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Keeping Unix Running and Tuned 223

Paying someone $40,000 a year to maintain 20 machines translates into $2000 per machine-year. Typical low-end Unix workstations cost between $3000 and $5000 and are replaced about every two years. Combine these costs with the cost of the machines and software, it becomes clear that the allegedly cost-effective "solution" of "open systems" isn't really cost- effective at all.

Keeping Unix Running and Tuned Sysadmins are highly paid baby sitters. Just as a baby transforms perfectly good input into excrement, which it then drops in its diapers, Unix drops excrement all over its file system and the network in the form of core dumps from crashing programs, temporary files that aren't, cancerous log files, and illegitimate network rebroadcasts. But unlike the baby, who may smear his nuggets around but generally keeps them in his diapers, Unix plays hide and seek with its waste. Without an experienced sysadmin to ferret them out, the system slowly runs out of space, starts to stink, gets uncomfortable, and complains or just dies.

Some systems have so much diarrhea that the diapers are changed automat- ically:

Date: 20 Sep 90 04:22:36 GMT

From: (Alan H. Mintz)

Subject: Re: uucp cores

Newsgroups: comp.unix.xenix.sco

In article <2495@polari.UUCP>, corwin@polari.UUCP (Don

Glover) writes:

For quite some time now I have been getting the message from

uucp cores in /usr/spool/uucp, sure enough I go there and there

is a core, I rm it and it comes back...

Yup. The release notes for SCO HDB uucp indicate that "uucico will

normally dump core." This is normal. In fact, the default SCO instal-

lation includes a cron script that removes cores from


Baby sitters waste time by watching TV when the baby isn't actively upset (some of them do homework); a sysadmin sits in front of a TV reading net- news while watching for warnings, errors, and user complaints (some of them also do homework). Large networks of Unix systems don't like to be

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