Thursday Sep 18, 2008

Easy Peasy, ezweb and ubuntu

I have EZweb, see also ezweb, fast new dynamic mashups, running inside an Ubuntu 8 VM on my windows Laptop.

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The installation instructions were almost perfect, now I need to see how permit the VM to serve external systems. Also I am using Django not Apache, so I need to understand

  • how to invoke a start/stop script for it
  • or how to allow it to run in an apache server
  • or how to permit apache to act as a proxy for Django.

The later will hopefully be very similar to making snipsnap work behind apache, which I have done on the Qube.

Now to build an Application?


Tuesday Sep 16, 2008

ezweb, fast new dynamic mashups

The real reason for meeting with the Telefonica reresentative was to gain some familairity with the NESSI project they lead, called EZWeb. This is hosted on the Morfeo Project site, and these projects have significant support from the Spanish Government. EZ Web has an english language installation & documentation page and for Ubuntu there is an apt script, documented on the web. I am just booting my Virtual Box Ubuntu VM to see if it works.

It requires Postgres or MySQL, Python and Django, documented on itsother operating systems page, I'll may check this out and see how hard it is to install on my Open Solaris VM, or I may bring up another Nevada VM.

Juan Jose demonstrated the ease of use of the mashup tool, and it'd be cool to have a go. This may even by the tipping point/use case that gets me to move off the Qube onto something better.


Sunday Jan 28, 2007

Uograding Postgres on a Qube

I've been busy installing Postgres on my Cobalt Qube, running Linux. The first thing I did was to decide to install a second and newer version of the product. Despite the fact that I can see the installed version of Postgres (V6.x) is not running, you can never tell what the OS designers decided to do for database services. Here's how I did it.

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Tuesday Jul 25, 2006

My personal planet

I now have an instance of the Planet RSS feed aggregator running on my Qube under Linux 2.2 which is aggregating my Snipsnap and feeds, or would be if I hadn't discovered a misconfiguration that makes it difficult to blog on my snipsnap. (This seems to be a windows firewall problem!)

How do I do this?

Planet requires Python(v2,2 or better). So I downloaded the most recent Python (2.4) from and tried to compile it into an install directory, this failed because my TCL library was too old, and I couldn't replace this with an up to date version; the ActiveState TCL distribution complained about my libc's age and version, and with Linux, that's that. For more on this unfortunate state of affairs, check my personal wiki here.... Fortunately I have a friend (Chris Gerhard) who installed Python 2.x a long time ago on a Qube and I borrowed his installation directory, copied it to my system and ran a make install. The install points at /usr/local/bin which means I can use a ${PATH} variable to control if my new Python V2.x or old Python V1.x is invoked. it claims to be V2.4 so I have no idea how it works, but I then downloaded the Planet code from its home site,, which I'd like to say is very simple but that wouldn't be true for me since I don't read Python, so with a bit of trial and error, this is what to do -

  1. I created a user called planet and ensured that $PATH & $MANPATH were set appropriately. i.e. to invoke my new version of python and then unpacked the archive into the user home directory. A sub-directory to hold the run time logs was created and also a sub-directory to hold files for a specific planet instance. (./Logs & ${HOME}/${PLANETNAME}.
  2. I then copied the fancy templates into ${HOME}/${PLANETNAME}, together with planet.css.
  3. I created a target directory which needs to be in the web server's file system. I chose ${WEBSERVER_ROOT}/planet/${PLANETNAME} and placed the image files into the target directory. The image files include the planet logo, the feed format badges and the face icon(s). (The face icon is exactly that, it allows the logoing of articles in the HTML version of the feed and the authors suggest a picture of the article author). Ensure the planet user has write permissions to this directory
  4. I then created the config file, I used explicit file and file directory names and placed the config file in the planet instance directory i.e. ${HOME}/${PLANETNAME}. The config file references a cache directory which planet uses. Planet uses a cache directory, this needs to be created and referenced in the config.ini. I placed this in the /var file system.
  5. The planet script, needs to be run occasionally. I chose to use cron to do this and wrote a script to ensure that all output was kept and written to a log file. (I also wrote a second script to keep these under control). I run planet every 15 minutes which given there's only one author is frequent enough. The log tidy up I run once/day. These jobs run as user planet, which is`why the planet user needs write privilidges to the target directory.
  6. I amended the index.html.tmpl and the planet.css files to get a colour conformity with the rest of my web space (except this blog) and discovered that the atom logo is missing, so I went and got myself one of those. Most of the amendments I made are to the sidebar. My planet is here..., PlanetCycling is here... which has a vanilla html page. I changed H1 to get my green banner and left justification.

Here's my H1 rule, which is used to implement the page banner -

h1 {
margin-top: 0px;
padding-top: 20px;

background-color: #690;
border: thin dotted #808080;

font-family: "Bitstream Vera Sans", sans-serif; font-weight: normal;
letter-spacing: -2px;
text-transform: lowercase;
text-align: right;
color: white;

Hope this helps!


Friday Mar 10, 2006

About: opensolaris appliances community

I've been considering how best to contribute to the opensolaris so called appliances community and while there is an excellent discussion forum, I think I'll see if I can create a technorati watchlist that the opensolaris site can access using RSS.

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Tuesday Jan 31, 2006

From Qube to Cube

I can't be-eeeive it. I have my Qube running. It's hosting services and I now need to explore if "snipsnap" is what I want, but as I explore the next set of applications that might be useful I begin to see how behind the curve the old Cobalt O/S is. I spoke to Chris Gerhard who's thinking about upgrading his three Qubes, but using opensolaris, (see here... for his article, & here... for the opensolaris appliance group). I really like the form factor, and I'm quite impressed with the "headless" system. So I set to looking for replacement cases, in which I might build my own server. Yeah! Right.. Interestingly, CNET have also published an article detailing the growing differentiation between computer vendors around the case (or colour in this instance), but both ACER, with their Ferrari range, & Alienware (See here...) are offering very different laptops.

I came across a number of e-shops, including X-Case, Silver PCs & Directron (their Cube page), all of which do a number of parts including system cases. (This is the word you need if using Google! i.e. case.) I've found a couple of cases that look quite neat. Again no recommendations, I'm merely sharing research.

Firstly, the Lian Li PC 880, this looks very cute, has two internal disks and room for two 5.25 exchangable media devices. CD-ROM & ZIP? Is ZIP any good? Probably not, if we're using 120Gb (or maybe larger disks), then ZIP is shagged. Maybe we need to look at DVD/W. Can we do this with UNIX? The case supports an ATX card. Dimensions W443 x H205 x D503mm, a typical desktop pizza box and while very pretty, maybe a bit large. Its certainly the widest and deepest of those I've found.

lian li PC 880


They also do a more industrial looking system called the V880. You can check this out at their site here.... Its dimensions are 380x160x440 mm (W,H,D), so smaller than V880 but it's still only got two internal disks

What's this called? A company called Shuttle do this. It looks nice, comes with a CPU and hence a bit expensive. Dimensions 200 mm x 300 mm x 185 mm, which makes it the smallest of these cases. This looks like the case that Hitech Savvy use as Qube replacements, it supports SATA disk, but only two (?), and has one 5.25 and one 3.5 external slots so again CD-ROM/W and ZIP devices become available . This one's quite small, but I need to see if it comes without the motherboard as while this'll probably do me, I can that some of my potential collaborators may want something better. Dimensions: 300 x 200 x 185 mm. These people seem to be OEM only, I havn't found their home page.

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This is the Lian Li PC-402A. An aluminum Mini Case - taking a Mini Flex ATX card. Very Pretty. Again 2 internal disks, but three exchangable media slots, which is probably more than required. IAs said, it supports Mini flex ATX Motherboard. Dimensions 210 x 240 x 340mm (W x H x D). Small foot print if a bit high.

This is the Antec Aria, and the picture came from Xcase's site (here...). This one's got three drives, Accepts motherboards up to MicroATX (24,4 x 24,4 cm) and 4 full-height PCI expansion cards, only one external slot but 5.25 so a CD-ROM/W is a possibility, for emergency boot and backup. Dimensions 263 mm (W) x 210 mm (H) x 393 mm (D), so not as big as it looks.

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Note: The pictures in this article are hosted at their publisher's sites. The links are above. They presumably want to sell this stuff and may not be the most appropriate vendor for you (or me). My research isn't finished and I'm not necessarily recommending anything here, except that Cube cases look neat, but they're all much bigger than the Cobalt. Oh Dear

Note: Also I have broken one of my rules and used a table to format this article, maybe it would have been better to write seperate articles, but I didn't. I hope this looks OK in your browser.


Sunday Jan 29, 2006

Qube Diaries!

I've finally got an instance of Snipsnap running on my Qube and I've mucked around with the look and feel to give it my "Green Robot" look which my home site also has, if you like it, you can go there and download it.


screen shot of my snipsnap front page


I have used the .war version of snipsnap and have thus had to install Java, tomcat and snipsnap; the Qube's Linux does not come with any of these! Once I got the downloads to work correctly, this is fairly simple.

Java went on easily as you'd expect. I just followed the installation instructions at I took the full J2EE SDK pack for Linux. With tomcat, I took the binary distribution (V4.1) for Linux from the apache tomcat site. (I can't rember why we only took V4.1, there was a reason; it might be because of the oldness of the linux distro, or it might be Snipsnap thing.) Anyway the install is just a cp [copy] command. I then wrote a rc.d script for tomcat which needs to know where the ${JAVA_HOME} directory is but otherwise I have invoked the start and stop scripts distributed with tomcat. (They're in the ./bin directory). I also had to dick around with the tomcat-users.xml file. Installing Snipsnap was even simpler, with the .war version, you just need to upload this using the tomcat manager screen. When I uploaded the .war to tomcat, I had renamed the .war to snipsnap.war. (I think this is where it inherits its namespace root from, but anyway, you don't want all that version stuff leaking into the database structure.) All that's left then is amending the CSS to develop a new theme. Again Snipsnap's documentation is quite good and my only problem was my own CSS coding.


Sunday Jan 22, 2006

Uploading to the Qube

I have now used Google/linux to find unix2dos and dos2unix .rpm files and installed them using

rpm --install

i.e. they were missing from the Cobalt build and somehow the ftp client I was using wasn't handling the conversions, so this should make editing my shell scripts using notepad &/or context on windows easier.

As I implied last month I have got to get to grips with the bourne shell again; I'm holding off on the Korn Shell. These editing techniques may help

I have also got to grips with using ftp/wget on the Qube. Its a lot quicker than using http and quicker than using other system as web clients for the fetch.





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