XEN issues
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While running the new Novell OES2 for Linux class we ran into a few problems concerning the Xen virtual machines. The class setup called for each student to have a SLES10 sp1 machine with two virtual machines installed on it. One NetWare with an eDirectory tree and one SLED 10 machine. The students then created a new XEN machine and installed SLES10 sp1 in the ambition of installing OES2 on it and adding it into the existing eDirectory tree. Problems in the setup issued by Novell made this impossible without some extensive troubleshooting. This might also help you if your having trouble with your XEN setup.

XEN troubleshootingCollapse )

Confessions of a CLP
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I recently obtained my CLP certification. CLP stands for Certified Linux Professional and is a certification given by Novell to those that can display moderate to advanced SuSE Linux Administration skills. The CLP covers XEN virtualization, SSH, VNC, apache, tomcat, SSL encryption, disk quotas, permissions, root access, samba, nfs, scripting and a slew of other things.

There are 3 classes covered in the CLP so its quite a lot of information to study. The test is only 3 hours long with 4 major objectives. What does this mean to you? Well, if you know 9 out of 10 objectives, but you get a problem on the one thing you dont know, you will fail the test. Yes, its like that.

Oh, and when i say "objectives" i mean just that. This isnt a pen and paper multiple choice, T/F test. Novell sets up 2 servers which you remote into and then complete the tasks they give you. So that said, im going to give you a few tips on how to take the test. Im not going to tell you what I had on my test, but ill give you some tips so that when you take yours you wont panic like i did.

The CLPCollapse )

SurePower Consulting Job
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Active Directory slows down the entire network for long amounts of time during replication. Active Directory will not Sync properly with eDirectory. Takes a long time to resolve DNS names. Netware servers are not loading NLM's properly.

Synopsis:
A network server crashed. This server was running Active Directory and had to be rebuilt from an older backup. This network is running Active Directory for DNS and DHCP as well as eDirectory (Netware) for users, network storage, Exchange, and other administrative tasks. After rebuilding the windows server the network is slow during directory replication, DNS query resolution, and will not sync properly between the two directories. There are errors while booting the Netware servers. At this company there is only one domain serving two sites on a WAN. There are two servers of each kind at each site on the WAN.

Problems, Causes and Fix'sCollapse )

Failure to Boot: Netware
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Netware Server Failure to Boot: Active partition and SCSI ID number.

Synopsis:
A newly installed Netware server is shut off for the first time. While turned off the admin adds a SCSI tape drive to his network. Upon reboot Netware fails to load with an error of invalid boot partition.
causes, testing and fix'sCollapse )

Netware Startup Issues
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Troubleshooting Netware Startup

Its happened to almost all Netware admins, definitely not as often as windows, but it happens. You get to work one day and for some reason you have to restart your Netware server. As your booting you get the feeling something isn't going right. Then suddenly, you see them. Errors. Your Netware server has just booted improperly. Something happened, a driver didn't load, a service that should have started didn't, the sys volume has disappeared....

So what do you do? You need to figure out what went wrong when so that you can fix it. Fixing it is usually easy, reorder the NLM's in the startup.ncf file, update a cdm driver, mark a partition active, etc. But finding the problem can be difficult. Errors are vague, or something might simply not work with no warning signs or reasons why this is.

Fixing Netware Startup IssuesCollapse )

SLED SP1!!!!!
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SP 1 is Here!

Novell has released Service Pack 1 for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10! Making an already great enterprise desktop even better, SP1 comes with a slew of new features as well as some bug and security fixes. In fact it's so good that DesktopLinux.com writer Steven J. Vaughan says that “...in all seriousness, SLED is simply the best business desktop around, period.”

SP1 brings to the table Xen-based virtualization for all the programs that just have to run in Windows, the latest version of OpenOffice, Firefox 2.0, Flash 9, Helix Banshee 0.12.0 (includes iPod support), Ekiga 2.0.5 (compatible with Asterisk) and many other new programs and improvements.

As far as security goes, SLED 10 now includes home directory and partition encryption via cryptconfig and util-linux-crypt. Administrators can also bar SLED users from unlimited access to system functionality with the new desktop lockdown tool Sabayon. Using Sabayon along with a tighter integration of ZENworks Linux Management means that not only can you deploy updates and patches but you can also use it to enforce desktop policies and lockdowns on both a group and user basis.

As if this wasn't enough incentive to start using SLED, the price at just $50 per desktop is the deal clincher. Compared with using Microsoft Vista Business Edition and Microsoft Office Professional 2006 at a combined cost of almost $800 per desktop you can see why people are getting very excited about SLED.

For SP1 release notes,visit Novell's web page

Novells Stance
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GPL v3.0 and Novell

To some of you this might be old news. Others might not even know what GPL stands for (that's General Public License). Terms such as copyleft and tivoization might be as mysterious as the names Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds. The reason these terms and names are important is because it might have an impact on what tools you can or cannot use in your network environment. Tools we use on a daily basis and are integral to the proper functioning of our network, tools such as Samba

Novell's Director of PR, Bruce Lowry, paraphrases Microsofts stance on the new GPL v3 as; “...the certificates [Microsoft] distributes for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server will not entitle the customers to maintenance and support of GPL3 technologies.” Of course this only applies to certificates purchased after the release of the GPL v3.

At this point some of you may be wringing your hands wondering what you are going to do when the need for support comes. Of course you could always call TouchStone Technology (my place of work) to help you out, or you could call Novell directly. That's right, call Novell.

Bruce Lowry continues with “...customers don’t need to worry about this, [Novell will] cover them anyway. Novell will provide maintenance and support for whatever version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server the customer is running, whether that contains GPL3 licensed components or not and whether they got the certificate from Microsoft or bought SUSE Linux Enterprise directly from us or another partner. So nothing changes for customers—they are fully supported."
I haven't looked but I'm sure that Red Hat is taking a similar stand as Novell. The GPL v3 is long and, at least to me, unintelligible. With Novell's assurance, however, I can sleep easy at night knowing that when I wake up I won't have to scrap my network and start over.

For more information on this visit:
eWeek
Linux Watch
Wikipedia

SCO vs Novell
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Copyright Laws Side With Novell

On Janurary 20, 2004 the lawsuit between Novell and SCO began. In reality the battle started much before that. The confrontation actually started when SCO filed suit against IBM, claiming that they owned Unix. If SCO had known that Novell would contest this claim, effectively coming to the aid of IBM, they probably wouldn't have started in the first place. Or they might have, who knows the minds of SCO?

SCO continued with the struggle, however, and pushed it's claim for the Unix copyright despite Novell's emergence onto the scene, and subsequently Novell's counter claim for those same copyrights. The court battle has been fierce on both sides, but recently SCO has run into a snag.

On August 10, 2007, Judge Dale Kimball ruled that “...the court concludes that Novell is the owner of the UNIX and UnixWare Copyrights.” Novell was awarded a summary judgment on a number of claims while many of SCO's claims were denied. In addition to the verdict, SCO was ordered to hand over licenses fee's to Novell!

Novell's statement on the ruling: “The courts ruling has cut out the core of SCO's case and as a result, eliminates SCO's threat to the Linux community based upon allegations of copyright infringements of UNIX. We are extremely pleased with the outcome.”

Novell may be happy with the outcome, but SCO is definitely not! On Friday, August 10th SCO's stock was worth about $1.70/share (trade symbol SCOX). The trading day ended before the verdict was handed down. On the following Monday, SCO's stock price was hovering around $0.40.
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Not being a stockbroker or an analyst I can't tell you why their stock price dropped so dramatically, but it is suspect that the drop in stock price followed so closely on the heels of the courts decision.

So what does this mean to the average consumer? Should we even care about this other than an interesting side note for the history of Linux?

Actually, the ramifications for this decision are fairly substantial. While SCO was fighting their legal battles, they sent out notices to companies threatening legal actions if they did not cease and desist with their use of Linux. If a company wanted to use Linux, they had to weight the benefits of better platform against the cost of a lawsuit. This threat kept many people from adopting Linux, effectively stunting the growth and adoption rate of Linux.

Now that the threat of a lawsuit is gone, combined with the recent partnership between Novell and Microsoft, companies don't need to have these other concerns when trying to decide what to use in their network. I predict more companies will step away from the platforms they have been pigeonholed in and start adopting more open source solutions.

*Image provided by http://money.excite.com

Point-in-time back up server:
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Along the lines of all the other linux home server stuff I've been doing i am now going to talk about a backup server. Word to the wise, this type of back up is for data only. If you try to back up an entire hard drive (a.k.a. ghosting) i cannot guarantee success. Also, between backup and restoring the same file system must be used. If you pulled data off an NTSF formated file system, don't try to put it on a HDD formated with ext3. It just wont work. That said, here ya go: automated data backup with SuSE LinuxCollapse )

Theres no place like 127.0.0.1
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There is no place like home, and ssh allows us to connect to home any time we want to in a secure way. We don't want people to see all the illegal movies and videos you'll be accessing anyway, right? So we use ssh to tunnel into our home network. We looked at that last post, so in this post ill explain exactly how ssh works, or in theory how it works.SSH ExplainedCollapse )

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