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

mrepo now with fuseiso and unionfs support (0.8.5 ready soon ?)

I am planning to do an mrepo 0.8.5 release very soon. For those new to mrepo, mrepo is a python tool that can download RPMs from repositories, but also from Red Hat Network and Yast Online Update (or CentOS or OpenSUSE for that matter), mount ISO images if needed, and create repositories out of it.

For the people that have heard of Red Hat Satellite, consider it a (free) light version that only covers downloading the updates and making it available.

Waiting for Tom Waits

This evening I was listening to a song performed by Scarlett Johansson that I knew from Tom Waits, and being a very big fan of Tom Waits' music but never have seen him perform, I went to Youtube.

Brenda however doesn't like the rough voice on most songs (except his first album Closing Time) and so we watched some old and some new performances on Youtube. I was trying to give Brenda some exposure to his new material while looking at what period his voice changed so dramatically :-)

Dag Wieers intelligent swipe at Ubuntu

Remember when I wrote an opinion piece about Ubuntu LTS titled Ubuntu's need to catch a wave ?

That night someone, nicknamed mapnjd, submitted the article to Slashdot with the above title (Dag Wieers intelligent swipe at Ubuntu) but I guess the Slashdot editors thought it would be a better headline if they phrased it Dag Wieers Scoffs at Coordinated Linux Release Proposal ... and overnight I became an Ubuntu-hater ...

How I stumbled into Linux

Today I had an interesting conversation with a colleague about the Linux provisioning (how I dislike that word) deployment system we are developing at a customer. And in the midst of things he brought up how he started with Linux.

Apparently we share the same story, and I wondered how many other people were driven to Linux by frustration over some unexplained Windows bug at the time.

My story goes back to 1995, involved Windows 95 and an expensive CD burner I bought. I was already using Linux on a 80386, but that one was slower and did not have an internet connection.

Undeleting an open file by inode

At a customer today I was confronted with a situation where VMware ESX processes had log-files open that were already deleted. This can happen when logrotate was incorrectly configured, or when operational staff removed big files to clean up diskspace quickly.

However when the file is still open, you can remove the file-entry (link) to the inode, but the diskspace will not become available until all kernel references to the inode are gone (and a process having the file open counts as a reference too).

Killing the VMware processes that had the file open was not an option since we just wanted to truncate the file without impacting the guests.

Finally using Maildir

I always am much more critical when I am showing off something to someone else, whether it is a new exciting application, a beautiful song or how slow my MUA is performing a task.

Normally I fill the waiting by doing something else, but when you are bragging how well UMTS works using putty and alpine on the new Symbian smartphone and tagging a single mail as spam takes more than 20 seconds to complete on my huge inbox, well, then it becomes the first thing to fix when I have some spare time :-)

CentOS 4.7 close to release

On the heels of the CentOS 5.2 release last month, the first spin of CentOS 4.7 went out to the QA team yesterday and if there are not too many hurdles in the QA process CentOS 4.7 might be out soon.

As a teaser, here is the upstream announcement as well as the release notes.

CentOS very much a-live

It did not get the media attention that it deserved, even though Linux Weekly News did pick it up: the new CentOS 5.2 Live CD has been released.

The CentOS Live CD is one of the important sub-projects of the CentOS project as it gives people the opportunity to test out CentOS' hardware support without the need to install it.

Stop software "piracy", support Open Source !

De Standaard is once again helping the BSA and Microsoft with their scare tactics, so let me give some counter-weight...

Belgium: Indeed, keep it simple !

I read Paul's post and I see some recurring things that I do not agree with.

Independence of the regions will cause even more fragmentation. Paul seems to suggest that if Flanders and Wallonia would actually divorce, that it opens the door for provinces to do the same on the same grounds. But the same grounds do not exist today.

The language barrier does not exist in Flanders. Sure some dialects sound different, but at least we can communicate with the majority of the people within Flanders on equal grounds. If you watch RTBF or read Le Soir (which almost nobody does in Flanders) you will see that everything is colored differently. You don't see that in the regional newspapers or media.

Skype for Symbian

In a recent conversation someone told me he believed there was a Skype for Symbian devices and I could not believe I missed it while looking for it.

So I did the obvious and typed in Google "Skype for Symbian" and the first sponsored link invites to download it directly from skype.com.

Great ! Not really. It does not exist. Or at least Skype is making it very hard to find :-)

What remains of Belgium ?

What remains of Belgium if even a decision of the highest court in Belgium is being dissed as one-sided ?

If not before, Belgium stopped existing today. Let's get this over with, anything is better than the current situation.

My rationale for the Nokia E71

Last week I bought a Nokia E71, a few days before the iPhone 3G was available in stores. You may think I must be crazy for not giving into Apple, but I have my reasons.

I had the following list of requirements:

  • Full keyboard (and not an on-screen keyboard)
  • OS that I could develop for (Symbian ?)
  • Not based on Windows
  • Needed Wifi, GPRS, UMTS
  • Wanted an SSH client (preferably putty)
  • USB connection and bluetooth
  • Small enough to fit well in my pocket

Package manager vulnerability study flawed ?

A study from the University of Arizona (recently posted on slashdot) looked at weaknesses in package managers (and mirror setup). By becoming an official mirror and delaying or stalling a mirror's updates they tried to lower the security of servers using that mirror and increasing the window of opportunity for a successful attack.

In itself it is very useful to make people aware of weaknesses in technology or abuse of trust, but in this case (and certainly for CentOS) I think they overstated the impact or at least ignored mechanisms used to prevent possible security risks.

I am not dagw !

And in case you were wondering, I am not dagw on osnews.com.

Any resemblance is purely coincidental.