Friday, February 13, 2009

Installing OpenSolaris on a server with a HP Smart Array Controller

I'm quite new to OpenSolaris; insofar as it's like Linux, I'm pretty comfortable, but there appear to be enough little gotchas to make the learning curve a little steeper than one might like. Take, for instance, the fact that OpenSolaris doesn't ship with the drivers for the almost-ubiquitous HP Smart Array controller. That makes for an installation hiccup that a quick Google search shows many people have found difficult. It's too bad, too: it appears that this has stymied a lot of folks in trying to install the OS. Like most things, the solution is easy, once you know how to do it. These instructions, originally, were for OpenSolaris 2008.11, but they've since been updated to work with 2009.06.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Setting up a VNC remote desktop in Enterprise Linux 4, 5, and 6

This is something that is terribly useful, and there are lots of how-to articles running around. Unfortunately, I've not found one that was quite complete, especially for someone who is only just getting familiar with Linux (which is precisely when you most need a GUI!). So this is a step-by-step instruction list on getting a remote X Windows session set up on enterprise linux 4, 5, and 6 (RHEL and CENTOS) that can be accessed with VNC viewer software (do a quick search on VNC if you're not familiar with it). In some set-ups, people create a VNCSERVER process that runs all the time. This does allow for persistent sessions (sessions that survive a disconnect), but it's not really what most of us need most of the time. What we're doing here is using xinetd, which will spin up Xvnc on an as-needed basis. Much cooler. Please note: vnc is not a secure protocol. What this means is that any traffic that VNC sends over the wire is *not* encrypted. Do make sure that your use of this doesn't put you at risk for having sensitive data (passwords, for instance) compromised.