A few weeks ago I was interviewing MVS Systems Programmers. One of my favorite interview questions is:
What's the biggest mistake you've ever made? (As it relates to MVS Systems Programming, of course).
I love hearing the answers to this question. Like me, people never ever forget that biggest screw up. It's etched clearly on your mind. I may be naïve, but I believe that most people are inherently honest, and all of them quickly told me their stories, even though some might consider it a weakness. I consider it a building block of experience.
Winston Churchill said “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes" One thing is for sure, whatever that big mistake was, I'll bet they never made that one again.
We are much less likely to make those kind of show-stopping mistakes these days, mostly because almost every shop has at least two lpars, the real one, and one that you can fix things from. We also have so many more functions that don't require an IPL to implement. I remember one shop who never did CLPAs unless absolutely necessary, because they never knew what was going to come in. Overall, life as an MVS systems programmer was much more risky for us back then. I sound like an old timer ‘Back in my day, we didn’t have systems to fix it from’. But that statement is analogous to ‘I walked to school every day, in the snow, no shoes, uphill, both ways’ that our parents used to say.
Back in the day I remember a program called SAFE, which came on a tape and was a StandAlone Fix Editor. It was an IPLable tape that gave you the opportunity to edit something in parmlib. I kept a 3480 at home with this on it, just in case. For whatever reason, it actually seems like it was called SAFFE to me, but that doesn't make any sense. If anyone recalls it, let me know.
All this reminds me why I've never met a backup I didn't like.
I guess it's only fair that I should tell you what I consider my biggest mistake. I moved an NCP loadlib. It was catalogued, but the VTAM proc had a volser on it for the dataset. Boom. No VTAM. Luckily I had another MVS that I had just installed, and was able to bring that up to remove the volser. Although I did have a fix, it took a few hours to get that other system up, find the problem, and fix it. Luckily, it was during a scheduled IPL.
So what was yours? Care to share?
Your link today is to my good friend Mark Zelden’s MVS Utilities Page: http://www.mzelden.com/mvsutil.html
Till next time,