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Handshake
Promotions are great, but blindly taking just any promotion can lead to misery. Here's how to get one, especially one that suits you.

There’s plenty of general advice when it comes to career advancement, such as, “Work hard and you’ll get ahead.”

General advice can start to feel a little pat—too simplistic to put into action, or too difficult to measure. Surely, it’s not as simple as, “Work hard and watch the promotions roll in.” Not to mention, how would you know if it’s the right promotion. Is it one that matches your goals?



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Lights
There are many ways to set a hostname. Some are more efficient than others.

A hostname is a human-readable string that helps people refer to a computer by a familiar name, rather than by a number or unwieldy descriptors like, "the third one from the bottom of the second-to-last rack." Often, a hostname is set during the installation process, but there are times when it needs to be changed. On Linux, there are many ways to set a hostname, and this article aims to cover them all.

Topics:   Linux  

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A fork in the path
With path units, you can monitor files and directories for events and use them to execute service units.

Today’s systemd reads its initialization configuration for each daemon from a collection of unit files, which are often just called units. With path units, you can monitor files and directories for certain events. If a specified event occurs, a service unit is executed, and it usually carries the same name as the path unit. I will show how this works with a simple example.

Topics:   Linux   SysAdminDay  

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Knife
When backups fail and files are lost, it's time for emergency measures. Dig into lost partitions and recover your missing files with Scalpel.

As a system administrator, part of your responsibility is to help users manage their data. One of the vital aspects of doing that is to ensure your organization has a good backup plan, and that your users either make their backups regularly, or else don’t have to because you’ve automated the process.

However, sometimes the worst happens. A file gets deleted by mistake, a filesystem becomes corrupt, or a partition gets lost, and for whatever reason, the backups don’t contain what you need.

Topics:   Linux  

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Wolf
Lone wolf sysadmins cause short- and long-term problems in team environments. Here's an example of where things went wrong, and also when things are done right.

If you have worked in system administration for a while, you’ve probably run into a system administrator who doesn’t write anything down and keeps their work a closely-guarded secret. When I’ve run into administrators like this, I often ask why they do this, and the response is usually a joking, "Job security." Which, may not actually be all that joking.

Topics:   Sysadmin culture  

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Different shoes
Need to know whether the contents of two software repositories are the same or different, and if different, where? Check this out.

Just the other day, I was working on something that required me to look at two different builds and compare the packages that differ between them. One way to do so was to look at the build log or version table, but that would require writing extensive logic to parse and compare the packages and their versions.

After some further searching, I found this Repodiff man page. The command looks like this:

Topics:   Sysadmin Day  

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Hard drive
Need to recover lost partition data and the files that went with it? TestDisk may be the answer.

In How to prevent and recover from accidental file deletion in Linux, we addressed local and remote backups, how to reduce your file recovery drama with smart management of file deletion commands, and general best practices for responding to file recovery emergencies. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and hardware fails. One tool to turn to when it’s time to recover lost files or filesystems is TestDisk.

Topics:   Linux  

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Skyscraper
Think system administration jobs limit what industries you can work in? Think again, with these eight interesting roles.

Two of the enduring appeals of system administrator role are its adaptability and portability. While the job may go by various titles, sysadmins exist in just about industry, company size, location, and other variables. It also evolves with technological change and the broader IT landscape. This makes sense: What organization doesn’t need a problem-solving technologist who, in the simplest terms, makes sure everything works?

Topics:   Career  

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Pencil erasers
There are practices that can help you reduce desperate pleas to recover lost files, but eventually, something will go wrong. Here's how to avoid file deletion drama, prepare for when it happens, and respond efficiently.

You've gotten the lecture before, or else you've given it to someone else: The best way to recover lost files is to back them up in the first place. Unfortunately, accidents happen. People delete files they didn't mean to delete, and they plead with their friendly system administrator to recover everything. Consider this overview of practices, programs, and techniques to cut down on file recovery drama, and improve your disaster response.

Topics:   Linux  

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Cow
Need to draw attention to something at the command line? Try cowsay, or one of these other terminal tools, to highlight what's important in your scripts.

Sometimes when you're working at the command line, even the most seasoned sysadmin can see a wall of text and interpret as, well, just a giant wall of text.

It's not that you don't understand what's going on, it's just that there comes a point at which we all suffer from information overload. There's a cognitive limit to how much information we can read and interpret at one time, even when we're familiar with the subject matter and have lots of practice skimming.