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Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Dell embraces and extends command line utilities

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From Dell’s OMSA Manual:

Use the omreport -? command to get a list of the available commands for omreport.

Really, Dell?  You’ve decided to go another way on the whole CLI thing?  That’s cool, I’m sure there wasn’t any good reason every other Unix utility uses -h for help.  Oh wait…

# ./omreport -?
zsh: no matches found: -?
zsh: exit 1 ./omreport -?

Thanks Dell. What I needed was another special case in my life.

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Written by Lee Verberne

2011/03/14 at 11:04

Posted in Linux, Rants

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CRYPTOCard baffles me

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I have money. I’d like to have a CRYPTOCard. I’m willing to trade my money for a CRYPTOCard. Why is that so difficult?

Written by Lee Verberne

2011/02/20 at 20:57

Posted in Rants

pfSense documentation recap

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This is in response to my previous post about pfSense documentation in which I chastised pfSense for poor documentation…

As I was browsing around http://www.pfsense.org looking for the details of contributing to the project, I found the found the following on the About -> Helping Out page:

We can always use help with creating documentation. If you would like to assist, please email [ … ] for an account on our documentation wiki. Unfortunately spam bots have forced us to close open editing and registration and we have not had a chance to implement a captcha or similar measures to allow this while keeping out the relentless spammers.

That’s fair enough.  Fair enough to make me feel like an asshat for my previous derision.  Indeed, I e-mailed the wiki admin, and they created my account within the day.  My only excuse is that I could not (and still cannot) find anything to this effect on the pfSense wiki itself.  There’s only the page that suggests e-mailing your contribution.

Excuses aren’t enough, though, so apologies to the pfSense community and a big F– to me for blathering on without all of the facts.

Written by Lee Verberne

2008/09/09 at 02:19

Posted in Rants

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mtr versus pot (plain ole traceroute)

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It drives me nutso when someone reinvents the wheel and then the reinvention becomes more popular than the actual wheel.  Usually it happens with some kind of great slogan explaining why this wheel is better.  “New WHEEL!  Now with more ROUND!” or “Much like previous so-called WHEELs, but NEW WHEEL is avaiable in 5 pastel colors!”

With that in mind,  I finally broke down and took a look at Matt’s Traceroute, mtr.  (Ok, ok.  Now it’s “My Traceroute”, but that’s even dumber than “Matt’s Traceroute”.)

According to MTR’s website, “mtr combines the functionality of the ‘traceroute’ and ‘ping’ programs in a single network diagnostic tool”.  They go on to explain that mtr sends out ICMP echo requests with modified TTLs in order to discover the routers along a route and determine statistics for each router.  Fantastic.  So it’s traceroute -I.

In general, I’m not a fan of traceroutes that use ICMP instead of UDP.  I’ve found ICMP too often receives special-case low-priority processing that provides misleading results.  It used to be that ICMP was filtered more rigorously than UDP, but (strangely) this seems to be diminishing.  Also programs generating ICMP have to be run as the superuser or left setuid, and who wants that?

The UI to MTR is pretty compelling, though.  I thought I was going to hate the ncurses interface, but it turns out that I only want to hate it.  You know.. like I want to hate top but end up using it anyway.  The point of MTR seems to be to run a traceroute over and over.  That’s pretty neat, though it’s something I hardly ever need.  MTR also does a better job of displaying multiple routers per hop as well.

Other than the interface, I don’t see much value-add.  There’s a lot less in the way of configurable options.  The other side of that coin is that I’d really have to stretch to fabricate reasons not to use it as well.  For general purpose use, the only really annoying thing is that you have to run it as root.

I’ll probably continue to avoid it for the same reason I avoid ruby-on-rails.  Until I need it, of course.

Written by Lee Verberne

2008/09/02 at 17:25

Posted in Rants

No wonder pfSense’s documentation sucks

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Update: See pfSense documentation recap for the full story and why the following is mostly good ole-fashioned nonsense-spoutin’.

I started digging into pfSense’s ftp-proxy support with the best of intentions.  Really I did.  I was going to figure out what was going on then update the documentation on the pfSense wiki like a good community member.  Except that when the time came to post my document into the wiki I found out that I’m not allowed to update the wiki directly.  I have to e-mail my changes to some guy.  Boo.  That’s no wiki.

That made it seem like I’d have to argue my case for getting documentation put into the wiki.  So I set my document aside until I’d have time to polish it up some more and write an e-mail begging pfSense to accept my meager contribution.  That was 2 months ago.

pfSense, you get a big F– for placing hurdles in the way of community documentation and completely missing the point of a wiki.

Written by Lee Verberne

2008/08/31 at 22:35

Posted in pfsense, Rants

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