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Rebuilding a kernel on a remote host #vserver #kernel #linux

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I prefer Linux-VServer, and consider that I have a reasonable amount of knowledge of the codebase. Enough at least that I’ve written a few patches for a VServer-openMosix kernel.1 There’s just one thing that I haven’t been able to do yet, set up a VServer on a remote host. So how can I do that?

Firstly I had to have a remote machine, so I couldn’t cheat. It’s easier to cheat if you have physical access to the machine. So I borrowed a virtual machine (VMware ) running on the server of a friend, he started up a vanilla Ubuntu Edgy 6.10, which is based on debian. Which is where I would be faced with my first problem, Linux Logical Volume Manager (LVM). It’s not that something like that would be such a problem – usually – I just hadn’t build one before, so I was unsure how to configure and use it. Luckily I found an article on O’Reilly‘s LinuxDevCenter called “Managing Disk Space with LVM.

I must say LVM was slightly difficult to get setup, just recompiling a vanilla ubuntu kernel with “Multiple devices driver support (RAID and LVM)” and “Device mapper support” in addition to the VServer patches wasn’t possible. I soon found out that couldn’t patch the debian kernel as it produced too many errors. And the vanilla kernel was giving me problems as I just wasn’t able to mount the “[…] several nicely named logical volumes […]” Even the article “Linux-Vserver With LVM And Quotas” wasn’t helping me.

My main problem was that it didn’t boot from the LVM partition. I’ll have to explain, debian seems to boot from the LVM partition by default and uses an initrd to boot from, it means that you have to create an image which is loaded during boot. This image contains a root partition with lvm tools and busybox to supply the mount and boot programs. The initrd was the actual problem, I was just getting the following message:

unpacking initramfs...... <0> Kernel panic - not syncing : no cpio magic

I asked my friend to reinstall without lvm. And obviously the vanilla kernel worked fine when compiled, although I got some errors with my vserver partition:

Checking file systems.......
Fsck 1.39 .......... Bad magic number in super-block while trying to open /dev/hda6
The super block could not be read or does not describe a correct ext2 file system.
If the device is valid and it really contains an ext2 filesystem (and not swap or ufs or some thing else ), then the superblock is corrupt, and you might try running e2fsck with an alternate superblock:
E2fsck ..b 8193 <device>

Fsck died with exit status 8

.. File system check failed.
A log is being saved in /var/log/fsck/checkfs if that location is writable.
Please repair the file system manually.

.. A maintainance shell will now be started.
.. CONTROL-D will terminate this shell and resume system boot.

That was just a spelling mistake in /etc/fstab

As I look back – this was in December – I should have spend more time on the initrd. I would have loved to get it working, but under the pressure of time it wasn’t possibe. I wanted to use a second machine to create a serial connection to the first. (Remote Serial Console HOWTO)

Originally posted here.

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

June 15, 2010 at 8:43 am

Gentoo 2008.0 Released

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Gentoo has released 2008.0, time to rebuild my VServer image for Gentoo and update a host.

“Highlights of the 2008.0 release include Portage, a 2.6.24 kernel, Xfce 4.4.2, gcc 4.1.2 and glibc 2.6.1.”

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

July 6, 2008 at 10:30 pm

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Gentoo: Searching for ebuilds in overlays

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

November 14, 2006 at 1:32 am

Posted in gentoo, linux

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Network Time Protocol

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I was setting up a NTP server in my home network and tried to sync my Windows XP machine with it and received this message.

An error occurred while Windows was synchronizing with The time sample was rejected because: The peer's stratum is less than the host's stratum.

Naturally I didn’t find the solution without looking through a stack of NTP documentation. So I though I should post the actually problem here in layman’s terms.

Your timeserver isn’t updating or it’s updating from a unreliable server. The stratum is the authority meter for NTP. It’s numbered from 1 (attached to an atomic clock) to 15 (some guy I met in a bar).

If your stratum is more than 3 then a Windows machine won’t trust your machine is reliable enough. And if it’s 16 it probably means it’s not updating at all, in my experience it might take as much as an hour for it to change from 16 to another number. (Although it shouldn’t if it’s configured correctly.)

You can find out your stratum by running the command:

/usr/bin/ntpq -c rv | grep stratum

  1. Gentoo’s HOWTO NTP
  2. The Network Time Protocol (NTP) Distribution
  3. W32tm A tool used to diagnose problems occurring with Windows Time

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

June 10, 2006 at 5:31 am

Posted in gentoo, network

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