Robotic Tendencies
The personal blog of Robert McQueen

September 25, 2005

Missing entropy

One of my servers has apache2 and mod_perl on it to play with some crazy stuff like dyamically looking up virtual hosts in postgres, but every time I restart apache2 for whatever reason, it blocks reading /dev/random and never starts up. A little research shows this is mod_perl trying to initialise its UUID generator with some quality system entropy (why? is it strictly necessary? are the UUIDs that important?). The problem is, it never succeeds because this machine never has any entropy:
$ cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/poolsize
512
$ cat /proc/sys/kernel/random/entropy_avail
0

It’s a headless box with no serial, mouse, keyboard or USB devices, so the only IO it sees is disk and network. How do I find out what’s eating all the entropy, or does it in fact just never have any due to nothing feeding it in the kernel? What can I do to identify and address the actual source of the problem (ie not just making /dev/random a link to /dev/urandom or patching mod_perl to just read /dev/urandom or use /proc/sys/kernel/random/uuid to make its UUIDs)?

posted by Robert McQueen @ 12:35 am
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September 21, 2005

Corporate anthems

OK, I admit this is exceedingly old but still highly amusing (if somewhat nauseating). If you thought my take on Britney Spears yesterday was bad, a friend who’s just started at the pan-global accounting firm KPMG has just mailed me a copy of the (long since completely disowned) company song, “KPMG (As Strong As Can Be)”. Set to incredibly cheesy synth music, the chorus goes:

KPMG – We’re strong as can be,
A team of power and energy,
We go for the gold, together we hold
Onto our vision of global strategy.

Wired has the details from 2001 and a copy of the offending song on the 2nd page. I won’t link to KPMG in case their lawyers e-mail me…

posted by Robert McQueen @ 10:39 am
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September 20, 2005

Oh baby baby…

I apologise in advance. It’s all Rob Taylor‘s fault, while we were looking at garbage collection (or not) of Python D-BUS service objects. In my defence, I was thinking of the Travis cover rather than Britney’s version.

Oh baby, baby
How was I supposed to know
This memory’s from the heap
Oh baby, baby
I shouldn’t have let it go
And now its out of scope, yeah
Show me where I should have called free
Tell me baby ’cause I need to know now, oh because

My memory leak is killing me
I must confess, I still believe
When all my objects are hard to find
Give me a count
Ref me baby one more time

posted by Robert McQueen @ 5:01 pm
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