LUG Community Blogs

Brett Parker (iDunno): Wow, I do believe Fasthosts have outdone themselves...

Planet ALUG - Sat, 04/01/2014 - 11:24

So, got a beep this morning from our work monitoring system. One of our customers domain names is hosted with (which, as far as I can tell, is part of the Fasthosts franchise)... It appears that Fasthosts have managed to entirely break their DNS:

brettp@laptop:~$ host ;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached brettp@laptop:~$ whois | grep -i "Name Server" Name Server: NS1.FASTHOSTS.NET.UK Name Server: NS2.FASTHOSTS.NET.UK Name Server: NS1.FASTHOSTS.NET.UK Name Server: NS2.FASTHOSTS.NET.UK brettp@laptop:~$ whois | grep -A 2 "Name servers:" Name servers: brettp@laptop:~$ host -t ns ;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached brettp@laptop:~$ host -t ns ;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached brettp@laptop:~$

So, that's fasthosts core nameservers not responding, good start! They also provide, so lets have a look at that:

brettp@laptop:~$ whois | grep -A 3 "Name servers:" Name servers: brettp@laptop:~$ host -t ns ;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached brettp@laptop:~$ host -t ns ;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached brettp@laptop:~$ host -t ns ;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached

So, erm, apparently that's all their DNS servers "Not entirely functioning correctly"! That's quite impressive!

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Crontab header

Planet SurreyLUG - Sat, 04/01/2014 - 10:47

Very early on in my Linux life, I came across this suggested header for crontab and I’ve used it ever since. So much so that I am always slightly thrown when I come across a crontab without it! No, you don’t need it, yes the standard commented header works just fine, but, if like me you prefer things neatly lined up, then this might suit you:

MAILTO= # _________________________ 2. Minute - Minutes after the hour (0-59) # | # | ______________________ 2. Hour - 24-hour format (0-23). # | | # | | ___________________ 3. Day - Day of the month (1-31) # | | | # | | | ________________ 4. Month - Month of the year (1-12) # | | | | # | | | | ______________5. Weekday - Day of the week. (0-6, 0 indicates Sunday) # | | | | | #__|_____|_____|_____|____|___Command_____________________________________________________________

And if you recognise this as your’s, then thank you!

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Dick Turpin: The whole Internet is very slow.

Planet WolvesLUG - Fri, 03/01/2014 - 15:42
Customer: "Hi Pete, any chance you can look at our Internet for us? We could do with it being a bit faster!"
Me: "Hang on a moment while I just turn your dial up a couple of notches."

Happy New Year.
Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Jono Bacon: Ubuntu In 2014

Planet WolvesLUG - Thu, 02/01/2014 - 22:56

Happy new year, friends!

2013 was a phenomenal year for Ubuntu. It is difficult to believe that it was just a year ago today that we announced Ubuntu for phones. Since then we have built and released the first version of Ubuntu for phones complete with core apps, delivered Mir in production on the phone, built a vastly simplified and more powerful new app delivery platform complete with full security sand-boxing, created a powerful smart scopes service to bring the power of native search and online content to devices, delivered a new SDK with support for QML, HTML5, and Scopes, built an entirely new, created extensive CI and testing infrastructure to ensure quality as we evolve our platform, shipped two desktop releases, extended the charm store, delivered Juju Gui, spun up multiple clouds with Juju, and much more.

In terms of Ubuntu for devices, I mentally picture 2013 as the year when we put much of the core foundational pieces in place. Everything I just mentioned were all huge but significant pieces of delivering a world-class Free Software convergence platform. Building this platform is not as simple as building a sexy GUI; there is lots of complex foundational work that needs doing, and I am incredibly proud of everyone who participated in getting us to where we are today…it is a true testament of collaborative development involving many communities and contributors from around the world.

So, 2013 was an intense year with lots of work, some tough decisions, and lots of late (and sometimes stressful) nights, but it laid down the core pillars of what our future holds. But what about 2014?

This time next year we will have a single platform code-base for phone, tablet, and desktop that adapts to harness the form-factor and power of each device it runs on. This is not just the aesthetics of convergence, it is real convergence at the code level. This will be complemented by an Ubuntu SDK in which you can write an app once and deliver it to any of these devices, and an eco-system in which you can freely publish or sell apps, content, and more with a powerful set of payment tools.

These pieces will appear one phase at a time throughout 2014. We are focusing on finishing the convergent pieces on phone first, then bringing them to tablet, and then finally bringing our desktop over to the new convergent platform. Every piece of new technology that we built in 2013 will be consumed across all of these form-factors in 2014; every line of code is an investment in our future.

Even more importantly though, 2014 will be the year when we see this new era of Ubuntu convergence shipping to consumers. This will open up Ubuntu to millions of additional users, provide an opportunity for app developers to get in on the ground floor in delivering powerful apps, and build more opportunity for our community than ever before.

I wish I could tell you that 2014 is going to be more relaxing than 2013. It isn’t. It is going to be a roller-coaster. There are going to be some late nights, some stressful times, some shit-storms, and some unnecessary politics, but my goal is to help keep us working together as a community, keep us focused on the bigger picture, keep our discourse constructive, and to keep the fun in Ubuntu.

Let’s do this.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

FreeNX NX Startup Session Failed

Planet SurreyLUG - Thu, 02/01/2014 - 11:52

Occasionally users are unable to connect to our FreeNX server, they report an error “Startup Session Failed”. Clicking on “Detail” shows that it is unable to find the server session file.

Searching for solutions suggested a number of options, including removing the server /tmp/.X1***-lock files, or simply removing FreeNX and installing NoMachine’s NXServer instead.

In the end the solution proved remarkably simple:

On the server run:

# nxserver --list NX> 100 NXSERVER - Version 1.5.0-60 OS (GPL) NX> 127 Sessions list: Display Username Remote IP Session ID ------- --------------- --------------- -------------------------------- 1001 chris 1BC6B4B9C3CF4C2B6BD7137AC7FDE5DA 1000 helen - 87443D16622EC0751551685A93DD023B 1002 michelle DBAC430C8AA8B414A5E2228970E2BBDC NX> 999 Bye

The session with no remote IP is for a session that has not ended properly. Terminate this session and users should be able to log in once again:

# nxserver --terminate helen

Update: This problem was little more complex than I at first thought, all I had really done is allow one more user to login before the issue re-occurred. You also need to check is that there are no old lock files in /tmp/.X11-unix:

# cd /tmp/.X11-unix #ls -al /tmp/.X11-unix# ls -al total 316 drwxrwxrwt 2 root root 4096 2014-01-02 12:48 . drwxrwxrwt 375 root root 315392 2014-01-02 12:48 .. srwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 2013-07-24 17:04 X0 srwxrwxrwx 1 helen helen 0 2014-01-02 10:32 X1000 srwxrwxrwx 1 chris chris 0 2014-01-02 11:42 X1001 srwxrwxrwx 1 michelle michelle 0 2014-01-02 08:52 X1002 srwxrwxrwx   1 terry  terry     0 2013-09-05 15:05 X1003

Notice that there is a .X11-unix file for terry X1003, but no corresponding user shown in nxserver –list above. Remove this spurious file and it should now work.

It would also make sense to ensure that the correct /tmp/.X1***-lock files are present:

# cd /tmp # ls -al | grep -i X.*-lock -rw------- 1 nx nx 0 2014-01-02 10:32 .nX1000-lock -rw------- 1 nx nx 0 2014-01-02 11:42 .nX1001-lock -rw------- 1 nx nx 0 2014-01-02 08:52 .nX1002-lock -r--r--r-- 1 helen helen 11 2014-01-02 10:32 .X1000-lock -r--r--r-- 1 chris chris 11 2014-01-02 11:42 .X1001-lock -r--r--r-- 1 michelle michelle 11 2014-01-02 08:52 .X1002-lock

You should expect to see  the correct number of lock files for your user sessions,  in my case these required no changes, but if there had been spurious files, removing them would seem sensible.

If this has been helpful to you, please do consider rating this post or adding a comment!

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

John Woodard: A year in Prog!

Planet ALUG - Wed, 01/01/2014 - 20:56

It's New Year's Day 2014 and I'm reflecting on the music of past year.Album wise there were several okay...ish releases in the world of Progressive Rock. Steven Wilson's The Raven That Refused To Sing not the absolute masterpiece some have eulogised a solid effort though but it did contain some filler. Motorpsyco entertained with Still Life With Eggplant not as good as their previous album but again a solid effort. Magenta as ever didn't disappoint with The 27 Club, wishing Tina Booth a swift recovery from her ill health.

The Three stand out albums in no particular order for me were Edison's Children's Final Breath Before November which almost made it as album of the year and Big Big Train with English Electric Full Power which combined last years Part One and this years Part Two with some extra goodies to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Also Adrian Jones of Nine Stones Close fame pulled one out of the bag with his side Project Jet Black Sea which was very different and a challenging listen, hard going at first but surprisingly very good. This man is one superb guitarist especially if you like emotion wrung out of the instrument like David Gilmore or Steve Rothery.

The moniker of Album of the Year this year goes to Fish for the incredible Feast of Consequences. A real return to form and his best work since Raingods With Zippos. The packaging of the deluxe edition with a splendid book featuring the wonderful artwork of Mark Wilkinson was superb. A real treat with a very thought provoking suite about the first world war really hammed home the saying "Lest we forget". A fine piece that needs to be heard every November 11th.

Gig wise again Fish at the Junction in Cambridge was great. His voice may not be what it was in 1985 but he is the consummate performer, very at home on the stage. As a raconteur between songs he is as every bit as entertaining as he is singing songs themselves.

The March Marillion Convention in Port Zealand, Holland where they performed their masterpiece Brave was very special as every performance of incredible album is. The Marillion Conventions are always special but Brave made this one even more special than it would normally be.
Gig of the year goes again to Marillion at Aylesbury Friars in November. I had waited thirty years and forty odd shows to see them perform Garden Party segued into Market Square Heroes that glorious night it came to pass, I'm am now one very happy Progger or should that be Proggie? Nevermind Viva Progressive Rock!
Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Andy Smith: Yearly (Linux) photo management quandary

Planet HantsLUG - Wed, 01/01/2014 - 14:19

Here we are again, another year, another dissatisfying look at what options I have for local photo management.

Here’s what I do now:

  • Photos from our cameras and my phone are imported using F-Spot on my desktop computer in the office, to a directory tree that resides over NFS on a fileserver, where they will be backed up.
  • Tagging etc. happens on the desktop computer.
  • For quick viewing of a few images, if I know the date they were taken on, I can find them in the directory structure because it goes like Photos/2014/01/01/blah.jpg. The NFS mount is available on every computer in the house that can do NFS (e.g. laptops).
  • For more involved viewing that will require searching by tag or other metadata, i.e. that has to be done in F-Spot, I have to do it on the desktop computer in the office, because that is the only place that has the F-Spot database. So I either do it there, or I have to run F-Spot over X11 forwarding on another machine (slow and clunky!).

The question is how to improve that experience?

I can’t run F-Spot on multiple computers because it stores its SQLite database locally and even if the database file were synced between hosts or kept on the fileserver it would still need the exact same version of F-Spot on every machine, which is not feasible — my laptop and desktop already run different releases of Ubuntu and I want to continue being able to do that.

It would be nice to be able to import photos from any machine but I can cope with it having to be done from the desktop alone. What isn’t acceptable is only being able to view them from the desktop as well. And when I say view I mean be able to search by tags and metadata, not just navigate a directory tree.

It sounds like a web application is needed, to enforce the single point of truth for tags and metadata. Are there actually any good ones that you can install yourself though? I’ve used Gallery before and was never really satisfied with ease of use or presentation.

Your-Photos-As-A-Service providers like Flickr and even to some extent Google+ and Facebook have quite nice interfaces, but I worry about spending many hours adding tags and metadata, not bothering to back it all up, and then one day the service shuts down or changes in ways I don’t like.

I’m normally quite good about backing things up but the key to backups is to make them easy and automatic. From what I can see these service providers either don’t provide a backup facility or else it’s quite inconvenient, e.g. click a bunch of times, get a zip file of everything. Ain’t nobody got time for that, as a great philosopher once wrote.

So.. yeah.. What do you do about it?

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

davblog - Dave Cross: Jungle Money

Planet GLLUG - Sun, 02/06/2013 - 17:35

There’s been a lot of talk recently about what Nadine Dorries was paid for her appearances on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here and why she hasn’t declared that fee yet.

By following the trail laid down by Unity in this excellent blog post and listening carefully to what Dorries says in this interview with Andrew Neil (I expect that’ll be there for another week or so) it becomes pretty obvious what has happened.

She hasn’t received the money yet.

Of course, you wouldn’t usually expect to wait six months for payment for a media appearance, so what has happened?

Dorries has a service company called Averbrook and all of her media work is now undertaken by this company. The Averbrook invoices media organisations for the work that Dorries does and the media companies pay the fees to Averbrook. The fees then sit in Averbrook’s bank account until needed.

At this point Dorries has received no money and therefore has no requirement to declare any income. In the Andrew Neil interview, she says “I have not personally benefited from going into the jungle”. She then explains that she has a company for her media work and although it isn’t made clear, it’s obvious that this company receives the money from this work.

Dorries goes on to say that when she benefits from that work, she will have to register the income. At some point in the future she will need to use this money and Averbrook will pay it to her. There are various ways for a director to take money out of a company. You might pay it as salary, you might pay it as dividends (if the director owns shares in the company) or, in extreme circumstances, you can close the company down and redistribute its assets. All of these will have varying tax implications and all of them will require Dorries to declare the income to parliament.

But here’s the interesting thing. The income that Dorries will receive from Averbrook will have no link back to its original source. The declaration will simply need to say “£X,000 dividend from Averbrook” or whatever is appropriate. There will be no way to say how much of the money comes from each individual source.

It’s a bit like money laundering. But, of course, this is all completely legal. Working through a service company is a really common way to manage tax affairs. It has tax benefits and (as we can see here) it has privacy benefits.

Of course, there’s a good argument that using a company like this goes against the spirit of the requirement for MPs to declare income. It would be hard to argue against that. But until the law is changed, you are very unlikely to see any MP stop using the system.

So what are the chances of the system changing? Rather slim I’d say. Why? Well because the people who would need to make the change are many of the people who are benefiting from this system.

But on this occasion, I’d have to say that Dorries isn’t the problem. She’s just taking advantage of a well-known system. And people aren’t asking her the right questions about it.

Related Posts:
Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Richard WM Jones: rich

Planet GLLUG - Tue, 28/05/2013 - 13:59

The new curl support added to libguestfs 1.22 lets you open any ISO remotely from a public web site or FTP server:

$ export LIBGUESTFS_BACKEND=direct $ guestfish --ro -i --format=raw \ -a Operating system: Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS "Precise Pangolin" - Release amd64 (20130213) /dev/sda1 mounted on / ><fs> ll / total 2506 dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 2048 Feb 13 22:21 . drwxr-xr-x 23 1000 1000 4096 May 28 13:55 .. dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 2048 Feb 13 22:21 .disk dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 2048 Feb 13 22:21 EFI -r--r--r-- 1 root root 236 Feb 13 22:21 README.diskdefines -r--r--r-- 1 root root 134 Feb 13 22:20 autorun.inf dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 2048 Feb 13 22:21 boot dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 2048 Feb 13 22:21 casper dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 2048 Feb 13 22:21 dists dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 2048 Feb 13 22:21 install dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 18432 Feb 13 22:21 isolinux -r--r--r-- 1 root root 16443 Feb 13 22:21 md5sum.txt dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 2048 Feb 13 22:21 pics dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 2048 Feb 13 22:21 pool dr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 2048 Feb 13 22:21 preseed lr-xr-xr-x 1 root root 1 Feb 13 22:21 ubuntu -> . -r--r--r-- 1 root root 2504624 Feb 8 22:58 wubi.exe

Of course it is slow as hell and not nice on the web host. It makes lots of byte-range requests on the host, downloading a few KB with each request, which is kind of the worst case for webservers to handle.

Note also that Fedora’s curl is broken. I compiled my own from upstream git.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Richard WM Jones: rich

Planet GLLUG - Fri, 24/05/2013 - 14:33

This directory contains experimental up to date libguestfs packages for Ubuntu 12.10. You should be able to install them by adding this line to /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb /

You will need to also:

sudo chmod 0644 /boot/vmlinuz-*

because of this Ubuntu bug.

Let me know if the packages work. Also what other versions of Ubuntu I should be building them for.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Richard WM Jones: rich

Planet GLLUG - Fri, 24/05/2013 - 13:24

It looks like I might be doing a short talk at the CentOS Dojo and Barbecue at Aldershot, UK, Friday 12th July 2013.

It’ll probably be about scripting/programming libvirt and the virt tools, but mainly it’ll be a chance for Q&A about any virtualization topic in RHEL / CentOS.

Also they have a BBQ — with beer! Sadly since I’m driving there I won’t be able to drink any of the beer.

(Thanks Karanbir Singh, Justin Clift)

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

davblog - Dave Cross: The Political Web

Planet GLLUG - Thu, 23/05/2013 - 13:32

I made a thing.

On Sunday I mentioned how OpenTech always makes me feel a bit embarrassed that I’m not doing more useful stuff – particularly in the kinds of areas that OpenTech speakers care about.

Usually, real life takes over before I get a chance to do anything about it and I forget about my embarrassment until the next OpenTech. This year, I managed to harness my embarrassment and actually do something productive.

It’s not like I built anything from scratch. This is is really just me finally shipping something that I’ve been working on (off and on – more off than on) for almost five years. I built the first prototype at a hack day in 2008. I even wrote about it at the time.

The Political Web is a site that is intended to be a one-stop-shop for finding out information about British MPs. Currently each MP has a page which lists a number of standard web pages that contain information about the MP (Wikipedia, The Guardian, TheyWorkForYou – things like that). Of course each MP also has a number of non-standard pages on the internet (an official web site, a blog, perhaps a Twitter account) and adding those is going to be a harder job.

Previously two things have stopped me launching this. One was the fact that I wanted to support those all of those other sources of information. But I’ve decided to go for a “minimum viable product” approach and show you what I’ve already got. The other thing that prevented me talking about it much was that I thought I’d need someone to make it look nice (my web design skills are horrible). But the arrival of Bootstrap means that even a design ignoramus like me can build a site that looks more than half-decent.

So there you go. It’s there for you to play with. And there will (hopefully) be more coming soon. Please let me know if you find it useful.

And thanks to all the giants whose shoulders I’m standing on. The site wouldn’t exist without the TheyWorkForYou API, the Perl Dancer framework and Twitter Bootstrap.

Related Posts:
Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Rev. Simon Rumble: Awesome weekend camping

Planet GLLUG - Tue, 21/05/2013 - 02:30

We had a fantastic 4-day  weekend camping with our kids down in Bundeena. Bit of a risk this late in the season but we got extremely lucky. 26 degrees every day! Our kids were a bit unwell at times, with bad colds and Louis seemed to have a short bout of gastro. But we still had loads of fun.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Rev. Simon Rumble: Early start

Planet GLLUG - Tue, 21/05/2013 - 02:07

Ruby has me out of bed at 0530 this morning so everything moved along earlier than usual. Got to daycare and realised we had 35 minutes to kill so we stopped for smiley babycinos.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Rev. Simon Rumble: Vodafone Foundation cooks for OzHarvest #charityleave

Planet GLLUG - Tue, 21/05/2013 - 02:07

We spent the day cooking for charity. Lots of fun. I helped on chicken cacciatore and another team did amazing apple calzones. Good stuff and quite fun.

My wimpy office hands scored some nice blisters cutting up ten chickens.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Rev. Simon Rumble: Home alone Dad, forced to fend for himself

Planet GLLUG - Tue, 21/05/2013 - 02:07

Holly's out to see The Hobbit so I'm home along with the kids. Improvised Ploughmans of:

  • Home made bread I baked earlier
  • Leftover Xmas ham (almost finished)
  • Selection of cheeses we didn't eat over Xmas
  • Atomic Pale Ale
  • Tomato, walnut and pomegranate molasses salad (home grown tomatoes, recipe from Casa Moro)
No need to send rescuers. Though a link to the stream for tonight's game would help.
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