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Justin Wins Out

Everybody say WOOT WOOT, Praise to the king… WOOT WOOT! awww ya!

Today had the makings of the long day, and it almost ended as such, but as you can tell… I’m in an insanely good mood. Let’s go through the downsides of today first that was we can run through the best part of the day last.

The first thing on the list of things to do this morning was to get to the bank to get some safety deposit slips into the bank. My school bills are due next week and without killing all my accounts (including ones I’m not allowed to touch for personal purposes), I would not be able to pay for it. Therefore: cash out bonds so I can. I left them there bright and early this morning and sure enough by this afternoon, they were entered in with the right number and everything! Very impressive, I think I’ll be able to pay the bill on time.

My next stop was the server room at MSA. The plan was simple: put Fedora Core on the new server and most of the webserver, and go home. Of course, the world Justin lives in is never simple.

When I got there, Dan had it in the rack thanks to the amazing rails of Dell. The PowerEdge 1850 has some downsides compared to the 1750, but other than that it was overall pretty slick. It had the blue light, nice shape, as well as the nice rails that the 1750 has, but it was lacking a drive bay as well as the ability to open the case without removing it from the rack. The bezel was also cheap plastic it would seem. Either way still cool.

As soon as it was in, Dan and I tried to install Core. Turns out, after countless install attempts and about 2 hours of google time, that there is no sane method of getting FC to work with the raid drivers in this state of the art Dell. They hadn’t been built for the kernel that comes with FC, and upgrading the kernel before you have a kernel is well… hard to do (note: upgrading the kernel in general isn’t the easiest thing in the world, read on).

Quick side jump for those of you who don’t understand what I’m talking about:

Fedora Core – An operating system like windows which can be installed on a computer. http://fedora.redhat.com
Kernel – the first thing the computer boots into that basically controls the computer. It’s the program running in "kernel mode" as opposed to "user mode" if your into computer hardware. From a windows perspective, it’s all that black text you see when windows is booting that isn’t the bios. The cores can be found at http://www.kernel.org
BIOS – onboard instructions for boot… Basically the thing that starts everything.
Debian – another operating system like Fedora Core that I’m about to talk about.
Compiling – the term given to taking computer code such as C or visual basic and turning it into machine code (1’s and 0’s). Ok… So sometime in the mess of trying to figure out what to do, Dan discovered that someone had taken the Debian kernel and added in the things for our hard drive drivers and made an install disk out of it. So I said, let’s give it a whirl and sure enough… The Debian boot disk had us installing in the main operating system in no time.

Here’s where we take another divergence. While the server was installing itself, Dan and I ran back to my house to pick up a hard drive as well as to Chipotle for lunch. We had a small talk about the debates last night, a conversation with my grandpa discussing Radio Shack and Wireless technologies, and Dan had Chipotle for the first time. I guess he liked it, which is good… who doesn’t like Chipotle!

Back at MSA we continued the install of the server. Dan had to take off so it was me, Joe, and Adam. They were working on other things until our mini computer club meeting started up. We got a bunch of things worked out there which is good. We should be all set for next friday.

About the time that meeting was done, I had just about finished installing our firewall software and routing software, only to find… it didn’t work. Poking around a little, I found out that the kernel version I was running barely supported IPTables (the technology I like to use for firewalls) not to mention, it hadn’t been compiled in at install.

Realizing that I have never had to manually recompile the kernel before in my life, as well as, never having used Debian and it’s apt-get system, I thought, "This would be the perfect time to learn." So that’s what I set out to do. Of course whenever your learning something new… you often make mistakes.

Needless to say: my attempt (technically my first 3 attempts) failed horribly. The first time I missed linking lilo to the new kernel. The second time, it didn’t completely build properly, and the third time, I overwrote some dependencies and not only did my new kernel not work, but my old one stopped working as well. It was about this time that dinner for my mom’s b-day rolled around so I said, "I’ll start another reboot to reinstall debian again becasue I won’t be able to do anything with this box anymore anyway" and then I left.

My mom’s b-day was good. We went to an italin place in Wisconsin. Pretty good stuff. My mom wondered where Amber was… I informed her that Amber was at home dying in bed and that everyone should send her get well wishes so that she gets well. Hopefully she will be all good (as will Nikki hopefully) and we will all be able to watch Nebraska football (if we want) at my house tomorrow. Yay for that. (6pm).

After dinner it was back to MSA. I spent another 2 hours putting the OS back on and reading up on kernel technology. This time, I went a slightly different route with the kernel… I succeeded. In fact, it was huge. Within a matter of 10 minutes I had what wasn’t working, and my servers, serving. Within the hour (and at this very moment) MSA was back to it’s normal routing structure. The website is still on the temp server, as are about a dozen other things, but the actual internet is being served to the network by the new server and new firewall. Awesome!

That was my praise the lord moment of the night… Blaring Toby Mac in the server room, shouting out ONE PHENOMENEONONN. There is nothing like a server that starts working after you learn how to do something. Learning… is cool.

For example: I learned something else tonight while reading the fedora website. Core 3 (which I’m still excited about) looks like it’s going to have something similiar, but better than, terminal services for windows. It looks like with the advent of gigabit networking, it has become feasible to do network boots again, such that you can have stateless linux systems again. Very cool. http://fedora.redhat.com/projects/stateless/

Ok… Well I have a business meeting in the morning during which I need to talk over new clients with my partners in crime. Hopefully we can figure all this stuff out. 2 weeks notice anyone?