The Story Behind The Largest Distributor Of The Linux Operating System

Posted on in Categories Linux last updated June 15, 2010

Interesting read and I wasn’t aware of some of the facts behind the open-source entrepreneur Bob Young. From the BBC article:

Bob Young is a self-confessed contrarian with a strong desire to change the world by allowing people to share and collaborate. The approach has served him well and has helped turn the Canadian into a multi-millionaire. Bob YoungFrom the outset, his software company Red Hat bucked the trend set by the big players like Microsoft which stubbornly guarded every line of code and charged whopping fees to maintain it.

News Roundup: Dec., 16, 2008

Posted on in Categories Contest, GNU/Open source, Hardware, Linux, Linux desktop, Mozilla, News last updated December 16, 2008

Holiday Giveaway: Win Learning Nagios 3.0 Book (total three copies)
nixCraft regular contributor Ramesh is running a small contest. You can win 3 copies of Nagios (a popular open source computer system and network monitoring application software) books for yourself.

Serious security flaw found in IE
Users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer are being urged by experts to switch to a rival until a serious security flaw has been fixed. The flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer could allow criminals to take control of people’s computers and steal their passwords, internet experts say. Maybe, it is time to switch to Firefox 😀

Top 10 Linux Financial Tools
The arena of finance is no exception. Plenty of outstanding financial applications are available for the Linux operating system. From personal finance to business finance, there is an application for nearly every need. Let’s take a look at the top Linux financial applications.

Wikipedia now available for mobile phone / devices
Sweet, now access millions of articles from your PDA or smart mobile phone device.

How To Select Netbooks Powered by Open-source Linux OS
Netbooks are small computers that are cheaper and lighter than full-scale laptops. They have their merits-but do not ask too much of them.

Famous Awk One-Liners Explained
This is the second part of a three-part article on the famous Awk one-liners. This part will explain Awk one-liners for text conversion and substitution.

Killer Add-ons Make Songbird So Much Better
Like Firefox, the open source media player Songbird is a pretty neat alternative to a big-name competitor on its own, but the ability to extend it through add-ons is what really makes it boss.

The Dark Knight on Blu-ray DVD -Available now!
Batman and the Joker will be unleashed on Gotham — and the world — just in time for the holidays.

How To: Build an Embedded Linux Distribution From Scratch

Posted on in Categories GNU/Open source, Hardware, Linux, Linux distribution, Linux Embedded devices, Ubuntu Linux last updated August 16, 2008

Embedded Linux is the use of a Linux operating system in an embedded computer systems such as a mobile phones, personal digital assistants, media players etc. This tutorial shows you how to install Linux on a target system. Not a prebuilt Linux distribution, but your own, built from scratch.

SCO Group files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Posted on in Categories Linux, News last updated September 15, 2007

Finally, the SCO Group, Inc files for bankruptcy. SCO tried to attack on Linux by filing lawsuits claiming its UNIX software code was used in Linux operating system. SCO has claimed that IBM inappropriately contributed to the development of Linux. Darl McBride has the unenviable reputation as the man who tried to milk Linux:

As CEO and president of SCO Group, McBride has spent the last few years trying to collect billions in licensing fees from companies using the Linux operating system, earning the wrath of the world’s open-source geeks. For scores of programmers, here was a lawyered-up copyright troll trying to shake down Linux — the free, open-source operating system built by idealistic hackers working for the common good.

On September 14, 2007, SCO filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy:

Chapter 11 is a chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code, which permits reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is available to any business, whether organized as a corporation or sole proprietorship, or individual with unsecured debts of at least $336,900.00 or secured debts of at least $1,010,650.00, although it is most prominently used by corporate entities.

Read more:

Perform backups for the Linux operating system

Posted on in Categories Backup, Data recovery, Sys admin, Tips last updated October 25, 2006

This question asked again and again by a new Linux sys admins:

How do I perform backups for my Linux operating system?

So I am putting up all necessary information you ever need to know about backup. The main aim is to provide you necessary software, links and commands to get started as soon as possible.

Backup is essential

First a backup is essential. You need a good backup strategy to:

  • Minimize time from disaster such as server failure or human error (file deleted) or acts of God
  • To avoid downtime
  • Save money and time
  • And ultimately to save your job 😉

A backup must provide

  • Restoration of a single/individual files
  • Restoration of file systems

What to backup?

  • User files and dynamic data [databases] (stored in /home or specially configured partitions or /var etc).
  • Application software (stored in /usr)
  • OS files
  • Application configuration files (stored in /etc, /usr/local/etc or /home/user/.dotfiles)

Different types of backups

  • Full backups: Each file and directory is written to backup media
  • Incremental backups (Full + Incremental backup): This backups are used in conjunction with full backup. These backups will be incremental if each original piece of backed up information is stored only once , and then successive backups only contain the information that changed since the previous one. It use file’s modification time to determine which file need to backup.

So when you restore incremental backup:

  1. First restore the last full backup
  2. Next every subsequent incremental backup you need to restore

Preferred Backup Media

  1. Tape (old and trusted method)
  2. Network (ftp, nas, rsync etc)
  3. Disk (hard disk, optical disk etc)

Test backups

Please note that whichever backup media you choose, you need to test your backup. Perform tests to make sure that data can be read from media.

Backup Recommendation

My years of experience show that if you follow following formulas you are most likely to get back your data in worst scenario:
(a) Rotate backup media
(b) Use multiple backup media for same data such as ftp and tape
(c) Keep old copies of backups offsite

In short create good disaster recovery plan.

General procedure to restore a Linux/UNIX box

There is not golden rule or procedure but I follow these two methods:

Method # 1: Reinstall everything, restore everything, and secure everything

Use this method (bare metal recovery) if your server is cracked or hacked or hard drive is totally out of order:

  1. Format everything
  2. Reinstall os
  3. Configure data partitions (if any)
  4. Install drivers
  5. Restore data from backup media
  6. Configure security

Method # 2: Use of recovery CD/DVD rom

Use this method if your box is not hacked and system cannot boot or MBR damaged or accidental file deletion etc:

  1. Boot into rescue mode.
  2. Debug (or troubleshoot) the problem
  3. Verify that disk partitions stable enough (use fsck) to put backup data
  4. Install drivers
  5. Restore data from backup media
  6. Configure security

Linux (and other UNIX oses) backup tools

Luckily Linux/UNIX provides good set of tools for backup. We have almost covered each and every tool mentioned below. Just follow the link to get more information about each command and its usage:

It is also recommended that you use RAID or LVM (see consistent backup with LVM) or combination of both to increase reliability of data.

A note about MySQL or Oracle database backup

Backing up database server such as MySQL or Oracle needs more planning. Generally you can apply a table write lock and use mysql database dump utility to backup database. You can also use LVM volume to save database data.

A note about large scale backup

As I said earlier tar is good if you need to backup small amount of data that does not demands high CPU or I/O. Following are recommended tools for backup that demands high CPU or I/O rate:

(a) amandaAMANDA, the Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver, is a backup system (open source software) that allows the administrator to set up a single master backup server to back up multiple hosts over network to tape drives/changers or disks or optical media.

(b) Third party commercial proprietary solutions:
Top three excellent commercial solutions:

If you are looking to perform the tasks of protecting large-scale computer systems use above solutions and following two books will give you good idea:

Recommended further readings

I hope this small how to provide enough information to anyone to kick start your backup operation. Tell me if I am missing something or if you have a better backup solution or strategy, please comment back.