Cover V10, I04



Sociologists say that after major changes (such as national elections, company layoffs, or big career moves) people spend less money and eat more comfort food like mashed potatoes until the anxiety of the change wears off. Here at Sys Admin, however, we seem to thrive on change and live on chocolate and caffeine. Our sales manager jokes that we're crisis-motivated, and he's probably right. However, not unlike systems administrators, we like to plan ahead as well as put out fires.

One tool that helps us plan ahead is our reader survey. Sys Admin will soon be mailing a reader survey to a randomly selected group of subscribers; and if you're one of the lucky ones to receive it, I hope you will take the time to fill it out. This survey helps us understand what you're doing in your jobs, so we can better serve your needs within the magazine. We'd like to know, for example, what hardware and software you use and how you use it, how often you write your own code, how many users you support, and how you prefer to get the training and information needed to enhance your careers. Through past surveys, we've found that you get most of your training from publications (we hope that means Sys Admin), informal training at work, and attending conferences or seminars. We've also found that you're most interested in security articles -- with performance tuning and system-monitoring articles close behind. We'll tally the results of the new survey and let you know how things have changed.

Of course, the survey also asks a lot of questions about the magazine itself, such as: which columns are most valuable to you, and how can we make the Web site more useful to you? According to last year's results, you like the Q&A, Net Admin, and Perl Advisor columns best, and you also find product reviews helpful. Because you've told us that backups are another important topic to you, this issue contains a number of backup-related articles. Clark Cooper shows how to back up and restore Linux and Solaris machines with a couple of shell scripts; Ben Diamond and Keil Wurl explain the use of ufsdump to perform a full backup and restore; and Shawn Bayern takes a minimal, one-script approach to backup using an extra hard drive.

Please note that you don't have to wait to receive a survey to tell me what you like or dislike about the magazine. You can write to me anytime with suggestions or comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,

Amber Ankerholz
Editor in Chief