No side effects, no surprises.

System documentation through executable rulebooks

V addresses the problems of retention and recall through the specification of rules. This specification, in it's simplist form, is akin to the type of specification provided when someone creates system documentation manuals, or when someone regularly records information in a system log.

The specification of rules using V provides extra benefits that manuals and logs don't have. This is because V is executable, and it can evaluate the true state of the system against those rules, and in the process can identify resources that are not in compliance. And it can do this repeatedly, on demand, or at regular intervals. System administrators who use V as part of their routine work flow—specifying new rules as packages are installed, and changing existing rules to match new working knowledge as it is acquired—can effectively deal with the problem of retention and recall.

In addition to its ability to evaluate rules against the active state of the system, V is well suited for use with software development tools, such as diff  tools and source code repositories. This means that the administrator can readily see the history of changes made to the system.

Because V is a file-based source code language, administrators can copy rulebooks from one host to another, evaluate those rules on the new host, and compare the evaluation results of the two systems. This use of the language could lend itself well to use in community based technical support forums, where the exchange of rules would allow the two parties to compare expected versus actual results.

Technology transfer

V also addresses the problem of technology transfer, where technology transfer is the problem of how to prepare for the orderly transition from one administrator to the next.

When an organization embraces the use of V and specifies rules for its systems, it will, over time, build a collection of working knowledge. And most importantly, this collection of working knowledge will reside, not in its administrator's head, but rather in readily transferable source code files. The all too common situation where a departing administrator is asked to "do a brain dump" on his way out the door, would in some measure be reduced to simply passing along a collection of V language files.

The organic nature of computer systems

The span of a computer system's deployment is often referred to as its lifetime. And this is an apt description because systems grow in ways that are seemingly unpredictable, and almost organic in nature.

A computer system's body is carefully grafted and pruned by an administrator when components and packages are installed, upgraded or removed; and each of these operations can lead to problems that the system administrator needs to resolve. Some of the final resolutions to these problems are obtained only after hard-fought battles where the result is a single configuration variable or system setting.

V provides a way to capture this hard-fought knowledge and to apply it to future situations. When applied over a system's lifetime, V becomes an excellent language for ensuring the health of the system.