Computer Post 1

There will be a couple of these, so get ready to get bored.

I was terribly pleased with myself in coming up with this analogy: being a systems guy is like being an airplane mechanic while the plane is still in the air. There were probably three times on Friday when I sort of hovered over something with my mouse, ready to click Apply and watch as either all hell broke loose or everything just kept pooping right along (happily, hell only broke loose once.)

A certain incident on Friday also brought the age-old Windows vs. Linux debate, on the server-side, to the foreground for the first time (for me) in a long time. I summarize the results of the discussion had with a friend/co-worker:

  1. It's easy-ish, because it's (almost) all done through graphical interfaces.
  2. MS has invested bzillions in it, so most of the time what you want is available somewhere, however buried in features.
  3. On a good day, it's pretty intuitive.
  1. Everything is done through the command-line, so you can just have a single terminal window to do 100% of everything.
  2. Thousands of incredibly smart geeky open source dorks have created almost every kind of system available.
  3. It's completely free. You can spin up as many Linux servers as you want and never have to worry about the licensing.
  4. Once it's set up properly, it just works.
  1. A big one here: even though most of it is done through the graphical interface, there are scores of these weird, and weirdly-important, little administrative tasks that happen on the command line. The problem is that they're incredibly obscure and there is no common language or nomenclature, unlike in Linux where the commands are well known and standardized.
  2. It's really expensive.
  3. It does stupid shit for no reason. We added some servers to the domain the other day and wham! The Windows firewall popped up and shut down connections between an application and its database, where it hadn't before, and it took us 15 minutes to figure out what had happened and fix it.
  4. Along with point 1., even the GUI stuff can be strangely unintuitive; it took me a long-ass time to figure out how to add a group as a local admin on a class of machines through a group policy object, and it should have been straightforward.
  1. It can be pretty F'ing cryptic.
  2. Seriously, it's cryptic.
  3. When it doesn't work, it really doesn't work. You have to know how to set it up properly; you aren't going to be able to just click through and magically have it work.
Tune in next time when I tell you about my neat new cheapo PC. Or you could just curl up in a ball on your floor and cry yourself to sleep; either way.

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