Friday, August 29, 2008

Update on useful UNIX tools for Win32

A co-worker sent out this link that has ways to "turbocharge" PuTTY.

Finally looks like I can get my tabbed SSH/terminal sessions. It also mentions puttycyg (affirmation, baby!).

UPDATE (8/29/2008 10:33 EDT):
My comments so far trying out tabbed putty/ssh sessions.
- It doesn't look like PuttyCM supports Puttycyg, which is disappointing. If you use the original putty.exe, it does seem to work how I'd want it to.
- The Putty sessions aren't rolled up into the Putty Tabs program (they still show individually in my taskbar). This doesn't improve my workspace much.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Unhappy with Red Hat

Right now, I'm not happy with Red Hat. At least not with their sales department.

My group is interested in the capabilities of Red Hat Satellite Server, so I was going to try to obtain a trial license and download it. As far as I know, we don't have any RHEL licenses in our department. I'm sure somewhere in the company we do, since we have thousands of employees, but I sincerely doubt I'll be able to track that account down, and even then, doubt I can use it for access to the Red Hat Network. So, I applied for a trial license of RHEL and was hoping through that entry into RHN, I could also get a trial of Satellite Server. I still couldn't find that as a download, so I've made a couple of attempts to submit requests through their website on how I could evaluate their Satellite Server. No response. I would think sales people would jump at the chance to talk to a warm body that offered up their contact information.

I know there's Spacewalk, and I am interested in that. Unfortunately, it's only supported on RHEL5 compatible OS's. Our standard hasn't included RHEL5 yet; and they aren't open to "exceptions".

Any suggestions? Are there other resale vendors I could talk to that would let me have a 30 day evaluation to download and run Satellite for RHEL4?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cron entry mistakes

This mistake came at the expense of one of my old co-workers, who decided to share this with me over Instant Messenger. I got a good laugh at his misfortune. He wanted to set up a cron job that would restart a poorly performing service every 6 hours. This is the cron entry he added.

* */6 * * *

The lead developer, whose app depends on that service, came up to him wondering why his app was having outages. What my colleague should have configured was

0 */6 * * *

His cron entry was restarting the service every 6 hours, and then restarting it every minute for an hour during that sixth hour. Brilliant! Although I guess I shouldn't throw stones in glass houses.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Useful UNIX tools for Win32

OK, it's been a while since I've posted. Being laid off and unemployed kind of hurts writing about work experiences. However, don't worry. I'm now at a new job in a new town.

Obtaining work responsibilities have been slow, so I've been reading and playing with software that I hope will help me in making my job easier later. One area I've been reading and trying to increase my knowledge in is remote access, predominantly SSH. I've found the following to be useful.

SSH Agent

I've known about shared-key authentication with SSH for a while, but I've been lame and not applied a passphrase to my key. Honestly, I wanted a quick way to log in, and skip the password. However, I finally was exposed to ssh-agent, which allows you to cache your key's passphrase so you only have to enter it once. After that, when you ssh into a host, ssh-agent will take care of your passphrase for you.

I'm using Cygwin for my shell on my PC, so I'm using the ssh-agent that comes with Cygwin. I hear you can use a program called Pageant to perform this for you PuTTY users.
I hate the command window that Cygwin defaults to. The copy/paste is terrible, as I think it borrows from cmd.exe. So, I found Puttycyg that gives the Cygwin command prompt a better look and feel. Now I actually get a copy/paste behavior that I like.

I've been spoiled with Mac OSX's iTerm for having tabbed terminal windows. Unfortunately, PuTTY and Cygwin spawn new windows, and their management gets cluttered. Right now, I'm trying Poderosa, mainly because it appears to be open source and managed by the Apache license. It tabs your Cygwin sessions, and apparently other SSH/Telnet sessions as well (but I haven't tried the latter). I found another alternative in Wintabber, but I haven't tried it yet. It appears to be free and have more features I'd be interested in, but I believe is closed source.

I'd be interested in your experiences with tabbed command/shell windows and other useful remote access tricks.