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

Adrien Lamothe alamozzz at yahoo.com
Tue May 16 10:54:06 PDT 2006

Computers, and their attendant operating systems, are very complicated pieces of technology. Unfortunately, there is usually no way to perform a complicated operation without first understanding the complexity and then understanding the operational techniques to affect the desired change(s). The best we can hope for is to use a computer that is pre-configured in a manner that supports our normal usage, then either learn how or hire someone to perform whatever changes/maintenance is needed.

Greg Nelson <gnelson at gmail.com> wrote: 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.



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Greg Nelson
 greg at perlnelson.org
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