Desktop Linux choices

IBM has an standard internal desktop Linux image called the IBM Open Client. This image is based off the Redhat Enterprise Linux 5 Workstation and includes a set of applications to let folks get real work done. Recently they’ve introduced early-adopter programs for an IBM layer on top of Ubuntu and Fedora. The nice thing about using something besides RHEL is that with Ubuntu and Fedora you’re using much more recent kernel and Gnome versions, among other things. Before this Friday I need to select one of the three choices for a reinstallation – I’m mostly undecided which to use.

I possess 3 IBM-provided computers: a T60p laptop and two desktops all of which are running some flavor of the IBM Open Client. One desktop resides in the IBM Austin lab and facilitates me being able to work off-site by providing a place to drive long-running tests and some remote storage. This machine is currently backlevel running RHEL4 and needs to be upgraded to something a bit more current while I’m in town over Thanksgiving. Whatever I do is going to require reinstalling the OS so there’s no real advantage to just upgrading to the latest IBM Open Client image (RHEL4 to RHEL5 requires a reinstall too).

The lab machine operates more as a server than a desktop and being an older model computer it isn’t as though I need a bleeding edge kernel to make the devices work. The most important part of this machine is that it stay on the network and require zero physical interaction — including as few reinstallations as possible. Some might immediately point to a long-term supported Ubuntu release, and I’ve seriously considered that option. The problem is that for my entire Linux career, I’ve been a Redhat/Fedora user and am very familiar with how those distros do things (file layout, configuration tools, package management, etc) — I’m not certain I want to jump to a Debian distro for a remote machine. I’m leaning towards Fedora 10 and while that’s bleeding-edge as far as IBM tools go I think it will be a few years before it comes outdated and I am unable to get package updates for it (which is where I’m at with three Linux servers that I’m responsible for — something I keep putting off addressing).

At some point I’ll be making a similar decision both for my T60p laptop and my dual-head desktop boxes although what I decide to do with the lab machine has little sway on what I’ll end up using for my day-to-day machines. Part of me is still strongly leaning towards Ubuntu if only to become familiar with it and use an LTS release to reinstall the aforementioned three Linux servers.

Cholesterol update

Friday I had my annual physical and they pulled blood to check my cholesterol levels. And — wow, check it out!

2007-12 150 N/A
2008-06 142 33
2008-08 118 38
2008-11 90 41

I’m actually quite surprised at how low my LDLs are! I almost halved my LDL levels in the course of a year. Looks like I’ll be staying on the niacin and fish-oil pills for the foreseeable future.

Another article published on developerWorks

After waiting for over two months after it was submitted, my second part to ITDS performance troubleshooting was published on developerWorks: Troubleshooting IBM Tivoli Directory Server Performance, Part 2: Resolving slow queries using DB2 snapshots.

Part 1 was released back in July. I had considered doing a Part 3 discussing performance troubleshooting with respect to regular maintenance but if it happens I won’t be writing it until early next year.

Flatirons steps up – gays welcome to serve

Today I had a meeting with Jim Burgen, the head pastor at Flatirons Community Church. The meeting was to discuss and answer the question: Are gay individuals allowed to serve at Flatirons?

The answer, in short, is yes.

The answer, in greater length, is still yes :) Flatirons is committed to being a welcoming church to everyone who is searching for God’s will for their lives. Note that it isn’t a “we’re welcoming until we find out who you are” church, but a “come as you are, together we’ll search for God’s will for our lives” church. While Jim and I disagree with some what the Bible says about homosexuality, that doesn’t prevent us from worshiping and learning together. Moreover, the important factor is that Flatirons “isn’t going to cherry pick the ‘top 5 sins’ and use those as a guide on who can serve and who can’t”, to paraphrase a segment of the conversation. Jim’s message last week (MP3 of message) is particularly relevant as well – I’m sorry I missed it in person.

Here’s a to-the-point FAQ regarding gays at Flatirons based on my conversation with Jim:

  • Are gay people welcome in the church? Yes.
  • Are gay people free to be themselves in the church? Yes.
  • Can I be open about my partner/husband/significant other at church? Yes.
  • You mean I’m free to introduce my partner/husband/significant other as such to individuals in the church? Yes.
  • Am I allowed to serve? Yes, if you are otherwise qualified. (eg: no luddites in the sound booth, interpreters must be able to interpret, etc)
  • Does Flatirons support the “gay lifestyle” and gay marriage? No, and probably not.
  • Is Flatirons gay friendly? By my definition, yes.
  • Is Flatirons gay affirming? By my definition, no. (and I’m perfectly OK with that )

Overall I felt very good about the conversation and the outcome. It was everything that I had hoped for. The fact that Jim took time out of his crazy schedule to meet with me conveys to me how important it was to him that Flatirons be a welcoming, inclusive church.

I look forward to getting involved with the Deaf ministry, barring transportation issues, and continuing to meet and get to know other Flatironers.

Roasted on my birthday

As part of my birthday present this year, Benjamin coordinated a Roast. In Benjamin’s own words (via his email sent out to friends):

I am planning on putting together either a slide show or a “roast” activity for the party. (For those who don’t know what a “roast” is…. It’s basically a time for people to share their favorite/funniest/most sincere stories about that person.) I will then present Casey with these stories on each of your behalves. So – if you wish to participate (there’s no obligation) please send me those stories no later than this Wednesday November 5. I would really appreciate it, and I KNOW that it would mean the world to him if he could at least “hear” from you on his birthday.

Many people responded. Benjamin collated all the responses together, placed them on note cards, and brought them to the dinner. During dinner folks would select a card and read it out loud. It was amazing to hear these stories and perspectives from friends and family. At first I was concerned that some of the stories would bore some of the friends at the table but instead they were interested to learn about a side of me they hadn’t seen before!

I’ve reproduced a copy of all the responses for the Roast that were sent to Benjamin below in semi-chronological order in which they were received.

Keep in mind that these are just the folks that responded to the Roast, it doesn’t include the many birthday cards, emails, phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages that I received! All combined this was one of my best birthdays ever due in no small part to all of you and my wonderful husband.
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