Given that we are System Administrators that manage ...systems, what is your definition of one? I am happy with the definitions provided in "What is a Systems Approach?" but I'm wondering what other people think.

(Not sure if the question is in the SF spirit though)

  • 7
    "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced... but I know it when I see it..."
    – jscott
    Mar 17, 2011 at 20:31
  • This might be the most Zen sysadmin question ever.
    – Shane
    Mar 17, 2011 at 20:48
  • 2
    I'd like to close this question as in appropriate for this site, anyone else?
    – Chopper3
    Mar 17, 2011 at 22:50
  • Well, I as the OP have no problem with that. But would love to know where an appropriate place for such a discussion among system administrators would be.
    – adamo
    Mar 18, 2011 at 6:38

1 Answer 1


A "Systems Approach" has nothing to do with systems as we see them. Questions such as you are asking are very much like asking the price of very expensive cars - if you need to ask you may be in the wrong place.

There is no single definition that will adequately describe all we work with. Plus, any definition will also cover things that some of us work with but which for most would be off topic for SF. e.g. I have a consumer grade wireless access point that perfectly satisfies the requirements of our workplace and is part of the systems I administer, yet questions about such a device are certain to result in it being rapidly moved to SU.

As per jscott's quote, we know it when we see it, yet I believe none of us could accurately define even the systems we individually work with. For these reasons I don't believe a definition is either required or is desirable.

  • Although I disagree with you that the cybernetic attempts to define a system have nothing to do with the systems that we manage, I am quite happy with both what jscott and you have replied (and thank you for that). I suspect though that our disagreement on the cybernetic definitions is outside the scope of SF and meta-SF.
    – adamo
    Mar 17, 2011 at 21:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .