Aug 03 2008

A week of EEE

Obviously this last OLS week I've been carrying around my EEE. I left my big fat laptop in the hotel room to work on and make backups
at night but the main working machine of the week was my EEE.

Typing speed etc was reasonable the I only often ran into hitting the Up arror rather than the Shift button.
My biggest dissappointment however is the battery life. Surfing on this thing for more than 2 hours is just not feasable.

Then it's a matter of getting it charged again ... watching /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state update while you are still using it is as
painfull as watching grass grow. and shrink again while you watch at it ..

So I tried to keep it charging as much as possible.. so that I could make it to the end of the day. Then charge it at night so I could had a full battery again by the next morning.

But afterall the EEE cost less than my phone.. so it's worth the money .. and I was really glad to have it with me it's small, it's
lightweight .. and will last more conferences for me :)

O that and the fact that it heats up a lot

Jul 31 2008

Eat your own dogfood

Can someone over at ZDNet please kick this idiot of this planet ?
We already knew that he doesn't have a clue what he is writing about

But Steven is also surprised that Dana isn't using even Linux while he has been writing about it long enough ..

Please make it stop !

Jul 31 2008

GroundWork heading the same path as Qlusters ?

In this article the ScienceLogic blogs wonders.

Here’s an interview with David Lily, founder and CEO. Hmm. What happened to CEO Ranga Rangachari? As far as I can tell, he disappeared somewhere between Nov 2007 and Jan 2008. No announcement that I could find… Wonder how things are going for GroundWork? Are they about to follow QLusters and drop the “Open Source” part of their name that they tacked on a couple years back?

Then followed up with the article on Qlusters closing shop where they identify different reasons for an Open Source systems management shop to close

What are the signs that a systems management company is going out of business?

a) they abandon their open source project, which was supposedly tied to their commercially supported version

b) they switch CEOs very very quietly

c) they are an “open source” company trying to actually make money (via paying customers, not VC)

d) all of the above

I've read rumours about GroundWorks management leaving before, but are they really heading the same direction ?

Now while we are on the crazy similarities subject ...

Remember Caldera ? Who bought SCO, after which it rebranded to SCO ?
Didn't have a nice ending didn't it ? So can you come up with another example of such a TakeOver and Rebrand scenario ?

Jul 27 2008

OLS Day 4

H Peter Anvin starts of with a long history of IBM booting in order to get to Network booting. how we went from ROMs placed on network cards up till PXE
He explains how he went from SYSLINUX , to PXELINUX adding ISOLINUX etc ..

Next to him there was the another boot project , Net Boot Image Proposal originally from NetBSD which aimed at creating a ROM image which then became Etherboot wich just in 2008 became gPXE which is now aiming at full PXE support. Initially 2 different projects with a totally different approach.

However some NIC's were broken and PXELinux didn't solve those problems, but gPXE could solve these. So the PXELinux and gPXE folks met up. Which eventually lead to a joined effort. Syslinux will get a LUA scripting interface where you can boot a certain kernel based on hardware specification.

Next talk was David Lutterkort talk about Augeas .. luckily he didn't spoil it yet over dinner yesterday ;_) Very interresting stuff .. surely something that's on my todolist.

Next was a talk on Vesper . (Virtual Embraced Space Prober)
When Clustering Virtual Machines there are different possibilities, What does heartbeat do already to cluster virtual machines Heartbeat just uses a VM as a resource. A heartbeat is to "slow" to monitor it's actual resources ..

Their solution is to probe the virtual machine , event driven , therefore immediate failure detection is possible.
It will also give you an alternative to debug the failure better.
Vesper is a framework to handle Kprobes in a virtual environment.
Sungho Kim pointed us to the CIMHA project which is aimed to create an integrated suite to provision and manage HA clusters in virtual environment. It will also constantly analyze kernel/hardware health of cluster nodes by using VESPER. Not sure if I`ll put that on my todolist however

What is Bringup you'd ask , according to Tim Hockin it is the process of making a new piece of hardware boot up YOUR os.
He also told us about Drummonds law ..which learns us that When you ship to a customer some thing will fail and When you start debugging it goes away ..
To circumvent a lot problems they have been developing a set of tools starting off with SGABios and iotools and then goes on to show how he digs into the cpu and pci information using their new ppfs
His project is PrettyPrint

Then off to the closing session of this last Ottawa Linux Symposium, this will be the last OLS for a while as they are tearing down the Conference center.. co the Linux Symposium will move to Montreal next year..

We're off to the Black Thorn Cafe for the final closing event now

Jul 26 2008

On the death of a monopolist

So it seems MySQL got on the radar of the monopolist, but the quotes that came from that event are more interesting .

Over at Oscon2008 Oscon people started realizing that the old monopolist definitely isn't the one to be afraid of.. there's new ones out there..

I already got quoted in a local magazine on the fact that new startups are more looking to Google than to redmond, but it also seems that Apple is the new kid in town to envy.

However, when looking at the Linux desktop I think we shouldn't be trying to imitate anybody .. we should be trying to head the pack, just as we have already done with Vitualization and other technologies.

Jul 26 2008

On Kerneldocs

Oh kerneldocs .. why o why is bonding.txt not on
anymore ?

Jul 26 2008

OLS Day 3

As mentioned earlier Day 3 of the 2008 Ottawa Linux Symposium started of with our own talk about the different monitoring tools available on this planet.

I planned on heading to the SynergyFS talk but phone calls and the hallway track with interresting discussions on Configuration management, the use of Live Migration and obviously Open Source Monitoring tools and the scaling thereof came in the way of that..

So the openVZ Live migration talk came next ... Andrey also spoke on the Virtualization Mini summit and luckily he went a bit deeper
into their Live Migration strategy .. however as someone noticed .. why spend so much time on developing something that already
exists for ages ... so yes.. I guess I'll have to make that wheel T-shirt one day ...

After lunch I headed into the Performance Inspector, very interesting to see a tool that might help out to debug Java code and corelate it to platform stuff .. I however need to figure out if it would actually fit our environments or if it requires too much other dependencies.

Next was the Live Migration with Pass Trough Device for
The propose to use guest PCI hot removal and hot add so it can be migrated.

The topic has been discussed already a couple of times here in Ottawa (and in Boston at the Xen summit)
What puzzled me was the bonding mode used... I'm used to using miimon and thus the linkstate of my physical interfaces to decide between active and backup, but the arp_interval is another way to test if there is traffic on the (virtual) network interface and decide which one should be active.

The Auditing the Edgy and Complicated talk was a lot of fun.. it reminded me a lot of the time when I was more involved in the security area.. the stories from the trenches haven't really changed .. and it's still a pretty insecure environment out there which we should work on more often.

No pictures from space this time (as at LCA 2005), but an outreach to the community to synchronise

The blogosphere already had it's say about this a couple of months ago .. so now the kernel community can discuss it.

We're going to skip the Whiskey thingie .. I know a couple of people that will have heavy heads tomorrow morning .. but they are used to it .. we're off to get some decent food.. and probably some drinks ..

Jul 25 2008

OLS Day 2

Were does kernel documentation hide ?

It hides in all kind of different places, in /usr/src/linux/Documentation which isn't on the web
, in papers, in blogs, in Google Video, even in flashfiles .. so Google won't find them, or at least not all of it .
Rob Landley had a 6 month fellowship with the Linux Foundation focusing on cleaning up the documentation ...

The results is, now if we could only turn it into a Wiki ..

After Robs talk I went into Measuring database performance with NFSv4 .. sadly this Netapp focussed talk covers a proprietary database that I don't care about. The speaker claims that his proprietary vendor prefers NFS to store it's data .. if that's the case I wonder why they are focussing on their own Clusterfilesystem (OCFS2)
Maybe he should have focussed on an open database .. Obviously Netapp is in the business of selling their storage and not Cluster filesystems but I find it hard to believe.... also the fact that they only talk about client optimalization because the server side its a proprietary device wasn't really helping their case.

Obviously I went to the Virtualization of Linux Servers: a comparative study talk which had a standing room, but I'll save my thoughts on that one for a separate post.

Just one thought here .. there is a new benchmark in town namely the number of kernels can you build per hour :)

Next talk was the the Corosync Cluster Engine. isn't up yet but and the source code is about to be released but it aims at becoming the common cluster infrastructure that can be used by different cluster toolsm It will be used as a backend for Pacemaker and is already used by RedHat folks ..

Werner gave an interesting talk on the building of the openMoko NEO during which "nobody" said FSO is Android done right .. FSO being Werner described the traditional problems a young engineering company has to go trough in order to go from prototype to actual mass production.

So over the past couple of days I ran into people that have much more time to travel and go to events than I do , so who have been to both the Xen summit and the KVM Forum interesting to know that the KVM summit had about 50-60 people and the Xen summit about 100 people now these are developer summits .. not end user conferences like with other technologies.

After dinner there was a BOF about Direct Function assignment benefits by folks from Neterion

The advantage is that it Eliminates overhead of network virtualization
Allows support for a large number of guest with a compact number of ports.
Allows using native OS drivers as is ..

The idea of using bonding of a physically PCI bridged device with a virtual NIC sounds really tempting to enable migration of Virtual machines with a hardware dependency , however I still have some thoughts on that.

Jul 25 2008

OLS 2008 Presentation

So Tom and I just finished our Systems Monitoring Shootout talk here at OLS 2008.

The talk was fairly wel attended and gained a lot of hallway afterchatter. (We ran almost out of time so we took the Q&A in the Hallway so the next speaker could start his talk).

I've placed the presentation online already for your viewing pleasure ..

The Vote for your favourite monitoring tool is still open so please vote !

While here in Ottawa we got news that our talk was also selected for the upcoming Nagios conference in Germany in September.. so Tom will be presenting it there again.
Most probably with even more findings !

Anyway .. back to the conference now .. trying to catch up with my other writings :)

Jul 25 2008


I'm not sure if this is going to be my yearly .. I wish I was .... post ..

It could be I wish I was at OSCON, but then I'm already at OLS

Last month it could have been I wish I was at Velocity while I was at Usenix but I wasn't at either of them.

But it seems like we are running out of days this year as this is allready the 2nd time that 2 major and interresting conferences with overlapping audiences collide.. strange ..