[TUHS] LOC [was Re: Re: Re.: Princeton's "Unix: An Oral History": who was in the team in "The Attic"?

Stuart Remphrey stu at remphrey.net
Wed Nov 9 21:56:39 AEST 2022

> Never done it myself, but it’d seem the potential for screw-ups is now
infinite and unlimited in time :)


USENIX SREcon generally releases presentations a short while after each
Some interesting experiences there...

-- Stuart.

On Wed, 9 Nov 2022 at 17:03, steve jenkin <sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au> wrote:

> > On 9 Nov 2022, at 19:41, Dan Cross <crossd at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > To tie this back to TUHS a little bit...when did being a "sysadmin"
> become a thing unto itself? And is it just me, or has that largely been
> superceded by SRE (which I think of as what one used to, perhaps, call a
> "system programmer") and DevOps, which feels like a more traditional Unix-y
> kind of thing?
> >
> >         - Dan C.
> In The Beginning, We were All Programmers…
> Machines were smaller, programs simpler and we were closer to the hardware.
> Literally, like the “Unix Room”, in the Attic at Bell Labs.
> Admin & Operations weren’t too onerous and “Maintenance” was done by the
> people doing the kernel & systems software, at a guess.
> And maybe hardware was fixed by the Vendor, or super-programmers did the
> plug and play themselves.
> As sites got bigger, work became multi-person project ’teams’ and admin
> problems got tricker, while ‘certain people’ did the work.
> When Unix became properly commercial - multiple vendors, big manuals,
> support contracts, and a plethora of Unix variants - some Bright People
> created “Unix Training” courses, in many topiocs.
> Somewhere around this time, courses and job titles for “System Admin”
> appeared.
> Sadly, all this happened without any distinctions in capability &
> ‘levels’, or actual problem solving testing (cf CISCO’s CCIE: 2 days of
> testing, 1st day quizzes on a PC, 2nd day is by invitation. Lab session:
> “fix the broken network in the allotted time”)
> SAGE - System Admin Guild, part of USENIX - put together a bunch of small
> books on (Unix) System Admin Topics and tried to guide the development of
> the field.
> After 10 years, I was out of the loop and hadn’t seen anything positive in
> the workplace.
> SRE roles & as a discipline has developed, alongside DevOps, into managing
> & fault finding in large clusters of physical and virtual machines.
> Never done it myself, but it’d seem the potential for screw-ups is now
> infinite and unlimited in time :)
> --
> Steve Jenkin, IT Systems and Design
> 0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
> PO Box 38, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA
> mailto:sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin
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