May 28, 2009
It's pop quiz time! Put away your notes, and let's begin.
a) Do you own this book?*
b) Do you know who this man is?
c) Does this FAQ look familiar to you?
3) OUR LITTLE FRIEND, THE COMPUTER
3.1) Are there any OSes that don't suck?
3.2) Are there any vendors that don't suck?
3.3) How about any hardware?
3.4) Just HOW MUCH does this system suck?
3.5) Where can I find clueful tech support?
3.6) What can I do to help my computers behave?
d) Does the acronym BOFH mean anything to you?
e) Do you think this is funny?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above, I am sorry to inform you that you may be a system administrator or IT professional. But I do have one bit of potentially, at least theoretically good news for you:
Server Fault is now in public beta!
Server Fault is a sister site to Stack Overflow, which we launched back in September 2008. It uses the same engine, but it's not just for programmers any more:
Server Fault is for system administrators and IT professionals, people who manage or maintain computers in a professional capacity. If you are in charge of ...
... then you're in the right place to ask your question! Well, as long as the question is about your servers, your networks, or desktops you support, anyway.
- many desktop PCs (other than your own)
Please note that Server Fault is not for general computer troubleshooting questions; if you paid for that desktop hardware, and it's your personal workstation, it is unlikely that your question is appropriate for Server Fault.
I occasionally dabble in system administration and IT professional stuff; my last blog entry was about RAID, for example. As a programmer who loves hardware as much as software, I've wanted this site for months, and I'm thrilled to see it go live, as I explained on a recent RunAs radio podcast.
Although there is certainly some crossover, we believe that the programming community and the IT/sysadmin community are different beasts. Just because you're a hotshot programmer doesn't mean you have mastered networking and server configuration. And I've met a few sysadmins who could script circles around my code. That's why Server Fault gets its own domain, user profiles, and reputation system.
So if you're a bona-fide BOFH, or just a wanna-be BOFH luser like me, join us on Server Fault. Who knows, maybe we lusers can learn something from each other.
* (For the record, yes, I do own that book -- although I am easily the world's worst UNIX system administrator.)
Posted by Jeff Atwood
sed awk and grep are actually circa 1970 A.D.
Nice. I always thought "luser" was a bad word for "Linux User". Must be reading to much Linux Hater Blog.
I learnt something today. Thanks.
We have those people. We call them "box jockeys."
That is a really awful book cover. It should really be bound in black leather with gold embossed lettering and a relief pattern in extended ASCII.
Nice, I hope it will be as addictive as stackoverflow!
I always thought that LUEser referred to someone who posted on the infamous "Life, the Universe, and Everything" board on GameFAQs.
You should had added
Are you familiar with the common ID ten T problem?
Have any of your customer's described a PICNIC situation?
My Captcha said:
Great idea, I love StackOverflow. Although my idea of fixing pc's is "push the reboot button".
We do seem to have a lot of Layer 8 problems
...and I tend to use PEBKAC rather than PICNIC?
Congrats on getting ServerFault launched. I think it will become extremely valuable for us non admin types that need to fix or change some obscure settings to get things working.
Am I a bad programmer for not knowing how to use UNIX? I used it in about 3 classes at university but tried to stay clear as much as possible. :(
The guy in the second pic looks like the Linus guy who invented Linux.. no? Although I'm no sysadmin yet.
been waiting for this.
On another note, thanks for launching Serverfault, from another non sysadmin programmer. This site will definitely be very valuable for sorting out server stuff which has intimidated me until now. I hope it gets as popular as StackOverflow soon.
@carra: "Yeah, you... you do know how a button works don't you? No, not on clothes!"
"Stackoverflow" for programmers.
"Serverfault" for admins.
What's next, "Lensflare" for photographers?
@Robert - please, don't start that horrible trend. It was awful on the DailyWTF where everyone repeated their captcha. Using words in Latin thankfully somewhat killed that stupid trend. Now there's just "FIRST!" left.
I answered no to all of them; does that make me inferior?
I think my UNIX System Administration is 2nd Ed. I got it in a college class in 1993 or 1994.
I own the Nemeth book too, but mine is RED.
extra points if you know why!
While there is definite differences between admin's and dev-types,
there is a great area of overlap (and there should be).
I almost wish stackoverflow and serverfault were combined,
because much can be learned from both specialties.
Couldn't afford segfault.com?
I'm definitely more of a Dev type. I'm a computer enthusiast (built my own rig from the ground up) and I thought that was a blast, but I've never been into the Networking/Server stuff, unless it was to set up a LAN or something to that effect for some friends and I to play games on (Starcraft FTW!)
Not only do I know who is pictured in (b), but I have met and spoken with him, and even have a copy of Microsoft Windows Internals autographed by him ...
(Don't even mention the time I had a phone conversation with Winn Rosch about OS/2 ...)
Bob 'Geeks R Me' Sherunkel
Congrats on Server Fault, I think it'll be great!
I feel that your distinction between users paying for their own workstation and questions suitable for server fault isn't really a great distinction.
It's making the assumption that users who pay for their own hardware aren't users who are advanced enough to warrant participating in server fault.
For example, I primarily work on hardware that I own. I have two desktops, and a laptop. However, I've known about the nuances of RAID (not Z-raid, that was a great post!) for many years now. I've also worked with linux soft-raid multiple times and I've thrown together desktops which use LVM and softraid. I also regularly administer things like SELinux, apache, and iptables just for fun.
I realize that you're trying to avoid a hoard of inexperienced users from asking how to resize their desktop, but please be more wary of wording!
P.S. Mike: Segfault.com is more programming (invalid pointer operations in C) related than server related!
How to we join the Beta? Registration is not obvious?
Oh never mind... you know I really am not a fan of OpenID
If you think you're the world's worst UNIX system administrator, you're wrong. There is a whole bunch of guys who are not even aware of their faults and will act as if they know what they are doing. Those are quite worse, since at least you are aware of your limits, and hopefully not afraid of asking for help and/or advise when you need it.
I own this book and enjoyed reading it. It is a great book.
I loved the joke at the top of the blog page the day you launched:
Q: How do geeks know it’s a holiday?
A: Because the Google logo changed.
Good luck with the new site, Jeff!
- A long time reader
I'm still hoping for the development of some form of code snippet system with GUID's and maybe a bit more info linking branched versions and so on.
I know not everyone liked this idea saying they always read through and modify pieces of code they take which is true for me, but i think that is beside the point. You get a good base and remove or add features.
Cue the celebrations!! I wonder how difficult this new site is going to be to moderate. I suspect that it is going to attact even more newbies to ask irrelivent questions than Stack Overflow...
oh god.. you and hardware seem more like you discovered known things again and again. has it the lousy login thingy`?
@adriango and russinovich is most famous for windows/sysinternals not for administration... The Windows Internal books are more for programmers who really want to know how to hack behind Windows, sys admins have normally no use for it.
I check Mark Russinovich's blog every couple days, but didn't know his face.
recaptcha: tamp on
Jeff - Have you published an explanation somewhere of why you are disallowing personal workstation questions? How does someone's home NAS for pirated movies differ from a corporate NAS using the same OS/etc.? Isn't the issue the quality of the question?
This is perfect! I just managed to land a job at a small business as THE networking guy who does anything and everything related to computers. I've been feeling nervous since I'm quite inexperienced and couldn't find any good community to run questions by.
This sucks, I simply wanted to type "Orange". Now I've lost my train of thought to the CAPTCHA and have no reason to continue with this comment. Have a wonderful weekend.
Long Live to So and SF
I thought that this was a programming blog
Who is the arch enemy of Server Fault?
Site on system engineering and software design
PLEASE - make a good error page telling users to enable cookies instead of just throwing a generic "something bad happened" page?
Hey Jeff, I think you have a bug here. When the post is first from the top the number of comments is always (1)...
"PLEASE - make a good error page telling users to enable cookies instead of just throwing a generic "something bad happened" page?"
Yes, everyone should make a special error message just for paranoid internet nerds.
My first Nemeth was the red one also. I think the yellow one was probably out when I started the transition from cartographer to sysadmin but I never had it. I mostly used comp.unix.shell and comp.sys.sun.admin.
No clue about the guy in the photo. In '97 or so there was a lot of talk about how UNIX sysadmins would have to start learning Windows as well. I reluctantly went to the first USENIX Windows Workshop in Seattle (where, incidentally, I saw someone taking notes on a PalmPilot Pro using a Handykey Twiddler he'd apparently jerry-rigged into it) and swore that the day I could no longer find sysadmin work without doing Windows was the day I'd leave the profession for good.
I'm surprised to find that 12 years later this day has not yet arrived. I may have to find another reason to quit.
Nice addition. Anyway, there are lots of other things in software engineering than programming, too. It is sad that if you are interested in those things, then StackOverflow isn't for those issues. Actually programming is only a small part of software engineering. Others are eg. requirements analysis and management, platforms, architectures, design, testing, configuration, maintenance, system retirement, product management, version control and management, future ideas, etc... The list is really big, so StackOverflow is very narrow site. If some issue would be close to being programming related, it will get closed by members who are strict in managing threads for pure strictness or even by preventing others from gaining points or fame.
Good luck with this.
However, I'm not sure I like the idea of having three different sites for areas where you admit there is some overlap. I would worry there will be a lot of "this question belongs on site X" answers, which will just alienate new users.
If an IT professional needs help with a batch file, which site do they go to?
"that you may be a system administrator or IT professional"
WTF? Are sysadmins no IT professionals? Shame on you!
Any chance there'll be an iGoogle widget coming for that sometime? Would be handy :)
erflow isn't for those issues. Actually programming is only a small part of software engineering. Others are eg. requirements analysis and management, platforms, architectures, design, testing, configuration, maintenance, system retirement, product management, version control and management, future ideas, etc... The list is really big, so StackOverflow is very narrow site. If some issue would be close to being programmin
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@Rob Janssen: I could get behind that name, but only if it's moderated by J.J. Abrams.
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