Planet Xdroop

September 26, 2016

Blather Blog

DevOps? Let me tell you a story.

(This is a slight edit of a comment I made on Reddit.)

In the beginning, there was no ops, only Dev. Developers were responsible for everything, from building the hardware -- sometimes literally -- through programming the system, through making sure it kept running in production.

Now there are two problems with this state of affairs. Firstly, the more things you have in production, the less time you have for solving interesting new problems. This is exasperated by the second problem: keeping existing systems running is boring. Developers don't like boring. So keeping things running started to bog down the process of making new things.

At this point, a new position was created, that of the Operator. The Operator relieved the Developer of the tedious, boring business of keeping things going. This meant the Developer could go back to the fun of developing.

The Ops people start coming to grips with their responsibilities and start worrying about standardisation, reproducibility, predictability, processes and the like.

Now a curious thing happens when you separate a developer from the consequences of their choices -- they stop caring about them. So suddenly dev is "releasing" stuff that isn't fully baked, trying to dump the responsibility for running this crap on the ops. This leads to the well known trope of "works in dev, production's problem now". QA was invented somewhere around here in an effort to make sure that what dev was throwing over the wall wasn't total crap, but we all know how well that actually works.

So now you have two impediments between a dev and production. You have to get your stuff passed by QA, who are inevitably sticklers for stuff that isn't -- in your opinion -- really that important, and then you have to jump through the hoops that the Ops people put in your way, causing delays while hardware is orderd, built, and provisioned, all the time complaining that the standard Ops environment is ancient and not up to date with the cutting edge tools you are using to build this stuff.

So what did Dev do? They solved the first problem with "Agile". Now a dev is responsible for his own QA, with unit tests and pair programming and user stories. So a dev can say when things are done.

And "DevOps" is about solving the other problem -- instead of having an Ops group, now the developer is responsible for production as well. It is full circle back to the beginning, when Dev did everything.

And already it is breaking. Now instead of DevOps, people are talking about "serverless", where the entire production platform is an outsourced service -- which is just the latest attempt by Dev to avoid both the hindrance of Ops and the consequences of their own decisions.

Now you may be saying, "but it sound stupid when you say it that way." To that I say: A) OK, say it so it doesn't sound stupid, and B) the reason for this is the very nature of development.

By that I mean the vast majority of software developers are self-taught. Most of what they know is stuff they learned banging on their own projects. The corollary of this is that they generally don't accept anything they have not learned themselves. And since most of them are teenagers or early-20's kids, they have not learned anything about large systems and systems with long life spans. So they think nothing of choosing the latest hotness for a development language instead of something more mature -- because re-inventing wheels is more fun than fixing existing ones. These kids land in the real world thinking that there isn't any problem they can't fix with open source and a weekend of hard work. So of course anything that gets in their way is bad.

Ten years later they've learned otherwise, but at that point most of them are out of the business, and those who are left are having their lunch eaten by the next generation of new-hotness-weilding, lessons-from-the-past-ignoring, wheel-reinventing 18 year olds.

And the cycle continues.

TL/DR: DevOps is the latest attempt by developers to hide from both reality and the consequences of their own choices.

Edit: just to give some perspective, I'm a 20-year sysadmin, so I've seen this cycle happen twice.

by David Mackintosh ( at September 26, 2016 02:58 PM

Summer TV Series Update

  • Zoo: steadily more and more improbable, along with a "meanwhile, 12 years later" ending. Renewed for 2017.
  • The Last Ship: Renewed for 2017 (and 2018 somehow).
  • Mr. Robot: I have not seen s2e12 yet, but so far it's been reasonable -- the mid-season reveal was worth the wait. Renewed for 2017.
  • Dark Matter: Badly titled, fun at times without being tedious. Renewed.
  • Stan Lee's Lucky Man: really enjoying this one. Renewed.

by David Mackintosh ( at September 26, 2016 02:54 PM

September 24, 2016

Diecast Collection Blog

Finally, A Hit:

So after seemingly ages and ages going back and forth to Dollarama, Walmart, and Toys-R-Us, the latter finally paid off:

The rather sad looking dump bin at the front door has been gone for quite a while, but today it was back. Unfortunately all it had was the same battered, abused, and picked-over stuff that it had the last time it was out. Most of the cards were in very sad shape, and the selection was terrible.

Inside, though, the mini-side display had been refreshed, and I picked these three cars off of it. It is totally a coincidence that all three of these are white.

The BMW is one I'm not sure about, whether or not I'll look at this car in the future and go "meh". I've been trying to reduce my buying to cars that won't let me go "meh", and this one may or may not cut it. This particular one has a bent front axle so the roll quality is terrible -- the driver's front wheel fouls on the fender.

The Ford RS1600 I've been looking for since I first saw the pictures of it. I think that the red one will look better in person, but this white one is a pretty high bar to top, and it is easily my favorite of this particular batch of three.

The 1985 Honda CR-X is more of a "completionist" buy, as a contrast to the Cool Classics rendering of the same car (although with a different name for the casting -- '85 Civic CR-X). Whereas that one had a two-piece body to make the two-tone color scheme work, this one has a single piece for the body. Somehow it manages to feel lighter in the hand than it looks like it should by eye.

So a successful day after a long dry spell.

I've also been going through the history of Hot Wheels and tagging a "wants" list, something which is interesting to do but frustrating because A) HobbyDB's interface still seems to get in my way and B) CollectHW's listings are incomplete.

by David Mackintosh ( at September 24, 2016 04:15 PM

September 22, 2016

Blather Blog


Alex lounging around at Nana's. Something about him sitting in this chair -- not this pose, but in general -- reminds me strongly of my father.

by David Mackintosh ( at September 22, 2016 01:43 AM


I wasn't sure about this movie when I saw the trailers for it, and having seen it I'm still not sure anyone really needed to make or see this movie. Yes Sully was the hero and everyone got out alive, but the "conflict" was artificial and contrived and the end result inevitable. One reviewer called it "the perfect movie for our post-fact world", refering to how Sully's instincts were proven right even when the computer simulations all insisted he was wrong, and this is a reasonable summation. To be sure it was a pleasant way to spend 90 minutes or so, but I don't think the theatre's marquee is so jammed with bad movies that a mediocre one needs to be added.

by David Mackintosh ( at September 22, 2016 01:41 AM

September 21, 2016

Blather Blog


Nathan presented the world with two tomato plants after school in June. One had apparently gone to the ISS as a seed, the other had not. This one is with one of his grandparents and is showing signs of fruit. The other went to his other grandmother, and while it produced fruit, the fruit rotted before it could ripen properly. We don't know which seed was from the ISS and which one wasn't.

by David Mackintosh ( at September 21, 2016 06:11 PM


Having a text conversation with my brother, and it came up as to how I stored my open Hot Wheels. There are three more cases behind the one that's propped out, none of them are full-full but that's because I'm sorting as a go. These are the BMWs, all of them I think.

by David Mackintosh ( at September 21, 2016 06:08 PM