From:"Sys Admin News" <>
Subject: Sys Admin Magazine -- December 18, 2003 News and Reviews
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 12:14:06 -0800

                 Sys Admin Magazine -- News and Reviews
                         December 18, 2003


The first installment in this web-exclusive series introduced the 
Expect tool and language. This installment shows how Expect models 
solutions for tests that matter to systems administrators. 

Microsoft Services for UNIX 3.0 provides a full range of cross-platform
services for integrating Windows into existing UNIX-based environments.
With a full-fledged UNIX subsystem built on top of Windows, you can run
more than 300 UNIX utilities, various scripting languages and even
full-fledged UNIX apps. Named Best Integration Software by Linuxworld,
SFU 3.0 allows you to take advantage of your existing UNIX skills 
within a
Windows environment.  Sign up today for a FREE online trial.

Test-driven Development, Expect, and Systems Administration   
by Cameron Laird 

There's a better way to do systems administration. 

That's my belief, anyway. To control at least part of the crisis-driven 
noise that so often plagues systems administration jobs, I favor 
"test-driven development" (TDD) practices. The first installment in 
series introduced the Expect tool and language. This installment shows 
how Expect models solutions for tests that matter to systems 

This article has been a particular challenge for me -- it involves not 
only several different crucial ideas, but different kinds of ideas. 
Precision about the role of Expect is an example of this difficulty. 

Where does Expect fit? 

As the previous article explained, I find Expect nearly indispensable 
rational Unix systems administration. Almost every week, I come across 
task that Expect solves in minutes, where other approaches would 
hours. It consistently pays big returns for the time I invest with it. 

Testing happens to be one of Expect's strengths. DejaGnu is a 
testing framework, arguably the most important such framework in the 
history of computing. Still going strong in its second decade, DejaGnu 
is most famous for its role in ensuring the correct function of the GNU 
gcc compiler on which Linux and so many other projects rely. DejaGnu is 
based on Expect. This article will provide a few samples of working 
Expect code you might use to illustrate the role testing can play. 

At the same time, though, the concepts behind Expect, and TDD more 
broadly, are even more important than their expression in any one 
language or tool. Even if you know you'll never write Expect scripts, 
you should keep reading. TDD is that important -- besides, the third 
final installment in this series will show how to do Expect-style jobs 
without Expect. 

TDD practices aren't new. While they've been around from the origins of 
computing, every information technology (IT) generation seems to need 
to rediscover and rename it. Moreover, systems administration has never 
accepted TDD with even a fraction of the enthusiasm I think it 

To read the complete article, visit:


	Sys Admin Call for Papers

Sys Admin magazine is looking for systems administrators who have 
a common problem in an uncommon way and want to share their solution 
with the only people in the world who will understand it: other systems 
administrators. Each issue has a theme, but we’re always interested in 
useful articles on any subject related to managing AIX, BSD, HP-UX, 
Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, and other UNIX/Linux variants. 

* Enterprise Administration -- We’re looking for practical, high-end 
discussions of storage, clustering, security, and advanced networking 
solutions based on your expertise and 

* Open Source -- We’re looking for original uses of classic tools such 
as Apache, Samba, and MySQL; custom solutions built from open source 
components; and descriptions of useful open source utilities. 

* Scripting -- Describe how you improved your life with the perfect 
shell, PHP, Python, or Tcl/Tk script. 

For more detailed information, visit:


     Newsletter Subscription Information

Please feel free to share this newsletter with interested parties
via email (not on bulletin boards).  To subscribe, see:

Email comments to:
CMP Media, LLC -- 4601 W 6th Street, Suite B, Lawrence, KS 66049 USA