agents, putty, shared home and Windows

On customer site, I am quite often forced to use a Windows machine to access the Linux boxes I work on. This means I will not have an ssh-agent (nor a gpg-agent) running on the machine I’m sitting at (the Win box) and the Linux boxes I access via putty tend to have shared home directories.

Long story short, I need one agent per Linux box taking into account that I may have more than one login shell to the Linux box (i.e. multiple putty windows) and config files including the hostname.

ThinkPad x230

In February 2013, I got a new work laptop. It’s a Lenovo ThinkPad x230.

These are my installation notes.

TPM to feed random number generator

One of the uses of a TPM is to feed /dev/random on your linux box. I will not go into the political implications of TPM.

See also Matt Domsch’s blog.

Those still running RHEL5/CentOS5, be sure to have rng-utils-2.0-4 or later and kernel-2.6.18-238.el5 or later.

Some of the following steps are specific to my HP ProLiant MicroServer, but most will apply to any modern linux and HW (one would prefer the TPM to be an integral part of the motherboard as opposed to a module).

git server setup

For the last decade, I have been using cvs at home to have version control over documents (mostly LaTeX and config files). The original cvs server has been since migrated to a virtual machine.

fixing badly aligned storage

In the olden days, one would have to manually calculate[1] to get a file system (FS), in a logical volume (LV) that was part of a volume group (VG) living on a software RAID, properly aligned. I would get this calculation wrong in about 10% of the cases.

These days, modern Linux distributions like Fedora 14 and RHEL 6 parse hints from the storage.