The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Belaboring the inanimate equus pleonastically

I've been thinking more about why I hate control panels since my last little outburst and I've come to the conclusion that sometime in the past few years, I've crossed some sort of threshold whereby I no longer wish to learn, yet again, how to administrate a Unix system.

Oh, the control panels make it easy to manage a system until something breaks, or you want to do something that the creators of the control panel didn't think of, and then you either dive into the guts of the insipid thing, or grovel around on support forums.

Basically, as long as you and the programmers of the control panel agree on what and how to do things, all is okay. And while I may agree on the how, I know enough about the various subsystems of Unix (like Apache and Sendmail for instance) to know that they are always more capable than what you get through a control panel to ever agree on the what (frankly, I still prefer my own solution to virtual host email, which used separate files for each domain, than the default method Sendmail uses today which relies upon a single centrally edited file, which goes to show that I don't necessarily agree with the how at a level below the control panels).

So my hatred is not so much a loss of control (although there is that aspect) as it is a fundamental disagreement with how to adminstrate a Unix system. Heck, my own views on how to administrate a Unix system (or network of systems) is probably at odds with most Unix admins out there (who, and mind you, this is a gross generalization here, are paranoid micromanagers who like complexity for complexity's sake).

It's also related to knowing how to fix a problem, but having to fight the control panel to fix it, or keep the control panel from breaking said fixes. Or even being able to fix the problem at all (“I'm sorry, we don't allow that feature”).

And before any of you get concerned about my employment with Smirk over this issue, let me tell you, this isn't anything I haven't already told him to his face. The fact that he puts up with my attitude about this is one reason why I like working with him. And yes, we've discussed this plenty of times and I do understand his position on them as well.

I just don't have to like it.

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