No subject


Mon Dec 17 20:30:57 EST 2007


numerous programmers -- it's a different skill set. While it may be useful
to train someone on UNIX internals and C as part of a career path (moving
from one specialty to another), it is manifestly *NOT* necessary for a
successful SA to be able to write a C program (though that skill would
never hurt), let alone a device driver.

Just one opinion, of course.

-- DCP


From:	Mark Luntzel [mark at neurosis.net]
Sent:	Monday, March 18, 2002 5:10 PM
To:	Lumpkin, Buddy
Subject:	Re: Opinions Needed: How important is an understanding of C Programmi ng and Internals to a UNIX System  Admin?

I think that it really depends on the primary function of the sysadmin - for me, it'd be ludicrous to expect my company to  train me in the areas you described, as I'm responsible for a set of webservers/appservers/databases and not anything really  low-level such as you describe.

For other applications, it may be advantageous for the sysadmin to learn at least some basic skills. 

Maybe not too much you didnt already know.

With large, sharp teeth, Lumpkin, Buddy chortled:
---
-- 
From:	Dave Mitchell [davem at fdgroup.com]
Sent:	Monday, March 18, 2002 5:08 PM
To:	Lumpkin, Buddy
Subject:	Re: Opinions Needed: How important is an understanding of C Programmi ng and Internals to a UNIX System  Admin?

On Mon, Mar 18, 2002 at 05:41:43PM -0700, Lumpkin, Buddy wrote:
> Hello All,
> 
> I found myself discussing the importance of C Programming skills and internals with a colleague today..
> 
> Specifically, im interested in any opinions for or against, whether a UNIX System Administrator should learn C, UNIX  internals and writing device drivers (once they are fluent in the two topics mentioned prior).
> 
> even more specifically, is it relevant for a company to pay $$ to train UNIX System Administrators in these areas.


I would expect that only a small percentage of UNIX administrators
could program in C, and of the those, only a tiny fraction would have the
skill or need to write a device driver.

Of course, I am one of those few ;-)


(IMHO...)

Dave.
From:	Richard Grace [rgrace at aapt.com.au]
Sent:	Monday, March 18, 2002 5:06 PM
To:	Buddy.Lumpkin at nordstrom.com
Subject:	Re: Opinions Needed: How important is an understanding of CProgrammi ng and Internals to a UNIX System A

> Any opinions at all are very much appreciated; I will Summarize.

Well, here's mine :-)

I don't consider writing device drivers to be important.
Most critical hardware is well supported on a variety of platforms.

However, C programming, is just as important as shell scripting,
as there is usually poor support for platforms (such as Solaris)
among the free/open source software movement.

I've lost track of the number of applications which were written
by a home Linux hacker which took half a day or more of porting
before they would compile on Solaris.  In particular, it is most
important in this area to understand the compiler options, the
Makefile syntax, how to find libraries and headers, and also the
Imakefile for some applications.

I know most people probably use the packages on Sun Freeware
nowadays, but there are plenty of applications/systems which
are not supported in their distributions.

I hope this makes some sense.

Richard Grace
Unix Systems Administrator
AAPT Limited


From:	Raj, Dilip (SD-EX) [DRaj at gi.com]
Sent:	Monday, March 18, 2002 5:01 PM
To:	'Lumpkin, Buddy'
Subject:	RE: Opinions Needed: How important is an understanding of C Progr	ammi ng and Internals to a UNIX  System Admin?

It depends on the seniority of Unix Admin. If you are a Senior Unix Admin in
a Development Team, then C, Unix Iternals, and Wrtting device Driver skills
will be useful.

Remember, we are a System Administrator not a Software Enginner.

Shell Scripting is more useful for Junior Sys Admin than writing Device
driver.

Dilip


-----Original Message-----

_______________________________________________
sunmanagers mailing list
sunmanagers at sunmanagers.org
http://www.sunmanagers.org/mailman/listinfo/sunmanagers
From:	Mark Montague [markmont at umich.edu]
Sent:	Monday, March 18, 2002 5:00 PM
To:	Lumpkin, Buddy
Subject:	Re: Opinions Needed: How important is an understanding of C  Programmi ng and Internals to a UNIX System  Admin?

On Mon, 18 Mar 2002, Lumpkin, Buddy wrote:

> Specifically, im interested in any opinions for or against, whether a UNIX System Administrator should learn C, UNIX  internals and writing device drivers (once they are fluent in the two topics mentioned prior).

Is it necessary to know these things?  No.

"Should" someone know these things?  Debatable.

Does it help to know these things?  Will knowing these things make
someone a better system administrator?  My opinion is "definately yes".
Also, the ideal system administrator should know digital logic design
and computer architecture.

My reasoning is the more you know about how a computer operates the
better you will be able to troubleshoot esoteric problems, and the
better you'll be able to understand limitations of the system and
explain these limitations to others (management, end users, etc.)


> even more specifically, is it relevant for a company to pay $$ to train UNIX System Administrators in these areas.

If the company can afford it, yes, but it shouldn't be the highest
training priority.  The "ideal" system administrator would study these
things on his/her own if the company did not pay.


                Mark Montague
                LS&A Information Technology
                The University of Michigan
                markmont at umich.edu
From:	Mark Pfeiffer [markpf at mlp-consulting.com.au]
Sent:	Monday, March 18, 2002 4:46 PM
To:	Lumpkin, Buddy
Subject:	Re: Opinions Needed: How important is an understanding of C Programmi ng and Internals to a UNIX System  Admin? 


This is from USENIX 1993, In an email I received that year describing
Systems Administrators. You will note they expect small C programs and an
understanding of some of things you mention, but not full on abilities.

Here is a partial Job Description for a Senior Admin:

     Level IV, Senior System Administrator:
        Required skills:
           Strong inter-personal and communication skills; capable of
              writing proposals or papers, acting as a vendor liaison,
              making presentations to customer or client audiences or 
              professional peers, and working closely with upper management.
           Ability to solve problems quickly and and completely.
           Ability to identify tasks which require automation and automate them.
           A solid understanding of a UNIX-based operating system;
              understands paging and swapping, inter-process
              communication, devices and what device drivers do,
              file system concepts ("inode", "superblock"), can
              use performance analysis to tune systems.
           A solid understanding of networking/distributed computing
              environment concepts; understands principles of
              routing, client/server programming, the design of
              consistent network-wide filesystem layouts.
           Ability to program in an administrative language (Tk, Perl,
              a shell), to port C programs from one platform to
              another, and to write small C programs.
        Required background:
           More than five years previous systems administration
                experience.
        Desirable:
           A degree in computer science or a related field.
           Extensive programming background in any applicable language.
           Publications within the field of system administration.
        Appropriate responsibilities:   
           Designs/implements complex local and wide-area networks of machines.
           Manages a large site or network.
           Works under general direction from senior management.
           Establishes/ recommends policies on system use and services.
           Provides technical lead and/or supervises system
              administrators, system programmers, or others of
              equivalent seniority.
           Has purchasing authority and responsibility for purchase
              justification. 
 


On Mon, 18 Mar 2002 17:41:43 PDT "Lumpkin, Buddy"'s good news was:
---

cheers
mark

------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Mark Pfeiffer        |Email : Mark.Pfeiffer at mlp-consulting.com.au
 Computer Systems Engineer  |WWW   : http://www.MLP-Consulting.com.au
 UNIX Systems Integration   |Snail : PO Box 334,  Oatley, NSW, 2223, Aus
 MLP Consulting  Pty. Ltd   |Phone : 0417 447 538 Intl: +61 417 447 538

From:	Daniel David Benson [dan at spoontail.com]
Sent:	Monday, March 18, 2002 4:44 PM
To:	Lumpkin, Buddy
Subject:	Re: Opinions Needed: How important is an understanding of C  Programmi ng and Internals to a UNIX System  Admin?



I don't think UNIX admins necessairly need C, but I do think they should
have a CS degree (this might imply the C skills).  I have met too 
many Admins without the proper computer problem solving skills.
Plus, it's not just C, but also algorithms.  I have seen too many perl 
scripts with no structure.

-Dan



On Mon, 18 Mar 2002, Lumpkin, Buddy wrote:

---
From:	geoff mcnamara [geoffm at rni.net]
Sent:	Monday, March 18, 2002 2:36 PM
To:	Lumpkin, Buddy
Subject:	Re: Opinions Needed: How important is an understanding of C  Programmi ng and Internals to a UNIX System  Admin?

I do not usually have the time to respond to messages the way I would 
like, but this one strikes a nerve for me... YES, unix is founded deeply 
in C.  And too often questions come up as a system admin that involve 
memory leaks, buffer over flows, ipcs, or a gazillion other gotchas that 
have some association with the basics of C.  Learn it, pay for learning 
it, better yet, have someone else pay for it.  I would call it the 
crucial factor between the standard Unix Admin and the "ole salt".

-geoff
---

Original Post:

From: Lumpkin, Buddy [mailto:Buddy.Lumpkin at nordstrom.com]
Sent: Monday, March 18, 2002 4:42 PM
To: sunmanagers at sunmanagers.org
Subject: Opinions Needed: How important is an understanding of C
Programmi ng and Internals to a UNIX System Admin?


Hello All,

I found myself discussing the importance of C Programming skills and
internals with a colleague today..

Specifically, im interested in any opinions for or against, whether a UNIX
System Administrator should learn C, UNIX internals and writing device
drivers (once they are fluent in the two topics mentioned prior).

even more specifically, is it relevant for a company to pay $$ to train UNIX
System Administrators in these areas.

I'll leave my own opinions aside in an attempt to not color any answers.

Any opinions at all are very much appreciated; I will Summarize.

Thanks in advance,

--Buddy





>  -----Original Message-----
> From: 	Lumpkin, Buddy  
> Sent:	Monday, March 18, 2002 4:42 PM
> To:	sunmanagers at sunmanagers.org
> Subject:	Opinions Needed: How important is an understanding of C Programming and Internals to a UNIX System Admin?
> 
> Hello All,
> 
> I found myself discussing the importance of C Programming skills and internals with a colleague today..
> 
> Specifically, im interested in any opinions for or against, whether a UNIX System Administrator should learn C, UNIX internals and writing device drivers (once they are fluent in the two topics mentioned prior).
> 
> even more specifically, is it relevant for a company to pay $$ to train UNIX System Administrators in these areas.
> 
> I'll leave my own opinions aside in an attempt to not color any answers.
> 
> Any opinions at all are very much appreciated; I will Summarize.
> 
> Thanks in advance,
> 
> --Buddy



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