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Entries posted in February 2006

Tonight we murder

1 February 2006 21:50

Debian

Today I uploaded a new revision of Apachetop, fixing several bugs reported by Sven Koch. It is always a pleasant suprise to me when people will file bugs along with a patch.

I guess I shouldn't be so suprised as this is the very reason that open source works, and works so well. I think it is fair to say that Debian has a reasonably technical target audience which probably helps with the submission of patches. (Although this may not actually be the case.)

In other news I updated my website, changing all occurences of the ficticious word 'publically' to the correct 'publicly'.

Work

Yesterday whilst calling SCO to enquire about pricing for their software support I was asked by the receptionist for my number. Rather than giving the company number I gave her my home phone number. Ooops. Otherwise I'm starting to get the hang of being back at work :)

Contracts

To support my upcoming "remote sysadmin" / "Debian Linux setup" services. I'm getting in touch with all the companies for whom I've done remote contract work, asking for permission to list their names as "previous happy clients/customers".

I'm sure that some will agree, some will pass it on to their legal department and decline, and yet more will wait to see who else I'm going to list. Fun stuff.

Cool Toys

The new release of OpenSSH allows you to create VPNs using tun devices. Cool.

That will be enormously useful. Once a package makes it into Sid I'll backport to Sarge so I can play with it.

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SuSE / Novell?

2 February 2006 21:50

If anybody working at Novell / SUSE is reading this and wishes to donate a free license key/username + password for SuSE Enterprise Server 9 that would be great!

This would make up for :

  • Failing to respond to a web-based feedback system for three days.
  • Failing to answer the telephone in the Edinburgh office for three days.
    • No answering machine either
  • Failing to respond to a message left on the answering machine of the Bracknell office for two days.
  • Failing to answer the UK-based email address, for two days.
  • Being told when contacting the USA office that we should contact the UK office.

I suspect that we'll be moving to RedHat in the futureā€¦

Other free stuff is always welcome too ;)

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Novell Resolved

4 February 2006 21:50

Several people working for Novell did read my post and get in touch with me. To be honest I wasn't really expecting so much action, just a small amount of venting after being frustrated.

Still our SuSE/Novell problems have now been resolved.

So we now have a fully supported SuSE machine which is running the latest SP, and capable of being used for Oracle.

We also ordered two more boxed copies of distros (with one year of updates/support) too:

  • Another copy of SuSE ES9 - ordered from InSight after the online order page didn't work on Novells website - maybe a local issue?
  • A copy of RedHat ES.

So we'll be able to test + compare the pair of them together.

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Debian Planet?

4 February 2006 21:50

What happened to Debian Planet?

It has been unreachable for some time - I'm not the only one to notice either....

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When the man comes around

6 February 2006 21:50

SCO

I spent the weekend finding discovering several new ways to hate SCO Unixware.

Almost everything on these systems is a symlink. Even such files as /etc/passwd:

$ ls -l /etc/passwd
lrwxrwxrwx   1 root     root          38 Jan 27 13:44 /etc/passwd ->
 /var/opt/K/SCO/Unix/5.0.7Hw/etc/passwd

Needless to say if you manage to screw up these symbolic links then fixing it is painful.

(At one point I resorted to using tar to archive a working system's directories, then unpacking it over a broken installation.)

So a busy weekend full of being in the office.

Debian

In happier news I played around with webcam stuff, after somebody posted a nice guide to using Motion.

I now have a webcam upon my desk which records video when something moves in front of it, and otherwise does nothing.

A few test movies seem to work nicely (no audio) and I shared one with a friend - although no feedback yet. (I need to make sure the codec is playable upon Windows ..)

I also updated the polls upon the Debian Admin site, so they contain date information about when they were posted. Feel free to suggest a new poll topic!

The final thing I did over the weekend was put the finishing touches towards a new release of xen-tools. This contains a minor fix for networking under Xen 3.0.1.

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Words are very unnecessary

15 February 2006 21:50

Today I started to get annoyed when my bash completion code wasn't available upon my laptop.

To fix this I've created a simple Debian package called steve-completion - with the intention that I'll move all my custom completion code into it. This should make my environments more sane and uniform.

Right now I've just added support for completion of upload targets to dupload, and completion of the options for the pyzor package. Over the next few days I'll add my other code.

To avoid naming conflicts the files are named /etc/bash_completion.d/foo.steve. I dislike the Steve-suffix, but I dont want to trample on files which may be made available by package maintainers. (Assuming I get round to filing wishlist bugs.)

This is comparible to the steve-base virtual package I made/use which exists solely as a package to pull in dependencies such as screen, sudo, etc. (These are packages which I miss when they are not available.)

I wonder how many other people have similar packages? I know I got the idea from mdz ..

Update: - CVS repository.

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This is not an exit

16 February 2006 21:50

Xen Tools : LVM Support

Thanks to a patch from Justin Azoff xen-tools now supports creation of new Debian instances under LVM.

If you're at all interested in this code please checkout the xen-tools CVS repository. I can't feel too justified in making a release on something I can't test myself unless a couple of people tell me it works.

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Back to reality ...

16 February 2006 21:50

Steinar H. Gunderson

It doesn't matter which shell I use for completion. (And this goes to the other people who mailed me to tell me that Zsh rulez!)

The problem is that packages of Zsh and Bash both offer several completion routines which are not sufficient for me. (e.g. one missing one is completion for the various bittorrent scripts.)

So I need to install my own routines for those. I also wrote custom completion routines for in-house tools, and my own personal scripts in ~/bin/. Since these are not available by default in either the bash package or the zsh package I must install them manaully upon each host I wish to use, in order to have an identical setup.

And that manual installation is what my new package makes easy. (Or will when it is complete!)

Security Team Meeting

Security issue meeting on IRC went well, although I left rather abruptly since my bed was calling my name.

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I'd like to make a new record

19 February 2006 21:50

I've been working on more Xen code. This time a nicely designed monitoring system/control panel for a single Dom0 host.

This is constructed of a tiny network server, which allows clients to connect remotely and list available instances, running instances, and do jobs such as reboot/pause/unpause/shutdown a running Xen guest system.

So far I'm happy with the way it is working out, but before I can release it I need a name. Naming software sucks.

I wanted to call it Argus (after the many-eyed watchman), but that is already in use for some other monitoring software.

I then thought of calling it Daddy - since it is in charge of lots of babies! But I figure that's a bit of an overloaded term and might not work so well.

I guess I'll wait a while and search for inspiration. There are probably a lot of many-eyed Gods / people in stories I can use.

Right now I need to document the text-based protocol I've got the server using, then tidy up the two clients I've written. (One is a PHP based toy, and the other is designed to be more robust - Perl + Graphics).

The idea of splitting the monitor backend into a socket-based system is that you can connect to it from either your desktop, a CGI application, or anything that can do sockets. Sexy.

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Argo: Xen Monitor / Consoley Thing

19 February 2006 21:50

Argo

Argo is ready for feedback, especially the Text protocol, design, or other issues.

Supplied are:

  • libxen-monitor-perl
    • A perl interface for working with Xen instances.
  • libxen-monitor-server-perl
    • A perl server for allowing Xen to be manipulated via a simple text protocol.
  • argo-client-php
    • An ugly collection of PHP pages to allow you to work with xen remotely.
  • argo-client-perl
    • A reasonably functional Perl + Gtk Client.

Update Added screenshot of the Perl + Gtk client.

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When the dark comes, curing time

23 February 2006 21:50

My debian package repository now uses signed release files.

If you're using the repository for things such as my xen monitor, xen-tools, or other software then please import the signing key.

It is about time I set this up, just took me a while to get round to creating a new key and seeing how the archive signing worked.

In other news, Argo, the xen monitory thingy, has a semi-complete Perl + Tk client now. This means I can distribute a single .exe client for Windows users. It is ugly compared to the Gtk client, but it works :)

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