Entries posted in September 2006

Hold out your delicate hands and feel me.

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

I’ve given notice that I’m unavailable for Debian work for the next while.

Once I’m fully settled I will concentrate soley on doing Debian Auditing, and security team work.

With that in mind I hereby give notice that all my packages are up for adoption.

I have not filed “O” bugs, but if people wish to claim things by posting here thats fine by me. Preference to Radu for xen-tools (since he has CVS access and did a great job previously), otherwise anybody with the time is welcome. I’m upstream of several packages, but I don’t think I’m hard to deal with …. ;)

Anything not claimed by the time I catch up will be Orphaned.

Apologies for feeding the “announcement by blog, not by mail” fire.

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Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

I’ve been using monit on my Debian servers for a long time now.

For those that don’t know monit is a simple monitoring service which allows you to check that processes are running, automatically restarting them on failure, etc.

When I first started using monit I manually added all the checks to /etc/monit/monitrc – but that soon became unwieldy, even with only three machines to maintain.

Adding new software meant I had to keep updating the file, and because each server ran different services things couldn’t be shared. Not good.

After I while I figured I’d create /etc/monit/includes and just drop files into there – that way I could include them:

# /etc/monit/monitrc

include /etc/monit/include/*.monit

Now to monitor a service I’d just create the appropriate file with a .monit suffix. All was good.

Until I needed to start monitoring different services on different systems where adding and removing the files got to be painful. Surely there must be a better way I wondered to myself?

Now there is.

I’ve come up with a nice approach (perhaps the obvious one to everybody else?):

I now have two directories:

  • /etc/monit/include.d
  • /etc/monit/master.d

The master.d can have all your *.monit files dropped into it, regardless of whether they apply to the given host or not.

To actually monitor a service you’d symlink master.d/foo.monit to include.d/foo.monit – In much the same way as you use symlinks to handle Apache sites and modules in Apache2.x

Now the really clever bit is that you write a (perl) script to automatically parse each .monit file and only link in the ones which apply to this host.

That means you can use cfengine to copy everything into the master.d/ file – and not care if some tests only apply to other hots. (e.g. You can crteate apache2.monit – and that will be symlinked in if apache2 is installed on the current host, but ignored otherwise.)

For the moment my parsing and detection code is very simple, but it is working.

In the future I guess I could create foo.monit and foo.package – then only link in the file foo.monit if the Debian package contained in foo.package was installed.

The script is in my cvs repository along with a collection of test files.


I will attempt to catch up on mail tomorrow…

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Just like a knife

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Thanks for the recommendation Amayita :)

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Will I always be here?

Monday, 11 September 2006

In other news I’ve just paid to renew debian-administration.org – has it really been two years already?

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You'll not know how you've betrayed me

Monday, 11 September 2006

Registering “debianadmin.com” will not make me love you.

But I’ll turn a blind eye if it means that you’ll stop spamming debianhelp.co.uk everywhere …


If nothing else this shows that rel=”nofollow” was worth adding to my sites, even if it is a horrible hack.

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And in my last hour I'm a slave

Sunday, 10 September 2006

Over the weekend there was the Edinburgh debconf meetup, which went pretty well. Due to unfortunate timing I wasn’t around as much as I should have been, so I’ll not actually mention anything which was discussed; mostly because I don’t want to hear that I was wrong and that dicussions moved ahead to contrary decisions after I left!

I had to leave early on Friday evening due to my girlfriend coming back from a camping trip and falling asleep on the sofa of the pub. (Shes been away for three months, with only a week visit in the middle; so it was a long absense.)

I also left early on the Saturday because we had booked a meal at a posh restaurant a month or two previously – to celebrate an anniversary – and that couldn’t be avoided.

Still it was lovely to see the people who came, and I’m looking forward to meeting them and others again in the future.

If you’re ever Leith Fishers Restaurant is beautifully located and full of amazing food. Ironically it is a fish restaurant and because I don’t eat that at all I ordered the only two non-fish based dishes, but both were utterly divine.

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Here we are now, entertain us.

Friday, 8 September 2006

Advogato – RIP.

Or .. “so long and thanks for all the trust metrics”.

I started blogging there in 2000. Then my account got trashed. Twice. So I moved here.

A while later Raph restored my accounts, but I enjoying the additional control of being in charge of myself so I never went back in a serious way.

In the six years since I started using it I posted two stories and 200+ blog entries. The articles weren’t amazing, but they taught me a lot about dealing with criticism, and the importance of the spell checker.

The writing I do nowadays could almost be traced back to the articles I posted there. Although its only now that I have a good appreciation of how much more effort it is to write regularly than it is to write only when bored ..

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If I show you the roses will you follow?

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Debian on the desktop? Thats unpossible.

Actually it works for me just fine.

I bought a few new toys recently – a new camera (Canon Powershot A620) and a USB2 card-reader to allow me to read the images from the 1G card I bought to go with the camera. I figured that was worth doing since it came with a paltry 32Mb card.

After getting confused by the manual for a while I randomly played with it until I got the basics, I think I took a couple of hundred pictures of my feet, my desk, my hands, and etc. Afterwards I figured it was time to see what the images looked like when displayed for real, instead of via the LCD panel. So I plugged in the USB card reader to my desktop. No response from the system but I figure that is normal when there is nothing actually in it.

Once I took the SD card from the camera and pushed it into the reader I got a nice popup from my GNOME desktop “A new device has been found – do you want to import photos now?” (or similar). I said no, and a window popped up showing me /media/usbdisk. Nice.

I wasn’t quite sure if I could just pull the card out, or whether I should explicitly unmount it. In the end I did the latter – better safe than sorry.

So .. a rambling entry to say that USB card devices and GNOME just worktm. I’ve not experimented with the USB cable the camera has – which apparently allows you to control a lot of functions via software, but I figure that I don’t need that kind of thing anyway. After all 99% of the time I’m going to be taking pictures away from my house and desktop machine!

In related news I was chatting to somebody local recently and they asked what MSN software I was running. I said “GAIM”, then later “I don’t use Windows”. That didn’t even get a raised eyebrow. It seems that even a non-technical user has heard of Linux, if not necessarily Debian.

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All my words are secondhand

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Some semi-random photographs taken with the new camera. (resized to 800×600).

I think I’m getting the hang of using the camera now, and will probably go back and attempt to understand the manual over the weekend.

Talking of the weekend we have a Debconf 7 related meetup in Edinburgh. But still no real plan about what is going to happen …

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Oh so many ways for me to show you

Saturday, 2 September 2006

The upload of the perl Net::HTTPServer module was rejected for the second time, with the same explaination as before.

I still maintain that the copyright file I included with the package was correct and have asked for clarification.

In happier news a new release of xen-shell has been made, and a new release of GNUMP3d is pending.

The release of GNUMP3d was intended to be my final one in charge of the project – however recent discussion upon the mailing list seems to indicate that people no longer object to using a database-backend. Provided it is SQLite. So that means I’m actually keen to proceed with a redesign with common Perl modules instead of my four year old perl badness.

We’ll see how that works out.

Tonight I’m going to go drinking, since I need a bit of company. I was going to do that yesterday evening but I had a bad razor-related accident. I figured that leaving the house with a headwound gushing blood probably wasn’t the best thing to do ..

Still I seem to have mostly healed overnight, and another scar or two on my head won’t do me any harm.


I notice with amusement that I appear to have reached top spot in google searches for many, but not all, of the lyrics I’ve used in my blog titles … I guess Planet Debian, Planet HantsLug and others are giving inflated link counts…

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