Using schroot instead of LXC containers

So, I have been using LXC to host my server services for a period of time, with a view to keeping things portable should I need to change provider. It’s very good in that it’s integrated into the Linux kernel and in Ubuntu at least it’s not too difficult to setup, however there are a number of problems with it.

First and foremost, every time the container operating system upgrades anything to do with init scripts, it won’t boot any more, so you are forced to hold back packages with varying amounts of success. Secondly, there does seem to be some overhead running things in an LXC container, and thirdly it isn’t as portable as it could be i.e. there is no live migration. and you will have to change config files if you move hoster to reflect you new IP address.

As I’m not selling containers as VPS, I only need to run 1 server instance, and therefore don’t really need containerisation at all, enter schroot. Schroot is like chroot without the hassle and with added flexibility, in a nutshell it will mount and start everything correctly for you to the point where you can automate startup and running of services in the chroot, it doesn’t suffer from init script borkage since the init system isn’t used at all, and it’s more portable as networking is irrelevant to a chroot (it simply uses the hosts networking).

Ok so where to start, well if you are already using LXC you can use the directory your container is stored in. I opted to move mine to a sane location before starting, in the interests of convention and easy administration. So, I created a “schroot” directory in the /home directory i.e.

mkdir /home/schroot

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Using a Novatel XUA-1 and X950D in Ubuntu

I read an article recently that suggested using a saucepan as a mobile broadband booster and it peeked my interest enough to give it a try. In case I needed to use my Novatel X950D express card with another machine I had already purchased a Novatel XUA-1 USB to Express Card 36 adapter. This, therefore, gave me a way of placing the modem in the middle of a saucepan, which would be nigh on impossible were the modem in it’s rightful express card slot in the laptop.

Unfortunately, however, due to a production issue at the plant my XUA-1 came wired as “bus powered”, which effectively means it tells the operating system it only has 100ma of power available even though that isn’t true. Subsequently the OS – be it Windows or Linux – won’t then allow the X950D to work in conjunction with the XUA-1.

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