Documentation

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In the world of Free Open Source Software (FOSS) documentation can often be at a premium. This is unfortunately especially true when looking for documentation relating to using such software in a production environment. The documents on this site aim to rectify that by providing how-to style documentation guiding a user through the process of installing and configuring a variety of software commonly deployed on servers.

At our parent organisation, Hacking Networked Solutions, we often lamented the lack of suitable documentation for providing those new to working with the software we use with the basic skills and knowledge they needed to contribute effectively to the team with the minimum of wasted time covering irrelevant topics. The vast majority of the documents in the sections below started from an internal effort to produce such documentation.

As most of these documents started out as part of an internal documentation project a basic knowledge of the Gentoo Linux operating system is assumed as is a working knowledge of basic shell commands and syntax. In an effort to make these documents of maximum use to the widest possible audience each document usually begins with an introduction to the concepts covered as well as some reasons why following the guidance laid out there is potentially desirable. The documents are then often further broken down into basic, intermediate and advanced levels which are mostly expected to be completed sequentially.

We have attempted to organise the documentation into logical categories under broad headings which should give a good idea of what kind of information they contain. Each section contains a brief summary of the type of documentation which can be found there as well as a comprehensive table of contents for all the documents in that section.

Applications

Once you have a secure reliable base to build from it is time to think about the functionality which any production system will be required to provide. Due to the demands placed on modern systems many different software packages are usually required to be installed and configured correctly at the same time, usually on a limited hardware platform.

Deployment

Whilst deployment can refer to almost all stages of turning a planned computer system into a real implementation this section will concentrate on concrete techniques and systems which can be used to assist the deployment of Gentoo Linux in a production environment.

Management

Competent system management is essential in any organisation if their computer systems and other networked devices are to deliver optimum performance. This section aims to provide a variety of documents which can streamline and simplify the routine tasks performed as part of general systems and network management.

Reliability

Reliability is, as all competent system administrators know, one of the most critical features of any production system. This section is devoted to techniques which can be used to increase the reliability of a computer system at both the hardware and software levels.

Security

Besides reliability there is no other equally important feature of a production system than security. If a system is not secure then no matter how reliable it is or how advanced the functionality which it offers it is nothing more than a liability. This section examines methods to improve the security of individual applications as well as complete computer systems and networks.