As I write this, I'm preparing to travel to the Usenix Technical Conference in San Diego. By the time you read this, the conference will be over, but I hope to see many of you there. The Usenix Annual Technical Conference is always enjoyable. It gives me a chance to meet readers of the magazine and also to catch up on what's happening in UNIX in general, not just the area of systems administration. I see that Bill Joy is giving the keynote speech -- I assume he'll be talking about the much-discussed Wired article in which he addressed the question of whether humans will survive the Pandora's box of technologies (robotics, genetics, nanotechnology) that has cracked open. The article provided a little of Joy's personal history along with some disturbing concerns regarding our role in the future world of computing. If by chance you missed Joy's article, you can still read it online at: http://www.wired.com/archive/8.04/joy.html. I'm looking forward to hearing his views in person. I'm also planning to attend Miguel de Icaza's talk about GNOME and some of the Freenix track technical sessions describing tools under development.
This issue of Sys Admin also contains a couple of articles describing useful tools. In Perl and the Practical Systems Administrator, Randy Appleton describes AccountCheck, a Perl script that checks for problems that can occur when adding or deleting user accounts. Yufan Hu describes another tool written in Perl that monitors most major services on local or remote servers and sends alerts when the status of a particular service changes. Also, Rafeeq Ur Rehman explains how to configure and use the Linux logical volume manager.
The focus of the August issue, however, is storage and includes two articles about storage area networks in the mix. David Sultzman discusses the setup of a simple SAN illustrating techniques that worked in his environment. In Migrating Solaris to a Storage Area Network, Greg Schuweiler explains how his team implemented a SAN to manage their growing storage requirements.
In the September issue, I look forward to an article by long-time contributor Emmett Dulaney writing about LPI Certification. Certification has become a hot commodity in the administrative world, and Dulaney will explain just what the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certification consists of. The upcoming issue will also include an article on FreeBSD's sysctl interface by Michael Lucas. Lucas will explain how BSD 4.4's sysctl interface captures and sets kernel state information, giving admins the ability to change the behavior of a running kernel, without a recompile or even a reboot. This ability is invaluable in systems where uptime is vital. Kristy Westphal will provide a look at Snort -- exploring setup, the use of various plug-ins, and describing the use of Snort to complement other intrusion detection systems. I hope you'll enjoy these articles.