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My name is Simon Lyall and I’m a Cloud Engineer / 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.

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 and Cloud Engineer 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, robots or electronics in general. I like full-sized computers.

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. I listen to Audiobooks and Podcasts.

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.


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

My main hobby is Chess. I play at the Auckland Chess Centre and in tournaments.

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