Archive for the 'Linux' Category

Resize iscsi volume on RHEL 5

I have this ISCSI volume mounted on a RHEL 5 system that is running out of space. How do you grow your mounted iscsi volume? Good question!

* Unmount the volume. In this case it was /dev/sdb1 for me.
umount /dev/sdb1

* Grow the volume size on your san/nas (however your san/nas does this).
In my case - "Hey SanAdmin, can you add another 100gb of space to $volume?"

* In order to resize, your server needs to see that there is more volume space available, so you need to “service iscsi restart”.
[root@nile ~]# service iscsi restart
Logging out of session [sid: 1, target:, portal: nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn,3260]
Logout of [sid: 1, target:, portal: nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn,3260]: successful
Stopping iSCSI daemon:
iscsid dead but pid file exists [ OK ]
Starting iSCSI daemon: [ OK ]
[ OK ]
Setting up iSCSI targets: Logging in to [iface: default, target:, portal: nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn,3260]
Login to [iface: default, target:, portal: nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn,3260]: successful
[ OK ]

* fdisk /dev/sdb and delete the old partition (yes, delete it).
fdisk /dev/sdb
Command (m for help): d
Selected partition 1

* Create a new bigger partition over top / in place of the original.
Command (m for help): n
Command action
e extended
p primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): 1
First cylinder (1-26109, default 1):
Using default value 1
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (1-26109, default 26109):
Using default value 26109

* Run e2fsck on the partition.
e2fsck -f /dev/sdb1

* Resize it.
resize2fs /dev/sdb1

* Finally, mount it back up!
mount -a (yes mine was listed in fstab)

RHEL 6 is here!

As many of you know, RedHat released RHEL 6 recently. I just finally got a chance to install the production version and thought I would share some of my immediate notes:

RHEL 6 Installation Notes: (text/net install)

No boot.iso available. Must use the ENTIRE installation DVD to boot, even for a network install.

Press tab at the boot splash to enter extra parameters – “linux text askmethod” worked appropriately.

Askmethod prompts for URL rather than http or ftp and has you put the entire URL in one line instead of splitting into server / location like RHEL 5 did.

Installer does not ask for registration number – must be done through rhn_register *after* installation has completed.

Install does not ask you for “types” like RHEL 5 did (webserver, virtualization, development).

Post install does not have configuration menu where you can change authentication, firewall/selinux, system services, etc..

That’s about where I am with this right now. The install is reminiscent of RHEL 4 in a lot of ways. I am sure things will change and improve like they always do. The one clearly needed addition right now, though, as far as I am concerned is a boot/netinstall.iso image.

Diagnosis: Paranoia

You know, there are just some things you do not need first thing on a Monday morning. This was one of them…

I came and and started reviewing my reports and was looking at an access report, which is basically a “last | grep $TheDateIWant” from over the weekend. I keep a pretty tight ship and want to know who is accessing what servers and when (and sometimes why). What I saw was monstrously suspicious! I saw MYSELF logged in to 3 different servers 3 times each around 5am on Sunday morning – while I was sleeping.

This is the kind of thing to throw you into an immediate panic first thing on a Monday morning, but I decided to give myself 10 minutes to investigate before completely freaking out.

The first thing I noticed was that the access/login times looked suspiciously like the same times I ran my daily reports on the machines, however, the previous week I had changed the user that runs those reports and this was still saying it was me. I double, triple and quadruple checked and searched all the report programs to make absolutely sure there was no indication that they were still using my personal account (which was probably bad practice to begin with btw). Then I scoured all the cron logs to see what was actually running at those times, and oddly enough, it was just those reports.

I looked through the command line history on those machines and checked again the “last | head” to see who was logging on those machines. Nothing out of place BUT with the “last| head” I was NOT listed as being on the machine on that date! So I ran the entire report command again “last | grep $TheDateIWant” and there I was again, listed right under the logins of the report user.

Anyone catching this yet?

What I had stumbled upon were a few machines that are used so infrequently that the wtmp file, which is what the “last” command uses for data, had over 1 year of entries. My search of “last | grep ‘Oct 31′” was returning not only this year, but my own logins from last year as well.


Moral of the story? Mondays stink – Just stay home!

Linux Mint 10 RC

Linux Mint 10 RC on ThinkPenguin Air

Linux Mint 10 RC on ThinkPenguin Air

After having a couple really long and bad weeks here at the Fessenden residence, I finally got the chance to send back my Think Penguin Air review unit. But right before I did that I wanted to make sure I wiped all my personal info from the computer. Cue Linux Mint 10 Release Candidate.

I was so excited when Ubuntu 10.10 came out because I knew that meant that a new Linux Mint would not be far behind. It was not long afterward that I learned that Mint had a release candidate ready. Not being a patient man, I grabbed an iso and, via unetbootin, stuffed it onto a usb stick so I could try it out.

It just so happened that I was way overdue to send back my review unit, so what better place to try the new Mint than to use it to wipe my data off that review unit? I could think of none, so on it went!

The interesting thing I noticed in the installer was that it was installing packages while it was asking the “end of install” questions. You know, the ones where it was asking my account name, timezone, name for my computer, those sorts of things. Now I may be wrong, but I am pretty sure those were never asked on previous releases until *after* all the software packages were installed. Anyhow, I believe this sped up the install considerably. 15 minutes and I was up and running.

Once running, one of the first things I noticed was the default background was grey and the theme has some polished metal thing going on. Initially, I was incensed that Mint would release without their trademark beautiful green background, but after a few minutes, it started to grow on me a little. I looked at the other included backgrounds and found the same background as the default, but in green. I decided that what they really *need* to do is to take the green logo from the green version and apply that to the grey default background and that would fix things for me :) Maybe Clem is listening?

I can’t comment too much on the rest as I have not had much of a chance to use it, however, everything worked, everything was aesthetically pleasing, and the Mint menu looked a bit different.

Kudos to the Mint team and I cannot wait for the final release so I can upgrade some of these machines around here and give Mint 10 a better run :)

A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux 3rd Ed.

Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux, A (3rd Edition)

Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux, A (3rd Edition)

I have said before on several occasions that Sobell does really good work. Well, this holds true to my words. This is a big book with some 1250+ pages in it absolutely filled to the brim with useful information. The review on the front cover mentions that the book is “comprehensive” and that just might be understating it a little. This book has practically anything you might want to know about Ubuntu, and references a lot of really helpful general linux and userland program information and it’s put together in a very straight forward and understandable way. Having the word “Practical” in the name is also a really good fit as the book offers great walk-throughs on things people will want to do with their Ubuntu install from beginner things like configuring a printer all the way up to things like some perl programming and running your own web server. All in all, this book is not only worth a look, but a keeper. It’s a good read and great technical reference.




I had the opportunity to check out some encrypted filesystem stuffs recently. The one that really stood out as easy to install. manage and use, for me, was EncFs. Now this post is mostly for posterity, but I wanted to share that, unless you are trying to get it running on RHEL, it’s pretty easy to get set up. I mostly referred to this site and had it up and going lickety-split.. I really am thrilled with how easy this actually was…


I tried getting it running on RHEL 5. I will spare you all the gory details about how it took hours of peeling through the dependency issues with nonstandard RHEL packages, but you get the idea. What I will leave you with here is what actually made it work:

yum -y install fuse fuse-devel fuse-libs
rpm -Uvh rlog-1.3.7-1.el5.rf.i386.rpm
rpm -Uvh fuse-encfs-1.4.1-1.el5.rf.i386.rpm
modprobe fuse
useradd -G fuse your_user_name

And that was it! Bask in the glory!!!

TLLTS Email List



We just mentioned on the last LinuxLink TechShow that we are starting a mailing list. Our intention is to provide a way to more easily disseminate information during the week to our listeners, have a place for some interesting conversation, ideas and help, and have a sort of virtual user group. If you would like to join in on the fun, point your browser to: and sign right up! I’ll see you there!

A Yeti of a different color.

So I sold my Mac Mini and my old Linux desktop machine burns up (cpu temp over 100 celcius). I need a new computer right? Well, the Best Buy run didn’t work out so well, so I started looking at other local stores for somewhere that had a decent laptop / desktop replacement that appeared to be, or mostly to be Linux compatible.

What I found, while browsing through store ads online was that Staples had a Dell Inspiron 15 for sale for just over $500. This machine sports a dual core proc at 2.2ghz, 15.6 inch widescreen with the Intel GMA 4500, 350gb hdd, 4gb ram and a Dell wireless card (rebadged Broadcom). The best part was I actually knew a friend who ordered 3 of these and had Ubuntu on at least one of them. Viola! Instant Linux Laptop!

Of course, these things are never that easy…

I ran out and picked one of these up and *just* as I was about to press enter to start formatting the drive, I notice that there is 1 dead pix3el in the middle right-hand side of the screen. Back it goes and I grab another (this one sans dead pixel). Mint 8 looks beautiful on this machine as I install it. Everything is peaches until I go for configuring the wireless. Now I am intending on using this machine as a desktop replacement, hooked to ethernet, but hey, if I have wireless, it should work. Right?

Well, I had a dandy of a time getting things to go like they are supposed to. Wireless on this laptop seems to be added under the “Hardware Drivers” or “Restricted Drivers” modules. What popped up was an STA driver and another that I cannot seem to remember at the moment. I, unfortunately, did NOT chose the STA driver. This started the maddening process where I fiddled with things and cussed at my computer for HOURS and could not get the wireless to work. After obtaining a sore throat that way, I decided to try the STA drivers. Well, once you installed the other drivers, whether or not you KEEP them installed, you CANNOT get the STA drivers installed. Each install failed, frustrating me even further. Eventually, I just did a clean reinstall and picked the STA drivers. Wireless worked perfectly after that. :-)

After all that, it was time to put my desk back together with the new laptop. I really like the clean look of the desk now. Not as much screen realestate, but it’s tidy looking and feeling. I also purchased a Logitech wireless kb/mouse combo and I absolutely love it. And did I mention that this new machine absolutely smokes the previous two combined? :-)

I named this monster Yeti, which is a re-use of the name of my Mac Mini. This machine, however, is black, so I guess it really is a Yeti of a different color. Hey, who says Yeti have to be white anyhow right?

Best Buy?

More like goodbye…

Friday night I go to Best Buy to check out their 17″ Gateway laptop. I bring my trusty Mint Live cd so I can check things out real quick like before I buy the thing.

When I get into the store, I am, greeted by one of the blueshirts who asks if he can help. I explain I am there for a laptop, I brought my Live cd there to do a hardware compatability check before I buy it. He says just don’t install anything on the demo machines and I say no problem, it should only take me a coupe mins to check things out.

A few minutes later (still booting the live cd) the “supervisor” whiteshirt guy comes storming over to me saying “you can’t do that!”. Do what? Install “stuff” on computers… (Mind you I already have permission) I am not installing anything, just checking hardware compat for Linux – I need to buy a laptop. Supervisor says “Linux will run fine on it”. I look at the screen and I X is trying to start so I say it’s almost done. Supervisor steps in between me and laptop, rips out cd, pushes it at me and says “you can’t do this and if you don’t like it I can get someone to escort you out of the store”.

Needless to say I didn’t buy a laptop from Best Buy that night – or any other. What I *DID* do, when I got back home was to send nastymails to everyone at Best Buy I could find an email address for. I simply cannot deal with mean and nasty customer service people anymore and I do not have a problem writing emails to complain about it. Honestly, if this guy would have pulled his attitude with my wife while I was watching, someone would have had to bail me out of jail. You all know the type – I have even had the misfortune to have to work with the Joe Powertrip people like this before. Further, I did a little research on the Laptop I was unable to complete looking at in the store and found that there are some Linux issues with the i3 procs and perhaps even the Atheros wlan and Intel HD video too. This means that the “supervisor” guy was not only a butthead but was giving bad technical advice too. As a technical guy myself, that is not cool. If you don’t know the answer and do not understand the technology, at least be man enough to cop to it and go find the correct answer.

It’s unfortunate that this all went down like it did because I have a best buy store credit card and have previously been quite happy with my purchase experience there. It is, however, difficult to want to go shopping at a store that the manager threatened to throw you out of though.

Update: I was called on monday evening by the store manager who apologized profusely. He asked if I felt my experience had negatively impacted my decision to shop there in the future. No kidding, he really asked that.. DUH. Anyhow, I told the store manager there that I thought this guy should be, at least, retrained, that he was intentionally mean and that the technical people there should indeed be technical people. He asked if there was anything he could do to make my experience better. There isn’t, just make sure this crap doesn’t happen again. This morning I started getting emails from Best Buy Corporate. Who says the pen is not mightier than the sword?

I will probably not shop there, at least for a while, but maybe this whole debacle can turn out to be a win for Linux users who want to check hardware compatibility? Maybe…

You know you’ve had a bad day when…

You know you’ve had a bad day when you have to use a DRILL to try and fix your wife’s laptop. Oh yeah.

My wife’s laptop has been having troubles with crappy wireless for the longest time. Well, I decided I was going to replace her card with a better one. It’s a Compaq Presario f730us laptop that has a mini pci-e wireless card in it. I searched around and found a nice intel card on Amazon and bought it. Well, when I put it in it wasn’t even detected. So, I tell the seller, thinking that it may just be a bad card, and he says it may need an HP branded card and sends me one of those to replace it with (nice seller btw). I get that card and get ready to try that and find one of the dang screws on the card is now striped and apparently welded in place. Nothing I have will get the friggin thing out so I had to resort to drilling off the screw cap just to remove the card. Then, you guessed it, the new card doesn’t get detected either. Friggin ComHPaq. So, the old card which drops packets like nobody’s business is back in place and the other 2 cards are on their way back for a refund.

My only alternative now, other than keeping her hard wired, is to find a USB wireless dongle. So, does anyone have any recommendations for a USB wireless card that’s Linux and wpa/wpa2 friendly and readily available somewhere (and inexpensive)?? Please shoot me an email and let me know!

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