“Sudo Mastery 2/e” sponsorships available

People, especially those who have previously sponsored my books, keep asking me when the sponsorships for the second edition of Sudo Mastery will be available.

I don’t intend to start seriously writing this book until the end of April. May has Penguicon and BSDCan, which will take lumps of time out of my schedule. I meant to hold off. But people ask enough that it’s turned out to be easier to open sponsorships than keep answering “not yet.” So:

Here’s ebook sponsorships and print sponsorships for the second edition of Sudo Mastery.

Patronizers, of course, will get their name in this book as their patronage level dictates.

And as a reminder: I now have a mailing list to notify people when I’m ready to take their money for no good reason I have sponsorship opportunities.

Ebook sponsors get their name in the mobi and PDF versions. Print sponsors get their name in every version of the book, plus a physical gift to show my gratitude.

Why am I not starting work on this book until late April?

My health was iffy for the last couple of years. Now that the bad half of my thyroid is out, I feel much better.

But during those two years, I started four novels. I finished zero, because I lacked the energy to drag the book through the critical middle. That many incomplete manuscripts has built up into a mental bugaboo, a nasty little voice in my head that says I can’t finish a novel any more and that I’ve lost the mysterious “it” and I should get a job as a hamster cage cleaner.

If I take two-three weeks and pound hard on Terrapin Sky Tango, I will a) finish a novel and b) get that little voice to shut the heck up. I know what the rest of the book is. Sort of. Okay, I know where the climactic final fight is, that’s close enough to knowing the ending, right? And it’s a blood-and-guts novel, which comes more naturally than eating gelato. I’ve spit out some successful short stories after that bad lump of Lucas Loaf got extracted, so I know the fiction-writing brain works again.

I just need to grit my teeth and spend some time with Beaks, crushing that inner critic. Which isn’t that bad. I mean, if I get killed hanging around with her, she’ll feel bad about it.

“Sudo Mastery, Second Edition” and Cover Art

“FreeBSD Mastery: Jails” is out for tech edit. Reviews are due back on the 25th, so I can get it to the copyeditor before I leave for a writing conference on the 28th. Right now the manuscript is laying fallow and I’m not allowed to look at it. Next week, I need to be able to read what I actually wrote instead of what I think I wrote.

That means I need something else to work on. I scheduled a bunch of chores and stuff this week, plus fixing the women’s shelter computer lab, so it’s not a good week to buckle down and finish Terrapin Sky Tango. But I had enough time to dig into outlining my next tech book, a new Sudo Mastery.

This was originally prompted by various publishing industry neepery reasons, but as I’ve dug into the docs it turns out that a second edition is warranted. There’s lots of new options. Features I didn’t cover in the first edition have grown more knobs and do merit a mention. cvs2ldif is no longer a thing, thankfully. And Sun’s iPlanet LDAP server has been eaten by The Beast and rebranded as the Oracle Damnation Directory or something. Fortunately, the LDAP stuff hasn’t changed much. My LDAP setup is much smaller than when I wrote the first edition.

The hard part is, of course, the cover art.

I always post requests for suggestions on Twitter and Mastodon. I can count on three responses.

  • Munch’s The Scream — Endlessly applicable to any topic in IT. I want to do something special with this one. I don’t know what that “special” is, but it’ll come to me.
  • Any number of paintings by Hieronymus Bosch — I adore Bosch. His work will get used as a wraparound for the cover of “Ansible for {Artisan|Legacy|Heterogenous} {Systems|Networks},” which has moved towards the top of my queue but isn’t ripe yet. (That wraparound will go around the inside of the hardcover dust jacket, by the way. It’s going to be glorious.)
  • Dogs playing poker — because Americans.

Thinking about it, though: dogs playing poker might actually fit here. Specifically, “A Friend in Need.”

Dogs playing poker, and cheating
A Friend in Need, 1903

Why this one? Cheating.

I can have a couple Beasties, a couple Tuxes, a Dragonfly, and a Puffy playing poker. Sudo runs on all of those. I’d like as many actual mascots playing poker as I can get, though. I know that sudo runs on OSX, but there’s no mascot. Am I missing any big mascots? (Note that I’ve considered and consciously rejected a gnu. I won’t give press to a group whose front man declares that conference codes of conduct doesn’t apply to him.)

Also, who should be passing the card, and who should be receiving it?

“FreeBSD Mastery: Jails” first draft complete

After far too long, I have a complete first draft of “FreeBSD Mastery: Jails.”

I have quite a few FreeBSD developers doing tech review for it. They’re the folks most qualified to check my work. I’ve also made copies available to sponsors and the Patronizers who will get a copy of the finished ebook, mostly so they know that the book really exists.

This means I have a whole bunch of folks offering feedback–almost, but not quite, more than I can handle. I promised I’d post here when this book reached the point where I could use technical feedback on the book, though. So, if you’re really qualified to tech review a jails book, and you desperately want to spend your next couple weeks doing just that, drop me an email and tell me why you should be a reviewer. Don’t assume I know who you are, because I’m ignorant of dang near everyone.

Now if you excuse me, I’m gonna go stare blankly into space until my brain restarts.

MWL’s 2018 Wrap-Up

I set some ambitious goals for 2018. How did I do?

There’s a few reasons why. A relative fell off a roof and suffered a traumatic brain injury. I’m the family member that won’t get fired for not showing up to work, so I handled a bunch of it. There’s something about arguing with hospitals and rehab clinics that totally saps one’s mental energy. I lost a few months of productivity.

I figured that was why I was tired and slow. But: no.

Enter HP Lumpcraft, also known as “the abomination formerly known as the right half of my thyroid.” The surgeon did a fine job. It looks like I won’t even need a zipper tat to cover up the scar.

Theoretically, a slowly escalating thyroid debacle explains last year’s anemia.

With HPL out, I’m feeling better than I have in a long time. Sadly, my cardio is utterly shot. I haven’t only been forbidden to exercise for the last few months, I’ve been forbidden to do anything that made me sweat. Apparently a “thyroid storm” could stop my heart. That sounded bad. I chose to become one with the recliner.

The upshot is, in 2018 I wrote 51,000 words of nonfiction. They appeared in:

FreeBSD Mastery: Jails was delayed by the aforementioned TBI and thyroid. It’s about half done.

On a more upbeat note: SSH Mastery and Relayd and Httpd Mastery are available in hardcover. And to my surprise, you people are buying them. All future tech books and novels will appear in both hardcover and paperback.

I wrote 121,800 words of fiction. That should be at least a novel, but unfortunately I didn’t finish any novels. Finishing a novel demands a mental clarity I lacked. All my the fiction that actually entered the world was:

Winner Breaks All will be issued as a standalone in 2019, as soon as I get the rights back. When I get the rights back to SttH, it’ll go to my Patronizers but not to the general public. Giving SttH a cover that matches the Immortal Clay tales is prohibitively expensive, and short stories don’t make that much.

Here’s a partial pic, minus Face Less and BSQ #4. I’ll post a true final 2018 pic once my copies of both arrive.

2018 in print

So what does 2019 hold?

I am assuming that the thyroid lobectomy fixed my root cause problem. It’s a hopeful assumption, yes, but I can’t plan based on the idea that my health is still mysteriously fubar. The only evidence I have for this is that my word-per-hour productivity more than twice what it was before surgery. That’s the only indicator that matters, right?

First, I must exercise. A healthy writer is a productive writer. I gained a good twenty-five pounds this year, and blame HPL for every one of them. My double chin is his fault. Losing weight is straightforward: eat well, and exercise. The latter is where I’ve fallen down.

I’m working back up to an hour of forms first thing in the morning, five days a week, plus 2-3 nights at the dojo. I started today with ten minutes, and plan to add a minute a day. Yes, that’ll stagger back and forth as my body demands. I turn 52 this year, I can’t charge full speed ahead any more.

My flexibility is gone. You are as young as you are flexible, and my physical inability to kick people in the head really wounds my soul. After each bout of exercise I’m spending fifteen minutes on the stretching machine. For the record, this morning I hit 49″ between my ankles, or not even a right angle. This measurement is personal to me and this particular stretching machine, but the only person I’m competing with is me, so it’s all good.

I still have the standing desk. I’ve been using a stool most of the time since September, but standing full-time is the goal.

The last health goal is to master a split keyboard. Should make my shoulders happier. The Kinesis Advantage2 made my wrists happy, but rather than the Kinesis split keyboard I decided to try a Keyboard.io because the connector cable is a standard cat5. The Kinesis split keyboard has a built-in cable that maxes out at twenty inches, which is too limiting for my eventual use plan. (As I work at a standing desk, I’m pondering strapping a keyboard to each thigh and truly relaxing as I write.) I’m already pretty well adapted to the keyboardio, except for the all-important arrow keys. My most frequent key combination, CTRL-SHIFT-arrow, is kind of annoying on this critter.

I’m breaking up my word goals a little differently this year. Last year I wanted to write 600,000 words. This year, I want to write 50,000 words a month, or… 600,000 words in the year. Only words meant for inclusion in books and magazines count towards the 50kwpm goal. This blog post doesn’t. Book announcements don’t.

Why do it this way? A yearly goal is difficult. You can’t get to December and go “oh crap, I’m 200k words behind!” and make it all up. With a monthly goal of 50,000 I can get to January 25th, say “Oh, crap, I’m 20,000 words behind!” and make it up in a couple of long-but-not-impossible days. I’ve written 18,500 words in one day when I really needed to. (No, I won’t tell you which words they were… but you lot bought them, read them, and told me you enjoyed them.)

That’s 2-3 hours a day, six days a week. It leaves time for tech research, experimenting, and testing, plus the annoying minutia of being self-employed. (Sometimes, owning the means of production kind of sucks.)

Also, if I fail one month, next month is a clean slate. I want to set goals I can achieve. Psychologically, it’s better for me to say “I met my goal ten months out of twelve” than “I failed my 2019 goal.”

So, there we are.

What books will those 50,000 words per month be? FreeBSD Mastery: Jails for sure. Probably second editions of N4SA and Sudo Mastery, because of stupid publishing industry reasons. But I honestly have new content for both, so that’s okay. Finish novels I started, like git sync murder and Terrapin Sky Tango.

After that? You’ll know when I know…

Auction Winners

The auctions are over. (They ended late Saturday, but I spent Sunday traveling and couldn’t get the post up.)

The OpenBSD auction went to Jared for $1000, crushing poor Cybermonk.

Cybermonk did triumph in the FreeBSD auction, however, with a top bid of $325.

Congrats to the winners! Send me the receipts for your donations to the respective Foundations and your mailing address, and I’ll get your books to you. (Technically, Ayaka will be mailing the OpenBSD book; she’s taking it for a couple more signatures this week.)

My condolences to those who lost the auctions. Remember, you can still donate and get that warm feel-good dopamine from being a good person.

Ugly Pics of AF3e auction signatures

The auction of Absolute FreeBSD 3rd edition signed by the FreeBSD devs attending MeetBSD is underway.

Gathering the signatures is also underway.

Here are some cruddy pictures taken with my cellphone while sitting in the devsummit audience.

A similar auction for my last OpenBSD book raised $1145. Consider this a challenge to the FreeBSD community.

The overwhelming theme of the commentary seems to be “apologies,” which is slightly worrisome but the cluster admins say “everything is fine” so I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about.

Developer-signed “Relayd & Httpd Mastery” hardcover

This post is for bids on the brand new first-ever hardcover edition of Relayd & Httpd Mastery that I’m going to have signed by every developer I can catch at MeetBSD. Proceeds go to the OpenBSD Foundation.

Rules are on the announcement page, but in short: the auction ends on 20 October 2018, at the close of MeetBSD. Each bid must be at least $5 more than the prior bid. I’ll hand over or mail the copy upon getting a copy of the receipt for the OpenBSD Foundation.

The auction takes place entirely on this page. Folks at MeetBSD get no special advantage.

FreeBSD & OpenBSD fundraisers

TLDR: FreeBSD auction here, OpenBSD auction here. Bids on this page will be ignored.

The brand-new third edition of Absolute FreeBSD is in one of my greasy mitts right now. As is customary, I’m using this to persuade other people to give money to the FreeBSD Foundation.

In unrelated news, I’ve just come up with a hardcover version of Relayd and Httpd Mastery. I have the test proof of that book in my other greasy mitt. I might as well use this to persuade other people to give money to the OpenBSD Foundation.

In my third greasy mitt, I’ll be speaking on Why BSD Saturday morning at MeetBSD.

As I’m going to a con anyway…

I’m taking an AF3e and this R&HM proof to MeetBSD. There I’ll get as many FreeBSD and OpenBSD devs as possible to sign them. There’s a FreeBSD devsummit the day before the con, so I should be able to get a bunch there. I don’t know how many OpenBSD folks will be there, but I’ll grab any of them I can capture with my fourth greasy mitt. (I’m told at least a couple will be, and I’m really looking forward to them asking questions of our esteemed Intel hosts.) I’ll probably get the MeetBSD con chair to sign, because why not?

I’m proactively auctioning off both of these for donations to the respective Foundations.

The auctions will run in different posts, here on this web site, from now until the evening of 20 October 2018. That’s the last night of MeetBSD. Yes, I’m hoping to run up the price.

Some comments and rules.


  • Is this a cynical scheme to raise money for further development of assorted BSD-related projects?

    Yes.

  • Do the Foundations know you’re doing this?

    No. Why would they? This is between you, me, and the random committers I get to sign the books.

  • Why do this here, instead of an auction site like eBay?

    Partly because authors normally do this sort of thing on their web pages. Partly because it simplifies the running of the auction. And partly because it means I have no financial connection to the results. Touching donated money causes me weird non-financial risks, thanks to the unholy trifecta of how federal and state law interacts with my family situation. (No, I won’t explain that. It’s personal. Deal.)

  • Why not have each Foundation run this, then?

    They’re busy doing real Foundation work.

  • Why not just give money yourself?

    While I make more than the US national average, almost anyone who reads these books makes tens of thousands of dollars more than I do. Past auctions have shown that y’all can pay far more than I, when motivated by some silly prank inspired to do so.

  • When does the auction end?

    6 PM PST Saturday, 20 October 2018. Or sometime shortly after that.

  • That’s a stupid time. Where’s my countdown timer?

    It’s convenient for me. It also will discourage last-minute sniping.

    If last minute bids are coming in fast and furious, I’ll let it run until bidding stops for five minutes or so. Fight it out fair and square.

  • When does the auction start?

    When I hit “publish” on this blog post.

  • How do I bid?

    Comment here with your bid amount. Each bid must be a minimum of $5 more than the previous bid.

  • How do I track competing bids?

    Check the “Subscribe to Comments” box when you bid.

  • Where will the winner be announced?

    On a separate blog post a day or two after the con. I’m traveling the 21st, so I’m not sure how this will work out. You can read the comments and see the winner, though.

  • How do I claim my prize?

    You have three days to make your donation. Send me your PayPal receipt.

    If the donation is sufficiently large, I might ask you to give the Foundation permission to tell me that you actually donated the money.

  • What if the winner doesn’t pay?

    The prize falls to the #2 bidder, who I will contact.

    I won’t blog that the #1 person sucks, but I will say that they didn’t donate and thus the award falls through to #2. You’re perfectly capable of determining a person’s suckage level on your own.

  • What exactly will the winner get?

    A copy of the book you bid on, defaced by developers, leading community members, and myself.

  • Where are the detailed rules?
    In my head.

    Looks, this is supposed to be fun. You know how an auction works. We’re all in the BSD community. But if someone plays silly buggers, I am the final arbiter of how an auction works. I don’t make money no matter how this turns out.