“Project Birdman”

I’ve been working with the Novell Ximian engineering team in Cambridge, MA for about 18 months now – working to evolve Red Carpet Enterprise through to ZENworks Linux Management.

The ‘next’ version of ZENworks Linux Management has been planned and under development for about a year – it’s codename was “Project Birdman“.. the name was chosen by the Ximian team 🙂

Novell have just made an announcement at CeBIT that we will be releasing this product as ZENworks 7 Linux Management – and that this will be available in mid 2005.

My colleagues in Product Marketing have made a sweet ‘Sneak Peek’ website with information.

After BrainShare I’ll post more on this.

Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy – found this band a few months ago just poking around looking for new music.

Thoughtful, guitar-based and Scottish. A bit like older Belle and Sebastian.

LinkedIn

I joined LinkedIn late in the game – at the tail-end of 2004. It’s great for re-finding old colleagues and friends; it’s also pretty good for finding potential candidates for open positions.

I’ve tried to keep within the spirit of these ‘social viral networks’ – networking only with people I know well! Here’s a snippet from LinkedIn:

“Who to Invite?”

When you invite a friend or colleague, be sure they would make a good connection for you.

Only invite those you know well
You may be asked to tell one of your trusted friends more about the person you invite. And they may have to do the same for you.
Only invite those you trust
Sometimes you’ll forward a request (either yours, or from a friend) through them. Be sure you trust them to represent you, and to be careful with a potentially serious request.
Only invite those you want to forward things to you
Your connections will forward you requests from other members. Be sure the people you invite know you well enough to send you only things you are interested in.

Even with this recommendation – I get pinged about ten times a week with people wanting to build the ‘biggest network’. I’ve even been sent a whitepaper by one guy justifying why this is ‘a good thing’.

My own take – power networking skews the links and the network itself; with a handful of large hub members you are indirectly connected to many many thousands of people you do not know. How can this help directly with your own requirements?

The only winners seem to be recruiters.

On blogging

It’s a strange thing blogging. I’ve had “content” online for years; just nothing that could be called a regularly updated blog 🙂

At long last it’s time to stop sitting on my hands – I’ve been thinking hard about these three aspects:

Why? I’ve been sharing my thoughts electronically in a work setting for about five years; by email and on internal web sites and discussion lists. I’ve actually (and still do) hosted servers that facilitate that discussion. The biggest question I’ve always had is how to distil those thoughts and post them more publicly without revealing confidential information. I’ve been lurking and reading some of my peers blogs as well as some of those from competitors to help understand the acceptable limits.

What? or to be more accurate – it’s all about the signal to noise ratio. Again – there are lots of blogs from technologists that are just dull – the challenge for anyone publishing (online or in print) is to keep content relevant and fresh without getting mired in a world of tedium and cliche.

Where? I host my own servers – mail and web – for my own personal email and web site. I’m not naive enough to think I’ll be getting anything more than a couple of hits on this data – so the bandwidth isn’t the issue. What’s more important to me is the actual ease of use of the tools to generate the blog. Without starting the whole religious war – yes there are very very strong open source bog frameworks out there; put it simply I’m just too lazy (or too busy) to get the thing deployed, tweaked, secured and customised for my world.. that’s why I’m posting here.

I’ll see what I should bring across from previous posts – I did have some content on the Ximian blogs; as well as other internal pieces. Hopefully with editing and a sharp blue pencil I’ll post things that are interesting.

ZENworks Linux Management – rceinit script

Rce-init
From zenwiki

rce-init switches

rce-init is in /usr/sbin

Usage: /usr/sbin/rce-init [-c] [-d] [-f [-r]] [-h] [-U -P -R ]

-c only reinstall configuration files
-d print debugging info
-f force server initialization
-r remove package repository
-h print this message
-U administrator username/email
-P administrator password
-R administrator real name

Always use -d to show status!

Initial configuration:

./rce-init -U admin -P password -R “realname” -d ./rce-init -U ezs -P novell -R “Evil ZEN Scientist” -d

Resetting the server

./rce-init -f -d

rce-init checks the existance of /etc/ximian/rcserver/6.6-configured; if you have problems running rce-init -f delete this file

responses need ‘yes’ rather than ‘y’

ZENworks Linux Management – rcserver.conf

Rcserver.conf
From zenwiki

man rcserver.conf

Default rcserver.conf

/etc/ximian/rcserver/rcserver.conf

[System]

smarty_compile_dir = /var/tmp/smarty-compile
dbname = rcserver
dbuser = redcarpet
dbhost = localhost
dbproto = unix
dbback = pgsql
packages_path = /ximian/red-carpet-server
cachedir = /var/tmp/rce-cache/
lang = en_US

magicproxy = /etc/ximian/rcserver/magic-proxy
expire = 7200
secret = ssshhh

Add the following to configure IP based (rather than DNS) name resolution

client_comm_type = IP

For Oracle Support:

/etc/ximian/rcserver/rcserver.conf

[System]
smarty_compile_dir = /var/tmp/smarty-compile
dbname =
dbuser =
dbhost =

ora_sid =
ora_tnsname =
dbproto = tcp
dbback = oci8
dbpass = dbport = 1521
packages_path = /ximian/red-carpet-server
cachedir = /var/tmp/rce-cache/
rdf_path = /var/www/html/data/red-carpet.rdf
lang = en_US
server_contact = [email protected]
smtp_host =
rcq_debug = false
#debug = 1

magicproxy = /etc/ximian/rcserver/magic-proxy
expire = 7200
secret = ssshhh

ZENworks Linux Management – rcmirror-web-bos.conf

Rcmirror-web-bos.conf
From zenwiki

# rcmirror-web-bos.conf
#
# ezs Nov 04
#
# ZLM 6.6 Mirror configuration to get updates from
# the private Ximian ZLM update service web-bos-ma-us.rc.ximian.com
#
# create a unique cache for each rcmirror process
# the directory must exist

[rcmirror]
cachedir=/var/cache/rcmirror-web-bos

# rcd needs to be activated against the upstream ZLM server
[remote]
base=https://web-bos-ma-us.rc.ximian.com

# a simple http proxy can be used
#proxy=http:// : @ : #proxy=http://proxyuser:[email protected]:2081

# create a ZLM service account – e.g. ZLM-rcmirror
[local]
rcmanuser=zlm-service
rcmanpassword=

# echo -n ‘password’ | md5sum

# To list all channels available use
# rcmirror -l -c/etc/ximian/rcmirror-web-bos.conf

[channel]
name=zenworks66

ZENworks Linux Management – rcmirror-you.conf

Rcmirror-you.conf
From zenwiki

# rcmirror-you.conf
#
# ezs Nov 04
#
# ZLM 6.6 Mirror configuration to get updates from YOU
#
# create a unique cache for each rcmirror process
# the directory must exist

[rcmirror]
cachedir=/var/cache/rcmirror-you

[remote]
base=http://sdb2.suse.de/download
type=yast
user=
# NOTE: Do not use the MD5 hash for this password. Include it in clear text
password=

# a simple http proxy can be used
#proxy=http:// : @ : #proxy=http://proxyuser:[email protected]:2081

# create a ZLM service account – e.g. ZLM-rcmirror
[local]
rcmanuser=zlm-service
rcmanpassword=

# echo -n ‘password’ | md5sum

# To list all channels available use rcmirror -l -c/etc/ximian/rcmirror-you.conf

[channel]
name=nld-9-i586
localname=nld-9-i586-patch

[channel]
name=sles-9-i586
localname=sles-9-i586-patch

[channel]
name=sles-8-i386
localname=sles-8-i386-patch

ZENworks Linux Management – rcmirror-ftp.conf

Rcmirror-ftp.conf
From zenwiki

A rcmirror config to get SUSE LINUX Professional updates from ftp servers like ftp.uni-kl.de.

Exchange ftp.uni-kl.de with any prefereed SUSE mirror you get in YaSTs YOU menu

[rcmirror]
cachedir=/var/cache/rcmirror-you

[remote]
base=ftp://ftp.uni-kl.de/pub/linux/suse/
type=yast

[local]
rcmanuser=####
rcmanpassword=####

[channel]
name=suse-90-i586
localname=sl90-i586-patch
#target=suse-90-i586

[channel]
name=suse-91-i586
localname=sl91-i586-patch

[channel]
name=suse-92-i586
localname=sl92-i586-patch

ZENworks Linux Management – name resolution

ZLM name resolution
From zenwiki

RCE will use DNS for all name resolution between client and server.

There is a rule for server to client name resolution:

– if the hostname is ‘localhost.localdomain’ then never use DNS for
name resolution; instead use the last known IP address for the device

– if the hostname is not ‘localhost.localdomain’ then RCE assumes that
(Dynamic) DNS is being used and DNS is used for client resolution

If the deployment scenario:

does not include Dynamic DNS

and

managed clients have Dynamic IP addressing (via DHCP)

and

managed clients have been given hostnames

then the default RCE installation will have problems reliably
connecting from the RCE server to devices.

Symptoms of this include:

– managed machines never showing software inventory or target
information in RCE
– managed machines never receiving transaction or job data

The solution:
add the flag

client_comm_type=IP

to /etc/ximian/rcserver/rcserver.conf

ZLM troubleshooting
From zenwiki

– Some of the hardware information does not show up under VMware. Known
issue.

– if the software information and target do not get populated then check
the following:

– is the daemon running; telnet to 505 on the client from the server.

– is rcd-modules installed on the client

– how is the ZLM server resolving the client IP address? By default if
the machine name is not ‘linux’ or ‘localhost.localdomain’ then the ZLM
server will use DNS to find the client; if it can’t resolve (client not
in DNS) then you’ll not get things working.

– change ZLM name resolution mechanism.