On Tue, Nov 25, 2003 at 07:28:00AM -0800, Allan Bowhill wrote:
> [I brought this message to freebsd-chat, becuase the discussion is off-
> topic for -ports]
> On 0, Erik Trulsson wrote:
> :On Tue, Nov 25, 2003 at 01:44:26AM -0800, Allan Bowhill wrote:
> :> On 0, Roman Neuhauser wrote:
> :
> :
> :> :> :> > The skill sets are mutually exclusive.
> :> :> :
> :> :> : aha. you can't possess skill in both skiing and driving. the skill
> :> :> : sets are mutually exclusive. eh?
> :> :>
> :> :> Yep. Skiiing is not driving, and driving is not skiiing.
> :> :> They require mutually exclusive skill sets.
> :> :
> :> : Perhaps it's just my poor English (ESL speaker here, beware!) but
> :> : doesn't "exclude" imply "to prevent the other from existing"? At
> :> : least the online Merriam-Webster would make me believe so.
> :>
> :> No. It just means they are separate entities, not dependent on one
> :> another. You could argue systems administration depends on you ability
> :> to program. You could also argue it doesn't. My problem is with the
> :> definition of systems administration.
> :
> :Wrong. If two things are mutually exclusive that does mean that you
> :can have either the one, or the other, but not both at the same time.
> I am not disagreeing with that. But time is peripheral to the argument.
> Minus time, skill set A is not skill set B.

But that merely means that they are different, not that they are
mutually exclusive.

> :I can't imagine any situation in which two skill sets could be mutually
> :exclusive, since that would mean that knowing one set of skills would
> :actually prevent you from knowing the other set of skills, which would
> :be very strange indeed.
> :
> Knowing how to ski does not prevent you from knowing how to drive, and
> :knowing how to drive does not prevent from knowing how to ski, thus
> :they are not mutually exclusive skills.)
> Knowing one set of skills does not necessarily preclude knowlege of the
> other. In fact, one often complements the other. But that is ouside the
> scope of the argument.

But the only possible way I can interpret the statement "The skill sets
are mutually exclusive." is that knowing one skill set precludes
knowing the other. That is what that statement means.

> :What you apparently tried to convey was that the skill sets are
> :"completely separate", "non-overlapping", or "independent of each
> ther". None of which is equivalent to "mutually exclusive".
> The following (from a probablility text at Rice) might suffice for the
> sake of this question.
> http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~lane/hyperstat/A132677.html
> "Two events are mutually exclusive if it is not possible for both of them
> to occur. For example, if a die is rolled, the event "getting a 1" and
> the event "getting a 2" are mutually exclusive since it is not possible
> for the die to be both a one and a two on the same roll. The occurrence
> of one event "excludes" the possibility of the other event."
> Can you agree with this?

Sure, that is pretty much the standard definition of "mutually
exclusive", and is essentially equivalent to the definition I gave

> Minus time, you should be able to see that the skill sets of system
> administration skills and programming are mutually exclusive. The two
> activities are so distinct, that you cannot do both at the same time.

And here lies the linguistical problem with your argumentation.
First you state that you cannot have both skills at the same time (this
is what is meant by saying that they are mutually exclusive.)
Then you state that you cannot actually use both skills at the same
time. These two statements are not equivalent.

So what you are trying to say is *not* that the skill sets are mutually
exclusive (even if that is what you actually said), but rather that one
cannot use both skill sets at the same time. These are two quite
different things.

(You can know how to drive at the same time as you know how to ski,
thus the skill sets themselves are not mutually exclusive. However you
cannot drive and ski at the same time, so the *usage* of the skills are
mutually exclusive.)

Now over to your actual argument.

> You can be a sysadmin with great programming skills. But when you write
> code to automate systems administration tasks, you are programming.

Writing code to automate a system administration task is programming.
It is also system administration. I do not see that these are

> You can be a programmer with great system administration skills. But
> when you format a drive, write firewall rules, configure software,
> monitor services and vendor equipment, etc., you are doing systems
> administration.

Writing firewall rules is a form of programming, as is configuring some
pieces of software, and even putting together complex commandlines.
These are also all part of system administration. Again I do not see
any clear distinction between the two.

As you can see I disagree with your notion that system administration
and programming are two distinct activities, but rather believe that
many tasks fall into both categories at once.

> :
> :Here endeth todays English lesson.
> :
> I think this problem has more to do with communication than with
> English.

Maybe, in as much that any erroneous use of language is a communication
problem. (In this case you said one thing while believing that what
you said meant something other than it did.)


Erik Trulsson
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