December’s Defiant Sausage

This post went to Patronizers at the beginning of December, and the public at the beginning of January.

The longer I run this thing, the more I regret calling a buck a month “See the Sausage Being Made.” Because it inevitably gets shortened to “sausage,” and that leads nowhere good.

Similarly, I shouldn’t have named that one level “Video Chat.” Obviously, it should have been named “Meet the Rats.”

And my web store should never have used the word “chapbooks.” That’s technically correct, but nobody knows what it means. “Short fiction”–everybody understands that.

Oh well, I’ll have to change all of these in my Copious Free Time. A clear illustration that it’s better to do everything correctly the first time, which means extensive planning, which means never accomplishing anything.

But here we are. Last month of the year, and not dead yet. On to what’s going on.

I contemplated doing a Black Friday sale. This year, the Black Friday sales were more numerous than ever. It was overwhelming, and useless. There is no way to penetrate the noise. If I do a sale, it should be for something like Sysadmin Appreciation Day. Or perhaps for March 24, National Gelato Day. Yes, it’s an Italian holiday, but y’all are global and I respect a people who know how to celebrate the important things in life.

I’ve dragged “Run Your Own Mail Server” up to the rspamd section, where it immediately stopped dead. Work hasn’t stopped, but wordcount has. Rspamd is the right solution and many folks use it, but the documentation is designed for people who already know the tool. It’s gonna take me a bit to pull the software apart and see how it fits together from a sysadmin perspective, rather than the developer’s. Why do I say it’s developer-centric? It’s configured in UCL, Universal Configuration Language. I love UCL. UCL is brilliant. It lets you write configuration files in several different formats, including a plain text format inspired by nginx.

Rspamd’s configuration examples… are in JSON. Sysadmins might know some JSON, we can probably read it, but we don’t routinely write it.

You’re not supposed to edit the configuration files by hand? Fine. But the docs take us through them.

And don’t get me started on redis’ official docs. The first part I stumbled across was well done, which set artificially high expectations for the rest.

It’s not just these projects. The problem is endemic across the entire industry.

I guess that’s why y’all back me. I rage at basic software so you don’t have to. You can save your raging for higher-level software.

Rage is also why I write the orc stories. I got the baseball story I owe the orc Kickstarter backers written. It’ll go to copyedit this week, and then to my backers. Yes, y’all are my backers.

Speaking of stories, my Christmas tale Heart of Coal comes out today. I never knew that my life needed the phrase “tell Santa to stick it up his ho-ho-hole” in my life until I wrote it. Anyway, we’re just short of the Longest Dark when orcs traditionally exchange gifts, like meat and rocks and stuff, so I’m offering it to all my Patronizers. Grab a copy from Bookfunnel. As usual, this is for y’all so please don’t share.

I spent a fair amount of time on BSDCan this month. Sponsorship, the CFP system, and the web site all collided simultaneously. I wound up spending a few days in Dan Langille’s 2004-era PHP to get the site updated for 2024. Dan’s code is fine, for 2004-era PHP. I know perfectly well that the number one rule of completing projects is to do the hard part first, yet I let my committee relax about getting the infrastructure ready. I’ll have updates over at the BSDCan blog in the next couple days. I don’t intend to permanently chair the conference. Dan and I are both getting older, and we need to hand these responsibilities off to folks a few years younger. Plus, I have a whole bunch more books to write. Unfortunately, there are few people in the community who could lead the effort to split Dan into multiple parts. Once that’s complete, anyone who knows how to treat colleagues with respect and negotiate can serve as chair. I’m tempted to say “there’s got to be at least, oh, three folks in the BSD community who could do that” but the truth is, there’s a whole bunch of them.

It’s December, and that means I’ll have the usual all-Patronizer hangout. Everyone’s welcome. This year it’ll be in the evening, at least for me, so hopefully folks who haven’t been able to attend before can. Sorry Europe, gotta mix it up a little. I would like to declare that this was the result of deliberate planning rather than screwing up the morning/evening alternation earlier in the year, but that would be a lie.

I hope to see a bunch of you there. Until next month!