Big Brother help

Purple Problems

This question is asked in one form or another so often that it's getting it's own help file.

In the outside world when things go bad, they turn green. Well, green is good here. In the world of Big Brother, when things go bad, things turn purple.

Of course the only things we have are reports, and purple means they're over 30 minutes old. This indicates that the remote client has stopped sending reports, possibly because either BB or the machine has stopped working. If all network tests turn purple, check if the script is hung. Sometimes, on certain OSes, ping will freeze and prevent from continuing (if that's the case and your OS is RedHat 7.X, add "-w3" in PINGPAR1 of etc/bbsys.local. Note that this may also happen on SUSE or Mandrake Linux)

The background is purple, where's the purple dot?

It is possible to have a purple background without seeing any purple dots on screen. How?

The main BB display bb.html is generated based on the information contained in the etc/bb-hosts file. However, the background color is determined from the contents of the status logs (in the $BBLOGS directory), so it's possible they're out of sync. This happens when:

  • A host is removed from the bb-hosts file
  • A host is renamed in the bb-hosts file
  • FQDN is enabled or disabled

Essentially, when then host file changes, the report names change, and the old reports are left behind, become stale, and go purple.

To see the offending entries, hit the "Condended View" button , and the purple dots should magically appear.

How do I get rid of these old reports?

Once you know the name of the offending files, it's pretty easy to get rid of them. Remove all files with that name from the following directories(location of BBLOGS/BBHIST/BBHISTLOGS found in $BBHOME/etc/

  • $BBLOGS - this is the only one that really matters
  • $BBHIST - these are just to be tidy
  • www/html
You can use the bin/bbrm script to accomplish this task for you.

When I click on a purple dot, it's not purple any more

This can happen with any color dot, actually. The Big Brother display is just a snapshot of all the status reports in the $BBLOGS directory at the time posted on screen.

New reports are coming in all the time, and if a report with a different status comes in after the display screen was generated, the color won't be the same. Remember that when you click on a dot, you always get the newest report. This new condition should be reflected the next time the Big Brother main display is regenerated, in five minutes or so.

Why doesn't Big Brother remove the old files itself?

The philosophy behind Big Brother is to Monitor and Notify, but don't Act. Big Brother can't tell the difference between a status report that is old because of a change to the bb-hosts file, versus a legitimate problem report. So, to be safe, and not to miss anything, BB treats the old report as a problem, and turns the screen purple.

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