About Jason Brooks

This is Jason Brooks. He ought to update his bio.

Hello World, mark n

Pretty cool stuff going on here, maybe. Using this howto.

OK, so this is working fairly well.

Items to figure out:

  • middleman-springboard customization for dummies
  • how do I get images to align w/o html
  • figure out redirect strategy
  • continue with comments, or not

I guess that about does it. Then maybe I'll point my domain here.

More to come…

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Cutting in the Middleman, with Comments

I blogged somewhat recently about my interest in, and inaction around, static site blogging, where you write blog posts, use an app to turn them into plain HTML, and then drop them somewhere on the web, with no shadow of potentially/eventually vulnerable PHP and MySQL cranking away to deliver dynamically what needn't be dynamic.

I hadn't yet pulled the trigger on ditching WordPress yet, preferring instead to satisfy my desire for writing posts in plain AsciiDoc-formatted text by copying and pasting rendered AsciiDoc into WordPress, or using this AsciiDoc-to-WordPress script to pump in posts through the WordPress API.

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AsciiDokken

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. My last oVirt 3.2 howto has been holding down the front page of this site for a lot of months, and now oVirt 3.3 is just around the corner.

Top "haven’t blogged" excuses:

  • Such are blogs, they go unupdated, and blog posts often start with "it’s been a long time since I blogged" (see above).

  • I’ve been expending a bit of my blogging chi by robotically filling and tweaking the links queue that feeds @redhatopen.

  • I’ve been gripped somewhat by analysis paralysis over staticly generated site blogging and writing in AsciiDoc.

It’s this third excuse I’m blogging about today.

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Up and Running with oVirt, 3.2 Edition

I've written an updated version of this howto for oVirt 3.3 at the Red Hat Community blog.

The latest version of the open source virtualization platform, oVirt, has arrived, which means it's time for the third edition of my "running oVirt on a single machine" blog post. I'm delighted to report that this ought to be the shortest (and least-updated, I hope) post of the three so far.

When I wrote my first "Up and Running" post last year, getting oVirt running on a single machine was more of a hack than a supported configuration. Wrangling large groups of virtualization hosts is oVirt's reason for being. oVirt is designed to run with its manager component, its virtualization hosts, and its shared storage all running on separate pieces of hardware. That's how you'd want it set up for production, but a project that requires a bunch of hardware just for kicking the tires is going to find its tires un-kicked.

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Gluster Rocks the Vote

rtv

Rock the Vote needed a way to manage the fast growth of the data handled by its Web-based voter registration application. The organization turned to GlusterFS replicated volumes to allow for filesystem size upgrades on its virtualized hosting infrastructure without incurring downtime.

Over its twenty-one year history, Rock the Vote has registered more than five million young people to vote, and has become a trusted source of information about registering to vote and casting a ballot.

Since 2009, Rock the Vote has run a Web-based voter registration application, powered by an open source rails application stack called Rocky.

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oVirt on oVirt: Nested KVM Fu

I'm a big fan of virtualization – the ability to take a server and slice it up into a bunch of virtual machines makes life trying out and writing about software much, much easier than it'd be in a one instance per server world.

Things get tricky, however, when the software you want to try out is itself intended for hosting virtual machines. These days, all of the virtualization work I do centers around the KVM hypervisor, which relies on hardware extensions to do its thing.

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Gluster User Story: Fedora Hosted

The Fedora Project's infrastructure team needed a way to ensure the reliability of its Fedora Hosted service, while making the most of their available hardware resources. The team tapped GlusterFS replicated volumes to convert what had been a two-node, active/passive, eventually consistent hosting configuration into a well-synchronized setup in which both nodes could take on user load.

Hosting Fedora Hosted

The Fedora Infrastructure team develops, deploys, and maintains various services for the Fedora Project. One of these services, Fedora Hosted, provides open source projects with a place to host their code and collaborate online.

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openshift and some php app debugging

This morning I was trying to help figure out why a slick new Mediawiki skin was working just fine on an OpenShift-hosted Mediawiki instance, but was totally borked on a second Mediawiki instance, running on a VPS server.

Both the VPS and OpenShift run on the same OS: Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Both were running the same version of Mediawiki, 1.19.2, both had the same version of PHP: 5.3.3.

I compared the php.ini file from the VPS machine with the php.ini from OpenShift, which is findable at ~/php-5.3/conf/php.ini in your OpenShift gear. (You can ssh into your OpenShift instance at the remote "origin" location in your APPNAME/.git/config file).

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engine-iso-uploader wrinkles

I've been installing oVirt 3.1 on some shiny new lab equipment, and I came across a pair of interesting snags with engine-iso-uploader, a tool you can use to upload iso images to your oVirt installation.

I installed the tool on a F17 client machine and festooned the command with the many arguments required to send an iso image off through the network to the iso domain of my oVirt rig. The command failed with the message, "ERROR:root:mount.nfs: Connection timed out."

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A Buzzword-Packed Return to Gluster UFO

A little while back, I tested out the Unified File and Object feature in Gluster 3.3, which taps OpenStack's Swift component to handle the object half of the file and object combo. It took me kind of a long time to get it all running, so I was pleased to find this blog post promising a Quick and Dirty guide to UFO setup, and made a mental note to return to UFO.

When my colleague John Mark asked me about this iOS Swift client from Rackspace, I figured that now would be a good time to revisit UFO, and do it on one of the Google Compute Engine instances available to me while I'm in my free trial period with the newest member of Google's cloud computing family. (OpenStack, iOS & Cloud: Feel the Search Engine Optimization!)

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oVirt 3.1, Glusterized

One of the cooler new features in oVirt 3.1 is the platform's support for creating and managing Gluster volumes. oVirt's web admin console now includes a graphical tool for configuring these volumes, and vdsm, the service for responsible for controlling oVirt's virtualization nodes, has a new sibling, vdsm-gluster, for handling the back end work.

Gluster and oVirt make a good team – the scale out, open source storage project provides a nice way of weaving the local storage on individual compute nodes into shared storage resources.

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Too Fast, Too Slow

Yesterday I removed Fedora 17 from the server I use for oVirt testing, mainly, because I've been experiencing random reboots on the server, and I haven't been able to figure out why. I'm pretty sure I wasn't having these issues on Fedora 16, but I can't go back to that release because the official packages for oVirt are built only for F17. There are, however, oVirt packages built for Enterprise Linux (aka RHEL and its children), and I know that some in the oVirt community have been running with these packages with success.

So, I figured I'd install CentOS 6 on my machine and either escape my random reboots or, if the reboots continued, learn that there's probably something wrong with my hardware. Plus, I'd escape a second bug I've been experiencing with Fedora 17, the one in which a recent rebase to the Linux 3.5 kernel (F17 shipped originally with a 3.3 kernel) seems to have broken oVirt's ability to access NFS shares, thereby breaking oVirt.

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Screencasting oVirt

There's work underway over at the oVirt Project to produce some screencasts of the open source virtualization management platform in action. Since you can find oVirt in action each day in my home office, I set out to chip in and create an oVirt screencast, using tools available on my Fedora 17 desktop.

Here's the five minute screencast, which focuses on creating VMs on oVirt, with a bit of live migration thrown in:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4gayV6dYK4]

The first step was getting my oVirt test rig into shape. I'm running oVirt 3.1 on a pair of machines: a quad core Xeon with 16GB of RAM and a couple of SATA disks, and my Thinkpad X220, with its dual core processor and 8GB of RAM. I've taken to running much of my desktop-type tasks on a virtual machine running under oVirt, thereby liberating my Thinkpad to serve as a second node, for live migration and other multi-node-needin' tests. Both machines run the 64-bit flavor of Fedora 17.

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Upgrading the Family PC to Fedora 17, and Cinnamon

This weekend I upgraded our family PC to Fedora 17. I've been running this latest release for a while on my regular work machine and on my various (and generally short-lived) test systems, but I tend to be slower on the distro upgrade draw with the family computer. For me, slow usually means upgrade within two weeks of release, but this time around, it took me almost two months to undertake the upgrade.

I did try upgrading from Fedora 16 to Fedora 17 about a month ago, using Fedora's preupgrade feature, but the preupgrade process failed for me right at the end–following the lengthy process of downloading every package needed for the upgrade–with a complaint (if I recall correctly) about grub2-tools being missing. I checked to confirm that the grub2-tools package was indeed installed before shelving the upgrade effort for a while. Even though I'm always hot to upgrade to the latest and greatest, my wife maintains a "don't be changing my computer all around" attitude.

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Looking Ahead to oVirt 3.1

We're about one week away from the release of oVirt 3.1, and I'm getting geared up by sifting through the current Release Notes Draft, in search of what's working, what still needs work, and why one might get excited about installing or updating to the new version.

Web Admin

In version 3.1, oVirt's web admin console has picked up a few handy refinements, starting with new "guide me" buttons and dialogs sprinkled through the interface. For example, when you create a new VM through the web console, oVirt doesn't automatically add a virtual disk or network adapter to your VM. You add these elements through a secondary settings pane, which can be easy to overlook, particularly when you're getting started with oVirt. In 3.1, there's now a "guide me" window that suggests adding the nic and disk, with buttons to press to direct you to the right places. These "guide me" elements work similarly elsewhere in the web admin console, for instance, directing users to the next right actions after creating a new cluster or adding a new host.

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preupgrade gone wrong

Having reached a good break point in my Gluster/Openstack/Fedora tests, I thought I'd preupgrade the F16 VM I've been using for ovirt engine to F17, en route to the oVirt 3.1 beta.

That didn't go so well. During the post-preupgrade part (uh, the upgrade), the installer balked at upgrading the jboss-as package that shipped with oVirt 3.0. Afterward, the VM wouldn't boot correctly.

Fortunately...

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Fedora 17, OpenStack Essex & Gluster 3.3: All Smushed Together

Within the past couple weeks, Fedora and Gluster rolled out new versions, packed with too many features to discuss in a single blog post. However, a couple of the stand-out updates in each release overlap neatly enough to tackle them together–namely, the inclusion of OpenStack Essex in Fedora 17 and support for using Gluster 3.3 as a storage backend for OpenStack.

I've tested OpenStack a couple of times in the past, and I'm happy to report that while the project remains a fairly complicated assemblage of components, the community around OpenStack has a done a good job documenting the process of setting up a basic test rig. Going head to head with Amazon Web Services, even with the confines of one's own organization, won't be a walk in the park, but it's fairly easy to get OpenStack up an running in a form suitable for further learning and experimentation.

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reinstall

I reinstalled Fedora 17 on my main work machine yesterday – I was having weird issues with gnome-boxes and virt-manager, and thought my problems might have stemmed from the weird libvirt machinations I undertook to get oVirt running on my laptop w/o disabling NetworkManager.

I always keep my home directory in a separate partition to allow for easy clean installs w/o losing my data, but this time around I copied my home directory off to a separate drive to start completely fresh – I'll ferry needed files and folders back as needed.

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stuck, volume 1

So, I'm working my way through the OpenShift Origin BYO PaaS wiki page, but I'm stuck right now near the finish line.

On Saturday, I was cranking through the howto, highlighting and middle-click pasting my way to BYOP nirvana, until I hit an authentication issue when it was time to create a domain on my newly-minted PaaS.

After taking a break for a couple days, I realized that I'd simply forgotten to point my rhc client at the right host – rhc defaults to openshift.redhat.com, and if there's an account on the Red Hat hosted server with the user name "admin" I can confirm that that user's password is not "admin" as well.

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What I Look For In An Open Source Project Web Site

Perusing new open source software projects has long been both a job requirement and a pastime for me. Over the past decade plus so I've come across a ton of open source project web sites, running the gamut from good to bad – with a healthy contingent of ugly in the mix.

Of course, it takes more than a sweet web site to make an open source project worth writing about or contributing to – a project that offers up a lousy solution to a real problem, or, worse, seeks to answer an unasked question has more fundamental issues to tackle. On the other hand, you could have a project ideal for scratching, elegantly, some global itch, but if the project does a poor job conveying its whys and hows, it could end up overlooked.

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Building My Own PaaS with OpenShift Origin

I'm working through the OpenShift Origin Build Your Own PaaS howto, which says:

Several of the cartridge packages have additional third party dependencies. These have not yet been resolved for the open source environment. Work is actively progressing.

On my Fedora 16 host, these are the cartridges that wouldn't install for missing dependencies:

  • cartridge-jbossas-7.noarch : Provides...

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Run OpenShift Origin from LiveCD, and Make it Stick

The OpenShift Origin LiveCD will have you up and running with the code that backs Red Hat's PaaS in a flash, but installing the LiveCD to your hard drive requires a few workaround steps.

[UPDATE: Check out wiki-fied, updated version of this howto at the OpenShift Origin community site.]

Today, Red Hat delivered on its pledge to open the source code and development process behind its Platform as a Service offering, OpenShift. To help avoid confusion between the Red Hat-hosted service and the open source project and code base, the project is named OpenShift Origin.

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more test

In general, I prefer Google+ to Twitter. I like posting more than 140 characters, and I like editing my posts if I need/want to (there are other things I like about G+, but this test post is about those first two). I noticed, recently, how people who post wp.me links onto Twitter get their posts, or a portion of their posts, attached to the tweet behind a little photo-style view media link. I'm...

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Community Metrics Wrangling with MLstats and OpenShift

As loyal readers of this blog (if any such creatures did exist) might have noticed, I've been working with the oVirt project, which got a reboot last year when Red Hat finished open sourcing and porting to Java the previously .Net-based management for its enterprise virtualization product.

Given the new start for oVirt, the project has been keen to get a handle on its community metrics, such as mailing list activity: is it growing, what's the mix of people coming from companies on the oVirt board compared to other organizations and individuals, and so on.

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oVirt or No Virt: Notebook Edition

oVirt is definitely not intended to be run on your notebook, and running something oriented toward powering whole data centers on a single, portable machine seems like overkill, anyway. For a Linux-powered notebook machine like mine, virt-manager is a great tool for spinning up all manner of VMs, and–while I've yet to get it running properly – GNOME Boxes offers another promising option for taking advantage of the KVM hypervisor that's built into the Linux kernel.

However, since immersing myself in oVirt is part of my job now, and since I work with a lot of VMs on my work notebook, I wanted to see if I could come up with a notebook-friendly oVirt setup. The trouble with the single-machine rig that I described in my recent oVirt hotwo is that setting up the bridged networking that oVirt requires means disabling NetworkManager, the handy service that makes it easy to connect to VPNs and switch between WiFi connections. I wanted to avoid disabling NetworkManager.

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Spice Spice Baby

Last week, when I was getting to the "here's where you access your shiny new oVirt-hosted VM" portion of my super duper Up and Running with oVirt howto, I was a bit embarrassed to say that  you needed Fedora to access oVirt's console-launching automagic.

oVirt uses the spice protocol for delivering virtual desktop sessions, and while spice client packages are available for Ubuntu and for openSUSE, I wasn't able to find any up-to-date packages to provide the Firefox plugin, spice-xpi, that handles the hand off between oVirt's web admin console and the spice client application.

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How to Get Up and Running with oVirt

UPDATE: I've written an updated version of this guide for oVirt 3.1.

As a fan both of x86 virtualization and of open source software, I long wondered when the "Linux of virtualization" would emerge. Maybe I should say instead, the GNU/Linux of virtualization, because I'm talking about more than just a kernel for virtualization – we've had those for a while now, in the forms of Xen and of KVM.

Rather, I've been looking for the virtualization project that'll do to VMware's vSphere what Linux-based operating systems have done to proprietary OS incumbents: shake up the market, stoke innovation, and place the technology in many more people's hands.

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working for The (shadow) Man

Last month, I started work at Red Hat–a big career shift after spending 12 years in tech journalism in the Labs department at eWEEK magazine.

Turning in one's press badge for a set of company credentials is a bit like embracing The Dark Side. I do love a good heel turn, but I must say that working for a company that gives away what it produces dissolves some of that drama and robs me of figurative...

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Introduction to Theory of Literature — Open Yale Courses

I started in on this course, via podcast, today during my bus ride.

Introduction to Theory of Literature with Professor Paul H. Fry

About the Course

This is a survey of the main trends in twentieth-century literary theory. Lectures will provide background for the readings and explicate them where appropriate, while attempting to develop a coherent overall context that incorporates philosophical...

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Navel Gazery, Ubuntu, and Fedora

Welcome to the first non-lorem ipsum post on this, my non-work blog, where many of the things I might write about on my work blog, but don't, because they seem way too navel-gazy, I may end up writing about here.

One such thing: the ongoing (sort of) battle between different Linux distributions on my work notebook. I used to jump around a lot between different desktop OSes: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, BeOS, SuSE Linux, Red Hat Linux, Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Gentoo, Fedora, Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Ubuntu…

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Hello World, mark n
Cutting in the Middleman, with Comments
AsciiDokken
Up and Running with oVirt, 3.2 Edition
Gluster Rocks the Vote
oVirt on oVirt: Nested KVM Fu
Gluster User Story: Fedora Hosted
openshift and some php app debugging
engine-iso-uploader wrinkles
A Buzzword-Packed Return to Gluster UFO