lowbrowculture

collects stories and ideas from John Kelly

Curse of Unix

Six years of working professionally as a systems administrator and last week I realised that I really don’t know much about the ‘theory’ behind the stuff I do. I couldn’t have told you what a ‘sticky bit’ was, but I could tell you how to implement one. Making sense? Anyway, so I’ve spent the weekend getting re-acquainted with low-level Unix stuff. This has mostly involved installed FreeBSD on my laptop and reading man pages for almost every command I’ve run. Along the way, I wanted to install mackers’ o2sms and found out that FreeBSD’s default perl doesn’t have threading enabled. So I had to recompile perl - something I haven’t had to do since 1998.

Never mind OS X which has made my daily computing life a joy, even binary Linux distributions like Ubuntu have made me very lazy. Given a choice between downloading a pre-compiled binary and running that, and having my machine download the source code and waiting 30 minutes while it whittles the software out of 1s and 0s, I’ll choose the one that has me up and running as soon as possible.

I want out of computing completely. It’s not like I can’t do this stuff any more, I just don’t want to.