Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Linux Authors: Elizabeth White, Hovhannes Avoyan, Roger Strukhoff, Esmeralda Swartz, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Linux

Linux: Article

The IT Professional's Industry Almanac

Industry commentary from the IT trenches

The IT Professional's Industry Almanac by Eathen Anderson takes no prisoners. A 10-year veteran of the IT industry, Anderson has written an honest and critical commentary from the trenches. His audience: the fearful and unemployed IT workers. His main preoccupation: the dysfunctional interface between technology and business. Neither is spared, but his analysis leads him to an unexpected conclusion.

First he explains why IT pays so well - because it's boring, and Americans have "itty-bitty" attention spans while needing everything now. Technology, even as it develops rapidly, requires patience to understand and use correctly. Anderson suggests that the dot-com boom/bust of the late '90s led directly to the outsourcing fad favored by corporations today. Somehow we IT folks overpriced ourselves and are now paying with fear and redundancy. This is fair enough, and many fortunes were made during the boom, but I remember it was business that started the gold rush and the biz dev guys were the first to get fired.

Now, it's true that programming and support services are going overseas - nominally because it is cheaper, but really because corporate executives do not have to interact with foreign geeks or worry about five years down the line. Anderson is particularly scathing about the poor treatment of the help desk, which is most concerned with human management of technology. The problem with American business is that it is more interested in making money than saving it - homework for the first chapter will bring a smile to most IT faces.

It's not just business philosophy, but marketing and the media that overhype products. Anderson claims that 50% of software and hardware products do not work to the manufacturer's specifications. He has much experience with Microsoft OS's; if you buy a new PC loaded with Windows 2000 it will need 27 critical updates and service packs.

There's a brief commentary about boot camps and certification. Anderson explains why MCSAs are more popular than MCSEs (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator and Engineer, respectively). He also mentions both the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and Linux+ certifications, but I suspect without knowing much about them, and there is the dire warning, repeated several times throughout the book, that Unix is cryptic. The chapter "Hackers, Viruses and Security" is weak - the bottom line is that the hackers (or should that be crackers?) have better tools - most of the top five hacker tools seem to specialize in Windows OS's, which figures, I suppose. But the idea of a global Internet cop shop is just silly; the U.S. Government seems to be doing a sterling job making e-commerce safe for the rest of us.

Enter Our Hero - the network admin, a role that bridges the gaps between software and hardware, end users and geeks, and ultimately business and tech. It should come as no surprise that this is the author's speciality, and Chapter 4 - "The Strategy Chapter" - is an illuminating and detailed case study of the trials and tribulations of one such person.

In the final chapter Anderson features some survival cases, one of which depicts the rather enigmatic fate of a certain network admin. There is a novel in here somewhere. The book is self-described as "a computer novel with a serious attitude," but it really is what its title suggests, an almanac full of lists and laws, useful tables, and sage advice. I hope it gets upated annually.

The lists get better as the book progresses. My favorites are the six end-user personalities (Grinch, Flower Child, Engineer, Annoyer, Savvy Annoyer, Uber Talker) and "A List of Common Childhood Values That Should Be Rethought Before Entering a Corporate Environment." The laws vary from the obvious - The Law of Finality, whereby an expensive solution/product is bought and has to be used, however horrible - to the esoteric, such as Eathen's Equation, actually several equations and a spreadsheet based more on experience than theory and all the better for that.

Anderson expounds at length on his preferred management method, a combination of R&D and ROI analyses. The R&D aspect is particularly important in such a rapidly changing environment as tech: one must avoid "redundant and frivolous tech reading, seminar hopping, or exuberant gadget play" and be able to calculate both the necessity and severity of need for new tech. The example he uses is the installation of a Lindows environment in a 35-person company. This has to be a reaction to years of frustration with the Microsoft OS's - ME and XP both make it into his Top 10 Over-Hyped Technological Inventions of the Nineties list, while Red Hat Linux (no version) makes it into the Top 11 Technological Inventions of the Last Ten Years list (along with Windows NT 4.0 SP6A and Novell 5.0).

Anderson's not a true believer in Linux and open source. Perhaps he's just not tried installing, say, a recent Novell SUSE LINUX distribution, which detects peripherals better than XP and defaults to an eminently usable GUI. Having said that, it is important to separate his legitimate concerns from his Microsoft-marketing-will-prevail cyncism. In fact, his concerns seem to boil down to three:

  1. Unix is a rigid system that does not play well with proprietary software (try telling that to Pixar).
  2. It's not really a GUI so simple stuff takes longer and is not user friendly (first is not true - Command Line Rool! - and the second is, well, not true either).
  3. The open source OS is not immune from viruses, which is true, but as a Perl hacker once said, a closed door is preferable to a locked one.
If you're down in the trenches, slapping your fellow grunt's back is okay, but you shouldn't be afraid to look over the parapet or maybe just up at the wind blowing the clouds. Happy minds create beautiful (and useful) things...back to cynical reality. There are some contradictions in this book, stemming from the author's desire both to give survival advice to IT folks - "Let managers manage" - and his critique of existing business practice. He concludes correctly that the MBAs, which lead to CXO (CEO, CIO, COO, etc.) roles and high incomes, should not displace the real business experience that we mortals understand and practice every day. Of course, unfortunately they do.

In the final chapter, "The National IT Dilemma," Anderson details corporate wages from the front desk to the CEO. He is not so much against the pay differentials for different roles (when the company is making money) and in fact feels it necessary to deny he is a socialist (why are Americans so worried about this label?). However, he ends with a final theory - Passive Unionism - and two recommended URLs: www.techsunite.org and www.cwa-union.org. Anderson sees himself as a cop, an aggressive linebacker worried about national security and waste. But I think ultimately he'd like to be part of the Union.

More Stories By Tony Kirman

Tony Kirman discovered Linux at the same time as the Internet, and has never looked back. He has worked as an itinerant programmer in the content management field for many years, watching as expensive solutions come and go. He is a firm believer in open standards and free software, free beer too when it's available. He has a website - www.Los.org - untouched for a while, and can be reached at [email protected]

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Dave will share his insights on how Internet of Things for Enterprises are transforming and making more productive and efficient operations and maintenance (O&M) procedures in the cleantech industry and beyond. Speaker Bio: Dave Landa is chief operating officer of Cybozu Corp (kintone US). Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dave has been on the forefront of the Cloud revolution driving strategic business development on the executive teams of multiple leading Software as a Services (SaaS) application providers dating back to 2004. Cybozu's kintone.com is a leading global BYOA (Build Your O...
How is unified communications transforming the way businesses operate? In his session at WebRTC Summit, Arvind Rangarajan, Director of Product Marketing at BroadSoft, will discuss how to extend unified communications experience outside the enterprise through WebRTC. He will also review use cases across different industry verticals. Arvind Rangarajan is Director, Product Marketing at BroadSoft. He has over 19 years of experience in the telecommunications industry in various roles such as Software Development, Product Management and Product Marketing, applied across Wireless, Unified Communic...
The IoT Bootcamp is coming to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo on June 9-10 at the Javits Center in New York. Instructor. Registration is now available at http://iotbootcamp.sys-con.com/ Instructor Janakiram MSV previously taught the famously successful Multi-Cloud Bootcamp at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in November in Santa Clara. Now he is expanding the focus to Janakiram is the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. He is a Microsoft Regional Director for Hyderabad, India, and one of the f...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud, a provider of enterprise resource planning software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. B2cloud develops the software you need. They have the ideal tools to help you work with your clients. B2Cloud’s main solutions include AGIS – ERP, CLOHC, AGIS – Invoice, and IZUM
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY., and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides private all-in-one social intranets allowing workers to securely collaborate from anywhere in the world and from any device. Social, mobile, and easy to use. MangoApps has been named a "Market Leader" by Ovum Research and a "Cool Vendor" by Gartner...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @ThingsExpo Blog launched with 7,788 original stories. @ThingsExpo Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @ThingsExpo Blog can be bookmarked. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on Twitter at @MicroservicesE
SYS-CON Events announced today that robomq.io will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
Wearable technology was dominant at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) , and MWC was no exception to this trend. New versions of favorites, such as the Samsung Gear (three new products were released: the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit), shared the limelight with new wearables like Pebble Time Steel (the new premium version of the company’s previously released smartwatch) and the LG Watch Urbane. The most dramatic difference at MWC was an emphasis on presenting wearables as fashion accessories and moving away from the original clunky technology associated with t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Litmus Automation will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Litmus Automation’s vision is to provide a solution for companies that are in a rush to embrace the disruptive Internet of Things technology and leverage it for real business challenges. Litmus Automation simplifies the complexity of connected devices applications with Loop, a secure and scalable cloud platform.
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy at GENBAND, will explore what is needed to take a real time communications ...
In 2015, 4.9 billion connected "things" will be in use. By 2020, Gartner forecasts this amount to be 25 billion, a 410 percent increase in just five years. How will businesses handle this rapid growth of data? Hadoop will continue to improve its technology to meet business demands, by enabling businesses to access/analyze data in real time, when and where they need it. Cloudera's Chief Technologist, Eli Collins, will discuss how Big Data is keeping up with today's data demands and how in the future, data and analytics will be pervasive, embedded into every workflow, application and infra...
As Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world. Everything is rapidly moving toward being software-defined – from our phones and cars through our washing machines to the datacenter. However, there are larger challenges when implementing software defined on a larger scale - when building software defined infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Boyan Ivanov, CEO of StorPool, will provide some practical insights on what, how and why when implementing "software-defined" in the datacenter.
So I guess we’ve officially entered a new era of lean and mean. I say this with the announcement of Ubuntu Snappy Core, “designed for lightweight cloud container hosts running Docker and for smart devices,” according to Canonical. “Snappy Ubuntu Core is the smallest Ubuntu available, designed for security and efficiency in devices or on the cloud.” This first version of Snappy Ubuntu Core features secure app containment and Docker 1.6 (1.5 in main release), is available on public clouds, and for ARM and x86 devices on several IoT boards. It’s a Trend! This announcement comes just as...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? Join this panel of experts as they peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you’ll have no problem filling in your buzzword bingo cards.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark and Intel Edison. You will also get an overview of cloud technologies s...