This is a collection of thoughts and statements about things that annoy me. I am a big, angry man. Hear me roar, or piss off and give me peace.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Monkeys on mailing lists

I am on several mailing lists. One in particular, sunmanagers, is for people who work with Sun hardware and software. People who are on these lists are systems administrators, IT managers and so on...

The IT world is fairly small - I know this from working in Edinburgh, and when I worked in the USofA it was just as small a world over there too.

You would think then, that people would exercise common courtesy when posting to a list that contains people who you might be asking for a job in the future? Apparently not. People regularly ignore the FAQ, jump in with a question which has been asked and answered countless times (RED State Exception) or do not extend the courtesy of not bombarding the entire list with "I am out of the office" messages. I don't care that you're in the south of France banging your secretary. Really.

Another thing is people asking questions that Google will tell you the answer to, or things that if you just tried the command, or the man (that's the manual) page would tell you what you needed to know.

Here are a few examples I have saved for a rainy day...
Subject: FC help

Dear managers,

Please put down some resources which can be used/referred for FC storage administration/Troubleshooting on Solaris.


Please go and fuck yourself. Would you like me to do your homework for you too? How about telling me (roughly) what vintage of hardware you have, at least, before asking us to re-write various online resources regarding Fibre Channel storage...
Subject: Linux has psrinfo command- Any equivalent for Solaris.

1. Folks, Linux has psrinfo command- any equivalent for Solaris.
I am trying to know the # of CPUs, and their utilization at any given point in time.

Errr, maybe psrinfo would work. I don't know, I just typed the fucking command, and, like, there it was. (And yes, for utilisation, you'd want something like top, or prstat).
Subject: please remove me from this list. Thanks!


Another personal favourite of mine - every email from the list comes from mailman, which has mailing list info IN THE EMAIL which tells you how to unsubscribe. How fucking stupid do you have to be? (Freecycle is bad for this too, but it's populated by techno-weenies, not people who are supposedly paid to be technologically literate, and run systems costing tens to hundreds of thousands!)
Subject: Questions

Question 1: I backup several files using tar. How can I restore an specific file from that tar backup?

How about... uhhhh, man tar? Here's an excerpt from the man page:
x Extract or restore. The named files are extracted
from the tarfile and written to the directory
specified in the tarfile, relative to the current
directory. Use the relative path names of files and
directories to be extracted.

And the classic:

I have posted some Sun questions since a couple of years in sun managers and I want to delete those messages , please can you point me to the right steps to do it ?
This is all the links that I have found on sunmaagers portal :

Nope, your dumb questions should stay there for all to see... There are several archives of the mailing list, so your stupidity will haunt you for a long time.
Bill tells me this is a fairly frequent occurrence too - with not just individuals, but companies and government departments requesting dumb questions being taken off the list archives - do these people not know how the internet works?

That all said, I am still subscribed to the list, and it is still a fantastic resource for people in my line of work. I've had a few fairly obscure questions answered on there, and apparently have helped some other poor sysadmins too. As much as I may have ranted a bit, sunmanagers actually has one of the best signal to noise ratios of any list I have ever seen! My thanks go to John DiMarco and Bill Bradford for running it.

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