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The Intelpocalypse

2018-01-04
Tags: archaeology bug grml hardware pcli security

The unveiling of the three new CPU bug classes, collected in the two brandbugs “Meltdown” and “Spectre”, has mostly shocked the BSDs; I’ve got it on some authority that even FreeBSD was not informed ahead of time, left alone the others. Thanks to laffer1 from MidnightBSD for a couple of heads-up warnings into our direction!

Here’s what I could gather until now (please do correct me if I’m wrong):

Meltdown is specific to Intel® CPUs with out-of-order execution, that is, all P6-class (Pentium Pro/MMX, Pentium Ⅱ, but not Pentium Ⅰ/MMX) or newer (except old Atom) CPUs. It appears to allow user processes to read kernel memory, but not across VMs, nor to attack a hypervisor. A variant for ARM exists but AMD’s x86 CPUs are supposedly safe. The KAISER/FUCKWIT/UASS/KPTI patches for Linux fix this, at huge performance cost on x86, not so much on ARM, and no cost for unaffected CPU models (runtime detected).

Spectre affects x86, ARM, POWER CPUs and possibly others. I’ve not yet found information on whether it is also limited to CPUs with out-of-order executions, but it seems likely. SPARC CPUs might be safe; Solaris/SPARC64 is safe due to the way its memory addressing works. If the OOO execution assumption is true, 80486 and P5 class x86 CPUs are also safe. This one does allow cross-VM and hypervisor attacks, so if the bare metal CPU is vulnerable, SOL. There does not yet seem to be a generic fix; some hint at having to patch the compiler and recompile everything with a workaround that has a performance cost, even if the CPU is not affected, or was fixed with a microcode update. AMD’s x86 CPUs are partially hit, one of the variants does not work on them.

“CERT recommends throwing away your CPU and buying an non-vulnerable one” (thanks to El Reg), but nobody states which CPUs are not vulnerable.

At the present time, we suggest any MirBSD/i386 instances that run on any CPU other than an 80486 or P5-class (Pentium Ⅰ or a non-PPro MMX) to be restricted to single user or trusted user access only, and no untrusted software including ECMAscript to be run on them.

Watch this space for updates. Oh, and, if you know what you’re (and I’m) talking about, please, again, do provide me with information necessary to provide those updates, both to MirBSD and to this space. Thank you.

mksh R56 was released with experimental fixes for the “history no longer persisted when HISTFILE near-full” and interactive shell cannot wait on coprocess by PID issues (I hope they do not introduce any regressioins) and otherwise as a bugfix release. You might wish to know the $EDITOR selection mechanism in dot.mkshrc changed. Some more alias characters are allowed again, and POSIX character classes (for ASCII, and EBCDIC, only) appeared by popular vote.

mksh now has a FAQ; enjoy. Do feel free to contribute (answers, too, of course).

The jupp text editor has also received a new release; asides from being much smaller, and updated (mksh too, btw) to Unicode 10, and some segfault fixes, it features falling back to using /dev/tty if stdin or stdout is not a terminal (for use on GNU with find | xargs jupp, since they don’t have our xargs(1) -o option yet), a new command to exit nonzero (sometimes, utilities invoking the generic visual editor need this), and “presentation mode”.

Presentation mode, crediting Natureshadow, is basically putting your slides as (UTF-8, with fancy stuff inside) plaintext files into one directory, with sorting names (so e.g. zero-padded slide numbers as filenames), presenting them with jupp * in a fullscreen xterm. You’d hit F6 to switch to one-file view first, then present by using F8 to go forward (F7 to go backward), and, for demonstrations, F9 to pipe the entire slide through an external command (could be just “sh”) offering the previous one as default. Simple yet powerful; I imagine Sven Guckes would love it, were he not such a vim user.

The new release is offered as source tarball (as usual) and in distribution packages, but also, again, a Win32 version as PKZIP archive (right-click on setup.inf and hit I̲nstall to install it). Note that this comes with its own (thankfully local) version of the Cygwin32 library (compatible down to Windows 95, apparently), so if you have Cygwin installed yourself you’re better off compiling it there and using your own version instead.

I’ve also released a new DOS version of 2.8 with no code patches but an updated jupprc; the binary (self-extracting LHarc archive) this time comes with all resource files, not just jupp’s.

Today, the jupprc drop-in file for JOE 3.7 got a matching update (and some fixes for bugs discovered during that) and I added a new one for JOE 4.4 (the former being in Debian wheezy, the latter in jessie, stretch and buster/sid). It’s a bit rudimentary (the new shell window functionality is absent) but, mostly, gives the desired jupp feeling, more so than just using stock jstar would.

CVS’ ability to commit to multiple branches of a file at the same time, therefore grouping the commit (by commitid at least, unsure if cvsps et al. can be persuaded to recognise it). If you don’t know what cvs(GNU) is: it is a proper (although not distributed) version control system and the best for centralised tasks. (For decentral tasks, abusing git as pseudo-VCS has won by popularity vote; take this as a comparison.)

If desired, I can make these new versions available in my “WTF” APT repository on request. (Debian buster/sid users: please change “https” to “http” there, the site is only available with TLSv1.0 as it doesn’t require bank-level security.)

I’d welcome it very much if people using an OS which does not yet carry either to package it there. Message me when one more is added, too ☺

In unrelated news I uploaded MuseScore 2.1 to Debian unstable, mostly because the maintainers are busy (though I could comaintain it if needed, I’d just need help with the C++ and CMake details). Bonus side effect is that I can now build 2.2~ test versions with patches of mine added I plan to produce to fix some issues (and submit upstream) ☻

In other news, I’m working on a new i386+sparc MirBSD snapshot more than ever. Mostly to get everything old out from under my feet before tackling the LibreSSL import (to get TLSv1.2 support, due to the aforementioned idio…decision). I’ve yet to see whether our G++ port works on sparc, and I’ve yet to create ports for libGLU and xlock which used to be in the base X system but had to go away for being written in an unmaintainable language (plus a system is only reliable if it has only one libstdc++), but it’ll be a good stepping stone (plus mfny asked for a sparc snapshot on IRC). I was considering distributing ISOs at FrOSCon but, with an installed user base in the single digits (likely), you can imagine how useful that’d be. (Fun side idea: distribute ISOs with a boot menu where you can choose not only MirBSD installer or live system but also “minimal Debian system directly booting into the MirBSD live system running under qemu-kvm”. But I’ve got not enough spare time right now.)

Hurried snapshot and known issues

2017-08-07 by tg@
Tags: mksh pcli plan snapshot

As already mentioned I planned creating a new snapshot. Well, it will be out shortly, albeit in a hurried manner and not with everything I had planned for it, and with lagging sparc (as if that were new, though…). A hurried mksh release will there be as well. The reason for this is the top #1 known issue:

  • Debian OpenSSL now excludes TLS < 1.2 from communication
    ⇒ there will be some followup release with LibreSSL, I think
  • There’s still no port for libGLU and xlock
  • We didn’t import lzlib into base yet, nor recent fixes to pax(1) from OpenBSD necessary
  • The new Unicode property code is not written yet (although I fixed the data shipped so it matches, at least)
  • I didn’t test g++ from ports on sparc yet, we’ll see how that goes

That being said, you’ll be able to work with what I’ve got, like in olden times when MirBSD was defined as “the contents of my /usr/src and /usr/ports” and be assured that, besides working on things like MuseScore in the meantime, I’m on it.

An unrelated minor update to another recent post; apparently I managed to make the GitHub Legal people aware enough of the problems that they are working on fixing their ToS; I admit there’s been an update since August 1ˢᵗ/2ⁿᵈ which I haven’t yet gotten around to reading at all.

wtf rocks; Eugen is working on an iOS äpp and already has a beta version which just needs bugfixing.

Beltane Snapshot and Mainframe Korn Shell…ish

2017-05-05 by tg@
Tags: mksh pcli plan snapshot

I was planning to do an mksh R56 release and then a full MirBSD snapshot (i386, sparc — due to actual user request — and possibly even a Live CD or at least baselive) but this got stones on my way.

I’m not quite finished with what I originally had planned for R56 (basically, the Debian postfix package’s maintainer scripts started using character classes in bracket expressions, and this required not only careful planning and design but also quite some rewriting and thinking, fixing other bugs, reading the specs, and considering EBCDIC) which led to me asking the EBCDIC porter some things again, which led to trying to merge his outstanding patches and make R56 the Mainframe Korn Shell release (also mksh ;-) but we’re not quite there yet.

The MirBSD snapshot was planned to be started from CVS as of Beltane (Walpurgis) 2017 except the latest and greatest mksh is also kinda a requirement, and CVE fixes are tricking in, to add insult to injury for stuff I had just updated. I’d also love to have the latest sendmail and lynx in it but that’ll have to wait.

I’ll also do a new CVS snapshot tarball at the same time, so keep your eyes open for the new rolling MirBSD snapshot.

Somehow, spring weather does not agree with me anyway. I didn’t get much done, nor much good sleep. Private life’s looking up but also more busy. I do manage to still help out others even in code I don’t really understand… must be good karma. Vacation would be nice… but then, I know I wouldn’t get all out of it.

Updates to the last two posts

2017-03-16 by tg@
Tags: bug debian grml news pcli rant snippet tip work

Someone from the FSF’s licencing department posted an official-looking thing saying they don’t believe GitHub’s new ToS to be problematic with copyleft. Well, my lawyer (not my personal one, nor for The MirOS Project, but related to another association, informally) does agree with my reading of the new ToS, and I can point out at least a clause in the GPLv1 (I really don’t have time right now) which says contrary (but does this mean the FSF generally waives the restrictions of the GPL for anything on GitHub?). I’ll eMail GitHub Legal directly and will try to continue getting this fixed (as soon as I have enough time for it) as I’ll otherwise be forced to force GitHub to remove stuff from me (but with someone else as original author) under GPL, such as… tinyirc and e3.

My dbconfig-common Debian packaging example got a rather hefty upgrade because dbconfig-common (unlike any other DB schema framework I know of) doesn’t apply the upgrades on a fresh install (and doesn’t automatically put the upgrades into a transaction either) but only upgrades between Debian package versions (which can be funny with backports, but AFAICT that part is handled correctly). I now append the upgrades to the initial-version-as-seen-in-the-source to generate the initial-version-as-shipped-in-the-binary-package (optionally, only if it’s named .in) removing all transaction stuff from the upgrade files and wrapping the whole shit in BEGIN; and COMMIT; after merging. (This should at least not break nōn-PostgreSQL databases and… well, database-like-ish things I cannot test for obvious (SQLite is illegal, at least in Germany, but potentially worldwide, and then PostgreSQL is the only remaining Open Source database left ;) reasons.)

Update: Yes, this does mean that maintainers of databases and webservers should send me patches to make this work with not-PostgreSQL (new install/name.in, upgrade files) and not-Apache-2.2/2.4 (new debian/*/*.conf snippets) to make this packaging example even more generally usable.

Natureshadow already forked this and made a Python/Flask package from it, so I’ll prod him to provide a similarily versatile hello-python-world example package.

Please use the correct (perma)link to bookmark this article, not the page listing all wlog entries of the last decade. Thank you.</update>

Some updates inline and at the bottom.

The new Terms of Service of GitHub became effective today, which is quite problematic — there was a review phase, but my reviews pointing out the problems were not answered, and, while the language is somewhat changed from the draft, they became effective immediately.

Now, the new ToS are not so bad that one immediately must stop using their service for disagreement, but it’s important that certain content may no longer legally be pushed to GitHub. I’ll try to explain which is affected, and why.

I’m mostly working my way backwards through section D, as that’s where the problems I identified lie, and because this is from easier to harder.

Note that using a private repository does not help, as the same terms apply.

Anything requiring attribution (e.g. CC-BY, but also BSD, …)

Section D.7 requires the person uploading content to waive any and all attribution rights. Ostensibly “to allow basic functions like search to work”, which I can even believe, but, for a work the uploader did not create completely by themselves, they can’t grant this licence.

The CC licences are notably bad because they don’t permit sublicencing, but even so, anything requiring attribution can, in almost all cases, not “written or otherwise, created or uploaded by our Users”. This is fact, and the exceptions are few.

Anything putting conditions on the right to “use, display and perform” the work and, worse, “reproduce” (all Copyleft)

Section D.5 requires the uploader to grant all other GitHub users…

  • the right to “use, display and perform” the work (with no further restrictions attached to it) — while this (likely — I didn’t check) does not exclude the GPL, many others (I believe CC-*-SA) are affected, and…
  • the right to “reproduce your Content solely on GitHub as permitted through GitHub's functionality”, with no further restructions attached; this is a killer for, I believe, any and all licences falling into the “copyleft” category.

Note that section D.4 is similar, but granting the licence to GitHub (and their successors); while this is worded much more friendly than in the draft, this fact only makes it harder to see if it affects works in a similar way. But that doesn’t matter since D.5 is clear enough. (This doesn’t mean it’s not a problem, just that I don’t want to go there and analyse D.4 as D.5 points out the same problems but is easier.)

This means that any and all content under copyleft licences is also no longer welcome on GitHub.

Anything requiring integrity of the author’s source (e.g. LPPL)

Some licences are famous for requiring people to keep the original intact while permitting patches to be piled on top; this is actually permissible for Open Source, even though annoying, and the most common LaTeX licence is rather close to that. Section D.3 says any (partial) content can be removed — though keeping a PKZIP archive of the original is a likely workaround.

Affected licences

Anything copyleft (GPL, AGPL, LGPL, CC-*-SA) or requiring attribution (CC-BY-*, but also 4-clause BSD, Apache 2 with NOTICE text file, …) are affected. BSD-style licences without advertising clause (MIT/Expat, MirOS, etc.) are probably not affected… if GitHub doesn’t go too far and dissociates excerpts from their context and legal info, but then nobody would be able to distribute it, so that’d be useless.

But what if I just fork something under such a licence?

Only “continuing to use GitHub” constitutes accepting the new terms. This means that repositories from people who last used GitHub before March 2017 are excluded.

Even then, the new terms likely only apply to content uploaded in March 2017 or later (note that git commit dates are unreliable, you have to actually check whether the contribution dates March 2017 or later).

And then, most people are likely unaware of the new terms. If they upload content they themselves don’t have the appropriate rights (waivers to attribution and copyleft/share-alike clauses), it’s plain illegal and also makes your upload of them or a derivate thereof no more legal.

Granted, people who, in full knowledge of the new ToS, share any “User-Generated Content” with GitHub on or after 1ˢᵗ March, 2017, and actually have the appropriate rights to do that, can do that; and if you encounter such a repository, you can fork, modify and upload that iff you also waive attribution and copyleft/share-alike rights for your portion of the upload. But — especially in the beginning — these will be few and far between (even more so taking into account that GitHub is, legally spoken, a mess, and they don’t even care about hosting only OSS / Free works).

Conclusion (Fazit)

I’ll be starting to remove any such content of mine, such as the source code mirrors of jupp, which is under the GNU GPLv1, now and will be requesting people who forked such repositories on GitHub to also remove them. This is not something I like to do but something I am required to do in order to comply with the licence granted to me by my upstream. Anything you’ve found contributed by me in the meantime is up for review; ping me if I forgot something. (mksh is likely safe, even if I hereby remind you that the attribution requirement of the BSD-style licences still applies outside of GitHub.)

(Pet peeve: why can’t I “adopt a licence” with British spelling? They seem to require oversea barbarian spelling.)

The others

Atlassian Bitbucket has similar terms (even worse actually; I looked at them to see whether I could mirror mksh there, and turns out, I can’t if I don’t want to lose most of what few rights I retain when publishing under a permissive licence). Gitlab seems to not have such, but requires you to indemnify them… YMMV. I think I’ll self-host the removed content.

And now?

I’m in contact with someone from GitHub Legal (not explicitly in the official capacity though) and will try to explain the sheer magnitude of the problem and ways to solve this (leaving the technical issues to technical solutions and requiring legal solutions only where strictly necessary), but for now, the ToS are enacted (another point of my criticism of this move) and thus, the aforementioned works must go off GitHub right now.

That’s not to say they may not come back later once this all has been addressed, if it will be addressed to allow that. The new ToS do have some good; for example, the old ToS said “you allow every GitHub user to fork your repositories” without ever specifying what that means. It’s just that the people over at GitHub need to understand that, both legally and technically¹, any and all OSS licences² grant enough to run a hosting platform already³, and separate explicit grants are only needed if a repository contains content not under an OSI/OKFN/Copyfree/FSF/DFSG-free licence. I have been told that “these are important issues” and been thanked for my feedback; we’ll see what comes from this.

① maybe with a little more effort on the coders’ side³

② All licences on one of those lists or conformant to the DFSG, OSD or OKD should do⁴.

③ e.g. when displaying search results, add a note “this is an excerpt, click HERE to get to the original work in its context, with licence and attribution” where “HERE” is a backlink to the file in the repository

④ It is understood those organisations never un-approve any licence that rightfully conforms to those definitions (also in cases like a grant saying “just use any OSS² licence” which is occasionally used)

Update: In the meantime, joeyh has written not one but two insightful articles (although I disagree in some details; the new licence is only to GitHub users (D.5) and GitHub (D.4) and only within their system, so, while uploaders would violate the ToS (they cannot grant the licence) and (probably) the upstream-granted copyleft licence, this would not mean that everyone else wasn’t bound by the copyleft licence in, well, enough cases to count (yes it’s possible to construct situations in which this hurts the copyleft fraction, but no, they’re nowhere near 100%).

Please save GMane!

2016-07-28 by tg@
Tags: debian news pcli rant

GMane has been down for a day or two, and flakey for a day before that. MidnightBSD’s laffer1 just linked the reason, which made me cry out loud.

GMane is really great, and I rely on the NNTP interface a lot, both posting and especially reading — it gives me the ability to download messages from mailing lists I don’t receive in order to be able to compose replies with (mostly) correct References and In-Reply-To headers. Its web interface, especially the article permalinks, are also extremely helpful.

This is a request for a petition to save GMane. Please, someone, do something! Thanks in advance!

New SSH hostkey for fish, taking over AnonCVS/AnonRSYNC service

2016-05-09 by tg@
Tags: archaeology hardware news plan security snapshot

As announced in the earlier wlog entry about server reorg I’ve now switched over most services from the soon-to-be-defunct eurynome to fish, with gecko2’s www.ig42.org providing the redirection HTTP vhost for hostname-less mirbsd.org requests (i.e. people who don’t know how this works) and, soon, fallback HTTP services should they be needed. (He’s trusted with the SSL key and certificate.)

This also involves switching SSH hostkeys for AnonCVS, unfortunately; I’ve taken the chance to generate a fresh key for fish. Look in /MirOS/ for the files (gzsig(1) signed) hostkeys.gz or (PGP signed) hostkeys.asc for a less-dependent source for the new keys.

PSA: when upgrading to snapshots, boot into new kernel first

2016-03-06 by tg@
Tags: news plan snapshot tip

I’ll have to add O_DIRECTORY support to open(2) for more security in cpio(1), pax(1), and tar(1). (Maybe I’ll also add O_CLOEXEC while there…) Today’s paxmirabilis will however pick this up as soon as it’s there and thus fail if it is not supported by the running kernel yet.

Morale: when upgrading to a snapshot take care of the kernel first (install and reboot), userspace second.

To be clear: this will affect the first -current snapshot to be published after today on /MirOS/current.

The MirBSD Korn Shell R52c was published today as bugfix-accumulating release of low upto medium importance. Thanks to everyone who helped squashing all those bugs; this includes our bug reporters who always include reproducer testcases; you’re wonderful!

MirCPIO was also resynchronised from OpenBSD, to address the CVE-2015-{1193,1194} test cases, after a downstream (wow there are so many?) reminded us of it; thanks!
This is mostly to prevent extracting ../foo — either directly or from a symlink(7) — from actually ending up being placed in the parent directory. As such the severity is medium-high. And it has a page now — initially just a landing page / stub; will be fleshed out later.

Uploads for both should make their way into Debian very soon (these are the packages mksh and pax). Uploading backports for mksh (jessie and wheezy-sloppy) have been requested by several users, but none of the four(?) DDs asked about sponsoring them even answered at all, and the regular (current) sponsors don’t have experience with bpo, so… SOL ☹

I’ve also tweaked a bug in sed(1), in MirBSD. Unfortunately, this means it now comes with the GNUism -i too: don’t use it, use ed(1) (much nicer anyway) or perlrun(1) -p/-n…

Finally, our PDF manpages now use the PA4 paper size instead of DIN ISO A4, meaning they can be printed without cropping or scaling on both A4 and US-american “letter” paper. And a Бодун from the last announcement: we now use Gentium and Inconsolata as body text and monospace fonts, respectively. (And à propos, the website ought to be more legible due to text justification and better line spacing now.) I managed to hack this up in GNU groff and Ghostscript, thankfully. (LaTeX too) Currently there are PDF manpages for joe (jupp), mksh, and cpio/pax/tar.

And we had Grünkohl today!

Also, new console-setup package in the “WTF” APT repository since upstream managed to do actual work on it (even fixed some bugs). Read its feed if interested, as its news will not be repeated here usually. (That means, subscribe as there won’t be many future reminders in this place.)

The netboot.me service appears to be gone. I’ll not remove our images, but if someone knows what became of it drop us a message (IRC or mailing list will work just fine).

PS: This was originally written on 20160304 but opax refused to be merged in time… Happy Birthday, gecko2! In the meantime, the Street Food festival weekend provided wonderful food at BaseCamp, and headache prevented this from being finished on the fifth.

Update 06.03.2016: The pax changes were too intrusive, so I decided to only backport the fixes OpenBSD did (both those they mentioned and those silently included), well, the applicable parts of them, anyway, instead. There will be a MirCPIO release completely rebased later after all changes are merged and, more importantly, tested. Another release although not set for immediate future should bring a more sensible (and mksh-like) buildsystem for improved portability (and thus some more changes we had to exclude at first).

I’ve also cloned the halfwidth part of the FixedMisc [MirOS] font as FixedMiscHW for use with Qt5 applications, xfonts-base in the “WTF” APT repo. (Debian #809979)

tl;dr: mksh R52c (bugfix-only, low-medium); mircpio 20160306 (security backport; high) with future complete rebase (medium) upstream and in Debian. No mksh backports due to lacking a bpo capable sponsor. New console-setup in “WTF” APT repo, and mksh there as usual. xfonts-base too. netboot.me gone?

expect turmoil

2016-02-08 by tg@
Tags: archaeology bug hardware news pcli personal plan rant

My network at home is unstable. NetCologne suggests to switch to fibre network, but that only comes with a dynamic IPv6 address and NAT64; completely unsuitable to running a server. (I could arguably tunnel a static IPv4 address from a dedicated server to home, but that would completely foil my plans for redundancy.) So I may need an ISP (phone isn’t important) that provides me with connectivity where a static IPv4 (and, ideally, a static IPv6 /64 or /48 — but only if the reverse DNS gets delegated to me, otherwise that’s unusable) ends up at a device of my choosing (and not a plastic router which can then “forward ports”; I require full internet to end up at my own device).

HostEurope is relocating the other server, both physically and network-wise. Their plan seems fool-proof so far, though.

gecko2@ is decommissioning the server on which eurynome is hosted, shortly. This will also be no small amount of fun for everyone involved. Expect old links, SSH host keys, etc. to break. This explicitly includes /etc/ssh/*known_hosts.

During all those moves, I will downsize my DNS zones and change some entries, so that old or duplicate records will be gone.

I’ll likely generate and publish completely new hostkeys (both gzsig(1) and PGP clearsigned) once this is all over. The current gzsig(1) key is at the end of /usr/share/doc/README in any installed system. (Do note MD5 is considered insecure.) My current PGP key is 9031955E7A97A4FDA32B2B8676B534B2E99007E0 but this requires GnuPG, so check both.

My seeming inability to remember rarely-used “secure” passwords, i.e. those not fitting into my normal schemata, led to me not attempting to run a CA myself any more. While, thanks to rsc, we have an official certificate for www.mirbsd.org now, I probably will get StartSSL for “all” other systems (i.e. herc, as I appear to be downsizing), despite it lacking the SSL client purpose (important e.g. to SMTP). This shouldn’t affect anyone.

PS: I still hate Karneval!

hardware problems on www.mirbsd.org solved (thanks HE) + snapshot

2016-01-20 by tg@
Tags: bug hardware news snapshot

Fearing loss of the server or the hard disc when reporting the hard disc issue I postponed that and created a snapshot (for i386) and a CVS repository snapshot and uploaded them first then backed up everything worthwhile on fish and created myself some custom rescue media.

(Some background info — this server is from 2006, and back then, they usually cost around 100 €, while this is partially sponsored. I was fearing stopping of the sponsoring or shutdown of such an old real iron hardware even though it works fine for my needs.)

Then I shut the server down and asked HostEurope support to check the HDD and, if possible, when replacing, put the old HDD into the second slot (I checked, the PowerEdge 750 has two of them). With a big German dedicated hoster that shall stay unnamed (it’s not the Uffline one), even with a RAID 1 you’re SOL because they refuse to just swap the discs, but I decided to try anyway.

So I put the request up in KIS and thought they’d do it during normal working hours (as off-hour work costs extra), but no more than four hours later, the HDD was checked as faulty, a new one (even bigger as they don’t stock 80 GB ones any more ☺) was put into the first slot and the old one into the second slot, and… oh well. The machine was booted into BIOS Setup, and I may connect with the DRAC III/XT (which needs a Java 1.4 plugin for MSIE, or telnet (not ssh), and whose password I forget due to unuse).

Some tricking around later I found out that their new netbootable rescue system (a Grml 2014.03 PONY WAGON) doesn’t work with my server, so I resigned to pay the 25 € to have someone boot it up with a Knoppix CD (uh-oh). After all, I just needed any system with which I could dd(1) the custom MirBSD installer ISO I previously made onto /dev/sda then boot into it.

To my surprise, I got an eMail telling me they had booted it with a Grml (not from network) and set it up so I could ssh(1) in… with the “initial password”. One eMail later I found out that this server predates passwords in KIS, and by now I’m in the process of restoring services by copying everything from the old to the new disc (only lost some directories under the anoncvs mirror from ocvs which is easily rsync’d right later)… ah, this completed during writing of this wlog/news entry.

In the end, this all worked perfectly fine, and I’ll be pointing the www RR back to fish after the bad disc was removed and everything has rsync’d back to my satisfaction.

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