Succession Planning

Having a terminal illness, but not being quite dead yet, some preparations are possible.

Open Source Projects

When I die all my property rights pass to my beneficiary: my wife. But my IP rights also transfer to her. She will need some help understanding what that means, fortunately a couple of potential sysadmin helpers, know very well how Open Source works. For all of my published Open Source projects, people can keep using them under the GPL licence.

My unpublished works (and some no-longer advertised works) are self-documented to being GNU GPL licensed. However it isn’t as simple as uploading the whole contents of my repositories directory tree to some web server. Some parts of it are works-for-hire, copyright to those works does not belong to me.

Finding additional maintainers for my soon-to-be-orphaned projects bothers me (see here for a shopping list). For many of them there are a few obvious maintainer candidates. But some projects, have a significant user base, but almost silent forums, leaving no potential candidates and no good way to reach out to find a new maintainer (e.g. SRecord).


Home Network

Like most geeks with non-geek house hold members, I am the SysAdmin for my home network. Will the remaining residents be able to maintain the network on their own? No.

Teach them to take care of it themselves? To a certain extent. The latest WiFi gadgets and gizmos are making this easier, and the RJ45 blue string network less essential. On the other hand configuring the Access Point to work as expected (from their PoV it works first time every time). This is non-trivial. You must recall that they are non-geeks by choice, if they wanted to be geeks they would have chosen different careers.

So, I’m working with a couple of people, with ssh access to permit them to make adjustments without having to be physically present. This requires some up-front documentation, as to what the network/system is supposed to look like and behave.

Keys to the Kingdom

What to do with 42 million bajillion passwords. After 20 years on the web, you accumulate a lot of passwords, seems like on or every site you ever visit. Also numerous home network devices have passwords, and the ISP account details have passwords, and email services have passwords. I have an encfs folder that I keep all my passwords in, plus other useful stuff, like scans of passport ID pages, and drivers’ licence. But where and how do you make sure all this data is backed up.

More than that, once I die my wife needs access to my laptop. Which in turn, leads to all the other stuff, if you know where to go. My laptop is just like anyone else, and $HOME is full of *-stuff, karate-stuff, work-stuff, bush-walking-stuff, mens-shed-stuff. It will take time to worth through. So I figure I at least need to provide a mud-map to would-be users of all that stuff.

Also here are numerous passwords required when moderating mailing lists and project forums.