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Topics - SamK

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Installation and Upgrades / Zentyal Desktop Link to Shares
« on: October 27, 2010, 02:48:12 pm »
Topic arose from reply #2, #3, #4 in this post:

It seems there is an opportunity here to provide flexibility and choice in the way Zentyal Desktop handles Samba shares (and do it quite simply).  As a non coder I am unable to provide a coded contribution but offer the findings of my tests which are repeatable and clearly demonstrate a workable proof of concept.  They can be recreated by anyone who wishes to do so.

After making the above post I created a test setup.  Unrestricted Samba shares were published to the LAN and a test-rig-PC created based on Lubuntu 10.10.  PAM was not used in order to avoid uneccessary complication at this time as it will be unchanged by either of the following choices.

Connection to the remote shares from the test-rig-PC appears to rely on a local installation of gvfs and gvfs-backends (Ubuntu repositories).  These are required packages common to both the Nautilus and PCmanFM ways of graphically browsing the shares.  GVFS creates local mounts to the remote shares in ~/.gvfs; this can be accessed from the command line, Nautilus, and PCmanFM which suggests that the use of Nautilus within Zentyal Desktop is optional rather than required.  In essence, discovering, mounting, and presenting the shares uses exactly the same packages and mechanisms for either Nautilus or PCmanFM. In this respect, removing Nautilus and substituting PCmanFM requires no other changes, they are entirely interchangable without modification.

Symlinks to ~/.gvfs were also tested and found work.  This enables easy access to the shares from the File Open/Save menus of locally installed apps such as a word processor.  As a further (optional) refinement Gigolo was installed ( again from the Ubuntu repositories. This provides a GUI frontend to GVFS and confers other benefits such as:
  • Bookmarks to remote resources
  • Automatic connection to Samba shares
  • Automatic connection to WebDAV, ftp, ssh etc

Empirical or partially measured tests were conducted and both options worked reliably.  Using Nautilus felt sluggish compared with PCmanFM. Nautilus certainly requires more CPU and RAM and may thereby be unsuited to the widest range of existing PCs. A fully working Lubuntu-10.10+gvfs+gvfs-backends+gigolo provided quite acceptable levels of performance on the venerable test-rig-PC and used approximately 100MB memory for a basic set-up.  This may indicate it is well suited to use on a wide range of existing kit.

LXDE is the default desktop of Lubuntu and PCmanFM the default file-manager but neither is dependent on it or each other.  Both are widely used in other flavours of Ubuntu and you may recall I posted this guide demonstrating a way in which it could be added to eBox.
It is entirely possible for an existing desktop user of the full (Gnome) Ubuntu to choose LXDE and or PCmanFM to gain the advantage of smaller resource usage and increase in performance.

My request is not to support another distribution or flavour of Ubuntu but to enable use of mainstream Ubuntu packages in order to confer the most advantage to the end user.  The above tests demonstrate this can be achieved at no additional support cost and marginal single coding cost.  As a non-coder I may not be the best candidate to make suggestions on how to undertake integration.  As both options are interchangable it suggests that only a minimal amount of coding will be required to offer the choice at installation.

From the perspective of a desktop user, Zentyal Office functions are likely to be a primary requirement.  Confining the ease of set-up of a *buntu desktop by requiring Nautilus is uneccessarily restrictive, produces degraded performance and hinders the redeployment of existing PCs.  As we are only at the alpha testing stage and inviting feedback, it seems that the desktop client can be independant of the default Gnome file-manager.  This in turn provides an opportunity for Zentyal Desktop to be used on a wider range of existing machines which must help secure the use and success of Zentyal.

Are these findings sufficent for integration to occur?

Lubuntu 10.10 mistakenly omitted gvfs-backends from the release and must currently be installed manually.  I understand this will be rectified in the next release.

Followed this guide without success:

After many failures and in an attempt to create a clean environment a test network has been created comprising
  • a non ebox gateway/firewall
  • an ebox 1.4 PDC
  • a single Ubuntu Karmic workstation
All available updates have been applied.

The modules enabled on the PDC are:
  • Network
  • Software Management
  • Users and Groups
  • File Sharing
  • User Corner
  • Printer Sharing

The name of the domain is EBOX
The static IP of the gateway/firewall=
The static IP of the PDC= (name=Svr01)
The IP of the workstation (name=PC01) is dynamically allocated from the gateway/firewall
A single test user has been created=user1

Samba Info
Code: [Select]
smbclient --list= --user=user1%password

Domain=[EBOX] OS=[Unix] Server=[Samba 3.4.6]

Sharename       Type      Comment
---------       ----      -------
ebox-internal-backups Disk      
ebox-quarantine Disk      
print$          Disk      Printer Drivers
IPC$            IPC       IPC Service (EBox Samba Server)
user1           Disk      Home Directories
Domain=[EBOX] OS=[Unix] Server=[Samba 3.4.6]

Server               Comment
---------            -------
SVR01                EBox Samba Server

Workgroup            Master
---------            -------
EBOX                 SVR01
The same report is received if the name Svr01 is used in place of the ip-address.

Code: [Select]
Base DN: dc=Svr01,dc=EBOX
Password: kC/PGgUny7i38W/A
Users DN: ou=Users,dc=Svr01,dc=EBOX
Groups DN: ou=Groups,dc=Svr01,dc=EBOX

The user home share can be accessed via gigolo and a desktop link displayed but not via ebox-desktop as there is no authentication.

I would like to check my understanding of the effect of deploying this function before I test it.  Comments from the eBox staff will be particularly welcome along with those of other members.

Referring to the following topics:

Does the use of Master/Slave mean the minimum practical eBox LAN will require three discrete machines when physical hardware is used?

Example - Substituting eBox for Windows Server:
  • Machine1 is a PDC conducting authentication, shares etc
  • Machine2 is the LDAP master, plus possibly supplying other functions.  These functions will be restricted to eBox modules that do not depend upon a local installation of LDAP functions other than ebox-usersandgroups
  • Machine3 is a backup server for the LAN which is currently being developed for the 1.4 release.

Master/Slave combined with the availability of eBox Desktop seems to be a combination which will benefit from the introduction of a Domain Super User.  Is any work being conducted to introduce a User with Domain & Local Administrator privileges for both Ubuntu and Windows machines on the LAN?

Installation and Upgrades / Feedback Beta2 - Installation
« on: July 08, 2009, 02:24:36 pm »
Testing the eBox installer on physical hardware against the examples shown here:

Example 1 works correctly using the Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server official CD-ROM.
Example 1 fails using eBox Beta2 installer.

Using the eBox installer the installation of the Ubuntu portion completes without any error messages
Rebooting the machine the eBox installation begins
Simple install method - Office Profile produces a series of I/O error messages temporarily overwrites the Curses Interface.
An eBox error message is then generates "installation failed see /tmp/ebox-install.log". The log is attached.

This behaviour is consistently observed each time the installation is attempted.  Before installation is started, the disk is wiped using DBAN in order to obtain consistent results.

Example 2 works correctly using the Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server official CD-ROM.
Example 2 fails when using the eBox installer with a different set of symptoms which have previously been reported separately to Javi.  The nature of the failure is unchanged from Beta1 to Beta2.

Installation and Upgrades / LVM Idea
« on: June 01, 2009, 01:42:29 pm »
The draft documentation recommends the use of LVM to manage eBox storage. I was interested in creating visual representations of some ways in which LVM might be used in eBox machines.  The attached graphics are the results.

Three scenarios are covered each having a horizontal and vertical representation. I find they assist in visualizing the structure of the storage, and post them as other eBoxers might also find them helpful.  Might they be useful in the official eBox documentation?

Installation and Upgrades / Feedback Alpha2 - Apache
« on: May 18, 2009, 03:42:17 pm »
shows the following in the ebox section
Make apache spawn only one child process

My eBox is a fresh install using the profiles, 'Infrastructure' and 'Office'.  The eBox web server module is not enabled.
Code: [Select]
ps -A | grep apache

Reports the following.
Code: [Select]
5176 ?        00:00:06 apache2
 5261 ?        00:00:02 apache2
 5519 ?        00:01:21 apache2
 5638 ?        00:00:00 apache2
 5660 ?        00:00:00 apache2
 5661 ?        00:00:00 apache2
 5662 ?        00:00:00 apache2
 5663 ?        00:00:00 apache2
 5664 ?        00:00:00 apache2
 7706 ?        00:00:09 apache2
 7707 ?        00:00:08 apache2

Is this as intended?

Installation and Upgrades / Feedback Alpha2 - User Corner
« on: May 18, 2009, 03:01:19 pm »
Having logged in to User Corner as a user three text entry boxes are provided:

01 Password
02 New Password
03 Retype New Password

The purpose of 02 and 03 are self explanatory.  What is the purpose of 01?

When logged in as the administrative user
The list on the left hand side of the screen (shown on all screens) uses the title   'User corner'  this should be User Corner  - the initial letter of both words should be capitalized.

Installation and Upgrades / File System Check on Reboot
« on: May 18, 2009, 09:34:55 am »
My eBox is a test rig (not in production) and is shutdown and restarted frequently.  This is obviously different from production machines which will be restarted only infrequently.

When shutting down the machine an error message is received while unmounting the file systems '/ is busy'.  This is an intermittent condition occurring in approximately 25% of shutdowns.

When rebooting the machine, a report is received that the filesystem is unclean and a forced check is conducted.  The machine then reboots and works normally.

The condition was first reported in this post and wrongly reported by me as resolved.
The condition was first noticed when using eBox v 1.0 and is still present after a total rebuild using alpha2.

The machine has been rebuilt as a server using Ubuntu 8.04-2-LTS (without eBox) and the condition never presents.  Other servers built using the same OS also do not have the condition. Which suggests the condition may be related in some way to eBox.

Is it possible that eBox is using the / file system at shutdown?  Is there a way to troubleshoot this condition?

Installation and Upgrades / Feedback Alpha2 - ISO
« on: May 18, 2009, 08:36:59 am »
The installation CD-ROM integrity check fails

Installation and Upgrades / Feedback Alpha2 - Software Module
« on: May 17, 2009, 08:54:30 pm »
eBox components
Monitoring module=none
Latest Version=blank

Is this as intended?

Installation and Upgrades / Feedback Alpha2 - Samba
« on: May 17, 2009, 08:38:12 pm »
Having installed the profiles 'Infrastructure' and 'Office', eBox-->Module Status does not list Anti-Virus or Audit Logs for Samba as mentioned as highlights here
Have I missed them?

Congratulations on the introduction of this feature; it is a big improvement to eBox.

Suggestions to improve it further...
Selecting by package is unlikely to be used by new users.  It is only of use if the user knows and understands in advance which packages are needed to fulfill their functional requirements.  This facility might appeal to experienced users.

  • Provide detailed guidance on the outcome of choosing each package and the interdependence of each where appropriate

The selections available by task are not flexible enough.
Example #1
A user wishes to create a PDC.  The choices provided will probably result in the installation of the profiles 'Infrastructure' and 'Office'. The user may not want to install all the packages these selections provide, but is forced into accepting them.  To illustrate this the web server might be required on a separate box on the LAN; Groupware might not be wanted at all.

Example #2
Having setup a PDC the user wishes to create a further eBox machine as a domain member server; providing only shares to the LAN.  The only choice from the profiles menu is 'Office' which installs unwanted and unneeded packages.

  • Retain the high-level choices of Gateway, Security, Infrastructure, Office and Communication. These can continue to offer the current selection of packages, but should offer an option to deselect any optional packages i.e. leaving those required for the profile to function
  • Increase the number of profiles available to reflect a greater variety of roles such as the previously mentioned domain member server also (possibly) a software cache and backup server as described in these posts

Installation and Upgrades / Feedback Alpha2 - Curses Interface
« on: May 17, 2009, 07:20:08 pm »
In the screen entitled 'Select eBox tasks to install', the window offering the selections extends beyond the background window (positioning is wrong) giving it an unfinished, untidy look.

The screen entitled 'Preconfiguring eBox Packages' shows a progress bar that is works unsatisfactorily.
A long time (many minutes) is spent at 0% then a single jump to 50%,
Long pause (many minutes) and a single jump to 70%,
Long pause (many minutes) and a single jump to 90%,
Long pause (many minutes) and then completes. 
Three moves only over a very long period of many minutes can (wrongly) suggest the process has stalled.

Installation and Upgrades / Trivial Observation on Alpha2
« on: May 17, 2009, 11:27:05 am »
During the boot process the message received when starting Asterix is very amusing.  It is known here as the 'Parrot Sketch' from Monty Python.  Any idea why has the reference to  parrot been changed to canary?

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