Autoinstall Ubuntu servers with a CD

Although it’s been a few years since I switched from full-time Sysadmin to full-time Coder, being in a startup means getting saddled with an opsy task now and again regardless of your “title”.

The problem: We bought a bunch of servers which need minimal OS, IP and a hostname before they’re racked. In otherwords, we want to drop them in a datacenter, turn them on, and leave knowing there’s remote SSH access. Data centers are environmentally hostile (hot rows, cold rows, too loud). It’s ideal to get in and out as quickly as possible and do any remaining config while listening to music and having a cup of tea.

Patch: Ubuntu DRBD now can haz run after boot

Ubuntu server edition “brings the power of inexpensive shared storage to your servers”. In particular, they tout DRBD support. Unfortunately, in Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex, DRBD won’t start at boot.

The bug wasn’t too hard to track down. The problem is the update-rc.d script (run in the package postinst) is parsing the LSB headers in the DRBD init.d script. The LSB headers tell update-rc.d to not include runlevel 2 (Ubuntu’s default) when installing symlinks, so none is made in rc2.d. Hence, the init script is not run during startup.

I put documentation and a debdiff (package patch) on the launchpad bug report. However, even though this package is in main, I have no faith this bug will be fixed by Ubuntu (see update below the fold). So, for your server’s enjoyment, grab the patched packages we are using at my company:

Recovering an Ubuntu do-release-upgrade

This is a quick PSA for anyone who thinks they might be screwed if they lose their shell during do-release-upgrade: You aren’t. Just log back in and run dpkg --configure -a. You’ll finish configuring all the packages you didn’t get to before. Don’t forget to reboot to start using the new kernel. 🙂

Zabbix 1.4.4 packages for Ubuntu

Step right up and get your Zabbix 1.4.4 packages for Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon)! Packages are available for i386 and amd64 architectures (sorry, I don’t have a powerpc machine). To get them via apt add the following to your /etc/apt/sources.list:1

deb http://packages.devsuki.com/ubuntu/ gutsy main
deb-src http://packages.devsuki.com/ubuntu/ gutsy main

Fixing and reporting Ubuntu bugs

My friend Matt and I have shared a number of stories regarding our frustrations with reporting bugs to Ubuntu. He recently wrote an overview of his experiences — Why I’ve stopped reporting bugs to Ubuntu — which was linked to by OSNews. The comments there are mostly level and reasonable, but some people are missing the focus of his statement. He’s not whining “fix my bug!”, he’s drawing attention to the methodology used to process bugs.