“The Night Watch” – James Mickens

by poolik

“However, the most important person in my gang will be a systems programmer. A person who can debug a device driver or a distributed system is a person who can be trusted in a Hobbesian nightmare of breathtaking scope; a systems programmer has seen the terrors of the world and understood the intrinsic horror of existence.

The systems programmer has written drivers for buggy devices whose firmware was implemented by a drunken child or a sober goldfish. The systems programmer has traced a network problem across eight machines, three time zones, and a brief diversion into Amish country, where the problem was transmitted in the front left hoof of a mule named Deliverance.

The systems programmer has read the kernel source, to better understand the deep ways of the universe, and the systems programmer has seen the comment in the scheduler that says “DOES THIS WORK LOL,” and the systems programmer has wept instead of LOLed, and the systems programmer has submitted a kernel patch to restore balance to The Force and fix the priority inversion that was causing MySQL to hang.

A systems programmer will know what to do when society breaks down, because the systems programmer already lives in a world without law.”

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