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From: (szielins.US1)
Newsgroups: rec.humor.funny
Subject: Field Guide to System Administrators   
Keywords: laugh, original, computers
Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 92 3:25:10 EST
Lines: 419


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

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.


---------------- 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.   

# cd /home
# rm -rf `du -s * | sort -rn | head -1 | awk '{print $2}'`;

# 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

# kill -9 `ps -augxww | sort -rn +8 -9    | head -1 | awk '{print $2}'`

# 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."

# 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.

# 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

# cat >> ~luser/.cshrc
alias vi 'rm \!*;unalias vi;grep -v BoZo ~/.cshrc > ~/.z; mv -f ~/.z ~/.cshrc'

    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.

# 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.

# 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.

# 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.

# 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!

# dd if=/dev/rmt8 of=/vmunix

---------------- SITUATION: Balky mail. ----------------

    TECHNICAL THUG: Rewrites 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.

# 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.
# write max
I've got my boots and backpack.    Ready to leave for Mount Tam?

# echo "HELP!" | mail!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.

% dd ibs=80 if=/dev/rdisk001s7 | grep "Fred"



---------------- 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

    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.


    MANIAC: Frank Zappa.

    IDIOT: Quayle.



    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.

# cp /dev/null /etc/passwd

    MANIACAL IDIOT:    Napalms the CPU.
                                    -Stephan Zielinski

Selected by Maddi Hausmann.    MAIL your jokes (jokes ONLY) to
Attribute the joke's source if at all possible.    A Daemon will auto-reply.

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