Archive for the 'Linux' Category

Aug 22 2019


Published by under Linux

After many years using bash, with a couple of years zsh stuck in the middle, I’ve finally hit on a shell that is better at facilitating getting sysadmin work done. “Fish” that is and it can be found in many linux distro repositories. Or start with a look at it’s home page at:

As it’s long name (Friendly Interactive Shell) implies it effectivelly facilitates interactive shell activities, but it also has a good scripting language that looks like but isn’t python. Fish takes some getting used to but that is normal for any change in software. Higly recommended.

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Jan 19 2014

Server Hardware

Published by under Linux

Since this will be an all new machine, I went shopping online and ended up with the following collection of parts for about $600. Many, many choices and I didn’t spend too much time researching this. Chose vendors that I’ve used in the past and models influenced by limited ‘googling’ and, naturally, my requirements.

    ASUS H87M-PLUS/CSM DDR3 1600 LGA 1150 Motherboard
    Intel Core i5-4430 Quad-Core Desktop Processor 3.0 GHz 6 MB Cache LGA 1150
    Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) CL11 SODIMM
    Crucial M500 120GB SATA 2.5-Inch 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive
    Silverstone Tek GD05B-USB3.0 Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX HTPC Computer Case
    SilverStone Strider Plus ST50F-P 500W ATX

Except for initial setup, this will be a headless system managed via ssh.
Mass storage is yet to be acquired. The SSD will have partitions for boot, root, home, var, etc. Bigger spinning storage will be acquired and then managed via LVM to provide media storage, backup space for other machines, etc.
The CPU in particular might to overkill depending on how many systems I actually run on this box. We’ll see.

Update (29 Jan 2014):

Found I had access to a 60GB OCZ SSD so that replaced the Crucial 120GB SSD.
Ordered the wrong DIMMs (laptop version by mistake) so quickly bought a pair of Corsair Dimms at BestBuy. Kinda of funny as they come with big, blue, heat spreaders.
With those changes, everything came together nicely. Machine has been running, doing nothing much, for about a week pending arrival of a hard drive.

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Jan 19 2014

New server

Published by under HT/HTPC,Linux

I’ve been running this site and several others on an old Apple PPC based Mac Mini running Debian Linux, but have now decided it is time to upgrade. Hopefully, before the old hard drives spin their last. This time, I’ll build a “PC” from scratch. In addition to running WordPress on Apache2, the new server will server as a NAS for our laptops.
The new installation will also let me install and learn a couple of new technologies: LVM as a step toward a really new file system and XEN for virtualization. I plan to run my replacement web server in a virtual machine for greater security. Another VM may later be used to run mythbuntu as a MythTV backend.
The machine will be built in a “home theater”(HTPC) case so that it can fit under a cabinet in a hallway.

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Feb 29 2008

Myth HW ideas

Published by under HT/HTPC,Linux

Useful forum threads:

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Dec 13 2007

Managing known_hosts file

Published by under Linux,Mac,Network

Recent Debian installations of openSSH default to a hashed host name in the known_hosts file used by openSSH. This makes it more difficult to manual maintain and edit this file. A good start on the commands that can (should?) be used to manage know_hosts can be found on this blog entry.

Two useful commands:

search for an entry: $ ssh-keygen -H -F hostname
delete an entry: $ ssh-keygen -R hostname

An online version of the ssh-keygen man page provides more detail on the options it provides.

Since a one way hash is used, there isn’t any way to list all the entries in known_hosts with machine names “de-hashed”.

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Jul 14 2007

Parallels to VMware Fusion (OS/X)

Published by under Linux,Mac,Windows

I’ve been using two Windows apps on version 2.x of Parallels for Windows with no problems, but was intrigued by VMware’s entry into the OS X virtualiztion world so I’ve been trying their release candidate of “Fusion”. My main interest in VMware is its support for non Windows OS’s. Debian Linux in particular.
When reading some of the posts on VMware’s Fusion site, I came across a very useful link to very detailed instructions on how to migrate a Parallels vm to VMware. They worked flawlessly.

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Jul 06 2007

Auto-restart Mac Mini

Published by under Linux,Mac

I have a mac mini running Debian Linux as a server and it works fine, has a very small physical ‘footprint’, and so far has been very reliable. A problem has has bitten me once is that the mini does not ‘naturally’ reboot after a power failure the way that old desktop PC’s reboot. Its power switch isn’t “on” after the machine is running so power doesn’t return and someone needs to manually press the start button. When running OS X there is a simple power management setting to control this reboot, but that isn’t available via Linux. Googling for a solution resulted in the answer which I’ll repeat here in order to spread it further. Nothing original.

The best source I’ve found is provided by a UK based hosting service, Mythic Beasts. Due to hardware differences, the solution is different for PowerPC and Intel based minis. Also, the setting which controls the restart doesn’t survive a restart and thus has to be reset after or during each start. A kernel patch is provided as the best solution, but I’ve opted for the simpler but less reliable script based solution.

After every boot, a little script runs and it contains one line:

    echo server_mode=1 > /proc/pmu/options

I put a link to this sciript at the start of the list in rc2.d. A symlink

     S09hak-reboot –> ../init.d/hak-reboot

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Dec 21 2006

Virtue, Parallels, Windows XP

Published by under Linux,Mac,Windows

Finally settled in with the OS X setup, applications configuration and actually some use of the new MBP. The machine is very nice. Fast and I love the 17 inch screen. Enough space to have two documents side by side; sometimes with a bit of overlap. That in itself is a great efficiency improvement. The ‘glossy’ screen is very nice and clear. The small font sizes that come with the use of the higher resolution screen is a challenge at times for my deteriorating eyesight, but so far I’ve avoided cranking up the size.

Also on the usage front, I’ve switched from Virtual Desktop, which seems to be dying, to Virtue desktop which I’d tried once before. At that time, I preferred Virtual Desktop, but now I actually like Virtue better. Only thing I don’t like is the lack of a way to move documents windows, between desktops. May be someway to do it, but I don’t know what it is.

The last thing I’ve cranked up is Parallels virtual machine software and a copy of W/XP which I bought with my machine. The vendor, Smalldog Electronics installed parallels and a single windows VM. At first I didn’t realize they had installed a VM in parallels so I went ahead and installed W/XP into a new VM. Easy enough to do without reading the manual. Then I realized Smalldog had installed a VM in /Users/Shared which is not Parallels’ default location, and I deleted the VM I had created. Easy to use and very nice to see W/XP running smoothly inside of an OS/X window. Seems to work reasonably well with Virtue as well so that I can have a full screen W/XP and flip back and forth to OS/X as easily as I can switch between virtual OS X desktops. Nice, but the latest Bata promises much slicker integration of VM windows into OS/X.

BTW, Parallels comes with a good set of documentation.

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Dec 12 2006

MacBook Pro Setup – Last Apps and Printing

Published by under Linux,Mac

This will be the last installment on the MBP’s setup. All the normal, for me, Mac software is now functional. The last major applications were:

  • Ownership of NetNewsWire has changed since I bought license and it looked like it was going to be messy to reinstall. Turned out okay though I had to register at NewsGator the new owner of NetNewsWire and tell them the serial number I had. Brought over all my old subscriptions by copying over one file: ~/Applications Support/NetNewsWire/Subscriptions.plist.
  • Firefox – Downloaded 2.0 ( a newer version) and installed newer versions of plug-ins. Then Copied over bookmarks from beech (from ~/Library/Application Support/Profiles files called bookmarkxxx.html).
  • xCode tools. xCode Tools were not part of factory install, but ore on the Install CD’s provided by Apple. Always start with Disk 1. It uses Disk 2 as needed to complete install. Brings c compilers along and they will be needed for DarwinPorts/MacPorts.
  • subversion client software. Downloaded and reinstalled the same version as was on beech. After install, client software functioned properly with the copied version of the checked out repository.

I saved printers for last since they are normally the cause of a lot of aggravation. However, this time it was straightforward; partly because of OS X and partly because I was just duplicating a working environment. An HP Deskjet (5650) connected on a USB port, was recognized and was working in about a minute. My second printer is a queue on a Linux server. That’s straightforward as well if you know the routine. Not automatic, however. The lack of automatic connection may be a problem with my server’s CUPS configuration. Here is the routine I use.

Macs run cups as a server daemon and tend to format output for the printer. As a result, the key to using a remote cups server is to have the mac pass the data as a “raw” print stream and let the remote cups server do the translation to the format needed by the office Jet device.

  1. On the remote CUPS server define a printer (i.e. print queue). In my case this was Officejet700 on parallel port 1, Use: “HP Office Jet Foomatic hpijs (recommended) (en)” as the ppd selected.
  2. On the mac, the printer must be defined using the web interface tocups. There isn’t any way to add it using the printer setup utility.
  3. On the mac’s web interface to CUPS define an ipp printer with the uri of ipp://w.x.y.z:631/printers/officejet700 – last part must match the name on cups server. Then select “device raw” and then “raw queue (en)”.

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Oct 17 2006

Vim – Second Look

Published by under General,Linux,Mac,vim

Well, I’m continuing with Vim. At least for now and as I get more time invested in understanding how it works, it gets less likely I’ll go back to BBedit. However in my more practical moments, I’m not sure this is a ‘good idea’. Vim comes with its own approach to text and hoard of keyboard based commands. Its heritage is a text terminal though the graphical wrapper (gvim) works well and does support use of the mouse and at least clipboard based interaction with other OS X programs. Apple’s command key is used and a reasonable set of mappings for most common Apple conventions are supplied with the mac version of Vim (compiling your own is said to be easy, but I’ve not tried that).

Modes continue to be an issue. Insert vs command mode is the main concern. This is one area in which Vim’s world view is at odds with the typical “modeless” editor. Text manipulation is pretty much split between insertion, originally just typing, and movement around with the ability to modify, e.g. delete, without switching to insert mode. There are a huge number of predefined key stroke combinations and the ability to remap them to fit your own way of working.

It is very nice to be able to use the same text editor on my linux servers and on my desktop. Get some efficiency there.

It has a simplified regular expression capability, but not Perl compatible which is a hassle for me. Good integration with CLI capabilities provided by OS X and an endless supply of scripts for common writing and coding tasks. I’ve not begun to test how effective Vim’s HTML, CSS, etc. tools are in comparison to BBedits. That could still sink this project.

So for now, I’ll say very capable, fully functioned text processor. Steep learning curve. Be prepared to adapt and learn for a while. But I knew that before I started!

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