% fortune -ae paul murphy


I hate job interviews. Too much performance, not nearly enough reality.

Do you know what the most important characteristic of a good Unix sysadmin - someone you can trust with your data, your users, and your machines - really is?

I'll tell you - but first let me point out that in my world traditional mainframe data center role separation doesn't play - so the sysadmin becomes the most important delivery person in the data center: someone who works directly with users to keep things humming along.

I want that person to be lazy, bored, inquisitive, and forever sticking a nose where it doesn't belong. Why? because Unix pretty much runs itself, so bored is good - busy a trouble indicator.

So what's the first clue I look for after the ability to structure a sensible English sentence? The courage to say "I don't know" and the drive to follow up by finding out.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specialising in Unix and Unix-related management issues.