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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.

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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...

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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...

Thursday, August 14 2008

Launching tracd, System V Init-style

I recently got to install and use Trac, an issue tracking system that is gaining popularity.

Trac is web-based and needs a Python-aware HTTP server to run. Luckily, a small stand-alone server - tracd - is distributed along with Trac. Since I needed the server to be started with the system (we have quite a bunch of power failures at work so reboots are more frequent than they should be), I began searching for an init script to do the job. Since what I found didn't fit my tastes, I decided to code my own script...

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