March 2010

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.

Show Your OpenSolaris Love By Wearing This New Firefox Persona!

Firefox wearing the OpenSolaris Persona

Firefox 3.6 has introduced a new feature (that was in Beta for some time): Personas.

What's a Persona? From Firefox' own description: Personas are easy-to-use themes that let you personalize the look of your Firefox There's a very nicely done video on the Firefox Personas site to introduce the feature.

If you (or your friendly sysadmin) haven't upgraded to Firefox 3.6 yet, you can still install the Personas Plus Add-On to enjoy all of the Personas goodness.

OpenSolaris Home Server Scripting Howto Part One: Intro and a Simple ZFS Auto-Snapshot Enabling Script

ScriptingHomeserver.jpg

One of my OpenSolaris Home Server Tips is to script everything. That triggered quite some interest. So let's start a short series around OpenSolaris home server scripting.

Today, we'll talk a little bit about the "why?" of home server scripting, then run into a small surprise while we write a small script that will enable/disable the OpenSolaris ZFS Auto-Snapshot Service for us.

How to Customize Your Drupal Theme and Make it More Blog Friendly in 9 Easy Steps

Over the weekend, I redesigned the theme of my blog. I hope you like the result!

While I'm not a web design nor a theming expert, it was still quite easy to find a nice theme, and apply some blog-friendly customizations to it. Here are a few tips to get you started in Drupal theming: