April 2, 2020
By: gotwf

Catching Up...

Yep. It has been a while, eh? Teamcool Networks has been around since early days of the 'Net. Teamcool Rocks Blog, not so long.

That Was Then

I started the blog as a pragmatic response to an itch that needed scratchin'. Knowing how cool ZFS is from my FreeBSD and OpenSolaris usage, I was an early adopter of ZFS on Linux. [1] As fate would have it, I was also early to encounter some problems and get a few things figured out systems side before very many other bright and talented folks did. As ZOL began to gain traction I became somewhat of a "go to" guy on a couple IRC channels, at least with respect to various sysadmin aspects of getting it up and running. Go figure.

I am a naturally helpful sort but soon grew weary of repeatedly answering the same questions. I posted a few ZOL articles which soon became quite popular and prompted inquiries about other things like my workstation and preferred tool chains. It also seemed that at least some minor sub population appreciated understanding at least some of the hows and whys, over the more ubiquitous, and more oft than not, quick and dirty copycat copy pasta [2] "solutions" running amok in the tech blogosphere. So I wrote a couple more articles to elaborate upon said mysteries.

As the story goes, it did not take long for ZOL popularity to skyrocket in the Linux community after Ubuntu embarked upon the bold move of including ZOL as an option in their installer. A huge demand for articles more digestible by droves of entry to intermediate level Ubuntu Desktop Users ensued. The tech writers did not disappoint and rushed in to fill the void. Some had jobs sponsored by Big Company Dot Com’s. It did not take them long before the blogoshpere was awash with ZOL articles. Concomitantly, the increased uptake spawned demand for better tooling so getting started with ZOL became considerably easier. Hence, I did not see any need to elaborate further and called it good.

This is Now

Open source stepped up once again where proprietary leadership and stewardship were lacking and is collaborating nicely under the OpenZFS umbrella. I consider my ZOL stuff "historical context" at this stage and advise seeking more up to date references. The "Daily Driver Trifecta" and "Challenge to be Free" articles, however, weathered the passage of time well, are the most popular, and still prompt inquiries from time to time.

Recently I met some young bucks still wet behind the ears just getting exposed to Linux in their CIS programs. They have inquiries. Along with, in my view, some misperceptions and misinformation. So I thought it might be interesting to revisit some of those opinionated preferences and compare/contrast to where I am present day and mayhaps pen a few more articles.

Platform

Once you experience the joys of managing ZFS based storage, you’ll never look back. Hence, I favor Unixes where I can leverage the full ZFS goodness of things such as boot environments. [3] ZOL is cool but everything just works better on platforms where ZFS is a native, first class citizen. And that points to Unixes. Hence, my workstation platform of choice these past few years has been FreeBSD.

Server side I still favor SmartOS. I am also using some Linux, as some narrow minded Penguinista types insist on developing non portable software. In which case I stick with the cloud supported distros.

Window Manager

I still use StumpWM. In no small part because it rocks like no other in combination with Emacs. My workstation remains pretty lean and mean. My preference for CLI oriented workflows persists. Indeed, it would be difficult for a naive, pointing device dependent user to even get my workstation out of the driveway.

Editor

Yep. You guessed it. Emacs. [4]

Browser

No news here, either. Still using Firefox, although my plugin/addon mix has evolved a bit. Maybe I shall get around to elaborating on this but there is already so much information out there on browser privacy that it seems kind of redundant. We’ll see.

Terminal

I do not use VTE based terminals any longer, having switched to urxvt[5] shortly after returning to the Land of the FreeBSD.

I keep st[6] as a backup, just in case. I rarely use it. Kind of the acid test for the speed demons though, so I keep it around.

Poudriere Build Server

I added a spare Corei7 box to the mix as a build server for my own "gotwf stack" ports tree comprised of just over 400 packages with their options seasoned for my palate. Poudriere is a pretty slick way to manage package builds. Maybe more on that later.

Static Blog Engine

I have explored a few newer static site generators [7] but have not found one I like better for my use case than Cryogen.


1. More commonly referenced as "ZOL".
2. Ubran Dictionary: "A phrase referring to bad programming code where non-programmer would just copy sample code off of internet and paste it into their own work. This creates unstructured and bad architecture code known as spaghetti code. Hence the copy pasta code.".
3. a.k.a. BE’s.
5. a.k.a. rxvt-unicode.
6. a.k.a. simple terminal
7. a.k.a. SSG’s.
Tags: