I'm installing mediawiki for one of our users, and I have an itty bitty apache2 config issue. So, I'm trying to figure it out, but I'm stuck because of my lack of familiarity with SUSE (not my choice) and its peculiar file placement and configuration. As I look around on the web for a fragment of an apache config file, I find myself shocked at the install/config docs floating around. Essentially, the steps are:
- Download & install the mysql package
- Download & install the mediawiki package
- Start mysql with the rc script provided
- Restart apache
- Run mediawiki's configure script
The problem with this is nobody actually goes and edits their apache configs, looks at the mysql instance, or installs mediawiki. They're relying on the package management system for everything. The "troubleshooting" suggestions for this are basically, remove the packages, reinstall them, and restart the daemons. But now that I've configured apache, and mysql, and postgres, I can't make the SUSE packages work with the layout I have for rt3, which is already installed and working.
This makes it really difficult to troubleshoot, because all of the "instructions" are basically reheated install/restart/uninstall/reinstall/restart instructions.
Seems like actual systems administration work is going out of style. It's kind of shocking that so many people are installing this software without even knowing, e.g., where their mysql instance is actually located. Outside of standard package installation, I'm also seeing lots and lots less understanding of the fundamentals of installed Linux (and Unix these days) systems. People seem to not understand filesystem layout, fault isolation, and scalability.
Is it surprising that we seem less concerned now that we have multiple terabytes of storage in a single 1U machine, or that we don't care about properly laying out swap on a machine with 64G of memory? I guess I should have seen this coming. But, really, what's happened to systems administration in general that people are not educated or skilled enough to actually understand the systems are running? Ten years ago (doesn't seem so long, does it?), you had to understand where everything went, and what its purpose was. You had to understand how to lay out your filesystem so a wayward process didn't fill up /var. Sloppy idioms like "cat file | grep pattern | wc -l" could cause problems (all you really need there is grep -c pattern file). The O'Reilly "marlin" book, Performance Tuning (or some such similar title) actually complained about using awk frivolously, because, golly, it used up 3.5MB more memory than cut (this is important if your sun4c/sun4m only has 96mb of ram). Heaven forbid you use perl!
I wonder if this makes me a relic, a curmudgeon, or bitch-and-moaner, or if it makes me more skilled than the median. I get the feeling being more skilled than my peers isn't going to help too much in this new, dumber future. If companies keep producing software that does the hard work for us, having in-depth knowledge of The Way Things Work is going to be irrelevant. And while that's "progress" in this industry, I can't help but be sad about it.