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kexec rocks!

I've almost forgotten about kexec, but it really comes in handy as this beast takes an awful lot of time to boot. Not so with kexec:

$ uname -a
Linux v40z1 2.6.33-rc1 #1 SMP Sat Dec 19 02:25:22 PST 2009 x86_64 GNU/Linux
$ kexec -l /boot/2.6/bzImage.old --append="root=/dev/sda2"
$ date
Sat Dec 19 02:35:30 PST 2009
$ kexec -e
I'm in purgatory

Ubuntu 9.10 v40z1 ttyS0
v40z1 login: root

$ date
Sat Dec 19 02:35:47 PST 2009
$ uname -a
Linux v40z1 2.6.32 #1 SMP Mon Dec 14 05:26:12 PST 2009 x86_64 GNU/Linux

I'm super cereal!

While the title of this entry is just a play on words, this is really about serial consoles:

  • Since Ubuntu 9.10 has moved to upstart, there's no /etc/inittab any more:
    $ grep -v ^\# /etc/init/ttyS0.conf
    start on stopped rc RUNLEVEL=[2345]
    stop on runlevel [!2345]
    exec /sbin/getty -L 115200 ttyS0 vt102
    $ sudo start ttyS0
  • For Solaris10, we'd do:
    $ pfexec eeprom console=ttya ttya-mode="115200,8,n,1,-"
    $ egrep '^console:' /etc/ttydefs
    console:115200 hupcl opost onlcr:115200::console
    $ pfexec svcadm restart console-login
  • Be sure to set your terminal to the right baudrate. For a v40z, login to the service processor and do:
    > platform set console --noprune --speed 115200
    > platform get console
    Rear Panel Console Redirection Speed  Pruning Log Trigger
    SP Console Enabled             115200 No      244 KB

    Comcast sucks.

    Yes, I knew this day would come that I too have my own rant about this ISP. For the record, I wasn't really able to choose a different ISP, as I they don't serve ADSL in this area and Comcast seems to be the only cable provider around. There's Roadrunner Internet and they have the cooler logo but they just offered a Comcast resale package, which is not really what I was looking for. And for another record I have to say that Comcast is pretty stable, I only have to reset the modem every other month or so - which is totally acceptable for a low-cost homeuser contract, IMHO.

    That being said, I'm not too happy with Comcast's approach to net neutrality or just content mangling in general. IOW: Keep your hands off my traffic! Two major annoyances so far and the reason for this blogentry:

  • The so-called Domain Helper Service one has to opt-out to get useful DNS error messages

  • Apparently Comcast is blocking port 25. Of course, no one would ever send email from a MUA these days, with all the webmailers out there, right? One has to use port 587 to do SMTP via MSA. They even have a support page for this one (which can only be accessed when you turn off (!) JavaScript in your non-InternetExplorer browser). Maybe I should open a ticket with them and see if they can unblock ports on a per-customer basis. Hah!

  • I found the FAQ entry on which ports they're blocking, saying:

  • Ports 68, 135-139, 445, 520, 1080 are blocked by default.

  • Port 25 is not blocked by default but on-demand: "When spam from a compromised computer is detected, Comcast’s anti-spam systems automatically apply a sending block and send an email notification to the affected subscriber’s email address." I don't remember any notification mail though....
  • gdb & system.privilege.taskport.debug

    When using gdb in Snow Leopard, they system asked me to

    Type the name and password of a user in the 'Developer Tools'
    group to allow Developer Tools Access to make changes
    Huh? I don't want to "make changes", I just want to debug a process. Turns out that monitoring/inspecting a process has been changed in Tiger and again in Leopard so that only members of the 'Developer Tools' group are allowed to debug. (Wow, I have never used gdb on Darwin before?). The right thing to do here is:
    sudo dscl . append /Groups/_developer GroupMembership username
    ...and get on with our actual debugging.

    Scribus: You cannot use EPS images or Print Preview

    When I wanted to play around with Scribus, the following error message greeted me on the first start:

    The following programs are missing:
    Ghostscript: You cannot use EPS images or Print Preview 
    Luckily this entry explained how to fix this, but instead of installing the whole foomatic package, I just used the MacPorts equivalent:
    $ port install espgs -x11
    Now /opt/local/bin/gs should be in place and Scribus should even find it by itself.

    wget: Connection closed at byte 3283. Retrying.

    This occured to me earlier this year, when trying to download from a server:

    $ wget --version | head -1
    GNU Wget 1.12 built on darwin10.2.0.
    $ wget
    --2009-11-16 00:03:34--
    Resolving (
    Connecting to (||:80... connected.
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
    Length: 3284 (3.2K) [application/x-gzip]
    Saving to: “2009-August.txt.gz”
    2009-11-16 00:03:34 (60.2 MB/s) - Connection closed at byte 3283. Retrying.
    And yes, it would retry to download and will eventually grab the whole file - but the result was always corrupt. Luckily, this happened to others as well and now the download from these archives succeed when --header "Accept-Encoding: gzip" is added to wget :-)

    ext2 vs. ext3 vs. ext4

    I always wondered if those ext* mountoptions did anything performance wise. Turns out they do, kind of:

    FS   mount option    avg over 3 runs
    ext2 option: orlov        - 56.3333 sec
    ext2 option: oldalloc     - 66.3333 sec
    ext2 option: atime        - 62.6667 sec
    ext2 option: noatime      - 57.3333 sec
    ext2 option: data=journal   ---
    ext2 option: data=ordered   ---
    ext2 option: data=writeback ---
    ext2 option: acl          - 59 sec
    ext2 option: noacl        - 57.6667 sec
    ext2 option: user_xattr   - 59 sec
    ext2 option: nouser_xattr - 59 sec
    ext3 option: orlov        - 61.3333 sec
    ext3 option: oldalloc     - 62.3333 sec
    ext3 option: atime        - 62.3333 sec
    ext3 option: noatime      - 60.6667 sec
    ext3 option: data=journal   - 114 sec
    ext3 option: data=ordered   - 62.6667 sec
    ext3 option: data=writeback - 61.6667 sec
    ext3 option: acl          - 62.6667 sec
    ext3 option: noacl        - 61.6667 sec
    ext3 option: user_xattr   - 64.3333 sec
    ext3 option: nouser_xattr - 60.6667 sec
    ext4 option: orlov        - 49.6667 sec
    ext4 option: oldalloc     - 52.6667 sec
    ext4 option: atime        - 49.6667 sec
    ext4 option: noatime      - 50 sec
    ext4 option: data=journal   - 101.333 sec
    ext4 option: data=ordered   - 49.3333 sec
    ext4 option: data=writeback - 51 sec
    ext4 option: acl          - 48.6667 sec
    ext4 option: noacl        - 51.6667 sec
    ext4 option: user_xattr   - 49.6667 sec
    ext4 option: nouser_xattr - 50.6667 sec
    This was done by a script extracting a ~800MB tarball onto a freshly created ext* filesystem, 3 times in a row.