Archive for March, 2010


Every now and then I think up some crazy master plan, last night was one of these times – sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t so much.

I was reading the Linux kernel code for software RAID1 because I was totally bored, and something caught my eye – the ability to prefer to write to certain disks in the array (mdadm –write-mostly). I  decided that I was going to find some use for it that was a bit outside the box.

After a little tweaking and configuring I came up with this Evil Plan: View full article »

It’s been my goal since the day I started paste2 to figure out how I can bring something new to the pastebin concept. I’ve targetted performance (already fast, but improved again in the new code), tried to make the interface as uncluttered as possible (which is also much improved in the new code) and paste2 is about to get the Akamai treatment on it’s assets with the new code. Not wanting to just compete and be like other pastebins, I’ve been trying to figure out – for over 3 years now in fact, where pastebins should go next. I’m absolutely convinced now that the next step for pastebins is ‘live’ real-time collaberative editing.

After seeing this happening in a IRC channel not long back, being done inside an editor that is really designed for creating word processed style documents, but with code, I’m absolutely sure it’s the way forward.

The problem of course is that this stuff isn’t easy. I already have a plan to do it using some parts of google mobwrite, and building the server side in PHP because it’ll be faster – and I’ll trust myself more if a bug comes up to know the language ins and outs, which while I can write Python I don’t really trust it or myself. I could easily just do it easily using mobwrite in it’s entirety but the performance wouldn’t be great, and like I said – if something came up it’d probably push my Python knowledge.

Problem is getting it done. I was thinking about (and started) writing the whole thing into the new code, but I’ve changed my mind – I’m going to push the new code out on the new application server, then start working on that.

There’s some other good pastebins around, since paste2 came on the scene (at the time pastebin.com was down basically all the time) some other new ones have popped up and are helping improve the competition in the ‘market’, which can’t be a bad thing. Even pastebin.com has had a redesign now (after being sold).

Yesterday’s issue still isn’t properly resolved.

The bootloader is effectively broken, it’s actually doing a netboot right now which is ugly and it doesn’t solve the problem I was trying to sort out in the first place.*

I’m planning some downtime in the next few days to move paste2.org to a different server so I can do an OS reload on that one and set it up how I want it. I may even end up putting Xen or ESX Server or something on it for a bit more flexibility and run servers out of that which will give me a bit more room to play around (probably some mirroring between multiple VMs, one of which running solaris so I can use dtrace on it).

Just to update on the new paste2 code, I’m currently polishing off the application server I’ve been working on for what seems like decades now. Whilst doing this I’m also trying to put together a realtime(-ish) collaberative editor – so multiple people can edit the same file at the same time, and see updates that other people have made in close-to realtime. By realtime I mean a few seconds later of course – the tech involved of course has latency and also, worse can’t be continously updated for server resources reasons (it’s not feasible to be continiously connected to a http server, though it is possible), you have to work smart and get as close to realtime as resources and the technogy allows. This isn’t new by any means, the likes of etherpad have done it before – but I want to target it at the people who use paste2 rather than people say putting together a rich text doc for example.

* If anybody cares – effectively Grub has made a horific mess of the server, no matter what I do I can’t get rid of it, even using dd on the MBR region of the disk isn’t getting the job done. I need a custom kernel for latencytop and so I don’t have to run VMWare workstation anymore, wanted to get VMWare server running in it’s place which I had issues with before but now the will to get it fixed.

Update (6 March 2010):

The issues have been resolved after a server reload yesterday – the original problem was easily cured once I got GRUB out the way. Now the box is very happily running on LILO with no issues that I know about.

Current Downtime

I kinda broke the server, as a continuation of yesterday’s downtime around midnight GMT – trying to fix the issue that caused it and juggling the RAID array.

The good news is that nothing is lost – just having an issue trying to get into the server, my KVM access isn’t working correctly right now. I could reboot the entire thing with root on one of the drives and it may work except for the fact / is mounted on RAID rather than /dev/sda1 so it’ll boot the kernel then give up.

Shouldn’t be long now, I have a ticket with the DC which I’m waiting on a response to.