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in transition

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  • chabo
    hi sakurans, well, i am in a time of change. (no, i m not leaving or anything, in case this first statement worries anyone.) the private email server i am/was
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 2, 2006
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      hi sakurans,
       
      well, i am in a time of change. (no, i'm not leaving or anything, in case this first statement worries anyone.) the private email server i am/was using is shutting down as of next saturday (feb 11,) so i have moved my communications for sakura, bench, regular sumo, and that other grand_sumo list to this new gmail address i am using. this has been much easier than i thought it would be, though i'll say that gmail does take a little getting used to for a fully assimilated little M$ user/administrator like me. (i've just revealed myself to all those who know about real computing (unix.)
       
      (which leads me to want to ask, where do you guys suggest starting on the road to becoming a unix admin. are there particularly good books? i have (probably illegal) copies of red hat 9 in my posession that i haven't done anything with. i've been all microsoft for the whole of my time in computer world. any help?)
       
      anyway, back to the point. the company i work for was just bought by a bank, and i am expecting changes at the workplace, that may or may not interfere with my bench sumo and/or sakura activities. i'm hoping that things won't change, but this is a bank we're talking about, so we'll see. talk is that we will start proxying our internet through the corporate HQ, so that their network dudes can have control over our network. i'm going to try to swing a dmz port, but am doubtful about that one. worst case is that i lose my connectivity to webmail/sumo/sakura during work hours, which, including drive, are normally 6:00AM to about 5:30PM. so if i lose the ability to participate during work, i'm definitely out for d2d duty, and i'm really not sure about sakura activities.
       
      so the short version is that i may end up taking more of a back seat, but i'm not sure yet. i'll know better right around the end of february. this email is mostly just a forewarning so that if things get really super goofy (which i think they won't) i don't just dissappear. which i won't. things will likely be just fine, i'm perhaps just going through some "just got bought out" paranoia. :)
       
      chabonowaka
    • Mike Charlton
      ... Ain t no such thing as an illegal copy of red hat... (although I personally recommend that you stay away from red hat 9 -- get fedora core, or a debian
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 2, 2006
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        On 2/2/06, chabo <munkykiller@...> wrote:

        (which leads me to want to ask, where do you guys suggest starting on the road to becoming a unix admin. are there particularly good books? i have (probably illegal) copies of red hat 9 in my posession that i haven't done anything with. i've been all microsoft for the whole of my time in computer world. any help?)

        Ain't no such thing as an illegal copy of red hat...  (although I personally recommend that you stay away from red hat 9 -- get fedora core, or a debian based distro (debian or ubuntu)...  Red hat 9 is notoriously unupgradable)

        All the documentation that you could ever want is here:

        http://www.tldp.org/

        I'm going to talk about the illegal thing for a few (many) sentences because I really am a free software bigot.  People who don't care should stop reading now...

        Most software is produced in a way that seeks to control you and your use of the software.  That's why you have things like EULAs.  They want to make sure that they can extract revenue from you without having to do anything to help you.  (One single support call will wipe out their entire profit on a copy of the software they sell you -- they *really* don't want to do customer support).

        This leads to the concept of "petrified software".  You buy a disk and a disk is what you get.  The software is "locked" at a particular version.  If you want to get a modified version of the software, you have to buy another "petrified version" of that software.  If the company decides to remove support for the software, then you have the disk the software came on and nothing else.

        Free software is meant to give the benefit of "soft"ware to the user (not the producer).  Software *isn't* "Hard"ware.  It's not a "product".  It's more like a bonsai tree.  It is constantly changing and evolving.  You can fix bugs, add features, and repurpose it all very easily.  Proprietary vendors would like to prevent you from doing this because they want to lock you into their service.

        Free software frees the user and allows them to pick their vendor.  If you don't like the service you are getting from one vendor, no problem.  Just change vendors.  All the vendors sell the same software.  All have the ability to make whatever changes they want to the software.  They all have to compete on their ability to perform -- not on the fact that you once bought version 2 and you are thus locked into that vendor for all eternity.  With free software, you can also support yourself!  If you know what you want and want to learn how to help yourself, then go for it!

        Because software changes constantly day to day, you want to pick a software distribution that reflects this reality.  You *don't* want to install BigDaddy's Linux Install #2 and then be forced to upgrade all your packages in BDLI #3 (what if everything works perfectly for you, except 1 package -- surely you just want to upgrade that one package).  Also, if there's a security update, you don't want to have to wait a month while BigDaddy decides if he wants to give you the update.  You want to install it just as soon as the programmers have finished implementing it.

        So you will want a distribution that allows you to upgrade your packages any time you want.  I know this is a foreign concept for MS sysadmins, who are at the mercy of MS's release strategy (and corresponding obselesence strategy).  Hell, they even give you security updates to install, *force* you to install them, and don't even tell you what they do...!!!
         
        In order to give you the freedom to do all these things (sort of like allowing you to get in and service your own car), the business model has to be different than the "petrified" software model (where they weld the hood of your car down so you aren't able to fix the damn thing).  In free software, there are a few ways ways you "pay" for your software.

        You may usually obtain a version of the software for free (well, no one can limit your ability to distribute the software for what ever cost you want -- so most people being nice, they give you a copy for free).  But what if you have a particular environment that you'd like to run the software on and you don't have time to make sure that the software is set up properly?  Well, you can "hire" someone to do that for you.  "Hiring" can consist of actually finding a guy to come in and do it for you, or "buying" an already built solution (from a place like Redhat or IBM) that will certify that it works in your environment.  This usually costs money.  But it's money well spent in an Enterprise situation.  You got 1000 desks you want to set up with specific functionality?  IBM will put together a "distro" that will meet your needs exactly (for a price).

        Another way you "pay" for software is by asking someone to fix a bug or add a feature.  You usually pay these people money.  But you can't hoard this functionality to yourself.  You have to allow the person who wrote the software to do whatever they want with it.  This ensures the freedom I was mentioning previously.  But you've got your fix and they've got their money, so why would you care who else benefits?

        Finally, you can make changes to the code yourself.  This is by far the most common way to "pay" for software.  By making changes and distributing them, you are joining a very large consortium of software producers.  The barrier for entry to this consortium is incredibly low (make a useful change to the software and distribute it).  But there is a price.  You aren't allowed to weld that hood shut again.  You have to give the other people in the consortium the same freedoms that they gave you.

        As a sysadmin, I'm sure you see the power of this model.  If you fix a problem in the software on your company's systems, you really don't give a darn whether someone in another company also benefits from your work.  Especially when you consider the benefits of being in such a large consortium.  Whenever anyone else makes a fix, you get it too.  So for the price of one fix, you get 100 back.

        So the point of all this is... If you have a copy of free software, please distribute it to your heart's content.  This only helps the consortium of people who work on that software.  There is no "illegal" free software (as long as someone isn't trying to take your freedom away from you).  The authors *want* you to have a copy.  They *want* you to distribute it.  Even the resellers *want* you to redistribute their "product" (that's how they get their support contracts).  They even give away their distributions on their own FTP sites for free (they will charge you a nominal fee for the convenience of getting a pre-burnt CDROM along with a printed manual, but that's not where they make their money).  They know that if you trust them, if you have a problem that you are willing to pay to have fixed, that you will come to them first.

        That's why I've got to get out of this damned proprietary software world and work soley on free software.  A business model that's predicated on getting paid for the work that you do (rather than on the work you did ages ago).  A business model that puts the needs of the customer above the desire to "win the lottery" an dbecome the next Bill Gates.

        Sigh...

        Sorry for the length of this post...

             Koishi
             the zealot

      • Joe Klemmer
        ... First, there s no such thing as an illegal copy of RH 9. Any CD you might have that s either burned or bought is legal for anyone to use on any number of
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 2, 2006
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          On Thu, 2 Feb 2006, chabo wrote:

          > (which leads me to want to ask, where do you guys suggest starting on
          > the road to becoming a unix admin. are there particularly good books? i
          > have (probably illegal) copies of red hat 9 in my posession that i
          > haven't done anything with. i've been all microsoft for the whole of my
          > time in computer world. any help?)

          First, there's no such thing as an illegal copy of RH 9. Any CD
          you might have that's either burned or bought is legal for anyone to use
          on any number of systems.

          Second, the hard part of learning to be a *NIX SysAdmin is that
          there is SO much to learn that it just seems impossible. The learning
          curve is pretty vertical but the key is to take it one baby step at a
          time.

          There are far to many good books on *NIX to mention but two that
          will become bibles are the O'Reilly "Essential System Administration" by
          Aeleen Frisch and "Unix System Administration Handbook" by Evi Nemeth, et.
          al. The latter used to be known as the Red Book but is now the Purple
          Book (due to the color of the covers). There's another O'Reilly book
          called "Learning the Unix Operating System" by Jerry Peek, et. al. that is
          good, though I can't personally recomend it as I haven't read/used it.
          One thing to know is that with some very rare exceptions, any O'Reilly
          book will be worth twice the price in usable value. I strongly recomend
          buying books from nerdbooks (http://www.nerdbooks.com) or Bookpool
          (http://www.bookpool.com), in that order. You won't find a better price
          than Nerdbooks but at times they mey be out of stock or don't carry a
          particular book. That's when Bookpool comes in handy. Their prices are
          just a few cents more than nerdbooks but they will almost always have the
          books that might be missing from Nerdbooks.

          The other recomendation I would make is to get one of the LiveCD's
          and just play with it. The LiveCD's let you test/play/run Linux (or one
          of the BSD's or even Solaris) without having to deal with repartitioning
          and installing and duel booting and without fear of mucking up your
          already running WinXX system. [Side comment: Duel booting may seem
          like a good idea at first but if you try it you'll find that you are
          always in the wrong OS when you need to do something. Live CD's are a
          little better but you still end up rebooting all the time.]

          There are also many, many good web sites that will be helpful.
          Here are some I have, in no particular order -

          http://www.tldp.org
          The Linux Documentation Project
          http://www.lwn.net
          Linux Weekly News (the best site for Linux news)
          http://www.livecdlist.com
          List of 308 LiveCD links
          http://www.ugu.com
          Unix Guru Universe
          http://google.com/linux
          Linux specific searching on Google
          http://www.newsforge.com
          NewsForge - Linux and Open Source news

          That being said, the way I learned was to install Linux on a box
          and use only it. Ok, I did have a Win 3.1 box available, just in case
          (which also tells you when I first got into Linux) but for the most part
          just dive in the deep end and trudge away. It's so much more easy now
          with GNOME/KDE/Xfce because you will have a GUI that can be easily
          understood and, in many cases, be made to look/feel/act just like
          Win2K/WinXP. Back when I learned you'd login and get a shell prompt in a
          console. Nothing more intimidating than staring at

          $ _

          at the top of a blank screen. :-)

          --
          Boring Home Page - http://www.webtrek.com/joe
          See my blog, sumo game ranks and other interesting junk
        • Joe Klemmer
          ... That s more because it s an end-of-line product. But RH 9 itself is still a viable OS option. Fedora Legacy has been doing a great job of keeping it
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 2, 2006
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            On Thu, 2006-02-02 at 09:01 -0500, Mike Charlton wrote:


            > Ain't no such thing as an illegal copy of red hat... (although I
            > personally recommend that you stay away from red hat 9 -- get fedora
            > core, or a debian based distro (debian or ubuntu)... Red hat 9 is
            > notoriously unupgradable)

            That's more because it's an end-of-line product. But RH 9 itself is
            still a viable OS option. Fedora Legacy has been doing a great job of
            keeping it updated with fixes.

            > All the documentation that you could ever want is here:
            >
            > http://www.tldp.org/

            Amen to that, brother.

            > I'm going to talk about the illegal thing for a few (many) sentences
            > because I really am a free software bigot. People who don't care
            > should stop reading now...

            Heh, I thought about it but read the whole thing anyway.

            > You *don't* want to install BigDaddy's Linux Install #2 and then be
            > forced to upgrade all your packages in BDLI #3 (what if everything
            > works perfectly for you, except 1 package -- surely you just want to
            > upgrade that one package). Also, if there's a security update, you
            > don't want to have to wait a month while BigDaddy decides if he wants
            > to give you the update.

            Ha! I should send this to a friend of mine. One of his nicknames is
            "Big Daddy."
            >
            > That's why I've got to get out of this damned proprietary software
            > world and work soley on free software. A business model that's
            > predicated on getting paid for the work that you do (rather than on
            > the work you did ages ago). A business model that puts the needs of
            > the customer above the desire to "win the lottery" an dbecome the next
            > Bill Gates.

            Unlike Sumo (see? I can make anything topical), the IT software
            business is not a zero sum game. MS, the company, was and is built on
            the mistaken assumption that they have to own it all or they lose. Most
            software businesses... well, all proprietary software businesses, all
            assume that this is the only model to build a business on. That's why
            they still can't get it. "How can you make a profit if you give away
            your business assets (code)?" Well, thankfully this model is dieing
            out. Slowly. Way to slowly. But it's happening. IBM saw the writing
            on the wall and made the move. Sun even saw the end and opened Solaris.
            MS is in a death spiral unless they can "get it" and adapt. But I'm not
            holding my breath for Ol' Billy-boy to come around.

            --
            Boring Home Page - http://www.webtrek.com/joe
            See my blog, sumo game ranks and other interesting junk
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