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Operating Systems != fun

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Well, things are mostly working again with my server. DNS, email, httpd, ftp, firewall, mysql, and cgi all seem to be working normally again.

What a nightmare this was, though. Like I didn't have enough on my plate to deal with, I have to reconstruct my server. A HUGE thankyou to my friend Gabe though for giving me a crucial clue as to why NOTHING was working. Damn firewalls. His pinch hitting allowed me to figure out the basic gist of what was going on and allowed me get everything configured.

On the plus side, I did at least get forced to upgrade my server to a relatively recent version of linux (Fedora Core 3). This was good because I was running Redhat 7.2 (which was really...REALLY...old). So I feel at least a little more secure with respect to being hacked, etc. I also have a firewall now, which is a double edged sword (I'll get to that in a moment).

Of course, on the negative side, it turns out that one of my SCSI drives in the RAID has failed, leaving me limping along with 3 of 4. Of course, these drives are 7+ years old and they've been running 24/7 pretty much for their entire lifetime, so I'm flabbergasted they haven't failed before now. Replacing that drive is going to be a real problem though as it's long been out of manufacture. The only real option is to buy a whole new set of SCSI drives (a good idea anyway considering that the others could go at any time). And I'd also need to buy a 40Gig or so IDE drive to backup all the info first. Money, money, money. *sigh*

I'm really quite annoyed with Fedora's install, though. There were 3 or 4 issues with configuring things "out of the box" that really had me scratching my head. The firewall and lack of documentation about it was one thing. The BIND 9 installation just plain didn't work as installed. A LOT of head-scratching there. And even when I figured out the new "chroot" system and how to configure "rndckey", the firewall still horked me for a while (but thanks to Gabe, I got past that one finally). SMTP had to have a very obscure line removed out of a random config file in order to accept email from anywhere except 127.0.0.1. The online docs are basically useless and most of how I solved these was googling keywords and reading forum posts where others have had similar problems. Ug.

Yes, I'll admit to having had similar config and setup issues with Windows. This kind of hair-pulling nightmare is not unique to Linux - I just happen to be annoyed with Linux right now because I had to learn a bunch of things that I didn't really care about just to get my server back to doing basic things. Getting our Windows 2003 Server configured at work actually was far worse. But at least there what documentation existed was easy to find and clear. There just wasn't enough of it. *sigh* I guess I just hate all OS's right now. *wry grin*

So, now I can go back to waiting on pins and needles to hear back about my interview results =)
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I used to run my own ISP back in the late 90's. The ISP is long-dead, but I found that I really liked having my own server for DNS, email, web, etc. My only cost is a DSL line and I have utter control over every aspect of my domain. Plus, it keeps my hand at least a little active in the Unix world (which is where I started out (as a Unix Sysadmin)).

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