Adding Workflows to the Installation Guides

One of the elements that I have wanted to add to the installation chapter for some time has been some flowcharts to make understanding the steps required to successfully complete an installation on various platforms. The Windows one is the most interesting, because not only do we have the installer, but we also have the MySQL Server Instance Config Wizard which has its own sequence of steps to configure an instance of the server. I’m still working out and refining the examples and the graphics, but here is an example of the config wizard output:


Hopefully the full suite of images will be in the documentation shortly – all comments and input welcome.

Leopard Wiki Server: Creating Custom Themes

The Wiki component in Leopard Server is designed to be ready to run and use for all your workgroup needs, but for those who need to customize the look and feel of their Wiki environment may find a new article on creating custom themes helpful: From the article:

Wiki Server, a part of Mac OS X Leopard Server, provides this wiki functionality to all users with access to the server. Individual groups can tap into Wiki Server to create their own wikis and customize the look and feel of the wiki to suit both their content and audience. By creating their own personal wiki theme, Wiki users can apply their own style and identity to the wiki, in addition to supplying their own content.

Read: ADC—Leopard Wiki Server: Creating Custom Themes

Saving money with open source, Part 2: Tap into the power of OpenOffice

The second part of the series on saving money using open source technology looks at OpenOffice, a complete Office software suite comprising word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation package, among other tools. From the intro:

On the desktop, the operating system and environment are less important than the applications that support the main operating functions for your office. Your business drives your application requirements, but most businesses will also use an office suite, such as OpenOffice, to support their core operations.The OpenOffice suite is open source, freely available, and completely compatible with a wide range of different office suites, including Microsoft Office. It’s a compatible product, both in terms of file readability and usage, and you can try out OpenOffice with no barriers.

Read: Saving money with open source, Part 2: Tap into the power of OpenOffice

Rebuilding the installation chapter

We have lots of things on the go right now (over and above the normal process of keeping things up to date), and one of the main projects for me is to do a complete rebuild of the installation chapter (Installing and Upgrading MySQL). I’ll be starting with the 5.1 manual, then the 5.4 manual. Any future manuals should be based on these so we should be up to date for future generations. What I’m doing:

  • Re-structuring the chapter to make it easier to follow on a platform basis. The old structure mixed content for different binary and source types, and different platforms, across a number of sections, making it very difficult to follow the instructions for your chosen platform.
  • Make some things generic. There are sections which are generic and apply to all (or at least many) different installation types.
  • Make some things more specific. Equally, there are some things that need to be spelled out more uniquely.
  • Remove some old, old, advice. We have notes in there going back 10 years or more. Among the favorite examples I’ve found is a piece of advice that says ‘If your machine has more than 16MB of RAM…’. These things are not helpful in the manual, and may just serve to confuse some people.
  • Remove some older platforms. Some of the platforms and advice go back and predate MySQL 5.1, and even MySQL 5.0 and 4.1. In many cases the OS information is for a system either no longer actively developed or supported (FreeBSD 3.x, or Solaris 2.5, for example). Again, we want to remove some ambiguous and potentially confusing information and advice here for platforms which we simply can no longer monitor.
  • Make it easier to keep up to date. The problem with the old organic structure is that knowing where to add new content, improvements, extensions, etc. becomes harder and harder. by merging and unifying the structure we will improve this, and in turn, improve the ability to find information.

In practice that means for at least the next month or so you will see a number of improvements and restructuring in the installation chapter for 5.1 and later manuals. I already have a list of about 35 items that need to be addressed, over and above the list above, but feel free to provide any additional suggestions and I’ll see what I can do to fit them in.

Saving money with open source, Part 1: Use the Ubuntu operating system

I completed a series earlier this year on using various tools within the open source world that can save you money in place of spending money on commercial products and licenses. The first article looks at the Ubuntu Linux distribution. From the intro:

Part 1 discusses Ubuntu, a community developed Linux-based operating system for laptops, desktops, and servers. Ubuntu contains many applications: a Web browser; presentation, document, and spreadsheet software; instant messaging; and much more. This article explores Ubuntu’s:

  • Benefits
  • Updates and stability
  • Desktop version
  • Compatibility and integration
  • Hardware support

Read: Saving money with open source, Part 1: Use the Ubuntu operating system}

UNIX network performance analysis

In a follow-up to an article I did earlier this year on analyzing the structure and layout of your network using ping and other tools, I’ve written another article on similar lines, this time looking at how to monitor and then report on the performance of your network and how to identify and diagnose problems.

Knowing your UNIX network layout will go a long way with understanding your network and how it operates. But what happens when the performance of your UNIX network and the speed at which you can transfer files or connect to services suddenly reduces? How do you diagnose the issues and work out where in your network the problems lie? This article looks at some quick methods for finding and identifying performance issues and the steps to start resolving them.

Read: UNIX network performance analysis