Archive for May, 2006

Feeling better about myself

1

So I heard a neil young song on the radio the other day, the “new” one… it’s a anti-war protest song. Now, I’m not really fond of the current administration or the war, and I guess it’s sorta expected that a guy that played at woodstock would be against it, but I have a problem with this song.

He basically used the exact same tempo and beat from “rockin in the free world”. Completely ripped it off. I mean, I know the original was his, so he’s entitled to, but it just seems lazy. Now, I’m sure there’s a bit of irony in there somewhere that he’s protesting a war who’s supposed purpose is to overthrow a dictator and bring in democratic elections, but that’s not what I care about.

What I care about is this-
* Neil Young can’t sing. I don’t think anyone will disagree there.
* Neil Young isn’t that good of a guitarist. Listen to the riffs from free world and this new song. Sloppy and very boring.
* Neil Young isn’t that good of a writer. read the new lyrics:

Back in the days of "mission accomplished"
Our chief was landing on the deck
The sun was setting on a golden photo op
Back in the days of "mission accomplished"

Not exactly inspiring for me. They actually feel pretty limp. Now, beyond all the political BS that this is wrapped up in, strictly from a musical point of view…

Why the hell in Neil Young so popular?

The reviews I read of this CD were all shouting “OMG he wants to impeach bush!!!” and not “this song is a good song, and here’s why.” The lyrics feel forced and clunky, the guitar is the same way, and as I mentioned earlier, the beat is recycled…

But anyways, the point of me writing this is to say that I feel better about myself. I’ve been trying to write these well thought out, composed songs with reasonable lyrics and a nice hook. I see that to get a song on the radio, you don’t really need good lyrics, excellent musicianship, or even talent. I thought that was confined to pop music, but I guess I was wrong. Thanks Neil Young for cluing me in!

a mail dilemma

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So here’s the situation- We’re trying to consolidate our 5 mailservers into 1 master server with as much transparency to the users as possible. We have around 130 domains with a total of about 640 users. Some domains have one user, some have 50.

The first step of the migration was to determine the new setup. Since all of the servers have completely different setups, we can be flexible.
We settled on Courier-imap, postfix, amavid, clamav, spamassassin, squirrelmail and maildir. Now we just have to move everything onto it.

The second step of the migration was to move accounts on our biggest mailserver(mailfilter) over to the new server(newmail). We plan on doing this one domain at a time, starting with the smallest number of users and working up to the more populated domains.
Mailfilter used the following: uw-imap, postfix, mailscanner, clamav, spamassassin, openwebmail and mbox.

Now, I’ve managed to get everything configured properly, and was even able to migrate two 1 person domains (my coworkers) to the new server. I wrote a script to migrate mail from mbox to maildir format and even have sane mail creation dates. Now all I do is simply point their mx record to the new server and poof, everything works….on the server side.

The problem is this: (I don’t know much about imap, so most of this is theory…)
Suppose user Dan is running Outlook or Outlook Express. We change over his DNS, and he checks for new mail. Suddenly he’s getting all sorts of new errors. My theory is that imap is caching the headers of all the emails, and when it switches to the new server, the headers aren’t exact matches, and hence has 2 entries for each email- 1 defunct entry from the old server that errors when you click on it, and 1 working entry. Now, if the user removes the account from Outlook/OE, then re-creates it, everything works fine- the problem is we want to make this transparent to the users.

So how do we force the imap cache to clear from the server?

guitar day

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so I got a lot of friends to play guitar in the GR area… I’m thinking I should invite them over for a “lets learn to play better” excercise. The best way to learn to play better is to play with other people- you learn new techniques, get practice, etc.

So, anyone up for such an idea? wonko? ogg? yojimbo? silver? beth? rodarmer?

when would be a good time? can we make this a weekly thing?

Post ideas…

Dependencies of Dependencies in FreeBSD

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Something that is really aggrivating the hell out of me is FreeBSD’s package management system. I’ve heard people go on and on about how it’s the best out there, but frankly I’m unimpressed.
The main reason for this is there is no way to determine ALL of the dependencies that are going to be installed when I install a package.
Lets do a comparison of a freeciv install on my workstations vs the freebsd server:

genbox ~ # emerge -tp freeciv

These are the packages that I would merge, in reverse order:

Calculating dependencies ...done!
[ebuild  N    ] games-strategy/freeciv-2.0.8
[ebuild  N    ]  media-libs/sdl-mixer-1.2.6-r1
[ebuild  N    ]   media-libs/smpeg-0.4.4-r7

As you can see, freeciv is dependent on sdl-mixer- not only that, sdl-mixer is dependent on smpeg, meaning for freeciv to be installed, BOTH sdl-mixer and smpeg need to be installed beforehand. you see not only the dependencies, but the dependencies of the dependencies. Fortuately for this example, there were only 2 layers of dependencies and they were fairly small.

Now, lets look at freebsd- to see the dependencies, you can’t actually do it from the command line- you have to visit their website: http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/ports.cgi?query=freeciv&stype=all&sektion=all
We can see there are a couple of matching packages, but we’re only interested in

freeciv-2.0.8 
A civilisation clone for X11; multiplayer
 Long description : Sources : Changes : Download
 Maintained by: infofarmer@gmail.com
Requires: Xaw3d-1.5E_1, expat-2.0.0_1, fontconfig-2.3.2_4,1, 
freetype2-2.1.10_3, gettext-0.14.5_2, jpeg-6b_4, 
libdrm-2.0.1_1, libiconv-1.9.2_2, pkgconfig-0.20_2, png-1.2.8_3, 
python-2.4.3, tiff-3.8.2, xorg-libraries-6.9.0

This shows all dependencies, not just the ones that need to be installed- but only one layer. What packages will freetype require installed? how about xorg-libraries? The best answer I’ve been able to find as of yet is “look them up for each dependency” and then for their dependencies, and then theirs. All of this manually, all of this through their website. plus, you have to make sure that each package you look up isn’t already installed. How many packages will it take?

I have yet to find a way to show dependencies of dependencies in freebsd, and several very competent BSD admins I know haven’t been able to answer this question.

My question is, WHY!?!? This is entry level base functionality that debian, gentoo, mandriva, suse and even freaking RHEL can do- why can’t BSD, the people behind the ports system, do this?

I’m afraid I know the answer to this question- they’re comfortable with what they have. I truly hope I am wrong. If anyone knows of the proper FreeBSD way to find dependencies of dependencies on the command line, please, let me know.

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