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

Jeff Squyres jeff at squyres.com
Thu May 10 09:28:19 EDT 2012


"Poor network response / Maniac: Every two hours, pulls ethernet cable from
wall and waits for connections to time out."

That will keep me laughing for days. :-)


On Thu, May 10, 2012 at 9:21 AM, Barton Chittenden <bartonski at gmail.com>wrote:

> I thought that the idiot's use of compress for all ills was pretty
> hilarious. I don't know if that makes me an idiot or not.
>
> On Thu, May 10, 2012 at 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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>>
>>
>
>
> --
> There's a reason they call two-seater canoes "divorce boats".
>
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-- 
{+} Jeff Squyres
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