I've had an annoying day. It's one thing when the technology refuses to cooperate, it's another when it seems that human incompetence plays the key role. My woes today revolved around the fact that Ubuntu Server 7.10 seems to be terribly broken on the initial install. I was actually installing Ubuntu Server on a new SPARC system, and was amazed that after the first reboot, the initial account created during the installation did not have sudo permissions, and the root account is locked out. Essentially, the installation was useless without rebooting via rescue mode and manually modifying /etc/sudoers. Of course, the rescue boot hung, and at that point, I just turned the server off and grabbed some dinner. This isn't the first time I've crossed swords with Ubuntu and came away feeling that it just isn't worth the effort.
Otherwise, I've been getting riled up with net neutrality issues, such as Verizon's recent experiments on breaking DNS. Earthlink is also playing this game, apparently. I fail to understand the logic behind these attempts to hijack their own users and subvert a core Internet service. It's small potatoes compared to the other shenanigans that major ISPs play, perhaps, but didn't everyone learn a lesson from Verisign's attempted coup a few years ago?
And coming in third, perfectly framing my disaffection with human incompetence is NaviSite. 165,000 to 200,000 sites offline for days following a failed datacenter migration? How is it possible that a large, publicly-traded company can fail so miserably at a fairly straightforward task? I cannot fathom undertaking such an effort without proper planning and the necessary expertise, but then, I'm kinda fond of not causing epic disasters. Not only have they taken all these customers off the Internet for days and days, but they're apparently also berating them on the phone and no longer participating in conference bridges they themselves set up. It's gone from a tragedy to a farce and back again. Cynthia Brumfield is one of those customers, and after five days is heading to Andover MA to get her data back. She's also bringing a video camera to document her experience.
If it happens, that should be interesting. What might be more interesting is NaviSite's declining stock price, and what I can only assume are some cold feet on the part of Sapotek, who just last week announced a partnership with NaviSite to deliver SaaS via Sun's Startup Essentials program. If I were Sapotek -- or even Sun -- I wouldn't want to be anywhere near this trainwreck. They want to deliver SaaS to thousands of customers, anchored by a company that can't even get a mature business like Web hosting right?
PS: Check out NaviSite's page discussing the outage. Doesn't it look like the guy in the image at the top is leaning over to throttle the other guy in the foreground? Maybe it's one of their customers.