Category Archives: Linux Sysadmin

Happy SysAdmin Day 2016!

Happy SysAdmin Day for all you hardworking System Admins that keep the internets running, the bits flying, the Pokémons evolving, and the Twitter tweeting!

SysAdmin Day is celebrated on the last Friday in July. What do SysAdmins do? Well we’ll just let Gilfoyle from Silicon Valley’s Pied Piper explain:

” What do I do? System architecture, networking and security. No one in this house can touch me on that.”

” I prevent cross-site scripting. I monitor for DDoS attacks, emergency database rollbacks, and faulty transaction handlings. The Internet – heard of it? – transfers half a petabyte of data minute; do you have any idea how that happens?

“It’s not magic, it’s talent and sweat. People like me ensure your packets get delivered unsniffed. So what do I do? I makes sure that one bad config on one key component doesn’t bankrupt the entire f***ing company. That’s what the f*** I do. ”

So while you’re out there hunting for Pikachu this Friday and your Pokémon Go app is actually working, thank a SysAdmin. If its not working well then just kill and restart your app. If your Pokémon Go app still isn’t connecting to a server then maybe its a sign for you to stop walking around while staring at your phone instead of watching where you’re walking.

A screenshot of Pikachu hanging out on the waterfront in Silicon Valley from the Pokemon Go app.

Happy System Administrator Appreciation Day!

Happy System Administrator Appreciation Day to all of you who keep the zettabytes of cat videos constantly streaming. Also known as Sysadmin Day, SysAdminDay or just a SAAD day. System Administrator Appreciation Day is celebrated on the last Friday in July.

Thank you for your service to the internets!

ThinkGeek may still have some SysAdmin Day survival packs laying around.

Red Hat announces release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5

Red Hat announces the availability of the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux with the release of version 6.5.

The press release:

Red Hat Launches Latest Version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6


November 21, 2013

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 optimizes performance, stability and scalability across physical, virtual and cloud environments

Raleigh, N.C. – November 21, 2013 – Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5, the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 expands Red Hat’s vision of providing an enterprise platform that has the stability to free IT to take on major infrastructure challenges and the flexibility to handle future requirements, with an extensive partner and support ecosystem.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 is designed for those who build and manage large, complex IT projects, especially enterprises that require an open hybrid cloud. From security and networking to virtualization, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 provides the capabilities needed to manage these environments, such as tools that aid in quickly tuning the system to run SAP applications based on published best practices from SAP.

Securing the Next-Generation Enterprise
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 continues the push for integrated security functionality that combines ease-of-use and up-to-date security standards into the platform. The addition of a centralized certificate trust store enables standardized certificate access for security services. Also included are tools that meet leading security standards, including OpenSCAP 2.1, which implements the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) 1.2 standard. With these additions, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 provides a secure platform upon which to build mission-critical services and applications.

Networking – When Every (Micro)Second Matters
In the financial services and trading-related industries, application latency is measured in microseconds, not seconds. Now, the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 fully supports sub-microsecond clock accuracy over the local area network (LAN) using the Precision Time Protocol (PTP). Precision time synchronization is a key enabler for delivering better performance for high-speed, low latency applications. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 can now be used to track time on trading transactions, improving time stamp accuracy on archived data or precisely synchronizing time locally or globally.

Thanks to other networking enhancements in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5, system administrators now have a more comprehensive view of network activity. These new capabilities enable sysadmins to inspect IGMP (Internet Group Management Protocol) data to list multicast router ports, multicast groups with active subscribers and their associated interfaces, all of which are important to many modern networking scenarios, including streaming media.

Virtualization Enhancements
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 continues Red Hat’s commitment to improving the overall virtualization experience and includes several improvements that make it a compelling choice for running in virtualized environments. Sysadmins can now dynamically enable or disable virtual processors (vCPUs) in active guests, making it an ideal choice for elastic workloads. The handling of memory intensive applications as Red Hat Enterprise Linux guests has also been improved, with configurations supported for up to 4TB of memory on the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor.

The KVM hypervisor also integrates with GlusterFS volumes to provide direct access to the distributed storage platform, improving performance when accessing Red Hat Storage or GlusterFS volumes. Finally, guest drivers have been updated to improve performance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 running as a guest on supported third-party hypervisors.

Evolving Ease-of-Use, Storage, and More
As application deployment options grow, portability becomes increasingly important. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 enables customers to deploy application images in containers created using Docker in their environment of choice: physical, virtual, or cloud. Docker is an open source project to package and run lightweight, self-sufficient containers; containers save developers time by eliminating integration and infrastructure design tasks.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 stays current with the advancements in Solid-State Drive (SSD) controller interface, introducing support for NVM Express (NVMe)-based SSDs. The NVMe specification aims to standardize the interface for PCIe-based SSDs and its inclusion in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 positions the platform to support an expanding range of future NVMe-based devices.

Improvements have also been added to improve enterprise storage scalability within Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5. It is now possible to configure more than 255 LUNs connected to a single iSCSI target. In addition, control and recovery from SAN for iSCSI and Fibre Channel has been enhanced, and updates to the kexec/kdump mechanism now make it possible to create debug (dump) files on systems configured with very large memory (e.g. 6TB).

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 makes it easier to track and manage subscription consumption across the enterprise, integrating subscription tracking into existing business workflow. Usability enhancements include support for remote access to Windows clients and servers that use a newer version of the RDP protocol, including Windows 7 and 8 desktops and Windows Server 2012.

Supporting Quote
Jim Totton, vice president and general manager, Platform Business Unit, Red Hat
“Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 provides the innovation expected from the industry’s leading enterprise Linux operating system while also delivering a mature platform for business operations, be it standardizing operating environments or supporting critical applications. The newest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 forms the building blocks of the entire Red Hat portfolio, including OpenShift and OpenStack, making it a perfect foundation for enterprises looking to explore the open hybrid cloud.”

Additional Resources
Learn more about collaboration between Red Hat and Docker
Learn more about Red Hat Enterprise Linux

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About Red Hat, Inc.
Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, and open source communities, Red Hat helps create relevant, innovative technologies that liberate resources for growth and prepare customers for the future of IT. Learn more at

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements contained in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements provide current expectations of future events based on certain assumptions and include any statement that does not directly relate to any historical or current fact. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including: risks related to delays or reductions in information technology spending; the effects of industry consolidation; the ability of the Company to compete effectively; the integration of acquisitions and the ability to market successfully acquired technologies and products; uncertainty and adverse results in litigation and related settlements; the inability to adequately protect Company intellectual property and the potential for infringement or breach of license claims of or relating to third party intellectual property; the ability to deliver and stimulate demand for new products and technological innovations on a timely basis; risks related to data and information security vulnerabilities; ineffective management of, and control over, the Company’s growth and international operations; fluctuations in exchange rates; and changes in and a dependence on key personnel, as well as other factors contained in our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q (copies of which may be accessed through the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website at, including those found therein under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”. In addition to these factors, actual future performance, outcomes, and results may differ materially because of more general factors including (without limitation) general industry and market conditions and growth rates, economic and political conditions, governmental and public policy changes and the impact of natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. The forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company’s views as of the date of this press release and these views could change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.


Red Hat, the Shadowman logo, JBoss, and OpenShift are registered trademarks of Red Hat, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. Linux® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds and OpenStack is a registered trademark of OpenStack, LLC.









From the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 press release.


Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta is now available as well.

Dell’s new Haswell based XPS 13 laptops are released today

Dell’s 3 pound XPS 13 range of thin and light laptops refreshed with new Intel 4th generation Haswell processors have been released today. And along with the Windows 7 or Windows 8 versions, the developer edition known as Project Sputnik also receives the Haswell update. So far Dell has two versions of the Ubuntu XPS 13 listed on their business site. One version priced at $1249 is based on the 4th generation Intel Core i5-4200U processor with a 3M Cache. This dual core i5 processor has a base clock speed of 1.6 GHz with turbo up to 2.6 GHz. Not too speedy but this is a thin and light laptop so the processor’s 22 nm lithography and 15 watt max TDP will ensure it sips electricity from the 55 watt hour integrated 6 cell battery. Which is good because the battery is not user replaceable. The higher end version of the XPS 13 DE runs on an Intel Core i7-4500U processor with a 4M Cache and a 1.8 GHz base clock speed that ramps up to 3.0 GHz when the turbo kicks in. This version is priced at $1549 and includes a 256 GB SSD.

Both versions of the XPS 13 Developer Edition run Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or Long Term Support. This version has been tweaked by Dell’s Project Sputnik team to ensure that it runs smoothly out of the box on this slick lightweight hardware. Both of these XPS 13 laptops now include a full HD 13.3 inch 1920 x 1080 touchscreen and 8GB of Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM running at 1600MHz. They weigh in at a svelte 3.02 pounds. These low powered, long running laptops do not have room for a dedicated graphics card but run the 13.3 inch display through the adequate Intel HD Graphics 4400 built into the CPU.

If you want to run Microsoft Windows on your new Haswell based XPS 13, there are 3 choices available. The most affordable starts at a penny less than a grand and is the only version that includes classic Windows 7 Home Premium instead of Windows 8.1. While you get the familiarity of Windows 7, this version is hobbled by a relatively slow Intel Core i3-4010U processor with a 3M Cache and base clock of 1.7 GHz. While similar to the base clock speed of the other XPS 13 processors, the i3-4010U does not have any Turbo Boost technology to speed up demanding tasks. You are stuck at 1.7 GHz with your dual cores and 4 threads of processing. This puts the processing capability of the lone Windows 7 configuration closer to netbook territory. Though with the Windows 7 version of the Haswell XPS 13, you get a full HD 13.3″ screen unencumbered by the light obscuring touch screen layer. With no turbo boost eating up precious battery juice, this version could be the battery life champ of the new XPS 13 laptops. The i3-4010U based XPS 13 should be fine for long hours of browsing and basic office tasks, just don’t try running Battlefield 4 on this little puppy.

The other 2 Windows configuration of the new XPS 13 run Windows 8.1 on their full HD touch screens and use the same processors as the Ubuntu versions. Prices run from $1299.99 for the i5-4200U version with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD, while the i7-4500U version goes for $1599.99 and has the same 8 GB of RAM but a 256 GB Solid State Drive. All of the versions include a backlit keyboard.

No matter which of the 3 available operating systems you choose if you decide to pick up the new Haswell based XPS 13, you’ll be getting a handy portable system with a full HD screen and a long battery life, but these are not full blown gaming or desktop replacement computers that can handle intensive 3D graphics. But if you want an SD card slot, an old fashioned copper RJ-45 port  or a full size HDMI port (without using an adapter) in a similar sized package, you’ll have to look at something like the HP Spectre 13t-3000. Though the Haswell based HP Spectre 13 only ships with Windows 8.1, so if you want to run linux, you’ll have to install it yourself. Will Fedora or Ubuntu run on the Spectre 13? Good question. Haven’t had a chance to test that one yet. The specs are similar to the Dell XPS 13 but the HP Spectre 13 has a new “HP Control Zone” trackpad designed for Windows 8 style touchscreen swiping using the trackpad instead of the screen. Finding the correct linux drivers for that piece of wizardry could be problematic. Though the middle part of the trackpad should behave like a normal trackpad under linux. Like most of the new breed of thin and light Ultrabooks/laptops, the HP Spectre 13 has a buitl in sealed battery that is only factory replaceable. Unless of course you are handy at cracking these this machines open and soldering the parts back into place.

Full specs of the new Dell XPS 13 laptops are listed in this pdf.

Fedora 20 beta release

Fedora 20 “Heisenbug” Linux beta release is now available. After 10 years of innovating for the Linux operating system, the Fedora Project is still going strong.

With the final release of Fedora 20 set for December 10, 2013, beta testers are actively hammering away at the Fedora 20 beta release and submitting any bugs to bugzilla. No word on if anyone is working on a “Heisenbug” compensator as an upgrade to the original Heisenberg compensator.

Fedora 20 beta release is available for download here.

Audio not working on PC with driver installed

So you have the frustrating problem of “Audio not configured” messages and no sound even though you know you have audio devices connected to your PC. The problem may be in your BIOS settings.

If you have the “X” symbol over the speaker icon on the system tray (not the circle with the line through it that shows when audio is on mute) and your audio refuses to work, even after re-installing the audio drivers and checking the connections to your devices, your audio may be disabled.

There are 2 main BIOS settings that can disable your computer’s audio capability. Your BIOS may vary, this example works on many different HP computers.

 Here’s how to fix your PC audio problem in the BIOS:

1)      Using the F10 or ESC key to get into your BIOS setup, tab with the arrow keys to Advanced –> Device Options –> Internal Speaker. You may see it listed as “Disabled”, tab to enabled and apply the setting. (again your particular BIOS settings may vary)

2)      While remaining in the BIOS setup, arrow over to Security –> Device Security –> System Audio. The audio device may be listed as “Device Hidden” If so, change the setting to “Device Available”.

Some BIOS versions give the ability to disable or enable individual audio jacks such as the front and back jacks found on a PC tower.

13 days until Fedora 19 release

Fedora 19’s final release date is set for 13 days from now on July 2nd. Fedora 19 will offer support for 3D printing, BIND 10, GLIBC 2.17, PHP 5.5 and many other improvements and updates. Many of the updates to Fedora 19 or “Schrödinger’s Cat” will be incorporated into Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7) to be released in the second half of 2013.

Update: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 was finally released on June 10th 2014. Read the Red Hat press release on RHEL 7 here.




Comcast Cable Box Slow?

Is your Comcast DVR/Cable Box slow to respond to inputs from your remote? Did you already try changing the batteries in your cable remote control?

Before you try getting a new cable box from your cable provider, try unplugging your cable box from the power to reboot the whole system. It will take a minute or so to reset, but once the cable box is back up, it should be more responsive.

The cable box is basically a computer that will need to be rebooted from time to time to clear out dead processes and refresh the system. It’s just like any other computer running an operating system, in this case the cable box is likely running some form of embedded linux, it can begin to suffer from slow response times after running non stop for a long period of time.

Comcast HD DVR Cable Box DCX3400-M

Your cable box can also become slow it is left on constantly and overheats. So be sure to switch it off occasionally and give it a break. Maybe go outside and take in some fresh air.

GLIBCXX_3.4.9 not found in Red Hat/Fedora/CentOS linux

So you’re trying to run an application on Red Hat 5.x or CentOS or some other linux OS and are getting a library error like this:

[your_application]: /usr/bin/../lib/ version `GLIBCXX_3.4.9' not found (required by [your_application])

Basically the application you are trying to run was compiled using a different libstdc++ library than the one installed on your system. I’ve seen this problem when trying to run certain versions of Firefox and some versions of the Google Earth Client software on various linux systems.

You can fix this “`GLIBCXX_3.4.9′ not found” error by installing the library that the application is looking for directly in its working directory.

Here are the steps I took to fix the problem on one particular linux OS install, your results may vary depending on the library your application is looking for and the configuration of your system.

1. Download (burn to CD if you are working on a standalone system) the Fedora 9 package of libstdc++-4.3.0-8.i386.rpm from the following link:

2. Copy the package file from the CD to your application working directory:

cp /media/libstdc++-4.3.0-8.i386.rpm [your_application_working_directory]

3. Unpack the package in the directory where your application is installed:

[your_application_working_directory]$ rpm2cpio libstdc++-4.3.0-8.i386.rpm | cpio -i --make-directories

4. Move the library and its link so that it resides directly in your application working directory:

[your_application_working_directory]$ mv usr/lib/* .

[NOTE: this path is RELATIVE — it has no leading slash.]

5. Run your application and test:


Good luck and if you can’t find the specific library you need try checking the Fedora package repository here for i386 packages:


Larry Ewing’s Linux mascot “Tux” as drawn in 1996

Solaris 10 Passwd Permission Denied As Root

So you have a Solaris 10 operating environment and you’re getting “permission denied” errors when trying to change a user’s password while logged in as root.

So you check /var/adm/messages for some clues and you see a message like this:

sunbox# tail /var/adm/messages
Aug  1 13:31:08 sunbox yppasswdd[1221]: [ID 467562 auth.error] yppasswdd: user test_user: does not exist

You know that the user exists, and can still see the user in your NIS passwd files using a command like this:

ypcat passwd | grep test_user

So how do you fix it?

You can restart your NIS processes using this command:

svcadm restart nis/server

Sometimes that will resync the NIS files and processes and get things back in working order. Sometimes you still get the same error.

What finally fixed my “passwd change permission denied” error was actually quite simple once I figured out what the problem was.

At times your NIS map files can become out of sync and need to be rebuilt. This “Passwd Permission Denied” problem can be caused by a recommended Solaris security patch that may have replaced your custom NIS Makefile with a standard issue Solaris one that has PWDIR = /etc and not PWDIR = /var/yp. Using /var/yp instead of /etc is done to separate local system accounts such as root from the standard NIS user accounts of a workgroup.

If you find your NIS Makefile changed from PWDIR = /var/yp to PWDIR = /etc then your users may not be able to login at all and they’ve probably already come running for their system admin. You may need to recover your original NIS Makefile from the backup you ran before patching. You did make a backup right? Or the patch script may have taken you original Makefile and named it Makefile.old or something. You can run a “diff” on those two files to see what changed. If the Solaris patch made changes unhealthy to your career, replace the new Makefile with the Makefile.old file.

A restart of the NIS/YP services is necessary to bring all of the map files back into sync. If a restart of the services doesn’t work, check your NIS directory (usually /var/yp or /etc) for a lockfile.

sunbox# ls -al
-rw-------     1  root     root          0  Aug  1 09:42 .pwd.lock

I removed the lockfile and restarted the NIS/YP processes:

sunbox# rm .pwd.lock
sunbox# /usr/lib/netsvc/yp/ypstop
sunbox# /usr/lib/netsvc/yp/ypstart

You should see a message like this when restarting the NIS processes:

starting NIS (YP server) services:  ypserv ypbind ypxfrd rpc.yppasswdd rpc.ypupdated done.

After restarting, you should be able to see the processes running with “ps” command:

sunbox# ps -ef | grep yp

Now you should be able to reset your users NIS passwords without the “permission denied” error by running the “passwd” command:

sunbox# passwd -r nis <username>

Notes on NIS and YP:

NIS, or Network Information Service, was originally called Yellow Pages or YP, which is why the NIS commands begin with “yp”. Since the term “Yellow Pages” is a registered trademark of British Telecom PLC for it’s non-digital, old school paper commercial telephone directory, Sun changed the name of its system to NIS.

NIS+ commands no longer use “yp” commands.

Since NIS was developed before the public internet, robust security was never a feature. NIS will work fine on a closed research network but is not recommended for any network that touches the internet. There are more modern options to choose from such as NIS+ and LDAP. But if you’re stuck administering a legacy research network that has no funding to upgrade, then you still have to know how to deal with the quirks of NIS.

Existing NIS maps can be (and should be) migrated to other systems such as NIS+ or LDAP. Some shops even use Windows Active Directory for authentication of Linux and Solaris machines.