General Update Ramble

The following is a random update, covering everything from my explorations of Linux to life stuff. Feel free to skip if you don’t care 🙂

Hardy Release Party

Was really nice, once I’d got past my initial reluctance to go and the butterflies in my stomach as I traveled to it. I said on IRC before I left, that the first person to recognise me, would get a drink on me. Daviey failed, he was outside having a cigarette when I finally arrived. To be fair, he wasn’t on the IRC channel when I said about the free drink… I managed to get lost, walking from the tube (Embankment) on the way to the pub – asked directions three times. Had the obligatory chat with Daviey about asterisk (I like asterisk!) and some of the pros and cons of the FreePBX interface add-on. (As suggested by Popey on the mailing list. Thanks!)

I went in with Daviey, and saw Alan Pope. He was in the middle of a conversation, but was about to say “hello Kirrus” to get his free drink, when Josh (Jerichokb) popped up, and nabbed it first :). Funnily enough, we had this conversation on IRC before I left:

<jerichokb>    Kirrus: thank you in advance for the beer :)
<Kirrus>       jerichokb, don't count your chickens...

Heh… I guess he can count them after all 🙂

I had a really nice time, which is *really* unusual for me in a room with that many people in it. (I don’t do lots of people… I normally can’t cope, and leave asap, or sit in a corner hiding…). Sad to leave at 9, but I got lost 4 times(!) on my way back to the tube station, (asking for directions each time… one guy gave me dogy ones…).  Next time I find a good map. Missed the train I was aiming for, and ended up taking the last train, got home midnight. (Yes, three hours travel. Missing the train will do that for you.)

Distro Experimentation / Hard Drive Failure

Well, my CentOS install died with my harddrive, about 2 days after my posting about it. CentOS is useable, and is quite nice, though I didn’t reinstall it when my new drive arrived. Unfortionatly, it turns out that my new drive has some bad blocks on it. Repaired the filesystem using “e2fsck -c” on the live cd, and reinstalled gutsy. Upgraded to Hardy RC. A lot of work. I’m going to have to boot back into the LiveCD sometime and check the filesystem again, to see if there’s any more corruption. If so, I’m going to have to get another Harddrive, and RMA this one. Just what I didn’t need with my dwindling savings and no job. Update:(Thanks, as always, to the Ubuntu-UK irc guys for the help and advise as I tried to repair my partitions)

Jobs

I’ve had 2 interviews so far, one at Codian, one at Canonical. I’d  really like to get the Canonical one (working in a datacentre, looking after servers), as it sounds like an enjoyable thing to do, that and giving me plenty to learn. But, I don’t think I will. (Heh – my natural state after any interview. Then getting the job is a pleasent surprise rather than a disappointment.) Millbank tower is NICE, and the commute into Vauxhall fairly simple.. I just take a slow train from a town about 3 and a half miles away… an hours walk, or 15/30 minutes cycle depending on the traffic, and which way you’re going. (To is easier. One big hill up, then mostly downhill to the station.) I’m still awaiting a reply from Canonical HR about blogging guidelines as applied to interviewees, so I won’t go into too much detail about that interview here. Suffice to say, it was interesting.
The Codian interview was by far the most difficult, I was asked a tonn of questions by three different people, over 2 hours. Decimal to binary (on a whiteboard).. I’m a bit rusty at, not having done it much before, but got there in the eventual end. Decimal to Hexadecimal, mathmatics is not my strong point, but again, got there in the end. (6E == 110).Very friendly receptionist 🙂

I’ve one interview/meeting left, at Positive Internet. Sounds interesting…

If you know of any Junior/Trainee Linux/Ubuntu-Based jobs in London going around, let me know.

To Do:

  • Process, upload and blog photos. Recharge camera’s battery (rarely need to do!)
  • Continue Job Hunting.
  • Look at the feasibility of moving onto a new blogging platform, but staying with my current email and domain host.
  • Hunt for jobs.
  • Bug Triage.
  • Think about applying for temp work to tide me over.

Centos

Well, its a couple of days into my trial and I’ve settled into Centos. (I went with Centos instead of Fedora, as its closer to RedHat according to the #ubuntu-uk guys andylockran & popey [Thanks!], which is the OS I really was aiming to play with.)

I’ve had a couple of niggles, like the old version of Firefox (1.5x series instead of 2x) on Centos, the ease of installing java etc… Its only when you step away from Ubuntu that you realize just how advanced it actually is!

So far, I’ve installed 4 rpm packages manually, and compiled one successfully. (I tried to compile the last.fm client, but it wasn’t playing ball. I’ll get it working eventually…)

The package I compiled was pamusb, a really cool utility to allow you to use a USB key for authentication on your system, literally, you can use it to login with, use sudo commands without passwords, etc. I’ll probably post a guide at some point. From looking around on the web, it works better with Ubuntu than Centos as the packages you need are in Ubuntu’s repos. I’m not sure whether that includes the pam configuration you have to do, but I’d expect so.

You can get pamusb here: http://www.pamusb.org/ (or as mentioned, in the Ubuntu Repositories) [Update: Don’t use the Ubuntu Repository version: its out of date]

Centos’s graphical package manager isn’t anything as nice as Ubuntu’s, but the command line “yum” is certainly better, giving more information in “yum search <package or purpose>” than a “apt-cache search <package>” would.

With this reinstall I put /home/ on a separate partition, so that should make jumping easier. I’ll probably try Fedora at some point… and Debian….

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