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Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1. System Administration Is a Craft

In my town, several of our local bus lines are powered by cables strung high above the street. One day, when going to an unfamiliar destination, I asked the driver to let me know when a particular street was approaching. He said, "I'm sorry, I can't. I just follow the wires."

These are words you will never hear good system administrators use to describe their job. System and network administration is about deciding what wires to put in place, where to put them, getting them deployed, keeping watch over them, and then eventually ripping them out and starting all over again. Good system administration is hardly ever rote, especially in multiplatform environments where the challenges come fast and furious. Like any other craft, there are better and worse ways to meet these challenges. This book is for the people who face those challenges, either as full-time system administrators or part-time tinkerers. I'll try to show you how Perl can help.

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