[CentOS] OT: systemd Poll - So Long, and Thanks for All the fish.

Mon Apr 24 19:08:26 UTC 2017
Lamar Owen <lowen at pari.edu>

On 04/24/2017 11:52 AM, Warren Young wrote:
> On Apr 24, 2017, at 7:53 AM, Lamar Owen <lowen at pari.edu> wrote:
>> James' point isn't the hardware cost, it's the people cost for retraining.
> Unless you’ve hired monkeys so that you must train them to do their tasks by rote, that is a soft cost, not a hard cost.

Dollars are dollars.  An hour spent in training as one hour less to 'do 
work.'  (I'm intentionally playing devil's advocate here; I personally 
don't have a problem with the changes other than I now have to remember 
to check the OS type and version every time I log in to a server prior 
to issuing commands).
> Note also that Byrne’s solution was to move to an entirely different OS, but we don’t hear about the “retraining cost” involved with that.  Surely it was a larger jump from C6 or C7 to FreeBSD 10 than from C6 to C7?
Guaranteed that it was a much larger jump.  Although I am tangentially 
reminded of Apollo Domain/OS 10 where the SysV/BSD/Aegis behavior was 
settable by changing an environment variable.....

> It’ll be interesting to see how much change FreeBSD gets in the next 7 years.

What is interesting to me, having just worked on a 20-year-old server 
stack last week, is how much hasn't changed as well as how much of what 
gets used a lot has changed (remember life before yum? How about early 
yum that needed to download individual headers?). But 90% of what I 
learned 30 years ago on Xenix System 3 for the Tandy 6000 still works 
(mainly because I still use vi.... :-)  ).

> That depends on the organization and its goals. 

Very much true.  My IT department that I run has a bit of a reputation; 
our 'stock' answer to any IT question is rumored to be 'it depends.'  
YMMV, etc.

>> ...dual-socket Opteron LS20 blades (10+ years old)...CentOS 7, once installed, works great...
> That doesn’t really contradict my point.
> First, I said “most” hardware, but you’ve gone and cherry-picked uncommonly durable hardware here; you’re probably out in +3 sigma territory.

Hey, I just picked what I have here, that's all.  I could also talk 
about our 2007, 2009, and 2010-vintage donated EMC Clariion hardware.  
We have gotten many Dell PowerEdge servers and Optiplex/Precision 
desktops donated to us; got 19 Dell PE1950's donated in a lot three 
years ago, and those are some of our best servers.  The last servers we 
actually bought were a pair of Dell PE6950's in 2007; a grant funded two 
of them plus VMware VI3 and a couple of EMC Clariion CX3-10c SANs.  (All 
of those are still running and still doing their jobs.)

I'd rather have a five-year-old Precision than a 2017-model generic 
desktop.  A bit slower, but it's going to last a whole lot longer. For 
my own personal use I never buy new; I'll take the same money that would 
buy a low-end current-year marvel and buy a three to five year-old 
Precision that will run faster and much longer.  My current laptop is a 
Precision M6700 with a Core i7-3740QM.  It was $600 and will run rings 
around anything built today at that price point (and even twice or 
thrice that price point I dare say!).

But we're talking servers here, and the LS20 blade for the BladeCenter 
is middle-of-the-road as far as server hardware is concerned.  The 
PE1950 is on the lower side of MOR.

> A lot of commodity PC-grade SOHO “server” hardware won’t even last the 3 years between major CentOS upgrades before dying of something.  There was a period where I’d budget 1-2 years for a Netgear switch, for example.  (They appear to be lasting longer now.)

I haven't looked at the lower end of the server hardware scale in a long 
time, although we did get some older low-end Dell PE SC1425's donated to 
us a while back.  They run C7 quite well, too.  I'd rather buy a used 
higher-end box than a new low-end box, which is going to both cost more 
and wear out sooner.

But that's just SOP for a non-profit.

> Second, the application of my quoted opinion to your situation is that you should run that hardware with CentOS 7 through the EOL of the hardware or software, whichever comes first.  That is, I’m advising the change-adverse members of the audience to opt into the second group above, taking OS changes in big lumps when it’s time to move to new hardware anyway.
There is no easy solution.  The sysadmin's work and continuing education 
is never done.  I don't mind learning new things nor is my budgeted time 
so tight that I can't spend company time getting familiar with newer 
admin paradigms.  I understand that everyone is not like me (which is 
probably a good thing).

The sysadmin 'political landscape' is not too different from the 
'regular' political landscape, really.  You have conservatives, and you 
have progressives.  They both think they're right, and they both tend to 
demonize those who disagree.  And both are growing more extremist with 
time.  Is there no middle ground to be had (in the sysadmin world, at 

I certainly understand and sympathize with James' point of view.  I also 
understand that if we never try something new we might never find 
something we might like better than what we've already got. (As an 
example:  I've always though the 'service' invocation was 
slap-backwards, and always thought it was a bit inane to have 'service' 
to control the running of the services and 'chkconfig' to enable or 
disable.  For that matter, how does 'chkconfig' translate to 'enable or 
disable services?'  The systemctl invocation is cleaner and more 
consistent by far, at least in my opinion.  I wish it had come first!).