Friday, January 17, 2014

DiscoverBSD 2014 - interview with new writer Nur Agus

2014 is here, so kinda time to make something new. Well, not only because there is a change in year, but ...

But straight to the point.

I am really happy to announce that +DiscoverBSD has a new writer!

His name is Nur Agus and I made an interview with him, so you can find out more about him.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself?

A man, currently employed as a technical consultant and pre-sales. Meaning I develop (or honestly sell) solutions to our customers regarding with their IT requirements, both in development or infrastructure. Mostly involved enterprise products. Beside that I also 'manage' plus-minus 20 virtual-systems in my company. I got some friends who help me with it. Most systems are using Linux operating systems, and few systems are on Windows.

I was introduced to computer when my father bought an XT clones when I was 6 years old. We were managed to upgrade our family computer, until I got my personal computer when I was 12. I wish I learned UNIX-clone or C instead of Windows and BASIC, but that was already in the past. My first experience with Linux was on 2002 with SUSE-8. It was 8 or more installation CDs that I bought in nearby computer market. I managed to install it on my Athlon XP. I still remember my friends came and tried mahjong game. That was fun.

Due to my jobs, I am accustomed to branded UNIX operating systems, namely AIX, UX, and SOLARIS. The majority of my customers still using those UNIXes although some already migrated to Linux. Although BSDs are not as popular as those 3-UNIXes and Linux in enterprise environment, but it is a promising operating system for open-source built deployments due to its long-standing credibility as stable and robust server operating system. For example, FreeBSD community has been ported ZFS and it is very active in development.

Also OpenBSD is probably the best OS for routers. Though our experience with Linux as router is rather smooth, but replacing it with OpenBSD could give us many advantages, such as smaller footprints, more readable PF rules, and so on. And I have started this project to replace our Linux router with OpenBSD. My admin friends are excited with this plan, and they are preparing the new infrastructures.

Q: How did you came to idea to use OpenBSD instead? Did you have any problems with Linux?

Linux is performing quite well as a router. Our rulesets are mostly simple: NAT, port-forwarding, port open and block, burst, and logging. This router has been served us for more than 3 years and we faced only one problem, that was when the disk failed. We were forced to restore the OS and iptables ruleset.

I am considering openBSD after I learn its pf.conf file and smaller footprint.  These time we were wondering why iptables doesn't give a configuration file. We save our iptables ruleset to a restorable file, but it is different way of thinking. We are not supposed to edit iptables saved-file and restore it. And we think we are more accustomed to config files.  Currently, our router has 2GB RAM. We put also saprouter in the same OS. This is not a best practice. We are planning to have smaller RAM for router, and putting the saprouter in a DMZ. With openBSD we can have less RAM for router so we can build separate OS for saprouter.

Q: Do you use BSDs somewhere out of work?

Well, this is a rather difficult question. Yes, my job is sysadmin related with UNIXes, but it is also my hobby. If you asked whether I use BSDs for leaisure such as watching movies, playing musics, and so on, I haven't use BSDs for those activities. I still rely on my macbook and ipad. 

I have one thinkcentre machine with openBSD and mainly it is for browsing, sometimes I do some works, and as a backup storage. 

Only, if you consider MacOS is a BSD, then yes. I do almost everything (computer related) with BSDs.

:)
Q: Do you work on some side projects? 

Currently I work on one side project with some friends, related with mathematics. But it is still on the idea brainstorming pace so I haven't really involved, yet. I hope DiscoverBSD can be my second and last side project. My normal job and 2 side projects is I think my max.
I think it will be easier for both of us if I can commit some schedule within a week, how many hours I will spend for DiscoverBSD.
Q: Fair enough. Let's talk about DiscoverBSD. What do you want to bring to readers?   

I've always been inspired by LWN on their technical writings and content. They are really good. But I know that my technical writing capability will not be able to produce articles with those quality. So I am thinking of something in-between OMGubuntu and LWN.

Q: Do you have some specific area in mind that you would like to cover?

I want to cover little bit deeper. That said, I will skip some tips on GUI (e.g how to achieve this on XFCE openbsd) but I will be happy to cover networking and interfaces, filesystems, services (sshd, nginx, apache), and of course, PF.

 Q: Where can people contact you if they want you to write about some specific question?

I think people coould reach me at my google+ page. My e-mail traffic is so busy so messages get buried so fast.
Thanks for interview! 
Another thing is that DiscoverBSD is now at twitter: follow us at @janhovancik
Wanna join our team and publish here? Contact us on facebook, twitter or google+ page!