Recommended mount options for ext3

The details of the various mount options for the ext3 filesystem are fairly well documented, but as with many things in the Unix world, knowledge is far easier to come by than wisdom. That’s a pithy way of saying that I had to do some digging to find recommendations, as opposed to explanations. So here are my recommendations for ext3 users (which encompasses the majority of the Linux-using world, as far as I can tell).
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Save power and heat: spin down backup drives when idle

Here’s a tip for those of you who, like me, back up your data to hard disks instead of tapes. Backing up to the same hard disk doesn’t protect you much (if the disk failed, you’d lose the data and the backup at once), so presumably you’re backing up to a separate physical drive. That means that the backup drive need not spin 24/7. Instead, it only needs to spin at backup time.
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Retroactively Minimizing Installed Packages on CentOS 5.1

In my CentOS 5.1 Minimal VPS Install Guide I describe how to install a very lean set of OS packages when starting from scratch. But what if the VPS is preinstalled for you by a hosting provider? There will be things preinstalled that you don’t need, which will slow down backups and updates, and waste the relatively tiny amount of disk space that VPS plans offer. So here are some instructions to help you identify and remove packages that you don’t need, when they’ve already been installed.
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Why mod_rails is great for light-duty Rails apps

The Ruby on Rails story is usually presented to the new developer as a wonderful break from tradition that makes a developer’s life so much better than the frameworks of the past. The clattering of skeletons in the closet you’re hearing? Well, that’s because it makes the sysadmin’s life much worse than PHP or Java. That just improved on Friday, with the release of mod_rails. If you’re looking for a way to do shared (or low traffic) hosting of Rails applications, this is for you.
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Sphinx Search init script for Centos 5.1

Sphinx search is pretty new, and as a result I was unable to find a nice convenient package for it for CentOS 5.1. This is problematic since there is no init script included with the source tarball, and the issue of updating the index is the sysadmin and developer’s problem, and cannot be configured to simply update the index when the data changes.
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