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A sysadmin must know these languages

Hi, bit of dispute running. I claim that if a sysadmin does not know language X then he really can't be much of a sysadmin. A colleague disagrees. Just for the record, it is not C (which would be a must imho).  Would you respond with the language I am referring to?  (talking about unix/linux here)

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

German is very important.

son of parnas
Wednesday, March 24, 2004


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Bash Shell Scripting?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

<<German is very important. >>

Well, what about Mongolian?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Kinda depends on what system they're adminning, doesn't it?

If it's windows, they should know vbscript or jscript - and the WSH object models.

If unix, probably bourne shell, awk, some perl, makefiles, and the tons of tiny utilities.

Ibm mainframe? Rexx maybe?

Chris Tavares
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

applescript of course :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2004


Mike Swieton
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Very important for that Elven Linux distribution!

Brad Wilson (
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Bash, Perl, Python, C. It's not a matter of what to write  your scripts in, but what you'll have to deal with in OSS software you instal and maintain.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

"Foul" language.

For when the server goes down, you see.

Nutbutter Jim
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Body talk.

Paul Sharples
Thursday, March 25, 2004

> "Foul" language.
> For when the server goes down, you see.

Hmm. I was expecting that some sort of equine language would be better suited, to accompany the kicks..., er, scientific intervention, one usually performs at these times.

If you learn fowl language, what are you going to do? Beat your wings and cackle-a-lot?

<gd&r> ;)

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Well there is _that_ RFC, so perhaps some kind of ability to speak to our bird friends would be useful.

Thursday, March 25, 2004


Although depending on the level of 'sysadmining' required, I don't think its a necessary requirement provided they know some other utility language to get stuff done (such as perl, python, ruby etc.). As long as they have enough knowledge to be able to understand the stuff when required.

I generally can decipher what a shell script is doing (often aided by looking stuff up (I never do this often enough to remember all the -  arguments), but would only rarely write one myself over using another language.

For the same reason, I've never bothered to learn sed or awk.

I always find it weird typing stuff like "esac".

Knowing makefiles can be useful as well....

Gordon Hartley
Thursday, March 25, 2004

A system administrator from the UNIX world is often an inexperienced system programmer. It was, and for the most part--still is, how the ladder is climbed in the grand old tradition. That's how some organizations (read anywhere that has no hard deadlines--university laboratories and non-profits) get away with expecting system administrators to grok the Linux kernel. When I was in university this was very much true, the people swapping tapes at 4 in the morning in the university IT/CS departments were the very same people checking in 64 bit support into CVSes of legacy 32-bit programs and daemons.

Some companies, has marketed the concept that this ladder need not be climbed to get a competent admin.

Microsoft and Novell are two such organizations, advocating the CNE and MCSE as all you need to figure out whether any joe blow has been massaged to the point of having the potential to actually learn something about administration, or even, better, actually do the job. RedHat, IBM and Compaq are all guilty of promoting these types of certifications: the ASE is taught by Compaq, the RHCE is taught by RedHat. None of these certification programs require you to know C/C++, but some of these encourage familiarity with WSH Script or Shell programming.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, March 25, 2004

MCSE = Must Call Senior Expert

Ken Ray
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Will they get fired for using Hungarian?

What I find amazing is that programmers who couldn't tell the difference between the hardware they are working on and an egg-timer expect sysadmins to know their arcane, and generally irrelevant languages (a sysadmin needs to know C? jeez).

On this forum we have programmers who don't even know what the BIOS is and ex MS Project Managers who use EFS to encrypt their files and throw away the back-up floppy. And to be frank, a programmer does not need to know any more about computers than is necessary to do his job - same as a secretary.

The only language a sysadmin needs to know is his native language and English if differerent. If he's working with Linux or Unix then he needs to know the shell commands, and if he's working with Windows he needs to know basic command line syntax, and possibly a WS>H scripting language.

Now, if he's a database admin he will need to know SQL, and maybe VBA, and if he's a web page desinger HTML and other technologies associated with the platform.

But as has been pointed out by Lifan, the idea of this career ladder with the lowly syadmin at the bottom and the geek developer at the top disappered with the introduction of networked PC's. I judge my office cleaner on his ability to make my keyboard shine, not for the potential to parse complicated examples of modal auxiliaries or third conditionals.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, March 25, 2004

> I always find it weird typing stuff like "esac".

You'd hate OBJ.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Speaking as somebody that's responsible for a few linux boxes, I would say a unix/linux admin would need to know sh/bash and perl at a minimum.  Korn shell and C would be nice-haves.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

>unix/linux admin would need to know sh/bash and perl at a >minimum

thanks, same thing I said.

Thursday, March 25, 2004


Still waiting for LISP
Thursday, March 25, 2004


Thursday, March 25, 2004

Esto es alguna mierda loca!

Jack of all
Thursday, March 25, 2004

How about some Hindi, maybe some Tibetan?

A Sysadmin (HP-UX) I know tells me he uses a lot of shell scripting, if that is Korn or bash, I don't know. I am not a sysadmin but he said he learnt scripting through dos batch file scripting. So, as long as you can solve problems in your own environment who cares if it is C, Perl, Python, WSH or anything else.

John Doe
Friday, March 26, 2004

It's not so much their fluency and facility with any particular language, but the pungency of their body odor.  After all, a competent Unix sysadmin shouldn't have to bother with showering as often as the rest of us.

Friday, March 26, 2004

You mean programmers shower?

Shurely shome mishtake?

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 26, 2004

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