S3E2: "Zen Administration"

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Recorded (UTC) Aired (UTC) Editor
2018-03-15 03:02:01 2018-03-25 17:04:23 "Edita"
Format SHA256 GPG Audio File
MP3 5cc270b6810c3b4f766ef259036b7c282acad7e5ad3eb3b942228fa4c8b16bac click click
OGG 76d1459e7f99cfb06263f4c8ff2e4fb8491e32f1f2511e9856bc63e215d7fa52 click click

Where we talk about choosing which enterprise Linux distro to use (or, rather – how to choose which Linux distro you should use in your enterprise environment), being a valuable mentor, Let’s Encrypt offering wildcard certs, and why people need to clam dwno about Net Neutrality (as important as it is!).

The origin of the “transvanporent” and “grunchy” inside jokes.



Starts at 27m45s.

I was drinking Jefferson’s Reserve bourbon (again). Paden was drinking Absolut vodka. Jthan was drinking Auchentoshan’s 12-year scotch.

  • Choosing a Linux distro for your enterprise environment
    • We mention a /. article that seems to be heavily biased towards Clear Linux but we have our doubts, as the entire thing seems to be a puff piece.
    • Clear Linux is indeed Intel-backed.
      • And it should run on Intel CPUs for the speed optimizations.
    • Criteria for an Enterprise distro: stability and point-released
    • We probably talked about Gentoo in the enterprise environment/for HPC in S2E1 during the “bleeding edge” discussion.
    • Paden’s point about the “Home Edition” is actually for ClearOS, not Clear Linux. See errata; we got ourselves confused here and there.
  • Mentoring a padawan (40m51s)
    • One-to-one mentoring has a long legacy in the *nix world, going all the way back to VMS/VAX and UNIX greybeards.
    • You’re going to have your own dynamic between guru/apprentice. What works for Jthan and I may not work for you and your guru/apprentice.
    • Corporate mentorship, depending on your mentoring style (or learning style), can feel too stifling.
    • Some people don’t want to be mentored (autodidacts, etc.)!
    • Passion for the skills/trade/industry you’re mentoring (whether you’re the guru or the apprentice) is very important. Probably the most important component of mentorship.
  • Let’s Encrypt now offers wildcard certs (and/via ACMEv2) (59m1s)
    • You need to use DNS challenges via TXT records to take advantage of this.
    • It’s still a little buggy, though, so be vigilant and make sure you report bugs.
    • I don’t think you can (or should) use wildcard certs across multiple servers; it’s more useful for virtualhosting one or more subdomains on a single server.
    • CA trust doesn’t really mean much these days.
    • Jthan mentions an article saying it’s possible to have multiple wildcard certs with multiple different keys. He however implied (or so I thought) that you could have one wildcard cert that works with multiple keys (you can’t — at least not without some serious intermediate fuckery). However, while what the article asserts — that it is possible to have multiple certificates, wildcard certificates included, issued for the same CN across different keys — is technically possible, I don’t know of a single CA offhand that will allow you to do this with a wildcard certificate in practice. It’d be much more practical to get a SAN’d certificate for the records that host will serve instead.
  • Sensationalism sucks. (1h6m40s)
    • Net Neutrality is a very important concept. That being said…
    • You do not win battles by hyperbolizing and sensationalism. This is divisive and only furthers the ignorance of those involved in making actual legislation at best, and makes you a shitty and manipulative person at worst. It only hurts your cause and makes you appear unknowledgeable of the thing you claim to support.
    • Net Neutrality is not covered by a single bill or act, it’s a concept that is worked towards by many – hundreds, potentially – of bills and acts and other legislative actions.
    • In closing: fuck clickbait, fuck hyperbole, fuck FUD, fuck the mainstream media, fuck people talking about things they don’t understand, and fuck radicalization.

Sysbadministration Award

In this segment, we highlight system administration mistakes. Think of them as the IT equivalent of the Darwin Awards. (1h15m6s)

Trustico is absolute trash.

See also this and this.


  • We didn’t catch it at the time, but I was so tired that I apparently pronounced “transparent” as “transvanporent”. See 18m51s; it’ll slip right by you if you aren’t listening for it (neither myself nor the co-hosts noticed it!).
  • When talking about Github’s DDoS, I may have implied that the “reflector” – the server with the open memcached sending the responses to the forged destination – would be the one sending REJECT packets. That should instead be “the forged destination would be sending REJECT packets to the reflector while the reflector is sending memcached responses to the forged destination”.
  • We occasionally referred to Clear Linux as ClearOS. That is something different.
  • Yes, Jthan, mentee is indeed a word.


Music Credits
Track Title Artist Link Copyright/License
Intro Orion I Pedro Santiago click CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0
Outro Sea Portrayal click CC-BY 4.0
(All music is royalty-free, properly licensed for use, used under fair use, or public domain.)



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