I’m Tom Ryder, a systems administrator and web developer living in New Zealand.
On this blog I post tutorials, discussions, and recommendations for systems administration and some programming, particularly where it relates to my interests in Unix, GNU/Linux, shell scripting, C, Perl, Vim, Git, or whatever else takes my interest from a technical bent. A favorite topic is using command-line tools efficiently.
Since about 2014, I’m not posting very frequently. That may change if I find relevant topics that I don’t believe are properly covered elsewhere.
The best way to contact me is by email at
Just for the usual disclaimer, all of the content on this website amounts to my personal opinions and in no way reflects those of my employers or customers, past or present.
An arabesque is a very complex and beautiful architectural motif. It seems random at first glance, but a wider view of a well-designed arabesque shows it conforms to an overarching pattern. I think Unix and its descendents, and good programming in general, are very much like this.
Certainly, I look forward impatiently to the sight of that great silver key, for in its cryptical arabesques there may stand symbolised all the aims and mysteries of a blindly impersonal cosmos.
Can I edit/repost/republish your work?
Arabesque articles are distributed under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike (BY-NC-SA) Creative Commons license, so you can re-post the work on any not-for-profit website without asking me as long as you attribute me as the author, preferably in the form of a link back to the article.
If you do want to distribute anything for commercial purposes, please contact
me first at
email@example.com, and we’ll sort something out.
Will you write about a particular question for me?
Sure, if you think I’d be able to answer it. If you read a few of my posts you’ll see that I’m probably the wrong guy to ask about Emacs configuration, or Visual Studio C# development. If you think it might pique my interest, feel free to drop me an email or blog comment.
Do you share your configuration files?
Yes, I’m a big dotfiles nerd. Mine are here.
How can I contribute?
Drop me an email telling me what you liked about the blog, or how it helped you. It makes my day, and it gives me some idea of what’s useful to people and what isn’t.
If you really want to throw money at someone, I am a Free Software Foundation Associate Member (#11980). Please consider donating to this organization, or even better, joining as a member, and let me know you did.