Monthly Archives: March 2009

How to choose a root password that you’ll remember

Root passwords and Administrator passwords: Too simple, and you expose the security of the whole machine. Too complex and (if you’re like me) you forget them. With the number of passwords we all need to retain now, what do you do?

A greybeard Unix admin once let me in on the answer to that question, and I’m going to tell you now.

Start with a three word pattern. Anything that a peurile mind like mine will retain. For example, let’s use the phrase Peet’s Coffee and Tea. Bin the and, so you have:

Peets Coffee Tea

Get the first two characters of each word and bung them together, and you get:


Add some other characters to your mental password generator, like this:


Exactly how you transform a phrase into a password is up to you, and should be kept secret. Sharing a new password then becomes easy because you can verbally give your colleagues a phrase that they can remember:

“Hey Bob, I changed the root password”


“Yeah, it’s not the coffee one, it’s Zombie Flesh Eaters”.


Job done. I once had to disclose a password to a man that had been the subject of an uncomplimentary three letter phrase. That wasn’t good. Try to keep it impersonal.

UK Job: Build Manager in Southampton

Update: they found someone for the role. All done.

I’m not planning to make these a regular feature, but the nice guys at
Specsavers in Southampton are looking for a Build Master. Details in the PDF. Do tell them that you saw the role here if you apply.

Continuous Integration is not a silver bullet

It’s very easy to implement continuous integration as part of your enterprise agile transformation. Install some software and point it at your enterprise version control system. That box is ticked. But you just failed to implement CI. Why?

CI is a human process. Automated Continuous integration is meant to make it easier to implement that process. If you have developers who check in at the last possible minute, or who make the build green so they can pass all your enterprise quality gates and deploy, you aren’t doing CI. Sorry.

What use is a silver bullet anyway? Not much. Unless you use it to kill your NNPP.

Note: the Build Doctor and it’s contributors do not advocate shooting and/or killing any programmers. Or anyone else, for that matter.

(Image by dbking)

Update on St Patricks Day

  • Apparently some people who do .NET would like to hear my opinion. I’m actually shocked. I’ll try and throw in the occasional compare and contrast with the .NET world.
  • The results from the survey are in. Thanks to those cast their votes. Most people don’t seem to mind job ads on the blog. What was surprising to read was that most respondents identified themselves as developers. i had guessed that build managers would take top billing. I’m looking out for a tasteful way to add job ads without blink tags.
  • Now that my talk (look near the bottom of the page_ at QCon is done, I hope to post more often again. There’s a few posts and an article for a magazine in the pipeline.
  • I’m trying to save up links for one post on a Sunday. Like the other day’s.
  • Other links now tend to get thrown out there on twitter.

links for 2009-03-15

VIDEO: Atlassian Bamboo 2.2 released with EC2 support

I met Kirk Wylie last night at the QCon London conference party. He had some good things to say about the new Bamboo release.

The Atlassian guys did email me about the release, but Kirk got there first with an eloquent speech …

Tagged ,

links for 2009-03-08

Job survey, redux

I posted a survey on Friday, and yanked it the same day. Sorry, it was pants. Sorry too if you got an RSS feed entry or a tweet about it. My bad.

I have made a different and hopefully better version. If you could take the time to answer 3 questions, you get to help steer the decision I make on this. Thanks in advance!

Link to survey