This Space for Rent

Spot the non-Unix IT department

When I got into work this morning, I noticed that the the web browser I actually use wasn't talking to the outside world, while the one that doesn't let me block popups and flash crap was. After some investigation, I found out that not only was the web browser not talking to the outside world, but neither was ftp or ssh. Off went a message to the BOFHs, asking "did you reconfigure the firewall?" and explaining, with 8x10 photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back, that I wasn't able to get to the outside world without going through the proxy server and, in any case, ssh and ftp weren't working (I even mentioned the never-to-be-used-on-a-public-network T-word [telnet]).

After about 10 minutes, I got back a message saying "why, yes, we were having firewall problems, so you need to set up IE to use a proxy server, and if that doesn't work, well, you need to reboot your windows machine." I thanked them, then mentioned that I don't actually use IE and the web browser proxy server fix (which I wasn't using on icewombat, thus the mysterious refusal to talk to the outside world) doesn't really help for using browsers on our Un*x boxes, and really doesn't help for ftp and/or ssh, and that I didn't think that rebooting my Windows box would make much difference.

About two minutes ago, I got a reply (a phone call) about it, and, well, there aren't that many Unix people in the nest of BOFHs. To be precise, there is one, and he's in the middle of trying to recover from the nasty power failure that blew away the entire building backbone (but not any of the non-ups-connected workstations in the Unix group) and all of the settings on the firewall boxes. Hopefully now that the single Unix person knows about ssh not working anymore, that will be fixed.

I suppose it's not too surprising that there should be almost no Unix administrators in the BOFH hive, because we've only got about 200 Unix boxes in the building and they just run by themselves. The fragile workstations with the fragile (but pretty) operating systems on them, on the other hand, take up most of the IT budget and sanity score.

I'll just sit here and twitch until my connections to the outside world come back again.