Fedora 15: First big problem…

Yesterday I hit a pretty major problem with Fedora 15. I did a reboot and the login screen came up fine, but when I tried to log in I got a message saying,

failed to load session ‘gnome’

No options or alternatives. Just back to the login screen. ??

I started the machine up in “Full multiuser mode” by hitting the “a” key during boot and adding “3” on to the boot parameters. Once at the login prompt I could now log in as root. Since it looked like it might be a GNOME problem I uninstalled and reinstalled GNOME.

yum -y groupremove "GNOME Desktop Environment"
yum -y groupinstall "GNOME Desktop Environment"

No change!

My next thought was to install KDE, so at least I would have a desktop. I did this using,

yum -y groupinstall kde

I made KDE the default window manager by editing the “/etc/sysconfig/desktop” file to contain.

DISPLAYMANAGER=KDE

The machine now rebooted and I got KDM as the display manager. This allowed me to start KDE, but surprisingly, also allowed me to start GNOME as my window manager.

Now I figured it was probably an issue with GDM, not GNOME itself, so I reinstalled GDM.

yum -y remove gdm
yum -y install gdm
yum -y install gdm-plugin-fingerprint

Bingo. I was now able to switch back to GDM as my display manager by editing the “/etc/sysconfig/desktop” file to contain.

DISPLAYMANAGER=GNOME

I have no idea what happened to cause this problem in the first place. Googling for a solution wasn’t much help because most posts are really old and the new ones just said reinstall.

If anyone else has misfortune to run into this issue, you now know how I got out of it.

Incidentally, my brief time on KDE did not fill me with a desire to switch. I think I prefer GNOME. I am however a little nervous about the stability of Fedora 15 after this incident. Maybe I did something dumb to cause it, but if I did, I have no idea what it was. I’m just running a browser and VirtualBox VMs for the most part.

Cheers

Tim…

Fedora 15: First Impressions…

It’s been nearly six months since I made the switch from CentOS to Fedora as my main desktop OS.

The Fedora 15 final release dropped a couple of days ago and I slapped it on my main desktop PC straight away. As usual, the first impression is all about the visuals. GNOME 3 looks great. I’m sure lots of people think KDE looks great too, but I tend to just stick with the default window manager, so it’s GNOME for me.

If you’ve read any of the press you will know that the menu bar and task bar have been removed. This is kinda weird at first. How does it affect me?

  • Task Bar: I was surprised how reliant I was on the task bar for switching between open apps. I would say about 50% of the time I was using the task bar and 50% of the time I was using alt+tab. Now I’m using alt+tab 100% of the time. I think this change has worked really well for me. I feel like I’m navigating quicker.
  • Menu Bar: I think this one will annoy a few people. In essence, the menu bar is still there, but one layer down. If you click on “Activies” in the top left (or hit the Windows key) you switch to the activities screen. There is a favorites doc on the left and if you click “Applications”, you get a menu (more like a filter) on the right of the screen. That’s all nice, but the thing I really like is if you click the Windows key and type in a few letters it returns all apps and items that contain those letters in the name. Similar to the Windows menu, but prettier. So if you insist on using the menu like an old-style menu, I think this change will annoy you as it requires an extra click and some animations. If you use the favorites doc and the search feature I think it’s quite cool.

The fancy visuals worked straight out of the box for my main desktop machine, but one of my other machines (with a better graphics card) couldn’t handle GNOME 3 and ran using fallback mode. Fallback mode is pretty much like previous GNOME releases with a menu bar and task bar. I’m sure some people will prefer fallback mode, but I think the new stuff is certainly worth a try.

If you really can’t handle the new interface you can manually switch to fallback mode. Start up the System Info dialog (Activities > Applications > System Settings > System Info), click “Graphics” , flick the “Forced Fallback Mode” switch and relog.

As for the OS itself, I’ve had no dramas so far, but it is early days. Time will tell…

By the way, I did the usual Oracle on Fedora thing.

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle VM [not] running inside VirtualBox… (update)

I mentioned a few days ago I was having trouble running Oracle VM inside VirtualBox. I had tried with multiple versions of VirtualBox (including the latest 4.0.8), so I finally decided that is must be an issue with the host OS (Fedora 14).

Today I worked up the enthusiasm and trashed my server by replacing the host OS with CentOS 5.6. Regarding Oracle VM and VirtualBox, the news is good. I now have a functioning OVM installation inside a VirtualBox VM, so I can get back to playing with OVM again.

I don’t know exactly what the problem was, but for the moment I’m going to bury my head in the sand and think happy thoughts. I’ve wasted far to much time with this already. 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

BGOUG Conference…

The BGOUG conference started today. It’s a pity the recent family stuff meant I couldn’t submit a paper for this event. I’m gonna miss all my Bulgarian friends. Hope it all goes well and see you soon.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Sve: I would have loved to sit in the front row of your presentation to make you nervous. Have a good one. 🙂

Oracle: It’s not for newbies…

I had this comment today related to RAC installation.

“thanks for the feedback, but for newbies this is where it gets confusing. No clear guidelines”

This post is not specifically about this comment, but it does bring up the issue I keep going back to again and again…

One of the things that annoys me about the Oracle marketing machine is they still try to make out all Oracle products are accessible for newbies. Oh really? Are you seriously telling me that Oracle RAC and Oracle Grid Control 11g are accessible for newbies?

I’ve been using Oracle products for about 17 years. I’ve been using Linux for about 13 years. I’ve been administering RAC for about 10 years. I don’t claim to be an international consultant to the stars, but I have a long history with this stuff. I’m not saying this to brag, just to put this into context. With all this experience I still don’t think this stuff is easy.

Check out the Oak Table Members list. Excluding myself, this is a “who’s who” of the people you would love to have on your site to show you how Oracle stuff really works. If you were part of the Oak Table mailing list you would see these people are still struggling with the idiosyncracies of some of this Oracle stuff. There are lots of RAC related issues under discussion all the time.

Knowing all this, do you really think you can roll up off the street and do a good job of installing and administering this stuff in a production environment? Do you think it is OK to be an SQL Server DBA on Windows today and start a job as an Oracle DBA on Linux tomorrow? I see this happening all the time because bosses don’t understand how complicated this technology can be. People do one Oracle installation on Windows and think the logical next step is RAC or Exadata.

I’m happy that Oracle have invested time and money in making Oracle *easier* to install and administer, but trying to tell people that it is easy is totally the wrong message. A week long course or a 2-Day DBA manual is not going to get someone up to speed.

For the next marketing slogan I suggest,

“Oracle. It’s f*ckin’ complicated, but it’s really cool!”

Rant over … until the next time… 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

Priest…

Went to see Priest last night. It was only on in 3D at the cinema I went to. As usual, the 3D is pretty crappy and doesn’t add to the film at all. I’ve seen films that were shot in 3D (like Avatar) and those that were made 3D in post production (like Clash of the Titans). They all look crap to me and paying £3 extra for the added “benefit” of flinching a couple of times when things are thrown at you is not my idea of value. Enough of my anti-3D ranting…

The film does a lot of things right, but doesn’t pack enough punch to make me think it is good. Things I like include:

  • The religion aspect is quite cool. People born with “special” talents are recruited by the church and turned into super-duper vampire killing machines.
  • The superhuman power of the priests comes from God and they have unwavering faith, but seem to have little respect for the church, which has become some Orwellian political control mechanism.
  • The vampires are not glittery. They are not even human looking. They are grotesque humanoids that run on all fours, have massive fangs and have no eyes. Proper gross.
  • Some of the fight scenes have so much potential. There is a scene where Paul Bettany throws some crucifix shuriken into the air, then plucks them out of the sky and throws them at the bad guys. It’s all in bullet time and it is so nearly a classic scene, but just not quite.

I really hope there is a sequel. They only need a bit of fine tuning to turn it from meh… to awesome. Having said that, there were only 3 people in the cinema including me and two of them really should have used a hotel room, so the chances of a sequel seem pretty slim…

Cheers

Tim…

Getting fit (final update)…

I’ve posted previously about starting to get fit (here and here). I’ve called this the final update, not because it’s over, but because I don’t plan on making this a regular feature of the blog. It’s already too off topic without adding this into the mix also. 🙂

Today was my second personal training session. I’ve been to the gym every day since my last session with him and worked really hard, so I was ready for him to bear witness to my greatness… It was a big improvement, which I knew it would be. I started off with interval training and did double the amount intervals and on a higher level than the first time. After that I still felt human, so he asked me what I wanted to do next and I said, “Surprise me!” Big mistake. We moved on to cycles of:

This ruined me. If I had a bucket close I would have thrown up big-time. By next week I have to get to the point where I can cope with the interval training, followed by a few of those cycles. Man, it would be so much easier if I was skinny. 🙂

So in one week I’ve made a massive improvement fitness wise. Of course, the fitter you get the harder you try, so I still came out feeling like crap. Just another 30 years to go… 🙂

Cheers

Tim…

PS. Loved this comment from Chet, so I’ve added it to the bottom of the post so those folks that don’t venture into the comments won’t miss it.

Chet: “ugh, intervals are brutal. you feel like your HR (heart rate) will never come down…not to mention the desire to puke in the hopes that it will all just end.”

Welcome to my world… 🙂

Oracle VM [not] running inside VirtualBox…

I know what you are thinking, sounds like a dumb idea right? Well yes, it is pretty stupid, but it’s nice to do it for testing Oracle VM when you don’t want to dedicate a whole server to it. I’ve done this before with no worries. The screen grabs for this article were taken from an installation of Oracle VM inside VirtualBox.

The reason for this post is it doesn’t seem to work for me anymore. Since I last did this successfully I’ve upgraded my host OS (to Fedora 14) and VirtualBox several times (now at 4.0.6). So before I start meddling with downgrading my OS, I would like to know if anyone else has any issues of this type of installation?

I’ve already tried installing old versions of VirtualBox (back to 3.2.8) and that doesn’t fix the issue, so it looks to me like it is the OS that is the issue (sigh). I get the same issue on two servers running Fedora14 as the host OS.

The problem: The installation of Oracle VM inside a VirtualBox VM works fine, but during the post install reboot the VM hangs and I get the following in my “/var/log/messages” file on the host.

May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782339] BUG: unable to handle kernel paging request at 0000000000002dc4
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782345] IP: [] g_abExecMemory+0x1cee8/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782359] PGD 21600b067 PUD 216319067 PMD 0
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782363] Oops: 0000 [#1] SMP
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782366] last sysfs file: /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu3/cache/index2/shared_cpu_map
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782370] CPU 3
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782371] Modules linked in: vboxnetadp vboxnetflt vboxdrv fuse cifs nfsd lockd nfs_acl auth_rpcgss exportfs sunrpc ipv6 nls_utf8 udf uinput snd_hda_codec_realtek snd_hda_intel snd_hda_codec snd_hwdep iTCO_wdt ppdev parport_pc parport r8169 iTCO_vendor_support sky2 mii asus_atk0110 i2c_i801 snd_seq snd_seq_device snd_pcm snd_timer snd soundcore snd_page_alloc microcode ata_generic pata_acpi firewire_ohci firewire_core crc_itu_t pata_jmicron nouveau usb_storage ttm drm_kms_helper drm i2c_algo_bit video output i2c_core [last unloaded: scsi_wait_scan]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] Pid: 5584, comm: VirtualBox Not tainted 2.6.35.13-91.fc14.x86_64 #1 P5K-VM/P5K-VM
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] RIP: 0010:[]  [] g_abExecMemory+0x1cee8/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] RSP: 0018:ffff8801d63ffa68  EFLAGS: 00010286
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] RAX: 0000000000000000 RBX: 0000000000000000 RCX: 0000000000000003
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] RDX: 0000000000000001 RSI: ffff8801d63ffa38 RDI: 00007f579403be30
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] RBP: ffff8801d63ffae8 R08: 0000000000000008 R09: 0000000000000000
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] R10: 0000000000000fa0 R11: ffffffffa041f430 R12: 00007f57950ef260
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] R13: ffffc900118d3000 R14: ffffc900118eeb00 R15: 0000000000000008
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] FS:  00007f5795bae700(0000) GS:ffff880002180000(0000) knlGS:0000000000000000
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] CS:  0010 DS: 0000 ES: 0000 CR0: 0000000080050033
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] CR2: 0000000000002dc4 CR3: 00000001e6c77000 CR4: 00000000000026e0
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] DR0: 0000000000000000 DR1: 0000000000000000 DR2: 0000000000000000
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] DR3: 0000000000000000 DR6: 00000000ffff0ff0 DR7: 0000000000000400
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] Process VirtualBox (pid: 5584, threadinfo ffff8801d63fe000, task ffff8801fdce1740)
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] Stack:
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  ffffffffa03c9830 00000000000001f4 ffff8801d63ffae8 ffffffffa03d8c17
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] <0> 00000000000b8000 ffff880100000002 000000000000064e ffff8801d63ffc27
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] <0> ffffc900118eeb00 0000000300000000 ffffc900118ee000 0000000000000002
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] Call Trace:
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] ? g_abExecMemory+0x1e070/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] ? g_abExecMemory+0x2d457/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] g_abExecMemory+0x3508b/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] ? g_abExecMemory+0x5907e/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] g_abExecMemory+0x2cece/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] g_abExecMemory+0x11e1e/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] ? g_abExecMemory+0xf840/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] ? g_abExecMemory+0xf25e/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] g_abExecMemory+0xa18d/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] g_abExecMemory+0x49f97/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] g_abExecMemory+0x1599b/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] ? unlock_page+0x27/0x2c
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] ? __do_fault+0x342/0x379
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] supdrvIOCtlFast+0x50/0x54 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] VBoxDrvLinuxIOCtl+0x44/0x1b0 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] ? pmd_offset+0x19/0x40
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] vfs_ioctl+0x36/0xa7
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] do_vfs_ioctl+0x468/0x49b
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] sys_ioctl+0x56/0x79
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  [] system_call_fastpath+0x16/0x1b
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] Code: 24 60 45 89 f8 48 8b 55 a0 41 ff d3 85 c0 89 c1 44 8b 55 88 0f 85 91 fe ff ff 45 89 ff 42 8b 0c bd c0 70 40 a0 41 d3 e2 4d 01 16  83 c4 2d 00 00 10 0f 84 6a fe ff ff 41 c7 46 30 00 00 00 00
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] RIP  [] g_abExecMemory+0x1cee8/0x180000 [vboxdrv]
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377]  RSP
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782377] CR2: 0000000000002dc4
May 10 10:42:26 maggie kernel: [  308.782663] ---[ end trace b439b59bc93da8ee ]---

I’ve done the standard Googling, but nothing jumped out at me as a possible solution.

Cheers

Tim…