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If you are like me, you are notified of both email and syslog errors from your Linux hosts. If you aren’t, you don’t know what’s wrong with your computers. But if you are, you sometimes have to deal with noise, like this totally useless message:

This is caused by a logrotate definition using “compress” without “delaycompress”. The error message is especially unhelpful because it doesn’t contain the filename causing the problem, due to the way logrotate invokes gzip as a pipeline.

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APT, the package manager for Debian/Ubuntu has had the ability to use a proxy for many years. However, proxy support is tricky. Suppose you have a proxy at your work, but not at your home? When you take your laptop home, APT won’t be able to update.

Enter apt-find-proxy, my tool to do just that.

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I have removed support from Ubuntu 13.10 “Saucy Salamander” / Linux Mint 16 “Petra” from my repository. As these releases are no longer supported, you should upgrade immediately.

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A few months ago, I moved to Linux Mint 14 “nadia”, which is based on Ubuntu 12.10 “quantal quetzal”. I sometimes see this error after running a commmand with sudo:

This happens because the root user has started a gvfsd daemon, which mounts a virtual filesystem on that directory. The root user should never run GNOME, so it should never need gvfsd. But something in Ubuntu 12.10 starts one sometimes.

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I recently upgraded to Linux Mint 14 “nadia”, which is based on Ubuntu 12.10. I use dnsmasq as a local DHCP server and DNS resolver for virtual machines. Installing dnsmasq on Linux Mint 14 broke host DNS resolution. The issue is easily reproducible: stop dnsmasq, DNS stops working. Start dnsmasq, and it works again.

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Last night my 4-year-old daughter Pascale and I assembled a PC for the kids to use. I reused gozer, my former HTPC, along with a monitor given to me by my friend Soren, and a keyboard and mouse purchased for tiny hands. I installed Qimo 2.0, a children-focused Linux distribution based on Xubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx”.

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Run an Ubuntu system long enough, and you’ll eventually have a large number of kernels installed. These don’t cause any harm, but they do take up disk space and appear in the GRUB menu at boot. So every now and again, I take a moment and purge the old kernels.

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My team manages a number of user workstations running Ubuntu 12.04 “Precise Pangolin”. We install a standard APT configuration which automatically upgrades these PCs as soon as packages are available, without prompting and without a GUI. Therefore we also need to disable the update-notifier so it doesn’t display these packages to the user.

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I recently upgraded my home server from Ubuntu 10.10 maverick to 12.04 precise. I ran “do-release-upgrade” three times, upgrading through natty and oneiric. The process was very smooth, but I found a few bugs with BackupPC. If you are using BackupPC 3.2.1 on precise, or plan to upgrade soon, I suggest you read the following.

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Time marches on, and so do all those little changes in Linux distribution releases. Most of my really popular blog posts are how-to guides on complicated-but-useful procedures for the technical Linux user. Those users are the same ones who may read the date in the URL and say “Ewww, this was written three years ago, it must be totally outdated now!” I’ve decided to update the most popular posts to bring them up to date. This post is “Using host networking and NAT with VirtualBox“, version 2.0.

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