Tuesday, 25 December 2007

New Nadger

Santa ( ahem, the missus ) kindly bought me a new iPod Touch ( aka iTouch ) for Christmas this year.

Just starting to play but ..... wow, omg, it's a nice bit of kit.

Just need to work out how to blog from it and I'm good to go ......


Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Creating a Red Hat Enterprise Linux VMware image

Had some fun n' games installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as a
VMware guest.

In essence, the RHEL installer didn't ever see a disk drive within the
VMware image.

In the end, it transpired that, by default, VMware uses the BusLogic
driver, whereas RHEL does not ship with this driver on disk ( even on
the DVD ).

The solution was to (a) perform a Custom create and choose the LSI
driver instead of the BusLogic driver -OR- (b) specifically select Red
Hat Enterprise Linux as the guest OS.

I've documented it here in case it helps.

Enjoy !


Friday, 14 December 2007

"I aten't dead"

Some sad news at: -


but, as the cliche goes, where there's life there's hope :)

Best wishes to Terry, and his family.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Getting quicker with Quickr

Spent the past few days getting (back) up to speed with Lotus Quickr Services for WebSphere Portal ( having updated it to at the weekend ).

The more I use it, the more I (a) understand and (b) love this piece of kit.

Having hit a major hurdle last week where a customer had asked me to show document approvals - not having prepared myself, I looked like a bit of a daftie, but my bacon was saved by a swift piece of work by a colleague using Sametime and the Information Centre.

Having learnt my lesson ( prepare for everything, even if you don't expect to need to demonstrate a product in depth ), I've dug into some of the Quickr elements including: -
  • Document Types

    Relate to templates, versioning options and workflow

  • Templates

    Associated with application e.g. MS Word document

  • Property Sheets

    Document metadata associated with document type

  • Categories

    Used as filters in views, searching and navigation
and have created simple one-stage and more complex multiple-stage document approval processes, using document types.

I also learnt that the drag n' drop capabilities don't work unless the Library component is deployed standalone on a page - I found this out by creating a Project Library place and wondering where the D&D whizziness had gone. Thanks to some more Sametime interaction, I was able to resolve this - I added the Library component into the place on a NEW page, and all was well.

In short, I'm mostly prepared for tomorrow ( just going to go and back up the place, library etc. ).

More tomorrow :-)

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Riddle me this ...

So, I have a most excellent RHEL VMware image, and have sorted out how to use up2date against my company's internal RHN server.

but ....

How do I install additional components that aren't in the VM ? As an example, I needed to install GCC in order to get the required updates for libstdc++ in order to install Lotus Quickr .....

I couldn't work out how to make RHEL use my company's installation server to go get these additional features, even though I could've chosen to install Linux via a network installation ( using a lightweight boot CD image - VMware is able to boot from an ISO image in order to perform an installation, instead of using physical media ).

PS Before I realised this fact, imagine how much fun I had downloading the ISO images, burning them to CD and then installing the VMware image from the CD with all that lovely disk swapping .....

I'm sure that there is a magic invocation somewhere but ........

Meantime, I'm downloading an ISO of the RHEL DVD in order that I have it available locally to install from.


Tuesday, 4 December 2007

More Linux silliness ....

Whilst trying ( and failing ) to configure my RHEL VM to use my company's internal RHN mirror, I was running the following command: -

wget -qO- https://hostname.domain.com/pub/bootstrap/bootstrap-rtp.sh | /bin/bash

Now you can see the obvious flaw, right ??

Yes, you guessed it - I'd copied the command verbatim from a website, and included the three leading spaces, which meant that the command did absolutely nowt.

Therefore, the follow-up command: -

rhnreg_ks --force --username=username --password=password

defaulted to the original settings, and went off to the Red Hat site rather than my company's mirror.

I'd run this many, many times before I realised. Do I feel silly ?


FYI Upgrading Lotus Quickr Services for WebSphere Portal to

As you're no doubt aware, is now available for the WebSphere Portal-based deployment of Lotus Quickr, as per: - Lotus Quickr fix pack

The Readme refers to the Lotus Quickr Update Installer for version 8.0 but doesn't make it 100% clear where the installer can be obtained. It then states: -

Download the latest cumulative fix file and the WebSphere Portal Update Installer Version 6 from here.

This, potentially, is a herring rouge, as the version of the Update Installer here ( 2007-09-07 ) is for WebSphere Portal v6, rather than for Lotus Quickr.

Therefore, please get the correct installer from Fix Central.

Choose Product Family = Lotus, Product = Lotus Quickr and select Continue. Leave the default settings for All fixes and click Continue. After a few seconds, you'll see see a huge list of fixes - the Update Installers are here: -

Fix Name:
Fix Type: iFix
Platforms: Linux
Abstract: Portal Update Installer (PUI) for Quickr, Linux version. Build: 20070905_1746. Date: September 5, 2007

and: -

Fix Name:
Fix Type: iFix
Platforms: Windows
Abstract: Portal Update Installer (PUI) for Quickr, Windows version. Build: 20070905_1746. Date: September 5, 2007.

as is the fixpack: -

Fix Name:
Fix Type: iFix
Platforms: Windows
Abstract: Portal Update Installer (PUI) for Quickr, Windows version. Build: 20070905_1746. Date: September 5, 2007.

and it's prerequisite fixes.

Thanks to Jon for pointing out the discrepancy. Thanks also to Stuart for pointing out that the fixes are now available.

An Interesting Article - "Key Challenges in Portal Adoption"

Found this whilst browsing TheServerSide last night. It's an article by Nikil Sharma from Infosys, and covers some of the common pains, challenges and lessons from customers looking to deploy portal solutions.

He ends by summarising as follows: -

1. Identify all the stakeholders; seek buy-ins and involvements of all relevant units and parties right from the beginning of the initiative. Rope in enterprise architects and not just Portal or technical architects to ensure alignment of Portal adoption with future Roadmaps.
2. Educate all stakeholders on the portal space and capabilities of the portal, so that they can actively and effectively contribute.
3. Establish and circulate a formal Governance model which will cover the Portal adoption in all phases ranging from conception, design, implementation, and rollout to collaboration. Processes and policies should clearly identify the ownerships, accountabilities (RACI) on various segments of the portal.
4. Technology selection should be done carefully after evaluating all possible options and bearing in mind the attributes of costs (development and run-time), future support, compliance to standards, ease in customization, out-of-the-box support for requirements, ease of integration with other products etc.
5. Initiate early UI prototyping to bring clarity in requirements and paint a realistic picture of the proposed solution. UI prototyping will also help in identifying the various screen elements and components that would be required and will also assist in arriving at a reasonable effort estimate.
6. Lastly, the big-bang approach is particularly dangerous for an ambitious initiative like a Portal and hence should be planned out intelligently. Best is to go for a phased approach.

I'd recommend taking a read - the article can be found here.

There's also an interesting discussion thread here.

with some real-world experience coming through. I especially liked this one: -

These slick salesmen sold us their portal stack and we were gullible enough to buy in to the hype.

When the salesmen did their demo, they showed us awesome stuff that portlets could do. Unbeknown to us, they showed us predominantly Content Management stuff that were largely static news data.


Monday, 3 December 2007

Device eth0 has different MAC address than expected, ignoring.

If you see: -

Shutting down loopback interface: [ OK ]
Setting network parameters: [ OK ]
Bringing up loopback interface: [ OK ]
Bringing up interface eth0: Device eth0 has different MAC address than expected, ignoring.

then you may be seeing the same problem as me; am using a prebuilt VMware image of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), where my colleague had hard-coded the MAC address of his virtual Ethernet adapter into the configuration.

The solution is simple - edit /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 and remove the line: -


Alternatively, use the graphical network configuration tool to do the same.

Bonne chance

Linux Games - The Fun Continues ...

Fresh on news of my success ( eventually ) with Windows Server 2003, I figured that it was time to finally move my demonstration environments to Linux.

After careful consideration, I chose Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) v4 ( nowt to do with the fact that a colleague had provided a pre-built RHEL VMware image for download ).

The one thing that kinda unsettled me was that the VMware image only had 2 GB of spare disk, and I knew I'd need more for unpacking and then installing the various IBM software products.

The VM had been built using the Unix Logical Volume Manager (LVM) so a bit of required reading ( aka required Googling ) was needed.

I ended up with a set of instructions that allowed me to create a new VMware virtual disk, and then allocate it to a Linux mount point of /spare.

Here's my script: -

a) Add the new virtual disk using VMware ( have assumed that new disk is 10 GB ): -

New disk should appear as /dev/sdb

b) Create a new partition of type 8e ( Linux LVM ): -

fdisk /dev/sdb

c) Create a new LVM Physical Volume on /dev/sdb1

pvcreate /dev/sdb1

Returns Physical volume "/dev/sdb1" successfully created

d) Extend the existing LVM Volume Group ( VolGroup00 ) to include this new device: -

vgextend VolGroup00 /dev/sdb1

Returns Volume group "VolGroup00" successfully extended

e) Create a new logical volume called spare in the newly extended VolGroup00 ( 320 extents == 10 GB ): -

lvcreate -n spare -l 320 VolGroup00

Returns Logical volume "spare" created

f) Create an EXT3 file system on the newly created logical volume spare: -

mkfs.ext3 /dev/VolGroup00/spare

Returns a message relating to i_size 4243456 and 8192 blocks

g) Create a directory called /spare to use as a mount point: -

mkdir /spare

h) Allow the newly created file system to automatically mount by adding the line: -

/dev/VolGroup00/spare /spare ext3 defaults

to /etc/fstab

i) Mount the newly created mount point: -

mount -a

j) Check the newly created mount point for size: -

df -km /spare

-> should return used = 55, available = 9513, use% = 1%

I ran through the instructions twice, and all seems well.