Go here for updates!

Not much is happening here on the main page of mertner.com – you probably want to look either at Allan’s blog or at Iain’s blog if it’s the Mertners or our projects you are after. The rest of the family doesn’t seem to spend enough time here to add a post per year, but you can still look at their old ones :)

If you are instead interested in Virtual Pascal, have a look at the Ning site, and if you are just randomly browsing in search for an interesting place to go, I can recommend Seth’s blog, A Smart Bear, or an Alltop page.

If all else fails, check out the news :)

Thanks for checking in!

Ubuntu – Final Words

Ubuntu, one of the most praised Linux distributions, utterly and completely destroyed itself while doing a distribution upgrade. I had hoped that moving from Gentoo to a more mainstream distro would help avoid exactly this kind of problem, as I am not really keen on spending a ton of time fixing failed package upgrades.

As a consequence the server has now been replaced with Windows Server 2008, which is more in line with me being a .NET developer anyway.

I’ve installed VisualSVN Server in order to provide access to the Gentle and NProf source code repositories. These can currently be accessed at https://code.mertner.com:8443/svn/gentle and https://code.mertner.com:8443/svn/nprof respectively. I’ve migrated no user accounts so if you need/want write access to the repositories, send me an email.

Confluence will also be restored but restoring it has proved to be fairly involved and thus will take additional time. Until then please refer to the PDF export included in the Gentle release package. If you have a specific question, again, feel free to send me an email.

The king is dead! Long live the king!

ISP Network Outage

On top of all the other problems of the last week, my ISP had a network outage caused by a configuration error somewhere in their setup. Specifically, they have a circular fiber ring which somehow contrived to recycle traffic leading to a slow but inevitable meltdown of capacity.

As a result the server has been unreachable since roughly 01:00 CEST (GMT+1/UTC+2) up until around 23:00 CEST (~3 hours ago).

On behalf of my ISP, sorry for the inconvenience. At least it wasn’t me or my hardware this time :)

Upgrade Status – Tomcat Online

Getting Tomcat 5.5 to run on Ubuntu proved to be quite an exercise, as the stable package in Ubuntu Feisty was broken in multiple ways. I had to fix the logging setup (preventing Tomcat from starting properly), configure the proper JDK to use, add various required libraries needed for JIRA and Confluence, migrate applications and settings, and last, fix Ubuntu differences in the Apache proxy configuration. The good news is that JIRA, Confluence, Fisheye and Subversion now all are back online. The SQL backup was from 19/7 so anything added after that date will need to be re-entered.

There are still a great many things to be fixed, but at least all of the public services are available for use. Please let me know if you find anything that is broken, doesn’t work like it used to, behaves weirdly or any other suggestion relevant to the restoration process.

Server Upgrade

I have now completed restoring the most essential stuff on the new server, which is to say that web and mail is fully functional. Getting LDAP up and running proved slightly troublesome as the ldbm database had been deprecated and so Ubuntu had no support for reusing the backup files.

Next in line will be the secondary web apps – notably Tomcat for Jira and Confluence, Fisheye and RoundCube (for webmail). Why is it that Java apps are so brittle? It just never seems to work if you change anything even the slightest, unlike php or basically any other environment.

After that I need to rethink the backup strategy, set up mirroring on the secondary root disk, reinstall a virus scanner, configure the system logger properly, tune the display settings, and fix a whole slew of minor issues.

I’m hoping that at least the new distribution will prove to be stable; I’ve eliminated the Linux-VServer setup and consolidated everything on a single host. The new hardware should also result in significant speedups for everything – it has a quad-core 2.4GHz CPU and 4GB RAM with 2 (soon-to-be-mirrored) 10.000 RPM raptor disks. Perhaps even the Java apps will run satisfactorily on this ;-)

Major Breakdown

The recent instability problems seem to have been caused by the root disk in the server – as it has now failed completely.

I have purchased new hardware and am switching distribution (from Gentoo to Ubuntu) in order to avoid having to compile everything, and also because Gentoo has failed to deliver any kind of stability in recent times.

At this point I have several services up and running, most notably the Apache/MySQL combo enabling me to write this. Next up will be all the mail related services and dependencies thereof (such as the LDAP server), followed by the remaining web services (Tomcat, Subversion and Webmail).

I expect the remaining services to be more or less restored within the next 24 hours, but keep an eye out for updated status reports here.

Server Crash

The server has been offline for an extended period due to me being on vacation and a bit of trouble coordinating someone to hit the reset button. Strange how this always happens just as I have left the building… The logs are silent so I can’t tell from here what caused it – we’ll just have to hope it was a one-timer.

On the positive front I can report that it’s a sizzling 46 degrees (116F) i Las Vegas – just 1F short of the all-time record temperature ever recorded here. That is just unbearably hot, so the casinos are loving it! :-)

PostgreSQL Update

Due to once-upon-a-time having used the pg-hier patch with PostgreSQL I have been unable to back up the database using the newest version. I therefore needed to restore the old version, dump the current database using that, upgrade back to the most recent and restore everything. This process caused roughly half an hour of downtime for anything depending on a postgresql database a little while ago. The good news is that backups are now working again :)

Server Reboot

I’ve just rebooted the server to install two new disks and replace some fans, which caused about 20 mins of downtime just now. Also, I had to stop PostgreSQL during a software upgrade, causing it to be unavailable for half an hour prior to rebooting the server. Everything should be back to normal now though.

ISP Network Problems

My ISP is currently working on resolving some network problems that are the cause of the current unavailability of the server. According to them the problem should be resolved within an hour, which I’m hopeful will be true. They are also suggesting that this might solve the intermittent issues with network unavailability, which have been occurring (albeit infrequently) over the last month or so.

Update: The network connection was not restored until this morning, and so was a rather extensive breakdown of services. At least someone else was to blame this time :-)