So here I am, on a sunday night playing with various open source projects instead of having a proper non-geek life like I'm apparently supposed to be doing in our modern society.

For some reason, I can't stop myself from geeking on those various projects when I have some free time. The attached screenshot gives a rough idea of what I'm doing right now.

First, this is my "terminal" window where I do work on various servers in parallel, which constitutes the core of my "production" at work, but also of my "hobby" at home, two things that mangle with each other in an unexplicable way. (Actually, the only way I could explain that is that the "hobby" is when I don't get paid to do the "production" because A) it's not a priority for Koumbit or B) it's something absolutely for myself.)

The awesome window manager allows me to have multiple screens with separate layouts for every screen. The screen #4 is a simple tiling layout where equal space is given to the multiple windows. I can have anything from 2 to 8 windows in there and it's still confortable. If it gets too crowded, I just hit win-shift-5 to ship unused windows to another screen.

So anyways, on that screenshot you see, on the top left, a shell on the Koumbit Puppet master server, which handles the cluster of servers we're managing. I was there giving access to some servers to a user, while we're migrating away from puppet to LDAP for user authentication.

On the top right, I'm working on the git repository, probably to adjust permisions so our new Redmine install can access the repos. As an aside, we are now bridging Redmine and LDAP together to avoid having our workers (and clients!) learn yet another password for yet another tool. Redmine, actually, is not a "new" tool per se, but a bugtracker designed to replace the too-limited project.module that Drupal provides us.

Those two, usually, would be paid for by Koumbit. I have, however, been doing a ridiculous amount of overtime in the last few weeks and, well, I should really be doing other things now. But since the project is so exciting (I've been waiting a long time to get Puppet, LDAP, a bugtracker, PAM, etc to play along), I just can't keep myself from kicking the project in the butt to get it moving during my "free" time.

The window on the bottom left shows the invocation of QEMU to launch the installation of the GNU/kFreeBSD port of Debian.

The window on the bottom right is qemu itself running the install. It is quite slow. It's now been running for 3 hours and it's not even 50% through. The problem is probably more due to QEMU than kFreeBSD.

The reason I'm playing with that is that I finally got a hold of a nice Soekris net5501 board (and case) to replace my hated Linksys WRT54g (no I won't link to it) that keeps on dying for no good reason, and that can't run a proper networking operating system. Basically, the linksys only runs linux has like 4M of ram and disk space and coughs during rain. I'm also more familiar with BSDs and the PF packet filter than the dreaded iptables/ipchains atrocities.

But since I am tired of compiling crap and dealing with BSD ports, I prefer Debian. The answer? A Debian distribution with a FreeBSD kernel. I first experimented with it on my desktop, which was interesting, because things break randomly (my mouse stopped working during the last upgrade and I used to not have any video player). But now I'm getting ambitious of building a complete embedded router based on this platform, which would be pure insanity.

I need to install it through QEMU because the Soekris doens't have any actual video interface, only a serial port. Kind of tricky to get an operating system in there, although it would be possible to netboot because you can control the thing through the serial port. I prefer to setup the compact flash card on my workstation and then jack it in there instead. It's easier and plus I get a base image that I can propagate. Hopefully, I'll now get a complete Debian-based system I can propagate too. :)

So that's my sunday night. Call me a low-life geek if you want, but I'm having a lot of fun. Plus I had a life yesterday: I walked all across Montreal, going up and down the mountain to see my friends in the south-west (around 14km walk) laughed and drank my ass out, and today I went shopping to get a flash card reader and ... food (you have to eat too I'm sure).

netbook still dead

hehe, yeah, i'm a big sissy

and the stupid netbook is being shipped halfway around the world (that's where Richmond BC is apparently) right now for the RMA.

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