[Beowulf] Repenting for sins against Dell (on good Friday, no less)

Andrew M.A. Cater amacater at galactic.demon.co.uk
Sat Apr 18 14:19:58 PDT 2009

On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 12:18:06PM -0400, Mark Hahn wrote:
>>> I'd like to add that Dell's DKMS (Dynamics Kernel Management System) is
>>> great:
>>> http://linux.dell.com/projects.shtml#dkms
> HP has its own distro, but is still trying to use a traditional approach 
> to making patches patches available.  (ie, ftp patch files
> that unpack to rpm(s), install script and docs).  it seems pretty  
> obvious that yum repos are the way to go (is there any _technical_
> reason to prefer deb's?  

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa :) Yes: RPMs are binary : .debs 
can be unpacked with ar and cpio only - rpm requires a working RPM 
system with rpm2cpio

to me, the gist of a distro is the web of  
> version dependencies that it presents when installed.  why distros
> at all?  because dependecies are normally a digraph, sometimes cyclic,
> so it's really hard to share non-leaf packages between distros...

This is _exactly_ why I only use Red Hat under duress: CentOS and SUSE 
are little different in this respect. Everything other than a 
distribution with a decent dependency policy fails once you get outside 
the small core of well maintained packages. Debian just fails much less 
often in this respect - though the initial effort needed to sort out and 
collaboratively maintain the dependencies web amounts to durance vile for 
1000 maintainers :)

>> Cut a deal with vmware on the side, add full out-of-the-box lin/win
> is there any reason to prever vmware over one of the free VMs?
>> via yum and he could take the office desktop by storm.  Secure windows
>> -- run from inside linux!

KVM would appear to eat VMWare's lunch when properly implemented. Across 
> 500 machines, VMWare becomes prohibitively expensive in terms of 
enterprise licence fees and overall administration - and I also have 
a private "thing" against proprietary kernel modules that have to be 
changed with every upgrade.

> I'm not so sure about that - why would VMed windows be more secure?
> my understanding is that the thing that makes windows vulnerable is the 
> hooks that make windows integration work.  and it's the integration
> that people expect, no?

VM'ed Windows: you can reduce your Windows to a minimal footprint, 
firewall the VMs, use SE Linux and do everything else to produce a 
maximally secure VM infrastructure. When it fails, just get the clean 
instance of the VM again. If you deny Windows access to a network, email and 
the Web unless severely filtered and ensure that the VM can be 
replaced/regenerated in an instant then you're starting to produce something 
workable. [A silk effect sow's ear purse if seen subject to the right 
lighting constraints ... ]


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