Xen, Solaris and ZFS

Posted by Thomas Wed, 27 Sep 2006 01:21:47 +0000

So, I’ve been wanting to play with ZFS for a really long time. Finally tonight I got my ducks in a row. I should have written some notes on the process, but I now have a functional OpenSolaris server running as a domU in a Debian dom0 in a little Xen cluster on my 2U.

Following (basically) the instructions on the web, I got the xen packages installed on top of my pre-existing Debian Etch install. I bought a WRT54G over the weekend, so that I could free up the 2U for more ambition endeavors. I uninstalled Shorewall so that it wouldn’t get in the way, and disabled dhcp3-server.

I installed

xen-tools xen-utils-3.0.2-1

I don’t know if I need both of the xen-utils packages… I was using Lilo (yay lilo!), but apparently Xen needs some functionality only available with Grub. So, I tried to install that, but it continually locked up during grub-install (that fix deserves its own post…). I got that fixed, and it booted fine. After configuring it for serial access, I was finally good to go. The next hurdle involved figuring out that not one of those xen packages added the necessary bridge interface to /etc/network/interfaces.

auto xenbr0
iface xenbr0 inet static
bridge_ports eth0
bridge_maxwait 0

Everybody seems to use a different name for that interface. There was at least xen-br0, but the Debian scripts that I installed are looking for xenbr0. You also have to manually bring up the bridge. Note that this will clobber the settings of eth0. So, if you were ssh’ed into the box, the ssh session will die, and, if the bridge came up properly, you can now ssh into So, if eth0′s ip was dynamically assigned, it will now be static and That took me a bit to figure out. So, once that’s done, you should be able to edit /etc/xen/xend-config.sxp, and finally do a xen-create-image and xm create that won’t error out.

So, I created a Debian image to verify that everything was working, and then I downloaded the ready to use Solaris domU image (twice because apparently I didn’t download it all the first time). I got it running, added some pseudo disks to the xen config, and tinkered with ZFS. I added me as a user and added a home directory, got the permissions all setup and even was able to mount it remotely via NFS. It’s all far from automated, but it is somewhere. I realized in all of this that I probably could export my fibre channel drives via xen to the Solaris domU. I could then put ZFS on top of them and re-export them to the entire network. It’s convoluted, I know, but it’s the best solution until Linux gets some form of ZFS. The overhead of xen isn’t supposed to be that bad, but it still seems to make for an overly complex, yet working solution. I also had thought that there wouldn’t be any reason not to be able to run apache, ftp, etc. directly on top of OpenSolaris, but dealing with OpenSolaris the little that I have, I would pull my hair out. So, just having nfs running, running all of the other value added services from nfs mounts, seems like a possible plan. You get clean snapshotting from ZFS for everybody. I guess the next hurdle is moving everything over to LDAP and Kerberos. Looking forward to it… :)

Don’t worry if you didn’t follow any of that. I guarantee you are not alone.

Posted in Technology | 2 Comments

Movies Update

Posted by Thomas Mon, 25 Sep 2006 22:14:22 +0000

I’ve been remiss in my keeping you all up to date on the movies that I’ve been watching as of late, so here’s an update.

A couple of weekends ago (the 16th, I think) I went to see “The Last Kiss”. I figured that it would be good because of Zach Braff, and it had a good IMDB rating. Oddly, though, it was only showing in four theaters in the entirety of Atlanta, so I had to traipse across town to find a theater. The one that I picked, though, was really nice, and I am more convinced that the theater where I usually go has poor sound. Overall, I think I liked it, but it’s hard for me to remember now.

I also watched “Some Like It Hot” with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, some time back. It was supposed to be a really screwball comedy, but I didn’t think it too much of one. It was still pretty good though, and now I understand why everyone loves Marilyn.

I watched “Buffalo Soldiers” and “The Great Raid”, both of which I thought were mediocre.

I watched “12 Angry Men” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and found them lackluster. I don’t really know what either one was about. Perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood to watch either of them (I slept a bunch through the latter).

I finished the few episodes I lacked in season two of Lost, if you couldn’t tell. I yelled at the TV multiple times, which to me indicates that I was pretty in to it (as much as I hate to admit it).

Posted in Movies | 2 Comments

Fucking Lost

Posted by Thomas Sat, 23 Sep 2006 04:39:33 +0000

F-u-c-k u Lost!1!

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Posted by Thomas Wed, 20 Sep 2006 00:52:18 +0000

My mark on Wesley is gone… :(

Is anyone reading this?

Posted in General | 3 Comments

Crack Food

Posted by Thomas Tue, 19 Sep 2006 11:28:24 +0000

Popeyes has the crack biscuits.
Texas Roadhouse has the crack rolls.
Koppe Bridge has the crack french fries.
What else am I missing?

Posted in General | 1 Comment


Posted by Thomas Mon, 18 Sep 2006 01:35:53 +0000

Handsome Rob asked me a good question tonight, “what areas are you aggressive in your life?”. And I really didn’t have a good answer for him, because I’m not really sure that there are any. He did say driving, and I will give him that. I think that I tend to avoid conflict, I try to do what people expect of me, I try to please people, and be generally as agreeable as possible, becuase I figure that’s what most people like best, someone who will go along with you. I’m, of course, speaking in generalities here, but when am I agressive?

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Bash Auto-completion

Posted by Thomas Fri, 15 Sep 2006 19:20:21 +0000

http://kasparov.skife.org/blog/tech/ssh_completion.html has a pretty cool implementation of being lazy for your ~/.bash_completion file:

SSH_COMPLETE=( $(cat ~/.ssh/known_hosts | \
cut -f 1 -d ' ' | \
sed -e s/,.*//g | \
uniq | \
egrep -v [0123456789]) )
complete -o default -W "${SSH_COMPLETE[*]}" ssh

Because I am meddlesome, and since his was excluding some hosts, I seasoned to taste:

SSH_COMPLETE=( $(cat ~/.ssh/known_hosts | \
cut -f 1 -d ' ' | \
sed -e s/,.*//g | \
sort | \
uniq | \
egrep -v "^\|[0123456789]") )
complete -o default -W "${SSH_COMPLETE[*]}" ssh

It’s rather cool, becuase it will use hosts out of your known_hosts file for input, which is nice because it practically always be up to date. Be sure to add completion to your shell by editing your .bash_profile or whatever on your distro. Yes, I know that can do sort -u vs sort | uniq. Old habits die hard. Potato/Potatoe.

Keywords: bash auto completion ssh

Posted in Technology | 1 Comment

Two years and screwball comedies

Posted by Thomas Thu, 14 Sep 2006 23:55:05 +0000

It’s been two years since my first blog entry. Not nearly as long as many on the web. It seems like a fairly long time, until I think that I’ve been here for 17 months, which only makes about 6 months worth of blogging while in CS, which doesn’t sound like very long at all. Odd how often time seems both short and long simultaneously…

For your enjoyment, a listing of thoroughly enjoyable, truly screwball comedies (feel free to add others in comments). Hollywood needs to make more of these.
Top Secret!
The Naked Gun
Hot Shots!
Animal House
Young Frankenstein
Loaded Weapon
Robin Hood: Men in Tights

And, a random quote, which seems plausible:

Ugly programs are like ugly suspension bridges: they’re much more liable to collapse than pretty ones, because the way humans (especially engineer-humans) perceive beauty is intimately related to our ability to process and understand complexity.

Posted in General, Movies | 5 Comments

On the lighter side of things…

Posted by Thomas Mon, 11 Sep 2006 02:29:55 +0000

I procurred a PA-RISC system on Friday. For free! Yeah, baby. Since Debian is awesome and has a port, I’ve been working on it for a good part of the weekend (see documentation here, here, here, and here). It had an old Debian install on it, testing even, but I was not privy to any of the passwords. And, since udev and 2.6 and all, I figured that it would be a good idea to have a nice clean install, instead of a dist-upgraded one. So, instead of doing a simple dist-upgrade on Friday, I’ve been working most of the weekend to get Debian reinstalled on the thing. I wasn’t able to get XFS on it, due to some odd kernel module bug. I posted to the mailing list, but the buggers haven’t answered back. I’m not sure if I would reinstall now, anyway, since it was a pain, and is really slow, and my internet sucks. BTW, it’s a smoking 100MHz RISC chip, an HP 712/100, with 64MB of RAM, a 2G HD, and 10 whole Megabits of network. It’s an HPPA and my first non-x86 architecture, so I’m pretty happy. I don’t know what I’m even going to do with it, but it’s sitting under my feet at the moment… Maybe it’s time to plop down some $$$ for that O2 I’ve always been lusting for…

Posted in General, Technology | 2 Comments

Gaming Friends

Posted by Thomas Sun, 10 Sep 2006 00:03:14 +0000

The closest friends I have made during my time in Atlanta are almost 100% non-Christian and gamers. If you know me very well, you would know that I do not consider myself a gamer (neither in video, nor most real world sports). I have never been very proficient at games, which I am sure helped to contribute to my general disdain for them. And perhaps even more prolific in forming my opinion is the lack of value that I see in them. Not too unlike many of the procrastination tools of the average college student *cough*facebook*couch, gaming doesn’t add much value to my life. Especially when done alone. Seeing if you can beat the undead by using your hero and a whole lot of I don’t know what is an utter waste of time in my opinion. It can be argued that team gaming is a bonding experience, which it is, but gamers game much more than the not-to-oft game night at a friend’s house. I would much rather browse the web, or watch movies, or, gasp, watch tv. At least in TV or the web, I have the opportunity to be able to learn something or keep up with current events. Sure, you could say that there is value in succeeding at gaming, learning how to solve problems, create strategies, and defeat enemies, but as you may recall I suck at games, so it’s a lot of time spent getting my ass handed to me, not getting any better, and feeling really bad about it.

Which semi-brings me to the point of this post. For the most part, I try not to do stuff that I’m no good at. I can be very competitive at times, and it’s not usually something that I like about myself, because it’s not a very loving stance to take to be better than someone, even if you are. So, the way that I think that I’ve developed over my life to deal with this is to not care about a whole lot of stuff like this. Because if I don’t care about it, then I won’t be competitive and when I suck I won’t get down in then mouth about it. It’s a defense mechanism. An odd side effect of this is that I tend to either care immensely about something, or hardly at all. All the things I care about, I care about immensely, and everthing else I can’t care less about. Odd extremes, I know…

So, when all of my friends are gamers, what do they want to do? Game and talk about gaming. Which bores me to no end, but I can listen to them talk, because I’m their friend and I value their friendship, and I want (at some level) to care about what they care about, and show them at the very least the respect to listen to their conversation. But, I tend to draw the line if you “think that I’ll really enjoy this game”, or expect me to want to play games, even after I have repeatedly said that I’m not much of a gamer, and that I don’t play games. I might humor you, but do not confuse humor for genuine interest.

Man, I’m still not to my point yet… So, I have been playing games a lot recently, and am, what I would consider, honest-to-goodness good at one of them, namely Smash Bros. Now, my training was elite in the Man Cave, under the tutilage of Drew, Chad, Rob, et al. They all consitently kicked my ass at Smash Bros. I seem to recall them being able to dominate with their second or third characters. (Or that’s my perception of of how all that played out.) So, in accordance with how I deal with this stuff, I’ll try my best to not care about it, but when your friends care a lot about it, sometimes it’s really hard for you not to care about it. And sometimes impossible.

So, I was sucky then, but for some reason, I can play this one game way better than the guys that I play on a regular basis with. I don’t enjoy playing the for any length because it’s just no fun when it’s a slaughter. It’s not really a game at that point. So this is a boost to the confidence. But, there are other gamers out there who are better than me, and I’ve met a couple here, and I don’t like that very much, so I stop trying to play hard, because I know that I won’t be able to win consistently.

And there are times when an old game gets pulled out, and inevitably, there is a plethora of guys who have spent countless hours playing it. And so, since I’ve basically never played any games ever, and even if I have I don’t really remember any, I get slaughtered. Which definitely isn’t fun for me, and which I assume isn’t fun for them if they continually score on me. So, if I get irate and want everybody to stop checking me into the wall and want you to teach me some and let me learn, is that too much to ask in the middle of a game? And then only to be chastized for wanting to when I show no mercy in Smash Bros…

Am I being unreasonable here? Would I have stopped and taught them? I’d like to think so, and I even did. We were playing Mario Tennis, and I was acing this guy who is an excellent gamer, but hadn’t played Tennis before. Finally, I stopped and gave him some tips of where to stand when recieving the serve. I wasn’t a total saint, because I continued to not give him enough time to get into position, but I needed to win, because winning is all that matters to these guys. I needed to beat his partner, and his partner is so good, that I can only do it by picking on him.

They all portray it such that I am not even allowed to be good at one game, even when I suck royally at the rest. It’s like there’s no mercy or grace or love in these circumstances. In my experience there is this n-th degree of competition that rears its head that isn’t healthy for the relationships. Maybe I’ve been traumatized too much in my life for all of these things to just roll of my back and not be bothered by them and simply enjoy the ass kicking that they enjoy all too much.

And this is why I stopped playing Smash Bros with the gang at Wesley. I felt that it became detrimental to the relationships within the group. I can clearly remember arguments about who was unfairly picking on whom, and who was always getting punted off the map more, and there was always a perception difference that they were the one being picked on, and the other person thought the same. So, between that and thinking about the damned game what Max said was compulsively, I stopped and really haven’t looked back since.

I guess that I see similar trends happening here.

I really don’t appreciate being told to dodge and fire, or whatever obvious objective is going on. Do you really take me for such an idiot that I don’t know what I am supposed to do, and recognize that knowing what to do and being able to do it are two different things and the general objective of tasks like that, to figure out how to rub your belly and pat your head, except with a joystick, a, b, x, y, l, and r buttons? Don’t patronize me and don’t state the obvious because I won’t take it well. Being the butt of conversations like “man I hit you a lot”, “I’ve never seen anyone get hit that much”, “damn, I can’t believe you got hit like 6 times!”, “I’ve never hit anybody that much”. Man, that pisses me off, and did, and I basically said ‘night at that point and jetted. Because what I hear is “you suck, you suck, you suck”.

I really don’t appreciate it, either, when you say “I’m no good at this” and then beat me. I really don’t appreciate it when I get compemented as being a contender in one breath, and then get this trash talk 2 seconds later after you beat me. I just love that you can turn on me on a dime. I really find that trait attractive in my friends.

I have for a while been feeling a really wierd vibe coming from these guys. And maybe last night was when it finally clicked for me that maybe it is a lot about how much love and compassion and mercy that they have for each other and for me. It’s a very disturbing thing to me to think that people would have friends solely for the perks. That the major reason that you would make a conscious decision to talk to me and be my “friend” (which there apparently is a definition for), is for the stuff that I’ll give you for free, or the questions that I can answer for you about building your house, or the answers I can give you about how to wire up your new arcade cabinet, or the cat5 I can pull for you in your new house, or the soldering that I can do for you.

It’s beyond me how you could only have friends for the things that they can give you and not for their intrinsic value as a friend. And it may not quite be to that exteme, but man, I think that it’s close, and that’s disturbing to me. Love at Wesley was palpable, and even when there was disagreement or competition (especially when there was disagreement or competition) you knew exactly where you stood with that person. You knew that they didn’t hate you, you knew that they loved you, you knew that they would do anything for you, and you knew that they respected you. Maybe that wasn’t your experience, but it definitely was for me. If ever I recieved criticism, I knew that it was out of love, and it becomes hard to argue when you know the other person is guinuely looking out for you best interests out of love. Maybe that’s what’s remarkably missing from all of this, genuine love.

So, for anyone still reading this, I appluad you. I did a word count, and it’s 1900+. Not terribly big by my standards, but I think it might be the biggest on the blog. The length would also imply that this has been really festering in me, and that I needed to vent. A bunch. Not sure exactly what this yet means for me and my so-called-friends. I would doubt that much will change in the short-term, but as a general rule, me being more concious of my concerns causes them to grow, and so they are probably on a collision course now. To all the single women who’ve made it thus far, there should be some decent material up there for how my mind works. But, if you asked me to try to explain it more, you probably wouldn’t get very far, and you would probably just make me mad. (Which is something that I wish weren’t true (me getting upset/mad at you), but that’s what I think would happen.) Here’s to hoping that there’s at least one girl out there who can trick me into talking about it without making me mad in the process…

Posted in General | 2 Comments

Vblogs and pranks

Posted by Thomas Thu, 07 Sep 2006 23:40:51 +0000

I never really figured out what video blogs where until I ran across some on youtube. Basically video instead of text. Got it. Not much more interesting, but a little since it’s video and not text. Probably the same thing that is appealing about “podcasts” which are really just rss feeds of audio. Anyway, this is the one that I ran across. Don’t know why it’s intriguing, but it is… Probably has something to do with the editing, which seems oddly really good. Oh, I almost forgot that on her Myspace, she notes that Richard Feynman is her hero…

Ok, so since I originally discovered this video blogger, I’ve since come to the conclusion that it’s a fake. This makes it still entertaining, but much less so, and much more about trying to figure out where they’re going with it and what’ll come next. If you search for the username, you can see people’s theories about it. Now that I think about it, maybe it’s somebody’s exercise to get girls interested in science…

Since I now have a whole boat load of friends who are teachers, did anybody prank their classes the first week? Like speaking in a really thick Russian accent or the like?

Posted in General | 2 Comments

3 more things

Posted by Thomas Thu, 07 Sep 2006 01:21:45 +0000

I claim the intersection.
The major Man Clan offensives (at the girl’s house and at the girl’s movie night).
The fun van to Florida.
Doughnuts in the parking lot with the van.
Getting a phone message from some irate lady about my driving in LA.
Coed-naked showering.
Accidentally and unknowingly smuggling a little burro through customs.
Getting my ring and watch almost stolen in Mexico.
Crashing the “Fifth Element” party at the Dumplex.
The Funplex, aka the Dumbplex.
Summer sand volleyball with the Trinkas, et al.
Many a shack-a-thon build, especially in the Fellowship Hall.
Scaring Rachel out of her mind on work project.
Crunchtime all-nighters.
Meat-men all-nighters (I’m burning my eyes out! and Brizkit).
Elaine slicing her hand open on game day.
Lots of dish washing.
Yellow meal.
The Julia Lang (Johnson) Memorial Drink Dispenser.
Where’s my shoe?!?

Ok, a few more than three.

Posted in General | 6 Comments

Post #265

Posted by Thomas Wed, 06 Sep 2006 00:32:41 +0000

I should not have stayed up until 4:30 last night. I was playing around with WordPress, trying to finish what I had started. One thing let to another, and it was after 4 in the morning. It was just one of those times when you get into a groove, and you don’t want to sleep or eat until you’re done…

Apparently I thought these links where worthy of being put into a blog post, but at the moment I don’t recall why, and I’m too lazy to click on them to remember, so here they are:

I also trashed my D-Link. I couldn’t take it anymore. I fashioned my 2U into a temporary router, but I really should get a WRT54GL, so I don’t have a pretty large machine sitting on top of my dryer. :)

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