The adventure continues.

After choosing to not continue the short-term contract with the financial company in Dublin, I took up the offer of permanent employment in Zurich. It’s been an interesting journey from locked-down Ireland to a cautious Zurich.

When my work contract was nearing its end, the company were not making the right kind of contract extension noises soon enough for my personal comfort, so I started looking hard for a permanent position. Contract work is good and all, but the benefits of permanence far outweigh the advantages I could leverage as a contractor in Ireland.

Since about November I had been having a conversation with a group in Switzerland about the possibility of coming on-board as a full time Switzerland-based employee. Those conversations were accelerated over the Christmas period, with some discussions with their technical people and their HR people. They decided I would be acceptable to be brought onboard to a panel that could then be sent onsite at this firm’s customers.

Once my skillset and a customer’s requirements were seen to match closely enough, more conversations were had – remotely of course. The end customer people decided I would suffice, and the appropriate paperwork was drawn up, and a start date decided upon based on my current contract’s end time.

Of course, the new position does in fact mean that I am changing residency. The plan is to be fully moved over to Zurich in a few months, and transferring pretty much everything over as appropriate.

There’s an amount of administrative work involved in emigrating correctly, and immigrating correctly to the Swiss nation. All to be expected though. Lots of forms to fill in, and lots of transport requirements to be met. Even more so now that there’s a Europe-wide set of travel restrictions..

Definitely a new chapter in the adventure..

Systemd stupidity – or why Poettering is an idiot

Yes I work as a Unix admin, and I’m getting so sick of “systemd”, that complete ball of crap that Poettering has foisted upon the Linux community. His poor quality of work has singlehandedly caused the most problems I’ve had to face in my day-to-day work in the past year, through his shoddy code, his abysmal system design and his complete lack of knowledge on how to do things the Linux way.

Things that systemd breaks, in no particular order, and I’ll update this as I see them:

  • The use of binary log files breaks the simplicity of administration with text files.
  • systemd returns silent or incorrect return status from script starts. Nothing quite like a return status of “success” when the script actually failed.
  • Attempting to deprecate /etc/fstab by using its own mounting system, breaking a known-working system
  • Because systemd is so large and broken, it no longer has a small target area for any attacks on PID1. This is a major security issue.
  • systemd breaks the philosophy of “do one job, and do it well”, as it subscribes the to the known-broken monolithic philosophy as seen in Microsoft products, as it attempts to be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none.
  • Poettering is also a poor responder to either bug reports or any warranted criticism of his project. There are many real bugs marked as wont-fix on the systemd bug tracker, and his comments on bugs are unprofessional and suggest that he has some issues to deal with, that should have no place in someone that manages a core server project.

I’ve seen systemd machines fail to reboot because systemd silently crashes on shutdown, with no console errors and no errors logged. That’s been fun to troubleshoot.

In short, systemd is utterly crap and is breaking Linux. There’s no surprise that there’s a groundswell of Linux admins that are working to remove systemd from their Linux distribution of choice. I choose to use Devuan, which is Debian that has been repaired by the removal of systemd.

See here for a great analysis of the situation.

Update, after a busy busy time.

So, it’s November. Wow the time is flying! So much has happened. So little time to play with.

Masters: Week 10 has just ended. Loads of assignments to complete for the next fortnight, then study for the exams that will complete the 5 modules that will constitute the first semester of the Masters of Engineering in “Information and Network Security” that I am currently pursuing in UL. It’s been good so far to get back to UL as a student but this time with an appetite for success that wasn’t really there in the past (for whatever reasons..). There’s a desire now to get through this with good results. I like the subjects, I’ve got a good crew of classmates and the craic is good enough. It’s tough for sure with time management being the hardest part so far. I have no spare time to relax this year. At all. It’s fun learning how to use Maple, MSProject and things like that. Weird having to buy textbooks again, but good to have them to refer to anyway.

Work: I’ve completed probation, and am now a fully fledged employee. The shift is not the easiest to manage but it’s not that bad – I still get to sleep at a somewhat sane time and it’s consistent at least. Some shifts of course I’m up the walls and I mightn’t get back to the house till gone half 2 or 3 o’clock with lectures at 9 or 10 in the morning and another night’s work the following night. Learning a lot, still got so much to learn. Trying not to forget what I learned at the start – that’s kinda hard.

Car: The Audi is paid off. Finally. It’s now just a car, with no intention from me of making it any better. It’s got too much mileage to consider tarting it up any bit, and it’s a useful tool to use instead of a pursuit in its own right. I don’t have the time to do anything really useful to it other than put diesel in every month or so. At least my driving mileage has severely decreased now that I’m back in Limerick full time. Due another tyre change soon, may but top-tier all-season tyres on it to safeguard me through the winter.

Sport: Very little time to get out on the Reign for a cycle. :( No time in a boat in quite a while – no free weekend gets in the way of that, but that is what I’ve signed up for! Put a deposit down for a good road bike for the Bike-to-Work scheme – a 2011 Trek Madone 4.5, secondhand, with uprated lighter Mavic wheels with the blade spokes. I’ll upgrade a few bits and pieces on that bike, including as good tyres as I can get. I will cycle to work on it at least once ;) and I’ll have to cycle home for lunch to get the car to drive home when the shift is over. It’s not good to be physically pumped at 2am trying to get to sleep. It’ll be useful to have that bike for the cycle around northwest France next summer just before Dave’s french wedding.

Other stuff: 5 years since fun and games, so that’s an interesting milestone passed. Nothing else of note there that I’ll put down here ;)

Astro: been out maybe 3 times since the start of the summer. Been pretty crap for astronomers in Ireland recently – and pretty crap for someone that works evenings and has college during the day! Starting to see the utility of a good quality grab and go setup that will give good views without needing to cooldown – maybe a 100mm short refractor on an alt-az mount?

Sarah: She passed her Viva with flying colours, a very positive impression from the examiners and a trivially small number of corrections before final submission of the thesis document. Her hard work and perseverance (and slight craziness) paid off big time. She’ll get the hood in January.


New work!

So I’ve started the new job. I’ve got me my new laptop (i5 2.5 quad, 4gb, 300gb) and a blackberry as well. Yesterday was getting my access card and getting set up on the company systems. I also got to see the toys I’ll be let loose on later – and there are a lot of toys.. Packed lunches are a good idea. It’s really nice to be able to wake up in Limerick and be at work ~10 minutes later. Another 3 weeks of orientation and training and I’ll be on the proper shift after that time. It appears that it is a great place to work, with a great group of people. Steep learning curve ahead!

So Goodbye to Galway, and coming back to Limerick!

After a useful three years in Galway, I’ve got another job now. I’m moving back to Limerick at the end of the month, to work for an american multinational based out of the Tech Park. I’ll be a Unix Systems Engineer working an off-shift, and I’ll get to take up a concurrent full-time Masters of Engineering course in UL.

Happy Days! A position that will further my career and improving my long-term career prospects, broadening my skillset, a step up in renumeration, doing a postgraduate course that is important to me, and it means that I’ll be able to spend more time with people that I care about (most importantly Sarah!). A side-effect will be that I’ll have all of my possessions and clothing in one place for the first time in three years and I’ll be able to chose what sport I can do in my free time as I’ll have all my sports stuff in one place to choose from!!


Observations on Sweden

The Swedish in Sweden in October are generally a very pleasant people. Terribly law-abiding, no graffiti, no litter, few elderly wandering the streets, no vagrant homeless, some fantastically pretty ladies who were very wrapped up for the miserable sleety non-snowy weather…

Holiday planning?

Upcoming fun and holidays – depending on the availability of holidays at work.

Verdon gorge for a weekend and a day or 2.

Wales for a bit of MTB with Mullins and gang.

Then there’s Istanbul with Sarah.