November 16, 2012

Ain’t no need to watch where I’m goin’; just need to know where I’ve been.

Recently I have been reflecting a lot on my past. Mistakes I’ve made, things that have gone well, the high’s, low’s and everything in between, and spending less time thinking about the future.

As I was growing up going through school, I always thought that history was a waste of time, but I don’t think it is now. We need to understand where we went wrong, so we can learn from that, and also remember when something was great, so we know that things can be great again (especially if you are feeling low for some reason).

I think Matar from Disney’s Cars movie put it best, and thus I used that line for the title of this post.

In Operations and system administration, we need to reflect back on a number of things to understand where we came from and to keep growing as a discipline.

We need to look beyond Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie and to how Jesse Robbins and Ben Rockwood have discussed previously on how we are as a whole engineering discipline like a factory. We need to look at Ford, and Toyota and therefore kanban.

Then we look at some of the early GNU and Linux people, Richard Stallman (RMS), Eric Raymond, and of course Linus Torvalds. The recent people that are having a significant impact to our discipline besides the ones already mentioned are Patrick Debois, the guy who coined the term ‘devops’, Luke Kanies of Puppet and Tom Limoncelli.

If you don’t know who this people are go and look them up, do some reading, listen to some blog posts and watch some you tube videos.

Knowing where we have come from is important, so we know where we are going.

© Greg Cockburn

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