“Macs Just Work”

Heh. Here I am again, picking on the Macintosh. Guaranteed to provoke a response from The Bumpkin for a start, and maybe Bob will join in too, as he uses a Mac.

But wait. There’s a twist to this one. There will be a brief swipe at the Mac.. but only that as per usual, the GUI isn’t good enough once you dig delow the surface- it’s fine for it’s target audience, but hides things- and lets face it, Windoze is no innocent there, is it, and compounds it by not having had a decent command line for years too.

No, I’m going to have a good go at consultancy companies (sorry again Andy), you’re excused from the rant), which is like shooting fish in a barrel to be honest, and my old favourites, Symantec (the fuckers).

***Warning: LONG geek content follows***

Once more, it was time to wage war with Backup Exec. We’d purchased some shiny new Macs, and as I pointed out, a shiny new Mac OSX server too. This meant the damn thing needed backing up. First shot was over a Samba share. This sort of worked, but was slow (that’s CIFS for you…), and kept missing open files. As those of you who have used BE will know, if you install a remote agent, those problems go away.

OK, so we bought an agent. ££££, but not my money :-).

Problem 1: It’s for BE12, as that’s the current version. The server is 11d (which is shite, but there is *no fucking way* it’s getting upgraded).
Solution 1: Get a downgrade licence from the bastards. Install the licence on the BE server.

Problem 2: Locate a copy of the agent.
Solution 2: Another email to the bastards.

Ok, now we move to install it. You would hope that an agent for a heavily GUI reliant system would have a GUI installer, wouldn’t you?

No. It’s a .tar.gz archive you install from a shell. Out comes PuTTY. I run the install script, that fails when it asks for the server name (attention: this is the arrival on the horizon of the clueboat!), but works with ‘localhost’. The agent installs, and the BE server can see it. Yay!

No. all aboard the failtrain. The server can’t be browsed, and displays some obscure NDMP error. After 2 days of messing about, I discover how to get the agent into debug mode (break out vi, boys and girls, hunt down the config file, and edit it), and see some error about GetHostByName failing. For those that don’t know, it’s a general Unix/Linux/BSD system call to resolve a hostname to an IP address.

OK, so maybe it can’t resolve the BE server? No, that works fine.

*scratches head*
[Hours Pass]
*checks a few things*

Hmm. That’s strange. The Mac server has a DNS name that is [servername].private. We don’t use .private anywhere.

[hours pass]

It can’t resolve *it’s own bloody hostname*. Because the fuckwit Mac consultants are so stuck in their GUI world that they don’t know how to set up basic networking. Hell, on top of that they had *no idea* of how to install a BE agent, or that the machine had a root account. This is basic stuff: OSX is BSD underneath, so a bit of *nix knowledge goes a long way.

*bodges /etc/hosts file*

*restarts agent*

*stands back and takes bow as it all starts to work*.

So then, Evil Overlord 20: Death by pencil sharpener blade to incompetent consultants who breeze in, fuck things up, and leave (after telling me how cool it was he could administer a server from his I-fucking-phone, the twat), and to Symantec (again) for making the BE agent for Mac OSX so hard to install and diagnose, and for not programming the agent so that when it is installed with ‘localhost’ as the servername, then it should call localhost when it runs.

The lesson here is that unix-like OSs don’t tolerate basic config errors. It all goes to shite quickly.

See? OSX came out from that one OK. I’m warming to it a little. I’ll buy the polo-neck tomorrow.

Still can’t bear a mouse with one button though.

3 Responses to ““Macs Just Work””

  1. BrownhillsBob Says:

    The mouse is shite. I use a logitech trackman.

    There are 2 problems here: crap consultants and Symantec. ‘Nuff said.

    OS X and Apple are far from perfect – I was a confirmed MS man for years; but I have next to me a computer I can barely hear running that doesn’t require OS reinstallation every 4 months. It sleeps properly and, most of the time, does just work.



  2. stymaster Says:

    Ha! you fell for it! There is no need for any apology!

    Your point about OSX and not having to rebuild often is right, though Windoze can do that, with careful use- it’s just the majority of people aren’t careful enough and install crap. You’re right though, it’s consultants and Symantec I’m picking on here really. It is true that the Macs at work require minimum messing around with once they work.

    I think what annoys me most about them is that certain kind of fanboi that whines on and on about them, or buy them as a fashion statement. In fact, I have big issues with people who buy any tech as a feshion statement, rather than something useful.

    In case you haven’t seen me in full whinge, I’ve got little time for MS either. I use XP and XP64 a lot, for conenience, and I support a fair few Winblows servers too, but my OS of choice would be Linux, which actually has far more in common with OSX than any MS offering.

  3. countrie bumpkin Says:

    The Mac has been better since it was deployed on BSD as networking it with Appletalk was rather problematic. The Mac has a couple of advantages as far as I am concerned namely its an easy GUI for the non-computer people to use and its rugged and reliable as Bob points out.

    If you need any help, call me off-blog as I know a couple of Mac people who use them all them all the time, including a trainer who helped me with “Taming the Macintosh” I did for the FE people when I was with JISC.