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Smooth upgrade to Ubuntu 8.04 LTS on my Linode

A few days ago I upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04 LTS on my Linode VM (the machine which hosts this blog). I had upgraded to 7.10 a while back, so it was unlikely to be much of a challenge… But it was great to see another very smooth upgrade, without any manual workarounds required at all.

While the packages were downloading, I noticed a few coming from universe, but fewer than I had expected. I try not to use universe stuff on my mission-critical server, but some things are just too good to live without. Perhaps they’re candidates for main inclusion?

So, here’s some of the universe stuff I can’t live without on my server, excluding supporting libraries:

  • collectd: Totally awesome “just works” system information collection and graphing tool. No more dicking around with nightmare configuration of Cacti and friends — collectd comes with a bunch of useful and sensible plugins that are ready-to-go for common graphing tasks. collectd has a vote of confidence from the Red Hat Emerging Technology folks, so you know it’s good. :-)
  • libapache2-redirtoservname: Convenience module for making sure you’re always redirecting to the primary domain name for your websites — with only one line in your VirtualHost configuration. Here’s how easy it is to use:
    RedirectToServerName On
  • rtorrent: Simply the best terminal-based torrent client.
  • php5-xcache: Opcode caching for PHP. Handy when running lots of PHP gash.
  • mailgraph: Lets me know how much spam I’m killing, and email I’m suffering. :-) See mailgraph on for a great example of mailgraph in action.

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  1. I kinda wish more internet-facing, likely to have on a server software wasn’t in Universe. Things like wordpress, which get a lot of security updates from the upstream authors that don’t seem to get into the distro make me quite nervous running on Ubuntu server.

  2. Those universe packages may be just “recommendations” that apt decided to install, there’re commnand lines to avoid them (and with deborphan you can look which ones are not dependencies)

  3. @Diego: I use apt-get, not aptitude, so I don’t get recommends by default.

    The rest of the universe packages installed on my server are either dependencies of the packages mentioned above, or extra stuff I added for manually installed software (such as a few Python things).