GNU Guix launches
Posted Nov 26, 2012 16:50 UTC (Mon) by pboddie
In reply to: GNU Guix launches
Parent article: GNU Guix launches
d) When the user installs their own packages and it breaks, they still call me.
Admittedly, there's not much you can do about this other than to get them to provide details of exactly what they did, so that you can then tell them that it is a problem of their own making. On various mailing lists for Free Software projects, this is typically handled by asking things like whether the user is using any plugins or extensions, and getting them to actually include real output in their reports instead of paraphrasing the problem. I know this is hard work, but I imagine that you can't avoid this even if you lock down as much as you can because there's almost always some unforeseen variable that has to be identified.
sending confidential data out with insufficient security and controls
People can still get up to this kind of mischief without installing their own software, though.
or we just send them out to amazon or similar
For more and more organisations, there are going to be awkward conversations in the years ahead as upper management discover that large parts of their systems don't actually reside under the control of that dedicated department any more, but actually live in some cloud somewhere. You see this happening already as people go outside their institutional systems and use mass-market products instead (just as you have people using their own phones and computers instead of the ones provided by their employer).
At that point, the question "What do we pay those people for?" is going to be even more threatening, especially after all the anecdotes have been heard about how people couldn't do what they needed or were put off until something "official" was ready for a particular task. (You see these symptoms in any large organisation where the resources to enable new services or activities are constrained by the tendency to shoehorn such things into the existing ways of working, thus eliminating the competitive advantage of the large, well-resourced organisation.)
I'm not really arguing against systems administration policies, but it really baffles me that instead of entertaining and encouraging workable compromises and perhaps loosening the leash on captive users, organisations and developers would rather keep the leash as tight as possible even though history shows that the leash will break as a result.
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