Connecting To a Cisco Router With Minicom
Posted in Tech
First watch, 2 bells (9:10 pm)

This article about connecting to a Cisco router with minicom just helped me solve a nasty problem I've been having.

PS. The default IP address of a Cisco 881W router is with a netmask of (or /29), and the usable range of IP addresses for that setup is to

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No syslog-ng?
Posted in Strangeness, Tech
Afternoon watch, 6 bells (3:29 pm)

One of my servers went down today. It runs Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4. I don't know what happened, none of the partitions filled up or anything, it just "freaked out." Perhaps something went bad somewhere, and in its defense, it'd been running for 352 straight days.

In any case, after triage I was doing some system checks and I found I'm missing the /var/log/messages file. Weird. So I send a SIGHUP to the syslog daemon and it does nothing.

So I check the /sbin directory and the klogd binary was there, but the syslogd binary wasn't! I had to reinstall syslog-ng. It's hard to track down a problem like this when your logfiles aren't there…

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FAILbuntu Server
Posted in Tech
First dog watch, 3 bells (5:34 pm)

I've been fighting an install of Ubuntu server on a new rackmount machine all afternoon. I've never used Ubuntu server (I recommend Ubuntu Desktop all the time), but I thought it would be a breeze.

Boy was I wrong. After fighting RAID-1 (which should be simple), and a grub bootloader that just won't install on the master boot record, I just gave up and I'm going to see if it'll run Ubuntu Desktop. I bet it works fine.

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Intel Compiler on Ubuntu 9.04
Posted in Tech
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:38 pm)

Just in case I'm not the only one to run across this issue, you must have libstdc++5 installed (use Synaptic Package Manager). It is not installed by default, even on a development system. libstdc++6 is, but the Intel compiler won't use it. You may be able to fake it by creating a symbolic link in /usr/lib, but it's not worth the trouble. Just install the old library, it doesn't hurt anything.

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Panic Moment!
Posted in Tech
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:19 pm)

This morning as I continue to work on my new server, I ran in to a serious problem—the /var/log directory was growing at an alarming rate! Both the messages and warn logfiles were over 4Gb each, after only about five hours of operation. The logs were filling with kernel messages that looked like this:

kernel: FAILED
kernel: status = 1, messages = 00, host = 0, driver = 08
kernel: <6>sd: Current: sense key: Illegal Request

And this was showing up dozens of times per second. Thinking I was either on the fast track to a kernel panic or just filling up my shiny new 750Gb (RAID-1) setup, I quickly googled for an answer and found it here. I tried to leave a "thank you" comment, but his comment code is broken. I'm trying to send a trackback instead.

In any case, the short answer is as follows:

cd /var/lib/dkms/megaraid_sas/v00.00.03.16/source
patch < patches/sles10-ga.patch

If you are asked about using the -R option, answer yes.

dkms build -m megaraid_sas -v v00.00.03.16
dkms install -m megaraid_sas -v v00.00.03.16

Reboot your machine. You will no longer have kernel issues with the RAID controller. You may have a different version than I do (03.16), but it should still work.

Be sure and visit Jonathan Delgado's blog post about this problem for many more details.

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New Server
Posted in Tech
First dog watch, 3 bells (5:45 pm)

I'm currently building a new server for our colo facility to host streaming video. It's a nice machine, quad-core Xeon processor, 4Gb of RAM, 750Gb of RAID-1. When compiling PHP I kept running in to a problem with the gd library configuration. The shared object files are installed into /usr/lib64 (because it's a 64-bit operating system), but the header files are installed into /usr/include and are not being found.

If you tell the configure script to --enable-gd=/usr it balks about not finding the libgd.(a|so) file. If you rerun configure and use --enable-gd=/usr/lib64 it finds, but then doesn't pick up the header files.

Turns out the problem is pretty simple to solve: add --with-libdir=lib64 to the configure script and it will fix everything. It's just not obvious when reading the configure help, especially when you come from a primarily 32-bit background.

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Login Panic
Posted in Tech
Afternoon watch, 1 bell (12:38 pm)

Yesterday I took down my machine for two reasons. One, I was running low on hard drive space (I store a lot of CD and DVD ISO images for the office). Two, my numpad stopped working. I have no idea why. I plugged in a different USB keyboard and its numpad didn't work either.

Anyway, I took the machine down, added the drive into the third SATA hookup (I have two drives in there already, with a maximum of four), and started everything back up again.

I couldn't log in after it started up. I almost panicked, but being the calm, cool, sysadmin that I am, I tailed some logfiles which led me to discover that despite the new drive being in the third SATA port, it got named /dev/sdb, and the drive that was /dev/sdb was now /dev/sdc. That also happened to be where my /home partition was mounted. So I fixed /etc/fstab, mounted /home, and voila!, I could log in again.

After a quick XFS format of the new /dev/sdb1 partition, I was in business. See how easy Linux is? And people say it's not for everybody…

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Sweet Softwarey Goodness
Posted in Tech
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:16 pm)

OpenSUSE 10.3 was released yesterday. Not many people sharing out the torrent yet, though.

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