Sunday, May 23, 2004

Miracle of Miracles

I put off updating my computer software so long I created a bit of a monster. I think there were something like 133 packages that needed updating. Now on a Gentoo-flavored computer such as mine, each of those packages has to be compiled. So if you've tried the web site this weekend and found it slow, there's your explanation. My computer was chugging through a lot of source code.

Now here's the miracle part: 133 packages compiled--and everything still seems to be working! I really expected my web server to break after the update. It usually does, usually because of a screwed up configuration file.. But the only down time I experienced this time was the 2-3 seconds it took to restart the server after the update. So I count myself lucky.

I also managed to add some more photos to the Web site here. The theme for the first couple of pages is "Art & Friends." These are pictures of Art with other people (and pets). But the last couple of pages are just some family snapshots. If pictures are your bag, please click on over and enjoy.


  1. Imported on behalf of: Mike Jasper

    Great photos! I love the one with the shirt that say "I'm not a girl."

    But who's the dude on the phone with the tie? Must've got a stray random photo in there...

  2. Imported on behalf of: Lee
    **I'm partial**

    to the breadbox pictures.

    I can't figure out that tie picture. I've got my Penguin Power mug, so it must be morning. But if it's morning, why am I on the phone? Have to get to the bottom of that.

  3. Imported on behalf of: Dan
    You may be pleased to know that I set up a Gentoo box as my internal web server at work. When I installed Gentoo at home, I had all kinds of trouble getting X to work. That's not such an issue for a server. All it's got on there is apache (w/mod\_php, mod\_perl, and a couple of other things) and mysql. I really feel like a man after getting that thing running, too.

    The breadbox picture made me laugh. Now, if I'm playing 20 questions, I'll know how to answer "is it bigger than a breadbox?"

  4. Imported on behalf of: Lee

    More Gentoo!

    I'm futzing around, deciding to change back to WindowMaker from KDE. Maybe. I just like how WindowMaker looks.

  5. Imported on behalf of: Lee
    **More Gentoo**

    BTW, Dan. I got in that situation with the packages because it's updating KDE and Gnome. (I really should unmerge the Gnome stuff.) I installed all of it with the hopes of letting Louise use one or the other destop environment since her old iMac's got limited disk space and a flaky CD-ROM. Both of them wound up being more than she wanted to learn, though. So now my computer is an Appletalk server. Methinks I need to add some more memory.

    Anyway, if you're just using yours as a web server, you'll never get in that position. Just emerge sync once a week or so, and always check before you let it update Apache--just to be sure the ebuild isn't broken in some way.

    Actually, the mailing lists are an even better belleweather. I subscribe to gentoo-announce and gentoo-user. The former is low-volume, and the latter I usually just scan. You usually see pretty quickly when new apps are broken, how hard it is to fix, whether to wait for the next update, that sort of thing.

    Oh, and always do etc-update \_right away\_ after emerge update system/world/whatever!

    I've always had to struggle with X on my computer, even back when I was using SuSE. I have an ancient monitor and an NVIDIA graphics card (damned super secret closed-source bastards). Imagine being a complete linux newbie and having to figure out how to insert a kernel module to get X working at something more than a crawl. Anyway, that may be why I haven't had many problems with X on gentoo. I've really had to know my hardware.

    Long may your time be up.

    05:53:08 up 30 days, 15:02, 1 user, load average: 0.15, 0.07, 0.03

    Huh. About time for a power failure.

  6. Imported on behalf of: Dan
    **gentoo for me too**

    I originally had a lackey set up a webserver for me since I didn't have time. Since it was just for internal use with about 10 people hitting it, I didn't figure it needed to be anything fancy. It was on an old p166 with 128MB RAM, and he decided to use slackware, because that's what he was comfortable with. I didn't push gentoo because who knows how long that would have taken to compile. Anyway, the lackey was a temp, so he left, and I found that mysql made the machine cry. We got new computers here, so I grabbed one of the old ones (celeron 700 w/256MB RAM) to use as a webserver. Since I have no lackey anymore, I had to do it myself, so I chose gentoo. I installed once, and did something really wrong with mod\_php and apache, so I installed a second time, and everything worked out fine. I supposed I could have unmerged it, but I've gotten pretty good at the reinstall process, having done it a dozen times on my machine at home. I was originally trying to install apache 1.3-something, but on the 2nd go around, went for the default 2.something. etc-update is cool because it will allow you to keep your existing configuration or overwrite with a new default configuration. So far, I've just been keeping my exsiting setup with no problems. I did have some weird permissions thing going on with the htdocs directory, but I just chmodded it to 777 since it's all internal and behind a firewall anyway. So far, so good. I've been pretty pleased with it. I've installed a couple of content managment things to test, and they've performed pretty well.

    I have an NVidia card at home and I'm using SuSe, so I know exactly what you're talking about. They've fixed that in version 9 or 9.1. From what I've read, NVidia is a piece of cake compared to late-model ATI cards.

  7. Imported on behalf of: Lee
    **777: the unjinxable file permission**

    The latest greatest video cards are always the worst, those and the weird things that come on combo-motherboards and in laptops. I don't need cutting edge graphics. Neither TuxRacer nor FrozenBubble are all that resource-hungry. Not that I get much time to play. I think I've run FB once since Art was born, and that was just to lure my wife to the machine!

    I've always thought Slackware sounded fun. From what I understand the install is not very far from Linux-from-scratch. Even more minimal than Gentoo. I expect you'd learn a lot making that install. I've got an old P75 in the attic, but no monitor and no network card. (\_Old\_ I said!) I've thought about putting a network card in it, installing FreeBSD (for something different), and . . . um, doing something with it. Serve web pages? Not enough disk space to be the Appletalk server.

    But I don't have time to play with FreeBSD. More's the pity!

    For now I stick with Gentoo. I'm familiar with it, and that's nice. I feel pretty confident with it and am able to do a lot of things I never thought about doing before (like this web site). Now if I could just stick w/ a window manager/desktop environment!

    Hey, are you running the 2.6 kernel yet?

  8. Imported on behalf of: Dan

    not yet.

    I've considered fooling with FreeBSD just because. I'm thinking about building a new computer, so that means I'd have an extra to play with. I've also been considering building a CD duplicator.

    Here's a bit of weirdness: I downloaded both the Linux and Windows versions of Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo. I can't get it to run in Windows, but Linux runs it like a champ. I've got an NVidia GeForce FX 5600, so there shouldn't be a problem there. I can load the game, but as soon as I do anything beyond the main select screen, it goes blank, and I have to give the 3-finger salute (followed by the one-finger salute). Actually alt-enter will toggle fullscreen, so I can usually close it that way. It still requires a reboot though to keep weird video things happening. I've tried upgrading AND downgrading my drivers. Bleh. Why do I keep booting into Windows? Oh yeah, for the games.

  9. Imported on behalf of: Dan
    **emerge world**

    I just ran my first emerge world, and all went smoothly. I updated portage by itself first, to avoid any weirdness. Everything went so well because apache and mysql weren't updated. I have a bad feeling that when those get updated, things could get ugly.

  10. Imported on behalf of: Lee

    especially sometimes gives me fits. Just don't get impatient and clobber your old configuration files before you've figured out the differences between old and new. Sometimes you can just keep using the old. Sometimes you've got to roll up your sleeves. Ugh. You can always downgrade to the last version if something disasterous happens. Or if the updates are not security fixes, you can even just not update apache. Why not?

    An easy way to keep a particular version of a package is to edit the world file:

    vim /var/cache/edb/world

    This is where all the world favorites are kept. Find the Aapche2 entry and insert an "=" before it and tack on the version number to the end. So it would look like:


    (or whatever your version is). This "pins" your machine to this version. Now when you emerge -u world, portage will leave it alone. I do this to humongous apps like OpenOffice and Firefox so they don't get updated all the damn time. You can also use <, >, <=, and >= signs. These are handy because sometimes it's just more fun to run the unstable version of a program.

    What do they say in SuSE-land? "Have a lot of fun!" That's probably catchier in German. McSkinny? Care to translate?

  11. Imported on behalf of: Dan
    I am generally of the mind !broke = !fix, but sometimes I try !broke = while (not broken) {make better};

    sometimes that script doesn't run so well...

  12. Imported on behalf of: mck

    I believe it would be "viel Spass" (don't think this will handle an eszet), lit. "much fun", pron. "feel shpass".

    finally, a language i understand on this thread...

  13. Imported on behalf of: Lee
    **Window Managers**

    Now I'm trying ratpoison. Controlled only by keyboard, no window decorations, nothing. Everything is fuul-screen. It's like virtual consoles, but in X.