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Tuesday, June 2 2009

Zenoss as a replacement for Nagios

At work, i'm responsible of maintaining something like 60 desktop computers up and running. To keep track of their state, I use Nagios. It's not a bad tool, but its interface is ugly and quite unintuitive, and it lacks some features.

Last month, a new version of Zenoss was released. Zenoss is a full monitoring suite based on SNMP. It is rumored to scale well, track the hosts' states with more accuracy and be visually more appealing. It looked like a nice alternative, so I tried to set it up to replace Nagios.

Continue reading...

Sunday, March 29 2009

Setting up a Jabber server for office use

When you're working, instant messaging can both be a bliss and a nightmare. Your employer (and maybe even you) might not like to see you getting distracted by your friends when you are supposed to do actual work. On the other hand, it is often useful to be able to contact a colleague to send him some text without resorting to emails.

The solution would be to set up a IM server at the office. Jabber looks like a viable solution. It is an open standard, has a lot of clients for various platforms, supports offline messaging, file transfers (actual support depends on the client), avatars, connection encryption (client to server and end-to-end depending on the client)...

A Jabber server can be deployed on any network without the need for an Internet connection so it's perfect for a private office network where sensitive data might be transferred.

Here's how to install one on a Debian box...

Continue reading...

Monday, February 16 2009

Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 released

It took a while, but Debian Lenny has been released on valentine's day (go figure).

If you're using the stable branch, this means a lot of updated software is available, like Iceweasel/Firefox 3.0 (instead of 2.0), Gimp 2.4 (instead of 2.2) or the OpenJDK. If you're using the testing branch (now named Squeeze), you'll soon have access to VLC 0.9 and Pidgin 2.5 (with support for "new" MSNP features), both of which are currently in experimental.

Monday, September 8 2008

cron gotcha

While messing around with cron (doing backups and maintaining nightlies), I encountered a weird problem. Some of my scripts would run okay, while others wouldn't even be started. The permissions were okay, and the scripts were running fine by hand: it looked as if they were ignored.

Is that a bug ? Not at all ! In fact, it's "perfectly" well documented in the man page for run-parts, the tool used to run scripts from a directory (e.g. /etc/cron.weekly) :

If the --lsbsysinit option is not given then the names must consist entirely of upper and lower case letters, digits, underscores, and hyphens.

In other words, if your script has an extension (.pl, .sh, ...), it will be silently ignored. How intuitive...

Saturday, August 16 2008

Debian's 15th anniversary

Today is Debian's 15th anniversary. If you need an excuse to party with geeks, it might be the one. If you don't plan to party with geeks, I suggest you find something else.

Anyway, happy birthday to one of the oldest distributions around.