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Saturday, May 29, 2004

May 29, 2004

And There Was Fedora...

...Core 2, that is.

After much downloading and waiting this week, I've managed to upgrade both servers ('ns' and 'www') from RedHat 9 to Fedora Core 2, skipping Core 1 due to the problems experienced last weekend.

I have to admit that, for the most part, the procedure itself went fairly smooth. There have been a few issues, which I'll outline below. To no surprise, there were considerably more issues with 'ns' (the router/nameserver box) than with the other server ('www', the real services machine). The first of which was simply the amount of time it took for the upgrade to complete. Needless to say, it was an entire afternoon between the two machines, with 'ns' taking over twice as long as 'www' with about a 2-hour upgrade time.

The main problems I've encountered include:

  • 'ns' cannot boot from the CD media; this meant that I had to manually create a GRUB entry, booting from the hard drive and running the install directly from the machine itself. This took much longer to set up, since I had to copy the image files across the network to the machine prior to attempting the upgrade.
  • 'ns', with only 98MB RAM, cannot support the graphical installation process, so was forced to operate in text mode. Since it was running as an upgrade, this was trivial to deal with and not nearly as difficult to deal with as it would be for a complete installation.
  • 'www' needed to have its XF86Config file updated to support different monitor sync rates (and therefore allow me to use a different monitor than what I normally have -- at least during the upgrade). This wasn't really a problem with the upgrade itself, though. It needed to happen anyway.
  • For some reason, on 'www' there were some services which popped back to life after the upgrade. I hadn't removed them completely, but I did disable them from automatically starting at boot. This is trivial to fix, but was a bit annoying for things like SpamAssassin, which takes up heaps of CPU cycles on my little server. Considering I don't use that machine as a mailserver or filter...
  • 'ns' was no longer supporting ISA bus devices after the upgrade. I haven't looked into this much I'm not sure if it's the motherboard of 'ns' dying slowly but surely (which due to some other issues -- namely with the CD-ROM drive and occasionally HDD)...or just the sad nature of upgrades -- old stuff can't be supported forever.
    • The 10MBps NIC (which connects to the DSL modem as the uplink for the network) was no longer recognized by the OS. It was still giving off a link light, though.
    • The sound card (an older SB ISA card) also was no longer recognized. This was not a problem at all, since I never used it anyway.
    • Thankfully I had a spare PCI NIC I can use for a little while until I obtain another cheap PCI NIC to permanently put in the machine.
  • Not to my surprise, there were some configuration changes which needed to be carried across. Most notably related to some library symlinking and other sorts of things which were easily fixed with symlinks.
  • POP3/IMAP services. Under the older installations (even the one at work I did with FC1), I was working with UW IMAPd which was controlled through Xinetd for POP3. FC2 ships and upgrades with Cyrus-IMAP... I have yet to get this configured properly and downloading mail.
    • I have configured Cyrus-IMAP for basic operations and have managed to get it starting. It's listening and *:POP3 is ready. I don't care about IMAP or any of the others.
    • In connecting directly to the POP3 port, I am able to log in, but authentication wasn't working at all. I managed to fix this a little bit, by at least making sure the sasl utility was doing its thing.
    • Now I still have to configure users and maildrops for said users. More reading and research is required, but in the meantime I can still use Pine to get the log watch reports.

Happily enough, though -- Sendmail has seamlessly upgraded and was working right off the bat. So who knows what the problem exactly was last weekend.

But anyway, that's the bulk of my Saturday afternoon. At least the machines are working for the most part and 99% of services are functioning properly. It's just the mail delivery left to get configured...and that's going to take a little bit of work...simply because it's a utility/program I've never used before.

But if it weren't supposed to be challenging, I wouldn't do it at all, right? smile

Until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Thursday, May 27, 2004

May 27, 2004

43 Days...

Well, that's how long it took before I restarted the old machine. Never would this have been feasible under my old configuration with Win98. So, with that said, my congratulations go out to Microsoft when it comes to stability with Windows XP Professional.

The restart was actually 'forced' on me. After getting sick of the spam problem again, I decided to give Norton AntiSpam another try, this time under the same configuration plus Windows XP. After installing and configuring, I was required to restart.

Anyway, all that aside, I'm also happy to report that my other reported problems with NAS have gone away -- it works as expected now, even though I'm still using Netscape 7. So, for some reason or another, there must have been a problem related to my existing setup with 98...or something else which was causing all the weird problems I was having. The real point of the whole thing -- it's correctly filtering over 85% of my mail as spam, with no false positives thus far and only not catching about 10%...which is important, since I can easily handle deleting 10-15 messages in an eight-hour period instead of 130.

Another Birthday Down...

...and I have to say that it was another good day. Although to some degree 'uneventful,' the day was filled with Good Things and was by no means a disappointment. It's just nice to not have to be on a schedule, which has been the case since Saturday and through tonight (Thursday), with the small pseudo-exception of my birthday.

Fedora Core 2

Another reason I haven't been around much -- I have spent the last few days (even though I wasn't around my computer at home much anyway) downloading the CD images for FC2. There are now four images, and I've got them all. The goal is to attempt another upgrade this weekend on the local servers here at home...and see what happens from there.

New Web Work Unveiled

It's official -- as of yesterday morning (Wednesday), we made public the new look of Sunrise Software ( This is a new design that I made happen from some pre-determined criterion. Although there's not a whole lot new in the way of text (that's part of the next phase in the future development), the look is new, and some of the features (including the integrated news/training system) have been added by yours truly. A future development piece in the puzzle is an online knowledge base, based in PHP. Essentially the initial design is set to be a 'beefed up' FAQ portal, with the option of possibly search, but definitely interaction related to products and common issues we currently take some calls on.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Aside from that stuff above, I wish everyone an enjoyable (long) holiday weekend!

Until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

Sunday, May 23, 2004

May 23, 2004

New Link

Well, if you head over to my Links Page down in the Stupid/Funny section you'll notice a new link to Mini-ITX, an operation which specializes in miniature computers. It's very neat to see some of the weird ways in which they've created fully-functioning computers and servers.

Server Troubles...

After my little bit with the upgrade problems yesterday, I thought the system was back in order. I was mistaken...

I discovered this morning that my daily dose of server information wasn't available. This was odd, as I generally get at least two doses of info each day, and didn't get either today. So, I finally took the opportunity to investigate the problem this evening. While I don't know exactly what the problem was, especially since the configuration was identical to previous, the package was the same, etc.

After much tinkering and other attempts, I just installed a newer version of sendmail (after uninstalling the old) and reset the configuration to what I'd previously had set. After starting it up, it works just fine must've been some sort of weird hidden thing preventing it from working. So, who knows...but I'm planning on starting the first CD image download for FC2 tomorrow morning when I leave for work...

Until the next installment...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/25/07

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