Archive for the ‘Linux’ Category

I’m Jaunty

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

A pretty smooth upgrade –

  • Freeciv(-client-gtk) seemed to barf, so I just uninstalled it.
  • The new Amarok is nice, even if the jaunty version isn’t totally up-to-the-minute. I did have to install phonon-backend-xine though.
  • LLVM is v2.5, hurrah! GHC is still v6.8.2, boo.

Dreamhost backups: the appropriate incantation

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Recently, and without much fanfare, Dreamhost introduced backup users. Each account gets a single backup user, whose function is to provide a remote backup. Dreamhost’s TOS states that regular user content must be served on the web: it is not intended to be a backup service. However, clearly the need for remote backups exists, and so they now allow 50GB (plus more at the rate of $0.10 per GB per month) of backup space for each account, accessed through the backup user.

So I’m backing up my email remotely. Just the job for a shell script. First things first: what do I need to backup? Well I use Evolution for email, and first I need to stop things from changing while I backup, and make sure I’m starting from the right place:

gconftool-2 --shutdown
evolution --force-shutdown

Next, I need to backup three directories, and encrypt them of course. (The recipient here is changed for security purposes.)

tar -cz .gconf/apps/evolution .gnome2_private/Evolution .evolution 
    | gpg -e -r -o mail.tar.gz.gpg

Now of course I need to upload the backup to the dreamhost backup server via SFTP (Once again the username here is changed for security purposes.):

sftp -b /dev/stdin <<EOF
put mail.tar.gz.gpg

And finally remove the intermediate file:

rm mail.tar.gz.gpg

Having previously uploaded my authorized ssh key to avoid having to type a password, of course, this process is now automated. The only fly in the ointment is that Dreamhost backup users only support FTP or SFTP; ideally they’d have support for rsync.

Hardy Heron

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

After a couple of days of slow servers, today it picked up a bit and I installed Hardy Heron without problems. Well, with a couple of minor problems. First, my /boot partition is still just a little too small, so I had to move a few things around to manage the recreation of the initrd file. Second, there were some issues with dependencies in a couple of the GHC library files. But that was also fairly easily sorted.

I haven’t played a lot yet with everything that’s new; just noticed a few minor changes for now. Everything still seems to work!

Backup Solution, Evolved

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

At the end of November, I invested in a NAS box with 500GB of RAID 1 space. This weekend I finally got around to another thing on my todo list: updating the firmware of said box and doing some spelunking. Using a marvellous thing called fun-plug, I now have some real Linux power on the DNS-323.

It was easy to install, and by default get telnet access to the box. Once in, I set up a non-root user and enabled the Dropbear ssh daemon. Since I already had a public RSA key generated on my client box (for ssh access to Dreamhost), all I had to do was copy it to the box as ~/.ssh/authorized_keys – and this gave me ssh access without asking for a password every time.

The next thing to do was get rsync working. Fun-plug includes rsync, a script to start it in daemon mode, and a sample rsyncd.conf file. After a bit of reading manpages and online tutorials, I was set, and rsync is currently doing its thing vis-à-vis my home directory. I’ve written some rsync scripts to back up various parts of my system, and I’ll put it all on cron jobs of course. It’s much better than my previous stopgap solution of manual copying. When you have huge directories of stuff that change/grow frequently (e.g. my “pictures” directory) manual copying is really a poor substitute for diffing and updating only what’s needed.

Also, following up from November’s post, I have a 500GB drive in a eSATA/USB enclosure currently sitting safely in my desk drawer at work.

I’m not with Comcast…

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

…but apparently they sent RSTs both ways. And I wouldn’t put it past my ISP to forcibly reset Bittorrent connections either. So I’ve told my firewall to drop BIttorrent TCP packets with the RST bit set. The question is, when will ISPs understand the two fundamentals of the situation, viz. 1) I’ve paid for my bandwidth and I’m entitled to use it, 2) Bittorrent traffic isn’t all about teenagers downloading copyrighted material – what about Linux distributions, game patches, etc?


Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Well, I decided to beat the crowd and go ahead and install Gutsy Gibbon before the official release (tomorrow). Everything is fine, nothing is ruined. Some fonts changed in a minor way, and the default desktop background changed, and now I have a whole lot of updated packages. For instance, Gaim is now finally Pidgin.

That’s my boy!

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

This morning, mini-Elbeno decided to look at one of Daddy’s books.

Henry reads about Unix

Never could resist a challenge…

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Well, I installed Feisty. I know I said I was going to wait, but the fact that I tried anyway and it wouldn’t let me – well that was tantamount to throwing down the gauntlet. I sidestepped the error it was giving me about required disk space – to discover that it wasn’t kidding. Because of some ill-advised, and frankly lame, disk space usage during install, it ended up being unable to create a vital system file (the initrd image) on /boot and consequently failed to properly configure several packages, and was not at all happy when I rebooted – i.e. it didn’t boot at all.

But whatever. I wasn’t worried, or I wouldn’t have tried to disengage the safety mechanisms in the first place. Nobody else but me is in charge of this PC! Anyway, a short live CD fixup later, everything is fine again. And I’m not really using much more space on /boot than before. Not really much to report that is noticeably different, but I’m able to take advantage of the latest and greatest again.

Feisty Fawn

Friday, April 20th, 2007

I’m not upgrading yet. Give it a few weeks. I’m sure I’ll run into a few things which don’t quite go according to plan, and it would be handy if someone else hit them first so that I can see the fix on the forums.

Edit: Well, I decided to try it, since the auto-update tool tempted me with the “upgrade” button. But for some reason a 40MB /boot partition isn’t big enough for Feisty… so it won’t let me install!

OpenWRT Port Triggering update

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

I don’t really have time to bundle my patches into a package or get them included in OpenWRT (must admit I was surprised to find they weren’t already there). But after having some enquiries from people seeking port triggering, I have posted the patch files and a short howto at