February 24, 2002
Halt and Catch Fire

Today's downtime brought to you by OS X and myself.

lemonodor is hosted on my old G4, which sits in my office. That machine has been running OS X for the last month or so.

A while ago I went through a flurry of OS X hacking. I installed fink and xdarwin. I moved the Users and Applications directories off the too-small root partition. Some of the things I did were wise and carefully considered. Others were rash. And messy.

Anyway, eventually I noticed that Netinfo Manager refused to run. I became worried about progressive, insidious corruption. I decided to nip it in the bud; it was time to back up my stuff and reinstall the operating system.

Fast forward past the new LaCie CD-RW drive catching fire when I plugged it in.

  1. Reinstall OS X from CD.
  2. Netinfo Manager still won't run.
  3. Remove every trace of OS X, then reinstall.
  4. Move Application and Users directories around.
  5. Notice a day or two later than Netinfo again will not run.
  6. Repeat step #3, only this time install on the largest partition I have.

So far it works.

The most important lessons I am taking away from this experience are

  1. Backups lower my blood pressure, even when they're not needed.
  2. Use Netinfo Manager to move user directories, not symbolic links (for best results, do this before your netinfo database is corrupted).
  3. Because OS X uses the root partition for all sorts of things (user directories by default, swap files, the contents of the CD you're about to burn using the Finder's ability to burn CDs), put it on a really big partition. If I were starting from scratch I'd just have one big partition on this drive.
  4. Weaknesses in unix are inherited by OS X: Twice I had to reboot because I couldn't unmount the virtual filesystem behind the Finder's burn-to-CD feature.
  5. When I tell Echo to suspend monitoring of a machine, it should probably stop notifying me too.

I'm pretty sure that if Netinfo Manager stops working again, well, at this point I would just pretend I didn't notice.

P.S. Rainer Joswig found a driver for my Epson Stylus Photo 750 on an Epson France FTP server. I owe him one.

Posted by jjwiseman at February 24, 2002 01:12 AM
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