Home Linux Community Community Blogs

Community Blogs

A day in the Life of an IT guy.

First I would like to say that I am not a fan of just about any Microsoft product and I loath the iPhone. That being said it will be a little easier for you to understand my frustration with the way the day plays out.

Here is the basic gist of the call I received. "Mr. Important at the Big Company got a new iPhone and he knows from the bills he pays that he also has an Exchange server and he read somewhere that they can sync, so he wants us to make them sync his calendar and contacts without him plugging in his phone." Never mind the fact that they have a Cisco PIX between their Exchange server and the Internet.

Never mind the fact that their Exchange server is five years old and the only reason they use it is to share calendars. We will just schedule it as a four hour job and send me over to "make it happen". All kinds of red flags were going off in my head, but I googled it before I left to make sure it was possible and sure enough there was more than one tutorial on how to set it up.

So here I arrive at the client and I sit down and explain to the only computer savvy person what I plan to do and make sure I have a firm grip on what the main goal is. Pretty simple. Make the bosses iPhone sync his calendar and contacts without him having to come in and plug it in. First I look into Apple's MobileMe solution. It looks like it would do what I want. They don't tell you until after you install it and try to use it that it doesn't work with Exchange. I guess they figure if you can afford an Exchange server that you must have an IT person and they will know how to set it up. That IT person being me. Scratch that Idea. Next I look at using push mail like what we use with my work phone. About all I know is that it works when it wants to work and my boss had a bitch of a time setting it up and not having certificate security warning on either the phones or the 07' Outlook clients.

So I ssh into the PIX and open up https and http to the exchange server and try hitting the outlook web access from the outside and it works!! Hell Jeah! About this time I'm thinking that this might not take all day and I might be about to whup a four hour job in two! It worked fine with just http and I read online that your could tell the iPhone not to use SSL so I thought I might be in luck. So I went and got The Big Man's iPhone and said let me try something for a minute. I got his phone hooked it up Via USB and did one last sync in case I screw things up. Then I went through the steps to get calendar and contact with an exchange account and it went through. Then there was that part where it asks if I'm sure because It will over write all contacts and calendar entries. I thought, "well shit that's the whole point right?" I accepted and it looked like it was starting to sync....

Then his phone rang. It was a random number he didn't recognize. He want ahead and answered. It WAS somebody he knew! He said where are you calling from? His buddy was like "my cell?!?!" Aha! All his contacts were gone. He handed his iPhone back to me with wide eyes and said "um what happened to all my contacts?" I said "uh oh don't worry they are all on the server, I was syncing. Ah hem, I'll fix it."

I blew it off mentally and told myself that surely it must be syncing over the air.... slowly. But No. After waiting 20 mins and nothing showing up I began to do some research. And then some more research. Finally I read a post that says your Exchange server must be at least service pack 2. I goto the server and look and sure enough it is only service pack 1. Great!! This I can fix! I go and download service pack 2 and while I'm waiting I turn that crap off on the guys iPhone and re-sync with his USB and get his contact and calendar back to at least the way it was before I started. The service pack is done downloading so I goto the server and try to install it. It Fails. Nice. Love you Microsoft!

I did some research and checked some random box in some obscure tab of some settings menu and try again. This time it works! I restart all the exchange services and just as I am about to start feeling happy somebody sticks their head in the door and says "hey I just got kicked out of my email, are you messing with the server?" I said "Yeah I'm doing some maintenance it should be back up in a bit". I restart all the services again and head over to make sure they can get in. They can't. I try a bunch of stuff with no luck. Then Another person comes in and says they can't get into their email. Hmmm I begin to wonder weather this isn't a server problem related to the Service Pack install. Sure enough it is and now nobody can get into their email in the entire building!

Crap! At this point I have broken more stuff than I have fixed and its already 2:30pm. I got here at 9am. I feel special. After an hour of research and trying different things I finally give up and tell everybody that I have to reboot the server and they need to get out of all their special software and things will be down for a few minutes. I shut the server down for a reboot and cross my fingers. The reboot takes no less that 15 minutes. This is an old server. People are getting impatient. People are standing over my shoulder. Joking even when they are pissed because surely I am a smart guy who has come to fix problems and not create them right?

Finally the server comes back up. People can miraculously get back in their email. People are happy. Life is good for a time. Then I talk to the guy in charge of IT money and we realize that even after hours of hard work and plenty of ups and downs that I still didn't accomplish what I came to accomplish. Luckily he has had computer problems in the past and understands that even though we didn't accomplish our goal that we did get service pack 2 installed and get a firmer grip on what needs to be done. I need an FQDN and a SSL cert. Then I can come back and give it another try.

Spent 7 hours on a 4 hour job and couldn't bill a damn thing. Not only that but try to explain it to anybody who isn't IT and they wouldn't even begin to understand. I love my job!


Whats NetBeans 6.7 got for Groovy and Grails?

Well I have to admit that ive been looking forward to the release of NetBeans 6.7. In the last release of Netbeans (6.5) it really did feel like Groovy and Grails support was a bit of an afterthought and somewhat rushed into the release, so ive had my fingers crossed that the 6.7 release would bring solid support for this new dynamic language and great web framework. My hope was that this would be the first decent free IDE for Grails (IntelliJ Grails support looks solid).

(This is a quick look at NetBeans 6.7 RC1)

First thoughts

  • The first thing that I noticed was how fast this new version of Netbeans (NB) starts up, fantastic! In general this release feels a lot more responsive which is a big plus because sluggish performance has always been a weakness of NB.

  • NB integration with standard Grails scripts has greatly improved, you can now clean, create a war file and open the Grails shell as well as select a Grails command from a comprehensive list. This means that you no longer have to leave NB to perform some commands from the command line (e.g. the clean command wasnt supplied in NB 6.5).

  • Unfortunately there seems to still be no support for auto code completion when editing GSP pages. This is a real problem for me because one of the things I enjoy the most about Grails is its comprehensive tag library which grows as you install plugins. I use "g" tags all time, so it is a hassle for me to have to break out of the IDE to go and look at the documentation to find a specific tags attributes.

  • It still looks like there is no obvious way to debug your application, you can insert breakpoints but I could not find anyway of running the application in debug mode.

  • Groovy refactoring still looks as though its effectively disabled, so large complicated find and replaces will have to do for a little longer I guess.

  • Groovy code completion looks like its improved a lot. My domain objects now show up with code completion tips for dynamic GORM query methods and weakly typed collections also show up with useful code completion tips. I think this Groovy code completion enhancement has been the main focus of this release.

So to be honest im left feeling a little disappointed overall with this releases Groovy and Grails support. It looks like we will have to wait a little longer for our solid free Grails IDE.

Learn more about whats in NetBeans 6.7 here

antiX M8.2 Test 2 now available and looking better than ever!

antiX M8.2 Test 2 now available and looking better than ever!

In my previous blog, I reported that antiX M8.2 Test 1 is now available and looking great. I then went on to explain the many reasons why I enjoy using, testing, and promoting antiX so much. The Test 2 release is now available; anticapitalista has already, along with some community members, identified a few more things that will be changed, but Test 2 is looking better than ever. In fact, if someone wants to install Test 2, then simply use it as their lean, fast system, I see nothing in the capabilities or in what is "lacking" that would prevent someone from doing just that.

Yesterday I took antiX M8.2 Test 2 and installed it on my Lenovo Y410 laptop in place of antiX M8.0, using the option to save my /home partition. You generally do not rewrite the disk partition when you this technique; instead the installation program removes the old packages and installs the new packages. It works extremely well and effectively. I claim that for many people this Test 2 version would work fine, even as an every day system. I have it installed and I have no hesitation in using it.


The possibilities of Servlet 3.0 and JavaEE 6

Explore the different implementations of developing with Comet. See how popular Java Web servers like Jetty and Tomcat have enabled Comet applications, and learn how to program with each server. And finally, learn about the standardization proposals for Comet in Java that are part of the upcoming Servlet 3.0 and JavaEE 6 specifications.

Google Chrome

I still do not understand why Google does not provide Linux installers for this browser. I am using it under  Win XP (in a VM of course) and pretty happy with the performance. I am not a programmer but if they can make Picasa to run under Linux (with WINE), they could do the same for Chrome. Then they could release the Linux-native installation files.

I really want to use Chrome under Linux and try the Wave but I do not want to boot the virtual machine and switch back and forth.

Anyway, I hope it will worth the wait.


Media Center Issues...

I do not understand why this common commercial operating system is trying to trick the users as if the only Media Center is available for Vista and 7. There are a lot of Media Center programs for Linux, from Live CDs to full-fledged home automation systems. I spent a weekend going through MythTV, XBMC, eAROS and Linux MCE in detail and I absolutely saw nothing less than the Windows' Media Center. In no way, XBMC or MythTV falls short; if you want to discuss about Linux MCE,  Microsoft needs some more years to do the half of it.

So, in this perspective I wonder if the distributions and their communities are falling short of advertising the media center capabilities? Just think about a new convert from Windows to -say openSUSE: how will he know that a media center program (or programs) is available for his computer.

Why did I point to this issue: I am putting my hands on any device I see here in my country and always media center capabilities are in the top displayed features. Think about HP, Sony, Acer and all the big guys showing how elegant their media centers are. In fact they are not showing the Windows' native media center but rather their own. I know it is not more than eye-candy but in terms of this "eye candy" that the end users value, Windows has a long way to go, considering at least the Compiz Fusion.

I wonder if the developers or the foundations/companies can also put a media center in their default installations and advertise this with the screenshots and other media? I think this will close another gap (which is unexistent by the way) which users ask "can I do everything in Linux that I can do in Windows?"


Mailspect Joins Forces with Gen8 Solutions to Extend Archive Import


Gen8 Solutions' Emailchemy and Harvester technologies vastly extend and improve the email import capabilities of MPP Archive's MPP Green architecture.


New Rochelle, NY - June 1, 2009- Mailspect Inc. is pleased to announce a new partnership with Gen8 Solutions, the creator of the Emailchemy and Harvester email import and migration technologies to better support legacy email formats such as PST files.  With this partnership, Mailspect is extending the benefits of the MPP Green architecture to unify email stores of virtually all varieties into web accessible, searchable and optimized archives   MPP Green can now unify email formats like Microsoft's PST, and many other proprietary and outdated formats.


MPP Archive offers a comprehensive email archive solution that is ideally suited for environments that have strict archive and discovery requirements but want an open and cost-effective Linux based solution.   MPP archives, indexes and optimizes real-time email streams from MS Exchange and popular MS Exchange replacements like Zimbra, Zarafa, Scalix, Open-Xchange and others.    With the recently announced MPP Green architecture, MPP Archive intelligently imports proprietary and standards-based mail stores such as IMAP and GMAIL and provides efficient single instance storage and cross-mailbox searching.  It de-dupes emails, strips duplicative attachments, scans based on content inspection rules as well as cleanses and purges long-dated emails.  MPP Green converts fragmented mail stores to indexed, full-text searchable, centralized archives.  As such, MPP Archive can serve as the basis for email lifecycle management.


Using the Harvester option, MPP Green can automatically find and import private PST folders stored on end-user desktop and laptop disk drives.   These capacities will enable mail administrators to centralize disparate mail stores into a single, searchable email archive.  Aggregating email stores improves compliance with corporate and government email retention and retrieval rules and regulations.


In addition, the new MPP Green extensions can  import email from  all of the following  email servers: AOL for Windows ("PFC" files), Claris Emailer for Macintosh, CompuServe Classic for Macintosh (aka "MacCIM"), CompuServe 2000 for Windows, Entourage (Database, .RGE Archives and cache files), Eudora, Mac OS X Mail, Mozilla, Mulberry, Musashi, Neoplanet, Netscape, Opera, Outlook for Windows (.PST and .OST files), Outlook Express for Macintosh, Outlook Express for Windows, Outlook Express for UNIX/Solaris, PowerTalk/AOCE for Macintosh, QuickMail Pro for Macintosh, QuickMail Pro for Windows, Thunderbird, Yahoo! Mail and any UNIX-style or mbox-format mailbox.


To download a fully configured, VMware-based virtual appliance of MPP Archive for evaluation, go to:


About Mailspect                                                                                        

Mailspect, Inc. based in New Rochelle, New York, is the developer of the Message Processing Platform or MPP.  MPP offers clients a comprehensive and integrated suite used for email archiving, compliance and quarantine, complete with spam filters, email policy management, email import and email retention solutions.  MPP integrates with leading anti spam and antivirus products and currently is installed in client mail systems that process billions of emails per day.



Contact Info:  Paul Sterne, Chief Marketing Officer,



About Gen8 Solutions                                                                 

Michigan-based, Gen8 Solutions was formed in partnership with Weird Kid Software in 2007 to provide technology to the enterprise market segment. Weird Kid Software has been marketing email conversion technology to the consumer market since 2002. Since its inception, Weird Kid Software has sold and supported its products to tens of thousands of clients worldwide.



Contact Info:  Phil Okun, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , +1 248.918.9792




I have just joined and set up my profile in

I just wanted to say "hi" to the wonderful community.

Till next,

All the best


Python Signal Handling

I did a short test on Python signal handling over at my other blog. For those interested...


Ubuntu - Long Term Support - How long is it really?


Ubuntu - LTS

Ubuntu GNU/Linux Long Term Support which are the Ubuntu GNU/Linux versions that are supported for three years for desktop versions and five years for server versions.

The first LTS Ubuntu version that was issued was Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Dapper Drake, which was released in June 2006.  The second was Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Hardy Heron, which was released in April 2004 (per the numbering scheme -- first digit being the issuance year and second being the month number.)  The next scheduled LTS Ubuntu version is Ubuntu 10.04 (which is currently tentatively scheduled.)

As may be already evident, there is no true way to get the full three years (much less five) of support (which is actually just operating system and software security and stability updates -- basically bug fixes.)  You see if these versions are supported for three years but are issued every two years, how is it possible to get continuously three full years or supported use without the need to do a full reinstall or upgrade of your operating system.

You see, unlike most Ubuntu users (most of which are power/geeks users of which I somewhat regard myself), I do not get my "kicks" from reinstalling my operating system and/or performing a version upgrade every six to eighteen months.  (On a somewhat unrelated note, I am rarely impressed by Linux distro version reviews through a "virtual machine" as it seems to me that the only way one can get a true indication of an operating system's performance is by performing a true hard drive install and putting this new install through approximate real world use for a few days -- with the exception of distros which are never really intended to be installed on a hard drive such as Puppy Linux.)  So, I do appreciate the LTS Long Term Support Ubuntu GNU/Linux versions which, at least, minimize my need to perform a major OS upgrade and/or reinstall.

In this regard, I believe I am most like the truly "average" user who want his/her PC to "just work" and does not want to be hassled by operating system upgrades / reinstalls.  I recently read an interesting statistic that approximately 77% of Ubuntu users are currently already using Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope (it is May 28, 2009, as I write this.)  This tells me that 77% of Ubuntu users are truly geek power GNU/Linux users and are not the "average" user Ubuntu is now targeting, for, like me, the "average" user clearly does not want to be bothered with an operating sysem upgrade / reinstall every six months.  (As a side note, I applaud Dell for sticking with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS for their pre-install Ubuntu GNU/Linux sales.)

I do not believe in performing an operating system upgrade / reinstall unless the new version presents a "compelling" reason to upgrade.  As such, I am still running Ubuntu 8.04.2 LTS on our home PCs.  Clearly Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex did NOT present a "compelling" reason to upgrade.  Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jacklope did approach the compelling threshold, but I am still holding out for the next LTS release (frankly, probably the point 2 release in July 2010 for bug fixes.)  (In the interest of full disclosure, I did install 9.04 on my folks PC, but they needed a new hard drive installed anyway so it made sense to install it -- since a reinstall was required anyway.) 

Based upon my peripheral observations, it seems that with Ubuntu's cut throat six month release schedule, new features are introduced in each new release that are far from perfected until at least the next subsequent release.  In support of the preceding statement, consider pulse-audio, ext4, (without an actual file.)

I would much prefer that Ubuntu change to a one-year release cycle for routine releases and three years for LTS releases (not every two years for three year supported LTS releases as it is now so one could actually get a full three years support.)  With a one-year release cycle, ample time would be afforded so new features could actually work properly and bugs could actually be fixed and more and more would "just work" as it should.

Just my two cents for now.  Thanks for reading.

Mark, did you get this?  (Shuttleworth)




NEWB's adventure's in Linux From Scratch

hello again,

 I've taken some time tonight to reflect on where I've been over the past 3 weeks.

   I sparked interest in myself on trying Linux and soon realized that the "GUI" alone would not suffice. I poked around a bit, started to ask questions. Installed Ubuntu on a dual cpu Amd box. It ran fine , was stable and it wasn't Windows. Except  for that hideous brown default desktop all worked fine untill that computer's power supply died.

          I started looking into other distro's and ran into the LFS liveCD.. I booted fast and loaded entirely onto my ram, all the programs were snappy. Something I wasn't used to on an old Pentium4 machine with 256 mg of ram. I soon remedied the ram problem as I was ordering a new power supply for the Amd machine I got 2 512mg stick for this Dell 4550. That is the max this machine takes.   

   Well, curiousity got the best of me and I went and started reading on the LFS site and saw that there were only 3 books needed as prerequisites ???????????? I can do this , I thought to myself. That started my journey. After reading about 1/3 of the  first book and blasting thru the software building book. I tried unsuccessfully  to build LFS. I went into the IRC channel and after 7 pathetic attempts  to build . I realised that I needed more knowledge 

    I went back and started being specific, getting a couple   of notepads to keep notes.  And have I kept  notes !!!  I even made a laminated overlay for Vim  for my keyboard shortcuts and bash. I've used Google alot,  sometimes it helps sometimes not.I've used IRC.... Pastebin has become my friend, I've adapted the  approach that I can write down what I've done first before I go into IRC and document all that I've read and what I've done step by step instead of trying to explain it to someone , and half way into it they interrupt you and assume the wrong thing.

    I as a newb am sure that I speak for all newb's in saying everything is not in the blankety,blank , blank, blank, manual.  Each situation is different, many times even the most experienced guys are not going to have the answers In IRC.   I realize this. That's why it's so important that I exhaust every possible avenue before I go to IRC.  At the same time, It's important to note that many new users like myself are not acedemics, we are blue collar regular guys,we understand regular words, not scientific words. Many of the top notch people in Linux and free software as a whole have a computer science  background , with formal training where they have the interaction with their teacher to reinforce what they've learned. When us blue collar guys learn from a book, we don't know what works until we get some experience under our belts to know  ... build confidence. With experience we will gain confidence in ourselves, but when things go wrong, with no interaction it's easy to lose prospective.

    Case in point, my pata cable incident , the night before I started installing I stayed up and read an online Grub "tutorial" the whole book, drive mapping and all, dealing with windows etc. I get up in the morning (note the drive in question just had windows on it and had no problems). I get the idea that I'm going to put another linux on my second drive, when I try  to reboot it doesn't work. I'm like , I just read that book, I couldn't have made a mistake??? I nuked it off and redid the whole thing.. about 10pm that next night I'm ready to reboot again this time the computer hangs????? oh crap how do I deal with this? I power off and now it won't boot, I thing I've messed up the drive powering off. So, I use fsck. and no errors.  Anyway I'm taking note of specific errors and I get a live cd and boot in and copy mtab, fstab, and grub conf and pastebin the whole thing. While I'm in the room waiting for someone to help I'm talking about the options in grub and here we go again , I'm being accused of not following the install guide and not reading the manual, I'm beginning to think that , it's the easy way of saying I'll talk to you but I'm not willing to invest the time to fix it, or I don't have the answer so, I'll just say you're not following the manual,  In the end it wasn't my lack of knowledge, it was a hardware problem. 

     Oh, and what the heck is this deal where fdisk list hda and when you boot the kernel says sda??, and even grub is getting into the act and wants sda or sdxx whatever and some versions I see used the uuid even? , I've got the system up and running and I'm not quite right yet as there are answers I need but , at this point in time, I'm looking for a local users' group to join as I can do without the accusations. I've worked very hard to learn what I've learned in the short amount of time I've been at it. I'm not going away anytime soon.

    I'm going to say one last thing on this subject and that is a very big Thank You to "Cosmo" on the LFS-support channel for being a great guy and straight forward person. Thanks again for all your help.

Page 112 of 146

Upcoming Linux Foundation Courses

  1. LFD211 Introduction to Linux for Developers
    08 Dec » 09 Dec - Virtual
  2. LFS220 Linux System Administration
    08 Dec » 11 Dec - Virtual
  3. LFD331 Developing Linux Device Drivers
    15 Dec » 19 Dec - Virtual

View All Upcoming Courses

Who we are ?

The Linux Foundation is a non-profit consortium dedicated to the growth of Linux.

More About the foundation...

Frequent Questions

Join / Linux Training / Board