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Comment Think about what you need and set the pace (Score 1) 195

I had to do this after a company ran for 6 months without an admin and with no documentation whatsoever left for others. From when the sysadmin left to when I arrived, most things went to rack and ruin with only some developers doing a little sysadmin on the side. In the end it took nearly the same amount of time as the time that the company was without an admin to find out the information or rebuild what couldn't be salvaged.

I have to say that it gave me a lasting impression of what a company can lose when handover fails.

Luckily, I've also had some good handovers and the best way I've found to do it would be to book the whole week as a workshop. Nothing the outgoing staff member can do is more important than the handover and it can often create a level of goodwill in that you are asking for their assistance and making them realise how important they have been.
However, there are also some rules to the week. Some apply to you - you need to check what you are being told. Anything that starts to look hinky or just plain wrong needs to be constructively challenged. If it still doesn't add up after a challenge and you know they are lying then you need to get them on garden leave as soon as you have the keys and passwords.
My approach for general sysadmin has been to try to understand the systems from the ground up very quickly and I've found it useful to have the following as general headings:

1) Passwords - where they are, how they are kept, what policies are in place? Generally find out how it has been managed in the past. Most important - verify them.
2) Network diagrams - use network scanning and mapping tools to verify what you are finding
3) Infrastructure services - understand the setup for anything important to the infrastructure of the systems. Things like DNS/DHCP/NIS/Kerberos/Pam/LDAP/AD/Certificate Authorities/Identity Management/etc/etc.
4) Storage services - SANs/Makes/models/Where to find support contracts/BACKUPs/Data replications/File stores/etc.
5) Core end user services - File/Print/Core Databases/Core Apps.
6) Cloud services/domain registration accounts/3rd party supplier access

There will always be more to find out but hopefully having a list of what you need can stop your company wasting a lot of time and money in having to rebuild what it can't support.

Comment Re:Encryption (Score 1) 157

There is only one word required in response to this - ssl-bump.

Anyone who thinks that realtime ssl communication over HTTPS is secure is not considering the route traffic is taking and whether a MIM attack is in progress.
Transparent man in the middle proxy has been available for some time.

Comment Re:Get rid of it (Score 1) 102

Personally I think its the basis of long term thinking for any company (which is what the BBC is but with different shareholders) - gain market, sell your goods, make profit, support those dependent upon you whom you are dependent upon.

Funnily that could almost sound like a reason for DRM if you believed that DRM would help achieve selling goods - which is why of course companies use it regardless of whether the reasoning to use DRM or not is flawed.

Yes, the BBC uses a lot of open source and I'm sure would relish a world where it was easy to publish media without DRM, however, I don't see any reason, from the BBC heirarchies perspective to actually support the stance you are saying they should take when there is some risk for the BBC in doing it. Yes it might encourage some other companies to not use DRM, equally it might encourage other companies to be extremely restrictive in allowing the BBC to put their media online and isolate the BBC from its viewers (shareholders, license payers, supporters - call them what you will).

You are proposing an argument against the commonly held falacies that Flash and DRM can secure the media and allow it to be resold multiple times. I'm sure the BBC, who have made statements about open formats previously support this, however, making a stance that could damage the institution because the argument against DRM is not been made successfully to those using it is not a reason for the BBC to take the risk and annoy its viewers.


Couldn't they argue that there was self interest involved rather than a fair statement of fact. If you look at old ground and consider the Microsoft litigation regards code being stolen and Novell's (then) indemnity stance against litigation by Microsoft or others on behalf of their paid customers, could it be argued that Novell were using these to safeguard code they owned?

Comment Re:My God (Score 1) 413

Hmmm - that diary sounds like an interesting account. I'd read commentary from the board who were asked to advise on its use and the technical discussions prior to testing and had heard about the emporer's intervention, however, hadn't heard about the reason for the lack of response.

It doesn't prevent the fact that dropping the bomb and killing so many people - most of whom were not soldiers, at once is pretty horrific. The question becomes simply whether it did prevent long term deaths. ...and whether it caused Godzilla of course?

Comment Re:Not just Gnome (Score 1) 432

Have you actually looked at some of the Open Source desktops recently? KDE is now a fantastic desktop which takes the symantic desktop concept forward better than any other (including OSX and Win) and some of the others are very good too in other ways. To be honest, even Gnome 3 isn't terrible now, it's pretty stable but its just too limiting to be a real desktop from what it used to be in Gnome 2, however, compare it with the tablet desktops, are they limiting? Yes they are.

The problem with G3 is stopped trying to be the best desktop and tried to be a rewrite of some bits of G2, it tried to be a more like a tablet desktop where it led who it should be used rather than lettiing users drive it and while its not failing completely at both, the market has moved on and there are better alternatives out there.

What Gnome needs to do is recognise they aren't the best, refocus on what they need to do to make it the best (and some might be simple usagbility tweaks, some might be new ideas and ways of using it, some might be focussing on a specific market), be clear with people that it will be 6 months or a year before their desktop is near what it needs to be.

I actually think the Linux desktop(s) are now stronger than they have ever been - but also more fragmented.

Comment Open Source projects developers are often the user (Score 1) 432

Some of the reason for this with open source projects is that they come out of a user's desire to do things and fill an niche they see so the teams building the solutions believe they know and understand the end users (they are them). Many of the projects are actually started by gifted but none professional programmers.

It doesn't mean that they can't lose touch with the user base or that the project teams cannot become overly arrogant but I appreciate where they are sometimes coming from or where they can be hostile to complaints. We shouldn't forget that the people doing open source development are often doing it as volunteers. The usual response I give to someone who criticises what I've spent a lot of my time and effort doing for nothing is - if you think you can do better go away and do it yourself or instead of complaining try helping.

Comment Company/Personal Responsibility - Not Muddy at all (Score 2) 165

I think this is quite straightforward. A company can be responsible for the interfaces that are provided to internal data to none-company devices and the data on company devices. Outside of that the responsibility stops with the end user (employee/customer/guest/consultant/whoever) and the company's usage policies should mirror this and breach of these constitutes breach of contract and therefore liability for damages.

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"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.