Routine Kernel Update Today, Downtime

Today, the Debian Package Maintainers pushed through a routine kernel update, to version ‘3.16.0-4-amd64‘ . Even though this machine is a Linux computer, this update required a reboot. Further, I take the unusual step of hosting my Web-site and blog on my own server at home.

This implies that the Web-site was offline briefly, more specifically from about 13h05 until 13h15. I cannot display a Maintenance Mode Page during such an event, because doing so would still require that my Web-server be online.

However, because everything about this update went smoothly, the interruption to the system processes had a duration closer to 5 minutes than to 10 minutes. I did not notice any malfunctions.

Oh yes, this also caused my local cache to get flushed (‘memcached‘), for which reason access to the favorite postings of the readers will remain a bit sluggish for the next day or so.



Routine Update to my Apache Server Today

As I have written many times, I host my Web-site and blog on my own server, from home. The actual Web-server is a complex piece of software called ‘Apache’.

Today, a set of updates was pushed through the Debian repositories, specifically to this server. This update meant that I was briefly offline from about 20h15 until 20h17.

My site is up again, and this time around, there was never any need for me to restart my caching daemon, for which reason the response of my server to the routine queries by readers should not be slowed down.




Routine Theme Update Today

Any reader of my blog will notice, that I did not code this HTML by hand. I use bundled software named “WordPress”, and I use a version of it similar to what is offered at This blogging tool is very sophisticated – in my opinion – and extensible through plug-ins and other extensions. I can install updates and extensions, even though my version of the core engine is a Debian / Linux -packaged, localized version.

One of the features of any one blog is its Theme. Though not a plug-in, the Theme plays an important role. It defines the general ‘look and feel’ of any one blog, thereby defining the general layout in the browser of the reader. It is also the Theme, which will determine how easy or difficult it may be, to read a blog on a mobile device – given that many people no longer connect to the Internet as much as they used to, using a PC or even a laptop.

I use the TwentyFifteen theme. Just today, it received an Update, from version 1.6 to 1.7 . As far as I can tell, this update took place without incident, and should not affect your reading experience in any way.

Yet, there was one step which I needed to take during this update. I needed to flush the cache I provide with ‘memcached’. This was to prevent readers from receiving any HTML fragments, which would still have belonged to Theme version 1.6 . Therefore, because of this cache restart – on my server, not on your browser – the response to some of the queries of the reader will be a tad slower for several days, since it is the cache on my server, which accelerates the output of specific HTML, which was already formed the last time the same article was requested from my server.



Akonadi Server Update Successful Today

My Linux computers have PIM Software installed (…Personal Information Management), which is implemented with the KDE Desktop Manager, through a service which runs in user-space, called ‘Akonadi’. This service allows personal information to be synchronized across several platforms, including Google, Given the wishes of the user.

The most common way in which Akonadi is installed, is with its MySQL back-end for storing information locally, and doing so enables the software developers to run an instance of the MySQL database server, not as a system service, but by default as a localized instance, that accesses the folders of one user and only requires the user-name of one user.

According to this earlier posting, an update to the MySQL software itself, broke this way in which Akonadi works – probably because Debian developers did not coordinate that update with KDE developers. According to what I had written there, the system-wide package ‘mysql-server‘ needed to be installed, that also launches the system-wide daemon, before the form of it localized for use with Akonadi would run again. This upset the way I had installed my Laptop ‘Klystron’, where I had previously not thought it necessary to install the system-wide server, to enjoy the use of Akonadi.

Just this evening, KDE developers and Debian / Jessie package maintainers pushed through an update to several Akonadi-related packages, which I installed using my package manager. When we do this, user processes such as Akonadi are not restarted automatically, since in doing that, the package-manager would also break the current session.

And so what I needed to do in order to apply the update, was just to log out of my current, graphical desktop session, and log back in again.

But according to this earlier posting, there has been a history as well, of such attempted log-outs hanging, leaving just the mouse-pointer showing, and leading to no further, apparent progress in actually logging out. So, as of October 21, I had enabled the <Ctrl>+<Alt>+Backspace key-combination on all the desktop sessions, which needs to be arranged before the desktop session is started, so that I would effectively be able just ‘to blow away the current session’, in case a log-out hangs again.

This time around, while I was performing the log-out, my procedure did hang again, leaving me waiting for a few minutes, taking from 19h55 until 20h05 in total. But I did use the <Ctrl>+<Alt>+Backspace key-combination, to hasten the restart of the X-server, which meant that I was not forced to reboot the computer.

This turned the update into a Success, because system services such as the Apache Web-server and ‘memcached‘, and the system-wide MySQL database server, did not need to be restarted. And as a result, there was no disruption in any form to the blog or to my site.


Now, Because I have the system-providing mysql-server package installed already both on my Laptop, as well as on this server-box ‘Phoenix’, I cannot tell whether this update did in fact fix that issue. Also, I cannot be sure that the update was meant to fix that issue. All I know, is that nothing is broken as it stands, and no services were disrupted.