Tag Archives: Linux

I Hate RPM!

I really really hate RPM Based systems, I cringe every time I step near one. Granted, no where near as much as I do every time I use a windows system, but it pains me more and more every time. First of all, I feel for anyone coming from windows that thinks they wish to try Linux, and decides “Redhat is the way to go” because that’s what business’s use. it’s wrong, Please don’t do it, pick something like ubuntu, mint, or almost anything based on Debian (even Debian itself is quite friendly in my opinion). Business’s use Redhat because there’s a support contract and they can get bugs fixed fast, that’s the only reason I can see.

So, on to my rant about RPM systems, why do I hate them? Well, I run monitoring software called Nagios, this has a remote package called NRPE, this allows me to run scripts on remote systems for monitoring and works very well. This package is found in the repository called “EPEL” (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux) hosted by the folks at Fedora.

I am unable to update my system because RPM system is broken. I commonly have an issue with installing something like webmin on a fresh Debian install, it would be nice if it was a little better, but it’s ok, I do the following:

dpkg -i install webmin*.deb

This results in an error that I do not have packages installed that it requires, no problem, the following command is what I want (and it tells me!)

apt-get install -f

This downloads and installs the packages required, and then installs my webmin package, great.

Now, lets see about RHEL, we have YUM, ok, I want to update my system, so I run “yum update” this chugs away and eventually comes back with:

Error: Missing Dependency: nagios-plugins = 1.4.15-2.el5 is needed by package nagios-plugins-disk
Error: Missing Dependency: nagios-plugins = 1.4.15-2.el5 is needed by package nagios-plugins-load
Error: Missing Dependency: nagios-plugins = 1.4.15-2.el5 is needed by package nagios-plugins-users
Error: Missing Dependency: nagios-plugins = 1.4.15-2.el5 is needed by package nagios-plugins-procs

Here, I grumble. but ok, quick search for nagios-plugins 1.4.15-2.el5 on google and I find the package, but interestingly the package I downloaded was from the EPEL repository, so, it’s there! why did it not find it? Anyway, ignoring that issue, I try installing it, I alerady have an older nagios-plugins installed, so I run the following:

rpm -Uvh nagios-plugins-1.4.15-2.el5.x86_64.rpm

This results in the following:

nagios-common is needed by nagios-plugins-1.4.15-2.el5.x86_64

Was it not by the older package? or does it mean I have an older version? who knows. Anyway, I run “yum install nagios-common” and that’s now installed, from EPEL, great. So we try rpm -Uvh nagios-plugins-1.4.15-2.el5.x86_64.rpm again, and this time I get the follwing:

error: Failed dependencies:
nagios-plugins = 1.4.13-11.el5 is needed by (installed) nagios-plugins-disk-1.4.13-11.el5.x86_64
nagios-plugins = 1.4.13-11.el5 is needed by (installed) nagios-plugins-load-1.4.13-11.el5.x86_64
nagios-plugins = 1.4.13-11.el5 is needed by (installed) nagios-plugins-users-1.4.13-11.el5.x86_64
nagios-plugins = 1.4.13-11.el5 is needed by (installed) nagios-plugins-procs-1.4.13-11.el5.x86_64

But, wait I was trying to update those packages, it just couldn’t find the one I’m trying to install here. Despite it being in the same place in the repositories! By this time I can feel my blood pressure starting to rise, which is never a good thing. I also keep saying to myself “on Debian, I just run apt-get install … and it does it” anyway, I have to run RHEL for work purposes, all my servers at work are actually running Debian, however, for building we run RHEL to be “compatible” with our customers. Except, we can’t be because it won’t update! So now I have to download the other packages manually, and install them, manually, because it can’t find them.

I’m starting to get annoyed with this, and if it was my own system that I did not need for work, it would have been changed to Debian long ago.

All I can say, is that I feel for anyone that “Tries” Linux and goes for an RPM solution. This is not the first time I have had this issue, and I have even had the issue within the main repositories with packages. It’s annoying, It’s frustrating, and I can’t get rid of it. I just HATE it!

Given a choice of package managers, I would opt for Portage followed by Apt, both are incredibly good and I have very few issues with them.

A lot of memory…

Well, apparently 2GB isn’t enough memory anymore, with Windows wanting at least 4GB to run well, linux is still happy with 128MB, but with compiz you really want 4GB again.

When it comes to servers however, it’s a whole new ballpark. The software written by the company I work for deals with incredibly large computational arrays requiring a fair amount if memory at times. While I write this I am waiting for a pre-boot memory check to complete do I can get on and check the system is working, it’s taking a while, and here’s a extensor as to why…


That’s 96GB Memory in this system, What’s even more interesting about a system with this much memory, is that it will be used. and this is not a virtualised system, this is a single OS (though dual-boot) and is used for testing…. oh yeah, not to mention the fact that it has 2 quad-core CPU’s…. this system really is a beast. and I would quite like it to be my desktop machine, though, I might have to invest in some ear protectors, as the cooling is rather loud :-)

There’s no place like ::1

With the move of house, comes a lot of other movements of technology. At the old place, I was on Virgin Media’s Broadband, Although I did not have any problems with them, I do know people that had more than their fair share. I think in the course of 2 years my line went down for a total of 2 minutes, and I think that’s fairly acceptable. However, it lacks on some features. Dynamic IPv4 address (and only 1) means I had to write some rather complex scripts, due to my server blocking SSH access from anywhere unless it’s a “Known Location”. These locations normally consist of my place of work, my place of home, and my parents houses for when I visit them.

Although IPv4 is being exhausted, many people are still using it, in fact, pretty much everyone on the Internet is using IPv4 in one way or another. For me, my new connection has a /28 mask of address’s, call me selfish, but this does give all my machines external IP’s, and then I’m NAT-ing Wifi connections, because they don’t need external address’s. It also has Native IPv6 on the new line. there is still very much a case of “No one’s using IPv6 so we don’t support it” and also “many things still don’t support it, so I don’t have IPv6″. In my 2 years working at Dyalog, I have moved our internal systems to IPv6, and so far 50% of our servers are on IPv6. The interpreter received it’s required changes to support IPv6 in version 12, and some of these will be improved in 12.1, and this improvement will most likely be on-going.

So, to IPv6, and who supports it? well, Google have had IPv6 work going on for a long time now, and you have been able to access http://ipv6.google.com to run your web searches. however they only resolve www.google.com as an IPv6 address if your ISP has registered with them. I can understand this to some extent, but on the other hand, it might hold things back, as there’s alot of people beating their ISP’s to IPv6 with Tunneling over IPv4. Google here have proved that a move to IPv6 can be done without too much effort, providing you can release resources into the change, and you have a good firewall, Remember NAT is not a firewall.

What about ISP’s, what are they doing about IPv6? well Andrews and Arnold seem to be among the few ISP’s offering native IPv6 in the UK, I believe there is currently no more than 3 ISP’s offering such service. Why? maybe they don’t see the point because not many sites are using it yet. Well, here’s some news, every site I run, has IPv6, that is my personal sites and company sites, Google also have IPv6. so what are we waiting for?

Consumer devices is where my attention is grabbed, Can you name a single off-the-shelf Consumer grade router / modem that supports IPv6? I can not. and I can’t see someone at home spending thousands on Cisco gear to have IPv6. My solution to this was to buy a consumer-grade Asus WL-500gp router, and flash it’s firmware with Linux. This now gives me IPv6, along with IP4 and IP6 firewalls that I am personally comfortable with configuring.

Maybe the big problem here with ISP’s supporting IPv6 is that the consumer devices do not yet support such a thing, this means it is completely pointless having the ISP’s support it. IPv6 is moving forwards, and in the last year or 2 there has been some very big movements. unfortunately, these movements are no going fast enough, and until consumer devices support IPv6 this movement will be on a slow trickle. we only need one or two big ISP’s to start supporting IPv6 in the UK for it to take off like a rocket over here, so maybe this is a cry to the manufacturers of the consumer devices to support IPv6 so the ISP’s can also support it.

Get on the IPv6 bandwagon, this is a vote for IPv6 move forward.

Linux 2.6.29 Released!

This week Linus Torvalds has released the new 2.6.29 Linux Kernel. For the most part, this kernel release isn’t hugely exciting, but for me there is a bit of excitement.

Up until now, I’ve had to install Linux on my Eee PC 901, then patch the kernel and re-compile, and even then some things weren’t perfect (namely the FN function keys for the hardware). With the release of 2.6.29, I shouldn’t have to do this anymore, at least, Once the distributions start shipping it because it now contains the hardware drivers for the Eee 901. It also has drivers for other netbooks like the Aspire One (though most things worked on this from 2.6.26 but there was a bug in the Wifi driver).

Another change is the support for the BTRFS, what looks to be quite a nice file system and is said to replace EXT (this might take a few years, as EXT4 has only just been made stable)

Something that came as a surprise to me after compiling and rebooting was the lack of Tux… Tux has been (temporarily) replaces with Tuz, Tuz is a Mascot to encourage support to the Tasmanian Devil Campaign, so maybe Tux will return soon enough.

other than these items there isn’t a great deal that appeals to me, unless I decided to build a system in my garage with 4096 CPU’s, which are now supported, but this is unlikely for a number of reasons, one of which is cost, another is space, and another would be…. no wait, that’s all…

If you’d like to see the list of all the changes in 2.6.29 then head over to http://kernelnewbies.org/Linux_2_6_29


– EDIT –

With the release of this kernel, it does mean that there will be some small down-time of my server hosting my site when I reboot into the kernel. I’ll try and do this during a quiet period but you can never tell when people will be looking…