Focus: System Administration

The most important person in any company is most likely the system administrator.

With the increasing dependency on computers by most companies today, the most important person in any company is most likely the system administrator. I know we depend heavily on ours. The hard disk on our server crashed the day we were to start layout last month. Dan Wilder, our sys admin, worked his magic to get us up and running in less than half a day. Without him on site, downtime could conceivably have stretched long enough that we would have missed our print deadlines. His solution was a temporary one but it got us past the critical time, and he has since replaced the disk completely.

Home users are their own system administrators and get to know the fun of logging on as root to give themselves more power. Along with power comes responsibility, and keeping the system secure for users—even if only yourself—is a high priority. We have an article this month for the new user about how to make your system secure after installation, as well as one for the more advanced user on keeping the domain name system secure.

We also have an article for company system administrators dealing with integrating Linux in a large-scale network with other systems. Last but not least, we start a two-part series on Virtual Private Networking, a cool way to protect your network. And, of course, don't forget the Strictly On-Line articles (see upFRONT) which include four system administration topics: transparent firewalls, building a firewall with IP chains, Kerberos and Expect.

Awards

We will be attending Comdex about the time this issue is printed in order to give out the Editors' Choice awards and choose the Penguin Playoffs award winners for the Linux Business Expo. Linus Torvalds will be there too, and will present the Penguin Playoffs awards at the same ceremony. Editors' Choice awards are announced in this issue. Penguin Playoffs and Readers' Choice winners will be announced in the January issue.

—Marjorie Richardson

1999 Editors' Choice Awards

Every year the choices get harder to make with so many exciting new products coming to the Linux world. Already it is getting hard for critics to say “Linux has no applications.” Difficult as it was, we made our decisions and here they are.by Jason Kroll, Marjorie Richardson, Peter Salus and Doc Searls

Workings of a Virtual Private Network, Part 1

In this two-part series, Mr. Morgan tells system administrators all about VPNs: describing the technology and discussing the building blocks used in constructing one on a Linux system. VPNs allow you to connect remote networks to the local network, ensuring privacy to both, even through a public link.by David Morgan

Post-Installation Security Procedures

When you have finished setting up your system and connecting to the Internet, the next priority is securing your system from outsiders who might want to break in for fun or nefarious purposes. Mr. Harari gives us some straightforward advice on the best ways to secure your system.by Eddie Harari

Security Name Servers on UNIX

Security is an important issue for every system, and securing the domain name system is imperative, due to its connection to the Internet. Learn about the vulnerabilities in BIND and how to protect your system from cache poisoning, inverse-query buffer overruns and denial of service. Establish control of your system today.by Nalneesh Gaur

Corporate Linux: Coexisting with the Big Boys

Linux has the power to coexist with other systems, UNIX or not. If you are looking to integrate Linux into a large-scale production network, here's how to do it. Mr. Gudjons discusses NIS, NFS and unified login scripts, all necessary to a successful integration.by Markolf Gudjons

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