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11-Year-Old Becomes Network Admin for Alabama School 345

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-he's-salaried dept.
alphadogg points out a story about 11-year-old Jon Penn, who took over control of a 60-computer school network in Alabama after the old administrator suddenly left. Penn provides technical support, selects software, and teaches his classmates about computers. From NetworkWorld: "The first thing Jon found as he leapt into the role of network manager was that he had to map out the network to find out what was on it. He bought some tools for this at CompUSA and realized there was an ungodly amount of computer viruses and spam, so he pressed the school to invest in filtering and antivirus protection. 'These computers are so old they don't support all antivirus programs,' Penn says. The school took advantage of a Microsoft effort called Fresh Start that offers free software upgrades for schools with donated computers, switching from Windows 98 to Windows 2000."
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11-Year-Old Becomes Network Admin for Alabama School

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:21AM (#22912008)
    No, he says he's too mature.
    • by EvilNTUser (573674) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:47AM (#22912256)
      Bah. He has the whole school eating out of his hand and he didn't even TRY to install Linux. Corporate whore.

      He's probably had sex too. Bastard.
      • He's probably had sex too. Bastard.
        Well, if you controlled the whole network, wouldn't you go to redtu... Oooh, you mean with one of these females I keep hearing about.

        Yeah, he's a bastard!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        He's probably had sex too.

        If that were the case we would all be reading about this on Fark, not Slashdot.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by jollyreaper (513215)

        Bah. He has the whole school eating out of his hand and he didn't even TRY to install Linux. Corporate whore.

        He's probably had sex too. Bastard.
        I didn't RTFA. Was it a Catholic school?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:24AM (#22912026)
    They always play on the 'boy genius' BS. He's just a normal kid making inexperienced mistakes along the way.

    BTW, couldn't he have just downloaded some free Windows or Linux based A/V rather than buying crap at CompUSA?
    • BTW...crap at CompUSA

      You said it yourself, he's making inexperienced mistakes along the way.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TheLink (130905)
        Oh really? At the rate he's going I think he might be CIO of a multinational company soon.
    • by Khuffie (818093)
      Couldn't you read the article?

      "describing how he picked out the McAfee Secure Internet Gateway Appliance after evaluating it in a 30-day trial. He also looked at the Barracuda box a tad more costly and tried the Untangle open source product, which he said didnt meet the schools needs as well."
    • by iamhassi (659463) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @02:25PM (#22914038) Journal
      "They always play on the 'boy genius' BS. He's just a normal kid making inexperienced mistakes along the way."

      Exactly. He's just like any other computer-addicted 11 yr old, but instead of wasting his knowledge being forced to play silly final fantasy ps3 games like most kids his age he's been given the opportunity to help his mom ** admin a school.

      Average users would call him a "boy genius", slashdotters would probably describe him as "me when I was 11".

      "BTW, couldn't he have just downloaded some free Windows or Linux based A/V rather than buying crap at CompUSA?"

      probably because it's a school network and most free Windows software is for home users. Probably didn't use Linux because I'm sure he's not that familiar with linux to run 60 networked PCs from it, and besides schools get huge discounts from M$ so why run Linux? And when these kids go to high school and college and the corporate world they'll probably be running Windows anyway so why introduce them to Linux?

      What I want to know why is a 11 yr old doing this? Sure it makes for great news but being the network admin for a 60 PC school network is a full time job, where's the child labor laws? Or are they using him for free labor? Ah here it is:
      "For his technical recommendations, Jon has had to present his suggestions to the school's management for approval ("Because he's not an adult, I've been hovering around," his mother says.) " **

      So he suggests stuff and the adults decide whether it's a good idea or not. Oh I understand. Kind of like asking your kids what the family should have for dinner.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CSMatt (1175471)
        I don't think this is so much a "boy genius" article as much as it is a "K-12 IT departments are boneheads" article. I remember my high school's computers getting fried by Sasser way back when (I think I was 16 at the time) because IT had so much confidence in Deep Freeze that they turned off Windows Update and the anti-virus updates while the computers were frozen. I found this out about a month earlier and in hindsight should have told someone. Of course, only about a fourth of our school's PCs were ru
      • by macdaddy (38372) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @06:18PM (#22915966) Homepage Journal
        Exactly. He's just like any other computer-addicted 11 yr old, but instead of wasting his knowledge being forced to play silly final fantasy ps3 games like most kids his age he's been given the opportunity to help his mom ** admin a school.

        Average users would call him a "boy genius", slashdotters would probably describe him as "me when I was 11".

        Precisely. Not to knock what this kid's doing but, just you said, this was me when I was 11, actually before I was 11.

        My Story:

        My mother was one of the first people in our school system to buy a Mac. She bought an Apple LC II. Prior to that it was Apple IIes and IIGs for our school (I was in elementary school at the time). I had been helping the school out with Apple II issues since I was in 4th grade. We had a IIe at home so I had a leg up on my classmates and teachers. She brought the LC II home for the summer and I tore into it. After that I became the defacto Mac guy for the school. There's a reason why I have this nickname. She transferred to another elementary school (was a teacher at mine) when I was in 5th grade.

        I remember quite vividly the day the elementary school's secretary called me into the office to talk to the principal. It wasn't exactly an unusual occurrence since I was in trouble nearly daily. I couldn't figure out though which exact act I'd done landed me in the hot seat that day. When I got in there she handed me the phone. Still oblivious to what was going on I said hello. It was the principal working from the other elementary school and he had a computer problem. That wasn't the first time I'd been pulled from class to help with computers and it wasn't the last time either. I spent my remaining years in that school system as the district's IT guy. I was officially hired when I was in high school on the recommendation of Roy Keeton, an Apple Systems engineer (now deceased). My last period of the day was a career study period of sorts. I worked on the computers for the last hour of the day. I'd take a school car up to the elementary school (my old school had closed by then) and work on computers before practice started back at the HS. It became such a common occurrence that I even had a ready-made excuse for getting out of class. I could just tell my teachers that there was an emergency at the elementary school and they wouldn't bat an eye. Worked like a champ. :-)

        So yes, I'm sure that many of the Slashdot readers got started at an early age like this kid or myself. We didn't have shops like CompUSA. Hell the Internet was barely kicking at the time and even then only through large college campuses for the most part. We had one of the first elementary schools in the state to have every computer on the Internet thanks for a piece of software I found (VICOM Internet Gateway). It also helped that I was 1/3 of the helpdesk for our local telco/ISP in high school too. And yes I would have been posting on Slashdot had it existed at the time. Unfortunately it wasn't created until the year I went to college.

  • ... was 12. He was ready for a career change after so long in IT.
    • Are they paying him? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The article doesn't say, and if I had to guess, it would be no... so your comment may not be too far off the mark. Shoe string budget indeed. I wonder how often they pull him out of classes and interrupt his education to rescue the network. Child prodigy or child slave labor?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Well, the good thing is that learning all of that network jargon is practically eternally valuable knowledge compared to, say, learning about the lessons of the second world war, or algebra, or how to "read good".
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Well, the good thing is that learning all of that network jargon is practically eternally valuable knowledge compared to, say, learning about the lessons of the second world war, or algebra, or how to "read good".

          I rest my case.

    • by Idbar (1034346)
      The old administrator graduated from middle school, someone had to take over!
    • by notnAP (846325)
      Actually, I was wondering what organization the old admin works for now, and whether or not their data is of any interest to the Russian Mafia.

      Oh, wait. Found him. [slashdot.org]
    • by ildon (413912)
      I guess he "suddenly left" for the seventh grade. I'm sensing a pattern.
  • Baptist, eh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by decken (883938) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:27AM (#22912078)
    Good for him, though comments like "technical people must have 'integrity and character,' and should use their skills for beneficial, not malicious purposes" and "It's his job to fight the bad guys" make his parents sound a bit loony.
  • Goes to show (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duffbeer703 (177751) * on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:29AM (#22912098)
    That if you give kids responsibility early on, they'll step up. My last crop of interns at work were college juniors, and couldn't be trusted to make copies, much less administer anything.
    • Re:Goes to show (Score:5, Insightful)

      by krewemaynard (665044) <krewemaynard@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:05AM (#22912410)

      When Victory Baptist School, a small private school in Millbrook, Ala., was struggling to keep its computer network together last year, an 11-year-old student named Jon Penn stepped in as network manager.
      Goes to show that if you can't afford a real IT guy, there might be a student who will do it for free. I didn't see anything in there about his parents getting a tuition break, Jon getting lunches...no kind of compensation was mentioned at all. And don't tell me "Well, he's getting experience..." He is, but I think the school is getting much more out of the deal.

      Having said that, I do understand that private schools sometimes struggle to make ends meet, especially on the IT side of things. But this situation still bothers me a bit.
      • In high school, a bunch of my friends were helping out on the computer network, either for credit as an independent study, or just to learn it. Everything from making cables to desktop support. I befriended the network administrator, who let me do some supervised work on the servers... I used the experience to take and pass the MCSE exams. When looking for part time work as a college student, it was a lot easier to make beer money as a network guy than a lab rat, the 5x page didn't hurt

        He is getting exp
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      My last crop of interns at work were college juniors, and couldn't be trusted to make copies

      That's because college juniors have to start with the basics ... making coffees, not copies.

      And if you think I'm joking, we had a breaker reset twice Friday because someone plugged a kettle into the same circuit as several desktops and a server ... they learned that a watched kettle never boils /* grumble grumble */

    • by Vellmont (569020)

      That if you give kids responsibility early on, they'll step up.

      It does? I think it shows there's some kids out their that are ready and interested in this responsibility.

      My last crop of interns at work were college juniors, and couldn't be trusted to make copies, much less administer anything.

      Sounds like you hired a bunch of idiots. I used to be a college junior working in a computer lab 10+ years ago. We were all extremely competent and very well able to administrate the network, the PCs, the servers, a
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by liquidpele (663430)
        "Sounds like you hired a bunch of idiots."

        No, sounds like he hired a bunch of people, and then had them make copies. People get very lazy and negative very quickly if you treat them like idiots.
        • by Vellmont (569020)

          No, sounds like he hired a bunch of people, and then had them make copies.

          That's possible too, I hadn't thought of that.

          So which is it "duffbeer703"? Did you hire idiots, or turn perfectly competent people disfunctional by treating them like idiots?

          Either way, it's not a terribly good reflection on yourself.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AlecLyons (767385)
      Remember there is a difference between responsibility and accountability. Who gets fired if the kid screws up?
  • Translation: his mother works at the school, and his dad's a civil engineer, no surprise that they'd have something to do with this. Child prodigy stories always gloss over the part you'd really want to know about, like how anyone in the administration figured it would be ok to have a minor sign contracts. Obviously he's not really the admin, his mom is, and he's just doing the work or something like that. An 11-year old isn't legal to work, there are these pesky child labor laws in this country (duh).
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Way to screw up a Feel Good story with the facts, Sherlock! I'm surprised you didn't home in on the Microsoft Solution and bleat about Linux.
    • Poor kid. The Wesley Crusher similarities are horrifying. "Wesley, go to your room!" [somethingawful.com]
    • by JonWan (456212) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:03AM (#22912388)
      An 11-year old isn't legal to work, there are these pesky child labor laws in this country (duh).

      The child labor laws don't stop you from hiring children.(tho your insurance might complain) They limit the types of jobs and the hours they can work. I have a 17 year old working for me at my store when she started she was 16 just above the cutoff point but still regulated as to what kinds of jobs she could do. She only works weekends for a few hours a day but it gets her use to the idea of getting to work on time and doing her job (well when she's not being a giggly teenage girl).
      You can find the rules here:
      http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/youthlabor/ [dol.gov]
    • by SpectreBlofeld (886224) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:15AM (#22912512)
      Of course it's legal - if they don't pay him! They merely treat it as any other unpaid student-held post, like Yearbook Editor or Class Secretary.
      • by Vellmont (569020)

        Of course it's legal - if they don't pay him!

        Why do so many people think employing children is illegal? Do you all think the television and movie studios should be in jail for employing Gary Coleman? (That annoying red-haired kid who played his adoptive brother I'd say a resounding YES, but for different reasons of course).

        They merely treat it as any other unpaid student-held post, like Yearbook Editor or Class Secretary

        You might want to check your local employment laws. I wouldn't be surprised if it's i

    • Obviously he's not really the admin, his mom is

      That's a very odd defintion of "real". My definition of a real administrator would be someone who acts as the adminisrator. Titles be damned. I'd say someone who "select and install a gateway security appliance largely by himself." and "maps out the network to find out what was on it." and "is now the technical support much of the time on everything from printer jams to setting up an external drive to backing up the school's most important server. " is acting
    • For yrs we have seen MCSE certified 12 yr olds. How come we never see SUN certified or Redhat Certified 12 yr olds? Probaby because you have to know what you are doing rather than just click a button and let Microsoft make decisions for you. This is not that big of a deal nor that surprisisng. He doesn't understand TCP/IP, SSH, how encryption works, anything. He just understands the interface.

      And that's the scariest thing. When system administration just comes down to understanding the interface and not

    • by Belial6 (794905) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @01:32PM (#22913630)
      Two things. One, You are absolutely correct. The story should read. "11-year old has parents who got him special treatment!"

      That being said. Big whoop if the kid is a network admin. It's not that hard. Is it really doubtful that an 11 year old can install an OS, install some software, and help a few people with their computers? How many of us started programming younger than that? How money of us cut our teeth on computers in the 80's? These machines were harder to use than a network is to run today. Especially when you have someone to step in when you run into something you can't handle.

      As for the 11 year old being legal to work. There are a couple of things. First, there are all sorts of exemptions for various jobs like acting, modeling, and whatnot, but at least here in California, but for all intents and purposes it is illegal to hire anyone under 12 for most jobs. Network administrator would definitely fall into that category.

      Exceptions that the school could be using is the "self-employed" exemption. This is questionable though, as it is likely that the school dictates where and when he does the job, so he may not legally be self employed. The other "exemption" is that schools have never followed child labor laws themselves. Child labor has traditionally been a method of punishment in public schools. Children are often put to work underage, outside of legal work hours, and without compensation. I have never heard of a state stepping in and stopping this behavior. It is just one of those lawless aspects of our public school system. I know when I was in school, I always wondered how the public schools could get away with what is for all intents and purposes slavery. If a school can force students to perform janitorial services with no compensation, we cannot expect anyone to stop them from allowing a student to perform IT services.

      Really, though this comes story boils down to the fact that it is just not that impressive that someone 11 years old can do the job of network administrator. For most of human history, this person would have been on the cusp of adulthood. 11 only sounds young because we artificially retard our population so that most never learn to function until much later.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arkhan_jg (618674)
        Schools can force students to perform unpaid labour like 'picking up litter' for the same reason they can force students to perform unpaid labour like 'each student must make a perfect copy of what is written on this blackboard'. It's education, not labour. In the case of litter-picking or floor-mopping, it's teaching 'don't be a dick' or 'sit down, shut up and work when told to or you'll end up mopping floors for a living' rather than calculus, but it's still inflicting learning on the unwilling. Can you t
        • by Belial6 (794905) on Monday March 31, 2008 @05:13AM (#22919348)
          Wow. You are a perfect example of why home schooling is becoming more popular.

          "it's teaching 'don't be a dick' or 'sit down, shut up and work when told to or you'll end up mopping floors for a living' rather than calculus, but it's still inflicting learning on the unwilling."

          Really? Really? Have you ever actually listened to what your saying? Those are not the words of an educator, but of a bully who knows that he has his victims cornered. You can rationalize why your child slave labor is OK, but you and I know perfectly well that you are not doing it because you think it will make them better educated.

          "I do however take exception to this. 11 was on the verge of adulthood if you were a pre bronze age child or if you live in a subsistance-poor family at any point, including currently. Children didn't sexually mature until much later than now, even into their 20's, due to malnutrition. In the wealthier sections of society, even in the iron age, children were much older than 11 before taking the full mantle of responsibility."

          Take exception if you want, but it is true. Look at the rights of passage into adulthood for most cultures in the world. Things like the bar/bat mitzvah. They are almost always at 12 or 13. I don't know what country you live in, but less than a hundred years ago, right here in the U.S. wasn't uncommon for 13 to 16 year olds to get married.

          Take a look at historical life expectancies [wikipedia.org]. For your claim to be true, most of your classical Roman's not only never bread because they were dead before they could have children, and most of those that did breed, never saw their children's 11th birthday.

          "Children are sexually mature earlier than ever,"

          I've been hearing this since I was a kid in the early 70's. In the 70's, girls were on average hitting puberty between 11 and 13, although it was not unheard of for it to be as young as 8 or 9. So, for this to be true, the average age of puberty would have to be averaging 8 or 9 now at least. As far as I know, that is not the case. A quick search showed that it is currently at 12.5.

          "but lack the reasoning capacity to use it properly it often seems"

          That's right. People like you train them "sit down, shut up and work when told to". It's no suprise that they are developing slower and slower. Of course that is the point. The sad thing is that the retardation is environmental, not genetic.

          "We also require them to know a hell of a lot more than they used to function in our society"

          The only more that we expect them to know now that we did not expect before is that we expect them to be able to read, although not particularly well. This is a task that a bright child can learn to do well by 3, and a slow one can easily learn by 6 or 7. Your belief that most modern people know significantly more than people used to is cultural bias. Life in modern America is so simple, and so little knowledge is required of people that most modern Americans could simply not function in older environments.

          "I doubt you'd find many roman 11 year olds capable of being a network administrator, even if they could work a shift on the farm."

          Gee, you doubt that someone who had never seen a computer, could be a network administrator? Go figure. Of course, I doubt that you will find many 11 year olds today that can speak Latin and make an authentic Roman shield. Heck, that is even with hind site in their favor. Why? Because people don't learn things they are not exposed to, which is why so many people are now retarded. Because they are called children for a half to whole decade after they reach adulthood.

          Your belief that historically people were considered children into their 20's is simply revisionist history, and you are helping with the dumbing down of modern America.
  • by qcs-rf.com (952717) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:31AM (#22912118) Homepage
    If any of our clients ever see this article, they're going to start hiring 11-year-olds and pay in comic books.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This headline had my interest until I read the summary. If the kid is so damned smart, why wasn't he using any of the many free online/ported tools instead of buying off the shelf crap at CompUSA? A move from Win98 to Win2k? Get real! There is nothing to see here except that the school is using child labor, and perhaps that the child is MORE qualified than the person they paid before him. That last part comes as no surprise, but it also doesn't say much.

    Moving on.
    • by DeadChobi (740395) <DeadChobi@noSPam.gmail.com> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:47AM (#22912260)
      Translation:

      "I'm very very jealous that an 11 year-old has the knowledge and skills to land a network administration job and I'm still stuck at the helpdesk."
    • by Macthorpe (960048)

      If the kid is so damned smart, why wasn't he using any of the many free online/ported tools instead of buying off the shelf crap at CompUSA?

      Yes, I know this is Slashdot, but RTFA:

      "We spent $2,158," says young Penn, describing how he picked out the McAfee Secure Internet Gateway Appliance after evaluating it in a 30-day trial. He also looked at the Barracuda box - a tad more costly - and tried the Untangle open source product, which he said didn't meet the school's needs as well.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Alarindris (1253418)

        the Untangle open source product, which he said didn't meet the school's needs as well.

        Translation - was raised on windows, doesn't have a clue what goes on in the "real" world. This kid's gonna develop some terrible habits and on top of that, will think landing his next job will be just as easy. He's going to have truck loads of disappointment dumped on him in about 10 years.

        Interviewer: "And what is your experience?"
        Kid: "Network admin, 7 years."
        Interviewer: "Oh really? Why don't you describe a day for us."
        Kid: "Well... I hit the remove viruses button sometimes when we have viru

        • by Macthorpe (960048)
          How was that in any sense of the word a translation?

          AC says he didn't try any open source solutions, I point out that he did, and you've managed to translate that into some insane prediction of how his future career will be, despite you not knowing anything about him or how he plans to progress from here on in.

          Was that just a knee-jerk reaction to someone saying that open source doesn't fit what he wants?
  • He should have used open source and free software instead of going out and buying things. Norton and McAffee and other commercial anti-viruses are a nightmare. I've been using AVG Free for a long time, and it's top notch. http://free.grisoft.com/doc/download-free-anti-virus/us/frt/0 [grisoft.com]
    • by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:54AM (#22912298)

      AVG Free is free only for personal use. To deploy it across an entire network of computers belonging to a budgeted organisation, rather than purchase a license, is abusing Grisoft's generosity. It's not really excused by the fact that this is an educational organisation rather than commercial. I quote:

      AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is for private, non-commercial, single computer use only. The use of AVG Free within any organization (including non-profit organizations) or for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited.

      If you don't want to pay for your AV, why not go with ClamAV rather than leech off Grisoft's update servers? The restrictions of AVG Free (won't run on server OSes, won't scan network drives, etc) probably mean it's not optimal for the school network anyway.

      That said... I use AVG Free myself for my personal computer. It really is good, and I'm grateful to Grisoft for it. Oh: one other thing. AVG Free is free as in beer, but it's not open source. I suppose some people might care about that.

    • by bhtooefr (649901)
      Except... I do believe that AVG (and Avast) aren't free for anything other than personal use.
    • I agree with you about AVG and recommend that and Zonealarm to windows people as free (cost) alternative.
      I just think it's funny how both websites hide the free versions to the point what it's easier to google 'free AVG' or 'free zonearalarm' (if you don't want to run through the maze the websites put you through).
    • by rolfwind (528248)
      In reality, he probably could have set up many of the computer (that are acting as email/websurfing terminals) as Ubuntu/Edubuntu boxes perhaps and the rest (since they are getting swiped clean anyway) have no A/V software and just install that one one central (preferably Linux, preferably new) computer running something like Clam A/V where all the internet traffic goes through. Install Firefox or Opera as the default browser, restrict privileges, and away you go! Oh, and a way to image them nightly/weekl
  • Kudos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AgentPaper (968688) * on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:33AM (#22912140)
    This young man reminds me overwhelmingly of myself at the same age, except in my case, it was maintaining a "shadow network" of some 35 Apple IIe and II+ machines that my school moved to the classrooms when our lab got upgraded to brand-spanking-new 486/33s, maintaining the PC network when our admin wasn't available (which was frequently, as he ran five other schools too), and managing the student Web access program. I didn't figure out Mom's work computers till age 5, though I could program a VCR and hook up a NES or a 2600 at age 3.

    Glad to see that precocious geekery hasn't died out with this generation. Kudos to you, kid!

  • by Taulin (569009) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:36AM (#22912166) Homepage Journal
    This either means he is smart, or there are a ton of people out there who are overpaid (probably the latter).
  • I'd hire him (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:40AM (#22912188)
    If the systems work well, I'd want to see his resume as soon as he's legal to employ. He'd beat the tar out of a lot of MCSE's I've seen in the last 5 years.

    Has anyone offered to send the school a box of Ubuntu live CD's, just to ease this young man's workload of maintaining Windows boxes?
    • by Hatta (162192)
      Ubuntu doesn't run that well on 98/2000 era PCs. It's dog slow on my dual PIII-450 IBM with 512M ram. Maybe Xubuntu would be a little better.
  • Easy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by antimatter15 (1261618) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:43AM (#22912212) Homepage
    I'm not much older than him, and I've started ~3 open source projects, and contributed to several, I know around 5 programming languages, and I set up/configured my 6 computer home network when I was 8. "We spent $2,158," Why not go do everything for *free*, and save money in the future for not being trapped to antivirus subscriptions?
    • Re:Easy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by seann (307009) <notaku@gmail.com> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:07AM (#22912430) Homepage Journal
      In this life you will learn that it's not about how easy something is to do, but if you get the opportunity to do it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MoneyT (548795)
      "We spent $2,158," Why not go do everything for *free*, and save money in the future for not being trapped to antivirus subscriptions?

      When you grow up, and start having to work with groups of people, you will realize the value of having a multiple points of contact for some things. 2k is nothing to know that if this kid is sick, dies, is unreachable or just moves on that the person who comes in after him or subs for him will be able to get support if something goes wrong without having to scour the kids not
      • The answer to that and similar situations is documentation. Processes and documentation are required for a system of any size, whether it's free software or not. If the commercial/payfor software *comes* with documentation, that's an argument for it, but it still needs to be findable, and people need to have read it and understand it *before* an emergency happens.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by toby (759) *
      To "know" a language takes 1/2 hour. To get good at it takes 5-10 years. Yeah, I started when I was 10 years old too. Didn't we all?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)
      Why not go do everything for *free*, and save money in the future for not being trapped to antivirus subscriptions?

      Because the free solutions are licensed for personal and not institutional use?

      Because the commercial product with service and support is the better choice for a school with very little technical experience and resources?

  • Bah (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:44AM (#22912218)
    I'm not that impressed. I was maintaining a lab of 16 Atari 800's when I was roughly his age. If he were smart, he'd switch to a less virus-resistant platform - I mean, we never had any problems.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Dachannien (617929)

      he'd switch to a less virus-resistant platform
      (That's less, by which I obviously mean more.)
  • by Stick_Fig (740331) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @10:45AM (#22912228) Homepage
    ... they'll remember him for being the sniveling little snot who got MySpace blocked.

    I bet this kid gets shoved into so many lockers for being a suck-up to the administration when NetworkWorld isn't writing articles about him.

    I remember this kid when I was in school. He was not a popular kid.

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      ... they'll remember him for being the sniveling little snot who got MySpace blocked.

      I bet this kid gets shoved into so many lockers for being a suck-up to the administration when NetworkWorld isn't writing articles about him.

      ... or he'll be the kid who knows how to change that 'F' you got to an 'A', and he'll be VERY popular.

  • by zmooc (33175)
    So fucking sad to have 11 year olds waste time fighting viruses and other things that I haven't had to bother with since I said Windows goodbye something like 11 years ago. So sad...
  • Win2k?! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Danathar (267989) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:01AM (#22912366) Journal
    I thought you can't get security updates for win2000 any more? If so that's a BAD upgrade path.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by HeLLFiRe1151 (743468)
      I agree, the future for Windows 98 has so much more going for it.
    • by laffer1 (701823)
      Yeah, but how old are their computers? They mentioned Windows 98! XP requires a few hundred mhz and in reality 128MB ram (even though it's lower on paper).

      The kid got them on the NT tree and it's still a security improvement. They just got real user accounts!

      I agree with comments about using Linux this case and I'm a BSD guy.
    • by Khyber (864651)
      While you might not be able to get updates, if their machines are still weak then it's likely Windows 2000 is all they could run at maximum.

      On top of that, I still have two Win2K boxes up and running. One's uptime is almost hitting two years, now. Show me an uptime like that with Vista or XP. Hell, show me a Vista uptime of longer than two weeks!
  • One word: experience. He might be a genius and doing this all on his own merits, but a 200 IQ doesn't make up for never having seen things go bad.

  • Who wishes to take over his spot next year?....yep thought so..
  • The telling point (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Crash Culligan (227354) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:22AM (#22912582) Journal

    It's not just about an 11-year-old who took over a network admin job. Note the parts of the story about updating the computers, updating the (much needed) virus protection, and getting a gateway appliance to make sure that didn't happen again.

    It's about an 11-year-old who took over a network admin job and immediately started off doing a better job than his predecessor. Kind of makes you wonder who that sad sack was, doesn't it?

  • Uh-oh.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by happyslayer (750738) <david@isisltd.com> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:24AM (#22912610)

    Wait until the PHBs hear about this one.

    Network Admin: My job is hard; I want a raise.
    PHB: Why? Your job is so easy, an 11-year old can handle it!
    Network Admin: ...sputters incoherently...

    Every IT manager will have to live with this nightmare, until the Jedi really start getting a headache.

    Obi-Wan: I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.
  • by kbahey (102895) on Sunday March 30, 2008 @11:57AM (#22912914) Homepage
    I had the pleasure of meeting Dmitri Gaskin [nfshost.com] recently.

    Dmitri is from the Bay Area who has been contributing to the Drupal [drupal.org] project and maintaining some modules.

    The funny and amazing part is that he is 12 years old, and was 10 years old when he started with the community. The co-maintainers of the modules did not know he was that young when he started contributing patches and gave him CVS access to their modules, based on what patches he contributed already.

    When Google started the Google Highly Open Participation (GHOP [google.com]) for high school students, he was too young to qualify, so instead he was mentoring the 15 year old high school kids!

    He even presented a session at DrupalCon Boston [drupalcon.org].

    When I saw Dmitri, I felt happy and humbled. I just did not think he is so short!

    See also:
  • I think this sort of thing is somewhat common among poorer schools.
    I was my high schools computer/network admin for 2 years. They had hired a guy, but he quit midway through my sophomore year for more money elsewhere.

    We had an outside contracted company that kept our cisco gear and T1 connection going, but I took care of the file servers, any small network hiccups, and fixing the desktops for the teachers. In return I was given 2 free periods a day to do this and/or goof off.

    I wasn't exactly the best of ki
  • That's nothing, by the time I was 11 I had already been running all the networks in my district for 5 years, *and* I had Slackware on all school machines by 7! It wasn't until 12 that I began consulting for the Federal Reserve, although in retrospect I should have taken the NASA gig instead.

    I would have started my career sooner, but for most of my Kindergarten year I was under contract to the NSA.
  • ...(and I know I'm going to get it for this), but doesn't it say a lot about the Adult Network Admin in Alabama?
  • Get rid of Windows and all the other Microsoft dreck. There are many more intelligent options. Start making the world a better place. :-)
  • "... Don't piss on the kid's parade."

    I concur.
    IF - you're (you, Windows/Linux hotshots) truly concerned, jet an email to him, and- or, mail him a care package with some old RAM, NICs, cables, hell, that old server - stuff you have laying around - yeah THAT stuff over there in a pile.

    http://www.victorymillbrook.com/contact.html [victorymillbrook.com]

    Parade that knowledge you have to give him a hand, I have a brother (way back when) that was like this - THIS - is an opportunity.

    Contribute more than a comment, this could be really c
  • Stupid kid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @01:00PM (#22913402) Homepage

    The school took advantage of a Microsoft effort called Fresh Start that offers free software upgrades for schools with donated computers, switching from Windows 98 to Windows 2000.
    Even a ten-year-old would see this as a perfect opportunity to move to Linux.

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