[sf-lug] Consumer & admin (was: Possibly interesting data point on jobs postings)

Greg Nelson gnelson at gmail.com
Tue May 16 10:45:01 PDT 2006

In reply to Sarah Mei's message about the ease (or difficulty) of
administration of Linux, and whether it has been a priority.

My impression is that administration (also called system management) has not
been successfully automated on any platform.  A study by the Gartner group
(an IT industry consultancy) indicated that for Windows systems installed in
US businesses, the initial capital cost for hardware and software is less
than the annual cost of employee time spent managing the system (editing
windows.bat files, configuring applications, and so on).  My personal
experience using windows PCs at several workplaces is consistent with that
study.  And from personal experience I can say that system management is
still a painful drag on my time now that I have retired and become a Linux
user.  I think Windows is less manageable than Linux, because it is more
complicated, but Linux is complicated, too.  It would be a great boon for
the world if system management could be better automated,  but don't
underestimate the problem: some of the smartest people in the world have
attacked it unsuccessfully.

Greg Nelson
greg at perlnelson.org

On 5/16/06, Sarah Mei <sarahmei at gmail.com > wrote:
> On 5/16/06, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com > wrote:
> > Quoting Sarah Mei (sarahmei at gmail.com):
> > > Besides, the point of groups like this is to, over time, grow the
> > > linux community beyond its current bounds of mostly programmers and IT
> > > techs, until it includes people who aren't programmers by trade, maybe
> > > people like, for example, recruiters.
> >
> > Never yet seen that in fourteen years as a Linux user, don't expect to.
> > (However, life's a glorious cycle of song, a medley of extemporanea, to
> > quote the good Ms. Parker.  I.e., life holds surprises when you, er,
> > least expect it.  ;->)
> It doesn't seem like we're that far off if Wal-Mart is selling PCs
> with some modified version installed.
> I have a question for those of you that are more experienced in the
> larger Linux world and know its history and politics.  It seems like a
> lot of effort has gone in to making Linux's desktop and
> consumer-facing applications feel familiar, but administration is
> still the realm of the technically able.
> Is that true for every distribution?  If so, was that a deliberate
> choice, or have they just not gotten to it yet?  I think one of the
> big reasons my in-laws, for example, don't want to switch from Windows
> is that they, and anyone, can do baseline Windows admin -- automatic
> updates, antivirus, antisypware.  But they can't navigate a command
> line, which seems to be a prereq for any kind of admin'ing, even
> really basic stuff.
> Thoughts?
> Sarah
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Greg Nelson
greg at perlnelson.org
839 Richardson Ct Palo Alto, CA USA 94303
(650) 856 8103 (home) (650) 856 8103 (office) (650) 954 5338 (mobile)
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