Thursday, April 20, 2006

When In Doubt: Reboot

I have been struggling with a problem for about two weeks, and finally solved it this morning. The problem was with Logical Volume Management under Red Hat Enterprise Linux, version 4. Logical Volume Management (LVM) allows sysads to dynamically resize Linux file systems, in similar manner to the way that Partition Magic allows Windows uses to resize partitions. The principal difference is that LVM can resize a live file system on the fly. This mean no outage, and uptime is a good thing.

Unfortunately, one of my production systems TvFerret was running out of space in /home. When I attempted to grow the file system, it would refuse, complaining about an unable to resize or no space left on device. The error messages would also reference ioctl.

Turns out, I had applied a few updates, including a patch to LVM. The patch did not tell me, however that it required the rev-level 34 kernel. As I had not booted the system since last year, it was still running on rev-level 5. I held my breath, issued a remote reboot, and waited. A moment later, my phone signaled that the boot was complete. I logged in and resize the file system without error.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bunger Tracker 2.0

The new Bunger Tracker is now online. I deployed the first version of the tracker, when I was traveling extensively, as a way for friends to keep track of me. The new version is a vast improvement, as I have out-sourced the mapping to Google Maps.

Perhaps the coolest feature is the ability to zoom in. Most of the maps will get you within a few city blocks. I've not yet perfected the process. The system is suppose to recognize landmarks and display a Keyhole image of the landmark. Is most cases, it is still showing the map.

At the moment, it's close enough. I need to focus on re-engineering the website. I'm dropping Google Adwords, and building som e banners to TvFerret.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

So Long Fedora Core 5

Hate to have to do it, but I had to give up on Fedora Core 5. I'm not certain that its Fedora's problem-- it may be a hardware problem. This is to say that my hardware configuration does not seem to be supported in 5, though it is in 4.

The critical issue is my dual head configuration. My system has an onboard ATI (AGP) video and an ATI video expansion card (PCI). The card feed two identical monitors with a 1280x1024 resolution that form a spanning desktop. Unfortunately, I can't get the AGP video to function under FC5. Not even in a single screen mode.

Its as if the expansion board completely disables the onboard video. If I do an lspci, I can see the card, but the X server will not energize it. I've tried several installs, configurations, and even replacing the PCI with an old Voodoo 3 board. As I've not seen any head way, I've kickstarted back to FC4.

Loosing dual head is just too big a sacrifice.

Stack 'O RPMs

On several occasions, I have found myself with a stack of RPMs (usually updates) that needed to be installed, but did not want to have to do each manually. I've tried several commands, but have never been satisfied with the results. I finnally found one I like.

  find /start/dir -name "*.rpm" \
    -exec rpm -Uvh {} \;

Regardless of errors, or dependanies, this command will keep processing the updates. The command may need to be run two or three times to resolve such dependancies.