Thanks to a generous donation by Bytemark Hosting, Debian started deploying machines for its core infrastructure services in a new data center in York, UK.
This hardware and hosting donation will allow the Debian Systems Administration (DSA) team to distribute Debian's core services across a greater number of geographically diverse locations, and improve, in particular, the fault-tolerance and availability of end-user facing services. Additionally, the storage component of this donation will dramatically reduce the storage challenges that Debian currently faces.
and several HP Modular Storage Arrays:
with 108 drive bays in total, mostly 500GB SATA drives, some 2TB, some 600GB 15kRPM SAS, providing a total of 57 TB.
There is a line of pubs and restaurants along the Quay (Henry’s, Browns, La Tasca), most of which are better off skipped. One exception is Dockmaster’s House, around the back, which is a pretty good Indian restaurant.
The Marriot is just a short walk (across a bouncy bridge) to the heart of Canary Wharf (or one DLR stop if you want, but really the bridge is nicer). Canary Wharf offers more choice.
Note that if you need to do some gift shopping, there is also a mall running underneath Canary Wharf with a good selection of shops.
Note also that compared to the US, all of these restaurants will seem ridiculously expensive. Some places I’ve been to:
For the full list, see the Canary Wharf website (which may be a bit out-of-date; the Battery Club has gone, for example).
Some other local delicacies:
Feel free to ask if you have any questions or specific requirements.
Sometime this spring (when it arrives) I will buy a new desktop system. It will probably have two block devices: a traditional SATA large capacity hard drive and a much smaller and faster flash drive.
The theory says that cheap flash drives are much faster and will even probably outlive mechanical spinning disks. Flash systems do slowly go bad so use wear-levelling software in the controller to maximise life. The other problem with flash drives is that they are relatively small, so a larger drive either in the box or on the network is required given how much space life takes up...
I've no plan to join the two drives together with LVM, it seems pointless, instead they will be kept separate and one mounted onto the other. At the moment most of my systems use ext3 except one box which uses ext3 and XFS.
If I install a new box from the Wheezy ISO I'm guessing I'll get ext4 as default. I gather this is the logical upgrade from ext3 until something fancy is really ready and it is not an all singing-dancing next generation filesystem. Does anyone know how it compares with XFS on large disks or flash disks?
I'll probably use ext4 on the flash disk (root & boot file systems) and XFS on the spinning disk (/srv) as it's where I'll dump my media files which aren't small and XFS is supposed to be good for that, unless it's not worth the effort.
Nice explainer on the oddities of ARM.
I've moved (only a couple of blocks from where I was before), and as the new place has Webpass I've reluctantly given up my Sonic.net connection, along with its static IPv4 address and ISP IPv6 tunnel. Hard to resist a 200Mb/s ethernet connection for the same price I was paying for 18Mb/s ADSL2 though.
However that leaves my DGN3500 router somewhat inappropriate for providing my net connection. Freed from the need for an ADSL/cable router I decided it was time to build an all in one house server (I'm a believer in as few always on boxes as possible). I already had a nettop acting as a media box, but wanted to build something that would handle:
Probably in that order if it turns out I'm asking too much. The intention is the box is the only one that always needs to be on, so I wanted it to be low power consumption. I also wanted the option of hooking it up to the TV if it turned out to have enough grunt, so the case needed to be something suitable for the living room.
I like Intel's approach to graphics drivers, in particular the existence of Free video acceleration support, so I went with an Intel Core i3-3220T as the processor. It's a 35W Ivybridge processor with HD 2500 graphics, plus I got it for a decent price.
For the case I chose a CFI A2059. There's a local supplier I was able to pick it up from, it has a couple of large fans which helps keeps the noise down while keeping things cool and as I was aiming for backup / file sharing being more important than a media box the 2 hot swap bays tipped the balance away from an AV style case.
The small case limits the motherboard options. I wanted twin GigE ports so the external was entirely separate from the internal (my switch does VLANs so I could have made do with a single port, but with a 200Mb/s connection I didn't really want to share the port). The Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI seemed to fit the bill, with the added advantage of a built in WiFi card (an Intel 2230 in a mini PCI-E slot) which leaves the PCI-E slot free for either a TV tuner or a second WiFi card to cover 5GHz.
I maxed out the board with 2 8G G.SKILL DDR3-1600 DIMMs. I normally go Crucial because I've found them reliable, but these were slightly cheaper and available from the same place as the motherboard.
Finally I added a Seagate ST4000DM000 for storage. It actually came from a Backup Plus that Costco were selling for about $20 less than the bare drive sells for. The plan is to add at least another 1T drive to RAID1 the most important bits (or possibly a 2T - it depends which of my existing drives I can tidy stuff off most easily).
Of course it's running Debian and I took the opportunity to try out the RC1 Wheezy image. For extra giggles I did an EFI install; this all worked fine except I didn't end up with grub-efi installed at the end, instead I had grub-pc. I booted with legacy BIOS enabled and followed Tanguy's switch to UEFI boot instructions.
Further notes on software setup to follow...
Eat, Drink and talk LinuxEvent Date and Time: Wed, 03/04/2013 - 19:30 - 23:00
I hope everyone is enjoying the long bank holiday weekend and, if you celebrate it, Easter. It’s strange to be celebrating the spring when there’s so much snow about, but there’s only one thing to do in these circumstances!Pin It
Arbitrary tweets made by TheGingerDog (i.e. David Goodwin) up to 01 April 2013
I have no objection if you want to get up an hour earlier. I don’t even object if you think it makes the daylight longer / gives you more sunlight / or whatever silly reasoning you have. Just don’t make me do it too, ‘m kay?
The video of Richard Harman’s talk is now online at YouTube. Interesting use of virtualization and tools to analyze malware (in Windows VMs).
This weekend I have mostly been reading Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time .
In modern times we divide the earth up into rings of lines, latitude and longitude, as wikipedia will explain.
Finding your latitude is easy, finding your longitude is a difficult process, and it was vitaly important when people started to sail large distances, the book contained lots of stories of sailors being suddenly suprised by the appearance of land - because they'd misjudged their position.
Having four ships, containing garlic, pepper, and other goods of value exceeding the total wealth of the UK, sink all at once was a major blow. Not to mention the large number of sailors who lost their lives.
There were several solutions proposed, involving steady hands and telescopes, etc, but the book mostly discusses John Harrison and his use of watches/clocks.
John Harrison was featured in Only Fools & Horses, as the designer of the watch that made Delboy & Rodney millionaires.
The idea of using a clock is that you take one with you, set to the time of your departure location. Using that clock you can compare the time to the local-time, by viewing the sun, etc. Calculating the difference between the two times allows you to see how far away, in degrees, from your port, and thus how far you've traveled.
Until harrison came along clocks weren't accurate enough to keep time. His clocks would lose a second a month, until then clocks might lose 15 minutes a day. (With more variations depending on temperture, location, and pressure. Clearly things like pendulum clocks weren't suitable for rocking ships either.)
All in all this book was a great read, there were mentions of Galilao, Newton, and similar folk who we've all heard of. There was angst, drama, deceit, and some stunning craftmanship.
Harrison was a woodworker, and he made his clocks out of wood (+brass where necessary). Choosing fast/slow-grown wood depending on purpose, and using wood that secreted oils naturally allowed him to avoid lubrication - which improved accuracy, as lubricants tend to thin/thicken when temperature/pressure change.
A lovely read, thank you very much.
In other news I received several patches for my templer static-site generator, and this has resulted in much improvement. I've also started using Test::Exception now, and slowly updating all my perl code to use this.
As some of you may know the dash team has been working to get the new smart scopes functionality in the dash ready for 13.04; this functionality delivers a far more comprehensive dash experience, performing searches over 50 or more different data sources. This feature makes the dash dramatically more useful by searching a far wider range of data sources and returning more relevant results.
The team has been working in a PPA to get the feature ready, and as we are past feature freeze, had filed a Feature Freeze Exception (FFe) to get this into 13.04. After an extensive amount of work to get the feature ready, unfortunately the dash team doesn’t consider it mature enough for 13.04 — it is nearly there, but doesn’t meet the quality needs for Ubuntu. As such the team has decided not to pursue landing in in 13.04 and to instead move it to the Ubuntu 13.10 cycle where it will be developed as soon as the archive opens. As I mentioned earlier, this feature has been developed in a PPA and has not landed in 13.04 yet, so there are no actual changes to the archive.
Some of you may have some questions about this so we have prepared a short FAQ below. I have also notified our governance boards to ensure they are aware of the change. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!
The FFE (1154229) got a sabdfl override and is now being rejected, how come?
A sabdfl override always has high requirements regarding code quality and User Experience. After looking at the current status of the smart scopes project we decided that the User Experience simply needs more work and it does not meet the quality requirements for Ubuntu. We would prefer to delay the feature until the next release cycle to ensure that it is rock solid.
Why was this feature being pushed at the last minute?
We believe the feature does provide additional benefit to Ubuntu Users by improving the search experience in the Dash, which is Unity’s weak spot. Landing the feature in 13.04 would have given us 1 additional cycle on the way to 14.04 to train and improve the suggestions provided by the server and further refine the overall Dash experience.
When, if at all, will the feature make its way into Ubuntu?
We are planning to provide the feature in a PPA for Ubuntu Raring which will be always rebased on Unity shipped on Raring. It will land it as soon as we are confident enough on the feature quality in Ubuntu S.
What about the in-dash purchases feature? Will that be landing?
There were some final outstanding issues with in-dash purchases and we are striving to have a conclusion to this ready for early next week (week beginning 1st April).
What about the privacy enhancements that were part of the smart scopes project?
It is unfortunately not possible to get the privacy enhancements from the smart scopes projects without the larger project itself. Smart Scopes would have allowed to disable individual scopes and limit network access for searches at all. In Ubuntu 13.04 you will still be able to disable all server communications through the settings apps. You can also remove the scopes and lenses you are not interested in using them by directly uninstalling the corresponding packages.
A few weeks ago I bought a pair of Devolo 500AV Ethernet over mains units to replace/extend a pair of 200AV units I already had. Someone asked if could use iperf to see how much faster they were.
To baseline what I had I ran the test from my desktop to my server over a 1 Gig switch and the most I could get was a feeble 333 GBit/s. I then tried from my laptop to the server on the same switch and that got a much better 740 GBit/s. The Marvell Yukon card on my desktop is a PCI device and the JMC250 in the laptop is a PCI-e so that may partially explain the differences.
Trying my laptop to the server via a 200AV/500AV/Gig-E switch gave a throughput of 56 GBit/s - about what you would expect. I then tried the laptop through a combination of 500AV/500AV/Gig-E but that wouldn't work as the JMC250 refuses to detect the 500AV. I then tried the laptop with different switches, it refuses to talk to my second Gig-E switch or my old Ethernet hub.
After some Goggling it turns out that the JMC NIC is a bit fussy and often fails to auto-negotiate with some "green" Gig switches, such as in the 500AV or my newest GBit switch, but is happy with older switches and plain Fast Ethernet. If you manually set the speed with ethtool then it's okay. I downloaded the latest driver from JMC and that is a bit better but while it will connect to my 500AV and my newer Gig-E switch automatically, it won't negotiate the correct GBit speed, falling to the older 100 MBit setting.
Footnote: The JMC250 is a 1 Gig Ethernet NIC from JMicron Technology Corporation, not something from the Jupiter Mining Corporation...