Shellx – Sound Fixed – Other Info

I was able to get sound working again on Shellx, and fix a nasty problem with pirut, the add/remove software program, but in order to do so I had to remove a bunch of stuff and downgrade others to get versions in sync.  I’m still re-installing things but if there is something in particular that you need, please e-mail and I’ll bump it up on the priority stack.

Shellx – Planned Outage Friday 10/3 11pm – Saturday 10/4 2am

We will be taking shellx out of service late Friday evening and returning it to service early Saturday morning.  It will be up and down intermittently during this time frame in order to attempt to fix a problem with gstreamer audio so that flash videos and games and other applications that use gstreamer will properly produce sound.

Sound was broken by a kernel upgrade provided by the CentOS team that did not include all of the necessary drivers for gstreamer.  We will be rolling the kernel back to a working version or possibly compiling a kernel if we can’t get one supplied by the CentOS team to work.


Shellx is restored to service.  X2Go was borked by an upgrade that was supposed to add support for gnome3-fallback and cinnamon sessions, neither of which are desktops available on this server.  Given that, I’ve downgraded to the previous working version.

Sound is still borked.  Fixing it is going to require downgrading kernel because drivers aren’t available for the current kernel.  Since this will most probably require multiple reboots, it’s going to wait until late Friday night.

Sound not reliant on gstreamer works but unfortunately that’s a minority of applications.

Shellx Borked

Something in shellx pertaining to X-sessions is borked in such a way that X2Go fails to launch a session.  I’ve totally reinstalled the X2Go software to no avail.

I am going to take shellx down to recover from a previously working state and then re-apply updates one at a time so I can determine which, if any, of them may have broke the server.

Shellx will be down for approximately one hour.

UPS Outage

The UPS at the co-location facility where we have our equipment located has failed.  They are working on repairing it.  In the meantime, if city power fails in Bellevue, a brief outage will result while equipment is switched to generator.

Maintenance 9/21/14 00:05 – 02:00

I will be performing maintenance tonight that will involve a reboot of the main file server to make a new Linux kernel active, and then taking down other machines, specifically shellx, scientific, mail, and ftp, for imaging.

I will not be taking down the other shell servers during this interval, so except for the initial file server reboot, the others will remain functional.  The file server reboot will take place between approximately 00:05 – 00:30.

Debian Down for Approximately 1Hr

I accidentally installed Kerberos on (which overwrote the Pam configuration files breaking authentication).  It will be down for about an hour.  If you wish to use a Debian based shell server in the interim, please use either or, both of which are derived from Debian.

X2Go on Mac OS X

I’ve got X2Go working properly on a Mac with OS X 10.7.5, and it should be able to work on newer versions as well.  The issue was the native X server provided by 10.7.5, it is garbage.

I loaded XQuartz and not only did the issues with X2Go as far as keyboard translation and display resolve (sound is still borked), but it also fixed another annoying problem and that was  marginally functional, sometimes not at all, cut-n-paste.

If you have a Mac OS X 10.7 or earlier (but still OS X) install XQuartz (very easy just download and click on the file, then log out and in again) and you can use X2Go to access all of our servers graphically.  It will also fix cut-n-paste issues the native X server has.

Using OpenNX, FreeNX, NX-Client 3.5 or NX-Player 4.0 to Connect to Shell Servers

There has been a change in the configuration of NX on the shell servers such that it is no longer necessary to import a special key.  You still need to check “Use NX login”, but do not specify an alternate key or cut and paste one in.

I discovered how to do this in the process of setting up new servers so changed the existing as well since it simplifies setup for the end user.