The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Brick walls

Well, I was going to enable the new feature but three things got in the way:

  1. Last month there was a security audit run against a server belonging to one of our customers. Over the past month I harded up the DNS servers and the router and the only thing left was to harden the server itself. And at this point, it was easier to just set up a new server.

    So this past week that's what we've been doing. Tuesday the machine was put together. Yesterday the base operating system was installed. And since I just know we'll be doing the “Update Dance” once this thing gets certified (despite of what Smirk thinks—any bug in any of the services will require an automatic update immediately) I decided to install the critical services (Apache, PHP, OpenSSH) from source just to avoid having to rely upon the vendor. That way, I can just download the latest tarball, ./configure ; make ; make install (which I find easier) than the whole “package manager” crap (“Oooh, sorry. You forgot to upgrade your package manager for a whole week and we've moved the repository—sorry! Oh, and we're no longer supporting that version of the distribution anyway so you're doubly screwed! Sorry.”)

    It was going along fine until PHP and Ravencore (yes, a control panel). PHP because the braindead make install installed the PHP modules in the oh-so-intuitive location of /usr/lib/20020429/ instead of something semi-sane like /usr/local/lib/php-thisweeksversion/modules/, and Ravencore because they only release code in RPM and because it breaks if you change the PHP configuration file after Ravencore itself been installed (because you just realized that PHP installed the PHP modules in /usr/lib/20020429/ but it never complained about them being missing and the default PHP configuration file doesn't bother to even include the PHP modules).

    That's all I'm going to say about that!

  2. I wanted to write to Google explaining my concerns over thier AdSense program and how their ad selection can't deal with my general purpose (read: “horribly unfocused”) blog and how I'm thinking of no longer displaying ads.

    I don't want to drop out of the program entirely, in the hopes they change how it works just slightly. The feature I added (and more on that in a bit) won't be of use with AdSense, but it will be with some other advertising programs (and frankly, I'm surprised this feature hasn't been implemented before—perhaps it has and I haven't come across it, but I suspect that isn't the case).

    I wanted to write to Google first, before revealing the feature, and in the process of writing the email, I came across—

  3. A show stopping bug!


    And I haven't figured out what triggers it. Oh, it's defintely related to the new feature, and it causes core dumps (a seriously hard crash) and/or infinite loops which causes the server load to increase. Good news is I found a rash of entries that trigger the bug; I just haven't had a chance to figure out what exactly is going on.

So it may be another day or so before I can go ahead and use this feature.

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