Here we go a bit of a hastily thrown together dump of my mind. Sorry for the unorganized mess that is about to follow. Yes it is that wonderful time of year again where chocolate makers get bombarded with orders, and forever-aloners become Scrooge. I didn’t buy my girlfriend anything so we’ll see how that works out today. We’re both pretty anti-Vday but this could blow up. If no more blog posts happen you know who to blame.
What have I been working on? A bit of everything, a whole lot of nothing. I’ve started doing a bit more Perl scripting, but I’m having trouble coming up with stuff I really need done. I did get some stuff done that I think I’ll be talking about in future posts. I’ve also been playing with Nagios. Not like anything I do is mission critical, but the experience is nice. I will admit being able to get an email when my power is out is pretty awesome, wouldn’t want to come home to no juice/internet. Maybe I should get Nagios to monitor if my irssi process is running on my one Linode…that’s probably the most important thing…
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I’m going to step outside the bounds of my usual style of posts (not that I’ve had too many) to give a, what I hope to be, small personal review of 2011. This is going to be a bit more of an unorganized mind dump so don’t expect anything special out of it. :)
Another year has blown by quicker than I really had expected or even wanted. In the past year I’ve had my first year at Linode, I had my new girlfriend move in with me, and I’ve gone through a few fights with my car (seems I need to buy her things to make her happy). In the same token I’ve had relationships fall apart, and had members of my family, who were the reason I am the person I am today, pass away suddenly.
Do I wish some things would have gone differently this year? Yes. There are plenty of things that I truly wish had gone differently as I sit here and write this post. I’ve had a few friends just disappear, and I’ve lost a few family members. Would I change it? Now that’s a bit more of a difficult question…I really don’t know.
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Earlier in 2011 I wrote an article providing instructions for setting up your own IPv6 dual-stack setup at home using a Hurricane Electric Tunnel Broker account. The process works great if you are running the tunnel on a network where your IPv4 address will not change. However, for most people who would want this configuration (including myself), your external IP address isn’t always static. This left the door open for your IPv6 networking to not work properly if your external address changed. Shortly thereafter I wrote a shell script to help keep the tunnel alive using the Tunnel Broker API (link).
The shell script had a few limitations I had to work around so I planned, awhile back, to rewrite the script. It took longer than I had wanted but I finished it just in time for the New Year. On an off-topic note I hope you all had a great Holiday and a prosperous New Year.
I’ll be providing a quick history of the script as well as an overview of the functionality after the break. If you just want to skip that and get the script head on over to the GitHub page. All the information you need is provided in the README.
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Sample output of iproute2 commands
A Brief History of ifconfig (net-tools)
Most system administrators who are tasked with maintaining UNIX and Linux systems have the syntax for the ifconfig burned in to their skulls. The combination of `ifconfig`, `route`, `arp`, and `netstat` have been the pillar used to configure networks and troubleshoot issues on UNIX-like operating systems for over 25 years.
The ifconfig command was originally released as part of the BSD TCP/IP toolkit in 4.2 BSD back in August of 1983. The use of ifconfig in BSD paved the way for it to be considered one of the utilities in the original toolkit of the internet.
The freely available BSD UNIX operating systems (e.g., FreeBSD, NetBSD, etc.) still continue active development of the ifconfig utility. The core features of the utility of been extended to configure WLAN interfaces and controlling advanced features such as bridging and tunneling. However, ifconfig on the Linux side has seen no major updates in over 10 years. The latest release is 1.60 from April 15, 2001.
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Edit (12/17/2011): The script is now on GitHub!
In my previous blog post I gave instructions as to how I configured my own Hurricane Electric IPv6 gateway at home. I used my older netbook and a fresh install of Debian Squeeze. The IPv6 tunnel relies on knowing your current IPv4 address to validate your connection. Unfortunately, like many others, my IPv4 address is dynamic. I knew I would have to either handle these situations manually, or write a script to update the API with my new IPv4 address.
I found a few scripts online that did exactly that. However, most were simple and just updated the API without checking to see if that was even required. To minimize my API calls to the tunnel broker I wrote my own moderately overkill BASH script to handle the updating of my external IPv4 address. This script will only work on Debian-derived systems, and is tailored for those who followed my previous blog post. Let me provide you with a quick run-down of how the script works.
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Main page for the HE IPv6 Tunnel Broker
With the global regional internet registries’ IPv4 pools starting to run dry the interest in adopting IPv6 has come to the forefront. While it may be some time until you are able to run native IPv6 at home, there’s an easy way to have all of your devices on the home network, including your Android smartphone and Apple iPod, use your Hurricane Electric IPv6 tunnel. With the configuration explained in this article any device that is ready for IPv6, and accepts stateless configuration, will be able to communicate via IPv6 shortly after attaching to your network. The networking configuration will be handled by the Debian “interfaces” file as well as iproute. The stateless autoconfiguration will be handled by radvd.
I recently purchased a newer netbook from my coworker, and was curious about how I could use the old one. This idea to configure an IPv6 gateway, which had already been implemented in a similar fashion by someone else I work with, instantly came to mind. If you want to use your current PC (running Debian for example) to handle this, there should be no issue with that. Just remember if that system goes down for some reason all IPv6 traffic on the network goes with it until it’s back up. I’m often booting to different operating systems, so a dedicated system was needed in my case.
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The coordinated community-driven Canterbury GNU/Linux
The Canterbury Distribution, a group effort of the major community-driven distributions, was “announced” early this morning on the first of April, 2011. The distribution is a coordinated effort of the following distributions:
The ultimate goal of the distribution is unify all of the distributions in a stance against proprietary operating systems. To show that people with such different views can come together to amidst diversity.
While most of you have recognized it as a cheeky April Fools joke it does raise an interesting point about the “Linux Community”. It’s actually not much of a community at all. It appears to be sharply divided and opinionated.
While a Linux Community driven distribution would indeed be interesting, it’s nothing but a pipe dream. I think I’d be more interested in what features of the various distributions are kept, and the discussions relating to those decisions, rather than actually using the end product itself. Nothing is perfect.
I wonder if all of packages would be unsigned. Speaking of Arch, there appears to be a slight variation between all the other versions of that site and the Arch Linux one. Have you spotted it?