Flaky Box

Just a heads up that you may discover this site (this server) going down for periods of time in the coming days.

weblog.bridgew.edu is something of test server. It’s running on an old Dell PowerEdge 2400 that’s been recycled several times before it finally became weblog.bridgew.edu. It was, at one point, the hardware for www.bridgew.edu, but that was at least 5 years ago.

Today the amber warning light on the case has begun to blink. That means something “bad” has happened, but I can’t seem to find out what it is. The drives all check out fine. The power supplies both have green “we’re a-okay” lights lit up, and it’s operating normally.

Right now my gut says the CMOS battery is dying, but I’ve yet to actually research what can trigger the warning light and how to find out the exact cause. All the Windows-based tools Dell provided for the server are useless because it’s running Linux.

Speaking of Linux, the box is running Gentoo Linux. However I don’t regularly update the portage tree and so some of the software currently on the box is a bit old. I think the kernel is almost 2 years old (Oct 14, 2004).

A little while back I ran the update tool and updated all the system-related applications. During the process I appear to have overwritten the file that tells the kernel what modules to autoload on boot. Oops.

That’s why the server was down today. The light started blinking, the server was rebooted, but … oops, no network driver was being loaded.

And when I finally got the NIC module up, I see apache failing to load. Why? Because the system update included the zlib library which the php modules links to. But the php module expects the old zlib module and so Apache fails because it can’t load the php module because the php modules much needed zlib library isn’t there.


So I really need to spend some time cleaning this thing up.

So guys and gals, you might see this server go down from time to time. Don’t worry, it’s just me working on the thing and (hopefully) not me blowing it up. :)

So that’s how I spent my last couple hours.

On a side note, I’m working with Oracle Portal a bit. I’ll be getting into it up to my neck in the coming months and I plan on sharing a few bits of that work on here. For example, Oracle Portal’s styles are handled by CSS. But they’ve got very wierd selectors in their CSS and us Oracle Portal users are married to those selectors. The thing is, Oracle is generating a bunch of HTML (tables and such) to layout the portal page. This includes these pre-defined CSS selectors.

So what I’m currently working on is creating a template stylesheet that has all of Oracle Portal’s selectors and will include descriptions on the purpose of each, etc…

It’s a tedious (but not difficult) task and rather than have that work go to waste, I’ll share that stylesheet template as soon as it’s done (maybe tomorrow?).


And thanks for the comments you guys are posting to the articles on here. I definitely read them. It’s an odd thing.. do I reply to them in the thread (many of which are off the index page with no means to indicate new comments are available) and risk nobody seeing them, or do I reply here or what?

Oh well.

I’ve had my chance to ramble for the week.



One thought on “Flaky Box

  1. “It’s a tedious (but not difficult) task and rather than have that work go to waste, I’ll share that stylesheet template as soon as it’s done (maybe tomorrow?).”

    Did you post this somewhere? I’d really love to have a look.


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