S3E3: "Ranting Lunatics"

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Recorded (UTC) Aired (UTC) Editor
2018-04-01 22:44:09 2018-04-09 03:04:29 "Edita"
Format SHA256 GPG Audio File
MP3 f9b3bb353b1b830217ebd9b70022a51659a01caffb47c0c5e3d5437ef3141f25 click click
OGG 6125f296dd65e775caea9780fd89a043fdd9ae842f6881ea4e3c10bffd31cc0b click click

In which we expound upon mentoring and choosing enterprise distros. We also deliver the as-promised language-package-manager rant.



Starts at 27m7s.

I was drinking Jefferson’s Reserve. Paden was drinking Miller Lite. Jthan was drinking Stranahan’s American Single Malt whiskey.

  • Mentoring (pt. II)
    • I mention (again) ESR’s guide to asking smart questions, which is fantastic for a process to follow.
    • Finding a mentor
      • Look for people who contribute a lot. Bug reports for projects you’re in, share a lot of (useful) code, offer a lot of good input on mailing lists/IRC channels/etc.
      • They’re usually at the more technical (and less flashy/less “fun”) conventions/conferences.
    • Finding an apprentice
      • Passion/invested interest/curiosity is a hardline requirement.
      • Compatible personality that matches yours is ideal.
    • Why you should do both
      • There will always be someone that knows more than you about something, and the goal is to never stop learning.
      • Teaching others helps you learn.
      • Having an apprentice exposes you to newer tech/implementations coming out.
      • Being both master and apprentice helps keep our industry alive.
  • Choosing an enterprise distro (pt. II) (Thanks, raindev!) (42m32s)
    • What makes something a “good” enterprise distro; what requirements are generally needed for this (and what do you have at your organization)?
      • Stability and point release are big factors, with scalability being a close third.
      • Jthan brings up a great requirement, enterprise support available from the distro publishers themselves (i.e. not community support).
    • Why rolling release isn’t the best model for an enterprise organization.
      • Version-pinning – known set of bugs and vulns to account for and work around, helps you treat the fleet as “cattle, not pets”.
      • Rolling release is, by nature, more prone to breakage as new package releases come out.
        • This doesn’t make it bad, inherently, it just requires far more attention than should be applied to an entire server release.
    • What needs might be considered specific to your organization?
      • The specifics of your environment is going to be the primary deciding factor.
      • “The production environment is not a place to learn; it’s a place to do.”
      • Debian vs. RHEL vs. SUSE?
        • CentOS lacks enterprise support. It’d be fine for a small-medium business, but not for an enterprise platform.
        • SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) is MUCH more popular in e.g. Germany than in the US, where RHEL is more popular. If you’re in Germany, you should probably go with SLES because it’ll be easier to staff the operations team that is comfortable with SUSE-specific implementation.
        • The culture and region around your enterprise’s heart should be congruent with your enterprise’s implementation.
  • Our rant about independent package managers (pip, npm, etc.) (59m47s)
    • The “developer mindset” is to favor the language-specific package manager over the system package manager, even when available from the distro repos.
      • This creates an ugly mess between distro-provided modules and out-of-band packages.
    • Jthan thinks “in this day and age” where we have virtualenv, that should be used always. I disagree; this is part of the overcomplicated and messy “developer mindset” and Jthan’s use case is by no means standard experience.
    • We mention FHS.
    • This is what disagreements between Jthan and myself off-air usually look like.
    • R sucks because it’s much harder to version pin.
    • We at least all agree that Node.js/NPM sucks.

Sysbadministration Award

In this segment, we highlight system administration mistakes. Think of them as the IT equivalent of the Darwin Awards. (1h36m19s)

Drupal released a critical security update. Great! Except they failed to have an infrstructure that could support everyone downloading it at the time of release.



Music Credits
Track Title Artist Link Copyright/License
Intro Albatross Qusic click CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0
Outro Tiny Tiger Brazzmatazz click CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0
(All music is royalty-free, properly licensed for use, used under fair use, or public domain.)



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