Archive for the ‘VMware’ Category

The Mothman Lives!



Many of you know that I am strangely fascinated by what sorts of things people name their servers after. I, personally, use cryptids. I have machines named things like Sasquatch, Nessie, Yeti, Chupacabras and the like.

Last night I had to do some work. One of the things I needed to take care of was getting some sort of development environment at home for me to be able to work on some work-related projects at home in a less confined atmosphere. A lot of those projects involve needing an rpm based machine, which I didn’t have.

I decided I would set up VMware Server, which I use all the time at work, but this time I would use the Server 2 product. I have been using the Server 1.6 for a long time and love it. It’s fast, easy to use, and reliable. Server 2 came out some time ago, but I haven’t had a need to upgrade, so this seemed to be the perfect time.

I used the tutorial over at HowtoForge which steps you through things really well. The only real problems I encountered were that I couldn’t get to the license page for vmware for some reason (I did happen to have a couple spares from a previous one though) and during the install I was prompted that my gcc version didn’t match my kernel version, but I chose to continue on anyhow and all was well.

My initial impressions were mixed. I kind of like having the interface be web based now, which is pretty convenient. It is, however, slower. The other bothersome thing was that running vmware server on my 3ghz machine with 3gb of ram used *all* of it’s resources and brought the machine to it’s knees. This really frustrated me until I decided to just reboot the machine…. For some reason this cleared up a lot of my problems with the resource utilization and things started behaving better. I am not sure why, but my advice to anyone trying a new install would be to reboot after the install before you actually start trying to use vmware 🙂

Once that was all taken care of, I set about to get a vm running. I picked CentOS, for obvious reasons. Unfortunately I only had a CentOS 5.1 dvd image available (usually try to get the greatest and latest) but I decided to use it anyhow rather than spend time downloading the newest one. I started setting up the new vm, which I called Mothman, and got to the installation media section and hit a small speed bump. I specified that I wanted to use an iso image, but the browse function directed me only to some strange volume where there was nothing. I couldn’t pick my home directory for the iso file. As it turns out, the default volume that VMware is looking in is the directory you picked during the install to hold your vm’s. In my case, it was the default /var/lib/vmware/Virtual Machines/. Once I dropped the iso there, I could find and use it.

The install went off without a hitch. The new popout console is pretty slick and works well. All in all, I liked it and would recommend it. I still think I need a way faster machine to host this stuff, but that’s another story altogether. Even so, with my host and vm both running, right now top reports my system usage as ” load average: 0.12, 0.14, 0.09″ and I haven’t used any swap either. Not too shabby!

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Clean new look

At the behest of Dann, the other night I installed the Openbox windowmanager. I have to say I am pretty impressed with it so far. With no icons, task bar, etc., to clutter up your screen it leaves more realestate there for you to fill up with your favorite and more productive things. Not to mention it’s dang fast!

Now there are a couple things I had a problem with (aren’t there always). The first being that although I really could care less about the lack of taskbar, I was at a loss for a clock/calendar. After some trials and surfing around I found the perfect solution for that was Conky. now Conky does a lot more things than show the time, but in my case it fit the bill perfectly. I configured the .conkyrc file to do some transparency and put only the system name and the time/date on the lower left hand corner of the screen. The code for that looks like so:

own_window_hints undecorated,below,skip_taskbar
background yes
double_buffer yes
use_spacer yes
use_xft no
update_interval 30
own_window_transparent yes
alignment bottom_right
gap_x 10
gap_y 10
draw_outline yes
${time %D %H:%M}

The other part of that was the calendar, but I had forgotten how easy it was for me to just run “cal” in an xterm, so that solved that problem too 😉 The last frustration was a wierd error I was getting using Openbox. After a few minutes of use the ctrl-alt arrow key switching of the desktops would stop working. After some trial and error I found that this behavior only happens when I am running vmware server. I assume it’s due to the way that program handles screen controls. As soon as I turn the vmware server console display off and restart Openbox, the problem goes away. I can probably live with that too, but if anyone knows a better solution, please let me know.

Oh yeah, and if you haven’t yet tried Openbox, you should. It’s rockin’!

Friday, June 20th, 2008