Linux Journal April 2012 Jill Franklin Editor
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A quick overview of what's in this special System Administration issue:* Engineer an OpenLDAP Directory* System Administration of the Watson Supercomputer* Puppet and Nagios: Advanced Configuration* The Pacemaker High-Availability Stack* Reviewed: ASUS Transformer PrimeDetailed overview: Sysadmins Ain't No FoolsThis year, April 1st lands on a Sunday. I always enjoy it when April Fools'Day lands on a weekend, because otherwise I get about a dozen phone callsthat go something like this[our stage is set with Shawn casually sipping his coffee, when suddenly thephone rings]:Me: Hello, technology department, Shawn speaking.Frantic User: Shawn! My computer was acting slow, then the Internet quit,and now I think I smell smoke!Me: I see. Have you tried turning it off and back on?Frantic User: HA HA HA HA HA! April Fools! I so got you, oh you should haveheard yourself, classic Shawn. You were so worried, oh man, that was great.I can't believe you fell for it!After the 3rd or 4th burning computer, smoking printer or meltedprojector, I start to wish April 1st was a national holiday so my userscould all just go home. This year, we can all sit back and enjoy the dayoff, thankful that the April issue of Linux Journal is focused on us, the sysadmins.Reuven M. Lerner starts off with some great information on APIs. If youwant to interact with other Web sites, programs or even some devices, theAPI system is how to do so. Reuven shows what that means when it comesto inclusion in your own programs. If your interests are more along thelines of scripting, Dave Taylor likely will pique your interest as hecontinues his series on how to be a darn dirty cheater in Scrabble. Ofcourse, I'm teasing, but Dave does explain how to use the power of scriptingto come up with some pretty amazing moves. I'll leave it up to you todetermine whether it's cheating or not.Kyle Rankin and I are most comfortable this month, as system administrationis right up our alley. Kyle gives a walk-through on using sar, a toolfor logging system load. Sure there are other tools for monitoring systemload, but sar does a great job of keeping historical records. I have a fewtricks up my own sysadmin sleeve this month as well, and I continue myseries on LTSP, describing how to tweak your server and clientsto get the most out of them both. LTSP 5 provides great flexibility onlocal apps vs. server apps, and I explain how to set them up.If you've ever been interested in the inner workings of IBM's Watsonsupercomputer, or if you ever wondered whether there's just somereally smart person behind the curtain speaking in a computer-like voice,Aleksey Tsalolikhin's article will interest you. He takes you behind thescenes and shows off Watson's guts, many of which are open source.Aleksey also had the chance to interview Eddie Epstein, who was responsiblefor getting Watson ready to compete on Jeopardy! Watson is quite an advanced system, and although it may not be perfect, it's disturbingly close. You won't want to miss the article.We have a trio of hard-core sysadmin articles this issue as well, all of whichshould be interesting whether you're a sysadmin yourself or just use asystem administered by someone else. Florian Haas writes aboutPacemaker, a high-availability stack for Linux. In this crazydata-dependent world, high availability is an important topic. Adam Kosminfollows that with an article on Puppet and Nagios. High availability isgreat, but unless you can manage your configurations, you'll have highlyavailable junk! Finally, Stewart Walters starts off his series onconfiguring OpenLDAP for unified logins. Multiple servers means multipleauthentication schemes, and when you add different platforms into the mix,things become complicated quickly. Stewart describes how to use one OpenLDAP torule them all.Don't worry if you're not a system administrator. As always, we have included tons of other things to tickle the fancy of any Linuxgeek. Aaron Peters reviews the ASUS Transformer Prime tablet/notebookdevice. If you're like me and think a tablet computer would be great ifonly it had a hinge and a keyboard, the Transformer might be just whatyou're looking for. We've also got product announcements, softwarespotlights and even a few cheesy jokes thrown in by yours truly. ThisApril issue of Linux Journal has something for everyone, and I'm notfooling. Until next month, remember, if your refrigerator is running, you'd better go catch it! -- Shawn Powers

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