Recent blog entries for MartBrooks


Things are deceptively quiet, I've just finished up all the stacked up admin tasks from overnight and aside from one mystery user who I need to track down, it's quiet. Too quiet.


After 25+ kernel compiles, I think I've nailed the 2.6 USB problems down to APCI weirdage. I've yet to put my theory into practice, though, as I'm also trying to work out why X also freezes within 15 minutes logging in. I've found a rather need tool for graphing mail throughput for postfix and I've also being playing with LRRD to make pretty graphs for postel.


Rough day. We've had 4 machines with failed RAID sets to sort out, plus a rather important admin box with a bizarre filesystem fault plus another box which freezes almost randomly. All good fun.

I'm starting to wonder how anyone can use FreeBSD in a production environment. Ports is useful for installing but nearly useless for maintaining a server.

I've been chatting with a client to whom we sold a couple of dual Opteron boxes. They're having trouble saturating the servers with enough work. That's a good thing, I think :)


I've been messing with the 2.6 test kernels at home with little success. I use Debian and there seems to be some issues with the packaged version of the hotplug software. I've not really investigated all that deeply yet, though.

11 Aug 2003 (updated 11 Aug 2003 at 19:21 UTC) »

An acquaintance of mine, who is a well respected IP lawyer, was good enough to share his opinion of the SCO case with me. You can read his thoughts here.

Well, that's bizarre. As you can see it's been over a year since I last posted, mainly because I'd completely forgotten about Advogato - sorry :)

Clues is still going strong and we're, fingers crossed, about to take on two more members of staff. Dave has been working quite hard on his GPL'd ACAP server called Infotrope and Steve, is, well Steve.

I'm told that around 90% of companys fail in their first year, so, given the current UK job market in the IT sector, I think we've done quite well.

29 Apr 2002 (updated 29 Apr 2002 at 17:02 UTC) »

Despite my vow to update this regulary, it's now been a whole month since I last posted here. I have recently learned that persuding someone to let you do work for them is one thing, persuading them to pay for it afterwards is another. Still, Clues is soldiering on.

In a little blast-from-the-past, I got an e-mail from a chap who'd bumped into a long abandoned SourceForge project of mine - a GUI mail client written in Kylix called suckmail. Jon's mail client is a lot more complete than suckmail was and it prompted me to download and install the open edition of Kylix 2 and the Indy sockets components. I may waste some time butchering Jon's code.

We now have a kitten, Sina.


After a very busy week last week, this week looks like it will be slow. Starting up a business is hard work, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

We've redesigned the Clues website so that it now looks like, errr, a website rather than a random boilerplate holding page.


I bought a lawnmower today and therefore my garden has had it's first prune of the year. Tommorow is "Buy a Grass Rake" day.

Five was messily sick a day or so back, wooden floors have their advantages.

It's been a few weeks since I last typed here, and for good reasons. Work on making Clues is going, it's fair to say, more slowly than I'd like. It is also fair to say that it is going. We now have a few clients, one of whom we've even received a cheque from.

One more Clue that I can share with you here is that flyering for IT services (i.e. handing bits of paper out at London tube stations) is not an effective way of getting your phone to ring. So for now I'm resorting to the more traditional method of poaching my friends clients :)

This week has been a pretty good one, so far, but I can't wait for a phonecall saying that someone saw the site and....

It's amazing how major changes in your life really make you focus on what's really important. Hence my lack of diary entries here.

Jtrix, the company, is no more. Though the code lives on at SourceForge where it is, it's fair to say, being inactively maintained. :)

I work go into the gories as to why Jtrix, the company, shut down but it has left in a position to do something I've been planning on doing for several years. Start my own business.

In conjunction with my partners, we've formed Clues and I now have 6 week to make it work. Cool huh? :)


I've been having double glazing fitted over the past few days so I've been away from both work and keyboard.

Having double glazing fitted is fairly major surgery so I shouldn't have been surprised at the amount of damage to surrounding area nor the amount of mess caused. Still, the worst of it is patched up, and my decorator will be round this evening to tell me how much it will cost to fix the rest.

Five now has her own personal catflap, so she's nice and happy as she can come and go as she pleases without asking our permission.

My computer has developed a worrying fault: in some games, I get horrid corruption onscreen that makes the games pretty much unplayable. Secondly, I sometimes get a keyboard fault that acts as though the capslock is on and the shift key is held down. I have a funny feeling I have a motherboard fault. This makes me an unhappy bunny.


Despite being away, and with little or no connectivity, we've been having a few fun things happening. Firstly, we found a bug on the site which resulted in a mailstorm - sorry guys. If not fixed already, I'm sure CryoBob is on the case. Secondly,one of our remote offices accidently left a mail relay open. This resulted in a barrage of spam followed by a barrage of complaints. I'll be chasing up the ISP concerned in the next day or so. I don't like spammers.

1 Feb 2002 (updated 1 Feb 2002 at 15:55 UTC) »

I finally managed to install the two new 34gb hard drives on the file server - hooray! My users now have much more space to store their warez and pr0n.

An interesting outcome of this was that there is no command line utility for linux that will allow you to configure the array controller. This is kind of pathetic for two reasons:

1) They're hot pluggable disks! Half the point of HP disks is that you don't have to reboot your server :)

2) The config tool provided with SmartStart is a Windows application.

Compaq actually do provide a tool called ACU-XE for Linux which is unuseable for several reasons.

1) It provides an HTTP server (on port 2301) to do the configuration.

2) It only works if you have the array controller driver as a loadable module. As all my servers boot linux directly from the array controller having a modular driver is impossible.

One word, dearest Compaq: DUH.

I've been swappiong e-mails with a chap called Adam Kropelin who lurks on #kernelnewbies who feels pretty much the same way. There are IOCTLs for reading/writing the nvram in the driver so if compaq provide the docs.....

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