The first editorial for the new year seems like a good time for a state of the magazine report. A sort of fireside chat, if you will. Here at Sys Admin, a bit of recent news is in regard to our email newsletter. The third installment of the newsletter, which mailed about a week ago, previewed the January issue (our annual Linux and Open Source UNIX issue). We're very excited to launch the newsletter, which simply allows us to provide information to you in another form. If you'd like to be on the list to receive the newsletter, please visit the subscription page on the Sys Admin Web site. In its current incarnation, the newsletter provides a glimpse of the magazine's contents, links to new products, online access to a feature article, and the call for papers. If there are other items you'd like to see included, please email me.
Plug for the newsletter aside, it seems appropriate to reiterate the magazine's goals. So many magazines in our industry have refocused lately that Sys Admin's own editorial position bears restating. Briefly (and broadly), we intend to continue to address the needs of systems administrators in heterogenous environments. That means we offer articles pertaining to all flavors of UNIX (not just Linux or Solaris) and provide practical information and usable tools to help you do your job. This reminds me of a quote from Life's Little Deconstruction Book by Andrew Boyd (published by W.W. Norton). The book is a delightful collection of insidious little aphorisms, such as be as if, purchase genuine imitations, complicate the self-evident, and manufacture intangibles. Some of these sayings struck a bit too close to home, but one of my favorites is: need what recently didn't exist.
Systems administrators are perhaps more familiar with that particular phenomenon than most, in that their systems and users are in constant need of new technology that until recently was unheard of, let alone required. To assist you in that neverending struggle to keep your systems up to date, this issue contains a brief overview of three popular GUIs, an introduction to policy routing in Linux, and a review of EnlightenDSM -- a product for managing distributed systems. I hope you find the articles useful. In closing, let me caution against another of Boyd's post-modern maxims: advance science by expanding the pool of incompatible alternatives.