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Five Steps to Freedom, Almighty Administrator

Posted by evanx on September 8, 2006 at 6:16 AM PDT

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That would be freedom from support hassles, which is the most important freedom in IT, innit. It's all about taking control away from your users and installing yourself as the Almighty Administrator. "If anyone is gonna break this system, it goddamn better be me!"

Step 1: Firefox. This is an easy sell, cos of the tabs and niceties.
And as we IT guys know, anyone who hasn't switched to Firefox has got rocks in their head, and malware in their hard drive.

Step 2: Thunderbird. Once your users are loving Firefox, explain that Firefox has a brother called Thunderbird, and like Firefox, it's got more shiny marbles than other warez. Remember, we're fighting a war here, and subversion is an effective weapon.

Hey, a mailer is a mailer. So if you don't use Outlook Shared Calendaring, then migrating to Thunderbird is fairly painless. Except you might lose all the remembered email addresses that you use but don't bother adding to your address book. So get your users to spend some time getting their address books in order, ready for importing to Thunderbird.

Step 3: OpenOffice. Mmmm, PDF export. Mmmm, big cost savings. If your dumb users are failing to see the benefits of OpenOffice, tell them a rumour that the BSA is coming next week to check if they are using any pirated software. Works everytime.

Step 4: Linux Desktop. Once your users are using Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice, and are just starting to get comfortable and happy, that is the time to pull the rug from under their cosy feet again.

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Subversion might be required. For example, "I have some terrible news for you. Your computer has been infected with the worse type of virus that there is, and it's only gonna get worse. (User responds with alarm and concern for their documents.) We will have to reinstall with Linux to protect your documents and emails from hackers. (User talks, while we ignore their pointless utterances.) You have 24 hours to backup your documents, do you understand?"

Step 5. Linux Thin Clients. The problem with desktop computers is (a) they are literally in the hands of users. We cannot allow this. Users need dumb clients, giving them access to a server under our control.
And (b) they have moving parts, which are liable to stop moving at some point, which then becomes our problem. No, we can't have that. So we order some thin clients for the users, and some big iron with quad cores and quad gigs for ourselves. Mission Accomplished.