25: Shoes with Wheels on the Heels

Here’s a snippet from this month’s FreeBSD Journal Letters column.

System administration in a modern enterprise is like performing an oil change on a vehicle doing a hundred and twenty down the freeway. 120 miles an hour, or kilometers, you might ask? When you’re lying on your back on one of those oversized mechanic’s skateboards, clenching the oil wrench in your teeth and wishing you’d worn shoes with wheels on the heels so you wouldn’t have to work quite so hard holding your legs up, it doesn’t matter. Occasionally the driver gets bored with weaving between desktop users guilty of the unspeakable crime of Using The Road While Obeying The Speed Limit Even Though I’m A CEO, so he sideswipes a pothole just to hear your skull bounce off the transmission housing. Wear a helmet. When the oil change is complete, you get to change the spark plugs and flush the coolant. From below, of course. Raising the hood would impair the driver’s vision, and you can’t possibly interfere with the corporate mission, whatever that is.

The .0 release is a metaphorical tire change, that’s all. The trick is to wait until the driver claims there’s a stretch of smooth road ahead and to place the jack snugly between your knees.

No, I’m not cynical about this business. Not at all. This is how it is.

The first three years of this letters column are collected in Letters to ed(1).