Letters to the Editor

NDS support from Syntax? Reps say, Not yet, but soon

This month: Connectivity columnist Rawn Shah calls on Syntax to satisfy a reader's need to know. Plus: July's Career column sparks several cents' worth of input from career contractors; praise for Mo Budlong's Unix 101 tutorials; and NFS server troubleshooting with Adrian Cockcroft

August  1998
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Connectivity: "Unix in sheep's clothing," by Rawn Shah

[Read Me]http://www.sunworld.com/swol-07-1998/swol-07-connectivity.html

Looking to integrate with NDS


Our environment requires NDS support within Syntax, so we can pass out the password files, etc., to our Novell servers. I understand this won't be supported by Syntax until the end of the year. Is this correct, and if so, do you know of another way of integrating into an NDS environment?

Robert Cotter


I spent a little time looking and then gave up. Instead, I asked Syntax directly. For now, here's their response. I'll also look into other ways of integrating into an NDS environment.

Rawn Shah

Here's what the reps at Syntax had to say:

With our current TotalNET Advanced Server (TAS) v5.2 software, Unix user accounts must be managed by native Unix administration tools. As a future enhancement (first quarter of 1999) we plan to have TAS be NDS-aware, i.e., able to proxy authenticate to a native NDS server, participate in the NDS tree, and be viewed as an NDS resource.

We are making progress in the development of the support of NDS, but we set very rigid standards for our engineering efforts to provide 100 percent server accuracy and ensure the client's reaction is what is expected from any Novell server.

The Unix ACLs (Solaris and other platforms), which we support, provide many opportunities to allow Syntax to provide with TotalNET file services the same type of permission set that one would expect from Novell trustee rights.

We aim to provide to customers the power of an underlying Unix server, while still providing the transparency of a native file and print server. Our current TAS, although not NDS-compliant, provides a resource file and print server that allows for consolidation for fail-over and security, while providing a stable and reliable environment. This is the interim until NDS support provides many virtues our current Novell customers enjoy.

Performance Q&A with Adrian Cockcroft

[Read Me]http://www.sunworld.com/swol-08-1998/swol-08-perf.html

NFS server not responding


I'm a support SE working for a Sun VAR. I have a customer that is getting NFS server not responding messages frequently throughout the day. A few automounted RPC timed out messages are mixed in.

The customer tells me this problem started after they changed their netmask from to However, only two Suns are acting this way.

Do you have any pearls of wisdom regarding these messages?

Jamey Crumpler


I've seen this kind of NFS problem before.

Most likely, it's due to a routing problem. Use traceroute or % ping -sRv to see where the packets are getting lost.

It sounds like they've messed up their IP addressing setup. Perhaps the name service says one thing and /etc/hosts says something else, or their DNS server is failing over (check /etc/resolv.conf if they have one to make sure all the servers are reachable).

Adrian Cockcroft

Career: "Contracting: Is it a chance to learn or a potential for skill-set atrophy?" by Edgar Saadi

[Read Me]http://www.sunworld.com/swol-07-1998/swol-07-career.html

Two cents for choices grounded in reality


I would like to add a few words to last month's discussion of the merits of consulting versus the traditional career path.

First, let me state that I have been a business development manager for a number of consulting firms in the last four years, and that prior to that I spent more than twenty years in a traditional career with a large systems integration firm.

I heartily endorse your position that the majority of people will learn and/or progress further in a traditional career path, although my reasons may be a little different than yours.

I see two critical determinants: organization qualities and personal qualities. A really good organization recognizes the long-term competitive value of information technology and of the skilled people who can provide it. A really good organization is concerned with the ongoing professional development of its technical people, and shows that concern through commitment to training, tools, conferences, participation in standards groups, etc. A really good organization can be either a traditional employer or a consulting group, but frankly, not everyone is equipped to be a consultant.

Successful consultants (whether independent or employed by a consulting firm) must be equipped for the headaches, administrative responsibilities, and feelings of insecurity that go with the profession. Not everyone is. As a result, most people would be well advised to start their career on a traditional path, working for what they determine to be the best available organization (the one that appears most able to meet their professional and personal needs).

Periodically, it's important to reassess organizational and personal qualities, along with personal progress and performance. Make choices grounded in reality, not mythology or recruiting hype. And keep in mind that there is no "right" path. The only right path is the one that works for you.

Frank J. Hannaford

Essentials of contracting: Drive and vision


I've been a contractor for the last 13 years of my 18-year career, and I can testify that I have succeeded in reinventing myself continuously.

Contracting allows you to maintain control over your resources and invest in yourself. How often do you see jaded employees stagnated from lack of investment in their training? Contracting or permanent -- if you don't have drive and a vision of where you want to go, both are dead ends.

Managing a contracting "career" requires shrewdness, vision, and valuing oneself as someone who is to be nurtured; and viewing oneself as a business, with all the associated rough and tumble.

Rajeev Arora

Praise for Mo Budlong's Unix 101 column

[Read Me]http://www.sunworld.com/swol-08-1998/swol-08-unix101.html

A must for any novice


I would just like to compliment you on a job well done. Your Unix 101 tutorials are excellent. They are well explained and easy to follow -- a must for any novice. I've learned a lot and feel that my skills have improved very much using them. Keep up the good work!

Cesar Lopez

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