Posts Tagged ‘debian linux’

Reinstall all Debian packages with a copy of apt deb package list from another working Debian Linux installation

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020


Few days ago, in the hurry in the small hours of the night, I've done something extremely stupid. Wanting to move out a .tar.gz binary copy of qmail installation to /var/lib/qmail with all the dependent qmail items instead of extracting to admin user /root directory (/root), I've extracted it to the main Operating system root / directrory.
Not noticing this, I've quickly executed rm -rf var with the idea to delete all directory tree under /root/var just 3 seconds later, I've realized I'm issuing the rm -rf var with the wrong location WITH a root user !!!! Being scared on what I've done, I've quickly pressed CTRL+C to immedately cancel the deletion operation of my /var.


But as you can guess, since the machine has an Slid State Drive drive and SSD memory drive are much more faster in I/O operations than the classical ATA / SATA disks. I was not quick enough to cancel the operation and I've noticed already some part of my /var have been R.I.P-pped in the heaven of directories.

This was ofcourse upsetting so for a while I rethinked the situation to get some ideas on what I can do to recover my system ASAP!!! and I had the idea of course to try to reinstall All my installed .deb debian packages to restore system closest to the normal, before my stupid mistake.

Guess my unpleasent suprise when I have realized dpkg and respectively apt-get apt and aptitude package management tools cannot anymore handle packages as Debian Linux's package dependency database has been damaged due to missing dpkg directory 


Oh man that was unpleasent, especially since I've installed plenty of stuff that is custom on my Mate based desktop and, generally reinstalling it updating the sytem to the latest Debian security updates etc. will be time consuming and painful process I wanted to omit.

So of course the logical thing to do here was to try to somehow recover somehow a database copy of /var/lib/dpkg  if that was possible, that of course led me to the idea to lookup for a way to recover my /var/lib/dpkg from backup but since I did not maintained any backup copy of my OS anywhere that was not really possible, so anyways I wondered whether dpkg does not keep some kind of database backups somewhere in case if something goes wrong with its database.
This led me to this nice Ubuntu thred which has pointed me to the part of my root rm -rf dpkg db disaster recovery solution.
Luckily .deb package management creators has thought about situation similar to mine and to give the user a restore point for /var/lib/dpkg damaged database

/var/lib/dpkg is periodically backed up in /var/backups

A typical /var/lib/dpkg on Ubuntu and Debian Linux looks like so:

hipo@jeremiah:/var/backups$ ls -l /var/lib/dpkg
total 12572
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Jul 26 03:22 alternatives
-rw-r–r– 1 root root      11 Oct 14  2017 arch
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 2199402 Jul 25 20:04 available
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 2199402 Oct 19  2017 available-old
-rw-r–r– 1 root root       8 Sep  6  2012 cmethopt
-rw-r–r– 1 root root    1337 Jul 26 01:39 diversions
-rw-r–r– 1 root root    1223 Jul 26 01:39 diversions-old
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root  679936 Jul 28 14:17 info
-rw-r—– 1 root root       0 Jul 28 14:17 lock
-rw-r—– 1 root root       0 Jul 26 03:00 lock-frontend
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Sep 17  2012 parts
-rw-r–r– 1 root root    1011 Jul 25 23:59 statoverride
-rw-r–r– 1 root root     965 Jul 25 23:59 statoverride-old
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 3873710 Jul 28 14:17 status
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 3873712 Jul 28 14:17 status-old
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Jul 26 03:22 triggers
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Jul 28 14:17 updates

Before proceeding with this radical stuff to move out /var/lib/dpkg/info from another machine to /var mistakenyl removed oned. I have tried to recover with the well known:

  • extundelete
  • foremost
  • recover
  • ext4magic
  • ext3grep
  • gddrescue
  • ddrescue
  • myrescue
  • testdisk
  • photorec

Linux file deletion recovery tools from a USB stick loaded with a Number of LiveCD distributions, i.e. tested recovery with:

  • Debian LiveCD
  • Ubuntu LiveCD
  • SystemRescueCD
  • Trinity Rescue Kit
  • Ultimate Boot CD

but unfortunately none of them couldn't recover the deleted files … 

The reason why the standard file recovery tools could not recover ?

My assumptions is after I've done by rm -rf var; from sysroot,  issued the sync (- if you haven't used it check out man sync) command – that synchronizes cached writes to persistent storage and did a restart from the poweroff PC button, this should have worked, as I've recovered like that in the past) in a normal Sys V System with a normal old fashioned blocks filesystem as EXT2 . or any other of the filesystems without a journal, however as the machine run a EXT4 filesystem with a journald and journald, this did not work perhaps because something was not updated properly in /lib/systemd/systemd-journal, that led to the situation all recently deleted files were totally unrecoverable.

1. First step was to restore the directory skele of /var/lib/dpkg

# mkdir -p /var/lib/dpkg/{alternatives,info,parts,triggers,updates}

2. Recover missing /var/lib/dpkg/status  file

The main file that gives information to dpkg of the existing packages and their statuses on a Debian based systems is /var/lib/dpkg/status

# cp /var/backups/dpkg.status.0 /var/lib/dpkg/status

3. Reinstall dpkg package manager to make package management working again

Say a warm prayer to the Merciful God ! and do:

# apt-get download dpkg
# dpkg -i dpkg*.deb

4. Reinstall base-files .deb package which provides basis of a Debian system

Hopefully everything will be okay and your dpkg / apt pair will be in normal working state, next step is to:

# apt-get download base-files
# dpkg -i base-files*.deb

5. Do a package sanity and consistency check and try to update OS package list

Check whether packages have been installed only partially on your system or that have missing, wrong or obsolete control  data  or  files.  dpkg  should suggest what to do with them to get them fixed.

# dpkg –audit

Then resynchronize (fetch) the package index files from their sources described in /etc/apt/sources.list

# apt-get update

Do apt db constistency check:

#  apt-get check

check is a diagnostic tool; it updates the package cache and checks for broken dependencies.

Take a deep breath ! …

Do :

ls -l /var/lib/dpkg
and compare with the above list. If some -old file is not present don't worry it will be there tomorrow.

Next time don't forget to do a regular backup with simple rsync backup script or something like Bacula / Amanda / Time Vault or Clonezilla.

6. Copy dpkg database from another Linux system that has a working dpkg / apt Database

Well this was however not the end of the story … There were still many things missing from my /var/ and luckily I had another Debian 10 Buster install on another properly working machine with a similar set of .deb packages installed. Therefore to make most of my programs still working again I have copied over /var from the other similar set of package installed machine to my messed up machine with the missing deleted /var.

To do so …
On Functioning Debian 10 Machine (Working Host in a local network with IP, I've archived content of /var:

linux:~# tar -czvf var_backup_debian10.tar.gz /var

Then sftped from Working Host towards the /var deleted broken one in my case this machine's hostname is jericho and luckily still had SSHD and SFTP running processes loaded in memory:

jericho:~# sftp root@
sftp> get var_backup_debian10.tar.gz

Now Before extracting the archive it is a good idea to make backup of old /var remains somewhere for example somewhere in /root 
just in case if we need to have a copy of the dpkg backup dir /var/backups

jericho:~# cp -rpfv /var /root/var_backup_damaged

jericho:~# tar -zxvf /root/var_backup_debian10.tar.gz 
jericho:/# mv /root/var/ /

Then to make my /var/lib/dpkg contain the list of packages from my my broken Linux install I have ovewritten /var/lib/dpkg with the files earlier backupped before  .tar.gz was extracted.

jericho:~# cp -rpfv /var /root/var_backup_damaged/lib/dpkg/ /var/lib/

7. Reinstall All Debian  Packages completely scripts

I then tried to reinstall each and every package first using aptitude with aptitude this is done with

# aptitude reinstall '~i'

However as this failed, tried using a simple shell loop like below:

for i in $(dpkg -l |awk '{ print $2 }'); do echo apt-get install –reinstall –yes $i; done

Alternatively, all .deb package reninstall is also possible with dpkg –get-selections and with awk with below cmds:

dpkg –get-selections | grep -v deinstall | awk '{print $1}' > list.log;
awk '$1=$1' ORS=' ' list.log > newlist.log
apt-get install –reinstall $(cat newlist.log)

It can also be run as one liner for simplicity:

dpkg –get-selections | grep -v deinstall | awk '{print $1}' > list.log; awk '$1=$1' ORS=' ' list.log > newlist.log; apt-get install –reinstall $(cat newlist.log)

This produced a lot of warning messages, reporting "package has no files currently installed" (virtually for all installed packages), indicating a severe packages problem below is sample output produced after each and every package reinstall … :

dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'iproute' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'brscan-skey' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libapache2-mod-php7.4' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libexpat1:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libexpat1:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'php5.6-readline' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'linux-headers-4.19.0-5-amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libgraphite2-3:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libgraphite2-3:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libbonoboui2-0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libxcb-dri3-0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libxcb-dri3-0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'liblcms2-2:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'liblcms2-2:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libpixman-1-0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libpixman-1-0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'gksu' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'liblogging-stdlog0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'mesa-vdpau-drivers:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'mesa-vdpau-drivers:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libzvbi0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libzvbi0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libcdparanoia0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libcdparanoia0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'python-gconf' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'php5.6-cli' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libpaper1:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package '' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed

After some attempts I found a way to be able to work around the warning message, for each package by simply reinstalling the package reporting the issue with

apt –reinstall $package_name

Though reinstallation started well and many packages got reinstalled, unfortunately some packages such as apache2-mod-php5.6 and other php related ones  started failing during reinstall ending up in unfixable states right after installation of binaries from packages was successfully placed in its expected locations on disk. The failures occured during the package setup stage ( dpkg –configure $packagename) …

The logical thing to do is a recovery attempt with something like the usual well known by any Debian admin:

apt-get install –fix-missing

As well as Manual requesting to reconfigure (issue re-setup) of all installed packages also did not produced a positive result

dpkg –configure -a

But many packages were still failing due to dpkg inability to execute some post installation scripts from respective .deb files.
To work around that and continue installing the rest of packages I had to manually delete all files related to the failing package located under directory 


For example to omit the post installation failure of libapache2-mod-php5.6 and have a succesful install of the package next time I tried reinstall, I had to delete all /var/lib/dpkg/info/libapache2-mod-php5.6.postrm, /var/lib/dpkg/info/libapache2-mod-php5.6.postinst scripts and even sometimes everything like libapache2-mod-php5.6* that were present in /var/lib/dpkg/info dir.

The problem with this solution, however was the package reporting to install properly, but the post install script hooks were still not in placed and important things as setting permissions of binaries after install or applying some configuration changes right after install was missing leading to programs failing to  fully behave properly or even breaking up even though showing as finely installed …

The final solution to this problem was radical.
I've used /var/lib/dpkg database (directory) from ther other working Linux machine with dpkg DB OK found in var_backup_debian10.tar.gz (linux:~# host with a working dpkg database) and then based on the dpkg package list correct database responding on jericho:~# to reinstall each and every package on the system using Debian System Reinstaller script taken from the internet.
Debian System Reinstaller works but to reinstall many packages, I've been prompted again and again whether to overwrite configuration or keep the present one of packages.
To Omit the annoying [Y / N ] text prompts I had made a slight modification to the script so it finally looked like this:

# Debian System Reinstaller
# Copyright (C) 2015 Albert Huang
# Copyright (C) 2018 Andreas Fendt

# This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
# the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
# (at your option) any later version.

# This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
# but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# GNU General Public License for more details.

# You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
# along with this program.  If not, see <>.

# —
# This script assumes you are using a Debian based system
# (Debian, Mint, Ubuntu, #!), and have sudo installed. If you don't
# have sudo installed, replace "sudo" with "su -c" instead.

pkgs=`dpkg –get-selections | grep -w 'install$' | cut -f 1 |  egrep -v '(dpkg|apt)'`

for pkg in $pkgs; do
    echo -e "\033[1m   * Reinstalling:\033[0m $pkg"    

    apt-get –reinstall -o Dpkg::Options::="–force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="–force-confold" -y install $pkg || {
        echo "ERROR: Reinstallation failed. See reinstall.log for details."
        exit 1
done working modified version of Albert Huang and Andreas Fendt script  can be also downloaded here.

Note ! Omitting the text confirmation prompts to install newest config or keep maintainer configuration is handled by the argument:

-o Dpkg::Options::="–force-confold

I however still got few NCurses Console selection prompts during the reinstall of about 3200+ .deb packages, so even with this mod the reinstall was not completely automatic.

Note !  During the reinstall few of the packages from the list failed due to being some old unsupported packages this was ejabberd, ircd-hybrid and a 2 / 3 more.
This failure was easily solved by completely purging those packages with the usual

# dpkg –purge $packagename

and reruninng on each of the failing packages.

Note ! The failing packages were just old ones left over from Debian 8 and Debian 9 before the apt-get dist-upgrade towards 10 Duster.
Eventually I got a success by God's grance, after few hours of pains and trials, ending up in a working state package database and a complete set of freshly reinstalled packages.

The only thing I had to do finally is 2 hours of tampering why GNOME did not automatically booted after the system reboot due to failing gdm
until I fixed that I've temprary used ligthdm (x-display-manager), to do I've

dpkg –reconfigure gdm3


 to work around this I had to also reinstall few libraries, reinstall the xorg-server, reinstall gdm and reinstall the meta package for GNOME, using below set of commands:

apt-get install –reinstall libglw1-mesa libglx-mesa0
apt-get install –reinstall libglu1-mesa-dev
apt install –reinstallgsettings-desktop-schemas
apt-get install –reinstall xserver-xorg-video-intel
apt-get install –reinstall xserver-xorg
apt-get install –reinstall xserver-xorg-core
apt-get install –reinstall task-desktop
apt-get install –reinstall task-gnome-desktop

As some packages did not ended re-instaled on system because on the original host from where /var/lib/dpkg db was copied did not have it I had to eventually manually trigger reinstall for those too:

apt-get install –reinstall –yes vlc
apt-get install –reinstall –yes thunderbird
apt-get install –reinstall –yes audacity
apt-get install –reinstall –yes gajim
apt-get install –reinstall –yes slack remmina
apt-get install –yes k3b
pt-get install –yes gbgoffice
pt-get install –reinstall –yes skypeforlinux
apt-get install –reinstall –yes vlc
apt-get install –reinstall –yes libcurl3-gnutls libcurl3-nss
apt-get install –yes virtualbox-5.2
apt-get install –reinstall –yes vlc
apt-get install –reinstall –yes alsa-tools-gui
apt-get install –reinstall –yes gftp
apt install ./teamviewer_15.3.2682_amd64.deb –yes

Note that some of above packages requires a properly configured third party repositories, other people might have other packages that are missing from the dpkg list and needs to be reinstalled so just decide according to your own case of left aside working system present binaries that doesn't belong to any dpkg installed package.

After a bit of struggle everything is back to normal Thanks God! 🙂 !

Fix FTP active connection issues “Cannot create a data connection: No route to host” on ProFTPD Linux dedicated server

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019


Earlier I've blogged about an encounter problem that prevented Active mode FTP connections on CentOS
As I'm working for a client building a brand new dedicated server purchased from Contabo Dedi Host provider on a freshly installed Debian 10 GNU / Linux, I've had to configure a new FTP server, since some time I prefer to use Proftpd instead of VSFTPD because in my opinion it is more lightweight and hence better choice for a small UNIX server setups. During this once again I've encounted the same ACTIVE FTP not working from FTP server to FTP client host machine. But before shortly explaining, the fix I find worthy to explain briefly what is ACTIVE / PASSIVE FTP connection.

1. What is ACTIVE / PASSIVE FTP connection?

Whether in active mode, the client specifies which client-side port the data channel has been opened and the server starts the connection. Or in other words the default FTP client communication for historical reasons is in ACTIVE MODE. E.g.
Client once connected to Server tells the server to open extra port or ports locally via which the overall FTP data transfer will be occuring. In the early days of networking when FTP protocol was developed security was not of such a big concern and usually Networks did not have firewalls at all and the FTP DATA transfer host machine was running just a single FTP-server and nothing more in this, early days when FTP was not even used over the Internet and FTP DATA transfers happened on local networks, this was not a problem at all.

In passive mode, the server decides which server-side port the client should connect to. Then the client starts the connection to the specified port.

But with the ever increasing complexity of Internet / Networks and the ever tightening firewalls due to viruses and worms that are trying to own and exploit networks creating unnecessery bulk loads this has changed …


2. Installing and configure ProFTPD server Public ServerName

I've installed the server with the common cmd:

apt –yes install proftpd

And the only configuration changed in default configuration file /etc/proftpd/proftpd.conf  was
ServerName          "Debian"

I do this in new FTP setups for the logical reason to prevent the multiple FTP Vulnerability Scan script kiddie Crawlers to know the exact OS version of the server, so this was changed to:

ServerName "MyServerHostname"

Though this is the bad security through obscurity practice doing so is a good practice.

3. Create iptable firewall rules to allow ACTIVE FTP mode

But anyways, next step was to configure the firewall to be allowed to communicate on TCP PORT 21 and 20 to incoming source ports range 1024:65535 (to enable ACTIVE FTP) on firewal level with iptables on INPUT and OUTPUT chain rules, like this:

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp –sport 1024:65535 -d 0/0 –dport 21 -m state –state NEW,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -s 0/0 –sport 1024:65535 -d 0/0 –dport 20 -m state –state NEW,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A OUTPUT -p tcp -s 0/0 –sport 21 -d 0/0 –dport 1024:65535 -m state –state ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A OUTPUT -p tcp -s 0/0 –sport 20 -d 0/0 –dport 1024:65535 -m state –state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT

Talking about Active and Passive FTP connections perhaps for novice Linux users it might be worthy to say few words on Active and Passive FTP connections

Once firewall has enabled FTP Active / Passive connections is on and FTP server is listening, to test all is properly configured check iptable rules and FTP listener:

/sbin/iptables -L INPUT |grep ftp
ACCEPT     tcp  —  anywhere             anywhere             tcp spts:1024:65535 dpt:ftp state NEW,ESTABLISHED
ACCEPT     tcp  —  anywhere             anywhere             tcp spts:1024:65535 dpt:ftp-data state NEW,ESTABLISHED
ACCEPT     tcp  —  anywhere             anywhere             tcp dpt:ftp
ACCEPT     tcp  —  anywhere             anywhere             tcp dpt:ftp-data

netstat -l | grep "ftp"
tcp6       0      0 [::]:ftp                [::]:*                  LISTEN    

4. Loading nf_nat_ftp module and net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_helper (for backward compitability)

Next step of course was to add the necessery modules nf_nat_ftp nf_conntrack_sane that makes FTP to properly forward ports with respective Firewall states on any of above source ports which are usually allowed by firewalls, note that the range of ports given 1024:65535 might be too much liberal for paranoid sysadmins and in many cases if ports are not filtered, if you are a security freak you can use some smaller range such as 60000-65535.

Here is time to say for sysadmins who haven't recently had a task to configure a new (unecrypted) File Transfer Server as today Secure FTP is almost alltime used for file transfers for the sake of security might be puzzled to find out the old Linux kernel ip_conntrack_ftp which was the standard module used to make FTP Active connections work is substituted nowadays with  nf_nat_ftp and nf_conntrack_sane.

To make the 2 modules permanently loaded on next boot on Debian Linux they have to be added to /etc/modules

Here is how sample /etc/modules that loads the modules on next system boot looks like

cat /etc/modules
# /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.
# This file contains the names of kernel modules that should be loaded
# at boot time, one per line. Lines beginning with "#" are ignored.

Next to say is that in newer Linux kernels 3.x / 4.x / 5.x the nf_nat_ftp and nf_conntrack-sane behaviour changed so  simply loading the modules would not work and if you do the stupidity to test it with some FTP client (I used gFTP / ncftp from my Linux desktop ) you are about to get FTP No route to host errors like:

Cannot create a data connection: No route to host


Sometimes, instead of No route to host error the error FTP client might return is:


227 entering passive mode FTP connect connection timed out error

To make the nf_nat_ftp module on newer Linux kernels hence you have to enable backwards compatibility Kernel variable


echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/netfilter/nf_conntrack_helper

To make it permanent if you have enabled /etc/rc.local legacy one single file boot place as I do on servers – for how to enable rc.local on newer Linuxes check here

or alternatively add it to load via sysctl

sysctl -w net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_helper=1

And to make change permanent (e.g. be loaded on next boot)

echo 'net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_helper=1' >> /etc/sysctl.conf

5. Enable PassivePorts in ProFTPD or PassivePortRange in PureFTPD

Last but not least open /etc/proftpd/proftpd.conf find PassivePorts config value (commented by default) and besides it add the following line:

PassivePorts 60000 65534

Just for information if instead of ProFTPd you experience the error on PureFTPD the configuration value to set in /etc/pure-ftpd.conf is:

PassivePortRange 30000 35000

That's all folks, give the ncftp / lftp / filezilla or whatever FTP client you prefer and test it the FTP client should be able to talk as expected to remote server in ACTIVE FTP mode (and the auto passive mode) will be not triggered anymore, nor you will get a strange errors and failure to connect in FTP clients as gftp.

Cheers 🙂

Howto create Linux Music Audio CD from MP3 files / Create playable WAV format Audio CD Albums from MP3s

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019


Recently my Mother asked me to prepare a Music Audio CD for her from a popular musician accordionist Stefan Georgiev from Dobrudja who has a unique folklore Bulgarian music.

As some of older people who still remember the age of the CD and who had most likely been into the CD burning Copy / Piracy business so popular in the countries of the ex-USSR so popular in the years 1995-2000 audio ,  Old CD Player Devices were not able to play the MP3 file format due to missing codecs (as MP3 was a proprietary compression that can't be installed on every device without paying the patent to the MP3 compression rights holder.

The revolutionary MP3 compression used to be booming standard for transferring Music data due to its high compression which made an ordinary MP3 of 5 minutes of 5MB (10+ times more compression than an ordinary classic WAV Audio the CPU intensiveness of MP3 files that puts on the reading device, requiring the CD Player to have a more powerful CPU.

Hence  due to high licensing cost and requirement for more powerful CPU enabled Audio Player many procuders of Audio Players never introduced MP3 to their devices and MP3 Neve become a standard for the Audio CD that was the standard for music listening inside almost every car out there.

Nowdays it is very rare need to create a Audio CD as audio CDs seems to be almost dead (As I heard from a Richard Stallman lecture In USA nowadays there is only 1 shop in the country where you can still buy CD or DVD drives) and only in third world as Africa Audio CDs perhaps are still in circulation.

Nomatter that as we have an old Stereo CD player on my village and perhaps many others, still have some old retired CD reading devices being able to burn out a CD is a useful thing.

Thus to make mother happy and as a learning excercise, I decided to prepare the CD for her on my Linux notebook.
Here I'll shortly describe the takes I took to make it happen which hopefully will be useful for other people that need to Convert and burn Audio CD from MP3 Album.

1. First I downloaded the Album in Mp3 format from Torrent tracker

My homeland Bulgaria and specific birth place place the city of Dobrich has been famous its folklore:  Galina Durmushlijska and Stefan Georgiev are just 2 of the many names along with Оркестър Кристал (Orchestra Crystal) and the multitude of gifted singers. My mother has a santiment for Stefan Georgiev, as she listened to this gifted accordinist on her Uncle's marriage.

Thus In my case this was (Стефан Георгиев Хора и ръченици от Добруджа) the album full song list here If you're interested to listen the Album and Enjoy unique Folklore from Dobrudja (Dobrich) my home city, Stefan Georgiev's album Hora and Rachenica Dances is available here

I've downloaded them from Bulgarian famous torrent tracker in MP3 format.
Of course you need to have a CD / DVD readed and write device on the PC which nowdays is not present on most modern notebooks and PCs but as a last resort you can buy some cheap External Optical CD / DVD drive for 25 to 30$ from Amazon / Ebay etc.

2. You will need to install a couple of programs on Linux host (if you don't have it already)

To be able to convert from command line from MP3 to WAV you will need as minimum ffmpeg and normalize-audio packages as well as some kind of command line burning tool like cdrskin  wodim which is
the fork of old good known cdrecord, so in case if you you're wondering what happened with it just
use instead wodim.

Below is a good list of tools (assuming you have enough HDD space) to install:

root@jeremiah:/ # apt-get install –yes dvd+rw-tools cdw cdrdao audiotools growisofs cdlabelgen dvd+rw-tools k3b brasero wodim ffmpeg lame normalize-audio libavcodec58

Note that some of above packages I've installed just for other Write / Read operations for DVD drives and you might not need that but it is good to have it as some day in future you will perhaps need to write out a DVD or something.
Also the k3b here is specific to KDE and if you're a GNOME user you could use Native GNOME Desktop app such brasero or if you're in a more minimalistic Linux desktop due to hardware contrains use XFCE's native xfburn program.

If you're a console / terminal geek like me you will definitely enjoy to use cdw

root@jeremiah:/ # apt-cache show cdw|grep -i description -A 1
Description-en: Tool for burning CD's – console version
 Ncurses-based frontend for wodim and genisoimage. It can handle audio and

Description-md5: 77dacb1e6c00dada63762b78b9a605d5

3. Selecting preferred CD / DVD / BD program to use to write out the CD from Linux console

cdw uses wodim (which is a successor of good old known console cdrecord command most of use used on Linux in the past to burn out new Redhat / Debian / different Linux OS distro versions for upgrade purposes on Desktop and Server machines.

To check whether your CD / DVD drive is detected and ready to burn on your old PC issue:

root@jeremiah:/# wodim -checkdrive
Device was not specified. Trying to find an appropriate drive…
Detected CD-R drive: /dev/cdrw
Using /dev/cdrom of unknown capabilities
Device type    : Removable CD-ROM
Version        : 5
Response Format: 2
Capabilities   :
Vendor_info    : 'HL-DT-ST'
Identification : 'DVDRAM GT50N    '
Revision       : 'LT20'
Device seems to be: Generic mmc2 DVD-R/DVD-RW.
Using generic SCSI-3/mmc   CD-R/CD-RW driver (mmc_cdr).
Supported modes: TAO PACKET SAO SAO/R96P SAO/R96R RAW/R16 RAW/R96P RAW/R96R

You can also use xorriso (whose added value compared to other console burn cd tools is is not using external program for ISO9660 formatting neither it use an external or an external burn program for CD, DVD or BD (Blue Ray) drive but it has its own libraries incorporated from libs.

Below output is from my Thinkpad T420 notebook. If the old computer CD drive is there and still functional in most cases you should not get issues to detect it.

cdw ncurses text based CD burner tool's interface is super intuitive as you can see from below screenshot:


CDW has many advanced abilities such as “blanking” a disk or ripping an audio CD on a selected folder. To overcome the possible problem of CDW not automatically detecting the disk you have inserted you can go to the “Configuration” menu, press F5 to enter the Hardware options and then on the first entry press enter and choose your device (by pressing enter again). Save the setting with F9.

4. Convert MP3 / MP4 Files or whatever format to .WAV to be ready to burn to CD

Collect all the files you want to have collected from the CD album in .MP3 a certain directory and use a small one liner loop to convert files to WAV with ffmpeg:

cd /disk/Music/Mp3s/Singer-Album-directory-with-MP3/

for i in $( ls *.mp3); do ffmpeg -i $i $i.wav; done

If you don't have ffmpeg installed and have mpg123 you can also do the Mp3 to WAV conversion with mpg123 cmd like so:

for i in $( ls ); do mpg123 -w $i.wav $i.mp3; done

Another alternative for conversion is to use good old lame (used to create Mp3 audio files but abling to also) decode
mp3 to wav.

lame –decode somefile.mp3 somefile.wav

In the past there was a burn command tool that was able to easily convert MP3s to WAV but in up2date Linux modern releases it is no longer available most likely due to licensing issues, for those on older Debian Linux 7 / 8 / 9 / Ubuntu 8 to 12.XX / old Fedoras etc. if you have the command you can install burn and use it (and not bother with shell loops):

apt-get install burn


yum install burn

Once you have it to convert

$ burn -A -a *.mp3

5. Fix file naming to remove empty spaces such as " " and substitute to underscores as some Old CD Players are
unable to understand spaces in file naming with another short loop.

for f in *; do mv "$f" `echo $f | tr ' ' '_'`; done

6. Normalize audio produced .WAV files (set the music volume to a certain level)

In case if wondering why normalize audio is needed here is short extract from normalize-audio man page command description to shed some light.

"normalize-audio  is  used  to  adjust  the volume of WAV or MP3 audio files to a standard volume level.  This is useful for things like creating mp3 mixes, where different recording levels on different albums can cause the volume to  vary  greatly from song to song."

cd /disk/Music/Mp3s/Singer-Album-directory-with-MP3/

normalize-audio -m *.wav

7. Burn the produced normalized Audio WAV files to the the CD

wodim -v -fix -eject dev='/dev/sr0' -audio -pad *.wav

Alternatively you can conver all your MP3 files to .WAV with anything be it audacity
or another program or even use 
GNOME's CDBurn tool brasero (if gnome user) or KDE's CDBurn which in my opinion is
the best CD / DVD burning application for Linux K3B.

Burning Audio CD with K3b is up to few clicks and super easy and even k3b is going to handle the MP3 to WAV file Conversion itself. To burn audio with K3B just run it and click over 'New Audio CD Project'.


For those who want to learn a bit more on CD / DVD / Blue-Ray burning on GNU / Linux good readings are:
Linux CD Burning Mini Howto, is Linux's CD Writing Howto on ibiblio (though a bit obsolete) or Debian's official documentation on BurnCD.

8. What we learned here

Though the accent of this tutorial was how to Create Audio Music CD from MP3 on GNU / Linux, the same commands are available in most FreeBSD / NetBSD / OpenBSD ports tree so you can use the same method to build prepare Audio Music CD on *BSDs.

In this article, we went through few basic ways on how to prepare WAV files from MP3 normalize the new created WAV files on Linux, to prepare files for creation of Audio Music CD for the old mom or grandma's player or even just for fun to rewind some memories. For GUI users this is easily done with  k3b,  brasero or xfburn.

I've pointed you to cdw a super useful text ncurses tool that makes CD Burninng from plain text console (on servers) without a Xorg / WayLand  GUI installed super easy. It was shortly reviewed what has changed over the last few years and why and why cdrecord was substituted for wodim. A few examples were given on how to handle conversion through bash shell loops and you were pointed to some extra reading resources to learn a bit more on the topic.
There are plenty of custom scripts around for doing the same CD Burn / Covnersion tasks, so pointing me to any external / Shell / Perl scripts is mostly welcome.

Hope this learned you something new, Enjoy ! 🙂

Install and use personal Own Cloud on Debian Linux for better shared data security – OwnCloud a Free Software replacement for Google Drive

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018


Basicly I am against the use of any Cloud type of service but as nowadays Cloud usage is almost inevitable and most of the times you need some kind of service to store and access remotely your Data from multiple devices such as DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud etc. and using some kind of infrastructure to execute high-performance computing is invitable just like the Private Cloud paid services online are booming nowdays, I decided to give a to research and test what is available as a free software in the field of Clouding (your data) 🙂

Undoubfully, it is really nice fact that there are Free Software / Open Source alternatives to run your Own personal Cloud to store your data from multiple locations on a single point.

The most popular and leading Cloud Collaboration service (which is OpenSource but unfortunately not under GPLv2 / GPV3 – e.g. not fully free software) is OwnCloud.

ownCloud is a flexible self-hosted PHP and Javascript based web application used for data synchronization and file sharing (where its remote file access capabilites are realized by Sabre/Dav an open source WebDav server.
OwnCloud allows end user to easily Store / Manage files, Calendars, Contacts, To-Do lists (user and group administration via OpenID and LDAP), public URLs can be easily, created, the users can interact with browser-based ODF (Open Document Format) word processor , there is a Bookmarking, URL Shortening service integrated, Gallery RSS Feed and Document Viewer tools such as PDF viewer etc. which makes it a great alternative to the popular Google Drive, iCloud, DropBox etc.

The main advantage of using a self-hosted Cloud is that Your data is hosted and managed by you (on your server and your hard drives) and not by some God knows who third party provider such as the upmentioned.
In other words by using OwnCloud you manage your own data and you don't share it ot on demand with the Security Agencies with CIA, MI6, Mussad … (as it is very likely most of publicly offered Cloud storage services keeps track on the data stored on them).

The other disadvantage of Cloud Computing is that the stored data on such is usually stored on multiple servers and you can never know for sure where your data is physically located, which in my opinion is way worse than the option with Self Hosted Cloud where you know where your data belongs and you can do whatever you want with your data keep it secret / delete it or share it on your demand.

OwnCloud has its clients for most popular Mobile (Smart Phone) platforms – an Android client is available in Google Play Store as well as in Apple iTunes besides the clients available for FreeBSD OS, the GNOME desktop integration package and Raspberry Pi.

For those who are looking for additional advanced features an Enterprise version of OwnCloud is also available aiming business use and included software support.

Assuming you have a homebrew server or have hired a dedidacted or VPS server (such as the Ones we provide) ,Installing OwnCloud on GNU / Linux is a relatively easy
task and it will take no more than 15 minutes to 2 hours of your life.
In that article I am going to give you a specific instructions on how to install on Debian GNU / Linux 9 but installing on RPM based distros is similar and straightfoward process.

1. Install MySQL / MariaDB database server backend

By default OwnCloud does use SQLite as a backend data storage but as SQLite stores its data in a file and is becoming quickly slow, is generally speaking slowre than relational databases such as MariaDB server (or the now almost becoming obsolete MySQL Community server).
Hence in this article I will explain how to install OwnCloud with MariaDB as a backend.

If you don't have it installed already, e.g. it is a new dedicated server install MariaDB with:

server:~# apt-get install –yes mariadb-server

Assuming you're install on a (brand new fresh Linux install – you might want to install also the following set of tools / services).

server:~# systemctl start mariadb
server:~# systemctl enable mariadb
server:~# mysql_secure_installation

mysql_secure_installation – is to finalize and secure MariaDB installation and set the root password.

2. Create necessery database and users for OwnCloud to the database server

linux:~# mysql -u root -p
MariaDB [(none)]> CREATE DATABASE owncloud CHARACTER SET utf8;
MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON owncloud.* TO 'owncloud'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'owncloud_passwd';
MariaDB [(none)]> \q

3. Install Apache + PHP necessery deb packages

As of time of writting the article on Debian 9.0 the required packages for a working Apache + PHP install for OwnCloud are as follows.

server:~# apt-get install –yes apache2 mariadb-server libapache2-mod-php7.0 \
openssl php-imagick php7.0-common php7.0-curl php7.0-gd \
php7.0-imap php7.0-intl php7.0-json php7.0-ldap php7.0-mbstring \
php7.0-mcrypt php7.0-mysql php7.0-pgsql php-smbclient php-ssh2 \
php7.0-sqlite3 php7.0-xml php7.0-zip php-redis php-apcu

4. Install Redis to use as a Memory Cache for accelerated / better performance ownCloud service

Redis is an in-memory kept key-value database that is similar to Memcached so OwnCloud could use it to cache stored data files. To install latest redis-server on Debian 9:

server:~# apt-get install –yes redis-server

5. Install ownCloud software packages on the server

Unfortunately, default package repositories on Debian 9 does not provide owncloud server packages but only some owncloud-client packages are provided, that's perhaps the packages issued by owncloud does not match debian packages.

As of time of writting this article, the latest available OwnCloud server  version package for Debian is OC 10.

a) Add necessery GPG keys

The repositories to use are provided by, to use them we need to first add the necessery gpg key to verify the binaries have a legit checksum.

server:~# wget -qO- | sudo apt-key add –

b) Add repositories in separete sources.list file

server:~# echo 'deb /' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/owncloud.list

c) Enable https transports for the apt install tool

server:~# apt-get –yes install apt-transport-https

d) Update Debian apt cache list files and install the pack

server:~# apt-get update

server:~# apt-get install –yes owncloud-files

By default owncloud store file location is /var/www/owncloud but on many servers that location is not really appropriate because /var/www might be situated on a hard drive partition whose size is not big enough, if that's the case just move the folder to another partition and create a symbolic link in /var/www/owncloud pointing to it …

6. Create necessery Apache configurations to make your new self-hosted cloud accessible

a) Create Apache config file

server:~# vim /etc/apache2/sites-available/owncloud.conf

Alias /owncloud "/var/www/owncloud/"

<Directory /var/www/owncloud/>
Options +FollowSymlinks
AllowOverride All

<IfModule mod_dav.c>
Dav off

SetEnv HOME /var/www/owncloud
SetEnv HTTP_HOME /var/www/owncloud


b) Enable Mod_Dav (WebDAV) if it is not enabled yet

server:~# ln -sf ../mods-available/dav_fs.conf
server:~# ln -sf ../mods-available/dav_fs.load
server:~# ln -sf ../mods-available/dav.load
server:~# ln -sf ../mods-available/dav_lock.load

c) Set proper permissions for /var/www/owncloud to make upload work properly

chown -R www-data: /var/www/owncloud/

d) Restart Apache WebServer (to make new configuration affective)

server:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

7. Finalize  OwnCloud Install

Access OwnCloud Web Interface to finish the database creation and set the administrator password for the New Self-Hosted cloud


By default the Web interface is accessible in unencrypted (insecure) http:// it is a recommended practice (if you already don't have an HTTPS SSL certificate install for the IP or the domain to install one either a self-signed certificate or even better to use LetsEncrypt CertBot to easily create a valid SSL for free for your domain


Just fill in in your desired user / pass and pass on the database user / password / db name (if required you can set also a different location for the data directory from the default one /var/www/owncloud/data.

Click Finish Setup and That's all folks!


OwnCloud is successfully installed on the server, you can now go and download a Mobile App or Desktop application for whatever OS you're using and start using it as a Dropbox replacement. In a certain moment you might want to consult also the official UserManual documentation as you would probably need further information on how to manage your owncloud.

Enjoy !

How to install / add new root certificates on Debian, Ubuntu, Mint Linux

Saturday, October 21st, 2017


How to add / Installing a root/CA Certificate on Debian, Ubuntu, Mint Linux

 Because of various auditing failures and other security issues, the CAcert root certificate set is slowly disappearing from the Ubuntu and Debian ‘ca-certificates’ package.

That's really tricky because if you're a system administrator or have a bunch of programmers whose needs is to install a new set of root certificates for their freshly develped Application or you have to make a corporate certificates added to debian rootca, then the good news is it is quite easy to install new certificates to deb based distributions.

Given a CA certificate file foo.crt, follow these steps to install it on Debian / Ubuntu:

    Create a directory for extra CA certificates in /usr/share/ca-certificates:

    debian:~# mkdir /usr/share/ca-certificates/extra-certificates

    Copy the CA .crt file to this directory:

    debian:~# cp foo.crt /usr/share/ca-certificates/extra-certificates/foo.crt

    Let Debian / Ubuntu add the .crt file's path relative to /usr/share/ca-certificates to /etc/ca-certificates.conf (the file lists certificates that you wish to use or to ignore to be installed in /etc/ssl/certs)

    debian:~# dpkg-reconfigure ca-certificates

In case you want to include a .pem file to the list of trustable certificates on Debian / Ubuntu, it must first be converted to a .crt file first, you can do that with:

    debian:~# openssl x509 -in foo.pem -inform PEM -out foo.crt

Lets say you want to add some custom Root certificate for exapmle

   debian:~# mkdir /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/
   debian:~# cd /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/
   debian:~# mkdir /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/
   debian:~# wget -P /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/

Then once again update the ca certificates bundle

   debian:~# update-ca-certificates

How to Increase virtualbox Linux install machine VM .VDI hard disk size to free space on root partition – Move /usr to a new partition

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017


How to Increse Hard Disk size of VirtualBox Virtual Machine .VDI file to Free Space on root Partition or Howto move /usr large partition to separate new partition?

I just wondered how to increase hard disk size of Virtualbox Virtual Machine image .VDI, because for some stupid reason I've created my initial hard disk size for Linux partition to be the default 10 Gigabytes.

The problem is the packages I need to have installed on the Virtual Machine which will be a testbed for future tests of a production website applications are taking up too much space, once installed so I'm left with no space
in /var/lib/mysql for the database import. So what can I do in that case is to simply free up disk space or Merge ROOT partition with another partition.

Since merging the partition is not a trivial job and would require me to have installable CD with the Linux distro (in my case that's Debian Linux) or have a bootable USB flash drive, I preferred second approach to problem e.g. to free up disk space on ROOT partition by creating a second partition and move the /usr folder to reside there.

Before that it is of course necessery to  have extended the .VDI file using VirtualBox, so more space than the default 10GB preconfigured are available, this is easily done on Windows OS as, VBox is provided with GUI clickable option to do it, but for who knows what reason that is not the case with Linux, so Linux users only option to increase VDI file is to manually run command part of the virtualbox package, that is not a hard task really but it requires some typing and basic knowledge on how to run commands in terminal.

To .VDI resize (extend), we first go to default location where VirtualBox stores its image .VDI files (by default as of moment of writting this article – this is ~/"VrtualBox VMs"  (or home directory of logged in user dir VirtualBox VMs), the command to use is VBoxManage

root@jericho:/home/hipo# cd VirtualBox VMs/
root@jericho:/home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs# ls
Debian 6  Debian 9  Windows 10
root@jericho:/home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs# cd Debian 6/
oot@jericho:/home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs/Debian 6# ls
Debian 6.vbox  Debian 6.vbox-prev  Debian 6.vdi  Logs  NewVirtualDisk1.vdi  Snapshots

root@jericho:/home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs/Debian 6# VBoxManage modifyhd Debian 6.vdi –resize 20000
root@jericho:/home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs/Debian 6#


Above command does resize the 10GB default created partition for Linux, where I have installed Linux which was 99% full of data, because of the many packages I installed to 20GB size, to make it bigger just use the respective size, be it 30000 (for 30GB) or 100000 (for 100GB) etc.

Even though in this example VBoxManage virtual partition resize command was done for GNU / Linux Operating System, it can be done for any other Operating as well to resize the size of the Virtual .VDI file (Virtual Machine) partition, be it Windows 7 / 8 / 10 or the rest of Free Operating systems FreeBSD / OpenBSD / BSD that are installed in a VM etc.

Next Launch the Virtual Machine with VBox Server client Program and install there Gparted (GNU Parted), as we'll need it to create a new Hard Disk Partition:

$ VirtualBox

Inside virtualmachine's in gnome-terminal / xterm etc. depending on the graphical environment used do install with apt-get:

debian:# apt-get install –yes gparted

debian~:# gparted

Notice that gparted has to be ran as a root superuser.

Run GParted and create new EXT3 filesystem that is 10GB (the size of the new created partition).

If you have installed Debian to place all partitions under / (root directory /dev/sda1) then the fresh new partition to create should be
/dev/sda3, anyways just look closely in EXT3 and in your case if the partiition is named differently create according to proper partition /dev/ naming.

I'll not run into details on how to create the partition with GParted as the program interface is very self-explanatory, the only thing is to apply the update to create partition and the ext3 filesystem, that's being done
with a green tick:


Next step is to check with fdisk whether, we have ext3 properly created  filesystem as we've done already with GPARTED:

Once we have the partition created with EXT3 filesystem, we're ready to move /usr temporary to other folder, I use usually /root for the move but you can create anywhere a new folder for that and move to there.

To move to /root directory run again in terminal:

debian:~# mv /usr /root
debian:~# mkdir /usr


Note that during the move operations, your Desktop icons will become without (with broken) pictures and the default Debian background picture is to disappear, that's because the GUI environment will soon realize /usr/ libraries that're periodically reloaded in memory are missing and will be unable to reload them as it does in a cycle.

That should take a few minutes, so grab a coffee or if you're a smoker (hope not as smoking kills 🙂 ), in 5 / 10 minutes time depending on your computer / server configuration, it will be over, so we're ready to create new /usr dir and mount the  new partition:

debian:~# mount /dev/sda3 /usr


Now we check with mount command whether mount is fine:


Now  /dev/sda3 is mounted under /usr  and we have to move back /root/usr directory content back to the newly mounted /usr so we run command:

debian:~#  mv /root/usr/* /usr/*

Finally we need to create proper records for the new partition inside /etc/fstab (fstab –FileSystem Tab file – the file which describes instructs the Linux OS what partition to boot where, what)


Before adding anything to /etc/fstab you need to check the UUID of /dev/sda3 (or whatever the partition is called), without proper UUID, the system might fail to boot.
So here is how to check the UUID we'll need for config:


hipo@debian:~$ /sbin/blkid /dev/sda3
/dev/sda3: UUID="2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd" SEC_TYPE="ext2" TYPE="ext3"

hipo@debian:~$ ls -al /dev/disk/by-uuid/
total 0
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 100 Oct  6 05:16 .
drwxr-xr-x 6 root root 120 Oct  6 05:16 ..
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Oct  6 05:16 2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd -> ../../sda3
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Oct  6 05:16 b98d92cd-41aa-4e18-a474-9b8df445dbe5 -> ../../sda1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Oct  6 05:16 f27f7448-f200-4983-b54f-b9e5206f77ac -> ../../sda5

As you can see our /dev/sda3 UUID is 2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd

Further on lets view and edit /etc/fstab you can also download a copy of my Virtual Machine fstab here

debian:~# cat /etc/fstab

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
proc            /proc           proc    defaults        0       0
# / was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=b98d92cd-41aa-4e18-a474-9b8df445dbe5 /               ext3    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# swap was on /dev/sda5 during installation
UUID=f27f7448-f200-4983-b54f-b9e5206f77ac none            swap    sw              0       0
/dev/scd0       /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0
/dev/scd1       /media/cdrom1   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0

We need to add following line to  /etc/fstab:

UUID=2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd    /usr        ext3 error=remount-ro    0    1

Open the file with your favourite text editor (gedit / nano / pico / vim / joe) etc.

debian:~# vim /etc/fstab

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
proc            /proc           proc    defaults        0       0
# / was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=b98d92cd-41aa-4e18-a474-9b8df445dbe5 /               ext3    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# swap was on /dev/sda5 during installation
UUID=f27f7448-f200-4983-b54f-b9e5206f77ac none            swap    sw              0       0
/dev/scd0       /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0
/dev/scd1       /media/cdrom1   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0

UUID=2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd     /usr        ext3 error=remount-ro    0    1    

Basicly it should be possible to add (for historic reasons) also instead of UUID=2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd  /dev/sda3
So it looks like so but, the better practice is to use UUID line given.

Well that's all folks now /usr directory will contain all your heavy root partition (disk filling) libraries and files, so you can happily use /var/lib/mysql or /var/lib/postgresql /var/www to store your web application files and import your databases.

Big thanks to Ubuntu Forums article – How do I increase the hard disk size of the Virtual Machine article for inspiring this post.

Hope that helps anyone and thanks and other comments are always welcome ! 🙂

Howto Fix “sysstat Cannot open /var/log/sysstat/sa no such file or directory” on Debian / Ubuntu Linux

Monday, February 15th, 2016

I really love sysstat and as a console maniac I tend to install it on every server however by default there is some <b>sysstat</b> tuning once installed to make it work, for those unfamiliar with <i>sysstat</i> I warmly recommend to check, it here is in short the package description:<br /><br />

server:~# apt-cache show sysstat|grep -i desc -A 15
Description: system performance tools for Linux
 The sysstat package contains the following system performance tools:
  – sar: collects and reports system activity information;
  – iostat: reports CPU utilization and disk I/O statistics;
  – mpstat: reports global and per-processor statistics;
  – pidstat: reports statistics for Linux tasks (processes);
  – sadf: displays data collected by sar in various formats;
  – nfsiostat: reports I/O statistics for network filesystems;
  – cifsiostat: reports I/O statistics for CIFS filesystems.
 The statistics reported by sar deal with I/O transfer rates,
 paging activity, process-related activities, interrupts,
 network activity, memory and swap space utilization, CPU
 utilization, kernel activities and TTY statistics, among
 others. Both UP and SMP machines are fully supported.

If you happen to install sysstat on a Debian / Ubuntu server with:

server:~# apt-get install –yes sysstat

, and you try to get some statistics with sar command but you get some ugly error output from:

server:~# sar Cannot open /var/log/sysstat/sa20: No such file or directory

And you wonder how to resolve it and to be able to have the server log in text databases periodically the nice sar stats load avarages – %idle, %iowait, %system, %nice, %user, then to FIX that Cannot open /var/log/sysstat/sa20: No such file or directory

You need to:

server:~# vim /etc/default/sysstat

By Default value you will find out sysstat stats it is disabled, e.g.:


Switch the value to "true"


Then restart sysstat init script with:

server:~# /etc/init.d/sysstat restart

However for those who prefer to do things from menu Ncurses interfaces and are not familiar with Vi Improved, the easiest way is to run dpkg reconfigure of the sysstat:

server:~# dpkg –reconfigure


root@server:/# sar
Linux 2.6.32-5-amd64 (pcfreak) 15.02.2016 _x86_64_ (2 CPU)

0,00,01 CPU %user %nice %system %iowait %steal %idle
0,15,01 all 24,32 0,54 3,10 0,62 0,00 71,42
1,15,01 all 18,69 0,53 2,10 0,48 0,00 78,20
10,05,01 all 22,13 0,54 2,81 0,51 0,00 74,01
10,15,01 all 17,14 0,53 2,44 0,40 0,00 79,49
10,25,01 all 24,03 0,63 2,93 0,45 0,00 71,97
10,35,01 all 18,88 0,54 2,44 1,08 0,00 77,07
10,45,01 all 25,60 0,54 3,33 0,74 0,00 69,79
10,55,01 all 36,78 0,78 4,44 0,89 0,00 57,10
16,05,01 all 27,10 0,54 3,43 1,14 0,00 67,79

Well that's it now sysstat error resolved, text reporting stats data works again, Hooray! 🙂

Adding another level of security to your shared Debian Linux webhosting server with SuPHP

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015


There are plenty of security schemes and strategies you can implement if you're a Shared Web Hosting company sysadmin however probably the most vital one is to install on Apache + PHP Webserver SuPHP module.

# apt-cache show suphp-common|grep -i descrip -A 4

Description: Common files for mod suphp Suphp consists of an Apache module (mod_suphp for either Apache 1.3.x or Apache 2.x) and a setuid root binary (suphp) that is called by the Apache module to change the uid of the process executing the PHP interpreter to the owner of the php script.

So what SuPHP actuall  does is to run separate CPanel / Kloxo etc. Users with separate username and groupid permissions coinciding with the user present in /etc/passwd , /etc/shadow files existing users, thus in case if someone hacks some of the many customer sites he would be able to only write files and directories under the user with which the security breach occured.

On servers where SuPHP is not installed, all  systemusers are using the same UserID / GuID to run PHP executable scripts under separate domains Virtualhost which are coinciding with Apache (on Debian / Ubuntu  uid, gid – www-data) or on (CentOS / RHEL / Fedora etc. – user apache) so once one site is defaced  exploited by a worm all or most server websites might end up infected with a Web Virus / Worm which will be trying to exploit even more sites of a type running silently in the background.  This is very common scenarios as currently there are donezs of PHP / CSS / Javasripts / XSS vulnerability exploited on VPS and Shared hosting servers due to failure of a customer to update his own CMS  scripts / Website  (Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal etc.) and the lack of resource to regularly monitor all customer activities / websites.

Therefore installing SuPHP Apache module is essential one to install on new serverslarge hosting providers as it saves the admin a lot of headache from spreading malware across all hosted servers sites ..
Some VPS admins that are security freaks tend to also install SuPHP module together with many chrooted Apache / LiteSpeed / Nginx webservers each of which running in a separate Jailed environment.

Of course using SuPHP besides giving a improved security layer to the webserver has its downsides such as increased load for the server and making Apache PHP scripts being interpretted a little bit slower than with plain Apache + PHP but performance difference while running a site on top of SuPHP is often not so drastic so you can live it up ..

Installing SuPHP on a Debian / Ubuntu servers is a piece of cake, just run the as root superuser, usual:

# apt-get install libapache2-mod-suphp

Once installed only thing to make is to turn off default installed Apache PHP module (without SuPHP compiled support and restart Apache webserver):

# a2dismod php5 …

# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

To test the SuPHP is properly working on the Apache Webserver go into some of many hosted server websites DocumentRoot

And create new file called test_suphp.php with below content:

# vim test_suphp.php

Then open in browser http://whatever-website/test_suphp.php assuming that system(); function is not disabled for security reasons in php.ini you should get an User ID, GroupID bigger than reserved system IDs on GNU / Linux e.g. ID > UID / GID 99

Its also a good idea to take a look into SuPHP configuration file /etc/suphp/suphp.conf and tailor options according to your liking 

If different hosted client users home directories are into /home directory, set in suphp.conf

;Path all scripts have to be in


Also usually it is a good idea to set 


Check your Server Download / Upload Internet Speed from Console on Linux / BSD / Unix howto

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

If you've been given a new dedicated server from a New Dedicated-Server-Provider or VPS with Linux and you were told that a certain download speed to the Server is guaranteed from the server provider, in order to be sure the server's connection to the Internet told by service provider is correct it is useful to run a simple measurement console test after logging in remotely to the server via SSH.

Testing connection from Terminal is useful because as you probably know most of Linux / UNIX servers doesn't have a GUI interface and thus it is not possible to test Internet Up / Down Bandwidth through

1. Testing Download Internet Speed given by ISP / Dedi-Server Provider from Linux Console

For the download speed (internet) test the historical approach was to just try downloading the Linux kernel source code from with some text browser such as lynx or links count the seconds for which the download is completed and then multiple the kernel source archive size on the seconds to get an approximate bandwidth per second, however as nowdays internet connection speeds are much higher, thus it is better to try to download some Linux distribution iso file, you can still use kernel tar archive but it completed too fast to give you some good (adequate) statistics on Download bandwidth.

If its a fresh installed Linux server probably you will probably not have links / elinks and lynx text internet browers  installed so install them depending on deb / rpm distro with:

If on Deb Linuz distro:

root@pcfreak:/root# apt-get install –yes links elinks lynx

On RPM Based Linuz distro:

[root@fedora ~]# yum install -y lynx elinks links

Conduct Internet  Download Speed with links
root@pcfreak:/root# links


(Note that the kernel link is current latest stable Kernel source code archive in future that might change, so try with latest archive.)

You can also use non-interactive tool such as wget curl or lftp to measure internet download speed

To test Download Internet Speed with wget without saving anything to disk set output to go to /dev/null 

root@pcfreak:~# wget -O /dev/null


You see the Download speed is 104 Mbit/s this is so because I'm conducting the download from my local 100Mbit network.

For the test you can use my mirrored version of Hirens BootCD

2. Testing Uplink Internet speed provided by ISP / Server Provider from Linux (SSH) Console

To test your uplink speed you will need lftp or iperf command tool.

root@pcfreak:~# apt-cache show lftp|grep -i descr -A 12
Description: Sophisticated command-line FTP/HTTP client programs
 Lftp is a file retrieving tool that supports FTP, HTTP, FISH, SFTP, HTTPS
 and FTPS protocols under both IPv4 and IPv6. Lftp has an amazing set of
 features, while preserving its interface as simple and easy as possible.
 The main two advantages over other ftp clients are reliability and ability
 to perform tasks in background. It will reconnect and reget the file being
 transferred if the connection broke. You can start a transfer in background
 and continue browsing on the ftp site. It does this all in one process. When
 you have started background jobs and feel you are done, you can just exit
 lftp and it automatically moves to nohup mode and completes the transfers.
 It has also such nice features as reput and mirror. It can also download a
 file as soon as possible by using several connections at the same time.

root@pcfreak:/root# apt-cache show iperf|grep -i desc -A 2
Description: Internet Protocol bandwidth measuring tool
 Iperf is a modern alternative for measuring TCP and UDP bandwidth performance,
 allowing the tuning of various parameters and characteristics.

To test Upload Speed to Internet connect remotely and upload any FTP file:

root@pcfreak:/root# lftp -u hipo -e 'put; bye'


On Debian Linux to install iperf:

root@pcfreak:/root# apt-get install –yes iperf

On latest CentOS 7 and Fedora (and other RPM based) Linux, you will need to add RPMForge repository and install with yum

[root@centos ~]# rpm -ivh  rpmforge-release-0.5.3-1.el7.rf.x86_64.rpm

[root@centos ~]# yum -y install iperf

Once having iperf on the server the easiest way currently to test it is to use speedtest server –  located at the Serverius datacenters, AS50673 and is running on a 10GE connection with 5GB cap.

root@pcfreak:/root# iperf -c -P 10
Client connecting to, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
[ 12] local port 54258 connected with port 5001
[  7] local port 54252 connected with port 5001
[  5] local port 54253 connected with port 5001
[  9] local port 54251 connected with port 5001
[  3] local port 54249 connected with port 5001
[  4] local port 54250 connected with port 5001
[ 10] local port 54254 connected with port 5001
[ 11] local port 54255 connected with port 5001
[  6] local port 54256 connected with port 5001
[  8] local port 54257 connected with port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  9]  0.0-10.2 sec  4.05 MBytes  3.33 Mbits/sec
[ 10]  0.0-10.2 sec  3.39 MBytes  2.78 Mbits/sec
[ 11]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.75 MBytes  3.06 Mbits/sec
[  4]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.43 MBytes  2.78 Mbits/sec
[ 12]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.92 MBytes  3.18 Mbits/sec
[  3]  0.0-10.4 sec  4.45 MBytes  3.58 Mbits/sec
[  5]  0.0-10.5 sec  4.06 MBytes  3.24 Mbits/sec
[  6]  0.0-10.5 sec  4.30 MBytes  3.42 Mbits/sec
[  8]  0.0-10.8 sec  3.92 MBytes  3.03 Mbits/sec
[  7]  0.0-10.9 sec  4.03 MBytes  3.11 Mbits/sec
[SUM]  0.0-10.9 sec  39.3 MBytes  30.3 Mbits/sec

You see currently my home machine has an Uplink of 30.3 Mbit/s per second, that's pretty nice since I've ordered a 100Mbits from my ISP (Unguaranteed Bandwidth Connection Speed) and as you might know it is a standard practice for many Internet Proviers to give Uplink speed of 1/4 from the ISP provided overall bandwidth 1/4 would be 25Mbi/s, meaning my ISP (Bergon.NET) is doing pretty well providing me with even more than promised (ordered) bandwidth.

Iperf is probably the choice of most sysadmins who have to do regular bandwidth in local networks speed between 2 servers or test  Internet Bandwidth speed on heterogenous network with Linux / BSDs / AIX / HP-UX (UNIXes). On HP-UX and AIX and other UNIXes for which iperf doesn't have port you have to compile it yourself.

If you don't have root /admin permissions on server and there is python language enterpreter installed you can use script to test internet throughput connectivity
speedtest_cli uses to test server up / down link just in case if script is lost in future I've made ownload mirror of is here

Quickest way to test net speed with

$ lynx -dump >
$ chmod +x