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26. May 2021

MONIToring network services

Simple small-scale service monitoring - Can Monit out-Nagios Nagios?

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10. April 2021

Lighttpd and Nextcloud 21+

An irritating but apparently harmless notice when updating to Nextcloud 21 needs a slight change to the web server configuration under Lighttpd

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22. February 2021

OpenSUSE as a Raspberry Pi 4 Server

A work-in-progress series of notes on a migration to OpenSUSE as a server on a Raspberry Pi 4.  These notes are somewhat rambling, as they were written during the development process of the new server, but are left here, warts and all.

Migration project status: The project has been completed successfully. All services are now running under OpenSUSE as of 6th March 2021. I moaned and grumbled my way through this post, adding to it as issues arose or little triumphs were achieved. The reality is that what felt like little hacks, workarounds and customising I had to do, tiny things, really, were probably no more than were helping the stability of the previous system, but time and familiarity had made me forget that's how sysadmins make things work.
This has been an interesting exercise, and I plan to leave these notes here, both for my own reference and possibly as some might be useful to others.

One month later:  I remain pleased with the decision to migrate from Raspberry Pi OS to OpenSUSE for this server.  In fact, I wish I could easily migrate a hosted Raspberry Pi I have.  The most pressing issues I have faced were with regard to various weekly security and performance reports I have written over the years. I am still getting to grips with systemd's timers and logrotate, as some of the reports should run after the logs are rotated, but I am still not clear when these happen. One unexpected bonus is the degree to which btrfs compression works.  At the moment, there is a 25% space saving on the disk.  The next big test will be with the release of OpenSUSE 15.3. Previous experience on x86 suggests this update will be straight forward,  so I am expecting more of the solidity I am currently enjoying.

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6. June 2020

Automatic initrd/initramfs creation for Raspian/Raspberry Pi OS

A very techie post on my blog, so I don't expect this to be of general interest. Try browsing the categories for something more interesting...

The perennial problem of ensuring your initrd or initramfs file has been correctly generated for the appropriate Pi architecture


Edit:The original script was not smart enough to manage the requirements of the Pi Zero (armv6l), but a helpful perl incantation found on a forum resolves this omission. The script has been in use for some time.

IMPORTANT - Please note that as of April 2021, Raspberry Pi OS has changed the way it generates initrds, so this script no longer works correctly.  I will document alterations here if I manage to understand the changes.

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4. April 2020

Nextcloud Talk and the missing piece of the puzzle

It worked, but wouldn't tell us, because of an obscure issue

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18. July 2019

USB Scanner - scans a black page - Resolved

Under Linux, this scanner should Just Work, but doesn't. The fix is very simple

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25. February 2019

The Perennial Problem of the new Linux Laptop

Choices, choices, choices, some dead-ends, such as being far too expensive, some nice-to-haves, and finally some solutions.

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16. October 2018

Revisiting server-based antispam with Bogofilter

Some simple maintenance makes life interesting, but simplicity saves the day

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2. October 2018

Latest update - off-grid Linux IT services

The latest (October 2018) update on hardware and software choices when your power supply is limited

This is a technical blog post which may not be of general interest, and assumes a certain level of technical understanding

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5. February 2018

Raspberry Pi home server - setting up OpenDKIM with postfix

Some vague notes about setting up openDKIM against multiple domains on a single instance, all domains using one key.

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23. August 2017

Lightweight anti-spam alternative for small servers

Spamassassin may be the standard anti-spam utility for servers, but it can't be considered to be either fast or low on resources.  Bogofilter may offer some advantages, but unlike spamassassin, tutorials and how-to's are thin on the ground

Warning: this is a technical post, full of jargon and an expectation that it will be read by system administrators, so may not be of interest to all readers.

Integrating postfix, dovecot and bogofilter on a Raspberry Pi.

Edit: Some months have passed since installing bogofilter.  It is not as fast as a daemon, but not as slow as spamassassin, either.  As expected, it has taken a couple of months to build up accuracy, but the system is excellent, and now reliably marks some spam that always got through spamassassin. This seems a good way forward for lightweight email systems.

Additional Addendum: See the note at the end of the article. Bogofilter remains a good server-based option for dealing with spam.

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16. July 2017

The Calendar Hokey Cokey

A problem with the Nextcloud calendar can be resolved with a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, thanks to standards

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1. October 2016

Serving up some Pi

You really can run on a Raspberry Pi

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9. April 2016

The Silver Darling - When you need a good Linux laptop


The Entroware Apollo laptop is a good option to be sure that new hardware runs well with Linux, and the system itself is good. But the process of buying a Linux laptop could be more straight forward.

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20. June 2015

Despamming versus assassinating spam


Free software tools for ensuring email security and managing spam are good and self-managing, but they can be difficult to set up. This was proven by a  recent prod to investigate options.

Edited, September 2016 - I have reluctantly reverted to other anti-spam systems.  Debian have stopped providing dspam, although there is a more recent version than the last packaged version. Worse, the version that is packaged for the Raspberry Pi, which has most to gain from dspam, does not work. This is a great pity, as dspam, for the 15 months I have used it, is accurate (96.20%), lightning fast, and uses very few resources.

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18. February 2015

Linux file systems I have known

Benchmarks are one thing, experience and preference another

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23. August 2014

A Pi all to yourself

Providing your own internet or "cloud" service keeps you safer and your online life more secure. What's more, it can be done very cheaply

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13. July 2014

Me, Linux and Linux distributions over the years

From tooth-cutting to the development of the propeller-head, and then to normality

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1. May 2014

Running the RaspberryPi from a USB disk

Minimal boot from the SD card, then run on conventional disk

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4. April 2014

What? Good after sales service in this day and age?

Amazingly good service from Lenovo

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