Monday, April 03, 2006

Are you a Unix Wizard?

I found the following while going through some old materials from a course I taught a decade ago. I thought it was funny enough to type in for your amuzement. For you non-techies who may some day be in a position to influence an IT hiring decision this is also useful. Hand a copy to the candidate and ask them to evaluate. If they don't laugh hysterically, don't hire them and suggest accounting as a more viable career. Younger potential candidates may not get all the jokes but should get a substantial portion. Have fun!

Unix Expertise Hierarchy

  • insecure with the concept of a terminal
  • has yet to learn the basics of vi
  • has not figured out how to get a directory listing
  • still has trouble with typing after each line of input
  • knows that ls will produce a directory listing
  • uses the editor, but calls it “vye”
  • has heard of “C” but never used it
  • has had a bad experience with rm
  • is wondering how to read mail
  • is wondering why the person next door seems to like Unix so very much
  • uses vi and nroff, but inexpertly
  • has heard of regular expressions but never seen one
  • has figured out that “-” precedes options
  • has attempted to write a C program but decided to stick with Pascal
  • is wondering how to move a directory
  • thinks that dbx is a brand of stereo equipment
  • knows how to read mail and is wondering how to read news
Knowledgeable User
  • uses nroff with no trouble, and is beginning to learn tbl and eqn
  • uses grep to search for fixed strings
  • has figured out that mv(1) will move directories
  • has learned that learn doesn't help
  • somebody has shown him how to write C programs
  • once used sed but checked the file afterward
  • watched somebody use dbx once
  • tried make but used spaces instead of tabs
  • uses sed when necessary
  • uses macros in vi, uses ex when necessary
  • posts news at every possible opportunity
  • is still wondering how to successfully reply to mail
  • writes csh scripts occasionally
  • writes C programs using vi and compiles with make
  • has figured out what “&&” and “||” are for
  • uses fgrep because somebody said it was faster
  • uses sed and awk with comfort
  • uses undocumented features of vi
  • writes C code with “cat >” and compiles with “!cc”
  • uses adb because he doesn't trust source debuggers
  • figured out how environment variables are propagated
  • writes his own nroff macros to supplement the standard ones
  • writes Bourne shell scripts
  • installs bug fixes from the net
  • uses egrep because he timed it
  • uses m4 and lex with comfort
  • writes assembler code with “cat >”
  • uses adb on the kernel while the system is loaded
  • customizes Unix utilities by patching the source
  • reads device driver source with breakfast
  • uses ed because ex is a Berkeleyism
  • can answer any unix question after a little thought
  • uses make for anything that requires two or more commands
  • has learned how to breach security but no longer needs to try
  • is putting James Woods/Henry Spencer egrep into his next Unix release
  • writes device drivers with “cat >”
  • fixes bugs by patching the binaries
  • posts his changes to Unix utilities to the net – and they work
  • can tell what question you are about to ask, and answer it
  • writes his own troff macro packages
  • is on a first-name basis with Dennis, Bill, and Ken


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