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There is nothing more joyful than wallpapering behind a toilet

Ack. I rebooted before saving a lengthy journal entry. Doh.

The other day, I almost lost queeg. More specifically, I almost lost queeg's partition table. I was installing VMware to do some OSCAR testing. Wait... let me back up.

A long time ago, when I first got the box that queeg currently lives on, I originally had visions of dual booting it with Windoze. So I left a several GB partition on the disk for windoze. I even formatted it as FAT32, and mounted it under /mnt/windows in Linux. But then again, I never got around to installing/dual-booting Windoze.

Since I was running short on disk space (it's amazing how fast 20GB can get used up...), I decided to install my VMware virtual disks in the FAT32 partition. VMware complained that it either had lousy performance or couldn't lock the virtual disks or something in FAT32 partitions.

"No problem," I thought, "I'll just whack that partition and replace it with an ext2 (native linux) partition. I'm never gonna install Windoze anyway."

After a series of UTFS errors, I had gotten to the point where diskdrake (Mandrake's nice GUI partitioning tool) claimed that my partition table was corrupt and it couldn't read it. DOH!! After a morning full of fretting, backing up all my data, and carefully poking around with fdisk, I was finally able to restore my partition table and convert the FAT32 partition to ext2.

Moral of the story: it was the ReiserFS stuff that caused the majority of my woes (long story, I won't bother explaining here). While having a journaling filesystem is great, this ReiserFS stuff in Linux 2.2 can really bite you in the butt. I hope that it's better integrated in Linux 2.4.

On the up side, VMware is actually pretty nice. This is the first time that I've ever used it. I think I'll probably be buying a real copy of it (I only have a 30 day trial license right now) so that I can run windoze in that -- much easier than dual booting.

I really like the feature of their "undoable" disks. You can install an OS, mutz around with it, get it up to a known good state, checkmark it back to the persistent store, and then start testing. If your disk goes wonky, you can just say "throw out those changes --
let's reboot with the last known good state". More to the point, when you shut down the virtual machine, VMware asks if you want to commit all the changes that you've made to the virtual disk. If you say yes, all the stuff you did on disk will be visible the next time you boot that virtual machine. If you say no, the disk will be in the same state as it was when you booted.

Needless to say, this is extremely handy. It would be cooler if I could checkpoint the disk at any time (vs. only when I shut down the virtual machine), but there are some obvious synchronization issues involved there. Still, it would be handy.

I have 256MB of RAM in my machine, and that's enough to run 2 copies of VMware comfortably. Trying to run a 3rd at the same time causes major swappage.

Had a long chat with Darrell and Dian last night. It was good to talk to them again. Darrell is doing some very cool stuff at Yahoo. He has much more low-level kernel knowledge than I do; I really need to get into that stuff.

He also made a good suggestion about the versioning that we are planning on doing for SSI. It's amazing how we have lived thousands of miles from each other over the past decade, but yet our careers have managed to take many parallel paths. It's cosmic, dude.

D also suggested that I should have a way to get the titles from my journal entries in downloadable file that /bin/forture can use. It's a funny enough idea that I'll probably have to find the time to do that someday. :-)

The Code Red worm is running rampant on the net. I just have to laugh. It's a clever worm -- the authors made a few mistakes (like hard coding the IP address of whitehouse.gov -- duh), but the ideas behind it are both insightful and scary.

squyres.com has been hit with Code Red probes at least 20 times or so. kresge.com has been hit many, many more times than that. As of last night, www.cse.nd.edu had been hit over 58,000 (!) times just yesterday alone. (all the probes were ineffectual, because we all run Unix web servers, not MS IIS) D and I were wondering why my server had only been hit 20 times, yet others were seeing hundreds of thousands of hits. I wonder if the random IP address generator in the worm has a propensity for class A and B networks.

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