The Debian Administrator’s Handbook

Debian

Written by two Debian developers — Raphaël Hertzog and Roland Mas — the Debian Administrator’s Handbook started as a translation of their French best-seller known as Cahier de l’admin Debian (published by Eyrolles).

It’s a fantastic resource for all users of a Debian-based distribution.

Accessible to all, this book teaches the essentials to anyone who wants to become an effective and independant Debian GNU/Linux administrator.

Given that traditional editors did not want to take the risk to make this translation, we decided to do the translation ourselves and to self-publish the result. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, we managed to complete this translation between December 2011 and May 2012.

To live up to our free software ideals, we wanted the book to be freely available (that is under the terms of a license compatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines of course). There was a condition though: a liberation fund had to be completed to ensure we had a decent compensation for the work that the book represents. This fund reached its target of €25K in April 2012.

via The Debian Administrator’s Handbook.

Are you a power-user with 5 minutes to spare? Do you want a faster internet experience?

Try out namebench. It hunts down the fastest DNS servers available for your computer to use. namebench runs a fair and thorough benchmark using your web browser history, tcpdump output, or standardized datasets in order to provide an individualized recommendation. namebench is completely free and does not modify your system in any way. This project began as a 20% project at Google.

namebench runs on Mac OS X, Windows, and UNIX, and is available with a graphical user interface as well as a command-line interface.

namebench was written using open-source tools and libraries such as Python, Tkinter, PyObjC, dnspython, jinja2 and graphy.

Screenshots

Here is what the nameserver overview looks like:

Here are what some of the graphs produced look like:

P.S. = there’s a command-line version too!

Software

Perlbrew is a tool to manage multiple perl installations in your $HOME directory. They are completely isolated perl universes. This approach has many benefits:

  • No need to run sudo to install CPAN modules, any more.
  • Try the monthly released new perls.
  • Learn new language features.
  • Test production code.
  • Leave vendor perl (the one that comes with OS) alone
    • Vendor perl usually serves its own purposes, and it might be a bad idea to mess it up too much.
    • Especially PITA when trying to upgrade system perl.
    • Some vendors introduced their own perl bugs, twice!
  • Hacking perl internals.
  • Just to keep up with fashion.

While the default is good enough, you may customize it to install to alternative places, or even let multiple users share the whole perlbrew environment.

Software

Moving your home directory

Don’t email me for help. This is an advanced maneuver, you’re on your own!

Go into System Preferences => Accounts, and select the account you’d like to move; click the lock to unlock.

x

Users control panel in System Preferences

Choose Advanced Options… by right-clicking or control-clicking on the account you want to relocate:

x

Advanced options

Next, copy your home directory to the desired location, then change it using the Choose… button as shown below. Don’t mess with anything here unless you really know what you are doing.

x

Advanced options

Wrapup

Do not forget—

  1. After making these changes, immediately reboot, then REMOVE your original home directory to avoid confusion.
  2. Don’t forget to create another admin account that resides on the boot drive, so that you login if your regular account is on a volume that “goes away”.
I did forget the Advanced Option capability in the Account Preference Pane …
Apple

Error booting Fedora in VirtualBox

CentOS, Fedora

I am in the middle of the work for a GNU/Linux keynote & hands-on demo for some colleagues.

Since I’m a loyal Fedora/CentOS user I’m installing the latest Fedora 15 on my MacBook’s VirtualBox.

Fedora screenshots

Everything went ok during the installation until first reboot on which the system told me:

FATAL: INT18: BOOT FAILURE"

remaining into the error mode and forcing me to manually reboot.

If this happens to you too be sure to check if the installation media (the cd-rom or the dvd-rom) is still present in the player (!!!) and remove it.

It happears to be a know issue with VirtualBox, since a bug #2680 was opened 3 years ago and still unresolved (probably because it’s unclear if it’s VirtualBox or Fedora dvd boot system fault).
Ejecting the optical media solved my issue, cheers!
;-)