sysadmins vs. the world

You know, it wasn’t until I started this job and had more interaction with folks that didn’t have a University background that I came to really understand that there was any kind of us vs. them perception between developers and system administrators.

In the University, it’s typically “support staff” vs. “systems staff” — and “systems staff” are typically system administrators/pseudo-developers — at least on the academic side. There are very few pure developers in the academic side of Universities that I’ve found that only create code and aren’t responsible for deployment, and systems setup. (and then, those system admins doing development have never really done the kind of development that I was aware was going on in software shops).

Anyway, that’s not really what this post is about. I’m just reminded of that perception of “the systems administrator” by a great exchange with a colleague today while getting some background on some errors that I was seeing on one of our servers from earlier in the week. He gave me a pretty funny quote that I think bears preserving for posteriety:

Actually, I know it will happen again too… but that’s just not something I feel comfortable openly admitting to the system administrator. It’s like saying to the parole board, “Well, I don’t want to kill anybody again, but you never know… it there’s always the chance it could happen.” 😉

To which I had to respond:

Not a bad analogy. But I’m your defense lawyer — not the parole board 🙂 It’s my job to keep you out of jail — or at least reduce the sentence 🙂

But in hindsight, I’m really not sure that calling myself a defense lawyer is really doing anything for the system administrators/managers of the world.