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Comment Be highly available in software, not hardware (Score 4, Insightful) 86

I suspect open compute project welcomes additional testing resources for the benefit of everyone... as long as it doesn't involve an oppressive amount of process that simply serve to slow down progress.

But... Web scale IS different, so I can't blame the main sponsors for not prioritizing what isn't as important to them. Once you accept that ALL hardware fails, and that you can either pay more for more reliable hardware, or you can develop better software architecture to handle failures, you look at things differently. Spend your money once on good software engineering, instead of over and over on every server.

Comment Re:also reduces IT costs (Score 1) 232

> Is modern IT taught how to do what you just said? Do they learn how to strike the right balance between Security and Usability?

The enlightened ones know about DevOps and design thinking. Everyone else who believes draconian IT desktop control is the right solution is simply wrong.

People are more productive when they have an environment they like / want / choose.

IT simply can't control all tablets, phones, home computers, and more and more workers telecommute and work remotely, so... the battle is already lost for total control. Next best thing it to step back, take a holistic view on priorities, risks, the new status quo, and how IT can HELP your customers and business succeed... and plot a new course based on making PEOPLE productive first.

Comment Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (Score 4, Insightful) 453

IT is a commodity. Sharp IT managers see that virtualization will bring extremely powerful APIs and with a little bit of workflow and orchestration magic, their needs for the most skilled IT talent will stay the same or reduce as quantity of work increases over time. As much as people in the IT trenches may wish things to not change, change will continue. Fewer people with less skills will be able to manager larger numbers of systems and services.

Google for just about anything IT related, and you'll find THOUSANDS of hits on how to do it. Step-by-step instructions. Video walkthroughs. Preconfigured VM images. Despite what us IT folks may think -- that's UNUSUAL and somewhat unique for computers and IT. How many people can google "ubuntu ldap kerberos" or "linux drbd mysql" and follow the steps?

The "master mechanics" become architects and software developers who design "cars" that require fewer visits to the mechanics. They design process that is simple. They implement service menus that look more like a fast food menu. They automate their jobs and move on to more interesting work.

Comment More mature IT is just... less exciting (Score 5, Insightful) 453

... and that's in the best interest of the business. The business likes predictable systems and services.

Most of us slashdotters with low userid numbers can vouch for the fact that a whole lot has changed in the last 12 or so years.

IT used to be the wild west. UNIX was not widely well understood -- even by software developers. UNIX servers were inaccessible. UNIX servers were big bucks. Linux was obscure. Hardly any computer hardware or software did much of anything out of the box. Sysadmins, consultants, and IT workers were worth their weight in gold -- because that wasn't any other option.

Now... IT is mature. Hardware is cheap and reliable. Linux is ubiquitous. Linux admin experience is not rare. apt-get or yum can deploy massive amounts of useful, nearly preconfigured software in minutes that would have taken sysadmins WEEKS or MONTHS to build, deploy, patch, etc in the past.

When I first started in IT, building a server was an *ART*. Each one was unique -- from the hardware to the disk layout to the partitioning, to the OS, to the locally installed software. Building a server was like building a Stradivarius.

Now, building a server is like stamping a kazoo out of tin. I can make 500 kazoos a day. They're all the same. I don't even need to log into them once.

In the past, general IT folks were quite often the white hat security experts who learned by doing/experimenting. Now... most companies have security teams an intrusion detection systems that sound alarms if anyone runs nmap on nessus.

Your average IT guy USED to have endless opportunities to be a hero by introducing opensource software options that almost nobody else in the company knew about. Linux in the mainstream has changed all that.

A *GOOD* IT worker used to have almost magical abilities to do orders of magnitude more work. Now, large scale admin processes are much more widely understood, there are many more tools, and those magical processes are well documented and demystified so that even the junior IT folks can do them.

How many IT jobs today involve compliance? How rewarding is compliance-related work? I bet that some of the lack of willingness to suggest process improvements is somehow tied to the process baggage of IT compliance.

I still like my job, but it's changed a lot. I don't *just* do IT. I add value to my company. Today, IT needs to be much more closely integrated with the business. IT needs to be a business partner. I doubt any businesses today would hire a BOFH.

Comment Ubuntu Netbook Remix - Great on desktops too (Score 1) 180

I downloaded the alpha 6 netbook remix, put it on a USB stick, booted it on a Dell Optiplex 755, installed it, patched it, and am running it right now.

I think the "netboox remix" interface actually suits a lot of what people use computers for today... a glorified web browser... while not distracting the user with all the other windows, window decorations, virtual desktops, etc.

I'm a power user who loves those things, but I'm surprised how I feel somewhat freed up by not having to worry about them.

Comment Other languages (Score 4, Informative) 538

The Courts

Psystar Will Countersue Apple 1084

An anonymous reader sends us to CNet for news that Apple clone maker Pystar plans to countersue Apple. We discussed Apple's suit last month. "Mac clone maker Psystar plans to file its answer to Apple's copyright infringement lawsuit Tuesday as well as a countersuit of its own, alleging that Apple engages in anticompetitive business practices. Miami-based Psystar... will sue Apple under two federal laws designed to discourage monopolies and cartels, the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act, saying Apple's tying of the Mac OS to Apple-labeled hardware is 'an anticompetitive restraint of trade,' according to [an] attorney... Psystar is requesting that the court find Apple's EULA void, and is asking for unspecified damages."

$250 Freescale-Based "Green" "Cloud" Computer 371

An anonymous reader sends word of the CherryPal, a tiny desktop computer that its maker says will consume just 2 watts. It uses a Freescale processor that runs Linux and has no moving parts. The CherryPal has integrated software and an embedded Linux (based on Debian) that has been stripped down to support Open Office, Firefox, iTunes, instant messaging, and multimedia access locally. More applications are available in the cloud, and 50 GB of cloud storage is included. It comes without keyboard or mouse but with ports for VGA, USB, Ethernet, and built-in Wi-Fi. It's claimed that the CherryPal will boot up in 20 seconds from 4 GB of flash. They've buried Linux so that the end user doesn't see it; the entire UI is presented through Firefox. The CherryPal site says: "There's no software or upgrades to install, no risk of viruses, and no operating system to deal with and free 24/7 support."

China Races To Clean Up Olympic Air 362

Hugh Pickens writes "With the Olympics due to start in less than three weeks, Beijing is cranking up antipollution measures by yanking cars off the roads, expanding mass transit and staggering work hours in a bid to meet its pledge of a 'green' Olympics. Beijing has gone on a spending spree, relocating factories, seeding clouds, retiring old vehicles, planting millions of trees and halting building construction amid concerns that athletes and visitors could suffer breathing problems. For the next two months, owners of 3.3 million private cars can drive only on alternate days in China's capital, based on whether the last digit of their license plates is even or odd. Environmental and sports performance experts have cast doubt on the effectiveness of the measures taken so far. 'Arguably these are all short-term measures, just designed to control air quality for the time when the Olympics are on,' says Dr Andy Jones. Dr Angus Hunter warned that athletes are at risk for low performance if the air quality cannot be brought down to acceptable levels. 'Average times could be lower and the chances of records being broken become less. It's a bit like trying to exercise in a room when the gym is full of smokers.'"
The Internet

The Ideal, Non-Proprietary Cloud 93

jg21 writes "As previously discussed on Slashdot, the new tendency to speak of 'The Cloud' or 'Cloud Computing' often seems to generate more heat than light, but one familiar industry fault line is becoming clear — those who believe clouds can be proprietary vs. those who believe they should be free. One CEO who sides with open clouds in order that companies can pick and choose from vendors depending on precisely what they need has written a detailed article in which he outlines how, in his opinion, Platform-as-a-Service should work. He identifies nine features of 'an ideal PaaS cloud' including the requirement that 'Developers should be able to interact with the cloud computer, to do business with it, without having to get on the phone with a sales person, or submit a help ticket.' [From the article: 'I think this means that cloud computing companies will, just like banks, begin more and more to "loan" each other infrastructure to handle our own peaks and valleys, But in order for this to happen we'd need the next requirement.']"

Hawking Searching For Africa's Einsteins 276

nuke-alwin writes "Stephen Hawking has traveled to South Africa in search of Africa's Einsteins. The project will create Africa's first post-graduate center for math and physics. The British government has unfortunately decided not to back the project, which is hoping to fight poverty by identifying the kind of talent that can create wealth." Neil Turok is deeply involved as well; he was recently named to head the Perimeter Institute in Canada, whose server we brought to its knees this morning.

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