Category Archives: Linux

Graduating from UnRaid

I am a digital pack rat. I used to keep piles and piles of floppy disks all over my room. Cabinets were full of them. This included software I had bought (or “borrowed”), school work, creative writing, and source code I had written. Later, I moved it all over to CDs, and then to DVDs. While that was great — I could fit almost all my old floppy disks on a single DVD — the amount of data I needed to save kept getting

Home Storage Server on the cheap — to drive your HTPC!

For the past few years, I’ve been using a Mac Mini as my main HTPC. This has worked out really great, as the Mini is a small, quiet piece of hardware, and generally Apple’s iTunes/Frontrow is simple, intuitive, and impressive as a content management system.

As my collection of media grew, I started to run out of disk space (My mini only has 80GB). First, I added a USB drive to it. Then two. Then, I created a RAID array out of USB drives using an OSX RAID stripe. But, that is dangerous, because if any drive fails, you lose all the data. So I added more USB drives, and created a second stripe, to use for time machine. I currently have USB and Firewire drives connected to my Mini at the moment, due to this escellation.

It has finally gotten to the point where it really makes more sense to just build myself a multi-terrabyte file server, with proper RAID built into it. Further, while I’m at it, I want to add some additional capabilities as well. Ideally, this is something that will live on the network, and give me the following:

  • Centrally store all my media files (music, movies, photos) which can be accessed from any computer in my house
  • Provide a “time machine” backup location for my macs
  • serve centralized home directories for any linux, mac, windows PC’s in my home
  • Act as an LDAP authentication server, for single sign on in my home (yes, my home will then be enterprise-ready)
  • Possibly serve a wiki and/or calendering/groupware system which my wife and I can use to sync our phones/mail clients/address book/calandar stuff (that would be nice)

Some or all of this may or may not come from the same software package. In fact, going the enterprise route, here is the solution I intend to implement:

Build an innexpensive file server based on the openfiler project. I’ve already put the order through for the components. Without drives, the whole solution, including a 12-bay hot-swap sata rack-mount case (and taxes and shipping), is about $600 for a Phenom 3-core CPU system w/ 4GB RAM. For drives, I can reuse a lot of the disks I already have running over USB (they are SATA inside), although I purchased an additional TB sata drive. Juggling the data while I’m setting up the new server will be tricky, but I should just be able to do it with the capacity I currently have.

Once the fileserver is set up, openfiler can export data as AFS, CIFS, or NFS to my mac Mini. Moreover, access will probably be [significantly] faster over gigabit ethernet than it was running RAID over USB2.

Then, I’ll install vmware on the openfiler server, and set up a virtual machine possibly running a linux distribution (TBD) to support local authentication for AD and LDAP.

With any luck, the system will be up and running by the end of the week. It’s pretty amazing that I can put together what is a business-class file server myself for under $1,000, even including storage.

Server Migration in Progress

2robots.com is currently getting a major server upgrade. Service may be a little spotty over the next few days, although I’ll try to keep that to a minimum. So far, only the main webserver (www.2robots.com) has been transfered over to the new server. Over the next few days, the rest of the hosted domains, as well as email services will be moved as well, and then the old server will be decommissioned. I’ll post more details when the move is complete.

Steve Ballmer is crazy!

I can’t believe Microsoft lets this guy out in public. That would be bad enough, but to purposely put him in front of reporters?

Ballmer’s latest fiasco is to claim that Open Source projects violate “over 235 patents,” and to then threaten lawsuits for any company using Linux or other open source software. Turns out, Steve was quoting a study produced by the Open Source Risk Management Group. However, the author of the study has claimed that Microsoft has it all wrong — the study’s conclusions were that those were only “potential” infringements, and that not a single one of those patents had ever been held up in court. In addition, not all of those patents were even held by Microsoft!

Further, Microsoft has refused to specify which patents they are even referring to, or specifically where they think the infringement has occurred. Starting to sound familiar? *Cough*, SCO, *cough*, *cough*. It should. Microsoft quietly provided $86 million to support SCO in it’s legal battle against Linux, under which they have not won a single count in 3 years. It seems that Steve Ballmer has decided to come out and play in the open, now that his proxy SCO has nearly completely self-destructed. Oh, and if this sounds like a hypocritical claim on Microsoft’s part, that’s only because they had to pay out $1.53 BILLION last week for violating Lucent patents.

Microsoft’s goal, like SCO’s, is to provide FUD — Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt about their competitors. Unfortunately, this tactic tends to work against them. Its surprising that they haven’t learned this lesson from what happened to SCO — since they began their lawsuit tactics, SCO’s market share has dropped exponentially. Like SCO, however, Microsoft is finding itself in a position where its competitors are out pacing it. Apple is growing far quicker than Microsoft, and is able to deliver bother hardware and software products at profit. Linux is advancing quickly, and the press is starting to tout it as a “Vista alternate.” It doesn’t help that Vista has virtually no new features for users, unless you count being more expensive. It appears that Steve Ballmer has lead Microsoft down the path of other companies which can’t deal with change: SCO, RAMBUS, the RIAA, the MPAA. All these companies probably know that customers will not purchase their product just because they threaten to beat them with a stick. But they don’t know what else to do (hint: build *good* products, and you won’t have this problem. Microsoft knew how to do this at some point).

It seems as if ever since Bill Gates left the helm, Microsoft hasn’t been able to steer itself in the right direction. Take a look at Steve Ballmer, the guy he left in charge, and draw your own conclusions why:

  • Steve Ballmer — high on himself and screaming like an idiot. Video.
  • Steve Ballmer — issuing death threats. Article.
  • Steve Ballmer — brainwashes his kids. Article.
  • Steve Ballmer — stuttering? Video.
  • Steve Ballmer — cheap car salesman. Video.
  • Steve Ballmer — out of touch with reality. Video.