Linux as a general purpose shell server?

November 26, 2008

The University I work for has offered a UNIX (secure-) shell service for its students and staff for over 15 years now. The servers have so far been AIX (Power/PPC), OSF1/Digital Unix/Tru64 UNIX (alpha) and Solaris (sparc64).They’ve also been mostly top-of-the-line (=expensive) boxes so they can handle hundreds of simultaneous users without problems. The exotic hardware and OS also makes it more secure, since script-kiddies tend to use more common hardware and OS’s.

Now we are in the process of phasing out the last remaining publicly available Tru64 server (ES40/4x667MHz, 5GB RAM), and possibly with a x86-64 server running Linux (Ubuntu 8.04). The reason why Linux has not been an option before is that some people claim it still can’t handle the load of ~1000 users reading their email (pine/alpine/mutt) while chatting with irssi or whatnot. Also the security problems have been brought up. It’s possibly a lot easier to break into Linux than Solaris, because Linux is more common and easy to get (although there is Opensolaris now..).

What I’d like to know is that are there people already running Linux on similar purpose, and how does it perform? What measures can be taken against the security threats (preferably something that doesn’t involve building a custom kernel)? What else should be taken into account to make it scale better?

The x86 hardware is at least a lot cheaper. Eight-core blade with 64GB of RAM is less than 8kEUR.. but could it handle 700 users like the ES40 does with ease?

book meme

November 13, 2008

Oh well

  • Grab the nearest book.
  • Open it to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  • Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

There were two books within reach, so I picked the one that wasn’t in Finnish: “Kerberos: The Definite Guide” by Jason Garman (O’Reilly)

Make sure that the hostname you place in the krb5.conf file actually resolves to the local machine.

New libdrm/mesa/xorg-server/xorg shaping up

July 3, 2008

For the past few days I’ve been working on merging the latest upstream release of xorg-server (1.5rc5) for Intrepid, which happens to require the recently released libdrm 2.3.1 and mesa 7.1rc. Had to merge xorg as well and rebuild the drivers that I need (kbd, mouse, intel), since the video and input ABI’s have changed. The intel DRI driver has a couple of bugs that prevent compiz from working, but hopefully they are fixed in the not-too-distant-future…

Today I’ve been trying to get mesa to use the new autotoolized build system, and it’s starting to look good. For reasons unknown to me, it still isn’t capable of building static and shared libs at the same time etc., so it actually copies the source and runs configure & make ten (10) times to build the various targets.. The sun is already rising, so hopefully the ongoing build finally looks normal so I can push this to and go to bed πŸ˜€

busy, Fogerty, vacation..

June 19, 2008


It has been a hectic couple of weeks after the UDS. I had to get all the public workstations at HUT reinstalled to 8.04, and there were some issues that kept popping up and needed to be fixed. Anyway, we now have ~234 workstations running Hardy since last week, so it all went quite well. So well in fact that I could leave on (the first part of my) vacation last Friday without much hassle. Anyway, I was meant to blog about the UDS and various things that happened during the past few weeks, but somehow didn’t have time. So, here’s a quick wrapup..

I had a highschool class reunion party on the same day my flight returned from Prague. So I took the bus to Turku and saw a couple of old classmates I hadn’t seen in ~13 years. Unfortunately there were only a handful of us, but it didn’t slow us down..

A couple of days later on Mon 26th of May I got to see John Fogerty on stage. It was an unforgettable concert, almost as unforgettable as the way I managed to get there… I had lost the tickets and used a printout of the booking information from the website which to my surprise worked to get replacement tickets (the FAQ said that it wouldn’t). Anyway, Johns voice was in great shape and so were his guitars. A lot of them I might add, at least 15 which were being swapped between songs. If you like his solo works or CCR, don’t hesitate to book tickets to a Fogerty concert if possible πŸ™‚

I’ve also visited the cozy summer cottage of my in-laws. We were there to plan some improvements that need to be done this summer, stairs and such. Rest of the time was spent chilling out.. This picture is from that trip, taken on Jun 7th at 11PM..

a shot taken at 11pm on Jun 7th

As can be seen, it’s still quite bright even though it’s late.. Midsummer is coming up in a few days, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities to sit by the fire & lake and sip at a glass of beer/GT/wine until the sun rises again.. no better way to enjoy the short but lovely Finnish summer πŸ™‚


May 14, 2008

Catching a cold in the middle of May sucks…

..especially if it’s a day before flying to Prague.

edit: I’ll still be coming to FOSSCamp/UDS though.. even if I might have to skip some days.

First post!

November 25, 2007

Whee, this is my first blog post ever.. Created the account a couple of weeks ago after UDS, but didn’t have the guts to sit down and write anything before this wet, cold Sunday.

Hardy alpha1 is coming next week, and the Ubuntu X-SWAT team has been busy updating all the packages and syncing with Debian where possible. Before alpha1 releases we’ll have the new xcb-1.1 which has a sloppy-lock mode “fixing” assertion crashes with buggy apps like java. Also a newer radeonhd has just hit debian-unstable, so we’ll sync that as well.

After the first alpha we will be focusing on the HardyHardwareDetection spec. Perhaps the first step will be to enable input-hotplug after there is code to generate a hal fdi-file for the keyboard layout in use. There are definately some rough corners with input-hotplug, but my tests have so far been positive. Looking forward to the time when in 99.9% of the use cases xorg.conf is not needed at all πŸ™‚