Posts from 2014-03

puppet reference links and competition
posted on 2014-03-30 17:31:53

puppet is one of several open source configuration management tools.

A little excourse:
Notable alternatives would be Chef, Ansible, CFEngine, Salt and Sprinkle. In the Red Hat universe there exists Spacewalk, which also is built on puppet somehow according to wikipedia. A friend of mine considers Spacewalk a damn fine solution. Puppet seems to have an edge over its competition and is one of the bigger contestants along with Chef and CFEngine. Ansible and Salt are newer and likely better, Sprinkle is the smallest and most light-weight of the bunch. I haven't lookup up the current codebase sizes or commit activities which would indicate how lively each project is, this is as far as I came from searching blogs and test experiences.

As of end 2013 Ansible seems to be the most frictionless solution. Why is this about puppet then?

Puppet's unique selling points are

  • it works with Windows boxes, which is not the case with all other competitioners.
  • I might need it for work-related setups.
  • Spacewalk uses it internally, which speaks for its quality.

Back to puppet:
The type reference can be found here. This comes in handy when writing puppet manifest files. Its configuration reference can be found here. And for fun, the style-guide.

bash screen essentials
posted on 2014-03-17 14:41:15

According to its man page GNU screen is a

full-screen window manager that multiplexes a physical terminal between several processes [...] There is a scrollback history buffer for each virtual terminal and a copy-and-paste mechanism that allows moving text regions between windows.

which sounds quite interesting.
All this means you can get several terminals into a single shell window. Other nice functions are detachable windows, which is a killer feature for unstable ssh sessions. Tmux ( seems to be the the better alternative nowadays, but sometimes you might have to stick to screen.

$ screen

will invoke the program. There are lots of options possible here, see man screen.

Ctrl-a is by default the global hotkey. All screen commands have to be prefixed with it.

In screen there exist windows and regions. Windows are like several shells running in parallel. Regions are like the two window areas when you use split screen.

basic usage

Most important are:

? for help
| for creating a vertical split region
S for creating a horizontal split region
tab for switching to another region
w for showing a list of windows in the titlebar
" for showing a list of windows in a window, use j or k and enter for navigating
c for starting a new shell
a for changing the buffer within a window
X for killing a region (leaving the window alive)
k for killing a window (leaving the region intact)
\ for exiting screen

That is about it.

Open screen, create a region, switch to it, create a new shell window, be happy.


## create screen with session named '<sessionname>'
screen -S <sessionname>

## detach a session (while running screen)
ctrl-a d

## show available screen sessions
screen -list

## reattach a session (from the shell)
screen -r <sessionname>

## reattach if session wasn't detached earlier
## happens when you accidentally closed the window
## or when connection went broke
screen -d -r <sessionname>

If you have to copy huge amounts of data or have other long running screen sessions that should not be interrupted, screen will have you covered, literally.

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