Tuesday, November 21, 2006

RAID setup!

Well, after quite a battle I finally got RAID to work on my desktop machine!

I love Gentoo, and every time I try something new it has been one big adventure and sometimes a steep learning curve.

Not to be outdone, the documentation for setting up RAID is very precise and to the point, but there is a catch in Gentoo, not all installations is the same, therefore there is the documentation, but it is generic. If the popo hits the fan, then it is hours of Googling and searching various forums to fins out where the problem is.

In my case the first setup was perfect, except that udev did not play nice, and I only found this out three days later after countless hours trying various ways to force my system to boot with a broken udev.

With the latest unstable udev-103 I got one long list of errors stating something was not right with my udev installation. After many reboots and different tries of reinstalling every system package (including of course udev) and trying to configure my system, I finally read on the udev mailing list that I'm not alone. They suggested downgrading to udev-096, but still no joy.
The errors were less, but something did not quite fit...

The third and final day I reverted back to the traditional install (I have a stage-4 backup of my entire system so it takes less than 30 minutes to reinstall) after yet another failed attempt at RAID, only to be greeted by the exact same error!

All the time I was convinced that it was a RAID/udev issue and this led me to the solution! Searching now was much easier since the error can be replicated on various setups and finally I found the very simple solution.

The udev-103 symptoms were a never ending scrolling error being written to /var/log/syslog:

udevd[826]: get_ctrl_msg: unable to receive user udevd message: Socket operation on non-socket
udevd[826]: get_netlink_msg: unable to receive kernel netlink message: Socket operation on non-socket
udevd[826]: get_ctrl_msg: unable to receive user udevd message: Socket operation on non-socket
udevd[826]: get_netlink_msg: unable to receive kernel netlink message: Socket operation on non-socket
udevd[826]: get_ctrl_msg: unable to receive user udevd message: Socket operation on non-socket
udevd[826]: get_netlink_msg: unable to receive kernel netlink message: Socket operation on non-socket

This output would keep on scrolling by until you hit reboot. The simple cause was that udev did not populate /dev after the initial install, and the rather simple solution?

Boot from LiveCD
create the RAID arrays
mount /dev/md(x) /mnt/gentoo
cp -rp /dev/* /mnt/gentoo/dev/

As simple as that! Once that was done the machine booted up no problems and I can finally shout: "Eureka!"

For further reading:
Software RAID setup
RAID0 with lilo
The solution to my problem
I read allot more articles than those mentioned, but they are the ones that helped me on the right track.

Happy RAIDing!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Novell sold out?

I really should learn to do much more research before coming to sudden conclusions, especially where Microsoft is involved...

Seems there is much more to this "joint venture" than meets the eye...

First of, it might be against the GPL to do what Novell has done:
Story here

Today Novell and Microsoft announced a partnership in which Microsoft has made some unlikely-seeming promises regarding Linux. What aren't they telling you? First, you can be sure that Microsoft's not out to help a competitor. This announcement paves the way for Microsoft to implement significant control over commercial customer's use of Free Software. And it has significant negative implications for Open Source in general.

More here!

Seems like MS will remain the evil giant for now, until they can PROVE that what is said in the agreement was really out of concern for all OS development.
Yea right....

Microsoft is coming to terms with Linux

Just when I thought everything is quieting down suddenly the OS world explodes with new news!

Take the following for example, Microsoft and Novel wrote an open letter to the FOSS community:

Joint letter to the Open Source Community
From Novell and Microsoft

Today's announcement of the collaboration between Microsoft and Novell marks the beginning of a new era: Microsoft is coming to terms with Linux.

Over the past six years, we've seen the effect that the open source community has had on Microsoft. They've shared some source code, driven community projects like IronPython and WiX, and they continue to work with a number of open source software companies like JBoss, SugarCRM, XenSource, and Zend.

However, today's news is a big step forward for the Linux market. Today, for the first time, Microsoft is collaborating directly with a Linux and Open Source software vendor. With this news, Microsoft is saying that Linux is an important part of the IT infrastructure.

More importantly, Microsoft announced today that it will not assert its patents against individual, non-commercial developers. Novell has secured an irrevocable promise from Microsoft to allow individual and non-commercial contributors the freedom to continue open source development, free from any concern of Microsoft patent lawsuits. That's right, Microsoft wants you to keep hacking.

Why is Microsoft doing this? Because they recognize that customers today are deploying mixed source solutions - Windows and Linux - and they want these solutions to work well together. This will help Microsoft by making it easier for Linux customers to deploy Windows in their Linux environments. Microsoft is committing significant resources to promote joint Windows-Linux solutions. This is all about co-existence and giving customers greater choice.

The collaboration has multiple pieces:

* Patent coverage
  • The concern over potential patent infringements makes some people nervous about the deployment of open source technologies.
  • To do this, Novell and Microsoft are providing covenants to each other's customers, therefore releasing each company from the other's patent portfolio.
  • What it really means is that customers deploying technologies from Novell and Microsoft no longer have to fear about possible lawsuits or potential patent infringement from either company.
* Virtualization
  • Microsoft and Novell will collaborate in enhancing and developing the functionality required to efficiently virtualize Windows on Linux and Linux on Windows.
  • Both will now be first class citizens in data centers, addressing the needs of mixed environments. They will both enjoy optimized, supported and tuned device drivers to maximize their potential.
* Virtualization Management
  • As a plus, the companies will work together to implement the necessary standards to manage data centers that run mixed environments (WS-Management).
  • Novell will develop tools to manage virtualized Windows machines, and Microsoft will develop tools to manage virtualized Linux systems.
* Office Open XML
  • Novell engineers have been working for the last year together with Microsoft engineers through the ECMA TC45 working group in producing a complete specification that would allow for interoperability across office suites.
  • Novell will develop the code necessary to bring support for Office Open XML into OpenOffice, and we will contribute that support back to the OpenOffice.org organization. We will also distribute the Office Open XML plug-in in our own edition of OpenOffice. In addition, we will participate in the Open XML Translator open source project.
* Collaboration Framework
  • One of the most important components of the collaboration agreement today is that we have setup a framework between Novell and Microsoft to discuss future collaborations.
  • Today's announcement marks the beginning of a new era, and should not be considered a limitation. With the collaboration framework in place, we will periodically evaluate areas where we can work together improving the interoperability of our products.
* Mono, OpenOffice and Samba
  • Under the patent agreement, customers will receive coverage for Mono, Samba, and OpenOffice as well as .NET and Windows Server.
  • All of these technologies will be improved upon during the 5 years of the agreement and there are some limits on the coverage that would be provided for future technologies added to these offerings.
  • The collaboration framework we have put in place allows us to work on complex subjects such as this where intellectual property and innovation are important parts of the conversation.
  • Novell customers can use these technologies, secure in the knowledge that Microsoft and Novell are working together to offer the best possible joint solution.

This is a watershed moment for Linux. It fundamentally changes the rules of the game. We're really excited about this deal, and we hope you are too.

Now this is interesting! With this we realise that Microsoft is seeing Linux now as a mayor factor in the IT word and it would be bad for them to keep on having very poor support for different Os's, like support for Samba, maybe a few Linux file systems, etc.

This is truly an inter resting announcement!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Linux Timeline

Ever wondered when a distro was created and what it is based on? Then have a look at the following sketch and see if yo can find your favourite distro and determine if it was a ground breaker or just follower of an already successful recipe...

Laying low...

Well, the last few weeks have been quite uneventful, a few distros gets released every now and then, but nothing mayor to get one excited.

Even on the general Linux side things have been quiet, everyone just waiting out the storm of the season as we draw closer to Christmas.

What we are looking forward to is:
The new Linux kernel

KDE4 has been anticipated as one of the all time great updates of the Linux DE world since ever. However we know precious little of what is waiting for us, except that in the light of Windows Vista's release later this year/ next year we all hope and wish it to be a really awesome improvement over everything we are so used to. Here's hoping we are not disappointed!

The new Linux kernel, well now there's a though one. I have cracked my noodle thinking of what would be an improvement, but right now the kernel is as user friendly and complete as ever. How are the kernel devs going to improve on almost perfection? What new feature could possibly be added to herald in a new kernel era? I'm dying to see what would happen in the next few months for Linux, we are all expecting great things to come!