The articles below are on various topics, though the majority are focused on some aspect of systems administration.
Back in late 2013, I had a short but congenial e-mail exchange with John Tierney about his article on the Maine Maritime Academy and a follow-up piece that discusses various responses he received mostly on the theme of career-oriented education vs. a liberal-arts eduction. Many more readers added their thoughts in another follow-up. I was recently cleaning up my e-mail archives and had a chance to revisit my thoughts on the issue.
Ubuntu 16.04 has native support for ZFS, which means that VMs may start to use ZFS for non-root filesystems. Here’s a cookbook for expanding those filesystems. In OpenStack, the ZFS filesystem must be exported before this can be done, but at AWS it can be done without downtime.
I’m in the process of learning about and porting some rules to Puppet 4.9. One task that had eluded me was integrating custom Hiera data into modules. I used the saz-rsyslog module and discovered that it largely turned off local logging, so it became a good time to discover how to define logging policy.
Glacier is Amazon’s AWS cold-storage service. Its data-center analog is archival tape storage, and it is about as slow as tape. Retrieval times are measured in hours (if not days). Glacier is a disaster-recovery tool, not live storage.
Unlike most AWS offerings, Glacier cannot be usefully controlled from the web console. It must be accessed with command-line tools or custom-built programs. Here’s a quick overview of Glacier operations using the AWS command line interface.
Red Hat promises software compatibility for the life of any given RHEL release. It will not upgrade major applications mid-release. For example, if RHEL 6.0 contains PostgreSQL 8.4, RHEL 6.7 cannot move to PostgreSQL 9.4. Too many applications will break.
Yet some customers require the upgraded software. By way of an answer, Red Hat and the CentOS project have published what are called Software Collections (SCL). Packages provided in the SCL repositories typically provide newer versions of software that play a key role in the Linux world: Python, Apache, PostgreSQL, MySQL, gcc, etc.
As I’ve mentioned, I use Hugo to generate the bulk of the content on this site. Its templating system is built on that found in the Go programming language. The time and date formatting routines Hugo inherits from Go are idiosyncratic, to say the least.
A recent thread in a local tech mailing list noted the impending closure of Pacific Solutions, an established computer retailer here in Portland. I was never a frequent customer—to get there I typically had to go out of my way—but the store had a knowledgeable staff and stocked industry-standard parts. I was saddened, though not surprised, at the news.
One contributor to the mail thread noted that back in the 1990s, there were quite a few independent computer retailers in and around Portland. “Then,” he wrote, “came Fry’s and Amazon.”
It’s true that small computer retailers have largely disappeared, but I don’t think that Fry’s and Amazon are the main culprits.
Spotlight searches on my Macbook Pro running OS X 10.10.5 (Yosemite) were failing. Worse, the smart mailboxes in Apple Mail weren’t working. Without smart folders, it takes me a lot longer to navigate my inbox every morning.
The solution was to force OS X to re-index my hard drive.