Saturday 28 November 2009

Intro, B-Sides release


I'm a new Ubuntu member since the November 18th meeting of the America's Membership Board. It's an honor to be part of this awesome project that is Ubuntu! Not much to say except that I'm from the Quebec LoCo team, and interested and taking part in a number of things, including the NetworkManager team, B-Sides maintainers, and Ubuntu AMI testing. I'll often blog here about the stuff I work on, as well as stuff I learn about in my 'adventure' to join the MOTU team.

Today, I am pleased to announce the first "official" release of the B-Sides project, with version 0.9.5 of B-Sides available from the B-Sides maintainers' PPA. Fresh out of the buildds :)

Ubuntu B-Sides is a project that aims at bringing to you the "rest of the disc", a number of great applications that couldn't make it to the default Ubuntu desktop (by that, we mean directly off the official CD), but nicely complement it. We do this by adding applications and not replacing those that are provided by the release, and without breaking the "one application per task" rule... Which means you shouldn't expect to see alternate browsers or MP3 players, but will still see a lot of really cool apps such a Gwibber, pitivi...

You can see the full list of applications here:

Thursday 12 November 2009

Server FAIL

Wow. BIG Fail for the IBM xSeries X306. Its hard drive setup is the worst I've seen in a long, long time.

Trying to kickstart an old X306 we had, to still use good-ish hardware for stuff that can make use of it. At first, it doesn't detect the disks... Me and Michel are all "what the hell could be wrong with this system?".

Looking through the ventilation holes, I see a little sticker that essentially says "do not pull without disconnecting inside" in some weird (and pretty bad, actually) translation by one of our coworkers.

Obviously, that's what Michel had done a little earlier, without expecting the kind of SNAFU we were seeing to really be possible. Of course, I'd probably have done the same. You work long enough with good HP servers to come and expect hard, well engineered connectors inside a server to plug in the disks. You kind of expect it with IBM servers too, seeing as other, bigger systems don't pull that kind of crap...

Nope. It seems hard connectors were too hard.

Instead, the IBM xSeries X306 has some kind of IDE-like ribbons and connectors to the disks, cables that are short as hell, attached to the front-accessible (hot-swap? (probably not)) disks. When you pull on the disks, the ribbons obviously eventually detach (or rip something out, YMMV there...), but as you insert the disks you'll end up with major problems -- ribbon is at the end, you need to open the top of the server to kind of wiggle the ribbon and power cord into submission and insert them into the back of the disk, with less than an inch of room for itself, the disk, and your fingers.

IBM, you really could have done better on that one. On lots of things on many server systems in the xSeries actually, including the RSA remote access stuff...