Spoke too soon

Yesterday I wrote that I’d turned off the old machine for the last time. Well, it turns out I was wrong. I had put the mp3s in the wrong location, and had the permissions wrong, and so the backup script’s rsync deleted the mp3s from the wrong place and then couldn’t write them to the correct place. Which meant that this evening I had to turn the old machine back on, copy the mp3s back over (only having to reboot the old machine twice as it froze up under heavy load as it is prone to do) and then shut down the old box once again. Now that that’s done, I have to re-import my iTunes library, which will undoubtedly continue long after I’ve gone to bed tonight.

On the plus side, though, I managed to get the UPS software NUT installed and working. My new box doesn’t have a serial port, which means I had to use the USB driver for the first time. The kernel first identifies the UPS as a X Box controller (xpad), but eventually the newhidups driver figured it out.

Cutover complete

The old box is shut down, hopefully never to be turned on again, and the new box is up and running with nearly all the old functionality. It’s very quiet in this office with that old beast off.

As well as the base install, and fixing all the Ubuntu stupidity (and a few bugs in the munin-node scripts), I had to install and configure all the following:

user accounts
Root cronjobs
ssh tunnel
My cronjobs
Mutt configuration
ftp server
NFS export /mp3s

I still need to get nut set up to control the UPS, and hook up a printer and configure it. I’d also like to get Java and eclipse set up so I can do some work on it.

Right now iTunes is cranking away importing the “iTunes Music Library.xml” where I changed the old nfs mount point to the new one. It’s taking a while.

More ubuntu weirdness

  1. Ubuntu is set up to use anacron, but the /etc/crontab is set up to not run the /etc/cron.daily stuff if anacron is installed by surrounding the normal “run-parts /etc/cron.daily” with “test -x /usr/sbin/anacron || ()”. Which is unnecessary because there is already a “0anacron” file in /etc/cron.daily to update the anacron timestamp if it’s being run out of cron instead of anacron. This means that there is no way I can get the /etc/cron.daily stuff to run at night when the system is idle instead of at 7am when I’m reading my morning email. I had to change the runtime in /etc/crontab to 3am, and delete the anacron checking. We’ll see tomorrow if that helps.
  2. Ubuntu installs findutils and slocate. findutils has an /etc/cron.daily job called “find” that runs updatedb. slocate installs its own updatedb and moves the findutils one to updatedb.notslocate. It has an /etc/cron.daily job called “slocate” that also runs updatedb. The slocate deb file moves /etc/cron.daily/find, but instead of doing something useful like moving it where it won’t get executed, or updating it so that it runs the findutils version of updatedb, it just renames it to /etc/cron.daily/find.notslocate. So slocate’s updatedb gets run twice every night. That’s pretty useless.

I’m getting the impression that Ubuntu, in spite of all the hype, is a pretty damn amateurish operation.

Followup on: Ten Ways to get fired and/or arrested at work

Remember Rants and Revelations » Ten Ways to get fired and/or arrested at work? Well, I got an email from the author of the WSJ article:

Hi Paul,
Thanks for the candid feedback. As it turns out, I think there might
be room for a follow-up story on things IT departments wish employees
knew. Want to take a stab at offering some thoughts on this? I’m looking
for specific tips – along the lines of the last story – highlighting
what people can do to keep themselves and their companies secure and
prevent legal and regulatory trouble. I would especially welcome any
horror stories you can offer that illustrate why these tips are
Along with the note, can you confirm your full name, your location,
the full name of your firm and your title there?
Let me know what you think, and thanks, in advance,

Vauhini Vara
Reporter, The Wall Street Journal
415-765-8281 (desk)
206-423-3232 (cell)

Here is my response:

Things your IT Department wishes you knew:

  1. IT policies are there for a reason, not just to make your life more difficult.
  2. You may not remember it, but chances are your employee file contains a document you signed where you agreed to follow IT policies, and giving them the power to fire you, sue you and/or charge you criminally if you violate those policies.
  3. If you bring in pirated commercial software from home, your company could be subject to fines equal to many hundreds of times the cost of the software, not to mention costly audits and lawsuits. Guess who is going to end up paying those expenses? Is it worth risking your house and your career in order to use your favorite word processor instead of the one the company provides?
  4. Viruses and file sharing programs are often written by criminal gangs in order to turn your computer into a “zombie” that they can use to attack other computers, share illegal porn, send spam, or steal information from your computer without you even noticing. And pirated software you get from file sharing sites often has viruses built in. That’s one reason IT doesn’t want you running software they didn’t provide on your work computer.