February 28, 2006
One of this things I did this past weekend was to get VMware Server setup and running on the new PC. The install went pretty smooth and I was quickly adding generic VMs. I started out setting up several different distros of Linux installs, including Fedora Core 4, SUSE and Debian. I need to grab my CentOS disks at work tomorrow and get that up and running as well. They all installed with minimal issues and should provide a great framework to really getting my test environment up and running. I will probably start getting some Windows stuff setup next weekend so I can have some of that to test with as well.
Once the replacement RAM is here I should have a pretty versatile test network to work with. Certainly a nice change over the old PI and PII boxes with low amounts of RAM I used to use!
February 27, 2006
I was out at Half-Price Books today browsing around at computer games, RPG games and computer books. I came across Volume Two of the Linux Server Hacks book from O’Reilly. Just released in December of 2005! I snapped that up at 50% off. I always pick up a few useful tricks out of the hacks books and this one looks to be of similar caliber.
February 25, 2006
Within the last week I implemented a Wiki as a documentation tool for our department. Right now I am the main one dumping content into it. I see it was being a central place for server config information, tips and tricks on various services we have running and even up to and includng contact information for various vendors. I have a fair amount of it documented already – just in a myriad of text files, word docs, spreadsheets and my mail client’s address book. This should allow us to have all of that in one place for others in the department to look at when needed.
For our case I was trying to decide between MoinMoin and MediaWiki. MoinMoin is Python based, while MediaWiki is your more typical LAMP (Linux, Apache MySQL and PHP) app. I was tempted to go the MoinMoin route as it does get good reviews and it would have been an excuse to get more familiar with Python. But… many of our open source apps currently in use are of the LAMP model. So in trying to keep things grouped together where the expertise is, I chose MediaWiki for our documentation Wiki.
Currently I try to update a little bit in the Wiki three times a week. I have also been using it as a scratch pad of sorts while troubleshooting various issues. Sometimes having those notes from troubleshooting prove quite worthwhile.
It will be interesting to see how well it works for us over time.
February 22, 2006
Looks like Apple’s Mac OS X has caught the attention of security researchers (being generous with that term). Within the past week there have been three reports of security threats and or flaws for the OS:
Feb. 16 – OS X Trojan Appears
Feb. 17 – Second OS X worm appears
Feb. 21 – Critical browsing flaw found in Max OS X
The first one appears to be a work of social engineering rather than exploiting an actual flaw. The second one apparently takes advantage of an old Bluetooth flaw and the most recent (and most serious it would seem) is the browsing flaw in Safari, OS X’s default browser.
Looks like it is time to pay closer attention to the settings on the iBook at this point beyond the normal safety precautions.
February 22, 2006
The Quake 4 Demo is up and running on my new computer now. Of course I am running Fedora Core 4 as my OS and this was my first attempt at getting a “real” game up and running on the OS. I went with Quake 4 as they cared enough to actually make a Linux Demo. The install was painless (after I got the Nvidia drivers installed which was also pretty easy).
Upon launching it for the first time I received a video related error. That was due to the color depth being set wrong, quick mod to xorg.conf and that was working. Then on to sound problems. Video ran fine, but the voices and sounds in the game were off, sort of garbled. Adding ‘+set s_driver oss’ to the end of the quake command to launch the game clered that right up.
After that everything ran great! Lots of fun to be had fragging my way through the Demo levels!
I think I will try out the Unreal Tournament 2004 demo and look into seeing if I can get CounterStrike to run on Linux. If I can get CS to run, I think that will be the game I settle down on, but I would really like to get it to run under Linux. Not sure if that is possible yet.
Well…. Off to do some more fragging! W00t!
February 20, 2006
I am now posting from the new computer. Fastest Fedora install I’ve done yet! Looks like I have some RAM to return, as 1GB of my 2GBs was bad. Can’t complain much though about “limping” along on only 1GB of RAM! Everything seems to be running well for now, we’ll see if this first few days brings me any surprises.
I still have some things to tweak out, get the video card doing something better than 800×600 and make sure some of the other things are working under Fedora okay. I am running with a wireless card right now as I still need a patch panel to punch down the drops I have in my house. Ended up using ndiswrapper to get it up and running, but that only took a few minutes.
For the most part this is a temporary install. I think Fedora Core 5 is being released in March sometime and I will probably rebuild a little more seriously then. For now its just playing with some things here and there.
February 19, 2006
Q. You install an Asus A8N5X motherboard (Award Bios) with AMD dual core processor, 2 GBs of RAM and a PCI Express 16 GeForce 6600GT. On power up you receive one long beep, followed by two short beeps. What’s wrong?
February 16, 2006
I’ve been making use of VMs for test environment use for the past several months. One of these VMs is a CentOS Linux server. In this particular VM the system clock of the Linux box advances at a rather brisk pace. I think last week it thought it was already the end of March, this after I had just set the clock correctly a few weeks ago. NTPD is running in this instance but even it can’t seem to keep control of the racing clock.
I have been meaning to look into it, but as this is a test environment it is often put on the backburner. Today, while catching up on one of my CentOS mailing lists I stumbled across the issue. Looks like the 2.6 kernel is not officialy supported by some versions of VMware. Here is the informative part from the email post that helped shed some light (credit to Aleksandar Milivojevic):
In current versions of VMware (for example ESX 2.5.x), 2.6 kernels are not yet officially supported. What you described is one of the problems with 2.6 kernels and VMware. Add “clock=pit” kernel option (in grub.conf or lilo.conf, whichever boot loader you use), don’t use NTP to sync time, install vmware-tools onto each guest and enable time synchronization in them (by default it is off). It should keep time in your guests under some controll. The problem is mostly because 2.6 kernels are much stricter in watching the frequency source selected for clock, and they also increased the frequncy of interrupts requested from it from 100Hz to 1000Hz (one global + one per CPU, or something like that). This frequency is compile time kernel option (it is hard coded into the kernel, can’t be changed once kernel is compiled). Furthermore, frequency of interrupts increases with number of processor cores (so if each of your guests is configured with two virtual CPUs, it’s 3000 interrupts per second per 2.6 guest, compared to only 300 per 2.4 guest). With many guest running on bussy box, VMware might not be able to generate all needed virtual interrupts for 2.6 guest operating systems, and you get clock problems you are having. There’s a code in clock code in 2.6 kernel that attempts to correct for missed/skipped interrupts. However under VMware it tends to overcorrect and your clock starts gaining time fast, like you described. This is classic problem you’ll encounter with current versions of VMware and guests running 2.6 kernel. It should be corrected in Vmware ESX 3.x (which should also have official support for 2.6 kernels).
Looks like I still have a little more reading to do, but I love it when I happen to stumble across a solution to an issue I am experiencing at work. Looks like once again my time spent on mailing lists pays off!
February 15, 2006
The new PC shipped last night from Memphis, TN. It is looking like it might actually make it here tomorrow! I am reserving judgement for now, but if everything shows up in good shape I am going to have some very high praises for a certain online retailer….
CORRECTION – The Case shipped on Monday night. The rest of the parts shipped last night. Still happy with the turn-around as it looks like I will have all of the parts by this weekend.
February 14, 2006
I was asked what security issues prompted me to go back to hosting my own blog. This /. article is the one that got me thinking. Now I fully understand software has its flaws, but it seems that the high profile blogging sites are becoming more and more of a target for various flaws. Last fall it was myspace falling victim to a cross-site scripting worm. So with that I chose to move back to hosting my own blog again.
The blogging softare I use is certainly not immune to security issues. But with it on my server it is something I control a little more easily. We will see how it goes.