Happy 16 year Anniversary YALB

I’ve been here for 16 years.

That’s right, Yet Another Linux Blog has been around for 16 years.  The oldest post you find on this blog was in December of 2004, but I lost quite a few other posts previous to that one in various migrations to different content management systems and blogging platforms.  Back then, WordPress didn’t even have automatic plugin and platform upgrades…it was pretty awful.  I finally settled on Serendipity for my platform since it had automatic updates for plugins and used the Smarty template system so theming was a snap.  No migration path for them back then and I didn’t want to manually retype all those articles.  So it’s been roughly 16 years of Yet Another Linux Blog.  Guess that makes me one of the oldest Linux blogs out there.

I started off with fervor; I posted frequently about random things as I tried to feel out my voice for the blog.  Recently though, I’ve posted less and less.  I took a few moments to ask myself “What’s the reason for that?”  There seems to be a couple of reasons why I found myself blogging less.

Simplicity Breeds Complacency

I’ve been involved in many different communities of Linux.  Most notably, PCLinuxOS and Unity Linux where I was on the development teams for both distributions.  During those times, I became quite familiar with the development processes that go on behind the scenes and what it takes to produce a usable product.  I gained knowle on what it takes to motivate people toward a common goal…how to empower people and keep them moving forward despite all of their real life commitments.  I’m much more of an organizer than I ever was a coder.

Sometime around the release of the 2.6.X/2.4.x kernel, Linux started to become less interesting to me.  I’m pretty sure I know why.  Things were easier…devices installed automatically and you really didn’t have to lift fingers all that much to make things work.  Linux had become much simpler to use than it ever had been in the past.  Distributions just started working…and working quite well.  Hardware detection no longer became a sticking point when you popped a livecd in…I became accustomed to the it “just works” mentality.

When things just work, there is less that one has to do to keep things running.  Much like a reliable car engine that only requires an oil change to keep moving.  Not having issues meant that I was less inclined to blog to share non-existent solutions to non-existent problems.  When this happened, I lost my drive to blog and found myself less motivated to even distribution hop.  I even stopped trying new desktop environments and keeping up with Linux news!  I know, I know…the horror!

Moving, New Jobs, and Family

Around this same time (appx 2014/2015), I got a new job and moved a few states away.  The new job was working with building high availability storage arrays using Microsoft Server.  I dove in and put my nose to the grindstone.  Linux took a backseat.  My mother passed away during that time.  I kept moving…working with Windows, building virtualized servers for the clients of the MSRP I worked for.  I wasn’t extremely happy…even thought he work was challenging and new.  Then in 2015, I was able to get a new job working with Linux!  Huzzah!

Now I work for a financial institution and support their electronic trading environments working with Solaris and Linux.  It’s challenging and different every single day.  I’ve worked at this company now for almost 4 years and couldn’t be happier.

So what took me so long to come back here?  Why the false start in 2017?  Lack of motivation.  Suffering from information Overload.  Shirking online resources/social media and working on myself and making sure to put my family first.

I went through therapy to get my head right.  My son went off to college.  My wife helped me become a better husband, a better step-dad, and a better human being.

All of that takes time and effort and that time and effort isn’t given or shared with blogging or trying out new distributions of Linux.  Excuses are just that and as you can tell at this point of time I’m full of them.  The bottom line is that I wasn’t motivated to blog and I had just enough things to work on in my real life that my focus was removed from Linux.  I’m a better person for it overall so it’s definitely a positive thing in my life.

Where From Here?

So here we are.  2019.  The blog is turning 16 years old.  I used to host it on a Pentium II 350Mhz PC with PC133 RAM and use no-ip.com to make my dynamic DNS work.  Think about how far computing has vaulted forward in that time.  It’s amazing.

So where do I go from here?  What’s on the horizon for Yet Another Linux Blog?  Believe it or not, I’m thinking of making another thrust forward in the Linux realms.  I’ve built a new NAS machine to replace my aging Zyxel 2 bay NAS that I’ve constructed out of spare parts from an old HP Desktop and because of that, I’ve got a how-to brewing for OpenMediaVault that will show you how to setup a 2 disk software RAID array for data redundancy.  I’ve got some SBC (single board computers) that will provide a nice distribution hopping experience in future posts.  There are some fantastic one liner tips and tricks I’ve stumbled across while working with Linux every single day at work searching for trade identifiers, prices, yields and quantities.  My motivation is slowly returning and my curiosity to push the boundaries of Linux is once again there.

Contrary to popular belief, blogging is not dead.  So reader, thank you for reading.  Thanks for being a part of the Linux community.  Thanks those of you who remember me from 16 years ago…heck, thanks to any of you who remember me and this blog at all!  Thanks for your interest in Linux…without all of these, Linux would have died a long time ago.  Stay tuned and thanks!

Oddity with Delicious Bookmarks and RSS Feed

So today, bookmarks posted from delicious.com onto the Yet Another Linux Blog RSS feed.  This isn’t normal…I don’t post bookmarks from that service here…in fact, I haven’t used them since they were bought out.  I remember experimenting with bookmarks posting to your blog for the first month I had my delicious account…but never kept it on.

But suddenly, somebody’s bookmarks post and show up in the RSS feed here.  For that, I apologize to my RSS readers.  Rest assured, it shouldn’t happen again as I’ve deleted my delicious account.

Thank You, Dear Reader

thank you!
Photo by woodleywonderworks

Thank you, dear reader.

Thanks for making Yet Another Linux Blog one of the top Linux Blogs on the planet!  It was an average day over 8 years ago that I began to host my own blog at linuxblog.sytes.net (thanks No-Ip.com!) on a PII that I inherited from one of my friends.  Slackware Linux hosted the project then and I wanted to use my new blog to explore the Linux world posting tips, tricks, and how-to’s on my way.  Millions upon millions of pageviews and 6 hosting changes later, we arrive here…at the end of 2011.

So am I throwing in the towel since I didn’t post regularly in 2011?  Heck no.  I’m going to continue learning and posting, exploring and writing.  In fact, I’ve made it a resolution to do more posting this year than I ever have to develop my writing as I begin to supplement my technical writing portfolio.  Technical Writing would be my profession of choice if this were a perfect world…getting paid to help people is something I find very satisfying.  For now, I freelance and am looking to possibly make freelancing become my full time job.

Once again, thanks for making Yet Another Linux Blog be a stop in your browser…thanks for making it be a blip on your RSS reader….thanks for your support and continued reading 🙂

Back to the Basics with Debian

Sometimes, you just have so many problems with the distribution you’re running that you have to wipe it out with a clean slate. I did that this past week and am now using Debian.

With using Debian there comes a feeling of being back to the very basic of Linux distros…much in the same way when you use Arch…it just feels plain, unencumbered, and basic and there is a feeling you get when build something from nothing…you start with a kernel and just enough CLI tools and create your house…then live in it.

It feels good to be stable. It feels good to not have to worry about programs crashing, the net disconnecting, or not being able to install programs.

People like to ride the unstable or testing route with most things out there…as I move forward in my Linux journey, I find myself looking to be less and less cutting edge and more and more stable. Plus, if there is a program out there that needs updating…backports are always a good way to get them.

I’m enjoying my new digs and will look to getting back into the swing of posting enjoyable articles and how-to’s in the upcoming weeks.

Interesting Statistics

Very interesting statistics that I’ve noticed since moving the site to a Linode VPS.

If you take a look at the graphic below, the spike in the middle will probably stick out quite a bit.  Oddly enough, the spike I noticed in CPU percentage used (which is regulated for VPS at Linode) also spiked up disk usage…mainly because I began to swap when cpu/ram use skyrocketed.  All of this happened with Ubuntu 10.04 installed.  CentOS was the first distro I tried but I quickly switched to Ubuntu when I spotted a really nice how-to in the Linode document library.  Oh, and please excuse my horrible gimp skills on the image below…it was a quick and dirty editing of the image:

cpu usage

After switching to Ubuntu, I began receiving alarms for my account due to the high usage of CPU and disk.  I attempted to tweak settings and configuration files for about a week and realized it just wasn’t going to work for me.  I switched to Debian Lenny and the move was a positive as is reflected in these pictures.

disk usage

I was hoping Ubuntu 10.04 would fit for me since it is a long term support (LTS) release.  CentOS is my normal server distribution of choice and I really wanted to branch out and go with something different.  I used a Linode Stackscript for WordPress for CentOS but elected for vanilla installs of Ubuntu and Debian aftwards (I didn’t like NOT knowing what was installed when I first logged in…call me a control freak).

I just found it interesting that Ubuntu 10.04 did so horribly in this instance.  After investigating, I found a couple of likely suspects:

  1. Default Apache install in Ubuntu leaves a lot to be desired..even after tweaking both it and PHP for days I couldn’t get them to lay off the resources.  Even switching to mpm_worker and FastCGI did little to settle things down.
  2. Ubuntu swappiness is bad…it is set at 60 (I use 10 normally) and it swapped every chance it could get…it’s set by default to swap more than it should.
  3. mod_php on Ubuntu is hungry for all your cpu and ram and disk; be warned!

Debian, as the parent distribution of Ubuntu, would most likely suffer from the same problems…except it doesn’t.  Things are working great with it and I’d recommend it for any of your server needs!  Has anyone else seen this oddity with Ubuntu 10.04?  If so, please drop me a comment below.

Status Update for Devnet

For those of you who follow me here at Yet Another Linux Blog you might be wondering where I went the last month.  I assure you I’m still here and I still use Linux every single day.  I’m currently running both Arch Linux (32bit) and Unity Linux (64bit) on my main computer.

I’ve been working pretty hard through the holidays at my full time job where I am a server administrator for a medium sized hospital in the U.S.  Recently (in December), I moved 2000+ users from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007.  We considered farming out our Exchange environment to the cloud or perhaps going with Microsoft Exchange Hosting services but in the end, upper management decided they’d rather underpay someone to work exceedingly long hours with minimal training on a system not built by him.  So, that’s why I’ve been pretty inactive as of late.  As you can imagine working with Microsoft technologies…I always have something to fix and things are always unstable.

I know that some of you might be saying “why not use linux based exchange alternatives in your enterprise?” and I’d say, why indeed.  But I inherited this beast and it’s been Exchange since Exchange came out.  Not only that, but the primary application for all departments (ERM app) runs completely on Windows and plugs into Exchange and nothing else.  Talk about vendor lock in eh?  Well, it’s a job.

I used to work with Linux when I worked for rPath but parted ways with them about a year and a half ago when I had to move away to help out after a death in the family.  I was very sad to leave but am very happy with the large pay increase that came with my current position.  However, migrations do take their toll…lots of hours worked and frustrations vented.  Now that I’m over the hump, I’ll be able to get back into a normal swing of things.

For those of you who might be Exchange administrators in your day to day work, I’ve begun blogging about my experiences and setup a community to share tips, tricks, powershell commandlets, and a place to talk shop.  I figure if I have to work with closed source at least I can open source some help.  Find my Exchange blog at http://teknologist.net

Thanks for hanging in there everyone, and sorry for the inactivity.  Now that I’ve hit 6+ years blogging (in December) here I have even more incentive to continue sharing great Linux help with everyone.  I’ve got some good tips directly in the pipeline and here’s to a great 2010!