It’s good to be back

It’s been a crazy couple of days. I brought the new iMac home on Wednesday night, and started hooking it up in the office. In the process of hooking everything up, I had to move by web and mail server (the old Dell laptop). This ended up not being a good thing. Not good at all. After getting the iMac all hooked up and working, I tried to connect to the server, and I couldn’t. So I pulled the laptop out, opened it up, and … a screen full of error messages. I must have bumped it pretty hard when moving and the hard drive went “whacky” on me.

I had been planning to move my web and mail to the new iMac, but just not this soon. Also, even thought I’ve talked about backing the unit up, I never found the right solution and hadn’t gotten around to it yet. To top it all off, we’re still having problems with our Internet connection at the house, and that night when I could connect, I was getting slower than dialup speed. I tried to download some tools to rescue the data, but couldn’t. (I placed a call to Comcast and a technician will be out on Saturday). I was up really late trying to get the Mac as ready as possible.

I got up really early on Thursday morning and took the dead laptop to the office in hopes of recovering the data there. After downloading a System Rescue CD which worked but wouldn’t see my PCMCIA network card, and a copy of Knoppix, a live Linux CD, I was able to copy most of the data off the drive. I’m not really sure what was lost, but I was able to recover the database that powers this blog, as well as the templates. I was also able to recover all of my old emails too.

When I got home, I started the rest of the process to build the iMac into the server machine I needed. Even though Mac OS X comes with a lot of the things necessary to run right out of the box, I either needed newer versions or additional software. In particular, I needed MySQL, Apache2, PHP, Postfix, an IMAP server, and BIND.

There are a number of ways to add and update UNIX software on a Mac. In addition to compling the software from source, there are Fink and DarwinPorts which provide linux and bsd style updating mechanisms. Both other some usesful features, but I needed to get things running quickly. So I chose to use some installers from Server Logistics. They offer a series of “complete” installs for Apache2, PHP, and MySQL with all the options that I needed. So I installed them and got my webserver back in action. After a quick install of phpMyAdmin I was able to recover my database, and then in short order get the blog up and going again.

For email, I needed to get an IMAP server installed as well as Postfix configed and running. Again after some searching, I used the Postfix Enabler, from Cutedge. This installed and configured an IMAP server as well as providing an interface to configure and start Postfix. So now I had email again (albeit without any spam filtering) and called it a night at roughly 12:30.

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2 Comments

  1. Looks like you’re running all the same stuff I’m running on my Linux box with the exception of the IMAP package (Courier-IMAP).

    I am curious to know why you would make your website the same machine that you use. I tried this for awhile but found it just didn’t work, my web site was not very reliable and I would get frustrated as my main machine didn’t perform as well for games, etc.

    It is interesting tho that Max OS X is capable of this type of functionality, especially using all those open source projects.

    Keith

  2. My box is pretty straight forward. I still have a few more things to install (and a couple to fix) which I hope to get to this week.

    As far as why run my website off the same machine I use. Basically it comes to down to three reasons, money, performance, and space.

    Originally the site (as well as my email server) ran off an old Dell 166 MHz laptop with 64 MB RAM. My main PC has been a Compaq 600 MHz machine for the three years, and the main Mac was a 500 MHz G3 iMac (blue). Even though I work in IT, and for many years worked for an IT company, most of my machines at home were hand be downs or used machines from work (accept for the iMac which I bought new).

    I “upgraded” the server about a year ago to a Dell 233 MHz laptop. It was a big improvement, but still really slow. It was particularly noticeable on the gallery portion of the site. (Gallery 1.X is really quite a hog).

    Therefore the new iMac gives me the UNIX backend that I needed, along with good performance and it takes up no space and really quite (a necessity in my small office). As for the web server impacting performance of other apps on the iMac, I get so little traffic that it will be minimal. Additionally, I don’t intend to play many games on the iMac (the graphics card is not really a gaming card, and I don’t play many games anyway) so that’s not a big deal. I will use the Mac for video and photo editing. Both of those are CPU intensive, but necessarily time critical.

    In an ideal world I’d have a dedicated server, but at this point its not really an issue.

    As far as the Mac OS X being capable, remember is a fully functioning BSD implementation of UNIX underneath all that Apple GUI (with some requisite apple funkiness in the configuration). My friends with BSD experience love it, and know their way around great. I come from the RedHat Linux camp so it’s taking me a little longer to get things up, but UNIX is still UNIX.

    –ken

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