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I Smell Pretty Oh So Pretty

28 December 2007 21:50

Tomorrow, all being well, I should receive a new desktop computer. I ordered it upon Boxing Day so the turnaround is pretty good.

Right now I have two desktop machines:


This machine is occaisionally used by my partner, but primarily exists to remotely backup my various servers. It runs rsnapshot to do a full rsync of four machines every six hours.


This is my day-to-day desktop machine. It is going to be replaced, and this will be rotated into the backup machine. The machine yours will sit in a closet for a couple of months then be donated to somebody local.

As with all the machines I've bought recently the new one is coming from Novatech - (Another company whos website has a suprising hostname.)

The interesting parts of the spec are :

  • AMD X2 4200 processor
  • 2 x 500Gb SATA drives
  • 4Gb memory

The biggest difference to me will be the significantly increased disk space which means that I'll be able to remove the external 120Gb USB hard drive I currently house my MP3 collection upon. By retiring vain and moving my current desktop machine to be the "random guest machine" and backup host I'll also have a lot more space for storing backups upon. (Full database backups every six hours; I'm paranoid...)

Having 4Gb of memory will also mean that I can run more than 2 or 3 Xen guests at the same time.

My plan is to setup at least the following guests:

  • sarge.security-build.xen
  • etch32.security-build.xen
  • etch64.security-build.xen
  • etch32.desktop.xen
  • etch64.desktop.xen

The desktop machines will run GDM / X11 and will be available for logins via xdmcp - so that I can have a fully seperate working environment which is pristine and easily regenerated. Giving 5 xen instances 256Mb of memory each will leave me with close to 3Gb of disk for the host and that is three times what I hav enow!

All in all I'm looking forward to the new machine enormously a bargain at ~ £290.



Offer me everything I ask for

29 April 2008 21:50

I installed Debian upon a new desktop machine yesterday, via a PXE network boot.

It was painless.

Getting xen up and running, with a 32-bit guest and a 64-bit guest each running XDMCP & VNC was also pretty straightforward.

There is a minor outstanding problem with the 32-bit xen guest though; connecting to it from dom0, via XDMCP, I see only a blank window - no login manager running.

GDM appears painlessly when I connect via VNC.

The relevent configuration file looks like this:

# /etc/gdm/gdm.conf


The same configuration on the 64-bit guest works OK for both cases.

(I like to use XDMCP for accessing the desktop of Xen guests, since it means that I get it all full-screen, and don't have to worry about shortcuts affecting the host system and not the guest - as is the case if you're connecting via VNC, etc).

Weirdness. Help welcome; I'm not 100% sure where to look

Anyway, once again, a huge thank you to the Debian Developers, bug submitters, and anybody else involved peripherally (such as myself!) with Debian!

I love it when a plan comes together.


ObRandom: Where is the cheapest place to get an SSL certificate, for two years, which will work with my shiny Apache2 install?

Somebody, rightly, called me for not having SSL available as an option on my mail filtering website.

I've installed a self-signed certificate just now, but I will need to pay the money and buy a "real" one shortly.

So far completessl.com seems to be high in the running:

  • 1 year - £26
  • 2 years - £49

For double-bonus points they accept Paypal which most of my customers pay with ..

ObQuote: The Princess Bride