MPU Meeting Monday 10th December 2007

LCFG Website

The project was signed off at the November Development Meeting. Still requires a service catalogue entry though.

Solaris Improvement Project

The project was signed off at the December Development Meeting.

SL5 Project

The project was signed off at the November Development Meeting.

Buildtools Project

The project was passed by unit heads to go forward into the implementation stage at the December Development Meeting.

There will be a talk on some aspects of the project at the Development Meeting in February 2008. Part of which is to check that COs are happy with the proposed solution based on cmake before it is fully implemented.

Currently Stephen is working on a "System Information" component (sysinfo) which can be used to pass information on standard LCFG paths (e.g. LCFGBIN, LCFGSBIN) to components so that the use of build-time macros can be minimised. It will also handle information about the platform (e.g. operating system, cpu architecture) and provide the ability to carry information currently managed by the inventory component when that is replaced with a separate database. Stephen has a plan for a way in which the new inventory system can communicate data to the LCFG servers. The next stage is to provide some high-level interfaces to the information through LCFG::Component for Perl components and ngeneric for shell components.

rpmsubmit Project

Nothing happened.

Power management project

Chris has been looking into lots of different topics related to this project. He gave a talk at the December development meeting, his slides are available. this generated quite a bit of interest amongst COs and gave Chris some more ideas to investigate. Chris is now going to focus in on issues related to putting a machine to sleep and then waking it up again when necessary. There was some discussion on how to do wake-on-lan by sending the correct packets to the machine. Alastair suggested looking at how Clustervision manage booting of clusters of machines.


Ken has done a review and is happy with the component. He just requested one extra feature, he wants the ability to set the minutes in the autoreboot shutdown_time resource using the AUTO feature we have in the LCFG cron component. This resource is what controls the time at which the "at" command starts the final shutdown sequence. This means that a whole lab of machines won't all reboot at exactly the same time.

Screen res. issue
The initial solution was backed out as it badly affected more machines than it fixed. The solution now is to add an extra header, dice/options/xfree-probeworkaround.h, into the source profile for any machine which is having monitor configuration problems.

The latest version (3.1.1) is now installed on all the stable FC6 and SL5 machines.

Server reboots
We need to reboot budapest, figgy, lochranza, prague and tummy to pick up the new SL5 kernel. Stephen will ask Carol if she can do them when she has some spare time.

apacheconf on dresden
Stephen has converted dresden to using the apacheconf component. This means we now have cosign controlled access to the DIYDICE LCFG server status pages. There have been some changes to the httpd configuration to raise the basic level of security. Anyone wanting access to the profiles externally will need to set the necessary access controls in their profiles. The LCFG wiki still needs to be converted to cosign control. There is a test version running with cosign at It needs a small code change and a tweak to the registration page to handle the external authentication nicely. When this comes in to service the sites will all switch to a new IP address.

LCFG component versions
Stephen wrote a script to compare the versions of core LCFG components on FC5, FC6 and SL5 to spot inconsistencies. We will all now look at the components we manage and bring them into line across all the platforms, where appropriate. Stephen pointed out that updaterpms has to stay at the current version (2.101.23) on FC5 as the package lists for that platform will not work correctly with version 3.

Stephen mentioned that it would be good to split the DICE CVS repository into 3 separate parts: LCFG, DICE and an archive of deprecated software. This would allow us to manage the LCFG CVS in a better way, probably on dresden. We could run our own LCFG branded cvsweb-style system and we could allow more external users to have access to the repository without worrying about them accessing DICE-level software. This work is desirable but not urgent right now.

Stephen spent quite a while battling with the dual-head setup on tormore under FC6 using an nvidia graphics card. The problems seem to come from the flat-screens being 6 years old as they kept being incorrectly detected as CRTs. In the end an alteration of the configuration combined with new cables for both monitors seems to have fixed the problems.

lcfg-devel list
There is now a mailing list for discussing the redevelopment of the LCFG code (and other stuff). Various interested people have been automatically subscribed.

mirror of pezenas
The mirror for the RPM repository on pezenas ran out of space. We think this problem has been resolved but it would be good to check. Stephen discovered a nasty problem where the RPM repositories were exported over NFS with the no_root_squash option turned on. He found this out when he tested a buggy version of the LCFG file component wrecked all the directory permissions for those exported filesystems...

Various people are laying claim to dalbeattie which is currently being used by Alan Bundy to drive his large Apple screen. Alastair will look into what needs to be done.

exam lockdown
Various issues have arisen from the new exam lockdown setup. In particular, it seems that gdm does not always restart correctly when gdm-safe-restart is used, it sometimes needs a full restart instead. Stephen has changed the LCFG gdm component to allow selection of which method to use, this mostly fixes the problem. The bigger issue is that the changes seem to be killing the LCFG client process, rdxprof, on some machines. Stephen is going to investigate when the machines are all setup on Thursday evening for the exams on Friday 14th December.

LCFG component changes
Stephen altered the file component and lcfg-utils to allow the use of numeric UIDs and GIDs as well as usernames and group names. The file component has also been altered to allow URI encoding of filenames, this allows spaces and other odd characters in the names. This code is still being tested prior to being rolled out to a wider audience.

Stephen went to the USENIX LISA conference in Dallas. He has almost finished writing his report.

Release testing
Due to the power problems in KB the CSOs are likely to be very busy this week so Chris and Stephen will do the release testing. It was agreed that we would start making SL5 CD images again now that more work is being done on the DICE-level support.

This component belongs to MPU. Stephen will add it into the DICE package lists for SL5.

Alastair has told Simon that he can have this machine for building openafs packages. Simon is likely to be using build-farm technology similar to that which we want for Informatics so Stephen is going to lend a hand where he can to gain experience with the software.

Build farm
We are going to need a 64bit capable machine to do our build farm work.

fc5_64 support
This has now been dropped from the LCFG website and at some point Stephen will remove the package lists and the various bits from the headers to keep it all tidy.

LCFG Tutorial

This will be on the afternoon (2-5pm) of Monday 17th December and will cover "LCFG Basics", "Working with the File Component" and "Beyond the File component". Chris will send a message to all those interested in taking part. Stephen will update the vmware image to include newer versions of the relevant components. Stephen will do the presentations with Chris, Alastair and maybe one other person acting as helpers. The tutorial will be held in AT room 4.12, we have the room for the whole day so we can get the vmware software and images installed on them during the morning.

This Week

Alastair will:

  • Think about personal development topics
  • Sift upgrade wikis
  • Talk to Craig about bugzilla
  • Synchronise his package versions
  • Check backups of RPM master
  • Sort out dalbeattie

Chris will:

  • RT Duty
  • Think about personal development topics
  • Sift upgrade wikis
  • Look at MPU Forum design
  • Release testing
  • LCFG tutorial
  • Power management project

Stephen will:

  • Think about personal development topics
  • Look at MPU Forum design - looks fine to me
  • Release testing
  • Synchronise his package versions
  • LCFG tutorial preparation
  • Finish LISA report
  • Virtualisation write-up
  • Buildtools project

-- StephenQuinney - 10 Dec 2007

Topic revision: r8 - 09 Apr 2010 - 10:45:12 - StephenQuinney
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