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10 Dos and Don'ts To Make Sysadmins' Lives Easier 246

CowboyRobot writes "Tom Limoncelli has a piece in 'Queue' summarizing the Computer-Human Interaction for Management of Information Technology's list of how to make software that is easy to install, maintain, and upgrade. FTA: '#2. DON'T make the administrative interface a GUI. System administrators need a command-line tool for constructing repeatable processes. Procedures are best documented by providing commands that we can copy and paste from the procedure document to the command line.'"
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10 Dos and Don'ts To Make Sysadmins' Lives Easier

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  • by digitalsushi ( 137809 ) <> on Thursday December 23, 2010 @04:01PM (#34654296) Journal

    10 is an even number. There's no duplicates. None of them are filler.

    I don't understand how this happened.

    Did someone plan this before they wrote it? What gives?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 23, 2010 @04:09PM (#34654364)

    "sysadmins' lives" is correct. It is referring to the lives of sysadmins.

    Unless, of course, you are referring to the sexual practices of punctuation marks. Then, I don't know.

  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @04:14PM (#34654400)
    If you want to make a sysadmin's life easier (as if any programmer ever wants to do that), you can start by making your error and status messages 1.) plentiful and 2.) easy to understand. Also, provide several logging levels so we can drill down as needed, and make sure the logging levels are meaningful. Too many programmers put just two log levels: one which shows nothing useful, and another that spews out indecipherable hex dumps of every call it makes.

    Face up to the fact that no matter how awesome your software is, it's going to fail. Not only that, but it's going to fail in ways you never thought possible at the worst possible times. Make sure we have enough information to figure out what happened. Otherwise, stuff like this happens:

    Program: *crash for no apparent reason*
    Sysadmin: Why did you crash?
    Program: Because something went wrong.
    Sysadmin: What went wrong?
    Program: Something.
    Sysadmin: I need more detail. Increasing log level.
    Program: Something bad went wrong.
    Sysadmin: I need more than that. Increasing log level again.
    Program: Fuck you. Here's a 16GB hex dump of system memory. Figure it out yourself jackass.
    Sysadmin: *picks up a crowbar and goes off to find the programmer*
  • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @04:31PM (#34654516) Homepage Journal

    No slashdot editors were involved in the production of the list. ;)

  • by blind monkey 3 ( 773904 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @04:35PM (#34654556)
    I thought they just followed Jesus around.......
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 23, 2010 @04:41PM (#34654606)

    What version control tool do you use to track changes to your firewall configuration?

    Didn't think so.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:00PM (#34654794) Journal
    There is a special place in hell for vendors who sell bulk licenses(50+ seats) for software whose DRM prevents automated installation, and requires that the IT office's picker of the short straw go around and type in a gigantic license key on all machines.

    If a hole has to be punched in the firewall for the online activation/authentication step; because they were just too damn special to use SSL on a standard port like everybody else, that special place in hell is filled with screwworms.

    If there is a hardware dongle component(that looks exactly like a USB flash drive, and thus wanders accidentally if not carefully hidden) and requires a new purchase order and a nasty pile of cash to replace, that special place in hell automatically inserts bullet ants into the scrotum of anybody placed there.
  • by daremonai ( 859175 ) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @05:22PM (#34654986)

    "sysadmins' lives" is correct. It is referring to the lives of sysadmins.

    No, I'm sorry, it is not correct. Sysadmins don't have lives.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"