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Updated: 2 hours 39 min ago

Sysadmin vs SRE: What's the difference?

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 15:01

In the IT world, there has always been a pull between generalist and specialist. The stereotypical sysadmin falls in the generalist category 99 times out of 100. The site reliability engineer (SRE) role is specialized, however, and grew out of the needs of one of the first companies to know real scale: Google. Ultimately, these two roles have the same goal for the applications whose infrastructure they operate: providing a good experience for the applications’ consumers.

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Open education: There isn't an app for that

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 15:00

In 2010, I confronted a problem common to all public school leaders: How do we optimize our limited funding to bring powerful learning technology to thousands of students? Faced with an end-of-life fleet of student laptops, district-wide budget cuts, and teachers pleading for more technology, I made a small bet that open source software could be an affordable path forward.

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10 ways to get started with Linux

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 15:02

The article What is a Linux user? by Anderson Silva made it clear that these days people are as likely to use Linux (in some way) as they are to use Windows, as long as your definition of "using Linux" is sufficiently broad. Still, if you don't have enough Linux in your life, now is a great time to try Linux in a way you've never tried before.

Here are 10 ways to get started with Linux. Try one or try them all.

1. Join a free shell

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The case for making the transition from sysadmin to DevOps engineer

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 15:01

The year is 2019, and DevOps is the hot topic. The day of the system administrator (sysadmin) has gone the way of mainframes if you will—but really, has it? The landscape has shifted as it so often does in technology. There is now this thing called DevOps, which can’t exist without Ops.

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What's your favorite hobby AFK?

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 15:00

We are continuing our celebrating of sysadmins this month with another poll. This time, we want to know what you love to do "AFK" (away from keyboard). When you're not perusing system logs, are you lost in your favorite novel? Aside from the office, do you spend most of your time in the kitchen either cooking or baking? Or are you breathing in the fresh air, tending to your garden, biking, or hiking?

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Learn object-oriented programming with Python

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 15:01

In my previous article, I explained how to make Python modular by using functions, creating modules, or both. Functions are invaluable to avoid repeating code you intend to use several times, and modules ensure that you can use your code across different projects. But there's another component to modularity: the class.

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Copy and paste at the Linux command line with xclip

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 15:00

How do you usually copy all or part of a text file when working on the Linux desktop? Chances are you open the file in a text editor, select all or just the text you want to copy, and paste it somewhere else.

That works. But you can do the job a bit more efficiently at the command line using the xclip utility. xclip provides a conduit between commands you run in a terminal window and the clipboard in a Linux graphical desktop environment.

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How continuous deployment impacts the entire organization

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 15:01

In a continuous deployment (CD) software release strategy, any code commit that passes the automated testing phase is released automatically into the production environment. Automation replaces many manual steps and prompts dramatic changes in software delivery and operations.

While dev and ops get the most attention when talking about the impact of CD, its effects extend outside your IT organization in a variety of ways.

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How to be good at creating and maintaining systems at-large

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 15:00

Initially, this article was simply a review of the book, but as I got into it, I realised that I wanted to talk about how the approach it describes is applicable to a couple of different groups (security folks and open source projects), and so I’ve gone with it.

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Parse arguments with Python

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 15:01

If you're using Python for any amount of development, you have probably issued a command in a terminal, even if only to launch a Python script or install a Python module with pip. Commands may be simple and singular:

$ ls

Commands also might take an argument:

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6 open source web browser alternatives

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 15:00

Open source web browsers have come a long way since Microsoft dominated the web browser market with its closed source Internet Explorer (IE). For many years, IE was the standard browser for Microsoft's Windows operating system, while Safari (also closed source) was the default browser for MacOS. Then Mozilla's introduction of Firefox, followed by Google's release of Chrome, sparked a revolution in open source internet browsers. Those two are extremely well known but are not the only open source browsers available.

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Make Linux stronger with firewalls

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 15:03

Everyone's heard of firewalls, even if only as a plot device in a TV cybercrime drama. Many people also know that their computer is (likely) running a firewall, but fewer people understand how to take control of their firewall when necessary.

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What makes a good code review in DevOps?

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 15:01

Improving the software development lifecycle, the speed we deliver software to customers, and the quality of that software are all great premises of DevOps. They are goals that the tools and techniques prescribed by the DevOps movement attempt to achieve. As a developer, I feel freer to make changes rapidly, not just to source code, but also to infrastructure and configuration code. As a DevOps practitioner, my goal is to balance that freedom with quality and security. How? One tool we can use is code reviews.

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One CI/CD pipeline per product to rule them all

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 15:00

When I joined the cloud ops team, responsible for cloud operations and engineering process streamlining, at WorkSafeBC, I shared my dream for one instrumented pipeline, with one continuous integration build and continuous deliveries for every product.

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Get modular with Python functions

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 15:02

Are you confused by fancy programming terms like functions, classes, methods, libraries, and modules? Do you struggle with the scope of variables? Whether you're a self-taught programmer or a formally trained code monkey, the modularity of code can be confusing. But classes and libraries encourage modular code, and modular code can mean building up a collection of multipurpose code blocks that you can use across many projects to reduce your coding workload.

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How to use to infrastructure as code

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 15:01

My previous article about setting up a homelab described many options for building a personal lab to learn new technology. Regardless of whichever solution you choose, as your servers and applications grow, it will become harder and harder to maintain and keep track of them if you don't establish control. To avoid this, it's essential to treat your infrastructure as code.

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Sysadmins: What's your favorite snack when you're on call?

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 15:00

Sysadmin Appreciation Day is coming up on July 26. We're kicking off the month with a special sysadmin poll. When you're on call what type of snacks do you like to have on hand? Will junk food tide you over, or do you tend to choose healthier options? You know it could be a long night, so it's important to have the right stash to help you solve problems and stay focused. 

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2019 summer reading list

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 15:01

It is my pleasure to introduce the 2019 summer reading list. This year's collection includes 13 great books recommended by members of the community.

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FreeDOS turns 25 years old: An origin story

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 15:00

June 29 marks the 25th anniversary of FreeDOS. That's a major milestone for any open source software project, and I'm proud of the work that we've done on it over the past quarter century. I'm also proud of how we built FreeDOS because it is a great example of how the open source software model works.

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OpenAssessIt Tooklit helps improve website accessibility

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 15:02

People with disabilities often feel excluded from society, despite laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act and the UK's Equality Act 2010 that were created to safeguard accessibility for people with different abilities. This is even true on the web. According to the Web Accessibility Initiative:

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