Tuesday 3 May 2011

Ultimate Ubuntu Build Server Guide, Part 4

Sync Thine Clocks
Note from future self; Although this setup guide is now superseded by cloud-based tools, certain elements are still useful simply as good practice, such as the "groundwork" in the early stages of this guide. As such, this article has been spared the chop

This is Part 4 of my Ultimate Ubuntu Build Server Guide.

Although it's less critical these days than it was in the bad old days of makefiles, it's still not optional that ALL your machines MUST be NTP-synced to a machine on the local network.

Think about how annoying it is when you login to a remote server to do some logfile-trawling but discover that the server's concept of "wall clock time" is actually 3 minutes, 37.234 seconds behind your local machine's. Ugh. I've noticed this is a particular issue with Virtual Machines - clock drift seems to be a perennial issue there.

Again, getting this stuff working doesn't have to be a big deal and certainly doesn't have to involve A Big Linux Box.

Your common-or-garden DSL router can almost certainly be "pimped" with a more-useful firmware image from one of the many open-source projects. On my NetGear DG834G, I'm using the DGTeam firmware image (unfortunately that project seems to have died, but a very kind soul is mirroring their excellent final versions here).

This offers a fully-working, webpage-configured implementation of OpenNTPD which is the exact same software Big Linux/BSD Servers run anyway.

Owners of DSL routers from other manufacturers (like Cisco/Linksys, D-Link, Buffalo and non-DG- NetGear equipment) can get similar functionality boosts from:

  • dd-wrt - I'm personally using this with success on a Linksys wireless AP. Supported device list
  • OpenWRT - requires more powerful hardware than dd-wrt but has the potential to act as a full Linux server should you desire...