How To Automatically Update Your Home Media Server Library With DTrace

New Music!

Before we continue with our Home Server Scripting Series, let's throw in a simple but useful DTrace hack.

One of the most typical uses for a home server is to serve music or videos to home entertainment equipment. In my case, I'm using the Firefly Media Server to serve music to my Roku Soundbridge and Mediatomb for videos.

The Media Server Update Problem

Whenever I upload new music or videos to my OpenSolaris home server (typically by rsync-ing my laptop home directory), both Firefly and Mediatomb need to be restarted so they detect that new files are sitting in their directories, waiting to be served.

OpenSolaris ZFS Home Server Reference Design

Blueprint

When I blogged about my OpenSolaris Home Server a while ago, little did I know that this would become my most popular entry in my old blog!

In fact, R.G. was so kind to call my setup "perilously close to being an AMD reference design". Thanks, R.G.! Read about his final setup here. And BTW, if you're into e-guitars, check out his GEOFEX page, a great resource for guitar effects.

So let's review our reference design and discuss some modifications to better suit your needs:

Spring Cleaning Part 2: Clearing Up Your Home Directory

My empty OpenSolaris Desktop at work.

Yesterday, I cleaned up my home directory at work. I went from ca. 15 GB of data down to 1.1 GB. And I only stopped there, because I didn't want to spend too much more time cleaning up. Here's how to do it.

In the previous post of this mini-series, we looked at why it's important to have our emails and files organized, then attacked our INBOX to reach zero-message-nirvana. I'm happy to see that others are living by these principles, too. Thanks, Gregor!

Now let's look at that other dark spot in our IT lives: Our Desktop and file system. If you're like me, you see this very often, too: Cluttered desktops with so many files and folders and downloads and icons and stuff, you can barely make out the underlying desktop background.

Spring Cleaning Part 1: How to Tidy Up Your Email INBOX and File Email Away in One Keystroke

A tidy desktop with a zero email INBOX

Spring's around the corner and the Easter weekend is upon us, giving us some time to sit back, relax and do some spring cleaning!

This also applies to your data, in particular your Email folders and your home directories. In this two-part series, we'll clean up our email INBOX to zero (yes: null, nada, zip) emails, simplify email folders, then clean up our home directory file structure. That'll save us time, help us find peace of mind and make us more efficient so we can concentrate our energies on what really matters to us.

OpenSolaris Home Server Scripting 3: Managing Package Repositories

Package Scripting

OpenSolaris OS comes with the Image Packaging System (IPS) for managing installation and additional software. By default, it is configured to pull packages from the /release repository, but of course there are many other interesting repositories with software to install from.

Chris Gerhard recommends adding at least the /extras repository (free, registration required) so you can easily install VirtualBox, Adobe Flash, TrueType Fonts etc.

If you have a support contract or are an Oracle/Sun employee, you may want to switch your preferred repository to the supported one. The more adventurous may want to switch to the development repository.

Then, the Software Porting Community on OpenSolaris.org has a hierarchical system for making open source software available on OpenSolaris through two repositories: /pending and /contrib.

And then there are a couple of more repositories from user groups, private people, companies offering commercial packages and so on.

One way to register package repositories with the IPS on your home server is by using the package management GUI, or by using the pkg(1) command (See also: "How to Add or Update a Publisher").

But of course we want to stick to our "Script Everything" philosophy and write ourselves a small script that takes care of all of our package configuration needs.

OpenSolaris ZFS Deduplication: Everything You Need to Know

Deduplicaed Folders Illustration

Since November 1st, 2009, when ZFS Deduplication was integrated into OpenSolaris, a lot has happened: We learned how it worked, people got to play with it, used it in production and it became part of the Oracle Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System.

Here's everything you need to know about ZFS Deduplication and a few links to help you dig deeper into the subject:

OpenSolaris Home Server Scripting 2: Setting Up Power Management

Power Management Scripting

Last week, we looked at how essential scripting is for administering home servers (one of the 7 tips for home server bliss) and we wrote us a little script for enabling automatic snapshots.

Another thing that you'll almost certainly want to do on your OpenSolaris home server is enabling power management. This will ensure your server spends as little power as possible when idle, while still being powerful when needed.