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Old 12-15-2009, 11:40 AM
Alvin
 
Default Earth Computing

A lot of questions in the annual user survey concern cloud computing. I
administer some small businesses and use Ubuntu in most of them. Maybe my
biggest client will one day use a personal cloud, and I applaud the efforts,
but I can 't help but notice that other things are left in the cold.
The survey wants to know how Ubuntu Server is used. I'm curious about the
results and really wonder how many Ubuntu clouds there really are, in contrast
to file, web, terminal and other servers.

I'd like to give an example of how we are using Ubuntu in one company and
where it could be put to use in the future, along with the issues encountered.
The reason for this is that I think there is a lot of room for improvement
outside the cloud.

We're a prepress company with a mixed network.
- 3 Solaris Servers with Helios.
Why not Ubuntu?
- ZFS (does not need much explanation)
- Helios, A commercial application to provide file and print sharing for
Macintosh.
- [bug 462169] "nmbd dies on startup when network interfaces are not up yet"
These run Samba and are NFS servers.
These machines are an example of what stability should be. No serious bugs.

- 3 Ubuntu Virtual Hosts
These run Karmic. They are basic installs with ubuntu-virt-server installed.
They do suffer from some problems.
- [bug 460914] "root device is sometimes not found"
- [bug 446031] "static network interfaces do not come up at boot"
- [bug 470776] "NFS shares do not mount at boot"
- [bug 491273] "netfs storage pools are not autostarted"
- [bug 444563] "udev errors all over the place"
Aside from that, IF they want to find the root drive, are set to DHCP, and
libvirt-bin is restarted, we can run virtual machines.
kvm runs well, but I'm scared of reboots.
When Karmic was just released, we used separate /boot on all servers which
also rendered them unbootable. [bug 462961, fixed]
Due to the above problems, I would love to have some sort of boot log [bug
328881]

- 4 Ubuntu Virtual machines.
These run Jaunty because of the above bugs and because of a regression [bug
224138] "No NFS modules in karmic 32-bit"
2 of these machines run our most important commercial production software.
kubuntu-desktop is installed on them and the users use XMDCP to work on
these servers.
Users also run rdesktop from here to get to Microsoft Word on a MS Windows
Terminal server.
They do suffer from some problems.
(I'm not mentioning Kubuntu stuff. It's not that bad)
- [bug 366728] "LD_LIBRARY_PATH not loads from .profile"
- [bug 374907] "libmotif3 crashes"
- [bug 251709] "Caps Lock does not work in rdesktop"
- [bug 86021 or 234543] "XDMCP does not work without reverse dns, or with
the basic /etc/hosts"

- 1 Debian based commercial router/firewall/mailserver
Ubuntu could do this, but we're pretty happy with this machine.

- There are also a lot of Windows Servers, virtual and physical. These will
probably never be replaced.

- The clients run Kubuntu, Windows and Mac OS 9/X. The Kubuntu machines are
XDMCP server and normal workstations.

Sometimes you hear: "it's open source. Don't complain and fix it yourself."
That's partly true. I'm not a programmer, but I was able to patch libmotif3 to
solve the crashes.
The kind people in ubuntu-bugs also managed to convince me that I could
package the new version of openmotif myself and put it in Debian. Maybe I'll
learn how to do that, so that bug can at least be closed. I can understand
that there is not a lot of interest in this package, but we need it and will
probably need it for some time to come.
What I can't understand is that there would be no interest in NFS. Is everyone
using samba between unix machines these days?

This is a real-life scenario. Is it common? I don't know. It's not free of
struggles as you can see. So, this is a plea for quality. Cloud Computing
might be very important, but please don't lose sight of the little guys who
just want some 'classic' servers.

Links
-----
Ubuntu Server user survey:
http://ubuntu.com/server
Bugs, "In order of apprearance":
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/462169
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/460914
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/446031
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/470776
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/491273
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/444563
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/462961
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/328881
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/224138
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/366728
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/374907
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/251709
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/86021
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/234543

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Old 01-27-2010, 06:17 PM
Joe McDonagh
 
Default Earth Computing

Alvin wrote:
> A lot of questions in the annual user survey concern cloud computing. I
> administer some small businesses and use Ubuntu in most of them. Maybe my
> biggest client will one day use a personal cloud, and I applaud the efforts,
> but I can 't help but notice that other things are left in the cold.
> The survey wants to know how Ubuntu Server is used. I'm curious about the
> results and really wonder how many Ubuntu clouds there really are, in contrast
> to file, web, terminal and other servers.
>
> I'd like to give an example of how we are using Ubuntu in one company and
> where it could be put to use in the future, along with the issues encountered.
> The reason for this is that I think there is a lot of room for improvement
> outside the cloud.
>
> We're a prepress company with a mixed network.
> - 3 Solaris Servers with Helios.
> Why not Ubuntu?
> - ZFS (does not need much explanation)
> - Helios, A commercial application to provide file and print sharing for
> Macintosh.
> - [bug 462169] "nmbd dies on startup when network interfaces are not up yet"
> These run Samba and are NFS servers.
> These machines are an example of what stability should be. No serious bugs.
>
> - 3 Ubuntu Virtual Hosts
> These run Karmic. They are basic installs with ubuntu-virt-server installed.
> They do suffer from some problems.
> - [bug 460914] "root device is sometimes not found"
> - [bug 446031] "static network interfaces do not come up at boot"
> - [bug 470776] "NFS shares do not mount at boot"
> - [bug 491273] "netfs storage pools are not autostarted"
> - [bug 444563] "udev errors all over the place"
> Aside from that, IF they want to find the root drive, are set to DHCP, and
> libvirt-bin is restarted, we can run virtual machines.
> kvm runs well, but I'm scared of reboots.
> When Karmic was just released, we used separate /boot on all servers which
> also rendered them unbootable. [bug 462961, fixed]
> Due to the above problems, I would love to have some sort of boot log [bug
> 328881]
>
> - 4 Ubuntu Virtual machines.
> These run Jaunty because of the above bugs and because of a regression [bug
> 224138] "No NFS modules in karmic 32-bit"
> 2 of these machines run our most important commercial production software.
> kubuntu-desktop is installed on them and the users use XMDCP to work on
> these servers.
> Users also run rdesktop from here to get to Microsoft Word on a MS Windows
> Terminal server.
> They do suffer from some problems.
> (I'm not mentioning Kubuntu stuff. It's not that bad)
> - [bug 366728] "LD_LIBRARY_PATH not loads from .profile"
> - [bug 374907] "libmotif3 crashes"
> - [bug 251709] "Caps Lock does not work in rdesktop"
> - [bug 86021 or 234543] "XDMCP does not work without reverse dns, or with
> the basic /etc/hosts"
>
> - 1 Debian based commercial router/firewall/mailserver
> Ubuntu could do this, but we're pretty happy with this machine.
>
> - There are also a lot of Windows Servers, virtual and physical. These will
> probably never be replaced.
>
> - The clients run Kubuntu, Windows and Mac OS 9/X. The Kubuntu machines are
> XDMCP server and normal workstations.
>
> Sometimes you hear: "it's open source. Don't complain and fix it yourself."
> That's partly true. I'm not a programmer, but I was able to patch libmotif3 to
> solve the crashes.
> The kind people in ubuntu-bugs also managed to convince me that I could
> package the new version of openmotif myself and put it in Debian. Maybe I'll
> learn how to do that, so that bug can at least be closed. I can understand
> that there is not a lot of interest in this package, but we need it and will
> probably need it for some time to come.
> What I can't understand is that there would be no interest in NFS. Is everyone
> using samba between unix machines these days?
>
> This is a real-life scenario. Is it common? I don't know. It's not free of
> struggles as you can see. So, this is a plea for quality. Cloud Computing
> might be very important, but please don't lose sight of the little guys who
> just want some 'classic' servers.
>
> Links
> -----
> Ubuntu Server user survey:
> http://ubuntu.com/server
> Bugs, "In order of apprearance":
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/462169
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/460914
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/446031
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/470776
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/491273
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/444563
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/462961
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/328881
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/224138
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/366728
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/374907
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/251709
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/86021
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/234543
>
>
IDK what's with the 'hey brah' subject line, but you probably shouldn't
be using an LTS-interim release like karmic or jaunty for the business.
You will run into more show-stopping bugs. I prefer RHEL for business,
but whatever.

And for the firewall you might want to think about moving to OpenBSD.

--
Joe McDonagh
AIM: YoosingYoonickz
IRC: joe-mac on freenode
L'ennui est contre-révolutionnaire


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Old 01-27-2010, 09:15 PM
Dustin Kirkland
 
Default Earth Computing

On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 6:40 AM, Alvin <info@alvin.be> wrote:
...
> This is a real-life scenario. Is it common? I don't know. It's not free of
> struggles as you can see. So, this is a plea for quality. Cloud Computing
> might be very important, but please don't lose sight of the little guys who
> just want some 'classic' servers.

As one of the Canonical Ubuntu Server Developers working on our Ubuntu
Enterprise Cloud, I'll respond to this ...

We absolutely have a focus on quality for the "classic servers", as
you call them. Basic Ubuntu Servers are our foundation, truly, for
all of our Cloud Computing efforts, both as a Virtualization Guest,
and a Virtualization Hypervisor.

Your email is well constructed, and having a targeted bug list is an
excellent start. My guidance to you would be:
* Help get each of those bugs into a triaged state, and with an
appropriate priority set, and filed against the correct package.
* Re-test them with the latest development code, the 10.04 release
that's under development.
* Provide all the information you possibly can to help a developer
work to solve those problem.
* Nominate them for release, probably targeting Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid at
this point.
* If you have hacks, work arounds, fixes, or patches, please, by all
means, attach them to the bugs, as again, this will help a developer
get an appropriate fix into Ubuntu sooner than later.
* And have just a bit of patience and understanding that we have 100s
(or 1000s) of bugs, and merely a 5-person Ubuntu Server Team in
Canonical (plus a few dozen more Ubuntu and Debian community members
that help out).

:-Dustin

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Old 01-28-2010, 07:31 AM
Etienne Goyer
 
Default Earth Computing

> Alvin wrote:
>> Why not Ubuntu?
>> - ZFS (does not need much explanation)

Not looking to make excuse, but just so you know, ZFS on Linux is
unlikely to happen due to licensing issue:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZFS#Linux


>> These run Jaunty because of the above bugs and because of a regression [bug
>> 224138] "No NFS modules in karmic 32-bit"

Again, not trying to make excuse, and not sure I understand the problem
correctly, but that sounds like an overstatement. It seems like the
-virtual kernel flavor is missing some modules (including those for
NFS*v4*), but you could just as well use the -generic or -server flavor.
Or am I misunderstanding something?


>> - [bug 374907] "libmotif3 crashes"
<...snip...>
>> Sometimes you hear: "it's open source. Don't complain and fix it yourself."
>> That's partly true. I'm not a programmer, but I was able to patch libmotif3 to
>> solve the crashes.
>> The kind people in ubuntu-bugs also managed to convince me that I could
>> package the new version of openmotif myself and put it in Debian. Maybe I'll
>> learn how to do that, so that bug can at least be closed. I can understand
>> that there is not a lot of interest in this package, but we need it and will
>> probably need it for some time to come.

IIRC, the Citrix ICA client depends on OpenMotif (not sure which
version), so that bug would be a biggie indeed if it breaks the ICA
Client. We have been using the ICA Client on hardy without any problem
so far, but I am putting that on my radar. Thanks for the heads up, I
will be looking into it.


>> What I can't understand is that there would be no interest in NFS. Is everyone
>> using samba between unix machines these days?

To be honest, yes. NFS is only really useful for read-only share, as
NFS < v4 does not have any form of authentication, where CIFS mount can
be authenticated. It is still not good enough, as the file operation
themselves are not encrypted (supposed to come in Samba any time now),
but it is a step in the right direction. NFSv4, because of its reliance
on Kerberos, is too hairy to set up in most case.

In general, I try to avoid NFS whenever possible, except for trivial
things. CIFS with Unix Extensions has been serving me well so far.

But thanks for your feedbacks, you are doing the right thing. I am not
working in the distro team (I am in Corporate Services), so I cannot do
anything to help with your bugs directly, but I think it is a very good
thing that we get this kind of feedback.


--
Etienne Goyer
Technical Account Manager - Canonical Ltd
Ubuntu Certified Instructor - LPIC-3

~= Ubuntu: Linux for Human Beings =~

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Old 01-28-2010, 09:25 AM
Ante Karamatić
 
Default Earth Computing

On 15.12.2009 13:40, Alvin wrote:

> - Helios, A commercial application to provide file and print sharing for
> Macintosh.

Is there something wrong with netatalk? It's an open source application
that provides file and print sharing. For OSX, AFP is deprecated anyway
(and printing works much better with CUPS, which is owned by Apple).

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Old 01-28-2010, 09:58 AM
Etienne Goyer
 
Default Earth Computing

Ante Karamatić wrote:
> On 15.12.2009 13:40, Alvin wrote:
>
>> - Helios, A commercial application to provide file and print sharing for
>> Macintosh.
>
> Is there something wrong with netatalk? It's an open source application
> that provides file and print sharing. For OSX, AFP is deprecated anyway
> (and printing works much better with CUPS, which is owned by Apple).

Indeed, modern MacOS actually speaks CIFS, so Samba is all you need.
netatalk is only really useful when speaking to ancient Mac, it is
somewhat obsolete these days.


--
Etienne Goyer
Technical Account Manager - Canonical Ltd
Ubuntu Certified Instructor - LPIC-3

~= Ubuntu: Linux for Human Beings =~


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Old 01-28-2010, 11:18 AM
Alvin
 
Default Earth Computing

On Wednesday 27 January 2010 20:17:00 Joe McDonagh wrote:
> Alvin wrote:
> > A lot of questions in the annual user survey concern cloud computing. I
> > administer some small businesses and use Ubuntu in most of them. Maybe my
> > biggest client will one day use a personal cloud, and I applaud the
> > efforts, but I can 't help but notice that other things are left in the
> > cold. [...]

> IDK what's with the 'hey brah' subject line, but you probably shouldn't
> be using an LTS-interim release like karmic or jaunty for the business.
> You will run into more show-stopping bugs. I prefer RHEL for business,
> but whatever.

This is true in a lot of situations, but Hardy is not an option for us. We're
using the virtual servers to do (a lot) of assembling of .xml files. That's a
lot of integer calculating and pretty heavy I/O over NFS. I tested Hardy,
Intrepid, Jaunty and Karmic. Karmic has the only version of KVM that does not
crash while doing those calculations.

RHEL is actually the supported Linux distribution for the software we're using
(http://www.sdlxysoft.com/en/products/xpp/), and we seriously considered it.
The main reason we tried Ubuntu, is because I know the Debian way better and
that's an important consideration. The problems with LD_LIBRARY_PATH and
libmotif do not exist in RHEL, but we found workarounds for them.

> And for the firewall you might want to think about moving to OpenBSD.

OpenBSD is certainly made for that job, but the out-of-the-box solution we're
using now is doing great for now. (http://www.collax.com/) Besides, they have
really excellent support.

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Old 01-28-2010, 11:51 AM
Alvin
 
Default Earth Computing

On Thursday 28 January 2010 09:31:00 Etienne Goyer wrote:
> > Alvin wrote:
> >> Why not Ubuntu?
> >> - ZFS (does not need much explanation)
>
> Not looking to make excuse, but just so you know, ZFS on Linux is
> unlikely to happen due to licensing issue:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZFS#Linux

I know. It's still the most useful filesystem around, and we want to use the
best tools for the job. LVM is not as flexible as ZFS. Maybe things will
brighten for Linux when BTRFS comes around.

> >> These run Jaunty because of the above bugs and because of a regression
> >> [bug
> >>
> >> 224138] "No NFS modules in karmic 32-bit"
>
> Again, not trying to make excuse, and not sure I understand the problem
> correctly, but that sounds like an overstatement. It seems like the
> -virtual kernel flavor is missing some modules (including those for
> NFS*v4*), but you could just as well use the -generic or -server flavor.
> Or am I misunderstanding something?

Yes, virtio. The virtual kernels perform faster. In extreme cases, a
calculation could take as much as 6 hours. You will run in stability issues
when using the normal kernel. (Our old Solaris8 machines do the same in 6
days.)
Besides, when the virtual machines were build, we had no choice due to this
bug: [kvm guests not using virtio for networking lose network connectivity]
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/286101

> >> - [bug 374907] "libmotif3 crashes"
>
> <...snip...>
>
> >> Sometimes you hear: "it's open source. Don't complain and fix it
> >> yourself." That's partly true. I'm not a programmer, but I was able to
> >> patch libmotif3 to solve the crashes.
> >> The kind people in ubuntu-bugs also managed to convince me that I could
> >> package the new version of openmotif myself and put it in Debian. Maybe
> >> I'll learn how to do that, so that bug can at least be closed. I can
> >> understand that there is not a lot of interest in this package, but we
> >> need it and will probably need it for some time to come.
>
> IIRC, the Citrix ICA client depends on OpenMotif (not sure which
> version), so that bug would be a biggie indeed if it breaks the ICA
> Client. We have been using the ICA Client on hardy without any problem
> so far, but I am putting that on my radar. Thanks for the heads up, I
> will be looking into it.

Thanks! There is also a [needs-packaging] bug report:
https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/462182

> >> What I can't understand is that there would be no interest in NFS. Is
> >> everyone using samba between unix machines these days?
>
> To be honest, yes. NFS is only really useful for read-only share, as
> NFS < v4 does not have any form of authentication, where CIFS mount can
> be authenticated. It is still not good enough, as the file operation
> themselves are not encrypted (supposed to come in Samba any time now),
> but it is a step in the right direction. NFSv4, because of its reliance
> on Kerberos, is too hairy to set up in most case.
>
> In general, I try to avoid NFS whenever possible, except for trivial
> things. CIFS with Unix Extensions has been serving me well so far.

Is LTSP not heavily dependant on NFS? I think it's a mistake to throw the Unix
way overboard in favour of MS Windows solutions. NFS and CIFS have different
usage scenarios. There is certainly room for improvement, but that's why NFSv4
exists. I can't remember if there were questions about file sharing technology
in the Ubuntu Server Survey, but you should try to put it in a survey. I'm
curious about the result.

Also, keep in mind that in some situations, security is not important.
Security often comes at a price (complexity and speed). I admit, central user
management is only partly functional in this company. Our current security
system is based on the concept of 'User Private Groups'. That works fine over
NFS (not v4). In order to use Akonadi on shared /home you do need NFSv4 due to
locking issues. Implementation is tricky though.
Users need access to the same filesystems anyway. Of course they do make
mistakes and erase files, or move them to the wrong place. That's why the
regular ZFS snapshots can be so handy. Our network has been based around NFS
for at least over 12 years, and it was quite a shock to see that computers did
no longer boot after the update to Karmic.

> But thanks for your feedbacks, you are doing the right thing. I am not
> working in the distro team (I am in Corporate Services), so I cannot do
> anything to help with your bugs directly, but I think it is a very good
> thing that we get this kind of feedback.

I must say I'm quite happy with this attention. Your offer for commercial
support will certainly be accepted in light of the fact that there is interest
to know what people are actually doing (or trying to do) with Ubuntu.

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Old 01-28-2010, 12:01 PM
Alvin
 
Default Earth Computing

On Thursday 28 January 2010 11:58:31 Etienne Goyer wrote:
> Ante Karamatić wrote:
> > On 15.12.2009 13:40, Alvin wrote:
> >> - Helios, A commercial application to provide file and print sharing
> >> for
> >>
> >> Macintosh.
> >
> > Is there something wrong with netatalk? It's an open source application
> > that provides file and print sharing. For OSX, AFP is deprecated anyway
> > (and printing works much better with CUPS, which is owned by Apple).
>
> Indeed, modern MacOS actually speaks CIFS, so Samba is all you need.
> netatalk is only really useful when speaking to ancient Mac, it is
> somewhat obsolete these days.

I told the samba server to deny access to macintosh due to a multitude of
problems. MacOS does speak CIFS, and netatalk has probably evolved since I
last tested it, but there are different reasons here to choose Helios:

- The product has been proven to be reliable
- Searches are a lot faster (last time I checked).
- CIFS is not an option for Mac in some environments. Have you tried it?
Resource forks will get lost and Mac users will see files that aren't there or
will not see files that are there. This is reportedly fixed in MacOS 10.6, but
we're not willing to replace all those expensive PPC machines and Adobe
software yet.
- We still have Mac OS9 machines in active use. (I know...)
- Other than that, Helios adds some functionality like OPI, but we're not
using that anymore.

On the whole, Macs do not play well in a networking environment. Adobe on Mac
certainly does not make things easier. They officially do not support
networked computers. Helios makes life a bit easier for admins.

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Old 01-28-2010, 12:07 PM
Alvin
 
Default Earth Computing

On Wednesday 27 January 2010 23:15:37 Dustin Kirkland wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 6:40 AM, Alvin <info@alvin.be> wrote:
> ...
>
> > This is a real-life scenario. Is it common? I don't know. It's not free
> > of struggles as you can see. So, this is a plea for quality. Cloud
> > Computing might be very important, but please don't lose sight of the
> > little guys who just want some 'classic' servers.
>
> As one of the Canonical Ubuntu Server Developers working on our Ubuntu
> Enterprise Cloud, I'll respond to this ...
>
> We absolutely have a focus on quality for the "classic servers", as
> you call them. Basic Ubuntu Servers are our foundation, truly, for
> all of our Cloud Computing efforts, both as a Virtualization Guest,
> and a Virtualization Hypervisor.
>
> Your email is well constructed, and having a targeted bug list is an
> excellent start. My guidance to you would be:
> * Help get each of those bugs into a triaged state, and with an
> appropriate priority set, and filed against the correct package.
> * Re-test them with the latest development code, the 10.04 release
> that's under development.
> * Provide all the information you possibly can to help a developer
> work to solve those problem.
> * Nominate them for release, probably targeting Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid at
> this point.
> * If you have hacks, work arounds, fixes, or patches, please, by all
> means, attach them to the bugs, as again, this will help a developer
> get an appropriate fix into Ubuntu sooner than later.
> * And have just a bit of patience and understanding that we have 100s
> (or 1000s) of bugs, and merely a 5-person Ubuntu Server Team in
> Canonical (plus a few dozen more Ubuntu and Debian community members
> that help out).

Thanks. I appreciate the suggestions and all your work on this. It's about
time I start testing Lucid. Eventually we will make the switch and then stay
on Lucid on all non-desktop machines until the next LTS release.

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