Personal Sys Admins

I was talking to amazing (yet currently blogless) Greg Brown via Yahoo IM just now and telling him about the aptly named Awstats log analyzer that I just installed. It works and looks great! In case you want to install it on your Linux server, it's quite easy:

  1. Download the RPM and do the usual rpm -ivh awstats.rpm (This will put files in /usr/local/awstats and /etc/awstats - you need to have Perl installed already.
  2. Copy or make a symlink from /usr/local/awstats/wwwroot to your web directory
  3. Make a copy of the /etc/awstats/awstats.virtualhost.conf and rename it for each virtual server you have, for example "".
  4. Edit the conf files to point at your logs. The conf is pretty straight forward.
  5. From the command line, run the file that's in the wwwroot/cgi-bin directory with the -update flag. This should catch you up, though if there's a problem (like there was with mine) you may have to go into the conf and manually point at old log files to create the cached analyzed text.
  6. Done! Check out the results from the web by something like /cgi-bin/

While Greg and I were talking about this, he was saying that he's definitely going to try it out, but is in the middle of messing with his email. He's doing filtering, spam detection and more and wanted to get that all worked out before messing with something else. And that's when I said, "I hate all this stuff. I want my own personal SysAdmin."

Hey yeah! Why not? Look, we have doctors, dentists and mechanics, no? They work on something that's ours and precious for a few hours when needed (our bodies, teeth and cars, respectively), why not our web servers as well? I'm not talking about some 16yo hacker in Albania (or maybe I am) but someone that somehow has credentials. Why hasn't someone hung out their shingle for this sort of thing already? Look at all these bloggers out there with their own servers just to run MT and have decent email, but with little time and less real experience to make their servers work like they should.

Well, I guess some of us like to get in there and hack our way around ourselves - like your Dad with that old Chevy in the back yard. But there's bound to be others out there who want an certified expert on hand, to hand them the keys (root access) and for them to fix it and bills us.

Seems like a future to me. In the 2000s, *everyone's* going to have their own personal server, no? Or is that just me? :-)


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