There has been quite a bit of fall-out over my post on the lack of evolution in system administration. Most of it’s about what I expected — “right on!”, I should have been more rigourous, there was too much hyperbole, I’m wrong, I’m insane — but it was still interesting watching it all happen. I’ll go into a bit more detail below the fold.
One of the most striking aspects of the resulting conversation was how differently the commentators on the blog behaved compared to the people on the LOPSA list. There were some positive reactions on the list, but it was mostly negative, while the majority of the comments on the blog are positive. Clearly it’s a bit presumptuous to make any hard conclusions about this, especially since there was so much more conversation on the list, but it’s at least worth pointing out. Apparently LOPSA only has about 600 members, and my guess is that it’s mostly a subset of people who have been involved in SAGE and/or LISA for a while, which means it’s people who have been professional sysadmins for a while and who thus are more likely to be offended by my claim that the field is changing too slowly.
As to the complaints that people had, they’re probably all true but largely invalid. Yeah, I could have been more rigourous, but then it would have been a book, not a blog post; the article was long enough. I could have been less pointed in my wording, but that’s actually the way I talk conversationally, so it only makes sense that I would write that way. I do feel strongly about this, and my writing reflects this. If I weren’t so convinced the software in this space isn’t much good, I wouldn’t be spending all this time trying to create better software.
Eventually the conversation also picked up on the largely-dead configuration management list hosted by LOPSA. This was a bit more interesting to me, because most of the posters were other tool developers. The conversation had some potential, but I’ve been arguing with this same group for years, and the discussion didn’t really move us forward any.
I hope to spend the next posts on some substance around my introductory claims. As always, I’ve got insane amounts of development to do in Puppet, but hopefully I’ll be able to post relatively often to keep the conversation going.