Brian's Waste of Time

Fri, 28 Jan 2005

The Sysadmin School of Programming

In firing off an email on FARP (FreeBSD, Apache, Ruby, and PostgreSQL) programming to ruby-lang today I edited out a flip comment which has hung around in my head for a bit:

FARP grew more out of the sysadmin tradition of development (we have a 
good ls, lets use it) rather than software engineering (we need to 
re-implement ls because we require 

  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <system:command xmlns:system="" 
      <ls:location xmlns:ls=""
instead of "ls -l") tradition of development ;-)

I come from the software engineering school, but got waylaid into the sysadmin school a couple times during critical points in my programmery edumacation. The sysadmin school tends to say "we're running on Apache 1.3 because it is solid and doesn't use threading, which is just multiprocessing done in such a way as to make bugs, anyway." It can be mind-numbingly frustrating at times (try finding a dedicated hosting service which runs current FreeBSD stable (5.3) as FreeBSD folks tend to be sysadmin school, and 5.X is way too new to be stable, despite what the careful and conservative-as-heck FreeBSD release engineering team says, we'll stick with 4.9, thank you, or maybe go to 4.11 if you really need it for some reason, which you don't).

The sysadmin school folks are right, of course. It goes back to the novelty junky stuff.


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