Updating kernel and consequences

On a Fedora FC5 system, it is very easy to update the software using yum update.

This also updates the kernel, which is good, but given the number of "non-standard" items installed on my system (VMWare Server, NVidia Display, PVR-150 TV Tuner/MPEG Encoder), it requires a lot of fixing up after every yum update. [So I have automatic update disabled, do the update only when time permits to do all the fixups.]

After a kernel update:

  • Check to see that the matching kmod-nvidia-* module also made it in, otherwise the display won't work well. In some cases, the kmod-nvidia module site is down, so may have to build module by hand.
  • yum install ivtv ivtv-kmdl-`uname -r`
    to get the driver for the PVR-150 TV-Tuner/MPEG Encoder card.
    This should also install the firmware, if it does not, visit the ivtvdriver pages to do the firmware install manually.
  • If mplayer has problems with audio, check alsa-lib. I have the atrpms site listed for updates, and that is considered risky, packages may not match the other sites. In Sep 2006, started to get this error when using mplayer:
    alsa-lib: pcm_direct.c:1632:(snd_pcm_direct_parse_open_conf) Unknown field ipc_sem
    The fix is to remove alsa-lib:
    yum erase alsa-lib.i386
    (which may uninstall packages like firstboot, and control-center,m which I don't use )
    and then re-install it using this:
    yum --disablerepo=atrpms install alsa-lib
    (and if needed, reinstall firstboot, control-center, etc).
  • Rerun

blog vs story in drupal

Why have a blog in Drupal? After all, the story node is generic enough, and for single-user sites, good enough to use story for all postings.

Still, I added the blog module to my site.

The blog is useful for dated articles - some postings only apply for a limited duration, and may not be valid after a few days or months.
Those kind of articles are better posted in a blog.

So, will be using the "story" node - article is probably a better description - for tools, travel tips, recipes, etc - things that may still be valid for months or even an year or more.
Will use the blog to post items that may be relevant only for a short while.

letter-spacing and devanagari

My Drupal theme, based on friendselectric, was messing up all the Devanagari text in headlines, and on the left-sidebar, while the postings themselves worked fine.

Turned out - the css letter-spacing changes mess up all Devanagari fonts.

Best way to handle this would be to use the :lang pseudo-class, and let the English words have modified letter-spacing, but leave Devanagari alone. But this does not yet work on all browsers - works on Mozilla (yea!), not on Microsoft Internet Explorer.

So, the fix for now, is to disable all letter-spacing changes in the theme, deleted all those lines from the friendselectric theme.

Network Monitoring - Nagios

Given the need to keep tabs on atleast three web sites, my simple scripts for handling a single site were no longer sufficient, so installed Nagios on my Linux box.

Fedora FC5 was the system, and getting the Nagios bits was pretty easy - use yum to install the following packages:
nagios.i386 2.5-2.fc5
nagios-plugins.i386 1.4.3-18.fc5
nagios-plugins-all.i386 1.4.3-18.fc5

Nagios is a pretty complex package to install, at least based on all the writeups on the web, so I made a short detour to try to install and use Zabbix. That is certainly easier to get up and running, but I am not too comfortable with UI management screens, and got stuck for too long on the configuring part - add to this the incorrect use of MBytes instead of GBytes in the disk space rows, I went back to trying to get Nagios configured.

Nagios is not too bad - in fact, for anyone comfortable with editing text config files, it is downright easy.

Within a few hours, I had all config files set right, and email notifications working.

Mainly followed the documentation that came with Nagios, and on Fedora, using the pre-packaged yum kits, here are the additional things I had to do: