The GNU/Linux and Solaris Admin : An Endangered Species Due to Dishonest Actions of a Tiny Portion of Their Population?

by M. David Peterson

[UPDATE: Previous title was:

The GNU/Linux and Solaris Admin : An Endangered Species Due to the Danger of Self Inflicted Genocidal Tendencies?


but as per my comment below:

In thinking about this I realized that the title is really misleading as to the content contained inside. I'm currently thinking through this, and trying to decide on a better title that more accurately describes the point that is a *SMALL* number of folks who are ruining things for the rest of the GNU/Linux and Solaris/Open Solaris admins. After coming back to this, and re-reading my chosen title, thats obviously not the sense that is invoked, and instead something of much grander, biblical-type proportion.

I will fix this just as soon as I can come up with something that is accurate to the content itself.

My apologies for not realizing this until now!


I have changed it to be more accurate as to the content and overall point of this post.

[Original Post]
Tom Adelstein has written one of the best "state of the union" reports I have seen in a LONG time regarding the problems that a SMALL number of GNU/Linux and Solaris admins are inflicting on the larger population of GNU/Linux and Solaris advocates because of their own selfish acts of "self preservation."

Linux and Microsoft: Taking a Pragmatic Approach - O'Reilly Sysadmin

Would it surprise you to discover that Linux administrative and support employees have created barriers to entry for others with similar talents? What if I told you that a difficult job climate has emerged because of your Linux buddies? Would you believe it?

Get a grip because that's something with which you may have to deal if you attempt to change jobs or enter the market. Recruiters tell me that "Linux guys" take job offers from predominantly Microsoft shops, go through training and within an average of three months leave their employers hanging. That means having Linux credentials could work against you. Technologists with Linux on their resumes might find something akin to age or gender discrimination when they start applying for work.


I have a tiny bit of experience with Open Solaris, and quite a bit more (although I'm still VERY MUCH your average Joe Linux user) experience with GNU/Linux systems, and I'll be honest... Even though WinXP Pro/Win2k3/Vista are by far and beyond my platforms of choice, I LOVE both GNU/Linux and Open Solaris for a lot of REALLY SOLID reasons.

With all of the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into the development of these platforms and the good that both of these platforms bring to the world of computing, to see this kind of things sickens me.

But unfortunately...

It doesn't surprise me.


5 Comments

Matthew Sporleder
2006-07-06 14:14:53
I recommend you read the comment by WatchfulBabbler on that article. I'm not sure why you're writing another blog to support that article instead of just commenting.


I am a, and work with an entire floor of, linux/solaris admins who don't suffer from any of this stuff.


I have found that most of the difficult work environments in unix shops really comes from unqualified people complaining when they can't complete their work, or can't keep up with technical discussions and misinterpret disagreements as fights or evangalism.

M. David Peterson
2006-07-06 20:53:29
Matthew,


I think maybe you and I are interpreting Tom's post a bit differently. I agree with your point... The MAJOR majority of GNU/Linux and Solaris admins are just fine... no problems what-so-ever.


However, what Tom seems to be pointing out is that no matter how few there are that are actually guilty of things as those mentioned in his report, the have still managed to sour enough hiring managers, and even more so/importantly, those in the Human Resources division of any given company that it seems they have spoiled it for the rest of you.


So in other words... You're correct in your statement, and its because you are correct that makes this such a lame situation. What you see/deal with on a regular basis isn't the problem. It's what you don't see/deal with on a regular basis that's the problem.

M. David Peterson
2006-07-06 20:58:19
One other thought... You and I both know that perception and reality can easily be two different things. There are times where its the perception of situation, not the reality of that situation, that can turn an entire industry/marketplace against a particular product, including the product that you and I are selling to our employers each and every day.
M. David Peterson
2006-07-07 14:41:44
In thinking about this I realized that the title is really misleading as to the content contained inside. I'm currently thinking through this, and trying to decide on a better title that more accurately describes the point that is a *SMALL* number of folks who are ruining things for the rest of the GNU/Linux and Solaris/Open Solaris admins. After coming back to this, and re-reading my chosen title, thats obviously not the sense that is invoked, and instead something of much grander, biblical-type proportion.


I will fix this just as soon as I can come up with something that is accurate to the content itself.


My apologies for not realizing this until now!

M. David Peterson
2006-07-07 15:06:44
Matthew,


One point that I had wanted to bring up was in regards to your comment,


> I'm not sure why you're writing another blog to support that article instead of just commenting. <


It seems to me there are two (or more) ways to handle bad publicity,


- Deny there is a problem, and adamantly defend against the accusations.
- Discover the facts, and react to the problem in a way as to fix the problem instead of ignoring it.


There is a good reason, in my opinion, that I chose to follow up Tom's post, and that is this,


By providing information to the development community as a whole, and by showcasing the fact that it is a VERY SMALL portion of the community that is guilty of these actions, my hope is that those in HR who might read this, will gain a greater understanding that it is just a small number of folks, while at the same time providing opportunity for folks to respond to those in whom they might know who *ARE* part of the problem in a way to help stop them from doing more damage, while (hopefully) fixing the damage that already exists in the process.


If, for example, a hiring manager or member of any given HR staff were to read a follow-up blog entry from a professional GNU/Linux and/or Solaris/Open Solaris admin in which showcased a desire to discover if and where the problems truly exist, coming up with ideas on how to stop the "bleeding" before it gets out of hand, my guess is that they would respond positively, and realize that maybe the problem isn't as bad as it seems, and if it is, the people who are effected by it are desirous to do something about the problem, instead of just ignoring it or denying that it exists.


I don't see this as a bad thing unless, of course, that is the way the community responds to this or any other post, in particular and especially Tom's original post, on this matter.


In other words, this can be used a tool for good or for bad.


But that's a choice left up to the effected communities.