System Administration

Currently serving as system administrator, postmaster, and webmaster for the domain names I own.

Though I’ve never done system administration as a formal component of any job I’ve held, it has often been necessary to become well-acquainted with system administration in order to do other jobs, such as software development and technical writing. Sometimes this has been due solely to the unusual hours I would work in order to have more computer “time”, back in the days of timesharing on large mainframes and smaller superminicomputers.

Operating systems with which I’ve had significant expertise administering include Linux, PRIMOS, VAX/VMS, TOPS-10, and TSS/8. Though most of these are fairly “ancient”, many of the pertinent higher-level aspects of administering them have “trickled down” to PC-based Unix and MS Windows systems over the decades. As examples, one must still know how to make backups, verify them, and restore them as necessary; needs of users must still be anticipated; resource utilization must still be carefully managed; and so on.

I’ve authored, and supervised the authoring of, several technical manuals on system administration and operation. Early in my technical-writing career, I discovered that a table illustrating how to invoke the PRIMOS equivalent of the Unix mkfs utility was erroneous, in that, if dutifully followed, it would lead to overwriting at least a portion neighboring disk partition when making (erasing) the desired one. The manual containing the table was swiftly fixed, and I was subsequently assigned the task of updating the manual more thoroughly.