We had about 5 people show up for this meeting.
During the beginning of the meeting we had a lengthy discussion of RedHat vs SUSE.
Two members were having problems with RHEL 5 upgrades. Apparently, the new version of RedHat goes out and gets updates automatically. Although this my be a configuration that need to be modified in the RHEL network it appears the defaults are causing problems. For Dustin, auto upgrades were breaking custom installs of Postfix. He had compiled Postfix from source to include some database patches that were missing in the standard Postfix RPM. Additionally, for Micheal, a recent security from RHEL 5.1 to RHEL 5.2 broke some clustering functionality he needed for his RHEL super computer. Both were generally frustrated with RHEL. According to Micheal, SUSE is tested much longer when upgrade releases come out.
Micheal provided a little more information on Xen. He mentioned that SUSE Xen is benchmarked as one of the fastest. Additionally, he mentioned that the Microsoft/SUSE co-operation is helping SUSE get more interoperability with Windows machines. He thought the arrangement was a good thing for Linux and Microsoft.
Dustin had some questions about speeding up compiling under C. Originally, Dustin expressed some interested in purchasing more hardware. Rather than spending money, Dave suggested that Dustin use a software solution called ccache for speeding up his compiles. According to Dave, ccache can speed up gcc. GCC is speed up when it does parallel builds.
Nick brought in some questions about NFS and SELinux. Nick’s clients were not able to connect to the NFS server. Since SELinux was running, Dave suggested that Nick run SELinux in permissive mode and get NFS working first. It appears implementing SELinux is a little difficult. It is good to run SELinux in permissive mode until everything is setup and working. Once everything is working, there are programs that can parse the SELinux exception logs and create a policy. Sometimes files that are modified in permissive mode need to be relabeled before the policy will work. All in all SELinux adds another layer of complexity that takes time to implement properly.
Different version control systems for developing software were discussed. Dustin and Nick both use Subversion. However, Dave used git and now uses something else called ‘Mach-areal’. I could not find the later.
There was talk about some of the Google whitepapers that are public. According to Dustin, reading Google white papers is good way to keep to up to date with what it happening in the world of software development. For example, Dustin read many of the white papers on what Google has worked on recenltly. He recommended that others read the following: BigTable, GoogleFS, and Map Produce.