Documentation: Give it up; it won't happen.
At one point in time and not too very long ago, I fancied myself a decent system administrator with a decent resume and work history. When I finished a series of writing tasks working on technology subjects that included system administration, I thought the time had come for me to work in a shop with Linux and MS.
I put my resume up on Dice and Monster and waited for the phone to ring. When it didn't ring, I went up to see the hits. I saw six on Monster and eight on Dice. Only one company saved my data.
I don't know what possessed me to build a tech writer resume, but I did. I had enough experience and I wrote the white papers no one "got around to", user manuals, policy and procedure guides, S-1 SEC registration sections and so forth. On Monster I immediately started getting hits - something like 164 in a week. On Dice the number was something like 186. I switched back to my sysadmin resume and again I got four to eight hits. That's counter intuitive to my experience.
As a friend at JBoss once said, "gotta eat". So, I started accepting short-term writing assignments. I learned several things about the field. Aside from the massive requirements of documentation for such things like Sarbanes Oxley, HIPPA, SAS70 and warehousing of data, many companies had a trick up the sleeves. They advertised for a technical writer, but they really wanted business and system analysts they could land for $30-35 an hour.
I have yet to see a position come my way that wanted an internal writer who checked for grammar, spelling and business rules. The prospective employer wanted someone with UML, EDM, Visio and MS Project experience. They also wanted someone to back an undocumented software application into its original specs. The job requirements: Re-engineer a running application that never had functional of technical specs.
I took two projects like that at some very large companies and discovered a massive chasm in documentation and if any existed at all - a lack of updates. That led me to think about my experiences attempting to fix and document some popular Open Source projects. If large corporations with plenty of resources have neglected their docs, then what can we expect from a community whose contributing members are almost entirely programmers.
Open Source documentation has a lot in common with the corporate world. On my last assignment, I discovered a large population of wikis. Every department had at least one. At one point someone maintained those information storehouses, but almost all of them sat on the Intranet barren and abandoned. I asked people if they knew anything about their department's wiki and I found one person who even knew one existed. She maintained it daily.
Is providing Linux documentation an insurmountable task? I'm starting to think so. The major technical book publishers have dropped their efforts to recruit authors and publish sysadmin books. Instead, they have started focusing most of their attention on programming. Who can blame them. To eat, they had to publish books that sell enough to pay for the effort and provide some return on investment. That's not happening right now.
I'm not discouraged or suggesting you or anyone else stop posting information for others to find. I just see the job as bigger than me and almost any other writer. The heyday for technical writing specialists has arrived and a shortage exists. I'm just glad I took Miss Johnston's English class., where I got lots of detentions so I could stay after school and hang out with the teacher.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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|The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database||Jul 29, 2016|
|Stunnel Security for Oracle||Jul 28, 2016|
|SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager||Jul 21, 2016|
|My +1 Sword of Productivity||Jul 20, 2016|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!||Jul 19, 2016|
|Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)||Jul 18, 2016|
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide