Thursday, July 22, 2010

The P*ssed Off Blog - Munin

I now update this blog rarely, and the only time I will probably write here is when I'm COMPLETELY P*SSED OFF with some software or other. And today it's Munin, a program to profile server, like network and CPU usage etc...

It seems like a great program, and worked great on my local VM which is running an old-ish version of Ubuntu (Hardy Heron, 8.04) and version 1.2.5 of Munin in Synaptic. I had it up and running in minutes thanks to this article.

Of course, you might have an idea what's coming; it's what happens with most great software programs: the programmers don't know when to STOP F*CKING AROUND WITH IT and start adding/removing features and generally making something that "just worked" into a friggin' nightmare to use.

After I installed Munin (1.4.4) on the latest version of Ubuntu (Lynx, 10), I ran into problems trying to run it. Unhelpfully, when trying to run Munin as root, it comes up with the message "this program will break if you run it as 'root'...". Jesus, I'm not some n00b. Anybody who wants to run something like Munin is not a casual computer user, and knows the problems associated with running everything as root. But no, the programmers of Munin obviously think they know better and want to protect us from ourselves (and getting any work done).

The older version of Munin has a switch (--force-root) to over-ride this. But that was too helpful so THEY'VE TAKEN IT OUT. Thanks a lot. The message does come with some help: "run it as user 'munin'". Erm, ANY CLUE AS TO WHAT THE PASSWORD MIGHT BE? No? Thanks for nothing. I've tried "munin" and blank, but no joy and Google doesn't seem to be able to help me either. I'm not even sure that would work anyway, as the file referred to in the "permission denied" error I get is owned by root. So do I have to chmod loads of seemingly random files to allow user 'munin' to edit them? Surely that's no way to have a secure system?

So to sum up, I got the older version working in about 5 minutes, but so far I've spent a couple of hours on the new version and got nowhere. Thanks, munin programmers, for taking Munin backwards. I won't be using Munin again, but that's more because I COULDN'T IF I WANTED TO than due to any principles and animosity.