I’ve been looking at virtualisation recently – both for use within my group and for wider use with the company.

We need to be able to handle Windows VMs as well as proper operating systems, so unfortunately things like Open VZ or its commercial cousin Virtuozzo are not an option, which pretty much leaves Xen (both the Linux distribution hosted version and the Xensource packaged version) and VMWare. Live migration of VMs would be useful, although for its overkill for our group requirements (but having it means we can test how things work in a clustered environment with migration, so its down as a really want if not a must have).

The Xensource packaged Xen versions – we’re evaluating Xen Enterprise – are interesting but appear a little early in their development at present, and have poor SAN/storage options and no current live migration support. VMWare is the most flexible, polished and capable – its also by far the most expensive. Xen running under a Linux distribution (intention is to use Centos 5) has yet to be tested.

More work to see what else is good needs to be done here….


Handling Mail


I pretty much live by email. I’ve been using it for around 25 years now, and have had good access to internet email for close on 20 years. I’ve been on open development mailing lists for all of that time, and have at times been receiving many hundreds (if not thousands) of messages a day.

I obviously don’t read all those messages – not in detail – and since I maintain a bunch of machines that send all sorts of general notification mail, much of it is glanced at (ie just look at sender and subject) and either ignored or deleted.

All this mail means I have strategies in place to cope with it – for at least 15 years all my incoming mail has been sorted by incoming filters and dropped into appropriate mailboxes. List mail is filed in a folder for the list it comes from, admin email is sorted into a few categories, expected commercial mail is also sorted etc. And that rarest of commodities, real personal mail, hits my inbox (or one of the 4 inboxes I currently use).

During my period of using Email I have used elm, NeXTMail, MH, exmh, evolution and finally

I have to admit that I am really conflicted with Apple’s Mail. One the one hand it does a lot of stuff really well (searching for example), and there are some really neat extensions – for example
MailTags is great. But the foundations seem a little shakey.

Somewhere deep in its heart, Mail is a basic POP client – it does IMAP, but even though it handles this to a higher standard than many mail clients, it still isn’t really happy with the concept of lots of folders which other things can manipulate.

For example, the
rules mechanisms seem to handle mail that was delivered somewhere other than the Inbox poorly – sometimes they don’t filter it, sometimes they do.

Obviously for me, since 99% of my mail goes nowhere near my Inbox, this is a problem. And one I need to work on further…