This is going to be very short and sweet as it is primarily just a note to self. I stuggled with getting outbound mail delivery working for some time and finally got it all figured out. Using Exim4 for mail sending I did the following:

I heartily recommend Exim4. I find it to be BY FAR the easiest/best email server for “send only” operations. It is a full MTA so you don’t need to rely on outside relays (gmail is commonly used with things like phpsendmail). Being a full MTA means that it can do a lot more but I haven’t ventured into using it for that and it is outside of the scope of this short article.

It should be noted that I am working on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Server, however this will probably work on any debian variant of linux.

RHEL, Centos, Slackware, etc… go elsewhere.

So, if you need direct, send-only mail operations from your server, then here is a quick one liner for installing AND CONFIGURING Exim4: (more…)

I wrote a new script today to keep me up-to-date on how full the boot partition is on my Ubuntu servers. I actually administer quite a few of them and it can become a real issue if the boot drive hits 100% full, which it commonly does. The reason for this is that the boot partition by default is quite small (usually under 200 MB) and will fill up, often over the course of only a few months, with kernel files.

I have seen some servers carry on just fine when this occurs, I have also seen other servers exhibit some really odd behavior. Either way, it is best avoided.

The problem (and the blessing) is that Ubuntu Server is Linux… which means it requires very little administrative intervention month to month because (unlike another well-known and much used server platform) Linux tends to just work and work and work and work.

Very early on I went in for a job interview in IT. At the time I was a freshly minted MCITP, and knew very little about anything outside of Microsoft. The gentleman interviewing me asked me what my experience with Linux was, to which I replied “very little.” He then thought for a moment and said, “Well that really doesn’t matter, we have several Linux servers and the primary issue we run into is that we forget about them for 3 – 5 years until a power supply or spinning disk dies.”

That sums up most Linux setups in a nutshell. All that to say, it legitimately might be several months in-between administrative server logins. A fact which most admins are quite thrilled about.

When I started realizing that Ubuntu Server was going to require regular intervention, albeit fairly lightweight stuff, I was a bit bummed. It probably isn’t a horrible thing, rock solid stability aside it is still a good idea to login now and again to keep your software packages up to date. However that tendency to “set it and forget it” remains.

Long story short, I needed an automated alert system.

Solution, a shell script running as a cron job that will shoot me an email.

If you are following along, we are now going to dive in to the practical instruction bit. (more…)