My very ownCloud

30 12 2011

A few days ago I was talking with someone about how frustrated I was with the current cloud providers. I mostly just disapprove of how badly my data is treated by the cloud providers. I am not a massive security zealot but I do try to be careful with my data. I have tried several different providers and I just am either not happy with their service or their policy agreements.

While stumbling around on the net in frustration trying to answer this question, I ran into http://owncloud.org/. I was very skeptical at first as it seemed like a very new project. I figured it was worth a try though.

As I prepared for the install (by reading all the docs I could find about the project), I got really super excited. I was going to toss it up on my virtual machine but I got so excited that I ended up doing the install to my ‘production’ system (well about as “production” as it gets for my personal home system…still I don’t like to muck it up). All went well and it was quite easy to get working really fast.

I uploaded a few files and enabled a few plugins and thought ‘Ok. Not perfect. But a decent start.’ As I poked around on the site I really began to like it.

Here is a run down of the plugins I am using.

Files:
Simple enough. You can create text files or directories and you can upload files. When I created a text file I was able to edit it with a basic editor that does most everything I need. I created a few directories and uploaded a few things. The download button worked for files but not for folders. The share button was nice as i could share with a person, group, or public. Most seemed to work as expected.

The only two things I really feel should be addressed are:
1) When uploading a file, all I see is a spinning icon. No display of progress or how much longer the upload will take.
2) It would be nice if I could upload a folder. I tried a few things but they didn’t seem to work. Uploading a file just works, but folders were not working.

Music:
I was surprised and delighted to see that after uploading a (legit!) music MP3 download in the Files section that the tracks appeared in the Music section. The player was working and everything seemed pretty good. The interface was a bit kludgy but it wasn’t hard to figure out. I decided to upload more music. A new album I got for Christmas. An album I ripped to FLAC (like I do all my CD’s). A good 90% of my music collection is in FLAC. The music player stopped working. It didn’t start working until I deleted all the FLAC files.

This was highly disappointing and in my opinon really needs to be addressed…

Contacts:
Simple interface. Handles all the contact information one would expect it to hold.

I do wish there was a notes section.

Calendar:
I set a few appointments/events and while it worked I don’t know how much I will end up using it. I am going to try to use it more because something seems off about it but I can’t place what. Maybe it is just me. But until I can figure out what is bothering me, I can’t write a just and descriptive review of it.

Gallery:
This didn’t seem to auto update after uploading files. Maybe it just had not had the chance to scan. However, a manual scan picked up the files. The preview pictures seemed to be only partial center portions of the image and as such the thumbnail view didn’t really show anything useful in the pics I uploaded. However, clicking on them brought up the full image and I was very please about how easy it was to navigate.

No comments on things to do here.

Bookmarks:
Basic bookmarking feature. Nothing too special. Works just as I expected it to. I found another webpost suggesting that I should be able to link my browser on KDE (Rekonq) to the bookmarks feature. I have not tried this yet, but if it does work that would be very nice as it would be my own bookmark sharing utility.

Over all I am very impressed and I can’t wait to see what they do in the future.





Computer show schwag

15 10 2011

I recently went to a big computer show and I ended up with the normal schwag. Pens, led flashlights, pens with led flashlights, and of course USB flash drives. In fact, I ended up with several flash drives from various vendors. I plugged one in and tried to copy some data to it, only to find that it was TERRIBLY slow. It really was painfully slow. That is why I decided to do some benchmark testing. Nothing too fancy, just the standard utility that ships with Ubuntu LTS 10.04.

System->Administration->Disk Utility

Now because I don’t want to seem too childish in whining about the results, I will not post the vendor names.

As a standard benchmark, a 5$ USB disk from Newegg.
Size 1GB
Max Read 20.1 MB/s
Avg Read 19.2 MB/s
Max Write 5.2 MB/s
Avg Write 4.1 MB/s

A vendor who sells SANs:
Size 1GB
Max Read 20 MB/s
Avg Read 18.6 MB/s
Max Write 5 MB/s
Avg Write 1.9 MB/s

A second vendor who sells SANS:
Size 1GB
Max Read 20.7 MB/s
Avg Read 18.7 MB/s
Max Write 2.8 MB/s
Avg Write 1.6 MB/s

A large enterprise-grade system vendor:
Size 1GB
Max Read 13.1 MB/s
Avg Read 12.3 MB/s
Max Write 3.4 MB/s
Avg Write 3.0 MB/s

A large desktop system vendor:
Size 4GB
Max Read 16.7 MB/s
Avg Read 14 MB/s
Max Write 2.3 MB/s
Avg Write 1.4 MB/s

A Linux vendor:
Size 2GB
Max Read 18 MB/s
Avg Read 16.3 MB/s
Max Write 3.2 MB/s
Avg Write 2 MB/s

A software company for supercomputing:
Size 2GB
Max Read 17 MB/s
Avg Read 12.7 MB/s
Max Write 2.7 MB/s
Avg Write 2.2 MB/s

I found it very interesting (and worthy of this post) simply because of the fact that these flash drives have such terrible write speeds. I understand that each company handed out 100’s of these flash drives and that 5$ each would add up quickly so they went for a much cheaper alternative. Still, it is rather annoying that the write speeds are so terrible. Especially on a 4GB drive. That is a decent amount of space for the files I carry around but at a max of 2.3MB/s transferring files to fill that would be roughly half an hour at peak speeds. Closer to an hour more than likely.

Then again, I really can’t complain too much. I did get a bunch of free flash drives that I am sure I can find a use for.

😀

Thanks to all the vendors who gave me free schwag!





2 weekend “Non-Events” that made me love Linux even more.

31 05 2011

This morning at work a co-worker asked me how my weekend went and if I did anything interesting. My reply was a simple ‘Nothing much. Watched Science Fiction on TV and worked on computers.” It was rather non-eventful after all. “Oh yeah? What did you work on?” I had to think about this for a second. Most of what I did was so trivial that I didn’t remember right away. I read a few documents I had been meaning to do. Sorted and tagged the photos from the last vacation. Cleaned out my inbox of emails. Oh yeah! I also did two interesting projects.

Two things actually did happen to me over this past Memorial Day weekend. Two things that were such non-events that I almost didn’t remember I did them. Even after I remembered, it took a comparison between Linux and another OS before it hit me of just how big of a deal this actually was to me. Once the full realization of what I had done sunk in I knew right away that I love Linux and all the people who contribute to it just a little more then I had before.

Non-Event #1

I had a 64bit Debian Squeeze install. Nothing special on it, in fact it was a very stripped down install. This was primarily a “Repository Server” for me. It was my local mirror for Debian Lenny and Squeeze, Ubuntu 10.04, CentOS 5, and Scientific Linux 6. A big hard drive with a very little OS footprint. Well, it wasn’t on a battery backup because I didn’t care enough. We got hit with a brown out that blew the power supply. My bad luck comes in to play with the fact that the power supply is a special one that I don’t have a replacement for and to buy a replacement would cost as much as the computer originally cost me.

So what to do? Well I pulled the drive out, and plugged it into a less powerful spare box. Booted the box, and the only major change was that instead of my two network cards being eth0 and eth1, they were now eth2 and eth3. The rest of the system ran just fine. I made a few changes to the network card properties and as far the network/computer were concerned the box wasn’t any different. My scripts all continued to run, the other computers still used it for pulling updates, and every one went on doing their thing. A complete non-event.

What makes this special then?

Well it occurred to me that many years ago when I still had a Windows XP box and my motherboard died, I had tried to take my hard drive out and plug it into a new system. Not only did it not work, but it complained that I had invalidated my license key! I had to do a backup (with a Live Linux cd) followed by a re-install. A co-worker pointed out that when they tried doing it with Windows Vista, they got the logo with the scrolling bar and it would never boot any further. They too had to re-install. In fact, from everyone in my (albeit very limited) group no one could think of a time when they were able to do this successfully with Windows *without* using a 3rd party migration tool.

This is why it was a non-event to me that was so very special. My Linux swap had no licensing issues. There was no halted booting. There was no re-install of my OS and programs with near endless updates for the updates. There was no pain, no suffering, no gnashing of teeth, nor was there even a sign of a feint hint of a headache in the foreseeable future. That’s how easy it was. I just swapped the disk and had my server back up and running with nearly no downtime or incident!

I Love Linux.

Non-Event #2
My laptop runs an older version of Ubuntu (because I am too dang lazy to update…thats why). It has been behaving rather odd recently. I knew it was the hard drive because when things went really wrong I could hear it slam the arm against the drive and spin down just moments before the laptop would hang. I have been too lazy to upgrade, so that should tell you that I don’t care enough about this laptop to swap the hard drives. Well I fired up a program by clicking its GUI icon and nothing happened. Huh. Try it again. Nothing. Try it from the command line and it refused to run. The heck? So just for grins I tried to run it with gdb. Oh boy, was it not happy. Huh. It ran fine earlier this morning. A random thought made me check the md5sum of the file vs what it was supposed to be. It didn’t match. Great. So I ran badblocks and guess what? I had a BUNCH of them! Arg. I knew it was coming so I couldn’t blame anyone but myself.

I turned on MythTV and watched more Science Fiction shows while I pulled the 80GB drive out of my laptop. Using a laptop-2-USB adapter I plugged it into my main computer. I found a smaller 40GB laptop drive that was in great shape, and I plugged it into my main computer with another adapter. I inspected the bad drive and it seemed that all the problems were in the 10GB root partition. There were three partitions: root, a small swap, and the rest in the home partition. For some reason the big home partition didn’t register problems, yet.

Using dd with the “conv=noerror,sync” option (lots of bad sectors that dd had to replace with 0’s) I copied the root parition (10GB) to the 40GB drive. I created a small 2GB swap partition on the 40GB drive, and dumped the rest into /home. On the 80GB drive /home had most of the space but I was only using ~5GB. Therefore, I mounted the two /home partitions and rsynced the data with proper permissions (no errors were reported). I had to edit the /etc/fstab of the new drive to edit the UUID’s of the new swap and home partition but that was it. I slapped the new drive into the laptop and booted it up. No problems at all. However, I did still have bad sections of 0’s, remember? And these 0’s were in the midst of various programs which would cause plenty of problems. I ran debsums and sure enough several packages reported problems. I reinstalled those packages and re-ran debsums. All good!

In total with all the file transfers, it was only about 3 hours while my attention was mostly watching a Science Fiction show that was almost as un-memorable as the replacing of the drive. Now my laptop has a working hard drive in it and appears to be in great shape.

What makes this special then?

As I was discussing this with my co-workers we came up with several pitfalls had this been attempted under Windows.

First, Windows doesn’t have a separate partition capabilities for its ‘Documents and Settings’ aka /home information (at least none that we are aware of without using third party tools of which at least one of us has tried with little success). Therefore the separating of all the users files from system files would have been quite painful.

Second, while a dd of a windows drive would have worked it would have a) required a Linux box or live cd (but we may just not know of a Microsoft alternative though I am sure there are paid-for 3rd party tools) and b) would have required shrinking the NTFS partition to the smaller drive size before transferring. The shrinking of the file system *could* have resulted in _more_ corruption depending on how it was done.

Third, program installation and program file tracking in Windows is absolutely terrible. There is NO other way of saying that without resorting to foul and inappropriate language. Unfortunately that language is almost necessary to describe how terrible Windows is at tracking and installing programs. Microsoft just simply doesn’t have a good package manager (they don’t even have something that rates higher then terrible). Therefore, even after a partition transfer with bad sectors there would be no way to check all the files installed by various programs to determine which files/programs needed to be re-installed. A bit-by-bit copy would have been just as broken.

Fourth, as discussed earlier in Non-Event #1 transferring installs between computers can be a huge pain. Now in this case since all the hardware was the same except for the hard drive, hopefully one wouldn’t have problems. Still how many people have changed a few items in their computer and had to re-activate their Windows license? A quick Google search says A LOT! I am glad this threat doesn’t hang over me in the Linux world.

Since a bit-by-bit copy doesn’t seem to have very good chance of working in the Windows world (in this example), maybe a migration would work. However, we are not aware of a good Microsoft provided migration tool. You would have to install Windows to the new drive, then use a third party tool (which would probably cost even more money) to migrate your programs, files, and tools.

Since migration is iffy and going to cost more money, the only alternative that has any good chance of working without paying more money would be to do a complete re-install. A re-install that would take a LOT of time and effort with FAR too many updates of the updates of the updates. And that is just for Windows. After that you have to install all of your programs and transfer your files.

Regardless of how you manage to rebuild the Windows laptop, it is going to be painful. It is VERY doubtful it could have been done in the same time frame. Especially if one devotes time and attention to watching a movie (or should I say multiple movies with a Windows install). The only hope of doing it in that time frame is if you already have all the third party tools needed. Even if you could get it all copied, you still have ZERO ways of checking your programs to find out which ones got corrupted, much less a easy way of repairing those files. To put it bluntly, some one in this position is screwed.

I guarantee that *I* could not have done that much work and effort over something that should be so trivial and easy without going stabby-stabby on the laptop and/or the closest Windows developer I could find. Under Linux it was a non-event. It just worked. Nothing at all to get frustrated about.

Two non-events that took very little of my time. Two non-events that would have destroyed my weekend had I been a Windows user. My sincere thanks to all those who put their time and effort into Linux to make these non-events.

I Love Linux. It just works.





SL6 and Zabbix 1.8.5

9 05 2011

Someone pointed out to me that my post on compiling Zabbix on CentOS no longer works. Well to be honest, I have switched my CentOS systems to Scientific Linux 6 for a plethora of reasons (Short Story: a lot of the scientific packages we use at work are now being tested on SL6 by the various development groups where they are left up to the community on CentOS. So we jumped to SL6).

Nevertheless, I didn’t want to have bad information posted on my blog so I decided to update.

If you try to use my old post for compiling on SL6 or CentOS you end up with an error message like reader mailo got:
make[2]: Nothing to be done for `install-exec-am’.
make[2]: Nothing to be done for `install-data-am’.
make[2]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/redhat/BUILD/zabbix-1.8.5′
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/redhat/BUILD/zabbix-1.8.5′
+ install misc/conf/zabbix_agent.conf misc/conf/zabbix_agentd misc/conf/zabbix_agentd.conf misc/conf/zabbix_agentd.win.conf misc/conf/zabbix_server.conf misc/conf/zabbix_proxy.conf /var/tmp/zabbix-1.8.5-root/etc/zabbix
install: omitting directory `misc/conf/zabbix_agentd’
error: Bad exit status from /var/tmp/rpm-tmp.54232 (%install)
RPM build errors:
Bad exit status from /var/tmp/rpm-tmp.54232 (%install)

This is due to a new directory structure in misc/conf/zabbix_agentd. Lennart at Andrew Farley’s blog caught the fix.

Here are the steps to compile now.
1) Download the zabbix spec file into ~/rpmbuild/SPECS/

2) Edit the spec file
2a) Change line 6 from “Version: 1.8.3” to “Version: 1.8.5”
2b) Change line 382 from “install misc/conf/zabbix_{a*,s*,p*} $RPM_BUILD_ROOT%{_sysconfdir}” to “install misc/conf/zabbix_{a*,s*,p*}.conf* $RPM_BUILD_ROOT%{_sysconfdir}”

3) Download Zabbix 1.8.5 from zabbix.com into ~/rpmbuild/SOURCES/

4) Download the patch file into ~/rpmbuild/SOURCES/

5) Build your RPMS!

So all together on the command line:
$ cd ~/rpmbuild/SPECS/
$ wget http://repo.andrewfarley.com/centos/specs/zabbix.spec
$ sed -e 's/1.8.3/1.8.5/' -i zabbix.spec
$ sed -e 's/p\*\}\ /p\*\}.conf\*\ /' -i zabbix.spec
$ cd ~/rpmbuild/SOURCES/
$ wget http://repo.andrewfarley.com/centos/specs/zabbix-centos-log-and-pid-paths.patch
$ wget (find download link from here)
$ cd ~/rpmbuild/SPECS/
$ rpmbuild -bb --target=`uname -m` zabbix.spec

That should be it! So far this is working for me. If I come across any other issues I will fix them here.

Once again, major props to Andrew. And props to Lennart for the fix.

[EDIT] Eric G built RPMs for 1.8.5 and 1.9.3 below in the comments. If you just want to install the RPMs instead of building from source you should be able to use his repo. Thanks Eric G!





Dropping Gnash in favor of Lightspark

20 08 2010

I was introduced to Lightspark today. Decided to give it a go and see how well it works. So far more things work then with gnash, especially all the little animated buttons idiots decide to put on their webpages (Really? Flash for a few buttons? What is wrong with you people?). Youtube starts to play, gets about 3 seconds into the video and freezes. Never managed to get sound with Youtube either. There are also a bunch of websites that have graphs and things for how many people showed up to their website in the past x days. Sometimes Lightspark shows them, sometimes it is just a dark grey box. Still, it is better then the white box with a black border I got with Gnash _all_the_time_everywhere_.

Overall, I think Lightspark is better the Gnash so far but we will see how long it lasts. I am still hoping for the ultimate demise and death of flash so it is nice that I have alternatives besides the that Adobe releases. I am still cruising around the web not really hampered by my lack of official flash support and youtube-dl is serving me well. Not ideal for grandma, but works for me.

If you want to check out lightspark, here is the wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightspark
Here is the sourceforge page: http://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/lightspark
And last, but not least, here is the launchpad page for the Debian and Ubuntu people: https://launchpad.net/lightspark

Lastly, as a side note. I have been running Debian Squeeze for something like a week now. WOW it is NICE! Major props Debian team!





A-Kon 2010

7 06 2010

I just got done with a long road trip after a long weekend at A-Kon 2010. We had a fantastic time. Crashed at the Westin City Center Dallas hotel (great place!). Got to hang out with David Wong from brick-by-brick design for a while (got some cool art too!). Of course Devils Panties (Not satanic porn!), Two Lumps(One just draws cats) and Trunks and Soto were very entertaining in their panels. Sad that Devils Panties didn’t make it to Iron Artist this year though…

I was also introduced to Abney Park. I had never heard of them (not really into steam punk bands) but I was really impressed! The concert was great but I felt a bit bad for them. The crowd was pretty lame. Very few people were dancing or doing anything but standing there. I was able to get a good section of the crowd jumping on one song, but having never heard them before I couldn’t really get the crowd riled up like I have done at past concerts with other bands. I don’t know if it was because it was freakishly hot and humid or if it is because the crazy additional metal in the steampunk outfit weighed the fans down, but I saw more dancing and fans going crazy with excitement at the last Weird Al concert I went to. The band deserved better then that. If there is ever any footage that surfaces, I will be the crazy guy jumping up and down to the right of the stage about half way back. 😀

Besides the given: way-too-many-traps, way-to-many-furries, and way-too-many-girls-in-skimpy-outfits-who-have-no-business-being-in-those-outfits-and-should-be-in-line-for-the-next-season-of-biggest-loser, there really was only one downside to A-kon worth mentioning. The staff on cc-3 were needlessly power-tripping. The only time I witnessed or heard about the staff being dickish was always in reference to cc3. I understand the yelling is needed, but the name calling and belittling of people seem a bit harsh. My personal run-ins could have been handled so much more gracefully (Sorry. Didn’t know it was a crime to sit in line nor that the punishment was to be yelled at.). I don’t want to retell the stories (plenty of other blogs that will dish about that kind of stuff) but I was not thrilled about them nor their rude actions. The rest of A-kon staff was great! Very friendly and helpful in finding events. Props to them!

Also, for the last several years McDonalds has run out of many of their staple food items. Is it because they can’t prepare? Is it because they do more business then everyone else? Whatever the reason they need to get their act together. It is the same time every year McDonalds! Not hard to figure out when you are going to get a rush. At the very least work with other McDonalds in the area and be sure to get restocked ASAP! Anyway…

That’s all for now. Time for sleep.





Texas Linux Fest Review

17 04 2010

Been working on this for a few days, sorry I am a week late…

The event was well done and I was very impressed for the first show that these guys have put on. It started late and there were a few hiccups early on, but they were all minor things and over all things went well. ‘How well?’ you may ask and my response would be that one of the biggest complaints I had was that the three seminar rooms weren’t labeled on the map as to which was A, B, or C. When that is one* of the biggest nit-picks I can find then the show went well. So I am going to delve into my various notes for your review.

*The biggest complaint is further down.

So first things first, the loot!
* A sweet shirt from LinuxFund that was drawn up by Illiad at User Friendly. One of my favorite geek comics. Very happy and hence this gets top listing. I also got a few stickers from Linux Foundation.
* A nice Texas Linux Fest 2010 shirt and bag. Also got a wristband.
* Debian gave me a flyer. Talked to the Debian guys there for a while too. Great guys to hang out with for a while.
* Linux Journal hooked me up with a calendar and offered me a magazine but as a member I already had it. 😀
* Ubuntu hooked me up with a Ubuntu 9.10 disc and Kubuntu 9.10 disc. A ton of stickers and a lapel button.
* Red Hat hooked me up with a few stickers while the Fedora booth next to them hooked me up with stickers and Fedora 12 DVD for 64bit systems.
* Virtualmin gave me a cheat-sheet of git commands (which I am learning now so good handout!)
* Linux Pro magazine
* Firefox stickers, temp tattoo, and buttons.
* Gnome stickers
* Rackspace pen
* Google notebook and pen.

Here are the programs that I went to (Full schedule ) along with a few notes I made:

10:00 Keynote: A Musical Guide to the Future of Linux: Reprise – Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier
– Open Source could use less junk, better apps, and more ideas.
– Companies put business first and tend to turn a deaf ear to harsh criticisms. The problem with criticizing companies that have been or are Open Source friendly is that if they only hear the negative they will have no interest in continuing to support or contribute to Open Source. He cited Novell’s and IBM’s history of helping Open Source and the harsh criticism or recent news.
– The community doesn’t need more zealots, it needs inspiration. Help others feel the same as you do about Linux. Show them why you are excited about Linux and why they should be too.
– Logic drives decisions; Emotions drive actions.
– My personal take: He had a lot of really good things to say that I wish were said more often. I agreed with almost all of his view points. However, I actually disagreed with several bands he mentioned and some comparisons I thought were way off. This is the problem with using music as the analogy instead of cars. I hate the cars analogy too, but it usually fits because everyone can relate and it shares almost no personal bias. Comparing against music and you end up with:
Person 1: “Linux is like $FamousBandFrom60s. It rocks!”
Person 2: “Ugh! Are you kidding me? $FamousBandFrom60s was only regarded as good by people on drugs in the 60’s and they are only liked by stoners now. No Linux is more like $FamousBandFrom80s.”
Person 3: “With that crazy hair and neon colors? Ahh heck no!”
and so forth and so on. Music varies wildly and is hard for everyone to relate to. The car analogy works because a statement of “Linux is like a Corvette ZR1! It is fast and gets peoples attention!” Doesn’t matter if you like the ZR1 or not, it _is_ fast and it does attract attention and therefore it is relate able.

11:00 Documentation Needs? How FLOSS Manuals Can Help – Janet Swisher and Anne Gentle
– Don’t have a lot of notes on this as their site explains it pretty well: http://en.flossmanuals.net/
– I was really impressed and have already started two different manuals to be released on the site (hopefully in the next few weeks).

11:30 Open Source from the Trenches: How to Get Involved and be Successful – Chris Aniszczyk
– ohloh.net
– Brand yourself for the job you want not the one you have.
– Avoid negativity when posting online.
– Be helpful and honest. It is all part of your image when people search for you online.

12:00 Coexisting with Non-programmers – David Cramer and Janet Swisher
– The more you use a piece of software the more you contribute to it. By using software (proprietary or Open Source) you create opportunities, information, an support for that software.

1:30 Ubuntu on ARM – Pete Graner and David Mandala
– For some time I have been itching to get a touchbook. I have been hesitant because my attempts at ARM in the past have been less then stellar. However, this project gave me hope that Ubuntu will have good support. I went and spoke with them for some time about it afterwards and was very pleased to know that one is actually in their possession! So in a couple of weeks when I have some downtime scheduled I am planning on picking up a touchbook and running it through its paces. Even if it is a disaster, at least I won’t be alone. I will also be able to contribute bug reports and hopefully fixes to a group who is actively working on ARM. I am really pleased.

2:30 fossevents.org: Helping the Little Guy – Gareth Greenaway
– Interesting site but needs a way to filter data in my opinion. I think it would be great if LUG’s all over the world posted their meeting times but that would be WAY to over whelming for data. If they had a way of filtering out by country/state that would be much more helpful. I am going to propose to our LUG to start adding events to this site.
– The rest of his presentation was on ‘the future’. A lot of good ideas to help events and speakers find each other. I really like the possibility of a site for events to get information ranging from locations to sponsors to advertising. We will see if it actually goes somewhere.

3:00 Skipped this time frame as I was talking with Rackspace and Ubuntu guys. I heard good things about the MondoDB presentation, but a guy who likes the idea of NoSQL wasn’t convinced on it for high reliability in an enterprise environment and for that reason I doubt I would have found too much interest as I have yet to be convinced on NoSQL at all…but that is another topic…

4:00 Monitoring Bare Metal to the Clouds with Zenoss – Matt Ray
– Well done presentation and I applaud the company for doing well. However, not convinced. I know people who swear by Ganglia and Cacti. If you read my blog at all you know I am a MASSIVE fan of Zabbix. ( I had a whole listing of questions regarding Zabbix but someone asked a question and the speaker made it apparent he didn’t know a lot so I didn’t bother him. Not a slam on him by any means, just saying he didn’t appear to have any working knowledge of the differences between Zabbix and Zenoss).
– Also, his comment about Zabbix being unable to run without an agent was wrong. Zabbix can monitor SNMP as well. Which lead me to a question of if Zenoss _only_ monitors SNMP then wouldn’t you get a swamped network when you scale up to hundreds of nodes? I like the burst feature of Zabbix for this reason. I don’t use Zenoss so I can’t say, but I noticed a big difference on network traffic when we switched a bunch of systems that were SNMP (proprietary monitoring) to Zabbix agents….

5:00 SELinux for Mere Mortals (or, “Don’t Turn It Off!”) – Thomas Cameron
– This talk was worth the money of the Texas Linux Fest plus the money to drive 6 hours and back. He ran low on time and that kinda peeved me off that he didn’t have more time (biggest complaint: I wish he had been granted the time to finish; not sure if he didn’t plan well or if he didn’t get the time he was told he would have…still it sucks he rushed the end and didn’t have time for Q&A). I am sure most people don’t care about this, but if you have ever had a fight with SELinux then this was the talk for you. I have fought with SELinux several times and I admit that I have just turned it off at times. While he was talking he directly hit on one (of many ) problem I had and as he was explaining it things just clicked. I had a complete “ohhhh….” moment. My notes span two pages and are mostly things like “man $command” or “man $command $option”. There are also a few scribblings of “I think this would fix my problem on $server. Research it and test it out!”.

This about wraps it up. It was a blast and I can’t wait for next year!