06 Nov 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Tyrs a Microblogging Client based on Ncurses

Tyrs is a microblogging client, supporting Twitter and Status.net (identi.ca), it's based on console using the NCurses module from Python. The release of the 0.5.0 version is a good excuse to introduce Tyrs. Tyrs aims to get a good interaction with a fairly intuitive interface that can provide support ncurses. Tyrs tries also not to [...]

06 Nov 2011 9:43pm GMT

05 Nov 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Pulling strings

After one year of managing a network of 10 servers with Cfengine I'm currently building two clusters of 50 servers with Puppet (which I'm using for the first time), and have various notes to share. With my experience I had a feeling Cfengine just isn't right for this project, and didn't consider it seriously. These servers are all running Debian GNU/Linux and Puppet felt natural because of the good Debian integration, and the number of users whom also produced a lot of resources. Chef was out of the picture soon because of the scary architecture; CouchDB, Solr and RabbitMQ... coming from Cfengine this seemed like a bad joke. You probably need to hire a Ruby developer when it breaks. Puppet is somewhat better in this regard.

Puppet master needs Ruby, and has a built-in file server using WEBrick. My first disappointment with Puppet was WEBrick. Though PuppetLabs claim you can scale it up to 20 servers, that proved way off, the built-in server has problems serving as little as 5 agents/servers, and you get to see many dropped connections and failed catalog transfers. I was forced to switch to Mongrel and Nginx as frontend very early in the project, on both clusters. This method works much better (even though Apache+Passenger is the recommended method now from PuppetLabs), and it's not a huge complication compared to WEBrick (and Cfengine which doesn't make you jump through any hoops). Part of the reason for this failure is my pull interval, which is 5 minutes with a random sleep time of up to 3 minutes to avoid harmonics (which is still a high occurrence with these intervals and WEBrick fails miserably). In production a customer can not wait on 30/45 minute pull intervals to get his IP address whitelisted for a service, or some other mundane task, it must happen within 10 minutes... but I'll come to these kind of unrealistic ideas a little later.

Unlike the Cfengine article I have no bootstrapping notes, and no code/modules to share. By default the fresh started puppet agent will look for a host called "puppet" and pull in what ever you defined to bootstrap servers in your manifests. As for modules, I wrote a ton of code and though I'd like to share it, my employer owns it. But unlike Cfengine v3 there's a lot of resources out there for Puppet which can teach you everything you need to know, so I don't feel obligated to even ask.

Interesting enough, published modules would not help you get your job done. You will have to write your own, and your team members will have to learn how to use your modules, which also means writing a lot of documentation. Maybe my biggest disappointment is getting disillusioned by most Puppet advocates and DevOps prophets. I found articles and modules most of them write, and experiences they share have nothing to do with the real world. It's like they host servers in a magical land where everything is done in one way and all servers are identical. Hosting big websites and their apps is a much, much different affair.

Every customer does things differently, and I had to write custom modules for each of them. Just between these two clusters a module managing Apache is different, and you can abstract your code a lot but you reach a point where you simply can't push it any more. Or if you can, you create a mess that is unusable by your team members, and I'm trying to make their jobs better not make them miserable. One customer uses an Isilon NAS, the other has a content distribution network, one uses Nginx as a frontend, other has chrooted web servers, one writes logs to a NFS, other to a Syslog cluster... Now imagine this on a scale with 2,000 customers and 3 times the servers and most of the published infrastructure design guidelines become laughable. Instead you find your self implementing custom solutions, and inventing your own rules, best that you can...

I'm ultimately here to tell you that the projects are in a better state then they would be with the usual cluster management policy. My best moment was an e-mail from a team member saying "I read the code, I now understand it [Puppet]. This is fucking awesome!". I knew at that moment I managed to build something good (or good enough), despite the shortcomings I found, and with nothing more than using PuppetLabs resources. Actually, that is not completely honest. Because I did buy and read the book Pro Puppet which contains an excellent chapter on using Git for collaboration on modules between sysadmins and developers, with proper implementation of development, testing and production (Puppet)environments.

05 Nov 2011 11:17pm GMT


Creating json is now ten times easier.

05 Nov 2011 3:10am GMT

01 Nov 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Why AUR is part of the Arch Linux success

If you usually follow some blogs about Linux, especially those on Arch Linux, there is a common word that you are come across often, AUR, acronym of Arch User Repository. You might wonder what does it mean, what does it imply for the distribution, and why it's so popular for the Arch Linux community. If [...]

01 Nov 2011 11:49am GMT

31 Oct 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Converting Ext4 to JFS

Because I have an older laptop and disk I/O can really bottleneck on the motherboard, I decided to move from the ext4 filesystem to JFS. Recently, I've used ext4 because it was fairly fast and definitely reliable; however, with the kernel moving to 2.6.30 new data integrity features have been added that slow it fairly [...]

31 Oct 2011 2:34am GMT

24 Oct 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

wiki and bbs downtime

Ionuț Mircea Bîru wrote:

On October 23th the data center where our server is located had a power failure. The server was rebooted and at the first look everything was fine.

In the morning we noticed that the performance was bad and started to investigate and found out that one of the hard disks was failing.

The drive has been replaced and is now synchronizing.

We are sorry for the long downtime and we have adjusted our procedures so that this won't happen again.

24 Oct 2011 7:39pm GMT

Ubuntu Oneiric: Initial Musings

Aaaaaaaa…. First thing I noticed as Oneiric booted up was how pretty it was: from the unassuming theme to the colorful launcher, the Oneiric looks are sweet. The second thing I noticed, however, was how slow it was. Upon logging in: the desktop took about 60 seconds before becoming usable; the application menu took 10 [...]

24 Oct 2011 5:43pm GMT

22 Oct 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

initscripts update - manual intervention required

Tom Gundersen wrote:

Summary: Please manually delete /etc/profile.d/locale.sh before updating. If . /etc/rc.conf fails in your login shell, please read the full announcement.

Changes to locale handling:

/etc/profile.d/locale.sh is now a static file that sources the correct config files in order to set your locale, rather than being generated at boot. The benefit of this is one less write to /etc, and it allows changes to the locale to take effect without rebooting (just relogin).

We add support for /etc/locale.conf. The settings in this file takes precedence over /etc/rc.conf, and those who use shells that cannot source /etc/rc.conf are required to move to this new format. /etc/locale.conf contains a new-line separated list of variable assignments. The variables we support are LANG as well as the LC_* variables (with the exception of LC_ALL). The format is shared with systemd.

22 Oct 2011 9:31am GMT

16 Oct 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

MPD Locally

Recently I updated the Ubuntu wiki to add using MPD locally and cleaned the Arch wiki of the same name some. MPD on the Arch wiki is a good source of information but it needs help: organization, some tech things, grammatically… but its holding together for now. Because I am mainly using Ubuntu now it [...]

16 Oct 2011 2:08am GMT

14 Oct 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

An era has ended

Since the beginning of the world, trolls has conquered it, with each year passed, the trolls became stronger. Behold, the greatest era in Arch Linux trolling history has now ended. pacman 4.0 was released last night having package signing. What's next? Is there something out there, so powerful, that can be compared with package signing [...]

14 Oct 2011 8:43am GMT

12 Oct 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

srcpac on Transifex!

Yes, you read that right. Even with only 35 translatable lines, the srcpac project has a page on the transifex website so we can translate it in a very simple and easy way.

Start translating at https://www.transifex.net/projects/p/srcpac

12 Oct 2011 12:01am GMT

11 Oct 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Lawnmower Stolen!

Well… sort of… The Brisbane City Council organizes a kerbside collection a couple of times a year for large items that you are unable to put in your rubbish bin. So given the dead state of my lawnmower, this seemed the ideal opportunity to get rid of it. Now, one person's garbage is someone else's [...]

11 Oct 2011 3:38am GMT

10 Oct 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

srcpac 0.10.8

Another 6 months have passed since the last srcpac release, and I'm again here to announce you the new srcpac 0.10.8!

This release improves the performances (the latter was very slow due to the many checks) and add the support to build dependencies and makedependencies of your targets. Also, two new options for the query and remove operations have been added and I rewrote the logic behind the splitted packages.

This release also add gettext support so translations are welcome! (There are very few lines to translate though).

Much more must be done; I hope you can help testing this release and proposing new features using our bug tracker.

0.10.8 ChangeLog:
+ Support to build targets' {make,}dependencies (FS#22253)
+ The build of a splitted package use the makepkg --pkg option
+ Removed duplicated code
+ Rewritten build_package method
+ Removed double candidates check
+ Removed installed version check
+ Add support to ignore packages when updating
+ Minor bugs and cosmetic changes
+ Use 'find' to improve performances
+ Proper way to get the pacman CacheDir
+ When PKGDEST is set makepkg force option is needed (FS#23859)
+ Add options -Rb and -Ro to remove package patchfile and configuration file (F#23860)
+ Show patchfile information in -Qi (FS#23860)
+ Does not display the warning message when a package is not installed
+ Create the srcpac patchfile only after the package installation
+ Add -Qb option to display all packages built
+ Add Italian translation
+ Add translations support with gettext

Stay tuned!

10 Oct 2011 9:25pm GMT

09 Oct 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux


Search by --maintainer

09 Oct 2011 4:52am GMT

08 Oct 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

2011.10-1 archboot "2k11-R6" ISO hybrid image released

Hi Arch community,

Arch Linux (archboot creation tool) 2011.10-1, "2k11-R6" has been released.
To avoid confusion, this is not an official arch linux iso release!

Homepage and for more information on archboot:

- Only use one lzma initrd for each architecture, plain bugfix release.

Hybrid image file and torrent is provided, which include
i686 and x86_64 core repository. Please check md5sum before using it.

Hybrid image file is a standard CD-burnable image and also a raw disk image.
- Can be burned to CD(RW) media using most CD-burning utilities.
- Can be raw-written to a drive using 'dd' or similar utilities.
This method is intended for use with USB thumb drives.

Please get it from your favorite arch linux mirror:

/boot for PXE/Rescue files are provided here:
https://downloads.archlinux.de/iso/arch … 11.10/boot


- kernel 3.0.6 / LTS kernel
- pacman 3.5.4 usage
- RAM recommendations: 320 MB

Kernel changes:
- bump to latest 3.0 series and bump lts to latest .32 series

Removed features:
- none

Environment changes:
- added smartmontools, dnsmasq, lftp, openconnect, speedtouch, nmap, tcpdump, weechat packages.
- added Hyper-V ( hv_ ) kernel modules
- updated pacman mirrorlist

hwdetect changes:
- none

setup changes:
- use cgdisk for GPT partitioning

quickinst changes:
- none

Further documentation can be found on-disk and on the wiki.
Have fun!


08 Oct 2011 7:32am GMT

06 Oct 2011

feedPlanet Arch Linux

Hostname utility moved from net-tools to inetutils

Eric Bélanger wrote:

The hostname utility was removed in net-tools 1.60.20110819cvs-1. The inetutils package, which was recently moved into the base group, will provide hostname from now on. Please make sure to install inetutils especially if you have problems with network utilities.

06 Oct 2011 11:31pm GMT