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<< 7 / 2010 9 / 2010 >>

What's in a name? FoxT product renaming

2010-08-31 00:00:00

Over the past fifteen years the product we've come to know and love has changed names on numerous occasions. BoKS has changed hands a few times and with each move came a new name. All of this has led to a rather muddled position in the market, with many people confused about what to call the software.

Is it "BoKS"? Is it "FoxT Access Control", or "Keon", or even "UnixControl"? And is the company called FoxT or is it Fox Technologies?! And this confusion isn't alleviated by the fact that both resumés and job postings refer to the software by any of these names.

Now we are told that FoxT are seriously considering a rigorous change to their naming convention, one that they will stick with for the coming years. All we can say is that it'd better be good! Because most of the names tossed about so far have both up and downsides.

Things like Access Control, Unix Control, or Server Control all have the problem that they are names consisting of two very generic words. Run them through Google and you'll get oodles of results. Words like FoxT and BoKS are certainly far from generic, but even those give pretty bad results in Google ("Did you mean books?"). BoKS is certainly a memorable term and most people still refer to the software in that way, despite the fact that neither the FoxT documentation nor their website even still mentions the name.

So far the only past name that ticks all the boxes (unique, memorable, great with SEO) is "Keon". But unfortunately that can't be used, because the name is still owned by RSA. :(

So, what do you think?! Any suggestions with regards to a new product name? Any emotional attachment to the name "BoKS" (I'll admit to having that flaw)? Pipe in and let us know!


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BoKS and the epoch rollover

2010-08-20 00:00:00

 

The year 2038 is still a long time away, but we may already be feeling its effects!

As any Unix administrator will know Unix systems count their time and date in the amount of seconds passed since "Epoch" (01/01/1970). On 32-bit architectures this means that we're bound to "run out of time" on the 19th of January of 2038 because after that the Unix clock will roll-over from 1111111.11111111.1111111.11111110 to 10000000.00000000.00000000.00000000.

While you might not expect it, BoKS administrators may already be feeling the effects of the Year 2038 problem way ahead of time.

One commonly used trick for applicative user accounts is to set their "pswvalidtime" to a very large number. This means that the user account in question will never be bugged to change its password, which tends to keep application support people happy. The account will never be locked automatically because they forgot to change the password and thus their applications will not crash unexpectedly.

It's common to use the figure "9999" as this huge number for "pswvalidtime". This roughly corresponds to 27,3 years. Do the rough math: 2010,8 + 27,3 = 2038,1. Combine that with the "pswgracetime" setting and BINGO! The password validity for the user in question has now rolled over to some day in January of 1970! The odd thing is that the BoKS "lsbks" command will not show this fact, but instead translate the date to the relating date in 2038, which puts you off the track of the real problem.

So... If you happen to rely on huge "pswvalidtime" settings, you'd better tone it down a little bit. Thanks to the guys at FoxT for quickly pinpointing our "problem". It seems that there's a 9999-epidemic going round :)

EDIT: Thank you to Wilfrid for pointing out two small mistakes :)

 


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