I am a freelance Linux consultant by trade, a sysadmin by vocation and an Open Source developer by conviction. Welcome to my soapbox !

Detecting VMware ESX version from the guest OS

For a customer we needed to know what the version of the ESX server is when provisioning a VMware guest. Since the VMwareTools package is significantly different for an ESX 2.5, ESX 3.0 or ESX 3.5 it was important that during the automated installation we selected the correct VMwareTools version.

When I have questions about VMware that go beyond my expertise I consult friend and VMware consultant Bert de Bruijn and also this time we looked at possible ways to find the information.

When they said "Repent! Repent!" I wonder what they meant

Came across this gem yesterday.

Can't wait for the upcoming Leonard Cohen concert, although it probably won't be as good as his last in Belgium. :-/

mrepo 0.8.6 released

I just released mrepo 0.8.6 with RHEL 4.7's RHN/up2date code included which makes mrepo work on other distributions without requiring to copy those libraries.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Support for RHEL5 and CentOS-5.
  • Added YaST Online Update support.
  • Added fuseiso support (root access no longer needed).
  • Added unionfs support to merge ISOs to a single tree.
  • Faster relinking of repositories.
  • Caching of directory indexes to prevent regenerating repositories.

Mollom and human comment spam


In your article you seem to be confusing automated spam and normal people trying to advertise commercial websites through on-topic comments.

Drupal for CentOS portal and forums ?

The CentOS development team is looking into another solution for the CentOS website and forums. But there is no real knowledge or experience about Drupal (especially for forums).

So this is a request to the CentOS or Drupal community for people that have experience with Drupal for forums to join the discussion and help with the requirement and question to see whether Drupal would be an option for the CentOS Infrastructure team.

Isn't it ironic ?

Not even a year after I reported annoying comment spam that looks relevant but instead advertises irrelevant websites, Kris now has the same problem !

I bet Kris his solution was not working for my problem after all ? Who would have thought ? While I should be feeling sad, I am enjoying the irony here ;-)

Joomla! Bootcamp in Gent

I was just informed that the first Belgian Joomla! bootcamp is organized in Gent. The bootcamp's programm includes:

  • a session about Joomla! 1.5 features,
  • building Joomla! components,
  • Joomla! and security
  • as session about important "hot" technologies

The bootcamp is presented by Joomla! experts, including Johan Janssens (Joomla! 1.5 lead developer) and Matthias Verraes so it is a perfect opportunity to learn directly from the wizards.

More information is available from the Joomla! website at:


If you're interested in learning more about Joomla!, this is likely the easiest and fastest way to achieve it!

Truecrypt, wxGTK update and lots of changes

As we speak I am pushing the new wxGTK updates to the repository. It was needed in order to have a truecrypt package, but also required a lot of rebuilds and updates of packages that depended on wxGTK.

The good news is that this may bring us a bit closer to compatibility with EPEL, the bad thing is that the audacity builds fail (old and new versions) so for the time being no audacity, or no wxGTK update...

I also tried building the new VLC media player (0.9.2) but it had issues of its own so I did a rebuild of VLC 0.8.6i until I can fix it.

Looking for a Debian packager for Proxytunnel

Apparently proxytunnel is not in Debian and we are looking for a Debian packager that is interested in proxytunnel and wants to maintain the Debian proxytunnel package.

There was an ITP (#166180) in the past, but it did not result in a package that hit a repository yet.

Another nice Debian innovation

Maybe this is not new for Debian people, but it is the first time I heard about the Debian External Health System.

From: Debian External Health System
To: dstat a-t packages dot qa dot debian dot org
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 10:47:12 +0000
Subject: dstat: New upstream version available


The Debian External Health System (a.k.a. DEHS) has found a new upstream version
of the package dstat in the unstable distribution.
The current package version is 0.6.7-1 and latest by upstream is 0.6.8.

Improving CentOS download pagerank

I noticed that the fairly recent CentOS wiki download page does not end up in the top5 on Google when searching for "centos download" so why not reference the page here and see if that helps to seed Google and how fast ?

CentOS wiki updates

I have been updating my proposal for the new CentOS wiki frontpage. The aim is to reduce the number of links a new visitor sees, so it is easier to remember later or memorize the structure of the wiki.

A wiki is essentially unstructured and it requires determination and effort to put structure into a wiki so people can remember the structure subconsciously. That is the hard part with wikis and the part I dislike most.

Dstat 0.6.8 release

I just released a new Dstat. I finally spend some time doing the boring release-dance:

  • Verifying all changes since 0.6.7
  • Backporting changes to python 1.5 version
  • Creating the release archive without all pending patches and experimental stuff
  • Verifying ChangeLog and documentation
  • Testing on all Red Hat and CentOS/RHEL versions

Time synchronization in VMware guests

Have you ever been in this situation where the recommended solution is overly complex for a simple thing you want to do ?

Well, for a few months we have had issues with time synchronization on VMware guests. This is an old ESX 2.5 environment with fairly recent operating systems (RHEL4.6). The recommended way is to use clock=pit as a kernel boot parameter and to enable Host-Guest clock synchronization by either using vmware-toolbox (GUI!) or changing the .vmx files. In both cases a reboot is required for the time synchronization to kick in.

Conferences and conferences

The past week was a very busy one. While the Olympic games were held in Bejing I was breaking my personal records for number of presentations at a conference in one day (3), number of presentations in a week (5) and number of conferences in a week (3).

Because JRSL in Buenos Aires was just before FrOSCon, and there was also a Debian Days in Buenos Aires. I flew to Buenos Aires on Friday afternoon, arrived on Saturday morning, I went to DebianDays on Monday, JRSL on Wednesday where I gave 3 talks (CentOS, RPM packaging and Dstat), flew back on Thursday morning to arrive on Friday at noon in Zaventem to be in Bonn on Friday evening to present a duo-presentation about Proxytunnel (Punching holes in the corporate firewall) on Saturday and a duo-presentation about giving presentation with the wiimote on Sunday.

And on Monday back to work in Antwerp...