Ubuntu security updates break unattended-upgrade

What I mean by the title of this post is that sometimes ubuntu folks push security updates to $release-updates repository. I’m told this is so that they propagate faster across all the mirrors. So, when that happens, to APT they look as coming from $release-updates repository ONLY.

Which means unattended-upgrade is fooled into thinking there are no security updates available and so it never installs them automatically despite all the configuration instructing it to do so.

Good thing my little software updates report script can show these security updates regardless, that’s how I know about this.

The trick to dealing with this quirk is as simple as to have a separate APT sources list file for security repositories. You then need to pass this file as an argument to apt commands with the help of the -o flag.

sudo sh -c 'grep ^deb /etc/apt/sources.list |grep securi >> /etc/apt/sources.security.repos.only.list'

apt-get -s dist-upgrade -o Dir::Etc::SourceList=/etc/apt/sources.security.repos.only.list

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Mac OS X writes too much data to disk, or does it?

This is just an observation I made a couple of days ago. I had my new Macbook Air 11″ on for some 13hrs during which all I did was light use of Google Chrome to look up things once in a while, chat with people in Skype and Adium, listen to radio streams in iTunes, work in a terminal, of course, had Mail.app running which is configured not to save anything to disk, and by the end of the day Activity Monitor reported some 5GB worth of disk writes. 5 gigs, really?

Why would I be concerned? Well, I’m generally speaking curious, but also there’s a legitimate concern because SSD drives, which are of MLC type in Macbook Air’s, on average are guaranteed to last 5 years with average 40GB disk writes per day. So, you can see that 5GBs per day in that context isn’t really a small number.

So, I set out to figure out to see distribution of those disk writes but I haven’t found a solution yet. dtrace looks like the tool that could pull out this data but it falls short of showing accumulated values over time. What I’m talking about is Linux equivalent of iotop -o -a, which is just amazing, simple and user-friendly compared to dtrace.

Which reminds me to say that Mac OS X is a funny OS. It makes it really easy to use a computer in GUI department, but Apple seems to have applied their philosophy of radically simplifying things to command line applications as well. Less of output (otherwise useful and detailed) seems to be characteristic of Apple’s version of such tools as iotop and sar, to name a few.

This I find a little frustrating and limiting. By and large, though, I really like Mac OS X and the whole experience of running Macbook Air.

I’d highly recommend it.

Gets Mac OS X

Gets Mac OS X and spends most of the time working in Terminal anyway

I work on a mid 2012 Macbook Air 11″ these days.

The specs:
2.0GHz Intel Dual­Core Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
128GB Flash Storage

Love the Mac OS X. However, ironically coming from the Linux world I’m irresistibly drawn to Terminal application and find myself poking around a lot. After all that’s exactly how I see Mac OS X, a stable, beautiful, thought-out DE. Underneath all the beauty, bells and whistles, fancy features, there’s UNIX. Do I really have to say more? My friends are worried that I’m lost to Linux community but that’s not really true. Not a bit. I still have my Arch Linux laptop running and doing those tasks that it does better than Mac OS X. I’m just sticking with UNIX philosophy of using the tools that do one thing the best. To me Mac OS X is currently doing the best job of offering a desktop environment.