Ubuntu - Automount network share with autofs


It is more & more common to have a NAS or server at home, where you keep all the files that you need to share between your home computers or appliances. For example, if you want to share your music or video library across different computers, you will mostly need to share them thru a cifs (samba) share.

This article will explain how to setup a Ubuntu workstation to automount a list of network shares. These network shares won't be mounted all the time, they will be mounted "on demand", when you need them. They will be available thru a desktop icon.

The main advantage of automount approach is to have these network shares accessible thru the normal filesystem. This way, even applications which are not able to use gnomefs will be able to access files on the network shares.

This setup has been done on a Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04 workstation, but it should work on any later version.

Read more: Ubuntu - Automount network share with autofs

Debian - Automatic backup with USB disk


You are hosting a server (or a workstation) with some important files that sould be backed-up regularly on some external storage ?

This article will explain how to use the fantastic possibilities of UDEV & RSync to automatise some files backup on an external USB hard disk.

The concept is as follow :

  1. You insert an external USB disk on one of your server USB port
  2. Your server recognise the inserted disk & mount it
  3. According to some backup rules associated with that specific disk, your server starts a differential backup
  4. When backup is over the disk is unmounted & the server beeps you the indicate that the backup is over

And, with this approach, you can use as many backup disks as you want, as the backup is done according to rules associated with a specific disk.

We will use :

  • UDEV to recognize the disk and start the associated backup script
  • RSync to do a very fast differential backup

This setup has been done on Debian Squeeze, but it should be compatible with any following version.

Read more: Debian - Automatic backup with USB disk

Debian - Realtek RTL8111/8168 on Intel D945GCLF2


Having upgraded a D945GCLF2 motherboard to Debian Squeeze, I started to have lot of troubles & serious problems with the integrated network interface Realtek RTL 8111/8168.

For example, the mt-daapd music server was totally unstable, having difficulty to serve more than one Roku music player. The multicast functionality was totally broken.

After some search, it appears that the driver used by the 2.6.26 kernel for that NIC was the wrong one. Instead of using a proper r8168.ko module, the 2.6.26 kernel was using the r8169.ko module.

If your kernel is 2.6.30+, you don't need to follow this guide anymore as the kernel includes a proper driver.

If you update your kernel to 2.6.30+ and you had followed this guide before, be careful to remove the blacklist of r8169 module in /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf before reboot, or you won't get any network support ...

Read more: Debian - Realtek RTL8111/8168 on Intel D945GCLF2

Debian - Tune Apache/PHP/MySQL for a Compact Flash disk


After having tuned your Debian server according to the article Install Debian on a server with a Compact Flash main disk, you plan to use it as a LAMP web server.

Once you have installed all the Apache, Php & MySQL packages with aptitude, you then need to do some specific tuning on these packages configuration as your server is running on Compact Flash.

This article describes all the ajustments I've done on my server to setup :

  • Apache to deal with /var/log on tmpfs
  • PHP to save sessions on tmpfs
  • MySQL to fully load the database in memory (small one)

This setup is specific to my needs and has been done to minimize the disk access to the CF.

Read more: Debian - Tune Apache/PHP/MySQL for a Compact Flash disk

Debian - Install a server on a Compact Flash memory


This article will explain how to install Debian on a server using a Compact Flash memory card as a primary drive. All the above procedures are based on the Lenny distribution, but they should work on other Debian flavours and even for Ubuntu.

The first question to ask is : Why to do that ?

When you install such a server, after sometimes you realize that it has become a backbone in your house as it hosts :

  • a family web site
  • a music server for appliances like Roku Soundbridge
  • a file server for other PCs
  • a web based torrent manager & amule manager
  • an access filter proxy for the kids surf
  • an asterisk telephony exchange
  • ...

Then, you start to have nightmares about the fact that your server's hard disk may fail and that you will need to reinstall everything.

One simple, efficient & cheap solution is to replace your hard disk by a Compact Flash memory in association with an IDE to CF adapter. As CF memory have no mecanical parts, they are known to be much more reliable.

But, on the other side, they are known to have limited write cycles (between 100 000 and 1 million times).

Read more: Debian - Install a server on a Compact Flash memory

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