the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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All the King's Horses

I'm slowly but surely getting my main home Gentoo box back in order after deciding to blow it away and reinstall last weekend. I had been running an amd64-native environment for about a year, and along the way I had gotten really tired of all the packages that weren't available, didn't work right, and things that were outright unsupported--like any sort of 3D acceleration for my video card whatsoever, though I will grant that it was my fault for not taking 64-bit into account when checking hardware compatibility.

I've managed to get most things working again, plus a few things that I hadn't managed to win the battle with before:

  • Mostly stable kernel--needs some small tweaks but mostly solid
  • Onboard gigabit ethernet (yay)
  • X with honest-to-goodness hardware acceleration, GL, all manner of goodness
  • A comfortable Fluxbox/ROX desktop setup
  • Automated rsync of iTunes library from my iMac to the Gentoo box; 36 GB later, all is happy
  • SlimServer, so that the house is again filled with music
  • Apache (required figuring out the Gentoo Apache maintainers' latest round of WTF)
  • Internal dev & staging environments for pirnat.com
  • photos.pirnat.com is alive again
  • PHP iCalendar installed and running again to provide personal calendar service
  • ...which means WebDAV is back too, so that Liz and I (and my folks) can all publish our calendars to each other again
  • emergeminion, my silly little emerge --sync && emerge -upv world script that mails me every morning with stuff that needs to be updated, is finally able to send mail again
  • Python 2.4.1, so that I can start catching up on some of the more recent additions to the language

I still need to futz around with:

  • Framebuffer/bootsplash
  • Onboard sound -- almost working
  • MoinMoin -- to start rebuilding my wine wiki, as I managed to lose it all when I incorrectly assumed that I had backed up the data
  • TurboGears -- to start experimenting with the latest, shiniest thing in Python web app development
  • I could have sworn I wasn't using 91% of my main disk before I blew away & reinstalled everything... Have to track down where all my space has gone.

Some useful things I picked up along the way (some after much swearing and frustration):

  • Tiger no longer seems to like burning CD's straight from ISO images. It instead turns them into very lovely ISO-9660/hybrid discs with an ISO on them--aka coasters. Dragon Burn is your friend.
  • The new Gentoo Apache setup for vhosts doesn't like to have a vhost config that begins with 01_ -- for reasons passing understanding, it wanted to always serve up index.cgi as the default resource, even without having index.cgi in the DirectoryIndex directive, and even when there were index.html and index.shtml files that it should have used in preference.
  • If SlimServer doesn't want to read your iTunes Library.xml file, even if you tell it exactly where it is, turn on debugging. This will cause everything to magically just start working--while it may cause slight embarassment on the SlimDevices mailing list, at least you've got all your playlists and music again.
  • A stage3 x86 Gentoo install can really bite your ass when you want to start updating packages if you've changed your make.conf to use a more appropriate march setting. You will have all manner of issues with things wanting to use a gcc that you never even had on your box, and no amount of fix_libtool_files.sh will save you (though it will help slightly). The trick here is needing to do emerge -e system so that the underlying system gets its act together, and then following it with an emerge -e world. It's time-consuming, but it gets the job done.
  • sstmp, the default mailer that gets installed when you throw a cron system onto your box, needs a little bit of love before it will actually do anything useful when it comes to talking to the outside world. The particularly important bits are:
    root=your_email@your_isp.com
    mailhub=mail.your_isp.com
    rewriteDomain=your_domain
    hostname=_HOSTNAME_
    FromLineOverride=YES

Once I check a few more things off of the "gosh, I'd really like to take care of that" list, I'll hopefully free up enough time or energy for something more useful--I'd like to spiff up the look of pirnat.com a bit, dive into some coding, figure out what (if anything) I might (be able to) work with Dave on presenting at PyCon in February...

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