Notes on building ZFS pools on linux

First off. The examples I’ve seen out there stating how to create a zfs pool on linux call for you to name the pool drives by their drive names (sdc, add, see, etc…) I would definitely recommend against this. If drives move in the system ZFS will not be able to identify those drives as part of it’s array. Use the device-id instead. You can see it by doing the following:
$ ls -lah /dev/disk/by-id/
you will get a list of device id’s followed by their common name. Always add these by their common name so if you get…

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Aug 12 16:26 ata-ST3000DM001-9YN166_S1F0JK88 -> ../../sdc
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Aug 12 16:26 ata-ST3000DM001-9YN166_S1F0JTW6 -> ../../sde
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Aug 12 16:26 ata-ST3000DM001-9YN166_S1F0KBKY -> ../../sdd
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  9 Aug 12 16:26 ata-ST3000DM001-9YN166_S1F0KDEE -> ../../sdb

Then create your pool with
#zpool create -f mynewpool raidz ata-ST3000DM001-9YN166_S1F0JK88 ata-ST3000DM001-9YN166_S1F0JTW6 ata-ST3000DM001-9YN166_S1F0KBKY ata-ST3000DM001-9YN166_S1F0KBKY

There is of course an alternative (which is how I fixed my issue with the letters changing). If you create the pool above with
#zpool create -f mynewpool raidz sdb sdc sdd sde
you can always export and reimport the pool
#zpool export mynewpool
#zpool import mynewpool
And ifs will automatically pickup the real device-id’s. You would just need to remember to add that step just after you get the pool built.

I have a comment to an original post on how to zfs send/receive to move the data from your old zfs directories to the new ones.

An excellent reference for zfs on linux is here on

And of course a link to the ZFS Admin Guide from Oracle




Flashblock for Firefox

Another excellent add-on for your browser. Flashblock will block those annoying flash advertisements, but will allow you to click through if there was something you actually wanted to see. It also comes in a Chrome version.

Just to reminisce, one of the big selling points for Android used to be Flash… 😉

Lifehacker provides some instruction on how to get a little privacy on the web…

Everyone’s Trying to Track What You Do on the Web: Here’s How to Stop Them

I could not get the link to firefox to work, and Do Not Track Plus has changed its name to DoNotTrackMe, but the three primary addons (Adblock Plus, Ghostery, and DoNotTrackMe) are the same for Chrome and Firefox…

For Firefox, I added all through the firefox add-ons listing, then subscribed to Antisocial (after you have loaded the plugins above, clicking on the subscribe link from the antisocial page will automatically add it in your browser plug-in).

Cheap prepaid cell phone service – Tired of the big 4, use their service on other prepaid carriers…

So I’ve been researching ways to keep unlimited data in the new cellular world. Here are links to some articles on the subject.

Android central rings in on a couple of providers…

And PC Magazine’s article on the 10 best cheap prepaid phone plans you’ve never heard of.,2817,2375644,00.asp

Using HDAT2 to fix 1TB drives used in ZFS pool. Drives show only 32mb available.

Samsung HD103UI 1TB drive only reporting 32mb size. Walkthrough of the fix using HDAT2

Ok, so I’ve had a few of the Samsung Spinpoint F1 drives that have been dead because they report as only being 32mb in size. This appears to be due either to an incompatibility with some Intel chipset Gigabyte motherboards (from some reference info), or that I had them formatted as part of a zpool under Solaris ZFS. I’m not sure which, but whatever the cause I could not use them for anything larger than a good sized USB stick.

Well That’s all fixed now.

None of the The Seagate utilities package (Seagate bought Samsung drives a while back, so you cannot find Samsung utilities anymore) Seatools does not reset the Max size no matter what you do. After searching the net over and over I finally found a forum discussion with a link to a utility that fixed the issue. The program is called HDAT2, and it is available at

Apparently the issue is that the for some reason the max address space for the current user is set to 65134 LBA sectors which translates to ~ 32 megabytes. If you look to the current native area it is 1953525168 which is one terabyte. Below you will find a pictorial howto for fixing this issue with HDAT2.


First download hdat2 and put on a CD, boot to the CD with the hard drive you want to fix plugged into the machine. the ISO for HDAT2 is self booting so no worries… 🙂


First you can see my drive with a capacity of 33.35MB

Now go and select your drive

In the next menu select “SET MAX (HPA) Menu”

Then select “Set Max Address”

Now scroll down to where it says “New User” and press S to set that value to the new user value.

After saying that ‘Y’es you want to do this you should see this

Now the home screen shows a full 1TB of Storage Goodness!









Oracle Solaris 11 Express and Link Aggregation.

Note if you are not finding the following link aggregation commands, don’t worry they have just changed in Solaris 11 express.
     ipadm create-if  <has become> ipadm create-ip
     ipadm delete-if <has become> ipadm delete-ip

First things first.
Become root
Next you have to disable NWAM (Network Auto Magic) by:
# netadm enable -p ncp DefaultFixed   (you can reenable it later via: # netadm enable -p ncp Automatic)

I actually unplug the ethernet cables

 Find your physical ethernet devices:
# dladm show-phys

Make sure you don’t have any links:
# dladm show-links

You will have to fix DNS, smart things work after making the changes below, but Firefox and things that rely on basic DNS still don’t work. To Get DNS to work again you will need to do the following (Note DNS is
only partially working. I’ve found links saying I need to edit the
nsswitch.conf, however Oracle has made it a system updated file, so you
need to change the settings via svccfg.
if you cat /etc/nsswitch.conf and do not see hosts: and ipnodes: listed with files and dns, then perform the following…
# svccfg
svc:/network/dns/client:default> select name-service/switch
svc:/system/name-service/switch> setprop config/host = astring: “files dns”
svc:/system/name-service/switch> setprop config/ipnode = astring: “files dns”
svc:/system/name-service/switch> select system/name-service/switch:default
svc:/system/name-service/switch:default> refresh
svc:/system/name-service/switch:default> validate
# svcadm enable dns/client

#ipadm show-addr to see your actual address

If you cannot ping out do a ‘# netstat -r’ and look for a default route. If you do not see a default route then:
# route -p add default (put your real gateway IP address here)
now a netstat -r should give you a default route. See if you can ping now.

If you can ping verify via ‘# dig’

I found some good DNS info on this site, And here is the Oracle Solaris 11 Site that tells howto for DNS configurations
Here is a site with a simple DNS verification procedure.

Problems with Oracle Solaris 11 Aggregate Link and VirtualBox
Some links:


After building the link aggregation VirtualBox will not be able to use the aggregated network adapter, so you need to build a virtual NIC with dladm. After the adapter is built go into each virtual machine and set it to use the new virtual adapter.
    # dladm create-vnic -l data-link vnic-name
    If the name of your aggregated NIC is agg0 and you want to build a virtual NIC called vnic0 then you would type the following
    # dladm create-vnic -l agg0 vnic0

Patent Reform (Software Style)

The good people at the EFF are heading up an lobbying effort to reform the patent system. I personally believe that one of the big impediments to actually developing and building a product in this country is the legal overhead required to get anything done. A large part of this overhead is patent research and patent litigation.

If you are of a similar mind, just like the EFF, or have other reasons to believe that the patent system is desperately in need of an enema, please stop by and sign their petition.

Logitech Control Center for the Mac – OSX

OK, so for some reason I keep forgetting this. The Mac OSX Logitech control center screws up everything on the Mac. I had just installed it again last weekend and my hot corners stopped working, sub-menus required me to hold down the left click to stay active, and the only way the screen saver would work was based on inactivity timeout.

In hot corner (set for screen saver) or in screen saver test in System Preferences, the screen saver will start for a second or two then stop and return you to the main screen. I played around with it for a week or so then remembered that the Logitech Control Center had caused this exact same issue under Leopard and Snow Leopard. Well seems as though it’s still not fixed. I tried the latest 3.51 this time and it still screwed up the screen saver. If you are having a similar issue go to your Applications-utilities folder and uninstall LCC (Logitech Control Center).

RootKeeper, Droid X2, Root, and the 1.3.418 update

If someone out there has a Droid X2 that may be rooted and the cell provider is trying to push an update on you. Look in the market for an app called Voodoo OTA RootKeeper.

First you would tell it to ‘backup su’ (then a checkbox will be next to the line that says “Protected su copy available”). Then perform a temp un-root, Allow the update to install. When android says the update was successful, launch Voodoo OTA RootKeeper again and tell it to restore/reroot the phone.

Easy as pie…

Ahhhhhh… The smell of fresh science. Pielke introduces a new concept: Linking current events to climate change and the Bullshit button.

Quoted from the Pielke Article:
The full IPCC Special Report on Extremes
is out today, and I have just gone through the sections in Chapter 4
that deal with disasters and climate change. Kudos to the IPCC — they
have gotten the issue just about right, where “right” means that the
report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic. Over
time good science will win out over the rest — sometimes it just takes a
little while.

A few quotable quotes from the report (from Chapter 4):

  • “There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends
    in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or
    anthropogenic climate change”
  • “The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable
    to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and
    extratropical storms and tornados”
  • “The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses”

This quote, however fun it is, does not give you enough info to play with…

Please read the entire article here

Then when done have fun with the rest of his blog… 😉

OSX Lion, Solaris 11 Express, CIFS share errors, NFS share errors, and the AFP napp-it solution

Ok, after all the problems and wrangling trying to get CIFS shares to work reliably with OSX Lion (problems writing to CIFS shares, mainly error 50 etc…). I’ve installed napp-it on the server along with netatalk (there is a default netatalk install in the napp-it howto on the site). I turned off all the SMB/CIFS, iSCSI, and NFS shares (except what I need for my Winderz friends) and moved all my shares to AFP.

Since Lion will no longer let you use  USB drives connected to an Airport Extreme I had to come up with something (I had wrestled with trying to set up time machine on iSCSI, but issues with compatibility from old iSCSI initiators and the cost of the new ones drove me away). So far everything works perfectly, even time machine.

I may post howto’s but since napp-it is reasonably easy to use (a little clunky, but everything is there) I will wait until I see some questions here before I go to the trouble.

Representative Mike Kelly from PA

I don’t know the man, but I like the sentiment.


I’m beginning to think that a major issue with congress is a lack of specific goals and accountability. Where else could you have a job that requires you to finish a task at a specific time, but allows you to extend that time, alter the requirements for the task, or just ignore the task because people won’t like the answer? It would not be an effective way to run any organization.

I am sick of having a government that refuses to be financially responsible (or even to run the country) because they are too busy with partisan political posturing for the media. Many of our elected representatives are currently allowed to play at brinksmanship in order to ensure continuing press coverage (free advertising complete with rhetoric) for their parties. This becomes problematic when it is granted a higher priority than actually getting something done. So if there isn’t time to both waggle your finger in the press and produce legislation, since there is little accountability, Congress gets the option to pick which priority to service. Lately the balance is pretty slanted to finger waggling…

However, I do enjoy the fact that, if they cannot agree on legislation, they cannot spend more of my money than they currently  do…


Virtualbox Ubuntu Linux guest shares via Guest Additions

Ok, I have Linux VM’s running on a Solaris host. One thing I can never find anywhere is instructions on how to mount the shares. It is actually very easy to do.

1. Install the guest additions in the guest.

2. Select the directories you want to share to the guest via the VirtualBox control panel (Settings->Shared Folders).

3. And now the missing piece. On the linux system make your user account part of the vboxsf group, any group that should be able to get to these shares


The shares will appear in the /media folder on my Ubuntu guest prefaced with a “sf_”. So if I share the folder to the guest as Videos, I would find a /media/sf_Videos folder. If you do not add the account in question to the vboxsf group then you will see no files in the folder.

I first ran into this setting up a Plex media server in a guest. Plex could not see any files in the folder, but when you add the plex account to the /etc/group file(example below) it works like a champ.


Solaris Virtualbox host fails install of extension pack

This problem started after I upgraded to the latest Oracle Solaris 11 and tried to install the VirtualBox 4.1.6 update.  When I would go to add the new Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack I would enter a username and password and the install fails.

The current workaround is to use VBoxManage from the command line to install the extension pack.

VBoxManage extpack install <extension file>