Home Linux Environment

All VM’s are in Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) format for cross compatibility between VMWare Fusion & VirtualBox.

Fedora KDE Desktop & CentOS will be my RPM distro’s of choice. Fedora is officially sponsored by RedHat and CentOS is basically RedHat Enterprise Linux without the branding or firsthand support.

Kubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server will be my Debian distro’s of choice. Ubuntu Server is what we use at work, so it is relevant, and my Linux System Administration eBook is based on Debian.

I don’t mind that I have supplied all the passwords online as this lab is based on a private network without any external access to/from the Internet. It is more of a reference for me and could serve as a template for anybody else looking to build a home lab. I’ll create a diagram as I go along and publish it once the lab is fully completed.

Hostname = ubuntu-srv01
IP Address = DHCP for now (Bridged)
Username = sysadmin
Password = homelab
OS = Ubuntu Server LTS 12.04.1
Services = Base install – planned DNS server

Hostname = ubuntu-srv02
IP Address = DHCP for now (Bridged)
Username = sysadmin
Password = homelab
OS = Ubuntu Server LTS 12.04.1
Services = Base install – planned Email server

Hostname = ubuntu-srv03
IP Address = DHCP for now (Bridged)
Username = sysadmin
Password = homelab
OS = Ubuntu Server LTS 12.04.1
Services = Base install – planned LAMP server

Hostname = ubuntu-srv04
IP Address = DHCP for now (Bridged)
Username = sysadmin
Password = homelab
OS = Ubuntu Server LTS 12.04.1
Services = Base install – planned SSO server

Hostname = centos-srv01
IP Address = DHCP for now (Bridged)
Username = sysadmin
Password = homelab
OS = CentOS 6.3 Netinstall
Services = Base install – planned Firewall

Hostname = kubuntu-vm01
IP Address = DHCP (Bridged)
Username = kubuntu
Password = homelab
OS = Kubuntu Desktop LTS 12.04.1

Hostname = fedora-vm01
IP Address = DHCP (Bridged)
Username = fedora
Password = homelab
OS = Fedora 17 KDE


New Homepage

Even though uptime is typically 99.999% I can get a quick overview of all the Apple online services by having this webpage be the homepage for my browser.


The End?

10 days have passed since going off the radar and in that time I have been reflecting on everything that has occurred in 2012. A lot has happened both professionally and personally all of which I am very grateful for and very proud of the gutsy decisions I have made. They are all paying off well and so as 2012 comes to a close I have set my sights on 2013.

I want to keep the same level of momentum going an hopefully continue to take risks when needed and make the most of every obstacle I encounter along the way.

Also, within these last 10 days I have read a time management book! Something I started a while back, but ironically did not have the time to complete.  

One thing the author is adamant about and is key to near perfect time management and getting things done is to be consistent not just in the actions you take, but in the systems you use to complete those actions (from simple tasks to full on projects).

I started this blog almost six months ago (June 23rd 2012) with the end goal of reaching a state of true platform agnosticism. I took pride in being able to hop from OS to OS, whether it be mobile or desktop, and be able to pick up from where I left off regardless of the device I was using. The main goal was to avoid vendor lock-in and strive for a neutral system experience that provided me freedom from the walled gardens.

What I have learned in the past six months is that there is almost no escaping the walled gardens. This time last year the term “walled garden” typically referred to Apple’s set of technology services. However, since then I have discovered that all the big players in this space are heading in the same direction. The technology war is no longer based on who owns the most desktop marketshare anymore, but rather who provides the best ecosystem and the friendliest experience within that ecosystem. 

Despite a very mediocre search app Google is refusing to develop and support any of its applications on the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms. In the meantime Google is also pushing Google Play services for Android, which is direct competition at Amazon’s multimedia offerings. It makes sense from an integration perspective, but not if you want choice and wish to utilize other services. 

As Microsoft plays catchup they are favouring their own Xbox branded multimedia solution and Apple of course has iTunes, which is the longest running online store. 

Even Ubuntu has the Ubuntu One Store for both apps and multimedia, so it seems apparent that all the players (big or small) are adopting the same approach of providing users with a tailored environment for obtaining software for each respective platform. 

So, seeing as this is clearly the way things are going to be from now on I thought about the following two things:

  1. As part of my GTD strategy for 2013 I should be consistent in the platforms and applications I use on a daily basis both professionally and personally. 
  2. The app and multimedia ecosystem I choose should match the platforms I utilize in item #1

With that said then the platforms and ecosystem of choice is going to be Apple’s OS X, iOS, iTunes, and iCloud. I already have the hardware (15″ MacBook Pro and iPhone 4s) and have been using prior models of Macintosh computers with OS X since 2001 and iPhones running iOS since 2009. In that time I have invested lots into the iTunes ecosystem, so financially it makes sense to continue utilizing it as all of my purchase history is synced and I do not have to start afresh within a new ecosystem.

The apps that I run between OS X and iOS are consistent and all sync via iCloud. Those apps are:

  • Safari
  • Mail
  • Notes
  • Calendar (iCal if you’re an old timer like me)
  • Reminders
  • iWork
  • iTunes
  • iMessage
  • iPhoto
  • FaceTime
  • Skype
  • Things

You may think then that it would be logical to take this opportunity to mark the end of my journey to becoming a platform agnostic technologist, so is it over? 


The author of the same time management book I referenced earlier is also a renowned System Administrator who shines the light on the importance of being a PAT when it comes to purchasing and maintaining the IT infrastructure that you manage/support for your company. 

If you can avoid vendor lock-in in that area it can save your company lots and lots of money should you ever need to switch vendors down the road. This isn’t explained within the time management book, but in his The Practice of System and Network Administration book. Yet again, this is a book I have not read in its entirety, but will revisit in the new year once I have a number of other items checked off my new to-do list 🙂

To conclude then, this notion of PATism that I have will no longer apply to my personal computing life, but instead I will only apply it to my professional computing life.  

More to come…


For the last few weeks I decided to uninstall the Facebook app from my iPhone with the ambition of cutting down on my time spent on social networks. This has proved successful, but as time went by I noticed I started checking Twitter and Google+ more and more.

It’s actually quite ridiculous especially as I don’t really know anybody on Twitter or Google+ in comparison to those that I know on Facebook. I guess my brain (and I’m sure I’m not alone) just needs some sort of excuse or need to “check in”.

So, I am now going to uninstall ALL social networking apps.