Cover V05, I09


Editor's Forum

I have followed the progress of Sys Admin from its early days, so it is with great enthusiasm that I assume the mantle of senior editor. Robert Ward and the magazine's editorial and production staff, have done an excellent job addressing the informational needs of UNIX system administrators. Together, the staff and I intend to continue that tradition and improve as we move forward.

Speaking of forward movement, the industry and society as a whole are gulping down Web technology at a ravenous rate. The marketing folks are scrambling to understand the dynamics of this fast-moving medium, while behind the scenes, you, the system administrator, must keep the systems supporting all of this hustle and bustle up and running. So, in the October issue, we will examine a range of Web-related topics to assist you in that endeavor. That issue will include articles about setting up Web servers, Web security tips relating to the Common Gateway Interface (CGI), and the use of Secure Socket Layer (SSL). We will also discuss connectivity issues - methods for estimating levels of traffic and the resulting impact on your ISP connections, as well as how to control bandwidth on your Web server.

In November, the emphasis shifts to Security. Do you remember when security meant making sure that you did not have holes in your uucp setup and that passwords were being used properly? Although password policy enforcement is still a matter of concern, the level of uucp-based traffic has diminished greatly. Forward movement has replaced much of the uucp dial-up network with more complicated concerns. Those concerns include detecting intruders (or, would-be intruders if you have done well), monitoring the vulnerability of your systems, and minimizing your exposure to a variety of attack methods, such as IP-spoofing.

December theme articles will cover performance and how to maintain the forward momentum of your systems. Although system and network performance may evoke yawns among certain job titles, it is near and dear to the hearts of most administrators. In the December issue, we hope to provide you with a few new holiday tunes - disk tunes, kernel tunes, and the like to keep your systems humming.

The editorial calendar for 1997 looks even more interesting. January will kick off the year with our traditional Linux issue. Other topics for 1997 will include (in no particular order) system administration tools, output management (printers, fax, paging, etc.), storage management, security, back-up technologies, networking, and connectivity, just to name a few. You will also see articles on fast-moving technologies sprinkled throughout the year. We plan to keep the treatment of these themes at the hands-on level, because that is the type of coverage you have indicated is the most relevant for you. Also, based on reader survey results, we plan to broaden our efforts to provide you with product information - keeping the focus on hardware and software that directly relates to system administration.

In short, we plan to make Sys Admin even more useful to you in your day-to-day endeavors, keeping the magazine at the top of your must-read stack. We understand that demands on your time and attention are becoming more complex as organizations strive to be more cost-efficient and competitive. We also understand that it is our job to serve your UNIX system administration information needs in a highly relevant manner. To better understand those needs, we will continue to randomly survey our readers on a periodic basis. If you happen to receive one of our reader surveys, we hope you will find the time to let us know what you expect from us.

Sincerely yours,
Ralph Barker