That burning sensation

At work I’m working on a way to upgrade our systems in the field from RedHat 7.3 and the 3.3 version of our software to CentOS 3.4 and the 3.4 version of our software, while preserving as much as possible of our current content and state.

I’m experimenting with custom install DVDs with my own kickstart file. It’s been a process of trial and error, mostly error, so I’m burning about 3 or 4 DVDs a day. Each time I have to go bother the guy with the DVD burner to make sure he’s not burning anything, then copy my ISO file over to his machine, eject his blank CD (he always keeps on in the drive in case he has to burn something when he’s not here), burn the DVD, and run over to put the blank CD back.

I put in a request for a DVD burner. They cost about $50 these days, or $60 if you need the dual layer, which I don’t. My boss approved it, and I suggested that I go out after work and buy one at Circuit City, but for reasons I don’t quite understand, we have to go through “IT Purchasing”, aka “Mordoc, Preventer of Information Technology Upgrades”. Mordoc is charging our department $129 for this burner, and I’m told I should have it in two to three weeks, by which time I should be finished this project and not need to burn DVDs any more.

If I had any need for an IDE DVD burner at home, I’d buy one, install it at work, and when I’m done with this project take it home.

I’m trying to count up how many different ways this is wasting the company’s money doing it this way, and I keep running out of fingers.

Reason 147 why MySQL is not my favourite RDBMS

There are three components to my waypoint generator

  • A set of scripts to load or reload some of the data when an update comes in.
  • A set of scripts that actually generates the databases.
  • A web interface.

All three components are written in Perl, and all access the same database. As mentioned previously, I’m using MySQL because PostgreSQL was too slow on the limited resources I have on my Linode.

Last night, I ran one of the load scripts, and while it was running I tried to access the web interface. The web interface start up accesses and updates a couple of “session information” tables, which the load scripts have no reason to access. So somebody tell me why the web interface startup timed out with the error:

[Wed Jun 08 22:08:37 2005] [error] [client] FastCGI: server "/config_backup/" stderr: DBD::mysql::st execute failed: Lock wait timeout exceeded; try restarting transaction at /config_backup/ line 312.

Line 312 in is a line that deletes from the table sess_main. And like I said, nobody else should be updating it. So why the hell should the fact that a load script is running cause a lock wait timeout on that table?