[colug-432] the /etc test

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at gmail.com
Mon Jul 21 16:49:48 EDT 2014

On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 4:34 PM, Rick Troth <rmt at casita.net> wrote:
> ...someone on that team hit upon "the /etc test".
> The idea was ...
> cd /etc
> ls
> "tell me what each of these is used for"

Quick check on a machine I just set up here (RHEL 6.5).  There are 264
files.  I estimate 3%-5% are unique to this site.  The rest are fair
game, but it's gonna take a long time to talk about well over 200
files.  I 'm sure I know what most of them are, but there are a
handful that I can honestly say I've never looked into or altered.

> It's a Kobayashi Maru. You're going to fail. Something in the range of files
> will be outside your domain of knowledge. But the intent (of the
> interviewers) was to see how far you get. (And maybe also see how you handle
> the unknowns.)

When interviewing, I frequently find that the specific answer to a
question is less important than _how_ that question is answered - from
confidently (and correctly) to hesitantly (correctly or incorrectly)
to *how* you communicate/admit "I don't know."  A solid "I don't know
but here's how I would find out/what to google for" is worth a lot
more than descending into shambled mutterings.  Nobody knows it all.
Knowing that you don't know something and having to work with others
or go out and learn it is better than not knowing what you don't know.


More information about the colug-432 mailing list