The version of Matlab used on lab Linux systems has been updated from R2013b to R2014b.
Condor users should be aware that the pathname of the version of Matlab that they should use under condor has also changed, see http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/local/sys/unix/applications/condor/condor-6.8.html#matlab
It appears that the avahi-daemon causes the gtk+ library on Ubuntu 14.04 systems used by many GUIs (e.g. firefox and chrome) to hammer the print spooler by opening hundreds of simultaneous connections, causing the GUI to crash. To avoid this, we are removing the avahi-daemon on all Ubuntu 14.04 systems. If you manage a machine which needs it, simply add ‘avahi-daemon’ to /etc/user-config/bundles as usual. and it will be auto-installed.
In lots more detail: About a year ago we updated our CUPS print server to a version which supported Bonjour/Avahi export of printer information. This was mainly to make life easier for Mac/Windows users, Linux users continued as before as Linux systems hadn’t added Avahi support at that time. Avahi support was added in Ubuntu 13 through the gtk+ v3 library. From that point on we started seeing problems as it turned out that Avahi printer discovery told gtk+ about our printers several times over. So applications using gtk+ (such as evince/Document Viewer, browsers etc) were frequently polling the CUPS server about each printer discovered by Avahi, resulting in several hundred simultaneous connections from the application to the CUPS server. Not surprisingly the CUPS server ground to a halt for about 15 mins whenever anybody using a Ubuntu 13/14 system tried to print. This caused a problem for everyone in the Lab, not just Ubuntu 13/14 users. As we hadn’t discovered the cause at that point we had no choice but to implement throttling on the CUPS server so that it would only accept up to 50 simultaneous connections from any one host. This prevented the CUPS server from dying, at the expense of printing problems for the (at that time small number of) Ubuntu 13/14 users – if using a printer at the top of the list printing would succeed but be quite slow, if using a printer at the bottom of the list then your application would probably crash. Our only solution was to suggest applications that don’t use gtk+, such as okular which is a PDF viewer superior in every way to evince/Document Viewer, and which we still recommend. We haven’t discovered a way to “fix” Avahi, but we have now discovered that removing the Avahi daemon altogether solves the problem completely – gtk+ backs off to a less harmful means of printer discovery, and applications don’t notice. We are not aware of any other use for Avahi on our systems, so we are simply removing it.
Certain commands used to do “privileged” things within the Lab may not be working for a while. If some feature you particularly need does not work, please email details to sys-admin
As emailed to all recent users of condor, the execute machines have now moved to NFS sec-krb5. The documentation has been updated. If anyone has problems, please email sys-admin.
Chloe Brown has received the Best Paper Award at the 2014 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp 2014).
The paper “The architecture of innovation: Tracking face-to-face interactions with ubicomp technologies” is joint work with Christos Efstratiou, Ilias Leontiadis, Daniele Quercia, Cecilia Mascolo, James Scott and Peter Key
Chloe Brown is a member of the Network and Operating Systems group under the supervision of Professor Cecilia Mascolo.
The September edition of ‘The Ring‘ is now available.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the Computer Laboratory’s graduate association.
A misconfiguration in the networking kit caused an outage yesterday afternoon. This caused many Linux Xen VMs to loose access to their root filesystems, so they mounted them read-only. After rebooting some of them, one of the Xen Servers lost the ability to reboot VMs, so itself had to be rebooted, causing all its VMs to crash. Many of the filesystems were deemed “unfixable” by fsck, so fsck had to be manually run before the systems rebooted.
Please let sys-admin know of any remaining problems.
Java 8 in Action, co-authored by the Computer Laboratory’s Professor Alan Mycroft and PhD student Raoul-Gabriel Urma, along with Mario Fusco, has been released.
The book is a clearly written guide to the new features of Java 8. The book covers lambdas, streams, and functional-style programming.
mgk25 has just released version 1.5 of OTPW which does not need to use $HOME for the pad. This allows per-host local pads, removing the problems on NFS sec=krb5 systems. The DNS name
slogin-otpw now points at the testing slogin server.
Any users need to generate a new pad by logging in and running
A libc bug involving nscd may cause some Ubuntu 10.04 systems to fail in various ways. The quick fix is to run “cl-asuser service nscd stop” and “cl-update-system” to install a fixed libc. Ubuntu 10.04 is getting a bit old now, and 14.04 LTS is stable – it is straightforward to install a fresh Ubuntu 14.04 onto a Lab system while it is in use, and the reboot into the new system – email sys-admin if you would like your machine upgraded.