Bryan Ruby

Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

System Administration

Apple recommends anti-virus software for the Mac

Ironic how the world can change so quickly.  Yesterday, the CIO of my organization began enforcing the use of anti-virus software on all of our Linux clients and servers.  Today, I read that Apple is telling its Mac users to purchase anti-virus software.  Something nasty is brewing out there.

Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult.

Initial reports by Brian Krebbs, Security Fix and The Register.

Server Administration and Goodbye PHP 4

Yesterday, I upgraded the PHP version on my server from 5.2.4 to 5.2.5. PHP 5.2.5 brings improved "stability of the PHP 5.2.x branch with over 60 bug fixes, several of which are security related". I also reintroduced eAccelerator back onto the server. I stopped using eAccelerator last spring, not so much because I had any real issues with it, but because I spent the summer months hosting my sites on the cheap.

This time, when I compiled the new version of PHP 5.2 onto my server, I also made the decision to not load the latest version of PHP 4. Although most of the Web applications I run on the server are PHP 5 compatible, I've always made sure I also had access to a version of PHP 4. The time has finally come though where I really don't have a need or desire to host a content management system that is only PHP 4 compatible.

Drupal on a Budget

During the past couple years I have recommended to people that they host their Drupal sites on a virtual private server (VPS) instead of a shared hosting plan.   While a large number of people do not have problems running Drupal under shared hosting plans, I have always felt that there are less headaches with using a VPS to host your sites.  For example, with a VPS I don't have to worry whether the shared hosting plan gives me the necessary MySQL privileges needed by Drupal (especially CREATE TEMPORARY TABLES and LOCK TABLES).  From time to time, you also hear from people with "Drupal friendly" shared hosting plans eventually find that their hosting company isn't so friendly toward their Drupal site.  Planet Drupal contributor, Clancy Ratliff, is one of the most recent  examples for having a host provider not really happy she is using Drupal.  So I often ask myself, is shared hosting for Drupal really worth the trouble?

I don't know if shared hosting is worth the trouble but a chain of events have brought me to giving shared hosting another chance for my Drupal sites.  Last month, I pushed my VPS so close to the bleeding edge that it became unstable.  While I was able to get my sites back online, the downtime clearly told me it was time to move my sites to a new server.  While most visitors observed a performance improvement  for my Drupal sites since the server migration, it's only now that I'm letting the cat out of the bag.  For the past week, has been under a shared hosting plan and not a VPS.   I'm currently running my site using a budget shared hosting plan through my reseller site which is comparable to the hosting plans offered by GoDaddy.

I don't know how long I'll keep my site on a shared hosting plan but I am currently enjoying a break from the work, worry, and experimentation that comes with administration of a VPS.  While I may go back to a VPS, I thought it would benefit some newbies and other Drupal users my experiences and thoughts on migrating my sites from a VPS back to a shared hosting plan.

Webmin and Virtualmin: The web control panel alternative

I'm currently in the process of moving CMS Report and some other sites I manage to a new VPS.  The original reason for the change was to move my sites off of a legacy version of Linux (Fedora Core 2).  However, I'm also making the server change because of too much bleeding edge experimentation by yours truly that has brought my server's stability into question.  Believe it or not, a reboot of the server doesn't fix everything!

I was also hoping that the transition between servers would be an opportunity to move my control panel from cPanel to Virtualmin.  Virtualmin is actually a module for the web-based system administration application, Webmin.  More importantly, Virtualmin is used for "managing multiple virtual hosts through a single interface, like Plesk or Cpanel" and the open source GPL version is a free for the using.  My hope was to shave off the $10 extra I'm from my monthly fee for the VPS.