Tuesday, 31 January 2006

Some news old and new

Google Talk recently joined the open XMPP (Jabber) federation so their users can now message users on any of the other open networks including the one I'm running (dl.nibble.bz). Bitchin! I dropped my Google Talk login and added all my contacts to my own login. So far, there's been no problems. Anyone with compatible clients will be able to any of the (pseudo) peer-to-peer stuff like voice and video. That includes multi-platform clients like... Well it's coming. Gaim has been working hard to introduce voice and video (vv) based on Google's technology and Gaim expects to be able to interoperate across platforms and domains very soon. We're all very excited at the possibility :D

In other "old" news, my luck has been holding with KDE and KDE PIM (Personal Information Management). I have been saving my calendar and contacts as files on a USB key and it works great! I just plug in the key, point KMail at the calendar and contact files on there and *bam* it works!

The other thing with mail is managing filters. Well it turns out KMail doesn't let me filter messages to IMAP folders (at least with the versions I have installed) so I ended up looking at Procmail which runs on the server side. A bit of poking around and it actually works really well! A little bit obtuse to be doing just text-based configs with yet another file format, but it's fairly simple and does the job and naturally no filters need "synching" on the client-side.

The one last issue is that I want to maintain a unified list of syndicated feeds. I can manually export/import my feed list with aKgregator (which is a good RSS/Atom client btw) but it's hardly unified. Oh well.

Friday, 20 January 2006

Syslog: Good for info, good for DOS attacks

So after getting some odd complaints from the mail server this morning about "insufficient space", I had to take a closer look at Siona's var partition which was appearing to fluctuate by ~600MB per day. A quick du -sh * pointed to /var/log being the culprit.

So on first inspection, the mysql-bin logs were not being compressed. A gzip on the old logs there gave a couple hundred megs back. Not a world of difference, but a lot.

Next up, it turns out that syslog.0 and debug.0 were over 300MB each and today's syslog/debug were already over 10MB (having been just rotated). So I take a quick look and I see the usual chatter from various services... But it turns out that "the usual chatter" from slapd was 99.96% of the log. Other then enabling it for debugging, I've never found the stuff getting logged to be especially useful to have around so I've disabled that. It was recording a half dozen lines every time PAM or NSS wanted user info (e.g. perpetually).

In summary, the Squid cache (256MB) didn't make the top 3 disk usage problems under var. It was Syslog that was doing a DOS attack.

Wednesday, 11 January 2006

Gateways and KDE

I finally got around to installing protocol gateways on the Jabber server. It was far easier then I expected. I downloaded and ran PyMSN-t and PyICQ-t and that was that. A couple config file options needed to be set for the gateways, a couple on the Jabber server, and away we go. I was able to "discover" the gateways with Psi very easily and that was it. Pretty handy stuff.

The other adventure was migrating to KDE. After much poking and frustration with various services to get a functional integration of my address book and get a working calendar going, I ended up going with KDE. I'm not too sure how well this will go since I do have to give up on the cross-platform aspect, but we'll go with it for now. I might have to adopt some different storage method but KMail is very versatile in that regard so it may work well on the client side if nothing else.

I have been reluctant to adopt WebDAV as a storage method for the calendar and I don't want to go so far as installing a fully web-based groupware environment. Web-based stuff just seems to fall short on usability and security. Then again, maybe I just need to tighten up the web-access. Now I'm ranting... Must be time to finish my coffee.

Monday, 2 January 2006

Python is n337!

Ah, the festive season. Time for friends and family. Lots of that, not a lot of computer stuff in the last couple weeks. I have been doodling with Python a bit though. It sure does make strapping together scripts very easy. The is enough versitility in the language itself and the plethora of available modules that many scripts are quite simple (e.g. short). In writing code to interact with a database and the local filesystem, I was able to test the scripts by executing the code, including exception handling, in an interactive session. 40 lines will go a long way in Python which is really nice. And it is easy to make it legible, unlike you, Perl.

Enough about that, I'm going back to poking stuff with sticks.

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