Since Ubuntu is where my work has been going I've decided to become more involved in the community. I'm a Systems Administrator who is primarily responsible for Linux on over 300 desktop machines. I've been somewhat involved with Debian (I'm also a Debian Developer) for a while, but haven't been as active lately, partially because my focus at work on the installed base of Debian Woody machines is too divergent from where Sarge is -- I (am still) spending a considerable amount of time supporting an in-house distribution over 260 of the machines mentioned previously.
I've recently written a paper on mass administration that I gave a talk about at the 2005 Asia Debian Mini-Conf. I've already diverged from some of the specifics in the paper, but I plan on updating it in the future.
I've spent a bit of time with these packages either with backporting or modifying behaviour (but most of this was for local use) and have a good feeling with how they work:
- kernel-image-* (Dealing with your own kernel images sucked the last two years, I'm avoiding this at all costs in the future.)
- xserver-xfree86 (compiled it a few times, written a small patch for the mga driver to do composite sync)
- openoffice.org (small lpr hack to list printers with lprng, still need to re-open a bug on it.)
- gdm (had to introduce a mode to deal with users that have /bin/false so our restricted 'register' user would work. forced it so such user had no choices but 'Default' for session, etc.)
- autoinstall (don't really use this anymore, though. had a sizable local patch.)
- fai (we use this now, I've written some local scripts and have assisted other administrators on campus on how to use it with Ubuntu)
- ssh (also a good package not to maintan locally)
- rdesktop (modify license saving behavour to match multi-user installations)
I maintain some simple packages in Debian. I'm sort of ashamed I've not updated them lately, but none of them currently have any awful horrible bugs, either. I've also demonstrated that if I have time available I can easily help out with RC bugs.
Some of the things I hope to get involved in:
- xen (saw this on the breezy goals list. we've got a cluster of machines we give students root on and reinstall every semester. Only 8 right now, but could divide up those machines into multiple xen instances and have enough for a class of students)
- further automate mass package distribution and verification (currently I do this out of cfengine with a lot of commands to force things in when they break. I would rather build a control panel somewhere, most likely a web thing or something, that can tell me which machines have packages installed that were not previously approved, what packages can't be upgraded, what machines are missing security updates, etc.)