Linux kernel is buggy, 2.6.27-rc6 works

Alrighty. Been struggling to get an operational kernel working for a customer. This is supposed to be the next generation of our supported kernels, replacing the now aging kernel (you think ours is old? look at RHELs).
It works fine on a Ubuntu system. All the things we needed built it, do in fact, work.
The problem was the immediate kernel panic on a RHEL5.2 system. 11 seconds in, it couldn’t find /dev/root (the root directory). Couldn’t find it by label, by direct access, …

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SGI late with financial filings

Mercury news blog reports that SGI has told the SEC that it will be late in filing its financials for the quarter. Specifically

When asked to indicate whether or not the company anticipates “any significant change in results of operations from the corresponding period for the last fiscal year”, SGI answered “Yes”.

Read the full article, don’t jump to conclusions from this snippet. This said, I have as of yet to see any company say “hey we are gonna be late” and “wow, we just found this bucket of money in the corner!”. It is usually more along the lines of “oh, we have to pay that bill too???”.

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The impact of self-righteous decisions upon the real world: a simple case study

Firefox 3 makes great hay over how much happier they are for their security bits. Especially their seemingly deeply thought out position on not allowing self signed certificates to be used easily on the web. Cudos to them for their stance.
One … well … not so small … problem.
It breaks things. No, I am not arguing whether or not self-signed is good or bad.
It breaks things you can’t possibly fix. Like embedded web servers in remote systems. You know, like the systems that we support.

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updated bonnie++ for JackRabbit-M

[root@jackrabbitm sbin]# bonnie++ -u root -d /big -f Using uid:0, gid:0. Writing intelligently…done Rewriting…done Reading intelligently…done start ’em…done…done…done… Create files in sequential order…done. Stat files in sequential order…done. Delete files in sequential order…done. Create files in random order…done. Stat files in random order…done. Delete files in random order…done. Version 1.03 ——Sequential Output—— –Sequential Input- –Random- … Read more updated bonnie++ for JackRabbit-M

Observations on kernel stability

There is just no nice way to say this. We have a real (serious) concern over the stability of the baseline Redhat/SuSE kernels on newer hardware. Not just our JackRabbit systems (and our forthcoming ΔV systems), but clusters of newer gear, newer servers, etc. We install baseline systems, using nothing but the baseline components, perform the recommended upgrades. Place these systems under moderate load, and whamo … kernel panic.
Replace their kernel with our built one (with a number of important patches), and the same system, with the same RHEL/Centos load, is rock solid under our extraordinary testing loads. We have seen similar problems with the SuSE kernels we have played with, though less so.

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Evolution of sales models in a changing economy

Short note.
For many years, large computing companies have fielded large sales forces, and large reseller forces to provide more sales firepower to their revenue generation efforts. These require personal interaction to buy something.
Sun has recently decided to go almost all reseller. Feedback from some of our mutual customers indicates that some customers don’t like this. The flip side is that large sales forces require large expenditures of capital … people cost money to hire.

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why do I bang my head against this wall?

… because it fees so good when I stop.
Or so goes the old joke.
A long while ago, I mentioned we have a customer who self-inflicts pain by spending too much time using root for day to day work. We advise against this. No good can possibly come of this, only bad.
Like the last time when a key-logger grabbed the root password as some windows user was typing it in.

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Blue waters are a-movin…

NSF is funding a 2×10^5 processor monster machine at NCSA. At $208M, each dollar will by you 4.8 MFLOP (4.8×10^6 FLOP).
Assuming a quad core CPU would be able to provide (in theory) 32 GFLOP (4 cores x 8 GFLOP/core), you would need 31,250 units to provide this … (125000 cores).
There are some interesting things about this machine. Very interesting … not just the price tag or the estimated sustainable performance

Read moreBlue waters are a-movin…