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Find your inner Yoda!

The population of SysAdmins for FOSS projects, which was never large, is rapidly graying. We need you and your friends to become SysAdmin Yodas. We need you to be the mentors and trainers of the next generation of admins. It isn’t enough to merely know how to do things, and to do them, you need to pass on what you know.

The rise of the massive FOSS hosting sites like GitHub, SourceForge and Google Code have given many sites a chance because the hosting “just works.” But projects like distributions and OS developments and project with multiple, intersecting goals and timelines require resources that SourceForge and others just can’t supply: custom builders, redmine, trac, bugzilla, mediawiki all require substantial help from sysadmins, and hosting.

Some projects are lucky enough to get hosting from places like OSU OSL , but most projects are not so lucky.

We need a methodology, a path to bring in new bright people who can do those things for our projects, both to get some of the painful load off of us, and to prepare for the future when we may not be here.

These sites will not be a “how to set up a copy of mediawiki” site. This isn’t about how to do any particular job, but rather, how SysAdmins learn how to do -any- job. None of us are only ever asked to do stuff we already know.

How do you train someone to address a task they’ve never seen before? What sorts of attitude, philosophy and problem solving methods should be used? How do you teach someone how to avoid applying a patch for version 1.3 to an install of version 7.2? How to teach that google is your friend, but it’s a friend who has the potential to give you very bad advice?

Much of the discussion here will focus on that kind of subject: attitude, problem solving and philosophy.

We strongly encourage your participation. Please feel free to comment and complain and participate in conversations as we attempt to define best practices for the community.

Please also follow us at the mentoring Blog.

Join us on Freenode in the #nasadmin-mentoring channel or join with webchat