Firing Up the Beast

I fired up my quad-core, AMD64 server today. I want to do some work with virtual machines and it has the hardware. It was running Debian Lenny so I apt-get dist-upgraded it after getting the new Debian archive keyring and making non-free binary blobs available. It took about 40 minutes and mostly worked smoothly. I had some trouble with MySQL+PHP scripts. For some reason the services did not start properly and a couple of scripts were using obsolete PHP syntax. I manually installed what was needed and it was pretty smooth. I now have a dozen local databases running and PHP scripts for them. No data was lost and everything works now except Swish-e with php. I have to re-install the swishe.php module, I think.

That’s awesome service for FLOSS. WIth that other OS going from XP to “7” is not possible except by re-installing everything. This system has dual NICs, RAID and huge amounts of data.

Now that it is tuned up, I will put it in our server room so I don’t have to listen to 5 fans.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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20 Responses to Firing Up the Beast

  1. oldman says:

    “So, the guy who owns the data cannot sell it in the format in which he uses it. QED. If someone has to convert the data to use it he is locked in.”

    For most people the fact that they can move their data from one a system to another means to them that they are not locked in. The above notion is your personal opinion, nothing more.

  2. So, the guy who owns the data cannot sell it in the format in which he uses it. QED. If someone has to convert the data to use it he is locked in.

  3. oldman says:

    “Well, I don’t use any currently shipping stuff from M$, so I cannot look, but, in the past folks had stuff that used M$’s proprietary file formats, sometimes with encryption that prevented use on any system but M$’s. ”

    IN other words, the vendor of the software required the vendir that they used for content creation tools their tools oft to help them protect their intellectual property from theft, and Microsoft complied.

    And this is a problem because…

    “Whether or not M$’s stuff can export in a useful format is irrelevant to those who do not have or want M$’s stuff.”

    I will take this to mean that you dont really have a true example. Not unexpected.

    “So, if someone sold you .docx data, you would need to install M$’s stuff to deal with it with certainty and the least effort at fixes.”

    But no one will ever sell you data in a format that you cant use Pog. As the seller, they have the responsibility to sell you what you require, or you won’t buy it.

  4. oldman wrote:“Can you actually provide me with an example of a currently shipping piece of software from microsoft where your data is locked in?”

    Well, I don’t use any currently shipping stuff from M$, so I cannot look, but, in the past folks had stuff that used M$’s proprietary file formats, sometimes with encryption that prevented use on any system but M$’s. M$ has collaborated with content-creators to do that, for instance DVDs. You buy the DVD but you have to keep using M$’s system to play them without paying an additional licensing fee.

    .docx is a current example. M$ pushed through an ISO standard but then did not follow it so no one can actually interpret .docx perfectly except M$. The ISO standard included at one time a requirement to do something “the way Lose ’05” did it, so no one can handle the files perfectly and no one can legally install Lose ’95 these days. So, if someone sold you .docx data, you would need to install M$’s stuff to deal with it with certainty and the least effort at fixes. Whether or not M$’s stuff can export in a useful format is irrelevant to those who do not have or want M$’s stuff. We have seen where M$’s stuff become unavailable through hardware failure combined with restrictions in the EULA.

  5. oldman says:

    BTW Pog:

    Re IBM system 3×0 emulation, you may be interested in this article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules_%28emulator%29

  6. oldman says:

    “Seems like a lot of work to preserve your data. Suppose you sold the data to some other party. It’s your data. You should be able to do that, but the other party may not have a licence for those versions of software…”

    SHould I wish to do so I can still sell my data to whomever I please. There is NOTHING in any Microsoft product that has ever prevented me from extracting and exporting my data in a salable format.

    “It’s just not right that M$ locks people in using their own data.”

    Can you actually provide me with an example of a currently shipping piece of software from microsoft where your data is locked in?

    ” Another things that could go wrong: x86 becoming obsolete (Are you going to emulate x86 to keep your stuff going, adding to the labour?).”

    Why not!, In fact IBM will sell me a package to do so in order to get me to invest in their power architecture:

    http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/power/software/virtualization/editions/lx86/index.html

    However, we both know that the x86 instruction set is going nowhere, just like the now nearly 50 year old IBM system 360 instruction set is still supported on their current system Z mainframes and even on x86 systems – In fact I developed a system 360/zOS utility to drive an IBM 3505/25 Print Punch unit on an x86 system using just such an emulator!!

  7. Seems like a lot of work to preserve your data. Suppose you sold the data to some other party. It’s your data. You should be able to do that, but the other party may not have a licence for those versions of software… It’s just not right that M$ locks people in using their own data. Another things that could go wrong: x86 becoming obsolete (Are you going to emulate x86 to keep your stuff going, adding to the labour?).

  8. oldman says:

    “It sure is nice being able open up archived documents from years ago with no fuss and no problem.”

    The only problem with this is that it is a Red Herring. I can open files from 1997 using office 2010 (not to mention WordPerfect 5-6, Works versions 6 through 9 and aa pile of other formats) and if I go to my archive copy of Office 2000 running on an XP VM I can get to those few documents that still care about that I havent already converted from 25 years ago with Word 5.0. The same is true for all of the packages that I use. The data is exportable in some form.

    This of course presumes that one should actually feel the need to move to a new package, or that one find a package that is actually worth moving to.

    But please do tell me how my life will be easier if I move from a package with built in features for processing information to one that I have to supplement with scripting and programming to use?

    Killer feature? Hardly.

  9. oe says:

    Well stated one of the killer features that comes to you later with OO is the stability of the ODF format. It sure is nice being able open up archived documents from years ago with no fuss and no problem.

  10. Alex says:

    It would seem that the monoculture that arises out of a so called monopoly is very efficient – a standardized set of API’s and resources available make for very consistent development environment in which to create new applications.

    That is true, but that is not all that the Microsoft monopoly produces.

    Take Microsoft Word with its deliberate set of incompatibilities, it is very efficient at one thing: lock-in.

    And lock-in generates all kinds of inneficiencies, because you have an entity inside your IT dictating you all kinds on inefficient things (for you), that are very efficient and profitable to the monopolist.

  11. oldman says:

    “Most people don’t care about efficient IT.”

    I would suggest that people care a great deal about efficient Information Technology. However, I do believe that you would find that their definition of efficient, however, is very different from yours.

    The average desktop computer user doesn’t “do” IT. Their local computers perform tasks – from surfing the web and reading email to performing sophisticated data transformations. Since it is the application(s) that drive their acquisition of Information technology, the IT hardware requirements will be sized to the application. If an application acquires a new feature which its user requires that also happens to demand new hardware resource, then the application user has one of two options, make due without or acquire the new resource.

    “Monopolies are not efficient for consumers of IT.”

    It would seem that the monoculture that arises out of a so called monopoly is very efficient – a standardized set of API’s and resources available make for very consistent development environment in which to create new applications. Single vendor environments make support easier – what is often referred to in IT circles as “one throat to choke”

  12. At least I have a position. Most people don’t care about efficient IT. Monopolies are not efficient for consumers of IT.

  13. oldman says:

    “Yep. M$ has a double standard too, US and THEM.”

    Microsofts standards are irrelevant to the discussion at hand. It is you who are exhibiting the double standard. This having been said: it’s your blog, its your opinion, but you have to understand that this sort of thing can only serves to undermine your credibility and weaken any message you might wish to convey.

  14. Yep. M$ has a double standard too, US and THEM.

  15. oldman says:

    “37000 out of many millions of installations is pretty good”

    And yet you took microsoft to task for essentiallt the same thing.

    Double standard, eh Pog?

  16. Nope. The Beast is in my basement. This site is on a hosted server out in the wild somewhere.

  17. 37000 out of many millions of installations is pretty good, unless you are one of the unlucky. I did a lot od dist-upgrades to squeeze earlier last year while it was in “testing”. That was hairy at times. Think black screens and so on.

  18. Mike Hunt says:

    Wow, you are one lucky man Pog, there are several tens of thousands that tried the same thing and broke their brittle Linux systems:

    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=6pj&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&sa=X&ei=AumDTbvxHJK6sAOj86j1AQ&ved=0CBcQBSgA&q=apt-get+dist-upgrade+broke&spell=1

    Buy a lottery ticket man, no one else seems to have made it work based on the search results.

  19. Ray says:

    Yay! This site’s officially faster now 😀

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