everything else Linux

FLAC audio CD archiving

At one point Robert Heron on mentioned he was converting his entire CD collection to the FLAC audio format. This is important because FLAC means lossless audio compression and it’s an excellent format for archiving. Once the CDs have been ripped to FLAC you can lose the CD, give it as a chew toy to the dog, or whatever because the FLAC file is a perfect copy of the disk itself. From FLAC you can convert it to mp3 and use the lossy compressed version anywhere but always keep the perfect version in a safe place.

Actually, my CD collection is quite small and I’m almost done after only a couple days work. Not including any of my parents disks which I’ll probably rip at the same time. The primary reason why I can get the ripping done so quickly is due to excellent software. abcde (A better CD Encoder) makes everything happen automagically. “abcde -o flac” causes it to be encoded to FLAC but otherwise I let the defaults do as they wish. All of the FLAC specific options are way over my head. It’s not like mp3 where different people have a favorite bit rate they like. Once I get everything ripped I’ll burn it all to dvd and keep another copy on the Simpleshare NAS.


Alsasound hang on shutdown workaround

It seems this problem first occured for me after I upgraded to kernel v2.6.20 from v2.6.19. Then since upgrading to v2.6.22 the hangs caused by alsasound have gotten much worse. Finally, I got fed up with it and just removed alsasound from the runlevel altogether. Surprisingly, sound still works without alsasound. I’m using the in-kernel drivers so things are already autoloaded by the kernel/udev. I set volume levels with amixer in /etc/conf.d/local.start and it just works. It seems for this setup alsasound is redundant.

Linux rant

Hardware review: SimpleTech SimpleShare NAS 250GB

I got this for Christmas which was about 6 months ago. It’s probably a good device for the non-technical consumer but it has a few drawbacks for the advanced user that wants more. Some of the advantages for the SimpleShare are that it supports mirroring/striping via multiple external USB hard drives, has a built-in print server, and supports multiple disk pools with “AES encryption” so saith the docs. I haven’t tried using the RAID or encryption features. The print server works quite well, though. File sharing is enabled through CIFS and NFS. However, the box also has a few bugs and annoyances. First among these is the absence of the lockd daemon while using NFS. It’s completely retarded that lockd was not included since it would make it usable for a small group of users. Without lockd, multiple people can edit the same file simultaneously and overwrite the other person’s changes. Second, is the fact that power management is nonfunctional, period! The case of the NAS does get quite warm some times but that wouldn’t matter so much if the hard drive shutdown occassionally.

Read/write Benchmarks

$ time cp ./ubuntu-7.04-desktop-i386.iso /home/ebrake/
real 1m29.990s
user 0m0.108s
sys 0m7.904s

This is the result of reading a 698MB iso over a 10/100 ethernet network. 698 megabytes/1 minutes 29 seconds = 62.741573Mb/s

$ time mv /home/ebrake/ubuntu-7.04-desktop-i386.iso /mnt/nfsbackup/test_diskimg.iso
real 3m10.700s
user 0m0.044s
sys 0m2.700s

This is the result of writing a 698MB iso over a 10/100 ethernet network. 698 Megabytes/3 minutes 10 seconds = 29.3894737 Both of these of the transfers were over NFS. Given that write speeds are half as fast as reads it probably is doing synchronous transfers (at least I hope so!).


Drink the sudo Kool-Aid

In the beginning, there was the simple root logon. The Admin elevated his privileges through this simple process and all was good. This state was excellent until it was neccessary to create more users to do the work of the Almighty Himself. So the wise admin fashioned the tool called “su” that made it easy to raise new admins into the House of Wheel. This state persisted until one of the Admin’s most trusted Support Techs committed a heinous sin believing he could achieve glory by compromising the main server. After terminating, this user and his followers the Admin set to work again to create a tool that would maintain harmony and stability for all of Creation. The product of His labor is called today “sudo”.

Alright, so I admit I login as root directly and su to root, otherwise. I’m gonna make an effort to use sudo exclusively. Just to show my dedication to the cause I commented out everything in /etc/securetty except for tty6 as a backup. If I ever hope to administer servers professionally making sudo habit is required. Might even go so far as to disable su also. Then for truly hardened servers the root password can be removed completely so the only way in is through sudo.