Recent blog entries for apgarcia

i always loved my little libretto ct70. it has a 120 mhz pentium, 32 mb of ram, and a 640x480 24bpp display. don't laugh!

it's a great toy, but i must have suffered three or four hard drive crashes. i think i found a solution. this company makes some cool stuff, among which are compactflash and sd adapters for ide drives, both 2.5" and 3.5". they're fairly cheap. i got a 2.5" one for like $20.

tonight i installed debian 2.2r7 on it. so far so good! this thing is like a swiss army knife with its pcmcia cards: 802.11b, 10mbps ethernet, even a scsi adapter. plus the standard serial and parallel ports (i've actually used plip on this thing in the past). it makes great quickie ssh client or serial console, and it's just an all around fun toy! and i don't take for granted the pentium's mmu, running real, albeit old, linux.

it doesn't take much to make me happy. :-)

5 Oct 2007 (updated 5 Oct 2007 at 22:37 UTC) »

This is really cool: Robert Nordier has made an x86 port of unix v7. (yes, the original runs in simh, but this is still super awesome.)

2 Oct 2007 (updated 2 Oct 2007 at 01:55 UTC) »

i've been looking at some floss network monitoring systems lately. here are some quick notes.

Criteria (not necessarily in this order)

  1. LDAP authentication
  2. Web interface / User friendliness / Operator retraining
  3. Distributed monitoring
  4. Redundancy
  5. Documentation
  6. Community support, mailing lists
  7. Flexibility -- how easy is it to create custom monitors?
  8. LDAP integration? (computer groups, contacts)

Software

  1. OpenNMS
  2. Zabbix
  3. Zenoss
  4. Nagios/GroundWork

1. OpenNMS

OpenNMS aims to be 100% Java, uses Tomcat, GWT, AJAX, XML, PostgreSQL, intends to implement SOA

cons:

  • complex, error-prone installation -- could not get to work on RHEL5; downgraded to RHEL4.
  • not configurable through web interface
  • xml config files are really more complex than they need to be
  • possibly unstable? coworker was able to generate an exception after playing w/ it for 5 minutes
  • custom plugins are relatively difficult to write, and they discourage using any language besides java.
  • documentation is rather poor: not well written, and had to gather info from different parts of web site and wiki

pros:

  • good use of SNMP
  • can use nagios plugins with nrpe monitor

2. Zenoss

Zenoss is written in python, using the zope framework and MySQL

cons:

  • can distribute collection agents, but does not support distributed servers in the same way Zabbix does
  • I am not really familiar with python or zope

pros:

  • very easy to install using rpm. also can check for its own updates online.
  • everything configurable through web interface
  • excellent use of SNMP and WMI; no need to install separate agent on linux or windows
  • can make use of nagios plugins, and custom plugins are easy to write in any language
  • clean, object oriented design
  • ui is pretty!

3. Zabbix

Zabbix has a PHP front end, can use MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, or SQLite

cons:

  • not hard to install, but have to compile it yourself
  • has its own agent that must be compiled for each type of host to be monitored (RHEL4-5, Solaris 8-10, Windows) -- maintenance nightmare

pros:

  • does distributed monitoring
  • most things configurable through web interface
  • nice looking ui

4. GroundWork -- haven't tried yet, but based on nagios, which I have used...

cons:

  • seems somewhat naive, like snmp was an afterthought rather than a central part of the design from the start?
  • vanilla nagios ui is kind of ugly. maybe GroundWork is better.

pros:

  • decent oo design (again referring to system abstractions rather than code)
1 Jan 2002 (updated 5 Jan 2004 at 18:15 UTC) »
20 Nov 2001 (updated 5 Jan 2004 at 18:16 UTC) »
6 Nov 2001 (updated 5 Jan 2004 at 18:16 UTC) »
25 Oct 2001 (updated 5 Jan 2004 at 18:17 UTC) »
14 Sep 2001 (updated 5 Jan 2004 at 18:17 UTC) »
11 Sep 2001 (updated 5 Jan 2004 at 18:17 UTC) »
As the UNIX system has spread, the fraction of its users who are skilled in its application has decreased. Time and again, we have seen experienced users, ourselves included, find only clumsy solutions to aproblem, or write programs to do jobs that existing tools handle easily.
-Kernighan/Pike, 1984

There are many people who use UNIX or Linux who IMHO do not understand UNIX. UNIX is not just an operating system, it is a way of doing things, and the shell plays a key role by providing the glue that makes it work. The UNIX methodology relies heavily on reuse of a set of tools rather than on building monolithic applications. Even perl programmers often miss the point, writing the heart and soul of the application as perl script without making use of the UNIX toolkit.
-David Korn, 2001

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