Mint Upgrade

     I am going to take Mint down for about 30-45 minutes to make a backup prior to upgrading from Mint 20.2 Uma to Mint 20.3 Una.  Mint upgrades have been fraught with problems in the past so want to make a backup first just in case it ends up in an unrecoverable situation.   Once backup is completed it will be available though there may be some restarts needed during the backup.

Eskimo.Com Service NOT SHUTTING DOWN

     It became clear from all the feedback I got that a notice I sent out was very misinterpreted.  Eskimo North is NOT shutting down nor is our shell service, e-mail, web hosting, friendica, hubzilla, or nextcloud node.

     The ONLY thing shutting down are two of the shell servers, one because it’s absolutely antique and incompatible with all the newer servers, and another because it is not getting any use.

     Eskimo North, the service WILL REMAIN  in operation, and the following URL is a list of servers that will remain available.

     Here is a list of available shell servers that will remain available.  The eskimo.com domain will ALSO remain available for all functions, e-mail, web hosting, etc.  It is ONLY one very unused machine and one very antique machine that are being retired.

     List of shell servers: https://www.eskimo.com/services/shells/servers/

Julinix.Yellow-Snow.Net and Eskimo.com

     I have decommissioned julinix.yellow-snow.net because in the last year only two people have logged into it and each of them only once.  It is basically Ubuntu re-themed anyway so doesn’t really offer anything unique.

     I am in the process of decommissioning the eskimo.com shell server because it is an antique SunOS server that has some compatibility issues with Linux NIS and login system.  Linux natively supports usernames up to 16 characters long and passwords with 16 significant characters and much stronger encryption.  SunOS supports only triple-DES encryption, eight significant characters, and maximum login length of eight characters.  Linux supports very large numbers in UID and GID, but SunOS is limited to 65535 as the highest each.  Once the transition to a new NIS master is completed you will no longer be able to access eskimo.com shell server BUT you will be able to have longer usernames and passwords and you will be able to change your password from any server.  A process that is not possible because of these incompatibilities presently.

Web Server – New Kernel Being Tested

     We are trialing a new kernel on our web server.  We were running 5.13.19 however it is past end-of-life upstream.  We attempted 5.15.x but the performance of this kernel was garbage.  However, I’ve tested 5.16.0 on my workstation and it performed much better than 5.15 and at least on par if not slightly better than 5.13, so I’m giving it a try on our web server (the most heavily loaded machine).  If it holds up we will be upgrading all the machines next Friday the 21st between 11PM and Midnight.

     If you notice any difference in the performance please let us know.

Automatic Restart and Alarm for Web Service

     Because 2.4.52 version of Apache seems to have a bug that causes it to occasionally stall, and because earlier versions have a root exploit that makes returning to them unfeasible, I wrote an automatic recovery script to recover the server in the event of a failure.

     What it does is automatically test the web server for a proper response every five minutes.  If it fails to respond, it attempts to restart apache, waits a minute to give it time to spool up, then retests.

     If the second test is good it logs the failure so I can keep track of how often it is failing.  If the second test fails, it turns my speaker volume up to 100%, and I have 100-watts per channel so that’s 200 watts worth of noise and then sends the Star Trek Next Generation Red Alert sound effect to the speakers.  I should hear that pretty much no matter what if I’m here, and also sends an e-mail so if I’m out I will be notified via my tablet or laptop.

     Hopefully this will prevent long outages like that which occurred last night when Apache decided to silently hang.