The New File Server: Puppet and Modules

On to Puppet. I’ve not yet factored everything about the new server out into separate modules or classes; that’ll come later. But things that will either get reused on other systems (e.g., Active Directory ties) or things that need to be generated consistently and repeatedly (e.g., Amanda configurations) have been factored out. The new server’s […]

Making Debian Packages from Commercial Software

One of my main goals for a managed infrastructure is to make sure I have consistent versions of end-user applications installed everywhere. My users aren’t too picky about the version of xemacs installed, but they’ve got pretty stringent requirements on having a particular version of ANSYS, Abaqus, Fluent, Maple, Matlab, and other large non-free/no-source-available software […]

Client OS Update

(Original post here.) For the moment, I’m working on Debian GNU/Linux. Everything bought new (since sometime last fall) has the current stable release (4.0r0, or “etch”) installed, and everything older has the previous stable release (3.1r6, or “sarge”). Assuming that I keep apt sources for both the primary Debian archives and their security updates, the […]

Ad Hoc Change Tools

Most of the cost of desktop ownership is labor [gartner], and using ad hoc change tools increases entropy in an infrastructure, requiring proportionally increased labor. If the increased labor is applied using ad hoc tools, this increases entropy further, and so on — it’s a positive-feedback cycle. Carry on like this for a short time […]

Client Application Management (Part 1, for .deb packages)

(Original writeup here.) Wow, this part has been a learning experience. The things I’ve picked up out of this stage: aptitude is not apt-get. Obvious, yes. But how different they are was not apparent until this weekend. pkgsync is great, and does exactly what it claims, but read its claims very carefully, since it […]

Time Synchronization

Time synchronization makes lots of things work better, including: make Kerberos tar syslog We’ve got a central NTP server on campus, and I’m using that to sync from. Puppet handles ntp and ntpdate configuration on the managed systems. Components of that setup: ntp.pp and ntpdate.pp classes imported from puppet/classes Virtualization-detecting facter recipe (originally from here, […]

Abaqus 6.6 on Debian Etch (amd64 port)

Q. Why does the condemned man get a last cigarette, instead of one of those through-the-skin stick-on nicotine thingies? A. Don’t patch the executable. — rec.humor.funny Bad Abaqus! Or more properly, bad ZeroG InstallAnywhere! This post indicates that AMD64 Java doesn’t have NPTL problems you keep checking for. And then, when I comment out the […]