex, binary, postfix,
>> and/or French until user gives up and goes away.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Locks user's account until user can
>> present documentation demonstrating their qualification to use the
>> machine.
>>
>> MANIAC:
>> # cat >> ~luser/.cshrc
>> alias vi 'rm \!*;unalias vi;grep -v BoZo ~/.cshrc > ~/.z; mv -f ~/.z
>> ~/.cshrc'
>> ^D
>>
>> IDIOT: Answers all questions to best of his knowledge.
>> Recruits user to system administration team.
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: Process accounting management.
>> ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Ignores packaged accounting software; trusts
>> scripts to sniff out any problems & compute charges.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Devotes 75% of disk space to
>> accounting records owned by root and chmod'ed 000.
>>
>> MANIAC:  Laughs fool head off at very mention of accounting.
>>
>> IDIOT:
>> # lpr /etc/wtmp /usr/adm/paact
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: Religious war, BSD vs. System V.
>> ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG:  BSD.  Crippled on System V boxes.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: System V.  Horrified by the people who
>> use BSD.  Places frequent calls to DEA.
>>
>> MANIAC: Prefers BSD, but doesn't care as long as HIS processes
>> run quickly.
>>
>> IDIOT:
>> # cd c:
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: Religious war, System V vs. AIX
>> ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG:  Weeps.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: AIX-- doesn't much care for the OS,
>> but loves the jackboots.
>>
>> MANIAC: System V, but keeps AIX skills up, knowing full well
>> how much Big Financial Institutions love IBM...
>>
>> IDIOT:  AIX.
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: Balky printer daemons. ----------------
>>
>>  TECHNICAL THUG: Rewrites lpd in FORTH.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Puts printer use policy in motd.
>> Calls customer support every time the printer freezes.  Tries to get
>> user who submitted the most recent job fired.
>>
>> MANIAC: Writes script that kills all the daemons, clears all
>> the print queues, and maybe restarts the daemons.  Runs it once a hour
>> from cron.
>>
>> IDIOT:
>> # kill -9 /dev/lp ; /dev/lp &
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: OS upgrade. ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Reads source code of new release, takes only
>> what he likes.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Instigates lawsuit against the vendor
>> for having shipped a product with bugs in it in the first place.
>>
>> MANIAC:
>> # uptime
>> 1:33pm  up 19 days, 22:49,  167 users,  load average: 6.49, 6.45, 6.31
>> # wall
>> Well, it's upgrade time.  Should take a few hours.  And good luck on that
>> 5:00 deadline, guys!  We're all pulling for you!
>> ^D
>>
>> IDIOT:
>> # dd if=/dev/rmt8 of=/vmunix
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: Balky mail. ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Rewrites sendmail.cf from scratch.  Rewrites
>> sendmail in SNOBOL.  Hacks kernel to implement file locking.  Hacks
>> kernel to implement "better" semaphores.  Rewrites sendmail in
>> assembly.  Hacks kernel to . . .
>>
>>  ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Puts mail use policy in motd.  Locks
>> accounts that go over mail use quota.  Keeps quota low enough that
>> people go back to interoffice mail, thus solving problem.
>>
>> MANIAC:
>> # kill -9 `ps -augxww | grep sendmail | awk '{print $2}'`
>> # rm -f /usr/spool/mail/*
>> # wall
>> Mail is down.  Please use interoffice mail until we have it back up.
>> ^D
>> # write max
>> I've got my boots and backpack.  Ready to leave for Mount Tam?
>> ^D
>>
>>  IDIOT:
>> # echo "HELP!" | mail tech_support.AT.vendor.com%kremvax%bitnet!BIFF!!!
>>
>>
>> ---------------- SITUATION: Users want phone list application.
>> ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Writes RDBMS in perl and Smalltalk.  Users
>> give up and go back to post-it notes.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Oracle.  Users give up and go back to
>> post-it notes.
>>
>> MANIAC: Tells the users to use flat files and grep, the way
>> God meant man to keep track of phone numbers.  Users give up and go
>> back to post-it notes.
>>
>> IDIOT:
>> % dd ibs=80 if=/dev/rdisk001s7 | grep "Fred"
>>
>>
>> @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
>>
>> OTHER GUIDELINES:
>>
>>
>> ---------------- TYPICAL ROOT .cshrc FILE: ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Longer than eight kilobytes.  Sources the
>> output of a perl script, rewrites itself.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST:  Typical lines include:
>> umask 777
>> alias cd 'cd \!*; rm -rf ching *hack mille omega rogue xtrek >& /dev/null
>> &'
>>
>> MANIAC:  Typical lines include:
>> alias rm 'rm -rf \!*'
>> alias hose kill -9 '`ps -augxww | grep \!* | awk \'{print $2}\'`'
>> alias kill 'kill -9 \!* ; kill -9 \!* ; kill -9 \!*'
>> alias renice 'echo Renice\?  You must mean kill -9.; kill -9 \!*'
>>
>> IDIOT:  Typical lines include:
>> alias dir ls
>> alias era rm
>> alias kitty cat
>> alias process_table ps
>> setenv DISPLAY vt100
>>
>>
>> ---------------- HOBBIES, TECHNICAL: ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Writes entries for Obsfuscated C contest.
>> Optimizes INTERCAL scripts.  Maintains ENIAC emulator.  Virtual
>> reality .
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Bugs office. Audits card-key logs.
>> Modifies old TVs to listen in on cellular phone conversations.
>> Listens to police band.
>>
>> MANIAC: Volunteers at Survival Research Labs. Bugs office.
>> Edits card-key logs.  Modifies old TVs to listen in on cellular phone
>> conversations.  Jams police band.
>>
>> IDIOT: Ties shoes.  Maintains COBOL decimal to roman numeral
>> converter.  Rereads flowcharts from his salad days at Rand.
>>
>>
>> ---------------- HOBBIES, NONTECHNICAL: ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Drinks "Smart Drinks."  Attends raves. Hangs
>> out at poetry readings and Whole Earth Review events and tries to pick
>> up Birkenstock MOTAS.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Reads _Readers Digest_ and _Mein
>> Kampf_.  Sometimes turns up car radio and sings along to John Denver.
>> Golfs.  Drinks gin martinis.  Hangs out in yuppie bars and tries to
>> pick up dominatrixes.
>>
>> MANIAC: Reads _Utne Reader_ and _Mein Kampf_.  Faithfully
>> attends Dickies and Ramones concerts.  Punches out people who say
>> "virtual reality."  Drinks damn near anything, but favors Wild Turkey,
>> Black Bush, and grain alcohol.  Hangs out in neighborhood bars and
>> tries to pick up MOTAS by drinking longshoremen under the table .
>>
>> IDIOT: Reads _Time_ and _Newsweek_-- and *believes* them.
>> Drinks Jagermeister.  Tries to pick up close blood relations-- often
>> succeeds, producting next generation of idiots.
>>
>>
>> ---------------- 1992 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Clinton, but only because he liked Gore's
>> book.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Bush. Possibly Clinton, but only
>> because he liked Tipper.
>>
>> MANIAC: Frank Zappa.
>>
>> IDIOT: Perot.
>>
>>
>> ---------------- 1996 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: ----------------
>>
>> TECHNICAL THUG: Richard Stallman - Larry Wall.
>>
>> ADMINISTRATIVE FASCIST: Nixon - Buchanan.
>>
>> MANIAC: Frank Zappa.
>>
>> IDIOT: Quayle.
>>
>>
>> @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
>>
>> COMPOUND SYSTEM ADMINISTRATORS:
>>
>>
>> TECHNICAL FASCIST: Hacks kernel & writes a horde of scripts to
>> prevent folk from ever using more than their fair share of system
>> resources.  Resulting overhead and load brings system to its knees.
>>
>> TECHNICAL MANIAC: Writes scripts that SEEM to be monitoring
>> the system, but are actually encrypting large lists of passwords.
>> Uses nearby nodes as beta test sites for worms.
>>
>> TECHNICAL IDIOT: Writes superuser-run scripts that sooner or
>> later do an "rm -rf /".
>>
>> FASCISTIC MANIAC: At first hint of cracker incursions, whether
>> real or imagined, shuts down system by triggering water-on-the-brain
>> detectors and Halon system.
>>
>> FASCISTIC IDIOT:
>> # cp /dev/null /etc/passwd
>>
>> MANIACAL IDIOT:  Napalms the CPU.
>>      -Stephan Zielinski
>>
>> --
>> Selected by Maddi Hausmann.  MAIL your jokes (jokes ONLY) to
>> funny at clarinet.com
>> Attribute the joke's source if at all possible.  A Daemon will auto-reply.
>>
>> --
>> Selected by Maddi Hausmann.  MAIL your joke (jokes ONLY) to
>> funny at clarinet.com
>> Attribute the joke's source if at all possible.  A Daemon will auto-reply.
>>
>> Jokes ABOUT major current events should be sent to topical at clarinet.com
>> (ie. jokes which won't be funny if not given immediate attention.)
>> Anything that is not a joke submission goes to funny-request at clarinet.com
>>
>>
>> --
>> {+} Jeff Squyres
>>
>
>
>
> --
> {+} Jeff Squyres
>
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