A quick overview of what's in this special System Administration issue:
* Engineer an OpenLDAP Directory
* System Administration of the Watson Supercomputer
* Puppet and Nagios: Advanced Configuration
* The Pacemaker High-Availability Stack
* Reviewed: ASUS Transformer Prime
Detailed overview: Sysadmins Ain't No Fools
This year, April 1st lands on a Sunday. I always enjoy it when April Fools'
Day lands on a weekend, because otherwise I get about a dozen phone calls
that go something like this
[our stage is set with Shawn casually sipping his coffee, when suddenly the
Me: Hello, technology department, Shawn speaking.
Frantic User: Shawn! My computer was acting slow, then the Internet quit,
and now I think I smell smoke!
Me: I see. Have you tried turning it off and back on?
Frantic User: HA HA HA HA HA! April Fools! I so got you, oh you should have
heard yourself, classic Shawn. You were so worried, oh man, that was great.
I can't believe you fell for it!
After the 3rd or 4th burning computer, smoking printer or melted
projector, I start to wish April 1st was a national holiday so my users
could all just go home. This year, we can all sit back and enjoy the day
off, thankful that the April issue of Linux Journal is focused on us, the sysadmins.
Reuven M. Lerner starts off with some great information on APIs. If you
want to interact with other Web sites, programs or even some devices, the
API system is how to do so. Reuven shows what that means when it comes
to inclusion in your own programs. If your interests are more along the
lines of scripting, Dave Taylor likely will pique your interest as he
continues his series on how to be a darn dirty cheater in Scrabble. Of
course, I'm teasing, but Dave does explain how to use the power of scripting
to come up with some pretty amazing moves. I'll leave it up to you to
determine whether it's cheating or not.
Kyle Rankin and I are most comfortable this month, as system administration
is right up our alley. Kyle gives a walk-through on using sar, a tool
for logging system load. Sure there are other tools for monitoring system
load, but sar does a great job of keeping historical records. I have a few
tricks up my own sysadmin sleeve this month as well, and I continue my
series on LTSP, describing how to tweak your server and clients
to get the most out of them both. LTSP 5 provides great flexibility on
local apps vs. server apps, and I explain how to set them up.
If you've ever been interested in the inner workings of IBM's Watson
supercomputer, or if you ever wondered whether there's just some
really smart person behind the curtain speaking in a computer-like voice,
Aleksey Tsalolikhin's article will interest you. He takes you behind the
scenes and shows off Watson's "guts", many of which are open source.
Aleksey also had the chance to interview Eddie Epstein, who was responsible
for getting Watson ready to compete on Jeopardy! Watson is quite an advanced
system, and although it may not be perfect, it's disturbingly close. You won't
want to miss the article.
We have a trio of hard-core sysadmin articles this issue as well, all of which
should be interesting whether you're a sysadmin yourself or just use a
system administered by someone else. Florian Haas writes about
Pacemaker, a high-availability stack for Linux. In this crazy
data-dependent world, high availability is an important topic. Adam Kosmin
follows that with an article on Puppet and Nagios. High availability is
great, but unless you can manage your configurations, you'll have highly
available junk! Finally, Stewart Walters starts off his series on
configuring OpenLDAP for unified logins. Multiple servers means multiple
authentication schemes, and when you add different platforms into the mix,
things become complicated quickly. Stewart describes how to use one OpenLDAP to
rule them all.
Don't worry if you're not a system administrator. As always,
we have included tons of other things to tickle the fancy of any Linux
geek. Aaron Peters reviews the ASUS Transformer Prime tablet/notebook
device. If you're like me and think a tablet computer would be great if
only it had a hinge and a keyboard, the Transformer might be just what
you're looking for. We've also got product announcements, software
spotlights and even a few cheesy jokes thrown in by yours truly. This
April issue of Linux Journal has something for everyone, and I'm not
fooling. Until next month, remember, if your refrigerator is running,
you'd better go catch it!