Great interview with the author of Puppet in Computer World Australia. It’s refreshing to find someone expressing and dealing with issues like this.

The truth is, the state of computing is absolutely pitiful. There are essentially no good tools for sysadmins, and the practice of system administration relies almost entirely on hand-building and hand-maintaining operating systems; those who aren’t doing things by hand are almost exclusively using tools they built themselves and will never publish, including places like Google.

It’s so true, but as with many truths, sometimes it takes someone to say it plainly. We system admins ( at least the ones I work with ) dislike the tedious work – the typing monkey work, but love the challenge of a new problem to solve. When the tedium becomes too strong, we write scripts to do the typing monkey work for us. This can be as enjoyable as solving problems. This is probably the point where non-geeks are scratching their heads saying “Did he just say enjoyable?”.

Some parts of the interview give my sense of humour a wry poke:

sure, you can tell Apache is running, but is it supposed to be running or did someone just start it while testing something six months ago?

Ha. So true. We see this kind of thing all the time – especially with boxes which have been running for a while. ( I was sad to have to update the kernel on some machines a few weeks ago – 522 days of uptime ). “Is apache supposed to be installed on this box??” The more I get to know puppet, the more I think it’s got a place in the toolbox of the sys admin.