Tuesday 1 January 2008

OpenSUSE 10.3 upgrade and DNS fun

Over the last couple of days I've been busy tweaking my network. I've updated my main workstation from OpenSUSE 10.1 to 10.3 (having missed 10.2 completely). The new version is pretty decent and shows the continuing refinement of Linux as a desktop operating system.

The GNOME "slab" menu is pretty decent and works well. The confusion over the different software management tools (YAST vs Zenworks basically) has been resolved with a new look and feel to the software management tool. I'm not as impressed with it as the previous version as the interface is less informative, but it does work.

Getting Compiz working (for wobbly windows fun) was easy, although getting Compiz Fusion setup was more difficult. I experienced the unhelpful white screen when enabling XGL, but the Nvidia driver apparently does not need XGL for accelerated graphics, and the new whizzy effects are certainly pretty impresive (although the more advanced ones like Burn and Explode are a bit jerky on my old 5200FX graphics card).

With the number of virtual machines on my network now increasing, I was getting tired of looking up IP addresses in /etc/hosts and decided to build myself a small DNS server Solaris zone. Setting up BIND is one of those things that I always think is hard, but whenever I do it, I surprise myself how easy it is.

I opted to setup a dedicated zone because, well, the overhead is minimal and it provides a nice way of separating services. I built "dnsserver" as a sparse root zone, created /var/named and setup the zones files and /etc/named.conf. Now to be honest, I did cheat a little by using the h2n script to generate the zone information automatically, but having done that I then manually tweaked all the entries to get my A (authorative) and CNAME (canonical) entries setup correctly. A few more minutes spent on reconfiguring my other machines to use the DNS server and my "local.zone" was up and running.

I've also made tentative steps into the world of LDAP by installing Fedora Directory Server into a Centos 5.1 virtual machine. Having completed the install, I tried to setup an LDAP user, but have so far failed to get this working. Something to pick up when I have more time.

I'm still working on consolidating all my documents into a single fileserver, possibly using an iTunes server for sharing music. Will update when I've done more...

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