Debian Jessie and issues with IPv6 and Time Machine

I upgraded my little basement Mac Mini workhorse from Debian Wheezy to Jessie the other day. Fixing a couple breakages that resulted whose solutions were a little hard to find might be useful for someone.
  • SpamAssassin started passing a lot more spam through to my inbox. That ended up being an issue with addresses for services being contacted by spamd no long resolving via named, which in turn turned out to to be IPv6 related. Disabling IPv6 fixed that: echo "net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1" >> /etc/sysctl.conf; sysctl -p
  • Related? Performing Time Machine backups to that machine's netatalk provided volumes began failing. A look in the logs showed afpd ... sys_getextattr_size: error: Permission denied errors logged. Adding ea:sys to the corresponding mount point in /etc/netatalk/AppleVolumes.default and a systemctl restart netatalk fixed that.
Thus ends a small bus man's holiday exercise.


SpamAssassin and a caching name server.

It has been a *long* time since I had last used SpamAssassin but the level of spam I was receiving had taken a decided uptick and so I decided to reinvest some time in that tool a week or so ago.

Pleased that that local SpamAssassin installation has been having great success in weeding out the ever more clever spammers since I decided to go into full geek mode and add caching name server support to my local network too so that SpamAssassin can make use of its network tests.

An hour later and bind is configured and the DNS lookups are humming.


Yesterday''s amusement - replacing the operating system on the wife's old netbook that had a now no longer supported Windows XP. First I used UNetbootin to install a copy of Android X86 via a thumb drive. That 20 minute exercise, followed by some playing around with Android convinced me that she would not have a good user experience with that configuration. Too many assumptions on the part of apps that they were on a touch screen / orientation aware smart phone. 

So I decided a Linux installation was more likely to be a better replacement. I went with Ubuntu 14.04. After a couple of mis-steps because the UNetbootin downloaded version of the installer was apparently corrupt I downloaded the current 32 bit ISO, re-installed that on the thumb drive, and installed that on the netbook's hard drive.

That went well - up to the point where I tried to use LibreOffice to open a set of image heavy PowerPoint slides. I'd forgotten what a memory hog LibreOffice is. But other than that she is left with a netbook more functional than the original.


IDE builds are inherently broken

An internal email list contribution I made today that I thought deserved to be here.

In my opinion software systems that require an Eclipse (or any other IDE) build are inherently broken. If you can't script your system's build - using ant, maven, gradle, python, whatever - without requiring someone to first install an IDE and get that working, then I claim you don't really understand what it is you are building.

IDE's make stuff real easy. I depend on them too for what they are good at. But at the end of the day I want a repeatable process. One that I can come back to months later or in some different environment or hand to someone else. So I want a single 'script', with the fewest external dependencies, that sets up the necessary environment and gives me a working system from scratch. You can fix broken proxy bits in the IDE if you must (if for no other reason so you can update the IDE or add plugins.)  But I believe if your software is worth anything you should spend the time, as you are developing it, to incrementally understand how to add just the necessary pieces: what is the minimum set of libraries, what are their dependencies, what are the environment variables, etc.  Anything less is just hacking.


Planning for a crash

Last, well one of I'd like to think, step in the little computer resurrection project - getting CrashPlan set up and running. You're never done until you've planned for being undone by a disaster.

It was the usual installation of Java, which I always install manually, set up a few symbolic links to make future upgrades easier. That process was slowed down slightly by my forgetting I could not use the server JRE since this machine is not 64 bit. Cross that hurdle, run a couple Java checks. finish the installation of CrashPlan, configure the installation to do the off-site back up of content this Debian installation is serving, and we're off.


Time Machine Redux

The project of the day: getting a vintage Mac Mini, resurrected from its original aging configuration earlier this month with a new CPU and with OS X Snow Leopard replaced with Debian Wheezy, re-configured so that it could become the new home for household Time Machine backups.

This latest episode, helped by other intrepid internet pioneers, was surprisingly simple - made easier by the  growing support for Apple protocols in the Linux world. Thanks helpers!


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