Rachel "Sparks" Blackman (seattlesparks) wrote,
Rachel "Sparks" Blackman

Elaboration on Sysadmin Hell

Some folks have wondered why I'm trying to set up such a non-standard system.

Firstly, the choice of RedHat 9. The new colocation company I went with uses RedHat 9 or Windows by default for hosted servers they build. I prefer RedHat, of the two. I was a Linux user for my servers in the past, and then I swapped to FreeBSD. BSD has had its own problems, but the main one -- the one that's really burned me too many times in the past -- is that UFS softupdates are NOT the same as a journaling filesystem, and no journaling filesystem exists for FreeBSD yet. (Read the FreeBSD mailing lists if you want the whole debate.) RPM is an ugly package management system, I do not deny that. I miss FreeBSD's 'pkg_*' tools already, as well as the ports system...RPM, in comparison, sucks rocks inasmuch as the versioning stuff is way strict. But I do /not/ miss the constant fsck prompts when a BSD box loses power uncleanly.

Secondly, the choice of a SQL database as a backing system. Noderunner currently has 190 shell accounts. One-hundred and ninety, folks. I don't even remember who some of them are, even though I vaguely remember adding them. A lot of them are multiple accounts for the same person. Some of them are things just there to be POP3 mailboxes. Others are there to run a MUSH for someone else on the system. My thought in all this was that I wanted to create a SQL database which stored users (such as 'Rachel Blackman'), accounts (such as 'sparks' and 'packet') and accounts that are only mailboxes (such as my Trill2Go gateway mailbox). These records would all be tied together -- the 'Rachel Blackman' user would have the 'sparks' and 'packet' accounts and the T2G gateway mailbox, for instance. Then logins would pull from the shell account table, and mail would pull from the union of the shell account table and the mailbox table. Services -- like MUSHes -- would be associated with specific users, thus automatically adding them to the appropriate 'group' and so on. The idea was to make my life easier for tracking down who and what a given resource on my server is. 'cause relational databases are, y'know, good for setting up relational data. :)

Of course, the SQL system is bringing its own problems into play. But I still want to be able to create things that are mailbox only, for POP3 and IMAP, and I still would prefer to have a way to associate accounts and users. I suppose I can keep SQL a separate system and not use the user table out of it, but...
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