Freitag Nov 14, 2008

Hi Admin, Gnome is gone! We haven't done anything!


I worked at home on my broadband connected Sun Ray and the phone rang. A colleague was on the other side and said that their test zone has no GNOME anymore. He promised that they haven't done anything. It is just gone. The test zone is being used for installing and testing StarOffice (SO), (OOo) and StarOffice PDF Conversion Server (Converter). After promises that no other software than SO, OOo or the Converter have been installed in the last days, I tried to analyze the problem....

Analyze phase

root# svcs -x
svc:/application/font/fc-cache:default (FontConfig Cache Builder)
 State: maintenance since Wed Nov 12 22:39:44 2008
Reason: Start method failed repeatedly, last died on Killed (9).
   See: fc-cache(1M)
   See: /var/svc/log/application-font-fc-cache:default.log
Impact: \*This service is not running.\*

Me: Upps, have you manipulate the system?
He: Ehm... I remember that I have installed and removed a child workspace and also I removed with prodreg a printer device driver I have needed to evaluate a customer problem.
root# more /var/svc/log/application-font-fc-cache:default.log

[ Mar 25 09:46:27 Executing start method ("/usr/bin/fc-cache") ]
[ Mar 25 09:46:41 Method "start" exited with status 0 ]
[ Nov 12 14:53:47 Stopping because service disabled. ]
[ Nov 12 14:53:47 Method property group 'stop' is not present. ]
[ Nov 12 14:54:47 Enabled. ]
[ Nov 12 14:54:50 Executing start method ("/usr/bin/fc-cache") ] fc-cache: fatal: open failed: No such file or directory
[ Nov 12 14:54:50 Method "start" failed due to signal KILL ]

Me: The system has been manipulated by one of the software under test (SUT) you have removed. It has taken the libexpat-library with it. I will come back to you. [click]
A comparison with sister-system and I was sure that it is a specific problem to this test-system.

Resolving the problem

I copied the library and created the symbolic links to get the following result:
root# ls -lia libexpat\*
   1062318 lrwxrwxrwx   1 root     root          17 Nov 13 10:40 ->
   1062317 lrwxrwxrwx   1 root     root          17 Nov 13 10:39 ->
   1062316 -r-xr-xr-x   1 root     bin       307540 Nov 13 10:37

Now some commands
root# svcadm clear svc:/application/font/fc-cache:default
root# svcadm enable svc:/application/font/fc-cache:default
root# svcs -x
root# more /var/svc/log/application-font-fc-cache:default.log

to see that the service is back again:
[ Nov 13 10:45:07 Leaving maintenance because clear requested. ]
[ Nov 13 10:45:07 Enabled. ]
[ Nov 13 10:45:07 Executing start method ("/usr/bin/fc-cache") ]

Ringing up the colleague...
Me: Try to log-in again and tell me that GNOME isn't gone....
He: Yes, Gnome is back. Thank you!
Me: Please validate which nice piece of software removed your library that not customer will have the same problem. Thank you.

Dienstag Jun 05, 2007

Flash Player 9 Beta

If you want to watch sometimes videos or going to a newly designed web page where Adobe's Flash Player is being used you could run into trouble because the installed version is outdated. To get things better done you maybe want to give the Flash 9 Beta version for Solaris SPARC and x86 a try.

Freitag Mrz 02, 2007

1st OpenSolaris Developer Conference

Yesterday I traveled to Berlin and visited the 1st OpenSolaris Developer Conference and the German Unix User Group Frühjahrsfachgespräch 2007.

  1. Keynote on 1. March 2007 – Simon Phipps

    Simon started the day with the keynote and talked about

    • the participation age

    • Communities and how the OSS1 economic system works
    • that Open Source not always means free software
    • OSS Business Model 3.0 where the software need to be paid first time when the participant (better word than customer) is using it.
    • Sun as FOSS2 Startup & what Sun has already open sourced
  2. How to make your program privilege aware - Wolfgang Ley

    Wolfgang (also from the Hamburg Sun office where I am located) held a session about a very, very interesting part in Solaris 10+: The privileges. Sometimes you need a good lecturer to understand things. It isn't complicated, it's great! To make it short: UID 0 isn't needed to do jobs which need more privileges, just add that privilege to the user – or add them to the application if it is called by the specific user :-)

  3. Looking into the black-box – How the kernel may impact your application – Thomas Nau

    From the practice Thomas Nau reported what he and his team done with dtrace at the University of Ulm and a T1-processor based T2000 box. First he introduced dtrace and said that this tool “is one of the best, maybe the best innovations in the last ten+ years” (in the IT) – after his session everybody will agree because it was for me the best session of the day where I learned that the move from the old tools (truss(1), apptrace(1), mdb(1), intrstat(1m), busstat(1m), cputrack(1m), ... ) are the old way and dtrace can give us more specific information what really the application dynamically is doing. The “D-Language” which dtrace uses is easy and we have just to start. He also mentioned to spice up our applications and how.

    Really great was the case study about the “slow” Sun T2000 and how they resolved the problem by changing the cache-bin algorithm (coloring) in /etc/system – which seems to be fixed in the meanwhile by newer OpenSolaris build. One small change and the T2000 boost-up as expected.

  4. [GUUG] Innovation in Solaris – today and tomorrow – Franz Haberhauer

    The GUUG sessions were held in German but some of them were also a day or some hours later on the Solaris DevCon track – maybe more from the point of an OS developer view but I am a tester with system administration tasks.

    This one from Franz I found only on the GUUG track and was interesting what the projects “Nemo”, “Crossbow” and “Clearview” will bring in the world of networking and zones and what the project “FireEngine” did already in Solaris 10. dladm will be the tool for monitoring and managing network interfaces and will make things easier.

    Also the desktop is back to the focus of Solaris (the Sun distribution of OpenSolaris) development with updating the existing modules GNOME to 2.16, Firefox to 2.0, Thunderbird to 1.5 and StarOffice to version 8 and adding Egika (video conferencing) and Vino (remote desktop solution on a vnc base).

    My favorite in the additions is “tamarck” which implemented a privileged HAL3 who finds new devices (USB plug-in your device and play... yeah!).

  5. [GUUG] Solaris Container Best Practices – Detlef Drewanz

    Detlef also held AFAIK only once this session in the GUUG track and his hints are very helpful if you think about using zones. Which use cases are possible? How to deploy Solaris Containers and which questions you need answers for? The different zone-types was nothing new to me but the impact on application architectures was very interesting. Deploying applications outside a zone makes things like moving (!) or cloning a zone much easier. The summary is: Plan you infrastructure to get really the full advantage of Solaris Containers.

  6. Back in 2008

    I am looking forward to the next OpenSolaris Developer Conference because the level of sessions was high the small-talks were very interesting.

1Open Source Software
2Free Open Source Software
3Hardware Abstract Layer




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