I suck as a system administrator.

There have been some problems with my server recently. It has been running out of swap three or four times resulting in random processes being killed. Two times i had to reboot it, because i was not able to log in anymore, first time the named process was killed, second time the ssh process was killed.
Now i have added some kind of poor mans watchdog script to cron.

/etc/rc.d/sshd status > /dev/null
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
/etc/rc.d/sshd restart
fi

The cause of the problem is still unknown, the log only says that perl processes are stealing my memory, so suspects are SpamAssassin or a CGI.
I restored a backup from before the problem started (wow, my backups seem to actually work..) and started to experiment with RLimitMem.
Since i am going on holiday in September (two weeks without internet access), i hope the problems are solved now.
P.S. turbo23 pointed me to the work by Chris Jones for SoC06, which would have solved a lot of the problems. So i am looking forward to getting jail resource limits into the mainline.

Dear 62.99.151.224

If you would actually read this blog, you would notice, that it rarely happens that i will write more than one blog entry per day. It is not necessary to fetch my Feed every minute.
So please consider increasing the fetch-interval to at least 30 minutes, or I must consider blocking you.

62.99.151.224 - - [05/Dec/2005:15:09:41 +0100] "GET /weblog/index.rdf HTTP/1.1"200 20036 "-" "Akregator/1.2; librss/remnants"
62.99.151.224 - - [05/Dec/2005:15:10:41 +0100] "GET /weblog/index.rdf HTTP/1.1"200 20036 "-" "Akregator/1.2; librss/remnants"
62.99.151.224 - - [05/Dec/2005:15:11:41 +0100] "GET /weblog/index.rdf HTTP/1.1"200 20036 "-" "Akregator/1.2; librss/remnants"

Downtime

On Friday evening i wanted to shut down all computers in my flat, because i was tired and wanted to sleep.
Unfortunately due to a nameserver misconfiguration i ended on the wrong host and shut down this server.
So this server was down until Monday morning, when it was powered on again.
First action after it coming up again, i moved the shutdown binary out of my path, so that this error does not happen again…

MT 3.2

Since today is the last weekend before university starts again, i took the time to upgrade to the latest MovableType version.
My Killer Feature is the Trackback moderation and the SpamLookup Plugin. Let’s see if how they work.
The upgrade went flawless except for my inability to type URLs and paths correct, which resulted in hangs of the Database conversion script and the problem that the mt-upgrade script uses JavaScript which does not work in Konqueror
I will upgrade the FreeBSD port this time, since MT2.x isn’t available anymore.

New URL

Congratulations, you have found the new URL of this Blog.
With this move you will get:

  • More Bandwith, the blog is no longer hosted on my ADSL line.
  • New MovableType version, with new page Layout. Sixapart did a good job by maintaining backward compatibility with the old version, all my hacks and plugins still work.

If you are missing something, please report.
The only thing missing so far, i have not read through all the old entries and moved the images to the new server, so images of old entries are still loaded from my ADSL line.

HTTPS

I finally enabled https on my webserver. Now i don’t have to fear that someone tries to sniff the password for my blog, when i am on a public WLAN :).
I have not switched the default of this blog, because i am not sure if every RSS-Feedreader on the planet supports https and i am also not sure how my slow EPIA system any my slow ADSL line performs.

Performance limit

It looks like i have reached a performance limit of MT. Starting with the last entry commenting is incredible slow. The cause is neither the perl version, nor the Blacklist nor the nofollow plugin. Attaching to the perl process with truss(1) I see endless pread(2) calls on the Berkeley DB files.
Anyone got an idea, how to improve performance?
Now I could setup a MySQL database, but I doubt that would be faster, and there are many larger Blogs that use Berkeley DB.
Or it may be time to say good bye to MT and switch to something else.
Unfortunately there not many advanced systems that use neither PHP nor a seperate Database Server.
This sucks!

trackback spam

Today I received my first trackback spam, well more than 100 pings from several different IPs. Until today I had not even enabled MT-Blacklist for trackbacks. I had to disable trackbacks, this is depressing 🙁
Unfortunately MT-Blacklist De-Spamming seems to hit a system limit. I could only delete 5 pings at a time. Otherwise the server spits out an Internal Server error. Probably because the execution time gets too long. Maybe I should consider replacing my Webserver Epia with a Minimac (which btw boots FreeBSD) or the 1Ghz Epia.
While I was waiting for the de-spamming to process I updated the weather plugin to 1.1.9. Hopefully this fixes some oddities and does not introduce new bugs, because I don’t want to look at the code. If you want to know a reason why not to use php, look at the code
Last weekend i hacked on the rssfetch code. It is now object-orientated, because I started to write unittests after reading the Unit-testing chapter of “Dive into Python”.

The solution for comment spam?`

MovableType release the nofollow-plugin yesterday. The big search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN) and blogsoftware companies (LJ, 6A, Blogger) have defined a new standard to fight comment spam. All links added via comments are now extended with a

rel="nofollow"

I am not yet 100% sure if this will solve the problem.
The plugin should work with the 2.661 version of MT, so I have installed the plugin, and if it works i will add the plugin to the FreeBSD port.