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Welcome to the LinuxFocus November/December 2003 issue

Linuxfocus Christmas It is already late in the evening and I am still wondering what to write in the editorial. How about SCO? The products of SCO are press releases these days. It is clear that the main ambition is to drive up the stock price, make as much money as possible and then disappear into irrelevance. The link to Linux? Well if you look at SCO more closely then the whole thing has not much to do with Linux. They just needed some kind of target.

What else did we have the last few weeks? There was the ruling on software patents in Europe. To have no patents at all would have been better but otherwise we can be quite happy with the result.

All this does not really bother us at the moment .... Oh yes, this year I had to replace harddisks in almost all PCs and servers that I have! The first two were replaced already in March and I thought "OK, that can happen" but now I have replaced the 5th disk. How many computers does that guy have? Well I don't run a server farm. I have 7 disks on 5 computers. All the disks were less than 2 years old. The very old ones are still good. I had to replace the new disks.

The reliability of software is improving all the time but it seems that the hardware is now the weakest part. Harddrive capacities are sky rocketing. As a result the quality suffers.
I still remember the Quantum Fireball disk, 1Gb, in the first Linuxfocus server. It was running continuously 24h a day and it ran for 8 years with no problems.

Replacing a disk at home is not a problem. Usually you notice that some application hangs or saving a file fails. You type "dmesg" and you see an IDE seek error: It is time to buy a new disk. This is annoying but it becomes a real problem if it happens on a server far away. Even with redundancy and RAID you still need to replace the disk. The service hours are usually much more expensive than the disk. I would be ready to pay three times as much if the disk has at least 8-10 years average life time. Anybody who has a solution? Would be nice to write an article in LinuxFocus about it. I am sure I am not the only one who likes to have a really reliable computer.

-- Guido Socher

LinuxFocus.org Articles


Software development

Articles at Linux Gazette

Note: The real linuxgazette is now at linuxgazette.net and not at linuxgazette.com

System administration

UNIX Basics


The LinuxFocus Tip

This month tip shows how to display the output of syslog on a virtual console. Add this at the end of /etc/syslogd.conf:

# this is an additional condition and does not 
# affect any other logs:
*.*                            /dev/tty8

The condition "*.*" means everything and tty8 is the 8'th console. You can just press alt-F8 (or from X11 crtl-alt-F8, to go back to X11 press alt-F7) and look at the logging output. In most distributions console 8 is not in use for anything however which console is really free can be found in /etc/inittab file. The logger configuration can be found in /etc/syslogd.conf file.

This is very comfortable solution. You don't have to dive into /var/log/* files tree to see what's going on in your box. The logs on console are very helpful in tuning your system or finding out what is wrong when something does not work.

After you have changed /etc/syslogd.conf you have to restart syslog with the command:
service syslog restart      (for Redhat, Mandrake) 
killall -HUP syslogd

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