MPU Meeting Friday 29th July 2011

AFS automation project

The promoteRO script is now installed on all the AFS file servers. The stats gathering script is also done but needs to be run via a regular cron job.

LCFG Server Refactoring

The code tidying is now mostly complete. The implementations of the main LCFG mutator functions are now in a new Perl module (LCFG::Server::Mutators) and we now have a test suite which exercises the mutators so we can test any changes we make in the future. The invocations of cpp for preprocessing the headers and package lists have been hugely improved by switching from system to IPC::Run. All the patches have been reviewed by Simon and a few need tweaking. After this we need to work out how we are going to manage the releasing and packaging for the project and then make a "beta" release for wider testing.

Stephen and Simon have been discussing possible work for the project which can be done in the next third of the year. The main suggestions are the rewriting of the various DB interfaces and the refactoring of the mkxprof script into a Moose class so that the huge number of global variables can be become attributes. This would make the coder safer, easier to read and maintain, and would permit the automated handling of command-line options and configuration files.

Install Scripts

The project to create a set of installation and configuration scripts for self-managed machines was discussed. It was agreed that Chris would look first at MacOSX. There is plenty of local expertise for managing Macs and packaging software, in particular Kenny MacDonald and Geoff Lee have been doing this with LCFG.

Stephen suggested using CMake for the packaging as it works well with MacOSX and we already have knowledge of this system.

We need to find out what users want configuring, maybe we should send out an email asking users for suggestions?

Miscellaneous Development

The LCFG auth component update has now been rolled out everywhere and the new ways of managing the passwd and group files have been promoted. A last minute fix had to be applied to deal with changes that were made to the lcfg-defetc packages. Stephen noted that it would also be good to improve the way the access.conf file is managed, currently the entries for auth.users and auth.owner are allowed access from anywhere because of a hardwired 'ALL' in the template. It would be nice to be able to modify that origin field, particularly for desktop machines which are accessible via ssh from outside of the Informatics network.

Thanks to some help from Alastair the new installer now works and SL5.6 is ready for rolling out to stable DICE machines. Hopefully this will happen next week. Stephen needs to prepare a blog article to go with the message to sys-announce.

fstab & scsiroot
For SL6 the default in the fstab header is to use SCSI and the scsiroot header has become a no-op. As well as making these changes to the default behaviour the FSTAB_PARTITION macro, which was already in scsiroot.h, has been added to the fstab.h to provide a standard simple way to add partitions to the primary disk. These changes have made it possible to also simplify the dice/options/disk-layout.h header, hopefully it should now work for all profiles not just desktops.

SL6.1 has been released and we need to start generating the package lists so testing can begin. Hopefully we will not have to manage both SL6.0 and SL6.1 for too long, it would be better to make a quick switch to 6.1.

sleep component
Chris fixed a race condition in the sleep component which meant it occasionally failed whilst checking for cron jobs.


New disks
The new disks arrived and Chris has installed them into northern and piccadilly_ in KB.

We have had some problems with the CD/DVD drive in northern which is one of the VMWare servers at KB. All the VMs have been moved to piccadilly and the drive has been disconnected for now. We should check for any BIOS updates, if that doesn't fix the issue we will need to call Dell.

The less critical MPU VMs have been moved to piccadilly in KB to reduce the load on the main VMWare server, metropolitan, in the Forum.

Dell Optiplex 790
We are experiencing a lot of problems with the new Dell 790 and SL6. It is not always possible for X to correctly detect the monitor resolution which results in a very poor setup. Also the screen does not wake up automatically when use the Displayport socket only VGA works. For now we will switch the machines to using VGA cables and hope that SL6.1 fixes the issue.

Default BIOS settings
The default BIOS settings on the select PC are very poor. We need to work out what we require and also whether the IS settings or the default settings is the better starting point. Apparently there is no way to modify the BIOS settings from within Linux (there are tools for Windows). Alastair will talk to IS about the default settings and see if they can be improved.

False errors during install
Chris will write up the list of "false errors" which he found occurring during the install process.

  • Alastair
    • Bring SL6 project for completion
    • Sort out BIOS settings for Dell 790
    • Ask IS re default BIOS settings for Dell 790 - added to LCFG deployer September meeting
    • Consider personal development work
    • Take to CEG - ASAP (by 1st Sep) upgrade for F13 machines with firewalls with deadline of Xmas for other F13 desktops.
    • fstab component

  • Chris
    • Finish off AFS automation project
    • Consider personal development work

  • Gordon
    • Create an LCFG component to manage update-alternatives
    • Discuss requirements for alternatives with COs
    • Header file for mpath component

  • Stephen
    • Work on SL6.1
    • Consider personal development work
    • Discuss database project with Tim
    • SL5.6 blog article

-- AlastairScobie - 29 Jul 2011

Topic revision: r5 - 08 Aug 2011 - 11:11:03 - AlastairScobie
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