Debian (old posts, page 1)

Greylisting and whitehosts-list

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Gah... For some reason, I've got two whitehosts-list files on my system. One in /etc/greylist/ and the other in /var/lib/greylist/ .

It's also interesting to note that the greylistd doesn't look at either file, the files are used by rules in the Exim configuration. So when I added the gmail items (64.233) to whitehosts-list and then tried to check it with greylist check --grey ... I was using the wrong checking tool. Whoops! 30 minutes down the drain!

Anyhow, once I discovered that whitehosts-list is in the Exim configuration files (and I should have realized that because I put it there) and not checked by greylistd, I discovered that the Exim configuration files check both copies of whitehosts-list. There's likely a good reason for that. Probably even my fault to begin with. Something to look into when I have some spare cycles and feel like pouring through Exim configuration, Debian policy for directories and configuration files, and all the other pieces in between.

greylisting and gmail

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I have greylistd installed (on Debian with exim) and noticed last monday (March 6th) that Google has something like 26 outgoing SMTP servers for gmail. That doesn't work well with greylistd, though. So I added "64.233" to the whitehosts list. Not sure if that's the right thing to do or not, though. I'm not wildly excited about adding items to the whitehosts list.


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Wow--I just installed Ubuntu on my "new" desktop (a PIII 450mhz) and it's very very nice. Installation was refreshingly easy--I didn't have to tinker with anything. Then I unison'd my user directory over from my laptop and ... tada! I'm productive.

I highly recommend it to myself. If you're like me, then you'll probably like it as well.

Ubuntu web-site

But you don't have to take my word for it. Having said that, and as most of these reviews will point out, this is a pre-release. If you check the Ubuntu forums, it's pretty clear they put this out to get feedback for the final release.

My status with Debian

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I have Debian GNU/Linux happily running on my laptop, though my laptop is pretty pokey (it's an Inspiron 7000 that I bought in 1998).

My server at Serverbeach ( runs Debian and it was doing fine until the kernel switched the / mount to read-only and then died. Rebooting caused the server to fsck everything and I lost /var/lib and /var/cache... Then things got pretty interesting for a few hours. My friend gave me a tarball of his /var/lib (minus some random stuff) and from that and some useful files in /var/backup, I was able to bring most of the server back to life. Additionally, I found some of the files that were missing in lost+found. Tawdry things like mailing list archives dating back to 2000. Time to institute a more rigorous backup system that includes more data....

My dad loaned me one of his monster servers (see figure 1) because it was non-functional. My roommate pulled all the stuff out and put it back in again and now it works fine... Not clear what the actual issue was. Anyhow, once I get it booting, I'm going to slap Debian on that machine and start using it for development. Then I'll switch my pokey laptop to mirroring/backing-up

I've been really happy with Debian. As happy as I was with Gentoo, except I don't have to wait hours for X and various other large things to compile.


figure 1: an ascii picture of me standing next to the server

Debian command reference card

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This is a fantastic reference card for those of us who use Debian, but not so much that we've got all the commands ingrained in our heads until the end of time. Pretty fantastic piece of work. I wish I had one for vim.

03/14/2005 - I fixed the url to the reference card.

Debian cont...

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I'm on the UserLinux discussion list mostly because it's really interesting to watch a distribution get going and also because I'm hankering for a user-oriented distribution that I don't have to fiddle with that I can do regular non-fiddling things with.

Anyhow, caught this email, which is fascinating--I had no idea (apologies to Mr. Perens for quoting without permission and out of context but I figure it's in the public archives anyhow):

Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004 13:41:44 -0800
From: Bruce Perens 
Reply-To: ---------------------------
To: ---------------------------
Subject: [Discuss] Meaning of the Debian Swirl

Fabio asked what the Debian Swirl means.

It's "magic smoke". Electrical engineer lore is that when you burn out
an electronic component, you cause the "magic smoke" that makes it work
to be released. Once the magic smoke is gone, the component doesn't work
any longer. Debian is supposed to be the magic smoke that makes your
computer work.



That's cool--I had no idea.

Also, I burned a Knoppix cd, brought my old Dell Inspiron 7000 laptop with a DLink wireless card right up, and installed Debian by typing:


(or something very very similar) at the prompt and selecting debian-installation. It worked, it was trivial, and it was fantastic. My laptop was up and running in 30 minutes (from when I burned the cd to when the laptop had booted into Debian). Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Now I can _use_ it.

On my (n + 1)th installation attempt

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Every week or so, I have a 30 minute block of time where I decide I'm going to go tackle installing Debian on my Dell Inspiron 7000. It's good for me to keep trying this because it's incredibly humbling.

The machine has a CD-ROM drive, but it doesn't handle CD-RW discs (or at least it doesn't handle the ones I have). So every attempt I make, I create a coaster.

Going to try one more time. This time with a Knoppix cd. The biggest problem I'm having is getting the machine on the network. Once I get that done, then I'll be ok. But I can't seem to get the machine on the network with either my 3Com 10baseT pcmcia card or my SMC wireless pcmcia card.

One more time....

Debian (GNU/Linux) thoughts

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Debian (GNU/Linux) is very very slick. Very very slick. I'm vastly impressed at the time and effort that has gone into making Debian (GNU/Linux). moving....

, | Tweet this is (as of the time of this writing) a leased server hosted at and we've been there for a few years. They've been great and we've never had problems with them. Recently they informed us we needed to upgrade to RedHat 9.0 and it either involved a per-month rate increase or some finagling with the hardware and downtime. I decided this was as good a time as any to switch over to a different hosting service with Debian.

This will make the third Linux flavor that I'll have extensive administration experience with. The first two being RedHat (I've run many of the versions since 5.2) and Gentoo (which I've been running for a couple of years now). I ran Mandrake for a bit, but never really did anything with it. Same with Slackware. I toyed with Debian a couple of times, but never got past the installation.

It's all very exciting. Hopefully, everything will turn out just right.