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The Cost of Owning a Car

There has been a lot of talk recently about the cost of petrol, Colin Charles is one of the few people to consider the issue of wages in this discussion [1]. Unfortunately almost no-one seems to consider the overall cost of running a vehicle.

While I can’t get the figures for Malaysia (I expect Colin [...]

ECC RAM is more useful than RAID

A common myth in the computer industry seems to be that ECC (Error Correcting Code – a Hamming Code [0]) RAM is only a server feature.

The difference between a server and a desktop machine (in terms of utility) is that a server performs tasks for many people while a desktop machine only performs tasks [...]

SE Linux Support in GPG

In May 2002 I had an idea for securing access to GNUPG [1]. What I did was to write SE Linux policy to only permit the gpg program to access the secret key (and other files in ~/.gnupg). This meant that the most trivial ways of stealing the secret key would be prevented. However an [...]

The Date Command and Seconds Since 1970-01-01

The man page for the date command says that the %s option will give “seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC“. I had expected that everything that date did would give output in my time zone unless I requested otherwise.. But it seems that in this case the result is in UTC, and the same seems to [...]

Moving a Mail Server

Nowadays it seems that most serious mail servers (IE mail servers suitable for running an ISP) use one file per message. In the old days (before about 1996) almost all Internet email was stored in Mbox format [1]. In Mbox you have a large number of messages in a single file, most users would have [...]

CPU Capacity for Virtualisation

Today a client asked me to advise him on how to dramatically reduce the number of servers for his business. He needs to go from 18 active servers to 4. Some of the machines in the network are redundant servers. By reducing some of the redundancy I can remove four servers, so now it’s a [...]

Installing a Red Hat based DomU on a Debian Dom0

The first step is to copy /images/xen/vmlinuz and /images/xen/initrd.img from the Fedora (or RHEL or CentOS) DVD somewhere convenient, I use /boot/OS/ (where OS is the name of the image) but other locations will do.

Now choose a suitable Ethernet MAC address for the interface (see my previous post on how I choose them [1]).


Security Flaws in Free Software

I just wrote about the system administration issues related to the recent Debian SSL/SSH security flaw [1]. The next thing we need to consider is how we can change things to reduce the incidence of such problems.

The problem we just had was due to the most important part of the entropy supply for the [...]

Debian SSH Problems

It has recently been announced that Debian had a serious bug in the OpenSSL code [1], the most visible affect of this is compromising SSH keys – but it can also affect VPN and HTTPS keys. Erich Schubert was one of the first people to point out the true horror of the problem, only 2^15 [...]

Ideas to Copy from Red Hat

I believe that the Red Hat process which has Fedora for home users (with a rapid release cycle and new versions of software but support for only about one year) and Enterprise Linux (with a ~18 month release cycle, seven years of support, and not always having the latest versions) gives significant benefits for the [...]