[OT] Why did "enterprise" crap seem to win? (re: Virtualization, Java, Microsoft, Outsourcing, etc.)...

Karl Vogel vogelke at pobox.com
Wed Oct 4 20:25:14 UTC 2017

On Wed, Oct 04, 2017 at 10:10:04AM -0400, Alejandro Imass wrote:

> What you really want IMHO is a fined-tuned architecture that not only
> plays well with the underlying O/S but that actually leverages the O/S,
> which makes it NOT portable by definition.  Why do we want portability
> in the first place?  Does portability foster competition and innovation
> or just makes everybody mediocre at best?  Does it increase security
> or performance?  NO, it's actually the total opposite!

  I ran a Samba server for a USgov shop -- it was a Dell GX260 with
  three 250-Gb drives running FreeBSD with some tuning.  The drives were
  enterprise-quality, and the machine was on a good UPS in a locked,
  climate-controlled room.  It ran for over 7 years, at times handling
  250-300 Samba sessions.  My customers loved it.

  It's been decommissioned, since FreeBSD isn't on the approved list
  of operating systems which someone brought down from the mountain on
  stone tablets and then copied to Excel.  Unfortunately, our government
  IT has degenerated into a glorified revenue stream for MS and Oracle.

> Code reusability is mostly bullshit too, and what you wind up with,
> AGAIN, is piles over piles of crap, wheel re-invention and duplication
> of efforts.

  You also wind up with busywork jobs for people who know just enough
  tech BS to fool a C-level into hiring them.

> Why did virtualization and outsourcing (AWS) seem to win over concepts
> such a chroot and FreeBSD Jails and a good old sysadmin?  Why do we really
> need full virtualization in the first place?  Does it help in performance
> or security?  Does it reduce costs?  On the contrary it does neither,
> at least IMHO.

  I remember reading something by OpenBSD's Theo deRaadt about
  virtualization -- if all code has bugs, then why does adding several
  hundred thousand lines of code (in the form of a hypervisor) to any
  system magically make it better?  It doesn't, but the system becomes
  easier to simply toss and restart if something goes wrong.

> So how did we get here?  Why does industry insist on complicating stuff
> instead of a complete back to basics approach?  Why is the answer to
> these problems is more and more outsourcing and throwing even more piles
> of crap and wasting money in the hopes that will fix the fundamentally
> broken systems we have in place?  What we need is a radical back to
> basics approach to software engineering.

  It's all about avoiding responsibility.  Which is easier, learning
  enough about *your* system (the one serving *your* customers) to fix
  it, or saying "That darn vendor lied to me!!  Let's call the lawyers!!"

  Look up "bureaucratization": the tendency to manage a system by adding
  more controls, adherence to rigid procedures, and attention to every
  detail for its own sake.  One of the results is the deliberate inability
  to fix anything; any complaint you make gets routed to someone else,
  or you're told that there's nothing we can do, it's not our purvue, etc.

  That's not an accident; bureaucracies exist to perpetuate themselves.
  It's just gotten to the point where the effects on the IT industry
  have become really noticeable.

Karl Vogel                      I don't speak for the USAF or my company

Being against high speed rail but being for a hyper-loop is an indication
that you have a technology boner that is lasting longer than 4 hours and
you should see a doctor.                           --seen on Hacker News

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