A rush to administer

By Paul Murphy, author of The Unix Guide to Defenestration

There are lots of valuable internet resources you should be paying attention to. Sun's bigadmin site ( http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/ ) is a good example of a Solaris centered portal offering access to all kinds of useful technical and managerial information - and the highly unofficial bigbluesmoke site can often provide a hilarious counterpoint.

It doesn't pay, however, to passively wait for the bigadmin people to sift through all the other good stuff out there in part because they have to cater to averages and thus can't focus on just the stuff you might find most valuable.

I have a strong interest, for example, in automated, user focussed, systems administration where the goal is for me to do an absolute minimum of real work while maximizing user freedom and capabilities. Generally that means keeping the failure buzz down while trying to anticipate and facilitate whatever they'll want to do next. In a multi-machine environment with hundreds or thousands of users that may seem impossible but good tools help a lot; hence my interest in automation.

One project I'm watching with interest, therefore, is Arusha (see http://ark.sourceforge.net/key-ideas.html ). Here the originators not only sing my song but are actively building an open source suite to help you make it happen for yourself and your users.

They may not succeed, but they're headed down the right road so reading their materials, and thinking about their ideas, won't hurt you a bit and may well help you become better and more effective at your job.