Camp SysAdmin 2006

Thursday 19 January 2006 - Filed under Default

I attended Camp SysAdmin on Saturday in the SOMA area of San Francisco. It was fun listening to and participating in discussions about IT over the two sessions. Each session was an hour long and they were seperated by a pretty decent lunch.

The first session I went to was about how to intermingle free(as in freedom) and proprietary software in the enterprise. Brian Akers, Director of Architecture at MySQL guided the conversation. The conversation evolved into a discussion of how best to use free software and how to influence its development by getting your changes made and accepted into the project.

Brian made the following suggestions: that free software apps are best used like commercial apps. Don’t change them just because you have the source code. They are generally well designed so use them as they’re intended. That way you’ll get the most bang for your buck and less headaches later.

If you want changes made or features added to the project try to get someone with commit privileges on the project to make them. If they don’t want to do the changes, try explaining just why said feature would be useful to you and others. If the project leader/owner doesn’t have time to make the changes, they’ll probably have a list of contributors who would have time to work for you. Think about helping with the project by providing documentation, code, servers, etc.

The second conversation I sat in on was about troubleshooting messaging. It was led by Eric Allman of Sendmail. He originally wrote Sendmail back in the day and was a great resource to have attend the meeting. He kicked off the meeting with: What sorts of problems do you see with your email systems?

The top problems that came up: large attachments, exchange server message store limitations, bandwidth problems, difficulty of sifting through logs and following transactions through such systems as spam assassin, sendmail, and graylisting.

Eric mentioned that the Domain Keys system may help curb spam by helping clients to authenticate the sender of any message. Once the sender is authenticated, some sort of reputation system can come in to help with the final decision to accept a message. There’s an IETF group forming to help this technology along.

Overall the Camp Sysadmin was a worthwhile event. Big ups to Splunk – the primary sponsor of the camp – to the other sponsors and to everyone who came out to make it what it was.

2006-01-19  »  David Sterry