Thursday, December 31, 2009

Nvidia G84/G86 Chips Defective (Overheating)

Got to have this in mind for a VGA card upgrade (this page is worth reading, series 9 is more appropriate for my needs).

Links related to this issue:
The Inquirer - All Nvidia G84 and G86s are bad
Tom's Hardware - Report: All Nvidia G84/G86 Chips Defective
ZDnet - Report: NVIDIA issues cover all G84 and G86 GPUs
Maximum PC - Burning Question: Are All Nvidia G84 and G86 Parts Bad?

About G84/G86 and video decoding in hardware
Available from 2006 and part of GeForce 8 Series of GPU made by nVidia, these cores came as GeForce 8600 GS/GT/GTS (G84) and GeForce 8300 GS (OEM)/8300 GS/8500 GT (G86), PCIe only. The mobile cores came as GeForce 8600M GS/8600M GT/8600M GT and GeForce 8400M G/GS/GT (G86M).

"Starting with the G84/G86 GPUs (sold as the GeForce 8400/8500/8600 series), NVIDIA substantially re-designed GPU's H.264 decoding block. The second generation PureVideo HD added a dedicated bitstream processor (BSP) and enhanced video processor, which enabled the GPU to completely offload the H.264-decoding pipeline. VC-1 acceleration was also improved, with PureVideo HD now able to offload more of VC-1-decoding pipeline's backend (inverse discrete cosine transform (iDCT) and motion compensation stages). The frontend (bitstream) pipeline is still decoded by the host CPU. The second generation PureVideo HD enabled mainstream PCs to play HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies, as the majority of the processing-intenstive video-decoding was now offloaded to the GPU. From GeForce 178.24 drivers onwards, VP2 capable cards are able to decode H.264 High@L5.1 while ATI UVD2 can support up to H.264 High@L4.1.
The second generation PureVideo HD is sometimes called "PureVideo HD 2" or VP2, although this is not an official NVIDIA designation.
In 2006, PureVideo HD was formally introduced with the launch of the GeForce 7900, which had the first generation PureVideo HD. In 2007, when the second generation PureVideo HD (VP2) hardware launched with the Geforce 8500 GT/8600 GT/8600 GTS, NVIDIA expanded Purevideo HD to include both the first generation (retroactively called "PureVideo HD 1" or VP1) GPUs (Geforce 7900/8800 GTX) and newer VP2 GPUs. This led to a confusing product portfolio containing GPUs from two distinctly different generational capabilities: the newer VP2 based cores (Geforce 8500 GT/8600 GT/8600 GTS/8800 GT) and other older PureVideo HD 1 based cores (Geforce 7900/G80).

NVIDIA claims that all GPUs carrying the PureVideo HD label fully support Blu-ray/HD DVD playback with the proper system components. For H.264/AVC content, VP1 offers markedly inferior acceleration compared to newer VP2, VP3 and VP4 GPUs, placing a much greater burden on the host CPU. However, a sufficiently fast host CPU can play Blu-ray without any hardware assistance whatsoever." [source: Wikipedia]

ATI's Avivo and the accompanied Unified Video Decoder is the primary competitor of nVidia PureVideo in hardware decoding of video.

Read bellow about the G84/G86 chips generation for GPU cards:
Comparison of Nvidia graphics processing units [Wikipedia]
GeForce 8 Series [Wikipedia]

About / Despre acest blog
Disclaimer and privacy statement / Confidenţialitate
Updated / Actualizat: 2009-12-31.


nVidia Quadro vs. Geforce & ATI FireGL vs. Radeon

"Quadros are essentially Geforces, and FireGL's are essentially Radeons. Same GPUs."

I was reading it all over the internet and I could not believe it. Many forums and discussions have this subject on their topics. To make a long story short, it looks like GeForce and Radeon VGA cards are given to the public (home users) for a lower price and drivers are optimized mostly for games, while Quadro and FireGL are given to the public (professional market) for a much higher price and drivers are optimized for 3D applications (3dsMAX, Maya, SolidWorks, Catia etc.) and/or 2D applications (Photoshop). Hackers successfully converted GeForce/Radeon cards into Quadro/FireGL cards, operation not 100% completed at the end (due to differences in hardware), but close to it. I am ready to take this challenge and I'll post updates as soon as I'll start this project. Until then, from time to time I'll post here links related to the subject, to have them at hand.

Some thoughts taken from discussions:
Cleeve - Hardware editor, Tom's Hardware Guide [11-29-2007]
"The pro (Quadro, FireGL) drivers allow for more control over certain settings in CAD apps, and are geared to accelerate OpenGL pro apps instead of games. The last time I read a review with a gaming card vs. it's pro counterpart playing a game, the pro drivers tended to accelerate games slower than the consumer drivers, and the pro drivers tended to accelerate CAD apps much faster than consumer drivers."

Quadro vs. GeForce [PDF file]

ATI Radeon To ATI FireGL Mod Guide Rev. 5.1 [article]
NVIDIA GeForce To Quadro Soft-Mod Guide Rev. 4.1 [article]
NVIDIA GeForce To Quadro Soft-Mod Guide [article]

Gaming vs. Professional Graphics Cards [thread, Tom's Hardware Forum]
GeForce -to-> Quadro Soldering Mod [thread, Forum]
Possible? If so, how? FX5900->Quadro / 6800->Quadro [thread, Forum]
It's true. 8800GTS is a perfect Quadro now (3DSMAX9 ONLY!!!) [thread, Forum]
7800/7900/7600/7300 can't be "unlocked" or "Quadro-fied", here is why [thread, Forum]

RivaTuner [software for modding and unlock pro features in GeForce/Radeon cards]

About / Despre acest blog
Disclaimer and privacy statement / Confidenţialitate
Updated / Actualizat: 2009-12-31.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Windows XP on Asus K70AB

This model comes with Red Flag linux pre-installed (console only, no graphics). After installing Windows XP, several components won't have drivers installed: LAN, wireless, sound, video etc. Asus published only Vista and Windows 7 drivers for this model. I found on Asus forums a nice post describing how Windows XP drivers can be installed on Asus K70AB. For the inpatient (and backup purposes), here it is:

01. ATI Graphics Driver V8.610.0.0

02. Audio driver (not necessary to install UAA bus driver if you have XP sp3)

03. Atheros AR8121 LAN Driver V1.0.0.33

04. Wireless Console Utility
05. WLAN Driver and Application
06. ATK0100 ACPI Driver
07. ATK_MEDIA Utility
08. ATK_Hotkey Utility
09. ASUS ATKOSD2 Utility
10. ATK Generic Function Utility

11. Alcor AU6371 Card Reader driver

12. Elantech Touchpad driver

13. Life Frame Utility
14. POWER4 GEAR Utility
15. SPLENDID Utility
16. KB_filter Driver (in others)
17. Camera Driver (Refer to the download site instructions and get PID code first)

I did not install all the drivers from above, some of them weren't for my hardware, some I didn't need. Some notes 'thou:

- SM Bus Unknown >> short story: extracted from the Southbridge kit found on ATI website; long story: searched a lot on the internet without luck, downloaded CPU-Z >> found the motherboard on this computer (chipset AMD 780G, southbridge SB700) >> went to AMD support >> choose ATI Catalyst™ Display Driver for Windows Vista/Windows 7 Unified 32-bit - Motherboard/IGP Drivers >> downloaded South Bridge Driver >> extracted SMBus folder somewhere >> open Device Manager >> right-click on SM Bus >> update driver from SMBus folder.

- Unknown device >> ATK0100 ACPI driver from above (step 6)

Some people might be interested to read:

About / Despre acest blog
Disclaimer and privacy statement / Confidenţialitate
Updated / Actualizat: 2009-12-23.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

TCP/IP troubleshooting in Windows

Some useful links from Microsoft:

- to reset TCP/IP stack do this at the command prompt:
netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt

Friday, December 4, 2009

Laptop drivers


Acer FTP Downloads (forum)

Acer US

Acer Australia

Fujitsu Siemens:

Samsung Romania

Samsung US

Sony Vaio-X [Windows XP drivers for VPCX11S1]

Sony (Vaio)

Toshiba EU

- Satellite C660-M216 (P/N PSC1SE-01600KAR) - Windows 7 x64

List of BIOS Manufacturer Web Sites Part 1 [Microsoft KB243909]
List of BIOS Manufacturer Web Sites Part 2 [Microsoft KB243971]

Windows XP on Toshiba Satellite A200-130 (PSAE0E-00Y00YAR)

[update] Toshiba support page for this model.

This model comes with Windows Vista pre-installed. After installing Windows XP, several components won't have drivers installed: LAN, wireless, sound, video etc. I found a page of great help a Google cached page (has everything you need on one page). Since the original page cached by Google is not available online as of this writing, I'll copy-paste (and clean it up) here for other visitors to see:

16-05-2009, 02:42 PM
modle name : satellite a 200-130
modle no : psaeoe-ooyooyar
Chip Set Utility
Acoustic Silencer
Config Free
Controls Driver
Display Driver
Hardware Setup
Toshiba Windows XP
Hotkey Utility
Toshiba Windows XP
LAN Driver
Realtek Semiconductor Corporation Windows XP 5.664.205.2007
Sound Driver
Realtek Semiconductor Corporation Windows XP
Modem Driver
Toshiba Windows XP 2.1.77
SD Utilities
Toshiba Windows XP
Touch Pad Driver
Alps Electric Windows XP 6.0.305.6
Touch Pad Driver
Synaptics Windows XP
Touch Pad On/Off Utility
Toshiba Windows XP
Webcam driver
Chicony Windows XP
Wireless Lan Client Manager
Atheros Windows XP
Wireless Lan Client Manager
Intel Windows XP
Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945/4965/5100/5300 XP 32
Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200/2915 XP 32 / 2000
Bluetooth Monitor
Toshiba Windows XP 3.01
Flash Media Driver
Texas Instruments Windows XP
Storage Manager
Intel Windows XP

Power Saver
Toshiba Windows XP 7.03.07.C
Power Saver
Toshiba Windows XP


About / Despre acest blog
Disclaimer and privacy statement / Confidenţialitate
Updated / Actualizat: 2009-12-04.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mac address changed by itself (Debian linux)

Upon a hardware upgrade (new motherboard), the dual LAN card (Intel PRO100 S) installed on the system changed mac address by itself for one of its two adapters. The old harware mac 00:19:d1:25:d4:0b changed to 00:19:d1:55:7c:7c. Only the serial number changed and not the Vendor. I'm still looking for an explanation...

Here is the story (Debian Lenny)

The problem:
DHCP won't start (dhcpd will give IPs to only eth0). ifconfig shows eth0_rename, but no eth0 (like I used to have). Also, internal lan with a static IP address on eth0 won't work. It just won't start. This is how my /etc/network/interfaces looks like:
# Local - static IP
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

The solution:
As I understand, udev saw the new mac and changed the name from eth0 to eth0_rename. Why it did so, and not renamed it with eth1 or eth2 etc.... like it would suppose to do, I don't know - but that's another story. My best friend Google sent me to some pages about bugs related to udev (which probably is the culprit in this case). I found out that I should try to remove the file /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules (as I understand, it is generated by udev upon installation/first reboot, then updated as new LAN hardware is added). Then reboot. My effort was rewarded with a brand new /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules file and all the problems fixed. Of course, the new mac is there and the old one is gone...

About / Despre acest blog
Disclaimer and privacy statement / Confidenţialitate
Updated / Actualizat: 2009-08-19.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two ethernet cables over one physical cable

If, by any chance, in need to use 2 network cables (4-pins each) over a physical one (8-pins), I found a great post about it. In short, here's how:

Wires to connect for your first cable (at each end):
(Pin one is always the left-most pin if the flat side of the connector is facing you and the copper pins are facing away from you.)

Pin Color
1 white and orange
2 orange
3 white and green
6 green

Wires to connect for your "second" cable (at each end):

1 white and blue
2 blue
3 white and brown
6 brown

I successfully did it over a CAT5 cable (2 m long).

Helpful links:
- CAT 5 Cable / RJ 45 Connector

About / Despre acest blog
Disclaimer and privacy statement / Confidenţialitate
Updated / Actualizat: 2009-08-12.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Linux on VPC 2007 (SP1)

Installing linux on Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 gives kernel panic. To avoid this error, give to the installer the following kernel parameters:

noapic nolapic noreplace-paravirt

I found this info here.

What is my IP?
It looks like the website has limited query of IP in their front page, for computers behind NAT, scripts or CLI browsers, such as links, links2, lynx...
The correct link for this purpose is

I found other solutions:
# wget -q -O -|sed -e 's/.*Current IP Address: //' -e 's/<.*$//'
# curl -s|sed -e 's/.*Current IP Address: //' -e 's/<.*$//'
# curl -s
# lynx -dump

About / Despre acest blog
Disclaimer and privacy statement / Confidenţialitate
Updated / Actualizat: 2009-08-05.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

C:\windows\system32\config\system missing or corrupt

When starting computer (Windows XP Home), the following error message is displayed:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt

You can attempt to repair this file by starting windows setup using the original setup CD-Rom. Select "r" at the first screen to start repair. Do NOT use an OEM "Recovery Disc". Only a valid Windows XP media will work or a disc from the OEM that says "Operating System" may sometimes work depending on how the manufacturer labeled the CD.

Searching the internet, I found several places describing the problem which didn't work for me - in my case, the culprit was bad memory installed.

Links: Windows XP Crashed? Here's Help, Microsoft article Q307545, DriverGuide forum.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Debian 5 (Lenny) - Hardware and preparation

This is work in progress. Do not link to this page, it might change!

Hardware and preparation | OS installation | Console and web monitoring | Network & services | Multimedia | Security

[update 2009-09-14]
I started writing to this article few months back (May 2009), planning to have a weblog of (nice) things I do to this server. This project evolved and it now (Sep 2009) has many parts which makes updating harder to maintain. Thus, I'm splitting it up and I will keep track of articles related. Links from above were added for convenience.

[update 2009-05-25]
I wish I didn't add to this list the BSD flavor. It looks like it's from Mart, it's totally a different species. I was very disappointed of the installer which is the same for centuries. Com'on guys, the world is changing, and it's changing for good and for better. Why would anyone in this world has to use the old fashion fdisk? If ones (/developers) decided that fdisk is the best choice for preparing hard drive, why do I get strange questions (regarding geometry) when my HDD has FAT/NTFS partitions on it? It works fine in Windows, DOS and other distros... Why do I need pen and paper for partitioning (as per installer's recommendation)? Why is so strange-strange-strange??... Anyways, I gave up using oldies. As I don't like bloat-ware and corporate made distros (that's what I feel in regards to RedHat/CentOS), Ubuntu/Debian seems to be the natural choice - I'll probably stay with one of them. [update: Debian chosen]

How it all began
Got appropriate hardware for my server and started planning to re-install this box. From the beginning I was wondering which distribution will best fit my needs. I'm going use this server for professional services such as hosting web services (DNS, HTTP, FTP, (web)mail etc.), VoIP server, as well as testing other services - media box (sharing, multimedia, streaming), wireless, backup. Researching, I decided that I will choose one of the following:
- Debian 5.0 (very close to Ubuntu to which I feel very familiar) *
- CentOS 5.3 (Enterprise-class of RedHat/Fedora at the cost of... open source)
- Gentoo 2008.0 (great for geeks who like to do things the hard way and stay with linux at its base)
- Slackware 12.2 (similar to Gentoo, look and feel of BSD)
- FreeBSD 7.2 (most popular BSD OS, very large support for hardware and applications, and base of MacOS-X)
- OpenBSD 4.5 (forked from FreeBSD, focused on security, correctness, and being as free as possible) - home of projects such as OpenSSH, OpenNTPD, OpenCVS, OpenBGPD, PF firewall and CARP; "secured by default" and integrated cryptography
- NetBSD 5 (a freely redistributable operating system which its main focus is portability)

* I chose Debian for this project, at least for now. Although I'm not entirely satisfied with the option, it is the best for me at this time.

Ubuntu vs. Debian
After several Ubuntu Server installations with bogus issues found over time (my experiences), I felt like Ubuntu is not suited for server installation yet ('though it uses latest software and lot of "ring & bells"). I see they're working to improve many things, and many things get broken. Take, for example, boot messages not shown at startup, for which there is a bug report (I'm not in the mood to look it up right now), and no resolution yet (as of this writing, May 2009). The Ubuntu community is not always available and responsive like it should. As I complete this blog entry, I will update with links - I don't have them at hand right now.

During this setup, I'm trying to follow "the Debian way", using software in the main repository. However, not everything in there suite my needs, thus I may use packages in other repositories, or hack the system somehow to get it to work the way I want.

Hardware I got for this baby:
Mobo - Intel Desktop Board D975XBX (ICH7, 3xPCIe, 2xPCI, 4xDDR2, 8xSATA)
CPU - Intel E4600 (Core 2 Duo @2400, EM64T, no hyperthreading, no virtualization)
RAM - Kingston HyperX DDR-800, 2 GB (2x1 GB)
HDD - WD Raptor SATA 74 GB + several others as share drives
RAID1/SATA-2 - Intel Matrix 82801GB/GR/GH ICH7 Family (built-in, 4 x SATA ports)
RAID2/SATA-1 - Silicon Image SiI 3114 (built-in, 4 x SATA ports)
Optical - DVD+/-RW Asus IDE
Sound - SigmaTel /Intel 975X Express Chipset 8-channel HDA (built-in)
LAN1 - internal, Intel PRO/1000, 82573L (built-in)
LAN2 - Intel PRO/1000 MT (dual-port, PCI, 32/64 bit)
LAN3/Wireless - D-Link DWL-G520 rev.B4 (PCI, Atheros AR2414) [support]
VGA - Asus EN7300GT (PCIe)
eSata port (for external SATA HDD rack)
Genius ColorPage-HR7 (USB)
Webcam Philips SPC 200NC (USB) [hard-time to set it up]
Printer HP K5400n (via LAN)
Hardware I may/should add, sometimes in the future:
MODEM (PCIe or USB - no more PCI slots available)
LAN card (PCIe)

I found the following links of great help: Table of PCI device supported by debian, How To Identify A Device.

Update BIOS (new mobo).
In BIOS, set AHCI mode for Intel Matrix SATA controller (modes: IDE/RAID/AHCI).
Interesting links: Debian HCL Intel D975XBX, Speed Up Linux Installation (using hdparm).

About / Despre acest blog
Disclaimer and privacy statement / Confidenţialitate
Updated / Actualizat: 2009-10-05.


Debian 5 (Lenny) - OS installation

This is work in progress. Do not link to this page, it might change!

Hardware and preparation | OS installation | Console and web monitoring | Network & services | Multimedia | Security

Downloaded debian-501-i386-businesscard.iso* (39 MB, kernel 2.6.26-2-686) from the nearest mirror. Partitioned, minimum install. Started the adventure!
Note: There are plenty of howtos out there, I won't post again here just for the fun of posting. For the curious (unskilled), HowToForge has nice tutorials and some even describe the process of installation, I highly recommend reading there.

Errors found in logs and other problems, just after installation
[X] Upon boot, the following message appear:
usb 1-2: device not accepting address 2, error -71This error is generated by the scanner Genius ColorPage-HR7 (old model). I tried switching to other USB port, no luck - same error. Some related links: Linux-usb-users,,, #20773 (Ubuntu). Note, however, that this scanner works when using Debian 9.04 Live CD. Didn't check yet for this error message.

[X] /var/log/dmesg: "Failed to allocate mem resource #6"
server:~# dmesg | grep 0000:01:00.0
[ 0.300475] PCI: Failed to allocate mem resource #6:20000@90000000 for 0000:01:00.0
[ 0.716731] pci 0000:01:00.0: Boot video device
Solution: not yet.
Links: users on Ubuntu forums, Ubuntu bug #55416, Ubuntu bug #159241, Ubuntu bug #159241

[X] /var/log/dmesg shows:
[0.240015] PCI: Not using MMCONFIG.
[0.247907] PCI: Not using MMCONFIG.
Solution: Add pci=nommconf as a boot option to hide this error. Well, it's not working for me.
I found someone saying that this error is a BIOS bug which affects the Intel mobo and an updated BIOS may correct this issue. It looks like this message is hidden on other distros, but the issue is still there. (Note: I'm running now the latest BIOS and the error is still there)

[X] /var/log/dmesg shows:
Driver 'sd' needs updating - please use bus_type methods.
Solution: none yet, but it looks like it shouldn't worry anyone. People talk about it and search for a solution: #186167 (Ubuntu), #508322 (Debian), kernel mailing list etc.
Just after this message, another one comes up, probably related:
sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
All SATA drives shows these messages. Didn't find any info and have no clue about what it means...

Customization and required software


[X] Aptitude customization:
Debian uses by default its main repository. My preferred set up:

deb lenny main contrib non-free
Other than that, I use to add repository. This is what to do for Lenny:
# wget
# dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring_2008.10.16_all.deb
After that, add the following to /etc/apt/apt.sources:

deb lenny main
Backports looks interesting as well (pay attention though, it is not checked by main Debian developers). I found at least one nice application on backports (is not in the main repository): wii WM (see why an WM is required to run on a server, on the multimedia page). Installation instructions of backports are on their website. It should be added to main apt.sources like this :
deb lenny-backports main contrib non-free
Don't forget to import server's security key:
# wget -O - | apt-key add -
Note: Packages are deactivated by default, so if you'd like to install something, do the following (using apt-get or aptitude):
# aptitude -t lenny-backports install “package”

Some hard-to-find or not-so-common informations about Debian
- Tasksel - software packages grouped by tasks; it offers an easy way to install all the packages needed for that task; typing tasksel in Lenny (debian-501-i386-businesscard.iso) gives the following options:
  • Desktop Environment
  • Web server
  • Print server
  • DNS server
  • File server
  • Mail server
  • SQL database
  • Laptop
  • manual package selection
A project related to apt captured my attention: apt-listbugs. It will be tested in the future.
(Tip: I use aptitude to install/update programs, instead of apt-get. A nice alternative to aptitude is dselect.)

[X] To log all commands run on machine, acct (lastcomm, ac, sa) is an option. Installation:
# aptitude install acct

[X] [updated procedure] I don't remember why I did initially all bellow steps (probably I was messing up with other distro - ubuntu?!?). It looks now that it's just a matter of:
# aptitude install ntp ntpdate

[old procedure] Time correction: although date in BIOS was right, and Debian was instructed at the installation that I use local time (Bucharest), it shows the time with 3h forward. This will fix it:
(0) If want to set local time in BIOS and let linux know about this, check that UTC=no in /etc/default/rcS
(1) Install ntp and syncronize current time with BIOS clock (ntpdate):
# hwclock --localtime
# aptitude install ntp ntpdate
(2) Add local (or closer to your location) npt servers to /etc/ntp.conf:
(3) After that, run:
# /etc/init.d/ntp restart
(4) Syncronize update time with BIOS clock:
# hwclock --systohc
Note 1: After the installation, if I use the backup internet line - RDS Link (local provider using PPPoE, in Romania), I get this error:
ntpd[...]: sendto( (fd=19): Invalid argument
Googling, we find some answers: NTP problems for newbies,

Syslog error (/var/log/dmesg):
warning: `ntpd' uses 32-bit capabilities (legacy support in use)
Solution: supposed to be fixed by now, but it's not. It looks like it's harmless. Some bugs reports: #483434 (Debian), #4746[38/39] (Debian), Google Groups etc.

[X] Change screen resolution to 1024x768 (adding kernel option vga=791 to menu.1st)

[X] make grep not to be case sensitive

[X] Console text is not colored under Debian. I prefer colors. To change this, edit the file .bashrc in the home folder (all instructions are there). If you like to keep this change for new users, add the modified .bashrc file to /etc/skel/. Whenever a new user is created, color console text will be shown. For users already created, the file /home/{user}/.bashrc should be replaced with the modified .bashrc file. This link might be of help for other distros.

[X] Bash completion is a useful tool for completion of file paths, commands etc. By default it is enabled on Ubuntu but not on Debian. With two simple steps it can also be enabled on Debian. Check here: How To Add Bash Completion In Debian.

[X] Boot log is disabled by default. To enable, edit the file /etc/default/bootlogd - change No to Yes for BOOTLOGD_ENABLE parameter.
Interesting: It looks like Ubuntu has disabled bootlogd and boot messages are copied from kernel's ring buffer to dmesg using /etc/init.d/ script. [Source]

[?] Few utilities caches all apt requests that go through it and stores a copy of the .deb file locally: approx, apt-cacher (perl+apache script, rather old, but available in lenny), apt-cacher-ng, Apt-P2P, apt-proxy (feedback not so good), apt-www-proxy (rather insecure), debproxy, debtorrent, replicator (transparent proxy, nice feedback), squid (transparent proxy, nice feedback)
Links: Upgrade multiple debian systems with Approx, Keeping many Debian servers up to date with apt-proxy, HOWTO: Setting up Debian Proxy Cache server for .deb packages (apt-proxy).
To do.

[X] Some programs needed later:
# aptitude install apt-file cabextract chkconfig cplay curl dselect elinks finger hwinfo iptraf kernel-package less links links2 linux-source-2.6.26 locate lsb-release lshw lynx mc moc mtr-tiny mutt nmap ntfsprogs perl-doc pciutils pwgen rsync screen splay ssh sysv-rc-conf telnet tofrodos unrar-free wavemon vim-doc vim-runtime
Few words about each:
- apt-file - APT package searching utility -- command-line interface
- aptitude - terminal-based package manager (I use it instead of ap-get)
- cabextract - extract Microsoft Cabinet files
- chkconfig - is system tool to enable/disable services. It was made for RedHat but it can be used also on Debian/Ubuntu. A Debian-specific tool equivalent is update-rc.d. Some other exist too. More about chkconfig, for the curious.
- cplay - front end mp3 player in console (requires splay or other player). Links: Use cplay like a pro, cplay package (Debian stable), cplay package (Ubuntu Hardy).
- curl - Get a file from HTTP, HTTPS or FTP server
- dselect - Debian package management front-end
- elinks - advanced text-mode WWW browser
- finger - lookup users
- hwinfo - Hardware identification system (similar to lspci)
- iptraf - interactive colorful IP LAN monitor
- kernel-package - utility for building Linux kernel related Debian packages
- less - pager similar to more (scroll support using up/down arrows)
- links - Web browser running in text mode
- links2 - Web browser running in both graphics and text mode
- linux-source-2.6.26 - Linux kernel source for version 2.6.26 with Debian patches
- lsb-release -Linux Standard Base version reporting utility
- lshw -Information about hardware configuration *
- lynx - Text-mode WWW Browser; virtual colors
- mc - Midnight Commander; requires lynx for html preview; links: advance configuration, mc Guide, PDF viewer (script)
- moc - ncurses based console audio player (check moc-ffmpeg-plugin)
- mtr-tiny - light version of tiny (ncurses traceroute tool)
- mutt - text-based mailreader
- nmap - check open ports
- ntfsprogs - mount easily ntfs drives
- pciutils - utilities such as lspci
- perl-doc - Perl documentation (used to display documentationsuch as, mytop etc.)
- pwgen - Automatic Password generation
- rsync - fast remote file copy program (like rcp)
- screen - let your jobs work in virtual console (good for ssh over bad disconnecting internet links); links: screen command quickstart.
- splay - front-end for cplay
- ssh - ssh server (secure connection from remote locations)
- sysv-rc-conf - SysV init runlevel configuration tool for the terminal
- telnet - telnet client
- tofrodos - Converts DOS <-> Unix text files, alias tofromdos (dos2unix)
- unrar-free - Unarchiver for .rar files
- wavemon - Wireless Device Monitoring Application
- vim-doc - Documentation for vim-tiny (installed by default in Debian)
- vim-runtime - package required for viewing VIM documentation (vim-doc)

* How to use it:
# lshw
# lshw -short

[-] Some other software (under review/testing):
# aptitude install abs-guide acct debian-goodies debian-history debian-installer debian-reference-en docbook-defguide installation-guide-amd64 installation-guide-i386 installation-guide-ia64 kernel-patch-atopacct kernel-patch-atopcnt kernel-patch-wrr linux-patch-debianlog openguides net-acct png-definitive-guide pmacct propaganda-debian sysadmin-guide vserver-debiantools
- abs-guide - The Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide
- acct - Accounting utilities for process and login accounting
- debian-goodies - Small toolbox-style utilities for Debian systems
- debian-history - A Short History of the Debian Project
- debian-installer - Debian installer
- debian-reference-en - Debian system administration guide, English original
- docbook-defguide - DocBook: The Definitive Guide - HTML version
- installation-guide-amd64 - Debian installation guide
- installation-guide-i386 - Debian installation guide
- installation-guide-ia64 - Debian installation guide
- kernel-patch-atopacct - save additional statistical counters for atop in the record
- kernel-patch-atopcnt - additional statistical counters for atop
- kernel-patch-wrr - Extension to traffic Control/network bandwidth management
- linux-patch-debianlogo - Display a Debian logo on a framebuffer device at boottime
- net-acct - User-mode IP accounting daemon (like tcpdump)
- openguides - A web application for managing a collaboratively-written city guide
- pmacct - promiscuous mode traffic accountant (like Cacti). Links: Make graphs: pmacct and Cacti.
- png-definitive-guide - PNG: The Definitive Guide
- propaganda-debian - Propaganda background image volume for Debian (images intended to be used as desktop backgrounds)
- sysadmin-guide - The Linux System Administrators' Guide
- vserver-debiantools - Tools to manage debian virtual servers

Errors found in logs and other problems
[X] Some sites don't work (from laptop, as a host, via wireless)
It looks like this problem happens because I use MASQ on linux, and the problem is described on several sites on the internet: Linux IP Masquerade HOWTO (FAQ),
[update] A virus was catch on laptop and the issue resolved. I leave this here for the link above, interesting to read.

[X] Found in /var/log/auth.log a crontab job which writes every hour this message:
CRON[...]: pam_unix(cron:session): session opened for user root by (uid=0)
CRON[...]: pam_unix(cron:session): session closed for user root

This should be directed to a cron log or disabled (it looks that this is the job in /etc/crontab: "#17 * * * * root cd / && run-parts --report /etc/cron.hourly" - I disabled it and no more junk so far).
[update] Researching, I found out that run-parts is a script (part of debianutils) which runs executable files under a specific directory (in this case /etc/cron.hourly). Unless you don't want to run cron jobs, this option can be disabled as above. Otherwise, it's not a smart choice. This needs investigation to avoid breaking functionality.

[X] Upon boot, the following message appear:
kinit: name_to_dev_t (/dev/sda5) = sda5(8,5)
kinit: trying to resume from /dev/sda6
kinit: No resume image, doing normal boot ....
It looks like a bug, harmless. Few links describing similar behaviour: #277411, #103148,
Apparently, this comment in bug #103148 describe the solution (be aware of #66637 if using hibernation and UUID-based fstab!). However, it didn't work for me. I tried also re-building the swap, change pass to value 2 in /etc/fstab, but it didn't work also.

Note: To investigate some bugs, it is suggested using advices from Ubuntu support docs: Debugging IRQ problems.

To do (reminder for myself):
- add to boot a new menu entry "Single user mode" (Debian)
- add to boot a new menu entry "(MS-)DOS", and have DOS prepared for usual tasks
- configure ghost backup from (MS-)DOS, if possible

About / Despre acest blog
Disclaimer and privacy statement / Confidenţialitate
Updated / Actualizat: 2009-09-15.


Debian 5 (Lenny) - Console and web monitoring

This is work in progress. Do not link to this page, it might change!

Hardware and preparation | OS installation | Console and web monitoring | Network & services | Multimedia | Security

I wish I had a more organized section of monitoring tools (two categories: console and web monitoring tools), but most of these tools are linked and/or dependent one to each other. That's why I include them all here, and have them split up by task.


System Tools

[?] PhpSysInfo - monitor system via web interface (Uptime, CPU, Memory, SCSI, IDE, PCI, Ethernet, Floppy and Video Information).
# aptitude install phpsysinfo
For some reason, the page at http://domain/phpsysinfo does not start. The server log says:
[error] File does not exist: /var/www/
This has to be investigated, I don't have time right now.
Links: Display Your system Information (Uptime, CPU, Memory, SCSI, IDE, PCI, Ethernet, Floppy and Video) Using Phpsysinfo.
Logs monitoring: Ubuntu Linux + Apache2 + Virtual Hosts + Syslog Server, Centralized Syslog Server Using syslog-NG with web Interface using php-syslog-ng.

[?] sysstat - a collection of performance monitoring tools.
# aptitude install sysstat
The program won't start and an error shows up after every reboot:
sadc not enabled in /etc/default/sysstat, not starting. (warning).
Solution: aparently, editing /etc/default/sysstat and change the parameter ENABLED from "false" (default) to "true" will fix the error.
Discussions: I don't know if it has any relevance, but there are a few bugs - #507493 (Debian), #298722 (Debian), #507493 (Debian) etc.
Links: How To Monitor A System With Sysstat (Centos 4.3).
To do: there should be a way to set up sysstat save logs, and then display them as graphs on a webpage.
Follow up: not yet.

[X] vpsinfo - monitoring script, written in PHP, that provides web access to system status information, designed for use on a Linux Virtuozzo or OpenVZ, but working as well on a dedicated server. It's been made to make use of other applications such as: vnstat (Highly recommended!), mytop, mysqlreport.
To do.

Hard disk

[X] hdparm - set and view SATA and IDE hard disk hardware parameters.
# aptitude install hdparm
How to use it (replace sdX with your drive):
# hdparm -d1 /dev/sdX {Turn on DMA}
# hdparm -d0 /dev/sdX {Turn off DMA}
# hdparm -T /dev/sdX {Test cache read performance}
# hdparm -t /dev/sdX {Test read performance}
# hdparm -I /dev/sdX

[X] hddtemp - monitoring hdd temperature
# aptitude install hddtemp
# hddtemp /dev/sd?
as instructed per this link: Monitoring your hardware's temperature.

[X] smartmontools - monitors and set HDD S.M.A.R.T. parameters (it depends on exim4, a SMTP daemon).
# aptitude install smartmontools

The following NEW packages will be installed:
bsd-mailx{a} exim4{a} exim4-base{a} exim4-config{a} exim4-daemon-light{a} mailx{a} psmisc{a} smartmontools
How to use it (replace sdX with your drive):
# smartctl -a /dev/sdX

[-] smartmontools - alternate install
# aptitude install smartmontools
# smartctl -i /dev/sda# smartctl -a /dev/sda
as instructed per this link: Checking Hard Disk Sanity With Smartmontools (Debian & Ubuntu).


[X] lm-sensors - hardware monitoring (motherboard temperatures, cooler speed).
# aptitude install lm-sensors
# sensors-detect
# modprobe
# sensors
as instructed per this link: Monitoring your hardware's temperature. It worth checking it out sensord.

[?] mbmon - alternative to lm-sensors
# aptitude install mbmon
# mbmon This program did not work for me. An error appear:
No Hardware Monitor found!!
InitMBInfo: Success
Some more investigation needs to be done. Links: mbmon manual.


For traffic (network) monitoring, the most interesting I found are vnstat, iptraf, ntop, darkstat.
Links: OpenSource NetMonitoring, Bandwidth Monitoring Tools for Ubuntu Users, Keeping tabs on your network traffic, Debian Network Tools For Administrators.

[X] vnStat - network monitoring; easy to integrate with vpsinfo (built-in support)
# aptitude install vnstat
After installation, I got this error:
Unable to read database "/var/lib/vnstat/eth0". -> A new database has been created.
Solution: create databases for network interfaces in the system:
# vnstat -u -i eth0
# vnstat -u -i eth1
# vnstat -u -i eth2
# vnstat -u -i lo
# vnstat -u -i wlan0/ath0
To do: there should be a way to set up sysstat save logs, and then display them as graphs on a webpage. >> [update: found out vnstat PHP frontend, vnStatSVG, jsvnstat.]
Follow up: not yet.
- BixData - mixed Virtualization Management; links: Server Monitoring With BixData (can send alerts; community edition up to 30 servers).
- Cacti (Nagios, PHP, RRDtool) - generally used to graph time-series data of metrics such as CPU load, network bandwidth utilization, network traffic via SNMP; links: Cacti On An ISPConfig Server Within 10 Easy Steps, Monitoring Ubuntu Servers and Desktops Using Cacti.
- Centreon (Nagios); links: Configure Centreon setup and database.
- Cricket (RRDtool) - collect SNMP data
- darkstat (packet sniffer, high CPU load); captures network traffic, calculates statistics about usage, and serves reports over HTTP; "efficiency: on my FreeBSD router, ppp takes an order of magnitude more CPU time than darkstat. If your system can keep up with PPPoE, you should have no trouble running darkstat."; links: Darkstat - Nework Traffic Analyzer or Network Monitor.
- GroundWork (Nagios, RRDtool) - Nagios to the next level
- Hyper HQ ; links: Network Management And Monitoring With Hyperic HQ On Ubuntu 7.04.
- MRTG (the original RRDtool package) - monitoring and measuring the traffic load on network links showing graphs;
- MRTNK - a set of scripts to make graphics and html pages similar to MRTG, but these scripts are based on rrd databases and rrdtool graphics, this allows better graphics, and use of negative/non integer data.
- Munin (Perl, RRDtool); links: Monitoring systems with munin, Munin examples, Monitoring Servers and Clients using Munin in Debian Linux, Server Monitoring With munin And monit (can send alerts)
- Nagios - the industry standard in IT infrastracture monitoring; links: Nagios Network Monitoring System Setup in Ubuntu (Nagios APT-watch plugin).
- ntop (RRDtool) - features rich; In interactive mode, it displays the network status on the user's terminal. In Web mode, it acts as a web server (port 3000), creating a HTML dump of the network status. It sports a NetFlow/sFlow emitter/collector, a HTTP-based client interface for creating ntop-centric monitoring applications; links: Network monitoring with ntop (CentOS 4).
- Smokeping/SmokeTrace - An Ajax Traceroute tool; links: Network Latency With Smokeping (Debian Etch).
- SNM - System and Network Monitor (RRDtool) - a tool to monitor, graph and alert the capacity of computing devices and applications.
- Webminstats - a basic system static logging application that graphs the results; it's Webmin's module which display a graphical log of historic information. It's modular in design, as to be able to log everything from CPU usage to email box size.
- Zabbix (PHP + db: MySQL/PostgreSQL/SQLite/Oracle) - monitor and track the status of various network services, servers, and other network hardware; ZABBIX includes support for monitoring via SNMP, TCP and ICMP checks, IPMI and custom parameters. ZABBIX supports a variety of real-time notification mechanisms, including XMPP; links: Installing Zabbix - Server And Agent (Debian Etch), Network Monitoring With Zabbix.
- Zenoss; links: Installing Zenoss Network Monitor on a Ubuntu Server.

Links: SNMP + RRDTool + Cacti on Debian Lenny mini-HOWTO, OpenNMS.



[?] innotop - a 'top' clone for MySQL with more features and flexibility than similar tools (mytop)
under review

[X] mysqlreport - great tool, from the programmer of maatkit.
under review

[?] mysqlsniffer - great tool, from the programmer of maatkit.
under review

[X] mytop - monitoring the threads and overall performance of a MySQL 3.22.x, 3.23.x, and 4.x server.
# aptitude install mytop
# cp /usr/share/doc/mytop/mytop.example ~/.mytop
# vim ~/.mytop
Configuration is explained in the sample file.

- monitoring. Links: Postfix Monitoring With Mailgraph And pflogsumm (Debian Etch), Postfix Monitoring With Mailgraph And pflogsumm (Debian Sarge).







Links: Postfix Monitoring With Mailgraph And pflogsumm (Debian Etch), Postfix Monitoring With Mailgraph And pflogsumm (Debian Sarge).

Links: Projects on Google Code (search query).

About / Despre acest blog
Disclaimer and privacy statement / Confidenţialitate
Updated / Actualizat: 2009-09-15.