Coming soon: SysCast

Mattias Geniar, Monday, January 25, 2016 - last modified: Saturday, April 23, 2016

syscast_logo I'd like to introduce you to SysCast, a new online resource for learning about Open Source projects and Linux through screencasts.

I'm excited to announce a teaser for an upcoming new project I've been working on for the last several months. While it isn't finished yet, I'm just about ready to start a closed beta program with a limited number of testers.

What is it?

If you're familiar with any of these websites, SysCast is a healthy mix between Laracasts, Servers for Hackers, Udemy and Linux Academy.

The concept is relatively simple: if you want to learn about Nginx, follow a screencasting course. Everything you need to know is explained in "video series", spanning multiple episodes. Each episode talks you through, in detail, about a specific topic.

In the case of Nginx for example, the episodes span the installation & basic configuration, how proxy'ing works, what the different configuration parameters mean, ...

But instead of boring blogposts where you just skip straight to the configurations to copy/paste (like this blog, for example), you'll learn the impact of each individual parameter.

Each episode will have specific and to-the-point examples on why each parameter is needed and which purpose it serves.

Right now, we're working on series on The HTTP Protocol, Varnish 4, Config Management with Puppet, Basic Linux training, Apache configurations, HTTP/2 Explained, ....

We'll cover the most popular open source projects first and move on to more complex configurations like Elastic Search, Kibana, Ansible, ... So much to share!

Sounds like a lot of work, is this going to be free?

Well, it is a lot of work. And no, not everything will be free. I plan to offer a monthly subscription fee where you get unlimited access to all videos and get notified about new series and episodes being released.

However, not everything will be behind a paywall. In part for publicity and in part because I do enjoy sharing knowledge and content, some series will be free for all. It hasn't been decided which series those are going to be, though.

Time will tell.

What does it look like?

It's an early prototype (but functional!), but here are some teasers -- if you're into that sort of thing.

The homepage


The listing of all series


The listing of episodes in a specific series


The detail page of a single screencast, with video


Coolio, sign me up!

Well, I hope you're as excited as I am. :-)

I'll be looking for beta testers in the next couple of weeks, so if you'd like to give SysCast a try, sign up for the beta program at!

For other news, you can follow the Twitter account at @SysCast_Online. We'll post the configurations used in each video on Github too, so you can follow the SysCast organisation there, too.

Any feedback is appreciated! Perhaps especially the negative criticisme, so I can finetune (or abort altogether) the project where needed.

Hi! My name is Mattias Geniar. 👋 I'm an independent software developer ⌨️ & Linux sysadmin 👨‍💻, a general web geek & public speaker. Currently working on DNS Spy & Oh Dear! Follow me on Twitter as @mattiasgeniar 🐦.

🔥 If you're stuck with a technical problem, I'm available for hire to help you fix it!

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svenn Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 11:05 -

That is great, but in what way will it be different from the services you already mention and already have content ? Are you doing it solo ?

I have a current subscription to LA and I find it more dull to watch video’s then to just scan through a blog such as this one. I easily fall in the gap of “I don’t know enough so someone should explain”, but rarely does that actually help. In general nothing beats painful slow experience and finding a solution or a reason yourself.

That being said, I’m definitely interested :)

Mattias Geniar Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 11:38 -

I feel like we can bring a new experience to the table: instead of just telling you *what* to do, we’ll focus on *why* to do it. For instance, we’ll show a scenario where something does not work as intended, and implement the solution one step at a time.

The focus is going to be on *showing* what the impact of configurations are, so the viewer can better understand *why* a configuration is needed in that particular place.

At times, I too find it easier to scan a blogpost for the configurations I need and implement them, but I find that just makes me more of a dumb person. I don’t know the internals of the change I’m implementing, and that bothers me.

During the beta, I’ll be making the screencasts myself, to see if it catches on. However, I’m designing & developing the project with multi-tenancy in mind: if the format succeeds, I’m hoping to attract more screencasters who can get paid for adding additional series, either as a fixed fee or per-view (like Youtube would).

That of course assumes the subscription business is going to take off, so fingers crossed. :-)

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