Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mark Pilgrim's System Administration for Dummies

(Note: Originally written on 2007/11/11. It's been languishing on my computer since then.)

To begin with, I have to say that, like many people on the "Internets", I enjoy reading dive into mark for its sharp wit and no-holds-barred writing style, no matter who employs him.
His latest post is no exception. A few things bothered me about it, though.

For one, it (implicitly) assumes that you're going to be installing MySQL™ on your Ubuntu™ desktop machine and start using it to develop some application that needs a relational database for X, Y, or Z. However, ignorant CEOs and CIOs also read things written on the Internets, and when they happen to find this post via their Google™ search du jour for new technology to integrate into the fold, they'll turn to their system administrators and ask, "Why do I pay you so much when all I have to do to install a relational database is click a button a few times?" Thank you, Mr. Pilgrim, for devaluing system administrators in one fell swoop.

Another part that bothered me was the end. Here's how I imagine your average Ubuntu™ user's thought processes: "OK, I've installed this MySQL™ thing. Now what? How do I access this server thing? I have to use some sort of client, right? What kind of client do I get? Can I just search for 'mysql client' and do the same thing? Oh crap, that's for the terminal!" There goes that whole anti-"sudo make me a sandwich" argument. I guess it would be different if this HOWTO was in serial form.

On the other hand, it seems to be a much better experience than installing DB2™ on Ubuntu™.

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