Usability of software: The challenges facing projects

I have always desired the usability of software like Directory Server to improve. As a former system administrator, usabilty and documentation are very important for me. Improvements to usability can eliminate load on documentation, support services and more.

Consider a microwave. No one reads the user manual. They unbox it, plug it in, and turn it on. You punch in a time and expect it to “make cold things hot”. You only consult the manual if it blows up.

Many of these principles are rooted in the field of design. Design is an important and often over looked part of software development - All the way from the design of an API to the configuration, and even the user interface of software.

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LCA2017 - Getting Into the Rusty Bucket

I spoke at Linux Conf Australia 2017 recently. I presented techniques and lessons about integrating Rust with existing C code bases. This is related to my work on Directory Server.

The recording of the talk can be found on youtube and on the Linux Australia Mirror .

You can find the git repository for the project on github .

The slides can be viewed on slides.com .

I have already had a lot of feedback on improvements to make to this system including the use of struct pointers instead of c_void, and the use of bindgen in certain places.

State of the 389 ds port, 2017

Previously I have written about my efforts to port 389 ds to FreeBSD.

A great deal of progress has been made in the last few weeks (owing to my taking time off work).

I have now ported nunc-stans to freebsd, which is important as it’s our new connection management system. It has an issue with long lived events, but I will resolve this soon.

The majority of patches for 389 ds have merged, with a single patch remaining to be reviewed.

Finally, I have build a freebsd makefile for the devel root to make it easier for people to install and test from source.

Once the freebsd nunc-stans and final DS patch are accepted, I’ll be able to start building the portfiles.

Openshift cluster administration

Over the last 6 months I have administered a three node openshift v3 cluster in my lab environment.

The summary of this expirence is that openshift is a great idea, but not ready for production. As an administrator you will find this a frustrating, difficult experience.

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The minssf trap

In directory server, we often use the concept of a “minssf”, or the “minimum security strength factor”. This is derived from cyrus sasl. However, there are some issues that will catch you out!

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