MPU Meeting Tuesday 21st May 2013

New Meeting Time!

In future we'll start our meetings at 9:30am.


We haven't always picked up MPU tickets and some of them haven't been responded to. All tickets will be taken in future by Stephen (first half of week) or Chris (second half) then tackled from there as appropriate.

Items from the MPUActivitiesList

  • Chris and Alastair will meet next week after the MPU meeting.
  • Chris will write up the simple KVM service's migration policy.
  • Chris will look at widening the width of the Component column in search results as it's too narrow to be useful.
  • We're going to do SL6.4 very soon now.
  • We'll develop a freenx service soon.
  • We'll adopt pkgsearch into the MPU and we'll shortly be doing a test reinstall of it.


Alastair's decided to reverse the schema somewhat. Formerly system referred to item which referred to order. For the new inventory item will refer to system and item will also refer to order. This change made a lot of existing code redundant.

Alastair has developed a prototype of a replacement for invquery. He wants to simplify invedit and support combinations. Stephen suggested using App::Cmd, a perl module which makes it far easier to develop a command line program which provides a number of built-in commands.

Alastair's going to add some tests.

Login Logs Viewer

The web interface was going rather slowly. Stephen analysed its performance and found several ways to speed it up:

  • the number of lookups per entry was cut
  • some caching was added
  • Adding an index to foreign key columns gave a huge increase in speed.

After the viewer went live, a couple of people found that they were getting Server 500 errors. This came down to a problem with Django: if the user had logged in from a site without a DNS entry, just a numeric IP address, the system falls back to doing a whois lookup. That's meant to return ASCII results but in practice people around the world use all sorts of character sets for their whois data. Django expects ASCII results and tries hard to convert them to UTF-8. Stephen added a filter which spots and sanitises non-standard-ASCII characters before they hit Django. Such characters now appear on the web page as question marks.

It needs a template for an error 404 page, partly to make the 404 page look better but also to stop the system from mailing the MPU every time a 404 is produced...

Sleep Enhancements

It goes live in next week's stable release.

Virtual DICE

There's a problem with AFS over a NAT interface. When logging in using DICE credentials GNOME often hangs for a while then times out waiting for AFS.

Chris's elderly Mac was struggling mightily to run the DICE VM .ova file. A VirtualBox wiki may have tips on how to get around this.

LCFG Client Refactoring

Miscellaneous Development


  • Chris has documented the procedure for replacing a failed disk on an R720 at MPUFailedDisk.
  • Stephen has moved us up to the latest 358 kernel and to the OpenAFS 1.6.2 client.

This Week

  • Alastair
    • Educate individuals about inappropriate KVM guest sizes
    • Start Inventory project diary
    • Inventory project
      • Look at App::Cmd
      • Pester George about location API
      • Look at performance improvement by indexing foreign keys
    • RT tickets
    • Review outstanding LCFG bugs for prioritisation
    • Order a spare 600GB disk for waterloo.
    • Consider activities list
    • Check SL6 fibre documentation up-to-date
    • Move PXE installer mod into bugs from activities list
    • Chase Tim for devproj entry for projects.inf

  • Chris
    • RT tickets - take any from Wed pm - Fri
    • Virtualised DICE image
      • looking at local identity caching
      • check VirtualBox wiki for relevant Mac tips
      • check AFS mailing lists for NAT-related tips
    • Review outstanding LCFG bugs for prioritisation
    • Writeup KVM migration policy
    • Look at widening component name length in

  • Stephen
    • RT tickets - take any from Mon - Wed am
    • LCFG code cleanup
    • Talk to Graham about limits component
    • Look at Graham's apacheconf nagios patch
    • Review outstanding LCFG bugs for prioritisation
    • Consider activities list

  • Carol
-- AlastairScobie - 21 May 2013
Topic revision: r6 - 27 May 2013 - 12:58:58 - StephenQuinney
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