The Rape of the Blog

(Part of this is a repost. The problem it described have been solved, at least until someone finds the next hole in WordPress. I have restored it to keep the record complete.)

Sometime late Sunday night or Monday, I wrote:

My blog is being raped by a spambot. I first noticed about a half an hour ago that some older posts had become inaccessible through search. Then I actually accessed an old post (“Women With Guns”) twice, a few mnutes apart, and saw that the 8 comments there originally had been replaced by one spam comment.

What’s probably happeniing is some sort of SQL attack on the database behind the blog engine.

I don’t recommend commenting until after we can close the hole and restore from a backup.

My rm -fr blunder on Friday proved to be but the entr’acte of a four-day descent into system-administration hell, from which I shall not even yet say I am delivered lest the dread god Finagle and his mad prophet Murphy laugh at my presumption and turn their awful gaze upon me. The aftermath of the spambot rape was actually mere a divertimento, playing as several different unrelated hardware and software snafus delivered a finely orchestrated attack upon my sanity.

Did I say merely my sanity? The consequences actually drew blood, which has done a pretty good job of soaking through the bandage over the laceration on my thumb. I have learned several different lessons which are unlikely to grow dim or doubtful.

1. Do not trust KVM splitters. They are flaky and can interfere with your diagnostic process, especially if you are having boot-time problems.

2. Ubuntu 10.10 is fucked up. I mean really fucked up, as in I have seen it hang during install on four different machines in the last 24 hours (and that was trying two different media). I had to drop back to 10.04 to get anywhere.

3. Ancient optical drives are an insidious horror. They can cause installations to fail in un-obvious ways. I replaced three today. It helped, but didn’t help enough by itself.

And most generally…if you are you one of those people, like me, who tends to never throws away superannuated hardware until it fails catastrophically, recycling old drives and cases and cables through multiple motherboard upgrades…stop now. You’ll feel virtuous and thrifty right up until the day you have a system emergency that snowballs into a major nightmare because some of your fallback hardware is marginal-to-the-point-of-near collapse and more of it is obsolete.

(Memo to self: Both PS/2 trackballs get replaced with USB devices as soon as I can get to MicroCenter. Who knew a brand-new motherboard would refuse to see them on the port?)

I’ve learned my lesson. I bought my way out of this disaster by paying $400 for a shiny new mailserver/webhost/DMZ machine. The machine it’s replacing is going to the recyclers. No parts are going to get saved to be built into Frankenboxes this time.

Now I gotta go wrestle with more consequences. My mail isn’t back up yet. The new machine needs configured.

51 thoughts on “The Rape of the Blog

  1. Are you using N00buntu in a server capacity?

    If so, why?

    Ubuntu tends to suffer from a chronic case of doing it wrong from a configuration perspective. Specially configured versions of common programs (the Ubuntu version of Python imports 190 modules when doing something as simple as raising an exception, thanks to a Microsoft-style “Your program has crashed” facility), dependency nightmares, and perhaps worst of all from a sysadmin standpoint: an abstraction layer of cruft that prevents or discourages you from going in and mucking around with the config files by hand (a Unix necessity), which Ubuntu shares with its ancestor Debian.

    These days, I wouldn’t trust in a server role any OS that wasn’t designed to be configured by frobbing things in /etc. Which limits my choices to pretty much Slackware, and maybe Arch but for Arch’s lack of a stable-release schedule. Better yet, a BSD variant like OpenBSD.

  2. We had a breaker fry and it spazzed my 1.5TB Win-7Pro machine – I was advised to get Ubuntu, now I’m not so sure.
    The drive has lost it’s bootmgr and won’t boot – but in a SATA enclosure it shows all the programs and fiddly-crap – but where are my damn files? All the photographs? The disk has a fair amount of crap just since Feb. but why can’t I see it, even as “owner”? Sheesh.
    Computers are going to be the Fall of mankind.

  3. Why don’t you give up wordpress in favour of another? b2evolution is even better if not as popular. I also found b2evolution less dumbed down than WP in the backend when I used to use it.

    ( These days of course, I use my self-developed blog platform as it relies not on MySQL but SQLite 3. )

  4. Hi DirtCrashr. Heh. Never know where you’re going to run in to folks out here in cyber-land.

    Eric, I feel for ya. I too, have on occasion sustained bodily injury when working on systems. I hope you will have opportunity, when the smoke clears, to elaborate on why Ubuntu sucks. Having just suffered through a 9.04->9.10 upgrade, I plan on moving away from Ubuntu. Not sure where to go with it, but I’m tempted by Slackware, and I’m right there with Jeff on config items. Ubuntu just stuffs way to much crap in the way for me. NetworkManager is still trying to start the wpa_supplicant on a box with no wireless cards, for example. Isn’t HAL smart enough to know that? Well, I won’t blither on, but I really chafe at feeling as if most of what I’ve learned about admining my own box in ~12 years of running Linux is being tossed out. And I don’t know how much of that is coming from Ubuntu, or Gnome or OpenDesktop types, or what.

  5. jed:
    > I really chafe at feeling as if most of what I’ve learned about admining my own box in ~12 years of
    > running Linux is being tossed out. And I don’t know how much of that is coming from Ubuntu, or
    > Gnome or OpenDesktop types, or what.

    All of the above, in descending order. Ubuntu is a blight. Get some Slack with Slackware, or try out Arch for something a little different. Assuming you want to stick with Linux, of course, and not try a BSD, or something else maybe more esoteric.

  6. Hm… I’m currently running Debian on my laptop and desktop and I serious considered switching to Ubuntu in view of its rapid pace of development and availability of new versions of packages. But it appears that Ubuntu has a lot of issues of stability going by the responses here.

    I think I’ll stick with Debian for the time being then.

    I never considered using Slackware. I use primarily Gnome, I depend on a LOT of software packages and I use my system heavily and the thought of installing dependencies by hand for each third party package I might want in Slackware is something that overwhelms me.

  7. > I never considered using Slackware. I use primarily Gnome, I depend on a LOT of software packages
    > and I use my system heavily and the thought of installing dependencies by hand for each third party
    > package I might want in Slackware is something that overwhelms me.

    There are some decent Gnome packages for Slack, and even an apt-get style package management (slapt-get), though even doing something more manual like the SlackBuilds system (my preferred method, as I like to build to my architectures and sometimes customize things) is not nearly as painful as it might seem to be at first glance.

    But, if a person is turned off by the more manual aspects of Slack, there is the similar philosophy of Arch, which combines the essential simplicity and baseline-customizability of Slackware with a quite good package manager in the form of pacman. Only downside is, as Jeff says above, a lack of standard stable releases, as it is on a constant rolling release.

  8. >There are some decent Gnome packages for Slack, and even an apt-get style package management (slapt-get), though even doing something more manual like the SlackBuilds system (my preferred method, as I like to build to my architectures and sometimes customize things) is not nearly as painful as it might seem to be at first glance.

    I’ve used slapt-get before some years back. It appeared to be really flaky at the time. I wonder if it has got better. If so, it’s definitely worth checking out.

    As to the more manual aspects of configuration, what I found was that though Slackware isn’t difficult to use as such, it becomes a chore to keep the system up-to-date regularly particularly when using many non-distribution packages. Whatever system one uses (make configure or slackbuilds or any other method) seems to involve multiple steps of configuration by hand which takes away valuable time from productive work. Using only the Slackware official software packages seems to be far more comfortable way of using this distribution, but it does limit a desktop user from the wide variety of open source software available out there.

    I even used Arch Linux once, but it’s philosophy of bleeding edge only disappointed me. Things kept breaking with every upgrade and manual fixes were necessary ever so often.

  9. @hari:

    I believe some work has been done lately to automate the slackbuild system to ease upgrades; slackbuild.org themselves went out of their way to build their site in an easily-automated way. It would take little work (and, again, I believe work has been done though I haven’t looked into it deeply) to build a slackpkg style script to work with slackbuilds, ultimately resulting in a kind of lightweight BSD ports system.

    But, I’m just chatting here. Not trying to make any convincing arguments about anything at all, really, just rambling.

    I use Slackware exclusively for all my personal linux boxen, because it’s been the only distro I’ve used that I feel comfortable with stability-wise and that hasn’t in some way severely pissed me off. And I’ve never had a failed install that wasn’t my own fault, unlike many distros out there.

  10. Yah, I agree it has been ages since I use Slackware, so my views are most likely outdated today. The last Slackware I installed and used was Slackware 10 I believe. So your thoughts are very useful in updating me as to the latest developments in the Slackware world.

    That said, my distro-hopping days are most likely over, so any change I make would have to be a long term plan. I no longer relish installing, re-installing and cleaning up Linux distributions. It has been my everyday OS for at least 6 or 7 years now. I use Windows ever so rarely to play games and even my interest in gaming has declined substantially in the last few years.

  11. Ah, MicroCenter. Definitely one of the top five things I miss from Philadelphia.

    I’m taking a long hard look at my bins full of spare parts now. A couple of IDE and SCSI CD-ROM drives, some SCSI tape drives and autoloaders, a power supply the size of my entire gaming rig… Yeah, it’s probably time to say goodbye. :_(

  12. Not to mention the ISA modem I’ve been keeping around for years, just in case, because you can’t rely on winmodems, don’tcha know.

  13. >I hope you will have opportunity, when the smoke clears, to elaborate on why Ubuntu sucks

    I don’t think Ubuntu sucks, actually. I think Ubunto 10.10 sucks big-time, but a friend I bitched to told me that next releases after a Long-Term-Support version (the last of which was 10.04) tend to be on the flaky side. That’s when the cram in the experiments, because they know they’ll have three releases to fix stuff that breaks before the next LTS.

  14. I threw out 7 old PC’s at the weekend, that were kept in my study “in case I needed them again”. Mostly Pentium-2 vintage (there was a very nice Pentium Pro that I used as a mailserver/fileserver/router from 2003 until 2006). I replaced my wife and kids’ desktops and our server with 4 freshly built boxes, and there’s hardly anything old inside any of them – a couple of extra ethernet cards in the server, and a DVD-rom and card reader in my wife’s desktop. I didn’t even bother with optical drives on the others; I rarely use them, and I installed debian on all the boxes from an SD-card reader. (The install was a bit fiddly, the published lenny installer didn’t support the motherboards’ gigabit ethernet hardware, so I had to make my own, and then mine for some reason didn’t have LVM options, though I was able to do all the LVM setup from a shell escape.)

  15. I don’t think Ubuntu sucks, actually. I think Ubunto 10.10 sucks big-time, but a friend I bitched to told me that next releases after a Long-Term-Support version (the last of which was 10.04) tend to be on the flaky side. That’s when the cram in the experiments, because they know they’ll have three releases to fix stuff that breaks before the next LTS.

    Do not use any release of Ubuntu on a production workstation until about 4 months of bug fixes have had a chance to come out (Use 10.10 starting around 2011-02 or so). Do not use anything but an LTS release of Ubuntu if it’s to act in a server role at all, and then not until 6 months of bug fixes are out (Use 10.04 LTS now that 2010-10 has passed.)

    Just like you don’t use a new version of Windows until at SP1 comes out. Let someone else live on the bleeding edge.

  16. Personally, after distro-hopping from Slack to RH, then Debian, and back to Slack, I have in recent years settled on Gentoo, a source-based distro – especially for server setups. Originally, you had to build the complete system from scratch, but with the stage 3 tarball approach the install process is not nearly as tedious as it used to be. You have total control, everything is configured out of a pretty normal set of /etc files, and unless the package maintainers have badly messed up (which happened only once, AFAIK), you *never* need to go through a radical upgrade process. Instead, the system gradually evolves over time, each package being updated when the next version of that package is released. This applies to everything, including core elements of the system. The emerge system (written in python) is modeled after the BSD ports system (which I have never seen, but that may be more meaningful to you).

    Because the distro is source-based, you can configure global flags about the usage of the system and what items you plan to install, and the builds are customized for that purpose – reducing bloat and unnecessary dependencies.

    The emerge system does not step on existing /etc configuration files that you may have made changes to. Instead they are installed as pending updates that you can accept, reject, or go thorough a merge process for each file.

    If you install a package during an upgrade that breaks dynamic link dependencies, there is a tools that ensures that these packages are rebuilt to the new dependency.

    Anyway, again: comments?

  17. CentOS is the only Linux distribution to use for something like this. (It will not, it should be noted, run on some of that crappy hardware you are giving to the recyclers.)

  18. Nothing useful to add except thanks. I read blogs, encounter new ideas and un-earthed news and opinions from around the world on a daily basis. This just seems like a good time to say:

    Thanks to all of you mad collaborators who bring us the world in pixels everyday.
    I may never understand the deficiencies of Ubuntu, or learn the perils of cruft. I shall frob no more, forever.

    But I am damn glad that you do.

  19. I used Gentoo once. Using it for a while, eventually I found myself spending more time in compiling the packages than using them and decided it wasn’t going to work for me long term and the potential benefits of configuration time flags are not really justifying the time cost of compilation.

  20. Re: WordPress

    WordPress is one of the most widely used blogging packages, therefore it is a reasonable target for the black hats. On the other hand, WordPress does a pretty good job of releasing security updates early and often, and making it relatively painless to install them. I think that WordPress offers enough value to be worth the risk — as long as you apply those updates.

    Re: Ubuntu

    I’ve used RedHat/Fedora/RHEL/CentOS, both for personal use and in production environments, for workstations and servers, since 1996. I’ve used Ubuntu the same way since 2007.

    I’ve found that I prefer Ubuntu to RedHat/CentOS for the following reasons:

    * Ubuntu is much friendlier for non-experts (ie: my wife).
    * The Debian/Ubuntu repository infrastructure is much easier to work with (no more RPM repository hell).
    * Ubuntu is less conservative than RHEL, but better tested and organized than Fedora.
    * Ubuntu does a better job of balancing philosophy and usability. If you want to run with only free components, not a problem. If you want to add proprietary pieces to make your life easier, that’s easy too. Either way, Ubuntu doesn’t get in your face about it.

    That’s not to say that Ubuntu is perfect:

    * VMware’s guest support for Ubuntu is not as good as that for RHEL.
    * As noted, non-LTS releases can be … uneven.
    * It’s trivial to add a RHEL/CentOS/Fedora box to your existing authentication infrastructure (NIS, Kerberos, LDAP, Active Directory); Ubuntu requires you to work for it.

    That I’m running Ubuntu at all is a direct result of Fedora 9 and RHEL 4 — Fedora 9 was too flakey to use, and RHEL 4 was missing too many features to use for a workstation. Ubuntu 7.04/7.10 were good enough to use for my workstation, and Ubuntu 8.04 LTS was good enough to use for my wife. At this point, I’ll use RHEL/Fedora professionally, but I’ll stick to Ubuntu for personal use.

    I’ll second the recommendations about Ubuntu LTS releases — don’t use a non-LTS release for a server, and early non-LTS releases are for experimentation, not your primary workstation.

  21. Re: Old hardware

    On the one hand, I have recycled my share of old technology, and I do keep a lot of old stuff “just in case” — and sometimes that pays off. But every year or so I prune to collection.

    On the other hand, I don’t recycle old hard drives — they have too many moving parts, and the technologies keep evolving. Instead they get disassembled for art parts, for my wife.

    On the gripping hand, I still have an IBM AT keyboard (that plugs into an AT-PS2 converter, which plugs into a PS2-USB converter) that could be used to fight off an intruder and still work perfectly.

  22. TO: A&D
    RE: Heh

    Get a Mac.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Never ask what sort of computer a guy drives. If he's a Mac user, he'll tell you. If not, why embarrass him? -- Tom Clancy]

  23. P.S. I’ve got two servers and a regular machine in the closet that runs this household and my web presence. There’s a 3-port KVM switch. There’s an OLD DVD/CD burner on one of the servers. There’s been no troubles of the sorts you experienced. Then again, I’m not using WP. I roll my own.

    [If it's important, you need two of them. If it's vital, three. -- Professor at the US Army Logistics Executive Development Course]

  24. unless the package maintainers have badly messed up (which happened only once, AFAIK), you *never* need to go through a radical upgrade process.

    Tell that to one server I have that I’m loath to upgrade because it’s on the wrong side of that line, adn I discovered the problem too late to use the remaining tools. Scrub off totally, reinstall time. Bleh. Then again, it’s time to update that box anyway. Anyone got a nice Itanic?

    I do greatly prefer Gentoo for servers, simply because I can know and control exactly what’s on the box, and if it’s not installed, it can’t be cracked.

    My roommate just got a shiny new Toshiba L675D laptop. One major purchase criterion was that he be able to run Second Life under Linux, which in turn dictated something other than Intel graphics. He’s been struggling against the ATI drivers ever since installing Linux on it. And the wireless drivers. And the sound driver. He’s running Salix, as what seemed to be the best choice for his needs. (He runs PCLinuxOS on his desktop.) Like me, he refuses to touch anything that calls itself GNU/Linux. I don’t recall why he didn’t use Arch; he did look at it…

  25. It would seem you were overdue for your blood sacrifice. The gods demand human flesh!

    Both PS/2 trackballs get replaced

    O_o… re: no old hardware – noted (says the semiconductor equipment engineer)

  26. Ancient optical drives are an insidious horror. They can cause installations to fail in un-obvious ways.

    I find that canned air helps with that.

  27. Ancient optical drives are an insidious horror. They can cause installations to fail in un-obvious ways.

    I find that canned air helps with that.

    Isn’t that overkill for lighting the joint?

  28. For those who are throwing away old computer parts, let me remind you of the satisfaction of pulling a ragtag collection of parts out of a cardboard box in the garage and having a functional computer fairly shortly. If there is a little cursing and cable switching, this merely proves your trouble shooting skills. I always keep a recent copy of PUPPY around. Booting up puppy LIVE, lets me verify systems without loading anything on the hard drive. It is also great for saving friends pictures when windows will not boot, just in case the efforts at resurrection cause more damage, that does happen you know

  29. Ubuntu is developed using a fundamentally broken process: every six months, take a snapshot of Debian unstable, work furiously and then ship it on the target date without regard to whether it actually works or not. The organization’s tipping point was reached with Hardy Heron, which I’ll note was a LTS release.

    Multiple ignored show stopper bugs included a major Nautilus SMB share regression, misconfiguration of the desktop scheduler, Broadcom wireless bugs reported and closed out without resolution, and worst of all a broken kernel that locked up without any reporting.

    While the above bug was only reported a couple of days before launch, these two problems, the non-reporting being the entirely unforgivable fatal flaw for the distribution, were in the first alpha .24 kernel and was simply ignored. So in the field machines would lock up and users were unable to report any details. See extensive discussion here.

    While I haven’t followed Ubuntu closely since then, as far as I can tell there’s been no basic improvement.

    (I make such a big deal out of this because I was targeting HH for my new desktop development system and the above threw a serious monkey wrench in my plans; I needed a particular set of features including Xen Dom0 support, Debian stable did not yet support my hardware and I basically had a space heater for much longer than I liked while being stuck on a slow XP box….)

  30. You can backup your wordpress database using a plugin like WordPress Database Backup which can email you a copy of your database so you have your blog even if something goes wrong or are hacked.

  31. I believe some work has been done lately to automate the slackbuild system to ease upgrades; slackbuild.org themselves went out of their way to build their site in an easily-automated way. It would take little work (and, again, I believe work has been done though I haven’t looked into it deeply) to build a slackpkg style script to work with slackbuilds, ultimately resulting in a kind of lightweight BSD ports system.

    NetBSD’s pkgsrc has been ported to Linux; and I believe there is a version designed specifically to work with slack. Pkgsrc is great, if you can spend the time and cores compiling stuff. Just make sure you peg yourself to one of the stable quarterly releases.

  32. I started treating optical drives, especially writeables, as consumable items a few years back. I tend to order them when I order media. They fail FAR to often; and every brand.

  33. Re using Ubuntu as a server – use the server version instead of the desktop install version. This fixes eg the Python imports problem and wpa_supplicant… And yeah – I only run the LTS versions pretty much.

    As to the ancient hardware – I feel your pain! I had a PSU blow up two weeks ago taking the mobo, hd, and graphics card with it. I still have a regular IDE CD/DVD burner and 4 Gig of DDR2 memory – but how old is SATA and DDR3 now? And PCIx instead of AGP? I ended up making (i think) the right decision and pitching a bunch of junk instead of rebuilding yet another frankenbox…

  34. Re: Gentoo compilation time. This was a hardware issue – early Gentoo was before it’s time. With more modern hardware, the compilation time does not dominate nearly as badly as it used to, and this can only get better. (Like so many other software tools – remember Eight Megabytes And Constantly Swapping? Now EMACS has a comparatively small memory footprint for what it does. 8MB – pfft!)

    And yeah, if you don’t emerge a package, the port never gets opened, and you don’t have to worry about a possible security hole. You only get what you asked for, and if you no longer need it, you can get rid of it. Completely. Anything that you want to keep that depended on it can then be rebuilt to no longer need it. (Within reason – it has to be an optional package extension controlled by a USE flag.)

    The emerge system is extensible – you can put together an ebuild file for unsupported software or even things you wrote yourself and make it a first-class part of the emerge system, just like any other official package – dependencies, USE flags and all. Not that hard to do. (That is how many new packages get added to Gentoo in the first place – someone wrote an ebuild (a small text file) for it and then submitted it to the maintainers.)

  35. FWIW, I tend to be a bit on the conservative side, avoiding the “bleeding edge” stuff. I’m using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on my box @ the house with no real issues. Was able to enable the firewall with a minimum of pain, the Wine works ok on the few MS-centric things I have on it (no games – it’s a working machine, not a playing machine).

    But again, I tend to look at my boxes as tools to accomplish something else I need to do in a reliable way with a minimum of hazard from malware. If I were inclined to and could afford to have a box where I could play with the kernels and tweak apps, then I suspect I’d be trying the Ubuntu 10.10 – but knowing that it’s gonna be flaky.

    Just me. YMMV

  36. I use Fedora as a home box…I like the support and I don’t do much but develop on it with VIM so…I guess it just works.

  37. @esr:

    3. Ancient optical drives are an insidious horror. They can cause installations to fail in un-obvious ways. I replaced three today. It helped, but didn’t help enough by itself.

    True. Something very valuable I learned within the last year is that optical drive failures may be an indication that the PSU is providing inadequate wattage. So a bad optical drive might be an indication of a bad PSU. I recommend investigating your PSUs using your handy-dandy multimeter. It can’t hurt.

    With regards to KVMs, don’t use the el cheapo ones. Avocent make some very nice desktop KVMs that work very nicely and don’t have that problem.

    With regard to Ubuntu, your friend is right. Never, ever use a follow up to an LTS release for a production system. That’s why they give them names like “Edgy,” “Intrepid,” and “Maverick,” as opposed to names like “Dapper,” “Hardy,” and “Lucid.” They’re fine for sandboxed test beds or dev boxes, but I wouldn’t trust them to run services on which I rely.

    @Lina Inverse:

    Ubuntu is developed using a fundamentally broken process: every six months, take a snapshot of Debian unstable, work furiously and then ship it on the target date without regard to whether it actually works or not. The organization’s tipping point was reached with Hardy Heron, which I’ll note was a LTS release.

    Not true. The Ubuntu release process describes the precise process used for releases.

    As for your problems with Hardy Heron, at the end of that thread you mention using the -rt kernel. Never, ever use the -rt kernel unless you’re doing stuff with JACK. The realtime kernel patches are known to be flaky — that’s why they aren’t and never will be in the mainline kernel.

  38. RE: Ubuntu 10.10 versus Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

    The new fonts look a whole lot better to me. No biggie on your server, but very nice on a workstation.

  39. Re: Gentoo compilation time. This was a hardware issue – early Gentoo was before it’s time. With more modern hardware, the compilation time does not dominate nearly as badly as it used to, and this can only get better.

    True of C builds. As I mentioned, my current laptop builds a complete NetBSD kernel in about the time it took my first Unix box to compile hello world. Times have truly changed.

    However, I’m convinced that the C++ standard expands to take up the extra CPU juice you got as a result of Moore’s Law operating since the last rev of the standard.

  40. @Morgan Greywolf: What I see there and in its linked pages is consistent with what I read about Hardy Heron … except that there’s even less time from the last Debian unstable import to a release:

    “Prior to the [DebianImportFreeze] date, new versions of packages will be automatically imported from Debian unstable…” with the expected exceptions and additions.

    Looking at the release schedules, the elapsed times between the DebianImportFreeze and recent releases were 2 1/2 months for 10.04 LTS and
    4 months for 10.10.

    As for the desperate people using the Hardy Heron -rt kernel, if you read more closely you’ll see that many found it could mitigate the lockups of the generic (mainline) kernel. For them, -rt was less flaky, which from what you say it telling….

  41. The new fonts look a whole lot better to me. No biggie on your server, but very nice on a workstation.

    If fonts are among your reasons for upgrading your OS, you should consider getting a Mac… Oh, wait, that’s right. Mac OS X has been using the same crappy fonts for years. Nevermind. :-P

  42. @Lina Inverse:

    I ran Hardy Heron for nearly two years and never had any trouble. In fact, I have a laptop that still has Hardy Heron on it and it runs without a lick of trouble. Sooner or later I’ll put 10.04 on it.

    Then again, as you can see, I don’t run betas and I don’t upgrade the day the new version comes out. I usually wait about 3 months or so, when the first bugfix updates start to appear in the repos. Racing to be the first to install new software on a box I need to rely on is a game for the young and foolish. I’d rather have a stable running system, and if I need the latest and greatest for development work, I’ll run it in a virtual machine, sandboxed from my real production environment. Things work out much nicer that way.

  43. >I want to know why ubuntu is the best distro for your needs.

    Because nobody has shown me one that requires less administration yet.

  44. If fonts are among your reasons for upgrading your OS, you should consider getting a Mac… Oh, wait, that’s right. Mac OS X has been using the same crappy fonts for years. Nevermind. :-P

    Nah. Snow Leopard replaced the monospaced font and added a couple fonts — I think two Asian fonts and a new display font.

  45. Hi Lazarus,

    I’ve got a solution for your spamrape and rm -rf woes: it’s a web cluster product (www.hybrid-cluster.com) which I’ve been building for 3 years. One of its features is that it’s constantly snapshotting your files *and* databases so that you can recover from a spam attack by rolling back the database to a few minutes before the attack started and then quickly patching the hole. And you can recover from catastrophic mistakes by rolling back to a website snapshot from before you did the ‘rm -rf’ ;-)

    It can also tolerate the failure of servers and if you have more than one website, it will load-balance them between servers by moving entire websites and databases around to try and keep them fast.

    I’d be more than happy to give you life-long free usage of an account on our cluster (or the cluster software running on your own hardware, if you’d prefer) in exchange for you blogging about your experience with it.

    Drop me an email — luke [at] hybrid [dash] logic [dot] co [dot] uk — if you’re interested!

    Cheers,
    Luke

  46. Because nobody has shown me one that requires less administration yet.

    Totally agreed. The best way to further reduce administration is to use some sort of redundancy. For instance, you could setup a MySQL cluster for your blog, load-balanced Postfix to handle your mail, etc. I know this seems counterintuitive, but in my considerable administration experience, this really really does reduce admin time.

  47. I’ve been a Kubuntu user since 6.06, but 10.10 has been an unmitigated disaster. I’ve recently switched one workstation to OpenSuse and I’m very happy so far. I think I’ll stick with it unless someone can suggest a better KDE-centric distro I should consider.

  48. @Inkstain: Slackware is very nice, but requires a certain degree of competency. Many people like Knoppix and it’s drop-dead simple to install.

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