Another self inflicted wound

Shot off my foot.

I was working on some scripts which I will use on some other people’s macs (my wife has a new macbook air, and there is another friend I need to do this for also). These are bash scripts to be run from the terminal, and are supposed to set them up so I can help them from afar. One of the things the script does is create a user for me to use. I guess I was kinda “practicing” the transfer of the script via email, and I thoughtlessly ran the script on my macbook. Oops.

It tried to create a user dee with command line tools, and there was already a user dee. This was in El Capitan (the latest my ancient macbook will run), and there seemed to be no safeguards against idiocy. It seemed to foul things up. I rebooted, user dee was hidden — it was partly the new one, partly the old one, it wanted to “repair” the keychain, but couldn’t. There were a bunch of question marks in the dock. It couldn’t run anything. It was a mess. I was able to get up under a different username, and I was able to make a good backup. But I couldn’t recover. So then, from this hole I was in, I started to dig myself in farther, aiming (so it seems) for the center of the earth.

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Out of space on btrfs

I don’t know if I actually know enough to write this post. But I want to record what little I do know about this.

The symptom is that my tarragondata volume on this system, tarragon, claims to be out of space. This is a btrfs volume, about which there are other posts. It contains most of the dynamic parts of the system. The root volume ‘/’ is very small, about 20GB. Just enough to install the Centos code and keep a few little things. The great majority of the information needed to run the system is symlinked out of /, which includes /home, mail, databases, websites and their data, the repositories, certificates, local scripts etc.

This is a 180GB disk, and it currently is running about 55% full, i.e. almost 100GB used. Among the information on this disk are snapshots of all the tarragondata, every night for 30 days. This isn’t disaster backup/disk failure backup (which is elsewhere), this is “operator error” backup.

A couple of weeks ago I began to experience a new kind of failure. In the middle of the night, suddenly this btrfs volume would report that it was out of space – usage 100%, although the amount of storage in use was, still the roughtly 100GB that it normally uses. It manifestly was not actually out of space.

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The working environment

I’m an old guy, and I mostly use pretty old stuff, but occasionally I think I should migrate to more up to date tools. I’ve used svn for 20 years. I know I should have moved to git long ago. I have also been using Eclipse as an IDE since forever. I run on apache. My systems aren’t virtual. One of my main websites is still hand wrought in PHP, and another is using an ancient and obsolete version of zend framework which has been abandoned by Zend. I think of moving it, maybe to laravel, maybe even to ruby on rails.

This documents my effort to modernize, if only a little. This is a very uncomfortable process because there are times when I’m sure I’m going to foul up the running sites, and be unable to get them up, or that I’m not going to be able to fix the next bug that comes along.

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Arch Keys

Needed to install calibre on oregano, for a downloaded e-book. So, I found calibre in the Arch User Repository, AUR.

I’ve been using AUR a good deal, but I constantly forget what to do and have to look it up: copy the url for the git link, create a directory, git clone from the link. cd into the directory, non-root. Inspect the BUILDPKG for safety. Then:

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