You may have in mind the character of the mythical sysadmin: alone in his office or cubicle, fire-fighting and pulled in all directions by users and managers alike, frustrated that he’s not given the opportunity to do things properly and, more than anything, longing for some help and free time to make his dream project come true.
Towards the end of 2011 I had an idea about a then revolutionary monitoring system (it isn’t revolutionary any more since a few projects have picked up the same concept now). By that time I realized how often it happens in our life of Sysadmins that we have wonderful ideas that will never see the light because we don’t afford to make them happen by ourselves. It was by that time that I founded the group “Action Sysadmin” on LinkedIn. It was December 30th, 2011.
The manifest of the group is:
You are a sysadmin and you are looking for a group where to ask for technical help? Go choose another. This one is different.
You are a sysadmin and you have one of those crazy projects, too big for just you, and too cool to give up? That’s the place for you: please come and share ideas.
You are a sysadmin and you would like to work on something cool, but you need inspiration and ideas? That’s the place for you, too: please come, see what’s going on, choose a project, and contribute.
The idea, or “concept” to use a buzzword, especially popular in Norway, was to found a playground where big projects could be shared and help sought and offered.
My monitoring project never saw the light. I started experimenting with RabbitMQ and Perl, but wasn’t really happy with the library I was using. Over time I lost interest in the idea because of the limitations in the library, because I had not enough spare time to work on it and, as I said, because other similar projects were in active development and there was nothing revolutionary in my idea any more.
What happened with the group in the meanwhile?
The group has come to nothing. It has 22 members as of today. None shared a project but me (you may remember dumbed-down CFEngine). No one commented, no one offered help. Only four discussions were posted, all by me.
After all, the mythical sysadmin doesn’t exist? Maybe. Or maybe it’s something different and, if you want, you can pick up any of the following starting point for a discussion.
Case 1: I was plain wrong: there is no such thing as a lone sysadmin that has a wonderful projects he’d like to share to make them happen. I am an exception.
Case 2: No, I wasn’t wrong, but LinkedIn is not the right place for sysadmins to hang out.
Case 3: It’s just a general problem on the Internet nowadays, where 1% of the people share useful information and the other 99% just consumes it, often without even say thanks.
Case 4: I suck at making that project work.
Case 5: “classic” groups and associations don’t work any more, neither on the Internet nor in real life. Just look at the mailing list you subscribed since a long time and see how many of them saw a sharp decline in traffic over time, for example.
Yes, I am considering shutting down the group, it gives nothing to me and nothing to anyone else. Wouldn’t you?
Have a good summer.
Image “Sysadmin hero” from http://www.ncloud.es/administracion-de-sistemas/