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My name is Simon Lyall and I’m a early-40s Linux Sysadmin living in Auckland, New Zealand.


I have lived all my life in New Zealand. I was born in Mosgiel and live there, Dunedin and Timaru until age 17 when my family moved to Hamilton. I am the oldest of 3 brothers.

I spent about 9 years in Hamilton where I finished High school and the studied for 3 years at Waikato University. I dropped out of University and started one of New Zealand’s first Internet Service providers “Midland Internet” and later another ISP and also worked for 4 years as a baker and factory worker during my nights and weekends.

In early 1998 I moved to Auckland to start a job as a System Administrator at the ISP ihug and to move in with my partner. Since then I have worked as a full-time System Administrator at various companies.

Technical Interests

I follow technical topics relating to Linux and Internet technology quite a bit. My field is constantly changing to I need to keep abreast of new technologies and techniques as they come out.

I’m not really a “gadgets” person. I’m not into radios, TVs, GPSs or electronics in general. I like full-sized computers and I also have a smart-phone.

I attend a few technical conferences each year. The main one is Linux.conf.au where I for the last few years I have helped run a 1 day SysAdmin Miniconference. I sometimes attend NZNOG and smaller conferences like Auckland Barcamp.


I like reading both books and online. I mostly read non-fiction and tend to concentrate on popular history, economics, science, design and planning. Fiction I enjoy includes “The Lord of the Rings”, “Sherlock Holmes”, plus a selection of Science Fiction.

Over the last few years I’ve cut down on my TV and movie watching. I see perhaps a dozen movies a year in the theatre and 2 or 3 times that at home. We don’t own a TV but I watch a few shows online.

I’m not really a big music person, I’ve only been to a handful of live concerts in my life and I find it very hard to concentrate with noise around so I don’t usually have music playing in the background or wear a portable media player when I’m about.

However I find that I can listen to fairly “non complicated” music when I’m on the computer at work without getting too distracted. The main music I listen to is a Ambient Nights compilations by “Alex Hephaestion” ( real name unknown ). Each of the fifty or so compilations ( The full list is on this page ) is a CD worth of about half a dozen tracks blended one after the other.


My favourite foods are Indian curry (I go to Auckland “Thursday Night Curry” every two weeks), Kimchi, Bread, Apricots, Durian and Za’atar bread.

I also dabble in Online Politics, Open Source and Transport Policy.