[Media] 8.04 Servers - Wikipedia

Steve Lamb grey at dmiyu.org
Sun Oct 19 07:38:44 UTC 2008

Knapp wrote:
> It involves learning a
> whole new computer language and then writing the correct config file
> using.

    That's a few hairs over the hyperbole line, don't you think?  The Sudoers
file is hardly a "new computer language".  It is a standard configuration
file.  Now, if you had been talking about Sendmail's configuration I would
have agreed with you since it is written the M4 scripting language.  ;)  But
sudoers is a simple assignment with variable substitution.  Hardly anything to
it.  The basics take maybe 5 minutes to grasp and another 5 to monkey poke it
to taste.

> The problem remains unanswered but there is someone out there
> that could answer it in 5 minutes and I don't have the time or the
> will to do it. I know live with a small security hole in my computer
> because of this but have decided to accept the risks.

    Which is what?

> To sum this all up, some people don't have the time or the will to
> elevate themselves to computer guru levels. Sometimes you just need
> the help of someone that has this notch on their belt. Sometimes you
> are to busy doing what you are good at to learn something you are not
> good at. This is why people come together and help each other. We are
> each blessed with some skills being better than other and we share
> them.

    This is all true.  But that isn't to mean people who are under no
obligation to help you at all are arrogant, rude, or otherwise unfriendly
simply because they did not choose to answer your question in the manner that
you wish it to be answered.  Key phrase in that sentence, "under no obligation".

    Maybe it is the fact I have been a help-desk jockey for far more years
than I wish to contemplate that I can understand the distinction.  It boils
down to this.  If you are one of my customers and you call in for support on
one of my company's products I am required to help you beyond any reasonable
expectation.  Even simple questions that can be answered with a quick search
and find of the documentation loaded onto every install has to be answered
promptly, courteously and with a good measure of humor and grace.

    At home, on this list and other lists/forums I am not obligated to answer.
 When I choose to answer I am not obligated to provide answers to simple
questions answered by an obvious 2-3 word Google query and 5 minutes of
reading.  I choose which questions I want to tackle and I choose the manner in
which I tackle them.  If I can find the answer using 2-3 words the author
themselves have used and 5 minutes of reading an article or two out of the top
10-15 hits from Google you can bet they're not going to be told what the
answer is.  They're going to be told how to find the answer because, in the
long run, that saves them time.

    Arrogant though it may seem to some people I honestly feel that is the
beth method of answering certain classes of questions.  Conversely if that
search has been done and the person indicates they have done the research and
explain on what concept they are getting stuck I'm more apt to try to clarify
what they're having a problem with and also provide the solution complete with
 the thought processes leading to that conclusion.

    Never forget that the help offered here is offered for free by volunteers.
 If one wants to be so crass as to assign a price to it then here's my pricing
structure.  If you want complete answers you have to pay me by having done
some research and attempted to noodle it out on your own.  If you want a
partial answer maybe indicating you tried a search and found nothing.  If you
want no answer, don't try to answer it yourself.  You get the same effort from
me as you have put into it yourself.  No effort from you, no effort from me.
Lots of effort from you, lots of effort from me.  It may sound arrogant but
really, the more effort you put into solving a problem the less it seems like
you're here for actual help vs. here to have a servant do things for you.  I
don't think that asking people put time into their own problems before asking
other people to spend their time is unreasonable, arrogant, or rude.  It is,
to me, the core of what one would call community.

    Now, with all that said, don't forget my question above.  What security
hole in sudoers are you referring to?

         Steve C. Lamb         | But who can decide what they dream
       PGP Key: 1FC01004       |      and dream I do

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