Awesome Conferences

August 2012 Archives

I'm so proud of my coworker Thomas Bushnell giving an amazing talk at LinuxCon, the Linux Foundation's annual North American technical conference. For the first time Google revealed details about how Google manages thousands of Linux desktops. We start with Ubuntu LTS, add a packages that secure it and let us manage it better, and ta-da!

Read the entire article!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Google

Occasionally I get asked for a system that can keep a todo list and calendar and sync to a desktop directly i.e. without going through a internet-based system like Google Calendar. Pimlical has a new product that does this. I haven't tried it, but I was a big fan of their Palm OS products so I thought I'd give it a plug on my blog.

The new release of Pimlical/Android and Pimlical/Desktop let you sync between your Android phone and desktop using "DirectSync" rather than syncing via Google Calendar. The press release I received says this "Removes any concern about security/safety of personal data by bypassing the cloud and Google's servers."

Pimlical -- the successor to DateBk6 that now supports Windows and Android platforms. DateBk6 was my favorite Palm todo list management software.

More information here:

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Time Management

Congrats to Matthew on the release of his new book: Pro Website Development and Operations: Streamlining DevOps for large-scale websites

I look forward to reading my copy!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Publications

My ACM Queue magazine article OpenFlow: A Radical New Idea in Networking has been re-printed by CACM. Their version uses a different font and adds an awesome graphic by Jason Cook.

Check it out!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli

HowToGeek posted a great explanation (with screenshots) of how to use Google's two-factor authentication on a Linux system.

How to Secure SSH with Google Authenticator's Two-Factor Authentication

If you use FreeBSD there are packages that install the same PAM module:

portinstall -P security/pamgoogleauthenticator

Some nice features:

  • It is time dependent. Does not rely on Google servers. You don't have to set up a server either.
  • There are iPhone and Android apps. Both are open source so you can independently verify their security.
  • It is a PAM module, so it works with everything. It is also open source, thus can be independently verified.
  • When you configure a user it prints a URL to a QR code that you can visit with your phone; no need to manually enter the key.
  • When you configure a user it prints 5 "emergency scratch codes". Print them, keep them in your wallet. If you lose your phone you can log in with those.
  • The "google-authenticator" utility is easy to integrate into installation scripts. It has a non-interactive mode ("-f").


Posted by Tom Limoncelli

As many of you know, I work at Google supporting the Ganeti open source project use within Google. I'm on the New York team that does certain functions and the Munich team is responsible for the open source project itself. Both are hiring, but this post is about Munich.

The developers in Munich are taking on some new and exciting work related to the Ganeti open source project. We have a vision of where Ganeti can go and need experienced developers to make it happen. If you are interested in working in Munich on an exciting and important open source project, please check out this job advert:

Google hiring Ganeti software developers in Munich

Most of the Ganeti project is in Python with some Haskell. Experience with C, C++ are also listed in the advert.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Ganeti

We're 3 years old and as we have finally gotten our foothold it seems like a good time to pick a name that more accurately depicts who we are and what we do. Changing the name of the conference is a very serious matter. It is not something we take lightly. At the current growth rate this is likely to be our last opportunity to change the name (our registration numbers for the first three years were 81, 98 and 127. We hope to grow to 150-200 which is a good size for a regional conference).

At the end of PICC '12 we surveyed the audience about possibly changing the name of the conference. We asked for a show of hands and nobody liked one of our first idea. Literally nobody raised their hand. However when we suggested "LOPSA-East" people actually cheered.

We've been asking for suggestions for the last few months but not have had such a great reaction as "LOPSA-East".

After discussion with the board and other stakeholders we've decided to make it official. Starting in 2013 the conference will be known as "LOPSA-East (formerly PICC)". Our old URL will always work but the new URL will be

The conference chair for LOPSA-East '13 is Adam Moskowitz! You may know him from BBLISA or other fine events and organizations. LOPSA-East '13 will be held May 3-4, 2013 in New Brunswick, NJ.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in CommunityConferences

My talk will be titled, "Time Management tips for Mac Admins". I won't be explaining how to get Siri to schedule an appointment for you (you should be able to figure that out for yourself). I'll talk about better ways to organize your day, your time, and multiply your team's effectiveness.

The Conference is October 17-19, 2012, in Los Angeles, at the Sheraton Universal hotel.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in ConferencesSpeaking

My cable company (Verizon FIOS) doesn't carry NASA TV channel (according to the NASA TV FAQ they can have it at no cost, which means they must not carry it because they hate space, America, freedom, and puppies).

Since it is on very late in my timezone, I was hoping to Tivo it but since I don't get the channel that wasn't going to work. Luckily I found this script that lets me easily record the stream to disk using mplayer. On my mac I installed mplayer using MacPorts ("sudo port install mplayer") and the script worked on my first try.

I've put a copy of the script here:

Happy watching!


Posted by Tom Limoncelli

Mark's Stories: "The carpets are so clean, we don't need janitors!"

At one company I worked at, one of the problems it didn't have was IT. When someone was hired, by the time they got to their new desk, there was a computer on it with the correct image on it, their desk phone worked, their email worked...

Follow the link for the full story.

This is exactly why we felt it was so important that The Practice of System and Network Administration have an entire chapter about how to have great visibility when things are going well.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli

"There is a myth that IPv6 is only for those in Asia, but that's not true. According to new data discussed this week at an IETF conference, there are more IPv6 users in the U.S than anywhere else in the world -- coming in at 3 million. From the article: 'George Michaelson, senior R&D scientist at APNIC (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre) has a reasonable idea of what the current levels are globally for IPv6 adoption, thanks to some statistical research he has been doing. In his view, IPv6 is now a reality in terms of adoption. "I think you're used to us standing up and saying 'woe is me, woe is me, v6 isn't happening," George Michaelson, senior R&D scientist at APNIC (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre) said. "But it is actually happening, these are not trivial numbers of people that are now using IPv6 on a routine basis."'"

Quoted from

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in IPv6Industry