Puppet 3.0.0 is here

As some of you may have noticed already, Puppet configuration management system has just been upgraded to 3.0.0 release.

Being a major milestone, this upgrade brings the following major improvements:

  • performance is much better for catalog compilation
  • improved and expanded OS support – lots of Windows improvements, great new functionality for Solaris (zones, packages and services are finally supported now)
  • pluginsync is now enabled by default
  • new version of Ruby is supported (Ruby 1.9) and Ruby DSL was completely rewritten
  • dynamic scoping is no longer supported (yep, this breaks backwards compatibility with 2.7.x branch of Puppet)
If you're new to Puppet, please visit the PuppetLabs website for more info and for free download.

I have read and reviewed a couple of great books on Puppet, so check the reviews out:

Using Dropbox with Unix

Although last week saw some pretty exciting developments in the cloud storage (Google Drive announcement and SkyDrive free 25Gb space), the truth is that Dropbox is still the king of the cloud storage hill – it's hands down the easiest to use and integrate.

I've been a Dropbox user for a few years now, but have started using it actively only in the last 12 months or so. It's been an invaluable tool for me thanks to its integration with 1Password, the password tool of my choice. Dropbox also helps with lots of day-to-day tasks and thats why I decided it's time to share some of the tips.

Having used Dropbox extensively on Windows systems (XP on laptop and Win7 on desktops), I've recently moved on to using Dropbox with my Mac OSX desktop and Linux hosting.

So here are the top tips for using Dropbox with Unix – each one does wonders for me and so I hope you like them as well.

Important: If you're not a Dropbox user yet, please use this link to sign up – it means I'll get a small bonus (extra 500MB to my free account) for referring you.

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Passwordless SSH with encrypted homedir in Ubuntu

Quite recently I came across a very interesting issue: while configuring passwordless SSH (it's public key based, so depending on you have it configured it may not be completely passwordless) access to some of my VPS servers, I found that the same keypair just wouldn't work on one of the servers.

Not only that, but the behaviour was quite bizzare: upon my first attempt to connect the public key would get rejected and a regular password would be requested by the ssh session. But once I successfully logged in with my password, any subsequent ssh connections would happily authenticate by my public key and would let me in without a problem.

Those of you using home dir encrypiton in Ubuntu are probably smiling right now! 🙂 But becase I have never consciously configured or used this feature, it took me a good few hours to troubleshoot the issue and come up with the fix.

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Useful Solaris OS tips from my Solaris Blog

As some of you may know already, I've recently restarted my activity on another technical blog of mine: Solaris blog.

Solaris blog: http://solaris.reys.net

Solaris blog is the very first blog I started, I was actively posting new material in 2006-2007.  Since then my primary focus had shifted to Linux systems, but I realized that I miss Solaris so much that I still need to play with latest versions and features in Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris.

Today I'd like to offer you a few articles from Solaris blog, let me know if you find them useful:

Most of these topics are fairly technical and expect you to have previous knowledge of Solaris OS, but Unix Tutorial is here to take care of the basics – so ask away and I'll be glad to help you discover Solaris in my future posts.

Troubleshooting: "du: fts_read: No such file or directory" error

I've just spent a good few hours trying to find any clues to the problem I was getting. du command would fail with a mysterious "fts_read" error, and there didn't seem to be any good answers on the net with explanations why. I figured someday this post will be found and might save someone a lot of time. It's a lengthy post and I believe the first one on this blog to be truly "advanced" in a technical sense.

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Ubuntu Upgrade: From Hardy Heron to Intrepid Ibex

I've been upgrading Ubuntu installations quite a few times recently, and thought it makes sense to post a really short how-to if you ever want to upgrade your Ubuntu distro from the command line.

Use apt-get to upgrade Ubuntu

The procedure for upgrading one Ubuntu release to another one is pretty straightforward. There are some rules though:

  1. Never attempt to skip a release or two when upgrading
  2. Never do a few Ubuntu release upgrades in a row without reboots in between
  3. Always backup the files you change
  4. Always have an install CD for your current Ubuntu release around

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How to see future file timestamps in Solaris

I know I've spoken about timestamps already, but I'd like to further expand the topic.

While there's a great GNU stat command in Linux systems, there's no such thing in Solaris by default, and so you usually depend on ls command with various options to look at file's creation, modification or access time.

The standard /bin/ls command in Solaris doesn't always show you the full timpestamp, usually if it's about a time too far in the past or a bit into the future – so today I'm going to show you a trick to work around it and still confirm such timestamps for any file.

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What to do if numeric id is shown instead of Unix username

As you know, every file in your Unix OS belongs to some user and some group. It is very easy to confirm the ownership of any file because user id and group id which own the file are always linked to the file. However, sometimes you can't tell which user owns the file, and today I'm going to explain why. It's a rather lengthy post and a complicated matter, so please leave questions or comments to help me polish this article off.

Files and directories ownership in Unix

If you look at any file using ls command, you will see an output like the one shown below – it reveals file access permissions, user and group id of the owner, the modification timestamp and the file name itself:

ubuntu$ ls -l /tmp/myfile
-rw-r--r-- 1 greys admin 0 Jan  6 03:51 /tmp/myfile

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How To Install 32-bit Debian Packages on 64-bit System

Many software products, especially the commercial ones, are distributed as 32-bit packages. This means that they won't be installed on your 64-bit system unless you clearly specify that you want to override the architecture dependency.

If you're using Ubuntu or any other Debian based distribution, this post will teach you how to install 32-bit deb packages on your 64-bit OS.

Is it possible to run 32-bit applications on 64-bit OS?

In Unix world, yes: it is quite possible to run 32-bit binaries on 64-bit OS. There should generally be no problem, but there are, as always, a few caveats: