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

alan blount alan at zeroasterisk.com
Thu May 10 09:41:36 EDT 2012


I'm a thug, I suppose... but just barely... not quite invested enough to
claim it though... maybe a part-time-thug.

On Thu, May 10, 2012 at 9:28 AM, Jeff Squyres <jeff at squyres.com> wrote:

> "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
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> KyOSS-Discuss mailing list
>>> KyOSS-Discuss at kyoss.org
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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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