Tue Jul 31 15:23:10 PDT 2007

Unexpected Need for Reboot

We had another lockup with our tape drive, necessitating a reboot.

Happily everything went well. The tape drive is now working again and I am flushing the backups to tape.

Apologies for any inconvenience during this brief, but necessary, outage.

Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink

Thu Jul 19 16:03:12 PDT 2007

Maple Updated to 11.01

I have updated Maple 11 to 11.01. The new version improves some aspects of Maple's handling of differential equations, Maplets, plot legends, and vector calculus, and also updates its physics package.

This version also addresses some issues with the previous 11.01 update, which I hadn't actually installed.

Future runs of Maple will automatically use the new version. If you're already running Maple, quit and restart to start using the new version.

If you have problems with the new Maple, you can still (temporarily) run the previous release by invoking Maple with


Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink

Sat Jul 7 14:37:07 PDT 2007

Fedora Mirror Changes

We have stopped mirroring the Fedora development tree until we can add more disk space to our mirror system.

With the release of Fedora 7 (which we are also not mirroring), the Fedora Project merged the Extras repository into what was "Core", dramatically increasing the size of the distribution. As a result, Fedora development also picked up all the packages from Extras.

While having a larger selection of packages available in Fedora is generally a good thing, our primary operating system is still CentOS, and with the release of CentOS 5, disk space was starting to get a bit tight. With Fedora's merger of Extras, we can no longer maintain an active mirror of Fedora until we obtain additional resources.

Note that there are various possibilities in the works. There is a move to create a Claremont-Colleges-wide Linux Users Group, which might pick up some of the mirroring. The mathematics department may be making some new hardware acquisitions that will allow us to shuffle some things around and give us additional disk space. And I'm still hoping to get the college on board with the idea of providing some services, including public mirrors, to the FOSS community.

Keep an eye on this blog for more information about all these possibilities, and about changes to the mirror status.

Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink | Categories: mirror, News

Sat Jul 7 13:36:41 PDT 2007

Reboot Complete

As anticipated, the system ran fsck to check the disks on most of the home-directory partitions, taking on the order of half an hour to complete.

The partitions came up clean and the system rebooted. The tape drive is working again, and I am flushing the previous day's backups to tape.

We now resume normal service. However, if you come across any problems, please let us know by sending e-mail to system@math.hmc.edu.

Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink | Categories: News, System Maintenance

Fri Jul 6 17:45:15 PDT 2007

System Outage, Saturday, 2007 July 7, 1:00 PM

The Facts

The department's main server will be rebooted Saturday afternoon to clear a stuck IO process.

Services affected will include

  • Logins on department Linux and Macintosh machines
  • File services to Linux and Macintosh machines
  • Print services for Linux
  • E-Mail (incoming and outgoing)
  • Web service for personal accounts (~user URLs)

Length of Outage: Approximately one hour.

A Bit More Detail

The SCSI driver for our tape drive is stuck in a low-level IO loop that can't be interrupted. As we can't use the tape drive until this process is cleared, and the only way to clear it is by rebooting, we need to reboot the server.

The minimum time for a reboot of this system is around ten minutes based on various hardware tests and initializations. The actual reboot will probably take longer, especially if the system needs to run checks on disk partitions, in which case the reboot time could extend to around forty minutes or so. Rebooting can also reveal unforeseen consequences of some configuration changes, which can add additional delays before all services are available.

I will send messages to all logged-in users about ten minutes before I start the reboot. If you happen to log in shortly after the reboot, don't expect that the system will remain up unless the department's system blog has been updated with a message stating that the system is back up and maintenance is complete.

As usual, we apologize for any inconvenience that this downtime will impose, but occasional maintenance is required to keep the system running.

Posted by Claire Connelly | Permalink | Categories: News, System Maintenance