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Emacs Screenshot

I’ve recently started using the Solarized color theme for Emacs.

Emacs on OS X

The font is Everson Mono.

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For demo purposes I needed a mail + IMAP server on my laptop. IMAP because there seems to be no way for Thunderbird to read from an mbox file (shocking!). Postfix comes default with OS X, so that was a no brainer.

However getting IMAP to work took some work. I’m detailing the steps here.

  1. Get IMAP source code from and untar somewhere. (I’m assuming you have full XCode development environment setup. If not, dig out your Install DVD and do so)
  2. Edit the top level MAKEFILE and comment out this line:

    Make sure the next line (which is SPECIALS= is not commented out)

  3. Run make oxp
  4. Copy generated imap/imapd to /usr/local/bin
  5. Since 10.6 has no xinetd anymore, I had to write a launchd plist file. Create this file as /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.uwimap.imap.plist. Contents:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
    <plist version="1.0">

    The file should be owned by user root and group wheel.

  6. Configure PAM support. I did this by this kludge:
    sudo cp /etc/pam.d/ftpd /etc/pam.d/imap
  7. Ask launchd to load and start this service:
      sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.uwimap.imap.plist
      sudo launchctl start com.uwimap.imap
  8. Try telnetting to localhost 143 and 993 to see if imap is up

This should create a functioning IMAP server. YMMV ;-)

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scortum setup (again)

Last week, scortum’s hard disk died. And with it all our vms and data. Not a good thing.

So I bought two new 500 GB sata disks. Now we’re running RAID-1 with LVM on top of it.
I’m going to detail all the steps we took to actually get it running (for future reference).

Initially I had used ubuntu 9.10 beta, but vmware server 2 gave me enough problems with it to blow up the install and go back to ubuntu 9.04.

With 9.04 getting the full disk on LVM2+RAID didn’t work at all. It would install, but then either lilo would not startup or the kernel would panic. So i moved /boot off to a separate partition and / and /home on LVM2+RAID. This way even if the disk dies, the data should be safe.


  1. Setup Ubuntu 9.04 with /boot on /dev/sda1, / and /home on a LVM2+RAID-1.
  2. Install approx.Update /etc/approx/approx.conf to
  3. Create /etc/apt/sources.list.approx with following content:
    deb http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty main restricted
    deb-src http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty main restricted
    ## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
    ## distribution.
    deb http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty-updates main restricted
    deb-src http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty-updates main restricted
    ## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
    ## team. Also, please note that software in universe WILL NOT receive any
    ## review or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
    deb http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty universe
    deb-src http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty universe
    deb http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty-updates universe
    deb-src http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty-updates universe
    ## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
    ## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to
    ## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in
    ## multiverse WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu
    ## security team.
    deb http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty multiverse
    deb-src http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty multiverse
    deb http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty-updates multiverse
    deb-src http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty-updates multiverse
    ## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the 'backports'
    ## repository.
    ## N.B. software from this repository may not have been tested as
    ## extensively as that contained in the main release, although it includes
    ## newer versions of some applications which may provide useful features.
    ## Also, please note that software in backports WILL NOT receive any review
    ## or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
    deb http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty-backports main restricted universe multiverse
    deb-src http://scortum:9999/ubuntu/ jaunty-backports main restricted universe multiverse
    ## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
    ## 'partner' repository.
    ## This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is offered by Canonical and the
    ## respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu users.
    deb jaunty partner
    deb-src jaunty partner
    deb http://scortum:9999/security jaunty-security main restricted
    deb-src http://scortum:9999/security jaunty-security main restricted
    deb http://scortum:9999/security jaunty-security universe
    deb-src http://scortum:9999/security jaunty-security universe
    deb http://scortum:9999/security jaunty-security multiverse
    deb-src http://scortum:9999/security jaunty-security multiverse
  4. Move sources.list to sources.list.original
  5. Create a soft link from sources.list to sources.list.approx
  6. sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
  7. Reboot (to get the new kernel)
  8. sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r` xinetd
  9. Download VMWare server 2 (I got 2.0.1-156745.x86_64)
  10. The script needs to be patched for building vsock module. Download this perl script (From
  11. Run but say no to running . Then run this command:
    sudo patch /usr/bin/ /path/to/downloaded/
  12. Now run

(Will keep updating this post)

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New Hardware

Recently bought new stuff for our server (named scortum). One of our RAM chips stopped working, and nearly gave me a ‘eart ‘ttack.

So went out and bought some new stuff for it:

  • An APC UPS rated 2 kVA.
  • 4 GB RAM
  • a DVD writer

The sweet (and unexpected) part was how the UPS came with a usb interface cable, and an apt-get install apcupsd later we have UPS integration into the system software. So the server can shutdown when the UPS is down to 15% or 5 minutes of capacity.

Gave the defective 2 GB RAM DIMM for replacement and should have it back in 10 days or so. Then we’ll run the full 8 GB the mobo supports. Here are the specs for scortum:

  • Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q6600@2.40GHz
  • 6 GB RAM (as of now after the additional 4 GB)
  • 500 GB 7200 rpm disk

Scortum runs ubuntu 8.10 x64, with vmware server 2 on top of it. There are around 12 vms configured on it, with 3-4 running at a time. The big ones are the three RHEL4/5 images running Oracle 10G. There are smaller VMs running our bugdb, qa and staging servers (mainly ubuntu 9.04)

For performance reason we’ll probably move to ESXi on the host. The CPU performance is pretty good, but the disk is so-so, even though we have a 7200 rpm disk. ESXi is rumored to give vastly better I/O performance, but the range of hardware support is limited. We’ll see.

Another plan is to plonk in another 500 GB 7200 disk and either go for full disk mirror, or spread the write-happy VMs on them.

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windows xp license and IE

Just bought off a windows/xp license off the web. Didn’t realize it was still available for purchase.

Somehow my windows validation key wasn’t working, under vmware fusion. And it has been ages since I booted up windows anyway. Was easier to just give in and buy a new one.

This is needed for testing Lambda against IE6. On first glance most of the things work. I think mainly because we used YUI js and css. And IE8-compat library helps with other things.

On a (somewhat) unrelated note: IE6 sucks. EPIC FAIL.

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back in black

I’ve started blogging again. Lets see how it goes this time.

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