Entries posted in October 2011

Slaughter is at the cross-roads

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

There are many system administration and configuration management tools available, I've mentioned them in the past and we're probably all familiar with our pet favourites.

The "biggies" include CFEngine, Puppet, Chef, BFG2. The "minis" are largely in-house tools, or abuses of existing software such as fabric.

My own personal solution manages my home network, and three dedicated servers I pay for in various ways.

Currently I've been setting up some configuration "stuff" for a friend and I've elected to manage some of the setup with this system of my own, and I guess I need to decide what I'm going to do going forward.

slaughter is well maintained, largely by virtue of not doing too much. The things it does are genuinely useful and entirely sufficient to handle a lot of the common tasks - and because the server-side requirement is a HTTP server, and the only client-side requirement is CRON it is trivial to deploy.

In the past I've thought of three alternatives that would make it more complex:

  • Stop using HTTP and have a mini-daemon to both serve and schedule.
  • Stop using HTTP and use rsync instead.
  • Rewrite it in Javascript. (Yes, really).

Each approaches have their appeal. I like the idea of only executing GPG-signed policies, and that would be trivial if there was a real server in place. It could also use SSL because that's all you need for security (ha!).

On the other hand using rsync allows me to trivially implement the only missing primitive I actually miss at times - the ability to recursively download and install a remote directory tree. (I solve this problem by downloading a .tar file and unpacking it. Not good. Doesn't cope with template expansion and is fiddlier than I like).

In the lifetime of the project I think I've had 20-50 feature requests or comments, which suggests it might actually be used by 50-100 people. (Ha! Optimism)

In the meantime I'll keep a careful eye on the number of people who download the tarball & the binary packages...

ObQuote: "I have vermin to kill. " - Kill Bill

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So I've been creating more things

Monday, 24 October 2011

I realise it has been nearly two months since I last posted anything here. The good news is I'm still alive!

Mostly the past couple of months has been full of cute victims to take pictures of, which has helped me setup a simplified portfolio site;

I still continue to prefer images of people and I was recently pleased with the delivery of my first "photobook". Over the past couple of years I've slowly decorated my flat with prints (4"x6" - A2) of my pictures, but seeing the pictures in a nicely bound book makes them feel so much more real.

I've also been doing a little more software development, mostly relating to the archiving of images and the workflow of taking RAW images, converting them, and finally uploading via rsync. I suspect the tools I've put together are Steve-specific, but I did have some fun with duplicate image detection and eilimination - something I've written about in the past.

ObQuote: "Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self" - Cyril Connolly.

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