Posts Tagged ‘architecture’

Fix “init: Id “ad” respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes” – Reload /etc/inittab changes in memory apply without rebooting Linux server

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

Reading Time: 5minutes

inittab-logo-reload-inittab-without-reboot

During my daily sysadmin tasks I've been contacted by a colleague, reporting issues with missing logs in rsyslog on a very old Redhat Server release 5.11.
Exact version is:

root@linux-server:~# cat /etc/redhat-release
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 5.11 (Tikanga)

After checking the logs, I have confirmed his finding that in reality since about more than a year logs were not produced and al I could find multiple messages in /var/log/messages reading like:

init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes

I've checked the status of rsyslog which seemed to be fine

root@linux-server:~# /etc/init.d/rsyslog status
rsyslogd (pid  13709) is running…

The redhat version on the system was

root@linux-server:~# rpm -qa |grep -i rsyslog
rsyslog-3.22.1-7.el5

 

root@linux-server:~# tail -n 16 /var/log/messages
Apr 15 17:21:25 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 17:26:26 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 17:31:27 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 17:36:28 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 17:41:29 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 17:46:30 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 17:51:31 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 17:56:32 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 18:01:33 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 18:06:34 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 18:11:35 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 18:16:38 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 18:21:39 linux-server init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes

 

root@linux-server:~# /etc/init.d/rsyslog status
rsyslogd (pid  13709) is running…

Since the system is so old and I've seen this message and experienced this "respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes" myself in the past on some old Redhat 6.0 before RHEL was born as well as on Slackware Linux. The /etc/inittab which is nowadays obsoleted in newer Linux distributions was used to keep respawing a processes which have the chance to die out for some reason. 

For those unfamiliar with inittab there is a short extract from man inittab to get idea what it is.

 

NAME
       inittab  –  format of the inittab file used by the sysv-compatible init
       process

DESCRIPTION
       The inittab file describes which processes are started  at  bootup  and
       during  normal  operation  (e.g. /etc/init.d/boot, /etc/init.d/rc, get-
       tys…).  Init(8) distinguishes multiple runlevels, each of  which  can
       have  its  own  set of processes that are started.  Valid runlevels are
       0-6 plus A, B, and C for ondemand entries.  An  entry  in  the  inittab
       file has the following format:

              id:runlevels:action:process
 

So for example the use of /etc/inittab was very handy to configure a separate TTY12 (physical console) in the text environment of Linux to log all your messages. Another good use if you had a bash / perl / python script that you wanted to respawn (resurrect itself if it does out) on OS level without adding additional software like Dan Bernstein's all famous daemontools inittab was the right thing to use. It is a pity nowadays inittab is obsoleted in modern Linux OSes but the most likely reason to remove it is if you put some broken script that overeats CPU or memory if it runs multiple times you can easily get into a hung system.

Thus the logical thing to do is to check /etc/inittab content for any strange issues with less /etc/inittab and near the end of file found the problematic process which was triggering a never ending error messages to rsyslog and the module to protect from such messages in rsyslog by values $SystemLogRateLimitInterval and $SystemLogRateLimitBurst

# configure rsyslog rate limiting
# Rate-limiting
$SystemLogRateLimitInterval 5
$SystemLogRateLimitBurst 50000

The problem causing respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes

Was an old version of TivSM IBM Tivoli Service Manager /opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/dsmc, set in the past in /etc/inittab it seems some colleague after updating to a more recent version has either changed the location of dsmc binary either the architecture of old tsm itself required a record in /etc/inittab in case if for some reasons or bugs the dsmc during backup creation was dying.

root@linux-server:~# tail -8 /etc/inittab
6:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty tty6

# Run xdm in runlevel 5
x:5:respawn:/etc/X11/prefdm -nodaemon

#ad:2345:respawn:/opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/dsmc sched >/dev/null 2>&1

root@linux-server:~# rpm -qa |grep -i tivsm
TIVsm-API-5.3.4-0
TIVsm-stagent-5.3.4-0
TIVsm-BA-5.3.4-0
TIVsm-API64-5.3.4-0


The logical thing to do was to check whether this binary exist at all here is the result:

root@linux-server:~$ ls -al /opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/dsmc
ls: /opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/dsmc: No such file or directory

Obviously someone decided to comment out the inittab support for /opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/dsmc as the binary was not present and the dsmc backup was executed via a separate one time cron job or the service itself was configured to run continue, but forgot to reread its configuration so in the kernel memory inittab was still having the instruction to loop over the dsmc binary, since the Linux machine was not rebooted ages (1472 days) or 4.8 years time.

root@linux-server:~#  uname -a; echo; uptime
Linux linux-server2.6.18-419.el5 #1 SMP Wed Feb 22 22:40:57 EST 2017 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

 19:04:34 up 1472 days,  5:20,  1 user,  load average: 0.12, 0.07, 0.06


So what really happens is <b>inittab</b> is trying to kind of re-run all the time dsmc process in a similar way like it would in a bash never ending loop;


while [ 1 ]; do 
/opt/tivoli/tsm/client/ba/bin/dsmc sched
done

Since the $PATH location to the binary returns 'No such file or directory' message this message floods up the rsyslog every second which triggers the LimitBurst protection of rsyslog causing rsyslog to disable completely logging for 5 minutes. The next 5 minutes when the time expires for blocking out logging due to reached limit burst.
dsmc binary sends again few ten thousand of messages for few seconds which are already waiting in a queue of rsyslog and the LimitBurst anti DDoS protection activates again. The reason for the LimitBurst is simply because if it logging is not disabled quickly the repeating message is going to fill the hard drive of the system and noone will be able to login. So rsyslog activated the good protection.

It seems noone from support colleagues, never ever noticed this init: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes in /var/log/messages. So since the syslog was continuesly blocked by overflow of non-sense messages, systems  normal logging was interruped and respectively prevented any other meaningful error messages and warnings from the system to get properly logged  and perhaps flooed the remote rsyslog logging servers @logging-servers:514 in /etc/rsyslog.conf


Fix to respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes

Very simply make /etc/inittab get reloaded in memory with:

root@linux-server:~# /sbin/init q

or with the linked telnet, which was so much used by us sys admins in the past

root@linux-server:~# /sbin/telinit q

To make the rsyslog suspension disabled of course we need to restart it again.

root@linux-server:~# /etc/init.d/rsyslog restart

root@linux-server:~# /etc/init.d/rsyslog status
rsyslogd (pid  13710) is running…

And Voila logs from services are being delivered normally via configured stuff in /etc/rsyslog.conf, to make sure this is so:

root@linux-server:~# tail -8 /var/log/messages
Apr 15 14:36:29 linux-serverinit: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 14:41:37 linux-serverinit: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 14:51:22 linux-serverinit: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 14:56:30 linux-serverinit: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 15:01:38 linux-serverinit: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 15:06:45 linux-serverinit: Id "ad" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes
Apr 15 18:21:49 linux-server init: Re-reading inittab
Apr 15 18:21:54 linux-server kernel: imklog 3.22.1, log source = /proc/kmsg started.
Apr 15 18:21:54 linux-server rsyslogd: [origin software=”rsyslogd” swVersion=”3.22.1″ x-pid=”13709″ x-info=”http://www.rsyslog.com”] (re)start
Apr 15 18:41:54 linux-server rsyslogd: — MARK —
Apr 15 19:01:54 linux-server rsyslogd: — MARK —
Apr 15 19:21:54 linux-server rsyslogd: — MARK —
Apr 15 19:41:54 linux-server rsyslogd: — MARK —
Apr 15 20:01:54 linux-server rsyslogd: — MARK —

How to configure VIVACOM 3g USB ( internet ) modem HUAWEI Mobile broadband E173 on Debian and Ubuntu GNU / Linux

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Reading Time: 5minutes

sakis3g-configure-usb-modem-kdialog-shot

I've been given a HUAWEI Mobile Broadband E173 USB 3g model. The USB modem contains a flash USB Storage segment storing a little install program dedicated to make the modem work fine on Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / 7 and probably other M$ OSes. I'm a long time DebianGNU / Linux user and as a free software enthusiast I ofcourse wanted to be able to use Vivacom's 3G USB Modem on my Linux powered notebook.

Thanksfully as I've red on Vivacom's website the modem supports Linux OS 🙂

For those unaware in Bulgaria there are currently 3 major GSM network providers providing 3G internet this are;;;
 

  • VIVACOM – The ex Government ran national company BTC (Bulgarian Telecommunication Company)
  • M-Tel – The first GSM network provider that entered Bulgaria around year 1995
  • GLOBUL – The 3rd and last GSM mobile and net provider entered last and not so much used by Bulgarians today

Until today I had no experience in running any 3G modems on Linux, neither I had used the 3 networks 3G internet to determine which one is best, however I've been given for temporal use a VIVACOM 3G internet modem today so I proceeded to try installing it on my Debian host.

My Linux system is a bit strangely configured as I use wicd network connection manager -( wicd-gtk ) to manage wireless and LAN connections instead of the standard installed GNOME network manager – available through package ( network-manager-gnome ).

The reason I use wicd is not that it is so much better than GNOME network manger but rather for historical reasons because few years past I had impression it works better in connecting me to wireless networks. Another reason why I choosed wicd back then was the nice looking stats …

I tried plugging in the Vivacom USB 3G modem stick and checked in wicd to see if I can see a possibility to connect to the mobile opeartor 3G network but unfortunately nothing appeared.

Though the 3G adsl modem was unavailable straing in wicd, checking about it in the list of attached USB devices I could see it detected, e.g.:

noah:~# lsusb |grep -i huawei
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 12d1:1c05 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

This was at least a good sign pointing me to the thoughts that the modem is probably gonna work.

I did a quick Google search to see if other people succeded running the device on a Linux host and came across a few blog posts in Bulgarian explaining a "success story" on Ubuntu Linux through using a tweakened shell script – sakis3g. For more on how the script works and script download check out Sakis3g

Here is a quote from sakis3g's website describing the script:
 

It automagically setups your USB or Bluetooth™ modem, and may even detect operator settings.
You should try it when anything else fails!

Sakis3g has different versions designed for for plenty of spacific hware architectures i.e. for (i386, amd64, armv4t, armv5t).
There is also a version of the script which by the way contains a combination of bash shell scripting instruction and some binary exec data.

To run sakis3g on my laptop I did:

1. Download sakis3g

My notebook architecture is 64 bit so I download and used the amd64 version of the script;;;

hipo@noah:~$ mkdir sakis3g
hipo@noah:~$ cd sakis3g
hipo@noah:~/sakis3g$ wget http://www.sakis3g.org/versions/latest/amd64/sakis3g.gz

I've made also a mirror of sakis3g i386, 64 bit and all architecture the mirrors just in case it disappears in future. The mirror versions of sakis3g are here:

a. sakis3g i386b. sakis3g amd64c. sakis3g all architectures source

2. Unarchive and make it executable

After downloading it as it is in gzip I had to do the usual de-gzipping and making the file executable;;;

hipo@noah:~/sakis3g$ /bin/gzip -d sakis3g.gz
hipo@noah:~/sakis3g$ chmod +x sakis3g

The script is then ready to run by either clicking twice on it or (as I prefer for debugging reasons to run it in terminal):

hipo@noah:~$ ./sakis3g

Something that I have wondered a bit was the dialog where I had to fill in some data of some variable APN abbreviation for – (Access Point Name)

The APN host for VIVACOM mobile internet is;;;
APN: internet.vivacom.bg

I've used the Windows configuration progrma to gather also the following data that I thought might be important for configuring the 3G adsl modem on the Linux host;;;

Auth: *99#
User: VIVACOM
pass: VIVACOM

Here are all the configuration screenshots I've taken from sakis3g and all the data that I filled in.
Next the following tiny window appeared on screen:

Sakis3g configure usb modem kdialog shot 1VIVACOM USB Modem Sakis 3g Shot 2sakis 3g usb modem vivacom connect screenshot 2vivacom 3g modem linux sakis3g enter pin dialog shot 4Sending pin screenshot 5 sakis3gAPN Dialog sakis3g screenshot 6sakis3g Internet Linux VIVACOM screenshot 7sakis3g Debian GNU Linux VIVACOM 3g Internet screenshot 8sakis3g initializing modem screenshot 9sakis3g successful connect to VIVACOM mobile 3g usb adls modem shot 10

Well that's all folks, now sakis3g succesfully connected to the I_net via an (PPP) VPN connection tunnel here is data from ifconfig command showing the succesful 3G connection to VIVACOM;;;

noah:~# /sbin/ifconfig ppp0
ppp0 Link encap:Point-to-Point Protocol
inet addr:10.58.146.232 P-t-P:10.64.64.64 Mask:255.255.255.255
UP POINTOPOINT RUNNING NOARP MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
RX packets:2066 errors:1 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:1609 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:3
RX bytes:2232058 (2.1 MiB) TX bytes:341693 (333.6 KiB)

The internet via the 3G connection is not blazing fast but good enough to check your mail or read some webpages. VIVACOM currently has different (traffic limited packages) for their 3G internet, I'm not sure which package exactly is the 3G USB stick modem but probably the "quick" internet connection that is now would slow down once the traffic limit is reached …
Hope this post helps someone to configure 3G internet on VIVACOM in Debian and Ubuntu Linux. Though I've tested sakis3g on Debian it should work with no hassles on any other GNU Linux distribution that has bash installed.

Fix “Approaching the limit on PV entries, consider increasing either the vm.pmap.shpgperproc or the vm.pmap.pv_entry_max tunable.” in FreeBSD

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes

bsdinstall-newboot-loader-menu-pv_entries_consider_increasing_vm_pmap_shpgrepproc

I'm running FreeBSD with Apache and PHP on it and I got in dmesg (kernel log), following error:

freebsd# dmesg|grep -i vm.pmap.shpgperproc
Approaching the limit on PV entries, consider increasing either the vm.pmap.shpgperproc or the vm.pmap.pv_entry_max tunable.
Approaching the limit on PV entries, consider increasing either the vm.pmap.shpgperproc or the vm.pmap.pv_entry_max tunable.
Approaching the limit on PV entries, consider increasing either the vm.pmap.shpgperproc or the vm.pmap.pv_entry_max tunable.
Approaching the limit on PV entries, consider increasing either the vm.pmap.shpgperproc or the vm.pmap.pv_entry_max tunable.
Approaching the limit on PV entries, consider increasing either the vm.pmap.shpgperproc or the vm.pmap.pv_entry_max tunable.

The exact FreeBSD, Apache and php versions I have installed are:
 

freebsd# uname -a ; httpd -V ; php –version
FreeBSD pcfreak 7.2-RELEASE-p4 FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE-p4 #0: Fri Oct 2 12:21:39 UTC 2009 root@i386-builder.daemonology.net:/usr/obj/usr/src/sys/GENERIC i386
Server version: Apache/2.0.64
Server built: Mar 13 2011 23:36:25Server's Module Magic Number: 20050127:14
Server loaded: APR 0.9.19, APR-UTIL 0.9.19
Compiled using: APR 0.9.19, APR-UTIL 0.9.19
Architecture: 32-bit
Server compiled with….
-D APACHE_MPM_DIR="server/mpm/prefork"
-D APR_HAS_SENDFILE
-D APR_HAS_MMAP
-D APR_HAVE_IPV6 (IPv4-mapped addresses enabled)
-D APR_USE_FLOCK_SERIALIZE
-D APR_USE_PTHREAD_SERIALIZE
-D SINGLE_LISTEN_UNSERIALIZED_ACCEPT
-D APR_HAS_OTHER_CHILD
-D AP_HAVE_RELIABLE_PIPED_LOGS
-D HTTPD_ROOT="/usr/local"
-D SUEXEC_BIN="/usr/local/bin/suexec"
-D DEFAULT_PIDLOG="/var/run/httpd.pid"
-D DEFAULT_SCOREBOARD="logs/apache_runtime_status"
-D DEFAULT_LOCKFILE="/var/run/accept.lock"
-D DEFAULT_ERRORLOG="logs/error_log"
-D AP_TYPES_CONFIG_FILE="etc/apache2/mime.types"
-D SERVER_CONFIG_FILE="etc/apache2/httpd.conf"
PHP 5.3.5 with Suhosin-Patch (cli) (built: Mar 14 2011 00:29:17)
Copyright (c) 1997-2009 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.3.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2010 Zend Technologies
with eAccelerator v0.9.6.1, Copyright (c) 2004-2010 eAccelerator, by eAccelerator

After a bunch of research a FreeBSD forums thread , I've found the fix suggested by a guy.

The solution suggested in the forum is to raise up vm.pmap.pv_entry_ma to vm.pmap.pv_entry_max=1743504, however I've noticed this value is read only and cannot be changed on the BSD running kernel;

freebsd# sysctl vm.pmap.pv_entry_max=1743504
sysctl: oid 'vm.pmap.pv_entry_max' is read only

Instead to solve the;

Approaching the limit on PV entries, consider increasing either the vm.pmap.shpgperproc or the vm.pmap.pv_entry_max tunable.
, I had to add in /boot/loader.conf

vm.pmap.pde.mappings=68
vm.pmap.shpgperproc=500
vm.pmap.pv_entry_max=1743504

Adding this values through /boot/loader.conf set them on kernel boot time. I've seen also in the threads the consider increasing either the vm.pmap.shpgperproc is also encountered on FreeBSD hosts running Squid, Dansguardion and other web proxy softwares on busy hosts.

This problems are not likely to happen for people who are running latest FreeBSD releases (>8.3, 9.x), I've read in same above post in newer BSD kernels the vm.pmap is no longer existing in newer kernels.

Non-free packages to install to make Ubuntu Linux Multimedia ready / Post install packages for new Ubuntu installations

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes

non-free-packages-to-install-make-ubuntu-linux-multimedia-ready

1. Add Medibuntu package repository

root@ubuntu:~# wget --output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list \
http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/$(lsb_release -cs).list \
&& apt-get --quiet update \
&& apt-get --yes --quiet --allow-unauthenticated install medibuntu-keyring \
&& apt-get --quiet update

2. Enable Ubuntu to play Restricted DVD
root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install --yes libdvdread4
...
root@ubuntu:~# /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

After that VLC will be ready to play DVDs for some programs which was compiled without DVD, source rebuilt is required.

If DVDs hang you might need to set a Region Code with regionset:

# regionset

3. Install non-free codecs

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install non-free-codecs

4. Install Chromium ffmpeg nonfree codecs

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install chromium
root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-nonfree

5. Install w32codecs / w64codecs

Depending on the Ubuntu Linux installation architecture 32/64 bit install w32codecs or w64codecs

For 32 bit (x86) Ubuntu install w32codecs:

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install w32codecs

For 64 bit arch Ubuntu:

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install w64codecs

6. Install ubuntu-restricted-extras meta package

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

7. Install cheese for webcam picture/video snapshotting

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install cheese

8. Install GIMP, Inkscape, xsane,sane, shotwell etc.

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get --yes install sane xsane gimp inkscape gimp-data-extras gimp-plugin-registry \
blender gcolor2 showtwell bluefish kompozer

9. Install multimedia Sound & Video utilities

Install Subtitle editor, video editiking , sound editing, mp3 player, iso mounters, DVD/CD Burners

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install rhythmbox banshee smplayer mplayer \
realplayer audacity brasero jokosher istanbuk gtk-recordMyDesktop \acetoneisohexedit furiusisomount winff fala audacious dvdstyler lives hydrogen
subtitleeditor gnome-subtitles electricsheep k3b

10. Install CD / DVD RIP tools

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install acidrip sound-juicer ogmrip thoggen
11. Install chat messanger programs, Browsers, mail pop3 clients, torrent, emulators, ftp clients etc.

apt-get install seamonkey thunderbird transmission transmission-gtk gbgoffice kbedic \
pidgin openoffice.org gxine mozilla-plugin-vlc wine dosbox samba filezilla amsn ntp \epiphany-browser ntpdate desktop-webmail alltray chmsee gftp xchat-gnome ghex \gnome-genius bleachbit arista

12. Install Non-Free Flash Player

Unfortunately Gnash is not yet production ready and crashes in many websites …

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree flashplugin-nonfree-extrasound swfdec-gnome

13. Install Archive / Unarchive management programs

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install unace unrar zip unzip p7zip-full p7zip-rar sharutils rar uudeview \
mpack lha arj cabextract file-roller

15. Install VirtualBox and QEmu

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install qemu-launcher qemu-kvm-extras virtualbox virtualbox-ose \
virtualbox-ose-guest-dkms virtualbox-ose-guest-dkms

This should be enough to use Ubuntu normally for multimedia Desktop just as MS Windows for most of the daily activities.
Am I missing some important program?

Nessebar – Ancient Christian city and a wonderful rest resort

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Reading Time: 5minutes

nessebar-an-ancient-Christian-city-a-great-resort-place
Last Friday together with my best friend Mitko together with an old-school good friend Samuel and another friend Geоrgi travelled to Pomorie Monastery. The reasons to go there was to have a short pilgrimage journey and to baptize Samuil who had the good desire to receive Baptism. As always it is a God's blessing to spend time in monastery and this was time it was not different. We started the trip from Sofia to Pomorie in about 08:15 and with a few little breaks we reached theMonastery about 12:30. Before we start journey I call Pomorie Monastery's abbot father Ierotey to ask if he will bless our pilgrimage (for those who never was in monastery's everything  happens wtih a blessing and it is best before a monastic trip to ask a blessing). Once arrived the novice monk Milen met us and accomodated us in two of the monastic rooms.

On next day, there was the standard morning prayer service and the bells rung to wake us up, after the service we had a small talk with father Sergiy, met some of the brothers and with abbots blessing together with father Sergiy, we went for a few hours pilgrimage journey to Nessebar.

Nessebar (the town ancient name is Mesambria) is an ancient city situated 16 km from Pomorie (known in ancient times as Anchialo / Anchialo). Both Pomorie and Nesebar was a great historical Christian sites from very ancient times, a cities where first civilization started before Christ. Here according to excavation Christianity started somewhere in the early II-nd century and undergoes а bloom until the XI, XIII century. Here in those places according to some historic datas used to even have an archibiship seat. It is less known fact that Nessebar is one of the most ancient cities in all Europe and started its existence about 3200 years B.C.!
In ancient times before Christianity Mesambria used to be inhabited with Thracians.
On the road to Nesebar we passed through Aheloy (Achelous) – a town where occured the Battle of Achelous (y. 917) which is the biggest battle in medieval European history (120 000 troops participated in battle).

Bulgarians_defeat_the_Byzantines_at_Anchialos_battle_biggest-battle-of-10-th-century-medieval-times

Nesebar is a significant historical city and thus part of UNESCO's world heritage world site. It is divided in new and old city, whether new city's doesn't shiny with architecture, the old town architecture is preserved and absolutely unique. The fact that Nessebar used to be a important Christian center is still evident as even though the town area is situated in peninsula (consisting of only 850 meters width and 350 meters hight), it has 12 Churches !

Nesebar_Church-of-Christ-Pantokrator
Nessebar Church of Christ Pantokrator

Some of the ancient Churches in nessebar are dated from around VI to VIII century. Many of the Churches are in a style specific for Bulgarian empire build in analogy with the  Tarnovo capital of Bulgaria at that time architecture, such architecture is very common for Bulgaria and Byzantine empire in the XIII and XVI centuries. Churches dated from the XIII c. is St. Parascheva, (XIII c.) St. Theodor (XIV c.), St. Archangel Michael and Gabriel (XVI).
По това време са построени църквите “Св. Параскева (XIII в), “Св. Теодор” (XIV в), “Св. Архангели Михаил и Гавраил” (XIV в), имащи преки аналогии в столичната търновска архитектура.
 

ancient-church-in-Nessebar-1

Unfortunately though there are many Churches in Nessebar, many of them are just historical monuments nowadays and others are turned into Painting Galleries. In all ancient city only 1 Orthoox Church – The Dormition of Virgin Mary is functional with regular Holy Liturgies served. The Church has a miracle making of the Theotokos. Many people have found relief and cure or fast help from God after praying in front of the miraculous icon.

miracle-making-holy-icon-of-Virgin-Mary-Nessebar-Bulgaria
Nessebar Miracle Making Icon of Holy Theotokos

To give thanks to Mother Mary many people who received cure or whose prayers came true by praying in front of the miraculous icon deliberately left their gold earings, necklaces and even war medals.
In the Church there are holy relics of number of Christian saints – saint Cyprian and Justina, saint Tatyiana, st. mrtr. Marina, st. Vlasij, st. Macarious

Father Sergij walk us through the city telling a bit of history of each of the Churhes one of the Basilicas was much bigger the rest and fr. Sergius explained that this used to be a Church where a Metropolitan or a Bishop was serving.

We learned that in Nessebar was a very desired king region a place, a highly spiritual place with an overall of 40 Churches!
On the entrance of old nessebar there are remains of the old city fortress walls, the whole city houses and architecture is renessance with a lot of wooden houses.
fortifications_in_entrance_of_Nesebar
Nessebar city entry fortress remains

Nesebar_-_Wooden_Houses
Wooden Houses in Nesebar

Besides the beautiful Churches the sea side is breath taking and from sea shore you can in the distance another resort city Sunny Beach.

nessebar-hills picture
Nessebar winter sea coast view

In Nesebar there are plenty of souvenir shops, caffeterias, small ethnographic styled restaurants assuring a great time for every touries.Very neart to Nessebar is situated also a beautiful rest resort village Ravda.
About 13:00 we left Nessebar and headed back to Pomorie with fr. Sergij who told us a what of Christian faith stories rich in wisdom. On next day Sunday after the end of Holy Liturgy the Abbot of Pomorie Monastery (fr. Ierotey)  baptized Samuel and we had a lunch together with the brotherhood.In early afternoon we  headed back to Sofia. As always father archimandrit Ierotey and fr. Sergius presented us with Christian literature as a gift and a CDs with faith related movies.

Pravetz and Puldin – The first serial produced 8 / 16 bit Bulgarian Computers – Retro Computing in Bulgaria

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Reading Time: 4minutes
pravetz-16-cm-5508-bulgarian-16-bit-computer
A friend of mine gave me an interesting link it’s about Pravetz A computer systems which were an absolute hit here in Bulgaria, they are produced here and we should be proud we had our Bulgarian computers. Here is the link Pravetz! 🙂

pravetz-16-bulgarian-computer-peripherals-and-hardware-pictures
Pravetz was a was copy of Apple ][ (Pravetz 8A, 8C, 8M), Oric (Pravets 8D) and IBM-PC (Pravetz 16 also known as XT)
Pravetz was named after a town of Pravetz which is the homeplace of the ex-Bulgarian communist party leader and President of Socialist Bulgaria Todor Jivkov. Pravetz had a huge production quantities as about 200 000 were exported to coutnries from Soviet Union block. My generation people about 30 have grown with Pravetz and many nowadays IT specialists in Bulgaria had learned computer basics on 8 or 16 bit Pravetz machine. Its compatability with DOS made it a great game-station PC. Owning Pravetz PC at communist times was considered as a sign of elitism as only Police station and highest authorities or people close to party leaders had one of those even in 1995 still owning a Pravetz PC was considered an extra-ordinary think.

Pravetz 16 was part of the MIK-16 family of computers, which included:
– Pravetz 16 (the one on the picture, 4.77Mhz)
– Pravetz 16A (1x Floppy, 1x 5MB HDD)
– Pravetz 16H (improved one, 8Mhz, 1 or 2 Half size floppies + 1x HDD 20MB – half size)
– Pravetz-286

The first version of Pravetz 16 had a built-in Basic on a ROM chip, which loaded if no OS was present. The 16A did not have a built-in Basic. 
The 20 Megabytes HDD was a revolution, for almost 4 years the HDD never show any errors. There was a CGA (Color Graphics Adapter) built-in control, and i had a 16-color display (or monochrome black and green display based on the model). This machine was excellent for making DOS-programing, and was used till the middle of the 90’s, mostly in government facilities.

The following software was available for Pravetz:

-programing languages (BASIC-16, PASCAL, Cobol,Ada);
-dBASE systems (Micro-PC-2);
-Text editors (Text-16, MicroTEXT-16, DOKS-2);
-Electronic schedules (Superplan-16, MicroPLAN/16);
-information-searching systems (INFOS);
-Administration automatisation (MIS);
-Integrated products (MULTIPACK);
-Machine graphics;
-CAD (GraphCAD, PLOT-1);
-communication utilities;
-learning&enjoy programs;
-specialised products. 

Many people were installing MS-DOS 5.0 or 7.0 or DR-DOS and using the PC with DOS programs, where most compatible with XT were working just fine. My own monitor was monochrome and had problems with displaying some color gammas and thus in Games some of the colors were not displayed. However owning a Pravetz was amazing thing at that time, it was a mania and a building block of a whole PC-geek generation that emerged from Pravetz Culture.

At that time in the distant 1988 when Bulgaria was still highly industrialized country in Plovdiv we were producing another made in Bulgarian Computer called Puldin (Puldin is the ancient name of the city of Plovdiv Bulgaria).
What was unique about Puldin was it was computer completely built from scratch with its own hardware and software architecture.

Puldin was produced in 4 modifications 601-A/U/M/T, the RAM memory was 64KB, the ROM was from 4KB up to 68KB depend on the model, the video output could be connected to normal TV, there was LAN card, Printer centronics output, Cassete input, RS232, Floppy disk, etc.

puldin-unique-made-in-bulgaria-computer-software-and-hardware-pc-architecture

As you can see in above screenshot the keyboard was slightly different from Pravetz one it gives an impression of unique design (Apple Mac styled) 🙂
Though keyboard looks nice it was terrible to use, there was no tactile click feed back so you basically don’t know if you pressed the key, fortunately later models had connector for external IBM-PC keyboard with keys, which make the work easier.The computer was already unefficient as in 1988  there were already lot of computers on the market including IBM-PC with 16 bit processor running at the remarkable 4.77Mhz.
Puldin processor was a Motorola 6800 copies named CM601 at that time produced in Botevgrad. It was running UniDOS which was basically a made from scratch MS-DOS alternative.
The computer was equipped with Assembler, BASIC, Pascal, Editor, Diagnostic tools, even DBase equivalent. Puldin was produced in small volume ~ 30 000 – 50000 computers mainly shipped to Russia as Russia was main market for Bulgarian products at that time. Software developed on Puldin could be moved to IBM-PC by using Pascal P-code and this was highly revolutionary as it had capabilities similar to Java long before Java was existent.
Computer was developed by 6 developers which were students at that time and they made it as enthusiasts without taking a penny for it. One of the software developers who worked on Puldin was also author of Eagle DOS for Apple ][ (Pravetz82) and UniDOS for Puldin and now has his own company selling computers http://eagle.bg.
The guy who wrote the Assembler BIOS and Basic ROM for Puldin – Todor Todorov became more famous with his virus works instead of what he did for Puldin the now mythological Dark Avanger
 

Install latest WINE – Win Emulator unstable version on Debian stable Linux

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Reading Time: < 1minute

wine emulator logo install wine on Debian GNU / Linux

Installing latest stable version of wine is only possible and safe via deb repository on 32 bit Debian archtecture.

Whether not sure about your Debian architecture run:

linux:~# dpkg --add-architecture i386 To install latest unstable version of wine which though unstable is often much useful to its stable predecessors add wine-unstable repository linux:~# wget -q -O- http://www.tataranovich.com/tataranovich.asc | apt-key add -

Finally install / update (whether installed) with:
 

linux:~# apt-get update
linux:~# apt-get --yes install wine-unstable:i386

Enjoy ! 🙂

Solve ALSA audio and mic issues on Lenovo Thinkpads on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Reading Time: < 1minute

Since I've blogged about my recent skype issues. I've played a lot with pulseaudio, alsa, alsa-oss to experimented a lot until I figured out why Skype was failing to properly delivery sound and record via my embedded laptop mic.

Anyways, while researching on the cause of my Thinkpad r61 mic issues, I've red a bunch of blog posts by people experiencing microphone oddities with Lenovo Thinkpads

Throughout the search I come across one very good article, which explained that in many cases the Thinkpad sound problems are caused by the snd-hda-intel alsa kernel module. snd-hda-intel fails to automatically set proper sb model type argument during Linux install when the soundcard is initialized with some argument like options snd-hda-intel model=auto

Hence, the suggested fix which should resolve this on many Thinkpad notebooks is up to passing the right module argument:

To fix its neceessery to edit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf .

debian:~# vim /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

Find the line in the file starting with:
options snd-hda-intel model=

and substitute with:

options snd-hda-intel model=thinkpad

Finally a restart of Advaned Linux Sound Architecture (alsa) is required:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/alsa restart
...

At most cases just restarting the alsa via its init script is not enough, since the ssnd-hda-intel kernel module is already in use by some program or something, so its best to do a reboot to make sure the module is loaded with the new model=thinkpad argument.

My exact laptop sound card model is:

debian:~# lspci |grep -i audio
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)

After changing the module and using alsamixer and aumix to make sure mic is unmuted and its volume is high enough, mic sound rec works fine.

GPL Arcade Volleyball – DOS Volleyball oldschool game remake for GNU / Linux

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Reading Time: 3minutes

Do you remember that oldschool Arcade VolleyBall game which was so popular on 16 bit (8086 XT) computers.
I remember this game from the years I was 12 years old, back in the days where we the gamers distributed all the DOS games on 360 KB 5.25" diskettes

I was looking over the games available to install on my Debian GNU / Linux today just to be happily suprised to find GPL Arcade Volleyball an identical game remake of the old Arcade Volleyball 8086 classic freeware game.

I remember we spend many hours with friends playing on the old Manifactured in Bulgaria Pravetz 16! computers
During communism and post communism Pravetz was the only computer brand we could buy from the market, as there was limitations on the exported and imported tech equipment within the USSR union.
Pravetz computers are a literal remake of 16 bit IBM 8086 computers and the computer design and integrals was stolen from IBM 16 bit 8086 / 8088 PC architecture

Arcade Volleyball has set a mark on my generation and I believe many people will remember the times this game was a hit with a bit of Nostalgia 😉
In the Game GPL Arcade Volleyball Debian GNU / Linux

Besides being an identical remake of PC Arcade Volleyball , GPL Arcade Volleyball is even expanded as it includes extra features which the original game lacked. Game includes:

  • Network Volleyball client / server Game (up to 4 players)
  • 6 Game Themes which completely change the game look & feel to be modernistic

Here are few GAV screenshots of the different existing game Themes:

Screenshot GPL Arcade VolleyBall Yisus

GPL Arcade Volleyball Yisus theme gameplay GNU / Linux
Yisus GAV Theme gameplay screenshot

GPL Arcade Volleyball Unnamed Theme Screenshot

GPL Arcade Volleyball unnamed Gameplay Theme Debian
GAV – Unnamed Theme Gameplay

Screenshot GAV FABeach gameplay
GAV – FaBeach Theme Gameplay

GAV supports both Window and fullscreen modes. To enable Fullscreen mode, while inside the game use:

Extra -> Fullscreen (Yes)

Saving preferences is also something which I if I recall correctly the original game lacked. This is done by navigating to:

Extra -> Save Preferences

GAV is said to support Joystick in resemblance to the original DOS game, though I've never tested it with a joy.

One of the greatest GAV game (hacks) is the Inverted Theme. Selecting it inverts the order in the game, where the game player becomes the volleyball ball and the ball becomes the player 😉

GPL Arcade Volleyball Arcade Inverted Theme - remake of DOS Volleyball Arcade
GAV does not yet not have a Free / Open / Net BSD port as far as I currently see, anyways since the game is Free Software probably soon a port will be available for BSDs as well.
The default GAV game controls are a bit untraditional. By default the one player game starts you play Volleyball game player positioned on the left.

For left player the default control keys are:
 

  • z – move player left
  • c – move player right
  • left shift – jump

Right player controls are:
 

  • Left – left (arrow key)
  • right – right (arrow key)
  • jump – up cursor key

GAV supports also a shortcut key for switching between windowed and full screen game mode by pressing F10
Installing the game on Debian and Ubuntu Linuces is done with:

linux:~# apt-get --yes install gav

Unfortunately gav does not have a definition to be added to GNOME or KDE Applications menus, thus to start the game after installed one has to do it manually by typing either in gnome RUN (Alt+F2) or on command line:

linux:~$ gav

Happy playing 😉