Sharing Music from Xubuntu 15.10 using Tangerine

I have a pile of music and wanted to share it to my MacBook Pro and other such music player clients. I tried using forked-daapd but couldn’t make it work.

I thought Tangerine would work better, since it was designed to be easy to use and to handle everything for you. I set Tangerine to share, made it use the Banshee music collection, and left it with no password or username needed.

First problem showed up as some errors in Tangerine operation, and no music listed on the remotes. The bug showed up in Fedora 11 in 2010, and also was mentioned in the Ubuntu forums. The fix was to add a line to one of the settings files – add this line to /etc/mono/config:

<dllmap dll="libgobject-2.0.dll" target=""/>

Place it right after the line labeled configuration, with other lines like it. Be sure to restart all Mono-based applications to make sure everyone is using the same configuration.

After doing this, the system seemed to work better on the back end (looking at messages) but there was no change for the clients. Turned out the Banshee support was the problem: when I switched to using the directory by name instead, it worked immediately. I used it with iTunes on my MacBook Pro and it is quite awesome.

Mono on Xubuntu 15.04 and 15.10

I just upgraded from Xubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) to 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) – with nary a hitch – and set out to install new stuff and check for things I could clean up.

It occurred to me to check for Mono and to see if it had been installed somehow. I was surprised to see that it was installed – I normally make a point to keep it off my systems. Most of the controversy is over the use of a Microsoft-developed technology and the legal and moral ramifications of that – I just didn’t want a huge monster taking up memory if I didn’t need it to.

So why was it on my system – what required Mono to be present? Trying to remove the mono system with apt-get gave me some clues. Looking at my list, I see three programs of significance:

The sysinfo program was a surprise – traditionally the sysinfo package held utilities such as sar and related.

I held off installing Tangerine (graphical DAAP server) because of it’s dependency on Mono – looks like Mono is already installed. I may give Tangerine a go yet.

I only have 8Gb on this machine but hopefully Mono won’t be too much of a hog.

To be sure, if Firestorm (Second Life viewer) starts showing instability, I’ll shut down all the mono apps – Firestorm is a hog.

Programming Languages on OpenVMS

Looking at OpenVMS administration, and investigating the possible languages to use on OpenVMS, there are many options – some supported by HP and some community open source options.

One of the first options is Perl; apparently Perl was originally designed as a way to write scripts that worked under UNIX and VMS both. Bernd Ulmann wrote an article for OpenVMS Technical Journal 13 about Perl on OpenVMS and gave a presentation on it in the spring of 2009 at an HP Connect OpenVMS Meeting (English translation) in Germany.

The HP version of Perl appears to be tied to the Secure Web Server (SWS) but it can stand alone.

Another language that is growing on OpenVMS is Java. Jean-Yves Bourles and Thierry Uso wrote on Java and OpenVMS in OpenVMS Technical Journal 10. Netbeans is available from HP to facilitate Java development on OpenVMS.

With Java available, that opens up the possibility of perhaps using a language that runs on the Java JVM as well. That brings to mind JRuby, Jython, Groovy, Scala, and Clojure. Information on most of these is rather scarce unfortunately; only Scala and JRuby have ports (both by the aforementioned Thierry Uso). Personally, these two are the most interesting to me; Scala has unmatched integration with Java itself as well.

Python is also available. Python seems to be the new administration tool of choice; at least, Red Hat seems to think that way.

As part of the Secure Web Server (SWS), you also get HP’s version of PHP. However, this does not seem to be a separate product as Perl is, and there is no description of using PHP as a scripting language (which you can do by running PHP against a file from the command line).

Lua is graciously made available for OpenVMS by our friends over at Hoffman Labs. Lua is a fantastic scripting language that doesn’t get the cover that it deserves.

Lastly, Tcl/Tk is available as well.

So which do I recommend? Well, Perl, PHP, and Java are all HP supported products, so one could start there. With Java, I see Scala and JRuby being fantastic languages as well, although they are not supported by HP. Lua is also a favorite of mine; an OpenVMS version is wonderful; however, Lua is not as widely available for other platforms as is Perl and Java.

I should mention that PL/I is still active on OpenVMS; it is commercially sold and supported by Kednos. PL/I was an interesting language, but it doesn’t have modern capabilities.

At the German site there is also a big list of OpenVMS ports (including languages).

Are you ready for programming on OpenVMS? I am!

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

Every year, blogs around the world center on one topic for a day; this year, climate change is the focus. What can IT staff do about climate change?

A lot, it turns out. The data center is a huge user of electricity, and there are a lot of things that can be done to reduce power usage. A lot of electricity comes from polluting sources and contributes in other ways to a global change in the climate.

One thing that can be done is to pull old machines out entirely and replace them with newer more power efficient models. Often, older models are hoarded because of the cost to the organization in getting a new computer. Newer computer models with newer processors can use half the electricity of older models; just make sure that you actually get efficient servers instead of getting one which is not efficient.

Another possibility is to go with blade servers. These are servers that are thin and small, permitting a higher density of servers in a rack than ever before. Blade servers are typically designed to save power; for instance, HP claims a 25% power savings with their c-class server blades (which can run HP-UX, OpenVMS, Linux, or Windows).

Alternately, you could run several machines on one server using a virtual machine. HP-UX 11i offers something called Integrity Virtual Machines (or IVM). IVMs are full virtualized Integrity machines; currently supported are HP-UX 11i, Red Hat or SUSE Linux, and Microsoft Windows Server. OpenVMS 8.4 (expected in the first half of 2010) will support running as a guest operating system in an IVM as well.

Let’s look at the Top 500 list – a ranking of the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world. However, this list only focuses on speed and power; with this in mind consider the Green 500 list. The Green 500 takes the Top 500 list and ranks it by computer power per watt used: thus, the most power for the least number of watts (that is, the most efficient supercomputer) is the top entry.