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Computer Users Manual, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Democratic Republic of East Timor




Chapter I: Hardware and Software
Chapter II: Networks and Communications
Chapter III: Operating Systems
Chapter IV: Applications
Chapter V: Basic Coding and Programming
Chapter VI: Basic Systems Administration


Network Use Policy
Website Content and Design Policy
Physical and Data Security Policy
Computer, Account and Email Naming Policy
Computer Knowledge and Skills Evaluation

Ministry Hompage

Computer Account and Email Naming Policy


There is currently no computer, account and email naming policies for Ministry. As such there is substantial confusion. Computers, accounts and email accounts have been named after individual names, nicknames, nom-de-plumes and nom-de-guerres, firstnames, surnames, alternate surnames and any combination thereof. Such a lack of consistency is not recommended by any large organization and certainly not with the seriousness of a Ministry of a nation-state. It can cause administrative, technical and even ordinary language difficulties.

Consider, as a trivial example, the name "Abel Guterres" and derivations thereof (e.g., agutteres). This has been used as the name of a person, the name of a computer, the name of an account, and email address. Significant reference confusion can arise. When someone says "Abel Gutteres is broken" do we mean the computer, the account, the email address or the person? Consider further the phrase "Nelson is using Abel". Keep in mind that this is the name of a person who is no longer in the country!

Even when a strong demarcation is made significant care and research needs to be made to ensure that we do not ever end up with names or abbreviations that may cause offense. For example, If a email name policy is established where the first initial and the surname is used, consider what happens if we (as unlikely as it is) employ a Maria Erda. If we name our computers along the theme of popular music groups what happens when a user has to operate a computer with a band that they despise?

Purpose of this Document

The policy is designed to ensure a strong demarcation between computer and account names and email addresses. It recognizes that particular machines are often moved both within and between Divisions of the Ministry, and multiple users and in multiple roles access the same machines. Confusion between the three provides difficulties to system administrators and for the efficiency of the Ministry, must be avoided.

Policy Source Material

This policy has been developed from the highest possible standard in source material, including the Network Working Group RFC 1034 ("Domain Names - Concepts and Facilities"), RFC 1178 ("Choosing A Name for Your Computer"), several large Internet Service Providers, Universities and Governments. Where the terms "must", "should", "must not", "should not" and "may" appear they indicate particular requirements and have the same meaning as these terms appear in the Network Working Group RFC 2119.

This document uses and does not contradict material in the Network Use Policy.

Computer Naming Policy

The name of a computer must be differentiated from the names of the persons using it, the current use of the machine and it's current location. Further, using words that have a strong semantic implication in a particular context will also cause confusion. Such names must not be used. Naming a machine after a role that it is currently being used should not occur. Use of domain or domain-like names must be rejected for technical reasons as the name resolution of the non-absolute hostname is problematic. Antagonistic or embarrassing names must not be used, nor numerical or names that can be converted into hexadecimal digits. Non-alphamumeric characters must not be used in a name due to the lack of standards in heterogeneous networks. No expectations that upper and lower case will be preserved can be made.

Computer names that should not be used include those which it is unlikely to cause confusion of reference. Use of themes is highly recommened, however care must be taken to ensure that the theme chosen isn't limited in quantity. Use of real words is recommended as random strings are difficult remember. Whilst the use of well-known hostnames should be avoided, the use of particular and popular hostnames should cause no concern.

The theme for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation shall be mythological names and places. Systems administrators shall determine the specific implementation of the theme.

Account Naming Policy

In general, the principles from a computer naming policy can be transferred to a account naming policy. However additional concerns should be noted. Firstly, unlike a computer name, a user account should give some indication of the role that is performed by that account and the Division that it is related to. An account should not refer to an individual name however as individuals may change roles within the Ministry. Further, for security reasons, only one individual can have access to a particular account.

Account names are therefore uniquely related to an email account (however a single email address may have multiple accounts). Accounts, as per the network use policy, are only available to full-time staff of the Ministry. Account names represent the Division of the role and the staff role as a two-part code. In this instance, the office of Information and Communications Technology is considered a Division.

Accounts are therefore established according to the Division followed by the number 01 for the Director and subsequent numbers in order of seniority.

Email Account Naming Policy

Although a user may change roles and may have multiple roles within the Ministry (e.g., a system administrator will have two accounts - a normal user account and an administrators account) it is likely that they'll wish to maintain the same email address for the duration of their employment. However it is important that a user's email address fits a common criteria with other email addresses within the Ministry and avoids, in advance, a naming policy that could result in an antagonistic or embarrassing derivations of a user's name. Like the account naming policy it is dangerous to allow multiple users access to the same account.

Email accounts will therefore be along the style of [email protected] or [email protected] (depending on the final derivation of the country-code). When a user changes their legal name (through marriage or other means) they must notify a system administrator who will make the appropriate alterations and ensure that email is forwarded to the new account.

Alteration of Existing Names

Previously the Ministry had had no naming policy in place. Computers, accounts and email accounts have been named after individual names, nicknames, nom-de-plumes and nom-de-guerres, firstnames, surnames, alternate surnames and any combination thereof. Whilst the implementation of this policy for now on should be a relatively painless task for System Administrators, problems must be expected with the conversion of existing naming practises to this new policy, especially in the realm of computer names.

Policy version 1.0, March 2003

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, GPA Building #1, Ground Floor, Dili, East Timor

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