Dropping XFS from My Workstation

3 Jan 2009

My dual Opteron workstation has been around for nearly 5 years now. It’s had some bumps and bruises along the way (some of which were due to my own actions), but has been a great machine. It still has very good performance, especially given it’s age.

When I first built it in May of 2004, Fedora Core 2 was barely out and was the first Fedora to sport an AMD64 (x86_64) 64-bit version. That was the first and last time that I installed Linux on this box, from scratch. Since then, I’ve upgraded it to FC3, FC4, FC5, F6, F7, F8 and now F9 (I will upgrade to F10 in a week or so).

When I installed FC2, I used the ext3 filesystem for the root volume (I use LVM). I "converted" the root volume to the XFS filesystem on 2006/08/03. I also created a few volumes using XFS and reiserfs (v3.6) filesystems.

Over time, I’ve had a few minor problems with XFS. Recently, those problems grew in regards to the root volume to the point where I needed to convert it to something else, which I did the other day. The root volume is now on reiserfs. That leaves just 3 volumes that are still XFS.

After upgrading to F9 and installing updates, there were a couple of weird issues that I was dealing with. I also kept seeing some filesystem corruption messages (on the terminal, in the logs) for XFS volumes (but they don’t tell you which one). That’s it, I’m done with this XFS thing, so I’m going to convert those filesystems over to something else and get rid of XFS on this workstation.
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Block SSH Cracking Bot-Nets with Netfilter

2 Jan 2009

A few weeks ago, I was looking through some Netfilter documentation, just poking around, looking at some modules I’ve never seen/played-with/hear-of and I came across the recent module. I decided to try it out on one of my servers that gets anywhere from zero (0) to tens of thousands of crack attempts via SSH per day and see if I could weed out some of these bot-nets. It also occurs to me that this could help fight email SPAM-bots, too.

Of course, it’s very important to have good, strong password security practices. If you have poor passwords, none of this will matter, as you’ve probably already been compromised whether you know it or not. This means that all users have to have strong passwords. Techniques for helping users to create and use strong passwords are beyond the scope of this article, but I will write about these things in the near future.
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