Things I Want to Understand Much, Much Better

I just wish there were more time in a day. So I could spend more time learning things I want to learn, and less time on those I don’t. Can I please have more time in a day to study? Can I please have more time in a day to learn? Can I please have less crap to do in a day?

During this week I am teaching a class on Network Services in Linux, and it has some really neat stuff. Day 3 and we are really covering some good ground.
Mostly, I can teach these concepts, but I find myself wanting more. I want to be an expert and understand every minute detail. I think I know it and then I teach it. What I realize is that I don’t really know it as well as I thought. My students learn it from me and I can portray what I mean quite well, but when I get to the nitty gritty, I wan’t to know it! COLD!

Here is a short list of things I am teaching that I’d like to understand better. I view this list as a task list of things to study over the next few weeks/months as an improvement of my skill and knowledge. If anyone out there has a desire to learn this stuff with me, I am always interested. To that end, this will be a sort of checklist for me to improve my understanding of some of these topics. As I do so, I will try to report back and talk about what I learned and the interesting features of each, problems I ran into, and things I liked/disliked.
Anyway, here is my list:

  • xinetd service management. I mean it makes sense for the most part, but what are all the options and what do they all mean?
  • Netfilter – I mean really, who knows that much about iptables anyway. Oh yeah, I want to, there is so much to learn about custom chains and managing a good firewall. I’d also like to understand more about ip6tables and its functionality.
  • Sendmail – As much as I despise the configuration file, I’d like to understand the inner workings of sendmail and SMTP much better. This actually goes for IMAP/POP3 as well. Its very easy to set up a simple one of these servers, but I’d like to manage some more complex configurations. Especially, things like spam assassin, and the Sieve mail filtering.
  • Sieve – This is a cool tool we use at work. I’d like to understand more about it in general.
  • Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) always has deceived me. I’d like to furthere understand how PAM interacts with *nix and its power.
  • AWK – What in the world can’t it do?
  • SpamAssassin – This and other spam filtering tools would be a great addition to my repertoire
  • Wietse Venema – I’d like to learn more about this guy and his creations. (He is the creator of tcp_wrappers and a network analysis tool called SATAN.)

The way I see it, Linux provides so many avenues to learn and the problem I encounter is the amount of time I get to spend upon these problems. I hope this list inspires me to actually dedicate time to learning about all of the items above. I also hope this may help you create your list so that I may know about other things I can learn about when I have had sufficient time with these subjects.



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2 Responses to Things I Want to Understand Much, Much Better

  1. Honor Wietse Venema and go Postfix. Game over for Sendmail.

  2. Christer says:

    I second the vote for Postfix. If you want we can sit down & talk mail-server one of these days. I’ve got a sweet setup using postfix + spamassassin + clamav.

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