My wife is in New York with a friend on a shopping trip for the weekend. I can't sleep, and I am not used to having her away. I have gone a week at a conference before without her, but sitting at home alone (my daughter is asleep) while she is away is really hard - a lot harder than being out of town myself.
So, with beer, I thought that I would update my experiences with LDAP and share some thoughts on starting a business.
LDAP on Red Hat/Centos/Fedora is pretty damn easy to set up. I have been using authconfig and pam tp authenticate users and automatically create home directories. RH has a nice frontend with authconfig (and authconfig-gtk), so that all I have to do, after setting up LDAP, is add one line to /etc/pam.d/system-auth:
session required /lib/security/$ISA/pam_mkhomedir.so skel=/etc/skel/ umask=0022
I add this above all of the other session information and any user that logs in automatically gets a /home directory created with the default info in /etc/skel pushed over. Note that running authconfig removes this entry, so you will have to enter it again every time you run that tool.
I am documenting this and more, such as setting up email with Dovecot/Postfix. Right now, I can set up a nice server in about 15 steps. Postfix, which a few years ago was the easiest part of any setup, is now the hardest part. It seems like the rest of the Free Software world has caught up and surpassed - which is a great sign.
Well, I imagine that more than a few of you are thinking about setting up your own company. While I am no expert, I have learned a few things here and there and I would like to share them.
My business is still pretty small, but we are growing pretty well now. I got lucky starting up, as I had a pretty good idea what I needed from past experiences and I had a lot of friends who travelled down the same road as me who were more than willing to give free advice.
1. Get a good lawyer.
This has helped so much. Not only did our lawyer make sure that our paper work was in order, he gave us some pretty good advice on what to watch out for. He also put together templates for contracts (we are a consulting company) and made sure that all of our information was in order for the state. On top of that, he sent some business our way, and he is a good source to go to to make sure that the contracts we sign are in our best interest. Also, chances are that your lawyer has worked with business like your own and he or she can point you in the right direction.
2. Keep all of your receipts.
You can write off a whole lot. As soon as you really get your company going, you are going to need the write-offs. Taxes get messy and expensive, and being able to deduct things like your laptop, part of your house, any other computer equipment, and anything else related to your business.
3. Get an accountant.
Because taxes get complicated. Once you start a business (at least in the USA) you will start to really see how much money the government takes from you. If you can't get an accountant, at least get a Windows PC and a copy of Turbo Tax (there is a version that handles businesses like S-CORPs really well). Do not try to figure this out yourself. USA tax code is REALLY complicated. One of my partners is a CPA, and I still go to an outside source.
4. Do not get discouraged.
This might seem obvious, but discouragement leads to stupid decisions. It is okay to turn down a job that is not in your best interest - there is always more work if you have a good business model. Also, getting your foot in the right door might be hard but it is worth waiting. I know so many people that have lost their businesses because he/she felt like their business would be a loser if they turned down a job.
Thanks, hope this post is not too off topic for this site. Ignore my grammatical errors - I see a few right now but I have to get some sleep. Email me @ parkerc at i-vsn.com if you have any questions about starting your business (please, only if you have been involved with Free Software). If I can not help, I will at least try to point you in the right direction.