hirez: Humppa! (Humppa!)
I have a horrible feeling that if you found all my posts where I'd gone off on one about the awfulness of computers, you'd also find companion pieces that mostly read 'S'alright. Fixed it.' that arrived a couple of days later.

Is that good? It's probably good.

Solutions:
i) Use ISC Kea for DHCP(4|6) server(s).
ii) Use dhcpcd5 for the client.
iii) Write a sed(1) one-liner that runs as the last thing in yr preseed script and comments out any 'iface eth' lines in /etc/network/interfaces.

Well, I say 'write'. I mean 'find on the internet like everyone else.'
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
One of the things that I'm doing at work is hacking on our VM-build rig so that is it less terrible to use. [1] Coincidentally, there's some network-fondling going on that will make it 'trivial'(tm) to do IPv6 on the servers. So I have this medium-sized chain of VMs and config running on the Xen cluster in the basement and fucking hell has it been a right old laugh to make any of it work, hoo boy let me tell you.

So in order, from a notional left where the will to build a new virtual machine that will do Server! Things! resides in a representative Carbon Unit, to the far right hand side of the process where there is a Server! Doing Things! this is what we find.

Generating VMs using the Xen API is... Not actively unpleasant. It is a mild inconvenience that all the Xen docco assumes that you're using Python. (Is there a Config Management tool based around Python? I mean, there probably is. Fabric?) However, it's just an API and the Ruby wrapper insulates one from the worst of the XMLRPC hatefulness.

However. Generating a VM is only about 10% of the job. After that you must get the thing to boot enough of an OS to install something, and fairly obviously automate that install completely so your interaction with the process is some command-line fun followed a mug of tea later by the monitoring system telling you your new box is live. Beardian have a thing they call 'preseeding', which is more or less scripting the sequence of install menus that you get on every Beard-derived distro. No I do not wish to take part in the popularity contest. I don't know anyone who does.

We had a working preseed rig, but it was generated from the Squeeze docs, massaged for Wheezy and mostly broke for Jessie. Along with the Xen heads and a set of other customs and practices that were only there because they were there.

I like throwing code away it is great.

The IPv6 bits for preseeding are, er, entirely undocumented. Thus I spent about a week, in between rebuilding obsolete Xen servers, discovering that though the manuals allege that DHCPv6 is supported, it doesn't work in any useful sort of way.

For instance. When you configure a Beardian box to do DHCPv4, you'll find a line in its network config that looks like this: 'iface eth0 inet dhcp'. If you copy that and append '6' to the 'inet' bit, then it will allegedly do DHCPv6 as well and you will get a dual-stacked interface. Only not, because the preseed doc is entirely lacking details of the knob you twiddle to enable DHCPv6 such that the installer will write that 'inet6' bit into the network config.

DHCPv4 is a fairly ancient protocol that is mostly filled with things the designers thought would be jolly useful at the time. Like this: 'The Impress server option specifies a list of Imagen Impress servers available to the client.' There are probably others for specifying the size and shape of the horseless carriage that will be required to route the packets should the primary link fail. The original plan (from what I remember) for IPv6 was that you wouldn't need any of that sort of rubbish. You'd tell the routers what the first half of the IPv6 allocation was, and the machines connected to same would use their MAC address as the bottom half. Sorted!

Yeah, so about that notion of machines just turning up at random points in an IP allocation larger than the observable universe. How are you going to manage that, and given that most people can't even be arsed typing 'www.facebook.com' into a browser, how d'you think typing 'https://2001:0470:1f15:0fa1:76d4:35ff:fef1:4acd' is going to work for you?

Thus DHCPv6 and some bit-twiddling. Given you've already had to set up Router Advertisment to tell your machines what the first half of their IPv6 allocation looks like, you might as well also use that to advertise the fact that this netblock is Managed. Yes, you set the 'M' bit and all the good children will start emitting DHCPv6 queries.

Which is obviously not mentioned in the preseed documentation because, well, why would you even need to know that was a thing? If you were doing a proper v6 rollout you'd have the network infrastructure already working and you wouldn't need to spend half a day working out what code did the network config, finding same on a Beardian archive server and then tracing through someone else's wonky C to find the one line that makes you think dark thoughts before going out for quite a long walk to calm down again.

Of course it's entirely irrelevant because even when you do get RAs working with the M bit, nothing will write the 'inet6' bit into the network config.

Meanwhile. A thing you can do with a small subset of server daemons is have them update the DNS when a new machine pitches up. Ordinarily you would never ever do this inside a server netblock ever because that way lies madness. However, doing reverse DNS for v6 involves an awful lot of typing. If you are a bit hazy on how DNS works, it's an awful lot of typing, followed by a bunch of cargo-culted procedures, kicking the DNS server twice and then going 'Oh you'll have to wait 24 hours for it to propagate'

If anyone says that to you about the DNS, they have no idea what they're talking about and you should ask to speak to a grownup without delay.

Thus having some computers to manage all of that would probably be a really good idea. After all, the dynamic DNS standard has been about for a while. About a decade ago, when I was still at Labs, I ended up running the DHCP rig there. I became very familiar with the contents of Droms & Lemon, which was (is?) The Book About DHCP. Back then, the standard servers were either Windows DHCP or ISC ditto. In the docs for ISC-DHCP, it mentioned that the DDNS update style in use was 'interim' because the standard had not been ratified when they were writing that code. Since the BOOTP servers at Labs had only just been turned off, DDNS was viewed with a deal of suspicion since these modern protocols were everywhere and would probably amount to nothing and do you have an up-to-date copy of the hosts table?

I was digging through the doc for the latest version of ISC-DHCP at the beginning of the week. In there I found the DDNS section, where it mentioned that new rollouts should use the 'standard' style. It was nice to know that there was now a proper standard RFC way of doing DDNS. Hurrah for a decade of progress!

It didn't work. I had a look at the client config on one of the Jessie nodes I was using. 'interim' style. Well, that was a bit tiresome. Still, it's just a config change and it is a new standard and everything.

i) Beardian hard codes the DHCP client config into the 'ifup' command.
ii) I went and looked at the date on the DDNS RFC. Nineteen ninety fucking seven.

I am fact coming to the conclusion that no-one's really tried any of this yet. Or, if they have, they've facebooked it and written the entire stack themselves in a fit of pique.[1]


[1] There's an Internet Law (or probably a devops/automation law) that goes along the lines of 'All private cloud automation attempts will tend toward replicating Heroku, only badly'. So we carefully bear that in mind, should the mood to turn it up to eleven strike.
hirez: (Aspirational message)
A thing that depression does that is awful is to rob you of the good bits and any sort of sensible passage of time and drop you in a pocket universe of shit with a ten minute cycle time. Because that's as much concentrating as you can do (if even that...) before malfunctioning brain goes 'This is too hard, I want distraction with $social-media'.

Stuff I did this year that I had forgotten[1]:

Emitted a short story for 'North by southwest'. Which was the first story. In anthology terms this is 'You are on to something you muppet'.

Built a radio that only plays old John Peel programmes. Actually a bloody radio. It works like the wireless. (Well, within the realms of 'hacking it all together in ten minutes')

Didn't post here for shit.

Went to Hay-on-Wye for pie, mash and SF.
Went to Whitby for the cycling.
Went to Cornwall for beer and technology tourism.
Went to Cardigan for the prog/psych music.
Went to Nottingham for the SF(F) and red hi-viz.

Went mildly viral. (Twitter really is badly done and filled with awful people)

Put a big chimney on an incinerator to make it go better.

Took part in Art. (Sanctum, Bristol)

Started a (power-ambient) industrial band.

One, no two only slightly daft ideas for EMF talks. (A device that makes life hard for the internet of stupid things, Exploiting codes of conduct for fun and profit)

Generated a set of cards for 'Project Management Tarot'. Got as far as most of a physical prototype before the first paragraph set in.

2015 has been something of a slog. However, the act of actually going back and looking has been quite pleasant. Once I'd steeled myself for the 'inevitable disappointment' my malfunctioning fucking brain had assured me I could look forward to.


[1] Actually forgotten, because see first paragraph. I can't even. What sort of person does that? If it were someone else you'd call them a gaslighting bastard and call the polis.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Job well done, I think.

I trust that there will be a myriad interesting bloggings detailing what one might have missed, handy for the next nomination season.

(JFC, but they're a bunch of bell-ends.)
hirez: (Christmas cat)
There's a Whovian book out there - eleven short stories, one for each Doctor. They all appear in silhouette at the start of each story, and the one that is allegedly Hartnell is actually JG Ballard.

Which of course makes perfect sense in a universe run for the benefit of sensible people.
hirez: (Challenger)
I think there's a Canadian joke about the seasons being 'Winter, winter, still winter and construction'.

In some mildly geographically-confusing way, we appear to be in mid-construction. Or, more likely, the infrastructure maintenance that The Gummint have put off because of a set of tiresome reasons akin to running a country like a, well, not even a sweetshop. Running a country like a horrible mob of Slater-Walker style asset-stripping spivs? Yes. That. Fuckers. ... has all managed to go wrong at once.

So, in a vague sort of reverse order we find...

One of the southern routes into Bath was subject to a landslide because of Weather. 'Deary me,' went BANES council. 'We don't know what to do about that. Perhaps we should close the road for several weeks to see what happens. Oh, and we're going to close the other southern route because of $reasons.'

Meanwhile, one of the north-western routes into Bath was subject to subsidence because of Weather. 'Deary me,' went BANES council. 'We'll pretend that hadn't been happening for, oh, six frigging months, and close that one for, er, another six months.'

Which pretty much leaves the A4 as The Way between Bristol and Bath. What a shame it is that Saltford is in the way. And there are roadworks.

Currently it's easiest to leave work at about six in order to minimise the queueing. Also lots of working from home.

(Yes there is public transport, but I really do prefer not to have to guzzle beta-blockers in order to be able to cope with it.)

Somewhat closer to home, they've been replacing the sewage lines. And the water and gas ones. Thus over the last couple of months various parts of various routes out of Bristol in the Bath direction have been single-line or mostly just shut.

In short - arseholes.
hirez: (psyche-out (i))
http://www.thecultden.com/2014/03/airship-shape-and-bristol-fashion.html

I would like to think I might be forgiven for a medium-sized 'Yay!' at this point.

Because I like drinking beer and having a laugh with like-minded souls, the convention schedule for the rest of the year looks like this:

Convergence XX, Chicago.
EMFCamp, a field near Milton Keynes.
Bristolcon, Bristol.
Whitby not-as-good-as-it-used-to-be-festival, Whitby.
hirez: (Default)
Visited the large shop of American horrors this arvo. It is already filled with objects of a yule-based nature.

(Tangent - there's a 'party shop' a few streets away. Although it's more a deserted hangar where good intentions go to be tortured to death. I've never been inside something like that before, so since I was feeling rather adventurous I wandered in. Then I wandered through, mostly keeping my eyes averted so that I would not become infected by the awfulness, and indeed wandered out at a fair clip ditto.)

One of the objects was an allegedly wooden advent calendar. It seems to me that objects like that are selling an idealised yule-based experience that has only ever existed in the head of a particularly annoying product-marketing executive who has likely watched 'It's a wonderful life' once too often (ie - once).

There were also six-foot 'wooden' 'soldiers' with teeth like meat-grinders. I have no clear idea what those would be for, other than providing the next generation with a valid excuse for hating the yule-based period and thus repeating the cycle of marketing-based hope over terrible reality.

In short: homburg.
hirez: (Aspirational message)
From El-Reg (which is still the spodding equivalent of the DMail):
Then he choked, and didn't turn the experiment on, saying it all looked too easy. Such choking isn't uncommon – Darwin sat on Origin of Species for nearly 20 years after all. "For about three days, I could have done it, but I didn't have the nerve to switch on that button," Oxborrow tells Nature.

Which, um.

I've come across the concept in re. sporting endeavour because of Half-Man Half-Biscuit and 'My baby got the yips'

I'm going to go and have a dig for sensible(-ish) articles about That Sort of Thing.
hirez: (Radiation)
Late last night (or indeed early yesterday morning) a far-away machine woke me up to tell me that it was coping with a thing and actually there wasn't much to worry about.

The Japanese phrase 'Arigata-meiwaku' covers that sort of situation quite well, I think.

[ Is it just me experiencing glacial Gurgle searches now FF has made it all SSLed? ]

Anyway. Today I am shuffling around like a poorly-animated lemon, doing lemon things and looking at other things in a curious yet lemon-like way.

It's jolly nice out and I am glad I am not in an office.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
You may or may not recall that I was jabbering about space-jeans the other week. Since it's been rather cold out, they've come into their own. I'm not sure I actually need to bother with the cyclist's cold weather strides unless it's actually pissing it down.

It also turns out that it's impossible to listen to long-form music (in this office, anyway) without some native of Porlock coming to bother you in one of the many good bits.

At that point I gave up and set the player back to random.

The transition to 'A place to bury strangers' from 'Beethoven's quiet bits' was more than a little startling, let me tell you.

FTFY

Jan. 5th, 2012 02:31 pm
hirez: (Aspirational message)
Oh dear heavens, yes:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jessicahagy/2011/11/30/how-to-be-interesting/print/

(Via the omnitronic [livejournal.com profile] andrewducker)
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
(Or indeed yo dawg, etc)

Has anyone done the "Trendy gothic steampunk barbie doll in black brown" T-shirts yet?

(It were all Usenet in-jokes round here when I were a lass.)
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (i))
http://wizardstowerpress.com/2010/coming-soon-dark-spires/

... will also include a story from JH-R. Which is nice.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Oh, FFS.

(Via R. B. Trage[livejournal.com profile] andrewducker)
hirez: (dissent)
Right then, TwitTypes, is it all down and happening with the kids under '#wgw' or '#whitby'?
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
Bang!1. Sithee.

(Thank you. We've been here all week.)




1. That was actually the aircon in the SAAB.
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
“The City of London is finished, the financial centre of the world is moving east. All the money is in Asia. Why would it go back to the west? You don’t need London.”

Which, um, might be an interesting outcome.

Perhaps we could start with some proper socialist government. With apprenticeships and making things. Then queueing, tractors and a glorious five-year plan to mark an end to this futile experiment with capitalism.

(My name's Ben Elton Mark Thomas, etc.)
hirez: (Happy cycling)
Once again I exercise my fascination with the flat bits of Gloucestershire by cycling around in them and taking the odd picture. And indeed exercise myself. Only 34 miles, though.

Bourne III is rather good, too.

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