Know your Unix System Administrator -- A Field Guide
     There are four major species of Unix sysadmin:
      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 administration. 
      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. 
     How to identify your system administrator:
     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 freaks. 
         # kill -9 `ps -augxww | sort -rn +8 -9  | head -1 | awk '{print 
         # 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
         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
         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 
         # 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
         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-pen 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
         Administrative Fascist: Locks user's account until user can 
     present documentation demonstrating their
         qualification to use the machine. 
         # 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 and
         compute charges. 
         Administrative Fascist: Devotes 75% of disk space to accounting 
     records owned by root and chmod'ed
         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 
         # 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 
         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, 
         # 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 
         # 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"
     Other Guidelines
     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
         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, producing next generation of 
     1992 Presidential Election
         Technical Thug: Clinton, but only because he liked Gore's book. 
         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. 
         Administrative Fascist: Nixon -- Buchanan. 
         Maniac: Frank Zappa. 
         Idiot: Quayle. 
     Compound System Administrators
         Technical Fascist: Hacks kernel and 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 
         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. 
         Fascistic Idiot: 
         # cp /dev/null /etc/passwd
         Maniacal Idiot: Napalms the CPU.