Sunday, September 7, 2008

128meg Just Won't Cut It

I installed eBox on the guinea pig a couple of days ago, but didn't proceed to configuration or anything, just left it sitting at the log in prompt.

Here's what I noticed from the installation process.

First off, the eBox CD gives no indication it isn't an Ubuntu CD. I think it's worth a couple of minutes of somebody's time to stick the eBox logo on it, and add a couple of words of text somewhere indicating it's not just a vanilla Ubuntu install CD. I'll have to investigate the eBox bug tracking system at one point and make that suggestion.

In what's likely a related issue, the media check process on the CD fails when you try it. I'm *guessing* that when the eBox project added the eBox installation scripts, they didn't update the media checking function, so it's failing because of the extras. I didn't confirm this, but the installation did proceed ok - so either the media issue is subtle or in an area I didn't use, or my guess is on the mark. Kinda disappointing in a 'fit and finish' kind of way - but not a big problem. (note to self - did I even check the md5sum on the iso?)

I didn't preplan the partitioning, so when I reached that section I was flailing around a bit. I did have a couple of 'huh?' moments, but from past experience with the Ubuntu alternate CD I know that you can get the partitioner twisted up a bit if you flip back and forth between LVM and RAID etc etc and don't approach it in a logical fashion.

The game plan was a 256meg /boot with the rest on LVM. On the LVM I had a swap partition of 768meg (overkill, I know, but I knew this machine would need swap) and the rest in /. I figured the file share for clients would be on it's own partition I'd set up later. Looking back afterwards, I was kicking myself for not at least putting /var/log on a separate partition, but I could 'fix that in the mix'
as they say.

There were no options to the rest of the install really, just pick which ethernet card was primary, time zone, keyboard etc. I kept waiting for questions but they never came.

On reboot I was struck with just how long the reboot was taking. It seemed to take forever (no, I didn't time it...) Some of it was one time only stuff like generating RSA keys, but I was thinking to myself it wasn't looking very spouse friendly. She'd expect it to be working by the time her client PC booted back up - or at least close to it - not sitting around waiting for a server that she only vaguely remembers is there to complete doing something she can't even see. I was reconsidering my limited RAM machine at this point.

There were two errors during that initial boot. One was Dan's Guardian failing to start up, with a comment about editing the config file. Made sense, since I hadn't configured anything to do with
saslauthd is a daemon process that handles plaintext authentication requests on behalf of the SASL library.

None the wiser, I made a note to look into that further too. :-)

I also see from my scribbed notes I saw mention of Quagga, but I didn't make a note as to why I made a note about Quagga!

Googling quickly about again, it looks like Quagga is related to routing, probably BGP stuff or similar.

The installation didn't take that long, but I was out of time, so I left it sitting at the log in screen with my notes.

When I came back to it this morning, I was met with a screen full of error messages about killing apache processes due to lack of ram :-( I guess that's that.

So, I've reached a couple of conclusions.

1 - Hardy + eBox = more than 128 meg of ram required

2 - I was disappointed with the lack of choice during the install. Maybe it was a good way to get the flavour of an eBox set up, but it went against the grain of an old knob twister like me. Next time I think I'll do the eBox install the Ubuntu way - install from a vanilla server CD, and add the eBox packages afterwards.

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