System programmers vs. administrators

From: Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner <>
Date: Sun Jan 18 03:42:24 2004

It was thus said that the Great der Mouse once stated:
> > As the discussion progressed, we decided that there are two types of
> > advanced computer users -system programmers and system
> > administrators.
> There are. (I'm not convinced there aren't other types.)
> > That in itself is debatable but where our discussion became bogged
> > down was when we tried to decide which user was left brain, and which
> > was right brain. [...]
> Here's my take on it. (Note that, for the sake of ease of discussion,
> I will accept without further comment your characterization of the
> brain hemispheres, though I am not convinced it's really correct.)

  And as both a programmer and a sysadmin, I can say that I do use both
sides of my brain for both jobs. There is the logical, methodical use of
the left side to track down problems, and there is the wierd, non-linear
creativity of the right side that will present brilliant solutions to nasty
problems [1].

> For all that, though, they are very different disciplines, and it's
> entirely possible to be a stellar sysadmin without being a more than
> reasonably competent programmer, and that much only in a certain class
> of languages; and it's entirely possible to be a stellar programmer
> without being an even minimally competent sysadmin. (Yes, this is not
> symmetric.)

  It works for systems as well. I like to think I'm a stellar programming
and sysadmin under Unix, but sit me in front of a Windows (or to be fair,
VMS) and I'm totally lost, both programming and sysadmin wise (and my MS-DOS
skills are a bit rusty, along with my AmigaOS and OS/2 skills).

  -spc (Although I still know what B8 00 4C CD 21 does ... )

[1] One of the more hairbrained ideas was a solution for small sites
        being slashdotted---set up a temporary redirect to the Google cache.
        That does assume that Google has in fact spidered your site, and
        that you have enough rights to configure the webserver to do
        temporary redirects. More about this at


        I've also had to deal with a DDoS attack, and with some
        brainstorming (with a friend) was able to fend off the attack
        for several hours until the colocation center bitched about
        the traffic:


        Then there's the programming I did for my blog (wrote my own
        software). It's subtle, but I think it's a very neat solution to
        archiving a blog-like site:

Received on Sun Jan 18 2004 - 03:42:24 GMT

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