Posts Tagged ‘root’

Delete empty files and directories under directory tree in Linux / UNIX / BSD

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

Reading Time: 3minutes

delete-empty-directories-and-files-freeup-inodes-by-empty-deleting-directoriers-or-files

Sometimes it happens that you end up on your server with a multiple of empty files. The reason for that could be different for example it could be /tmp is overflown with some session store files on a busy website, or due to some programmers Web executed badly written PHP / Python / Perl / Ruby code bug or lets say Content Management System ( CMS ) based website based on WordPress / Joomla / Drupal / Magento / Shopify etc. due to a broken plugin some specific directory could get filled up with plenty of meaningless empty files, that never gets wiped out if you don't care. This could happen if you offer your users to share files online to a public sharing service as WebFTP and some of the local hacked UNIX user accounts decides to make you look like a fool and run an endless loop to create files in your Hard Drive until your small server HDD filesystem of few terabytes gets filled up with useless empty files and due to full inode count on the filesystem your machine running running services gets disfunctional …

Hence on servers with shared users or simply webservers it is always a good idea to keep an eye on filesystem used nodes count by system are and in case if notices a sudden increase of used FS inodes as part of the investigation process on what caused it to check the amount of empty files on the system attached SCSI / SSD / SAS whatever drive.
 

1. Show a list of free inodes on server


Getting inodes count after logged is done with df command

root@linux-server:~# df -i
Filesystem        Inodes   IUsed     IFree IUse% Mounted on
udev             2041464     516   2040948    1% /dev
tmpfs            2046343    1000   2045343    1% /run
/dev/sdb2       14655488 1794109  12861379   13% /
tmpfs            2046343       4   2046339    1% /dev/shm
tmpfs            2046343       8   2046335    1% /run/lock
tmpfs            2046343      17   2046326    1% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/sdc6        6111232  6111232   0   100% /var/www
/dev/sda1       30162944 3734710  26428234   13% /mnt/sda1
/dev/sdd1      122093568 8011342 114082226    7% /backups
tmpfs            2046343      13   2046330    1% /run/user/1000

 

2. Show all empty files and directories count

 

### count empty directories ### root@linux-server:~# find /path/ -empty -type d | wc -l

### count empty files only ### root@linux-server:~# find /path/ -empty -type f | wc -l

 

3. List all empty files in directory or root dir

As you can see on the server in above example the amount of inodes of empty inodes is depleted.
The next step is to anylize what is happening in that web directory and if there is a multitude of empty files taking up all our disk space.
 

root@linux-server:~# find /var/www -type f -empty > /root/empty_files_list.txt


As you can see I'm redirecting output to a file as with the case of many empty files, I'll have to wait for ages and console will get filled up with a data I'll be unable to easily analyze

If the problem is another directory in your case, lets say the root dir.

root@linux-server:~#  DIR='/';
root@linux-server:~# find $DIR -type f -empty > /root/empty_files_list.txt

4. Getting empty directories list


Under some case it might be that the server is overflowed with empty directories. This is also a thing some malicious cracker guy could do to your server if he can't root the server with some exploit but wants to bug you and 'show off his script kiddie 3l337 magic tricks' :). This is easily done with a perl / python or bash shell endless loop inside which a random file named millions of empty directories instead of files is created.

To look up for empty directories hence use:

root@linux-server:~# DIR='/home';
root@linux-server:~# find  $DIR . -type d -empty > /root/empty_directories_list.txt

 

5. Delete all empty files only to clean up inodes

Deletion of empty files will automatically free up the inodes occupied, to delete them.

root@linux-server:~# cd /path/containing/multiple/empty-dirs/
root@linux-server:~# find . -type f -empty -exec rm -fr {} \;

 

6. Delete all empty directories only to clean up inocommanddes

root@linux-server:~# find . -type d -empty -exec rm -fr {} \;

 

7. Delete all empty files and directories to clean up inodes

root@linux-server:~# cd /path/containing/multiple/empty-dirs/
root@linux-server:~# find . -empty -delete

 

8. Use find + xargs to delete if files count to delete is too high

root@linux-server:~# find . -empty | xargs rm -r


That's all folks ! Enjoy now your Filesystem to have retrieved back the lost inodes from the jump empty files or directories.

Happy cleaning  🙂

Procedure Instructions to safe upgrade CentOS / RHEL Linux 7 Core to latest release

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

Reading Time: 10minutes

safe-upgrade-CentOS-and_Redhat_Enterprise_Linux_RHEL-7-to-latest-stable-release

Generally upgrading both RHEL and CentOS can be done straight with yum tool just we're pretty aware and mostly anyone could do the update, but it is good idea to do some
steps in advance to make backup of any old basic files that might help us to debug what is wrong in case if the Operating System fails to boot after the routine Machine OS restart
after the upgrade that is usually a good idea to make sure that machine is still bootable after the upgrade.

This procedure can be shortened or maybe extended depending on the needs of the custom case but the general framework should be useful anyways to someone that's why
I decided to post this.

Before you go lets prepare a small status script which we'll use to report status of  sysctl installed and enabled services as well as the netstat connections state and
configured IP addresses and routing on the system.

Thescript show_running_services_netstat_ips_route.shto be used during our different upgrade stages:
 

# script status ###
echo "STARTED: $(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S'):" | tee /root/logs/yumcheckupdate-$(hostname)-$(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S').out
systemctl list-unit-files –type=service | grep enabled
systemctl | grep ".service" | grep "running"
netstat -tulpn
netstat -r
ip a s
/sbin/route -n
echo "ENDED $(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S'):" | tee /root/logs/yumcheckupdate-$(hostname)-$(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S').out
####

 

– Save the script in any file like /root/status.sh

– Make the /root/logs directoriy.
 

[root@redhat: ~ ]# mkdir /root/logs
[root@redhat: ~ ]#vim /root/status.sh
[root@redhat: ~ ]# chmod +x /root/status.sh

 

1. Get a dump of CentOS installed version release and grub-mkconfig generated os_probe

 

[root@redhat: ~ ]# cat /etc/redhat-release  > /root/logs/redhat-release-vorher-$(hostname)-$(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S').out
[root@redhat: ~ ]# cat /etc/grub.d/30_os-prober > /root/logs/grub2-efi-vorher-$(hostname)-$(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S').out

 

2. Clear old versionlock marked RPM packages (if there are such)

 

On servers maintained by multitude of system administrators just like the case is inside a Global Corporations and generally in the corporate world , where people do access the systems via LDAP and more than a single person
has superuser privileges. It is a good prevention measure to use yum package management  functionality to RPM based Linux distributions called  versionlock.
versionlock for those who hear it for a first time is locking the versions of the installed RPM packages so if someone by mistake or on purpose decides to do something like :

[root@redhat: ~ ]# yum install packageversion

Having the versionlock set will prevent the updated package to be installed with a different branch package version.

Also it will prevent a playful unknowing person who just wants to upgrade the system without any deep knowledge to be able to
run

[root@redhat: ~ ]# yum upgrade

update and leave the system in unbootable state, that will be only revealed during the next system reboot.

If you haven't used versionlock before and you want to use it you can do it with:

[root@redhat: ~ ]# yum install yum-plugin-versionlock

To add all the packages for compiling C code and all the interdependend packages, you can do something like:

 

[root@redhat: ~ ]# yum versionlock gcc-*

If you want to clear up the versionlock, once it is in use run:

[root@redhat: ~ ]#  yum versionlock clear
[root@redhat: ~ ]#  yum versionlock list

 

3.  Check RPC enabled / disabled

 

This step is not necessery but it is a good idea to check whether it running on the system, because sometimes after upgrade rpcbind gets automatically started after package upgrade and reboot. 
If we find it running we'll need to stop and mask the service.

 

# check if rpc enabled
[root@redhat: ~ ]# systemctl list-unit-files|grep -i rpc
var-lib-nfs-rpc_pipefs.mount                                      static
auth-rpcgss-module.service                                        static
rpc-gssd.service                                                  static
rpc-rquotad.service                                               disabled
rpc-statd-notify.service                                          static
rpc-statd.service                                                 static
rpcbind.service                                                   disabled
rpcgssd.service                                                   static
rpcidmapd.service                                                 static
rpcbind.socket                                                    disabled
rpc_pipefs.target                                                 static
rpcbind.target                                                    static

[root@redhat: ~ ]# systemctl status rpcbind.service
● rpcbind.service – RPC bind service
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/rpcbind.service; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: inactive (dead)

 

[root@redhat: ~ ]# systemctl status rpcbind.socket
● rpcbind.socket – RPCbind Server Activation Socket
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/rpcbind.socket; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: inactive (dead)
   Listen: /var/run/rpcbind.sock (Stream)
           0.0.0.0:111 (Stream)
           0.0.0.0:111 (Datagram)
           [::]:111 (Stream)
           [::]:111 (Datagram)

 

4. Check any previously existing downloaded / installed RPMs (check yum cache)

 

yum install package-name / yum upgrade keeps downloaded packages via its operations inside its cache directory structures in /var/cache/yum/*.
Hence it is good idea to check what were the previously installed packages and their count.

 

[root@redhat: ~ ]# cd /var/cache/yum/x86_64/;
[root@redhat: ~ ]# find . -iname '*.rpm'|wc -l

 

5. List RPM repositories set on the server

 

 [root@redhat: ~ ]# yum repolist
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror, versionlock
Repodata is over 2 weeks old. Install yum-cron? Or run: yum makecache fast
Determining fastest mirrors
repo id                                                                                 repo name                                                                                                            status
!atos-ac/7/x86_64                                                                       Atos Repository                                                                                                       3,128
!base/7/x86_64                                                                          CentOS-7 – Base                                                                                                      10,019
!cr/7/x86_64                                                                            CentOS-7 – CR                                                                                                         2,686
!epel/x86_64                                                                            Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux 7 – x86_64                                                                          165
!extras/7/x86_64                                                                        CentOS-7 – Extras                                                                                                       435
!updates/7/x86_64                                                                       CentOS-7 – Updates                                                                                                    2,500

 

This step is mandatory to make sure you're upgrading to latest packages from the right repositories for more concretics check what is inside in confs /etc/yum.repos.d/ ,  /etc/yum.conf 
 

6. Clean up any old rpm yum cache packages

 

This step is again mandatory but a good to follow just to have some more clearness on what packages is our upgrade downloading (not to mix up the old upgrades / installs with our newest one).
For documentation purposes all deleted packages list if such is to be kept under /root/logs/yumclean-install*.out file

[root@redhat: ~ ]# yum clean all |tee /root/logs/yumcleanall-$(hostname)-$(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S').out

 

7. List the upgradeable packages's latest repository provided versions

 

[root@redhat: ~ ]# yum check-update |tee /root/logs/yumcheckupdate-$(hostname)-$(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S').out

 

Then to be aware how many packages we'll be updating:

 

[root@redhat: ~ ]#  yum check-update | wc -l

 

8. Apply the actual uplisted RPM packages to be upgraded

 

[root@redhat: ~ ]# yum update |tee /root/logs/yumupdate-$(hostname)-$(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S').out

 

Again output is logged to /root/logs/yumcheckupate-*.out 

 

9. Monitor downloaded packages count real time

 

To make sure yum upgrade is not in some hanging state and just get some general idea in which state of the upgrade is it e.g. Download / Pre-Update / Install  / Upgrade/ Post-Update etc.
in mean time when yum upgrade is running to monitor,  how many packages has the yum upgrade downloaded from remote RPM set repositories:

 

[root@redhat: ~ ]#  watch "ls -al /var/cache/yum/x86_64/7Server/…OS-repository…/packages/|wc -l"

 

10. Run status script to get the status again

 

[root@redhat: ~ ]# sh /root/status.sh |tee /root/logs/status-before-$(hostname)-$(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S').out

 

11. Add back versionlock for all RPM packs

 

Set all RPM packages installed on the RHEL / CentOS versionlock for all packages.

 

#==if needed
# yum versionlock \*

 

 

12. Get whether old software configuration is not messed up during the Package upgrade (Lookup the logs for .rpmsave and .rpmnew)

 

During the upgrade old RPM configuration is probably changed and yum did automatically save .rpmsave / .rpmnew saves of it thus it is a good idea to grep the prepared logs for any matches of this 2 strings :
 

[root@redhat: ~ ]#   grep -i ".rpm" /root/logs/yumupdate-server-host-2020-01-20_14-30-41.out
[root@redhat: ~ ]#  grep -i ".rpmsave" /root/logs/yumupdate-server-host-2020-01-20_14-30-41.out
[root@redhat: ~ ]#  grep -i ".rpmnew" /root/logs/yumupdate-server-host-2020-01-20_14-30-41.out


If above commands returns output usually it is fine if there is is .rpmnew output but, if you get grep output of .rpmsave it is a good idea to review the files compare with the original files that were .rpmsaved with the 
substituted config file and atune the differences with the changes manually made for some program functionality.

What are the .rpmsave / .rpmnew files ?
This files are coded files that got triggered by the RPM install / upgrade due to prewritten procedures on time of RPM build.

 

If a file was installed as part of a rpm, it is a config file (i.e. marked with the %config tag), you've edited the file afterwards and you now update the rpm then the new config file (from the newer rpm) will replace your old config file (i.e. become the active file).
The latter will be renamed with the .rpmsave suffix.

If a file was installed as part of a rpm, it is a noreplace-config file (i.e. marked with the %config(noreplace) tag), you've edited the file afterwards and you now update the rpm then your old config file will stay in place (i.e. stay active) and the new config file (from the newer rpm) will be copied to disk with the .rpmnew suffix.
See e.g. this table for all the details. 

In both cases you or some program has edited the config file(s) and that's why you see the .rpmsave / .rpmnew files after the upgrade because rpm will upgrade config files silently and without backup files if the local file is untouched.

After a system upgrade it is a good idea to scan your filesystem for these files and make sure that correct config files are active and maybe merge the new contents from the .rpmnew files into the production files. You can remove the .rpmsave and .rpmnew files when you're done.


If you need to get a list of all .rpmnew .rpmsave files on the server do:

[root@redhat: ~ ]#  find / -print | egrep "rpmnew$|rpmsave$

 

13. Reboot the system 

To check whether on next hang up or power outage the system will boot normally after the upgrade, reboot to test it.

 

you can :

 

[root@redhat: ~ ]#  reboot

 

either

[root@redhat: ~ ]#  shutdown -r now


or if on newer Linux with systemd in ues below systemctl reboot.target.

[root@redhat: ~ ]#  systemctl start reboot.target

 

14. Get again the system status with our status script after reboot

[root@redhat: ~ ]#  sh /root/status.sh |tee /root/logs/status-after-$(hostname)-$(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S').out

 

15. Clean up any versionlocks if earlier set

 

[root@redhat: ~ ]# yum versionlock clear
[root@redhat: ~ ]# yum versionlock list

 

16. Check services and logs for problems

 

After the reboot Check closely all running services on system make sure every process / listening ports and services on the system are running fine, just like before the upgrade.
If the sytem had firewall,  check whether firewall rules are not broken, e.g. some NAT is not missing or anything earlier configured to automatically start via /etc/rc.local or some other
custom scripts were run and have done what was expected. 
Go through all the logs in /var/log that are most essential /var/log/boot.log , /var/log/messages … yum.log etc. that could reveal any issues after the boot. In case if running some application server or mail server check /var/log/mail.log or whenever it is configured to log.
If the system runs apache closely check the logs /var/log/httpd/error.log or php_errors.log for any strange errors that occured due to some issues caused by the newer installed packages.
Usually most of the cases all this should be flawless but a multiple check over your work is a stake for good results.
 

A quick and easy way to install Social Network on Linux/BSD System with Elgg

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Reading Time: 3minutes

elgg-blue-logo
I'm experimenting this days with Elgg – An Open Source Free Software GPLed Social Network which enables users to quickly create Communities.

Elgg is really easy to install and all it requires is a Linux/BSD or Windows system with PHP, MySQL and Apache installed.

Elgg is provided with dozens of nice plugins which for a short time enables individual to create fully operational Social Network like facebook.

Many people nowdays use facebook without realizing how bad facebook is how it breaks their privacy.
Facebook is actually a spy network, it stores data and pictures, likings and user behaviour of million of users around the world.
This needs to be stopped somehow, maybe if people start using the free software networks like elgg to build a mini-community which has profound interests in a certain spheres of work, life and amusement.
The evil empire of facebook will slowly start to loose it's position and the small projects networks based on Elgg and the other Free Software Social Networks which are currently available will start to rise up.
I'm currently really a novice into Elgg but I'm more convinced that the guys who develop it and contribute to it in terms of handy plugins have done really a great job.

It's ultra easy even for non professional middle level user to setup himself an Elgg install.
The installation procedure is not much harder than a simple wordpress blog or joomla based website install.
The installation of elgg takes no more than 10 to 20 minutes, the plugin installation and setup time further could take few days but in the end you have a full featured Social Network! This is really amazing.
The installation of new plugins in elgg is also fool proof / easy all you have to do to equip a newly installed elgg with plugins is to go to it's root directory and look for the mod directory. The new plugins which needs to be installed, could be directly downloaded and saved via links, elinks, lynx or even wget to the elgg installation directory.

Most of the elgg plugins comes in a form of zip files so after being installed simply executing:

server:/home/elgg/mysocialnetwork/mod# unzip walltowall.zip
....

The above cmd will for example unzip the WallToWall elgg plugin and the plugin will be further ready to be enabled via the administrator user set upped during your elgg installation.

The configurations of elgg are being accomplished via:

Administration -> Tool Administration

I should I'm still experimenting with Elgg social, until this very moment I've installed the following elgg plugins:

aaudio
akismet
artfolio
blog
bookmarks
buddytalk
captcha
categories
chat
crontrigger
custom_index
custom_profile_fields
default_widgets
diagnostics
elgg-ebuddy
embed
embedvideo
emoticons
externalpages
family
fbconnect
file
file_tree
flyers
forum
friend_request
friends
garbagecollector
groups
htmlawed
invitations
invitefriends
izap_videos
kaltura_video
lastfm
likes
logbrowser
logrotate
lucygames
members
messageboard
messages
milockergames_frameme
noscript_message
notifications
pages
polls
profile
reportedcontent
resume
river_comments
riverdashboard
riverfaces
search
siteaccess
tagcloud
theme_simpleneutral
thewire
tidypics
tidypicsExt
tinymce
twitter
twitterservice
user_contact_list
uservalidationbyemail
walltowall
weather
wp1
zaudio

One very handy feature I truly enjoy about Elgg is that it gives every user an own blog which or in other words when somebody registers in Elgg, he automatically gets a personal blog! How cool this is Yeash 😉
The Elgg photo upload plugin is also another interesting story. The photo plugin is a way better from my first impressions than facebook's buggy upload client.
Elgg also uses heavily jquery for it's various operations and the user experience feels very interactive.

Of course as with all free software things are not perfect some of the elgg plugins or (mods) as they are called are not working.
For example I couldn't make by so far the weather plugin which is supposed to report the weather.

Maybe some tweakening of the not working plugins will easily make them working. What is really important is that the Elgg basis system looks and seems to work really good and enpowers the user with a social network alternatives to the ugly facebook.

In order to experiment with Elgg and I've established a small social network targetting at University College and School Students called MockATeacher – mockateacher.com>/i>. The idea behind is to help students in their report writting by providing them with a place where they can meet other students and share files.

Some other aspects I've planned for MockATeacher is to build a small community of people who would like to share about idiot teachers, teacher stupid sayings as well as to mock the idiotic type of education that we and our children are up to in this age.
Just to close up, if you're looking for some time to spend in experimenting in an enjoyable way you definitely need to install elgg and play with it 😉

Rsync copy files with root privileges between servers with root superuser account disabled

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

Reading Time: 5minutes

 

rsync-copy-files-between-two-servers-with-root-privileges-with-root-superuser-account-disabled

Sometimes on servers that follow high security standards in companies following PCI Security (Payment Card Data Security) standards it is necessery to have a very weird configurations on servers,to be able to do trivial things such as syncing files between servers with root privileges in a weird manners.This is the case for example if due to security policies you have disabled root user logins via ssh server and you still need to synchronize files in directories such as lets say /etc , /usr/local/etc/ /var/ with root:root user and group belongings.

Disabling root user logins in sshd is controlled by a variable in /etc/ssh/sshd_config that on most default Linux OS
installations is switched on, e.g. 

grep -i permitrootlogin /etc/ssh/sshd_config
PermitRootLogin yes


Many corporations use Vulnerability Scanners such as Qualys are always having in their list of remote server scan for SSH Port 22 to turn have the PermitRootLogin stopped with:

 

PermitRootLogin no


In this article, I'll explain a scenario where we have synchronization between 2 or more servers Server A / Server B, whatever number of servers that have already turned off this value, but still need to
synchronize traditionally owned and allowed to write directories only by root superuser, here is 4 easy steps to acheive it.

 

1. Add rsyncuser to Source Server (Server A) and Destination (Server B)


a. Execute on Src Host:

 

groupadd rsyncuser
useradd -g 1000 -c 'Rsync user to sync files as root src_host' -d /home/rsyncuser -m rsyncuser

 

b. Execute on Dst Host:

 

groupadd rsyncuser
useradd -g 1000 -c 'Rsync user to sync files dst_host' -d /home/rsyncuser -m rsyncuser

 

2. Generate RSA SSH Key pair to be used for passwordless authentication


a. On Src Host
 

su – rsyncuser

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096

 

b. Check .ssh/ generated key pairs and make sure the directory content look like.

 

[rsyncuser@src-host .ssh]$ cd ~/.ssh/;  ls -1

id_rsa
id_rsa.pub
known_hosts


 

3. Copy id_rsa.pub to Destination host server under authorized_keys

 

scp ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub  rsyncuser@dst-host:~/.ssh/authorized_keys

 

Next fix permissions of authorized_keys file for rsyncuser as anyone who have access to that file (that exists as a user account) on the system
could steal the key and use it to run rsync commands and overwrite remotely files, like overwrite /etc/passwd /etc/shadow files with his custom crafted credentials
and hence hack you 🙂
 

Hence, On Destionation Host Server B fix permissions with:
 

su – rsyncuser; chmod 0600 ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
[rsyncuser@dst-host ~]$


An alternative way for the lazy sysadmins is to use the ssh-copy-id command

 

$ ssh-copy-id rsyncuser@192.168.0.180
/usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: Source of key(s) to be installed: "/root/.ssh/id_rsa.pub"
/usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: attempting to log in with the new key(s), to filter out any that are already installed
/usr/bin/ssh-copy-id: INFO: 1 key(s) remain to be installed — if you are prompted now it is to install the new keys
root@192.168.0.180's password: 
 

 

For improved security here to restrict rsyncuser to be able to run only specific command such as very specific script instead of being able to run any command it is good to use little known command= option
once creating the authorized_keys

 

4. Test ssh passwordless authentication works correctly


For that Run as a normal ssh from rsyncuser

On Src Host

 

[rsyncuser@src-host ~]$ ssh rsyncuser@dst-host


Perhaps here is time that for those who, think enabling a passwordless authentication is not enough secure and prefer to authorize rsyncuser via a password red from a secured file take a look in my prior article how to login to remote server with password provided from command line as a script argument / Running same commands on many servers 

5. Enable rsync in sudoers to be able to execute as root superuser (copy files as root)

 


For this step you will need to have sudo package installed on the Linux server.

Then, Execute once logged in as root on Destionation Server (Server B)

 

[root@dst-host ~]# grep 'rsyncuser ALL' /etc/sudoers|wc -l || echo ‘rsyncuser ALL=NOPASSWD:/usr/bin/rsync’ >> /etc/sudoers
 

 

Note that using rsync with a ALL=NOPASSWD in /etc/sudoers could pose a high security risk for the system as anyone authorized to run as rsyncuser is able to overwrite and
respectivle nullify important files on Destionation Host Server B and hence easily mess the system, even shell script bugs could produce a mess, thus perhaps a better solution to the problem
to copy files with root privileges with the root account disabled is to rsync as normal user somewhere on Dst_host and use some kind of additional script running on Dst_host via lets say cron job and
will copy gently files on selective basis.

Perhaps, even a better solution would be if instead of granting ALL=NOPASSWD:/usr/bin/rsync in /etc/sudoers is to do ALL=NOPASSWD:/usr/local/bin/some_copy_script.sh
that will get triggered, once the files are copied with a regular rsyncuser acct.

 

6. Test rsync passwordless authentication copy with superuser works


Do some simple copy, lets say copy files on Encrypted tunnel configurations located under some directory in /etc/stunnel on Server A to /etc/stunnel on Server B

The general command to test is like so:
 

rsync -aPz -e 'ssh' '–rsync-path=sudo rsync' /var/log rsyncuser@$dst_host:/root/tmp/


This will copy /var/log files to /root/tmp, you will get a success messages for the copy and the files will be at destination folder if succesful.

 

On Src_Host run:

 

[rsyncuser@src-host ~]$ dst=FQDN-DST-HOST; user=rsyncuser; src_dir=/etc/stunnel; dst_dir=/root/tmp;  rsync -aP -e 'ssh' '–rsync-path=sudo rsync' $src_dir  $rsyncuser@$dst:$dst_dir;

 

7. Copying files with root credentials via script


The simlest file to use to copy a bunch of predefined files  is best to be handled by some shell script, the most simple version of it, could look something like this.
 

#!/bin/bash
# On server1 use something like this
# On server2 dst server
# add in /etc/sudoers
# rsyncuser ALL=NOPASSWD:/usr/bin/rsync

user='rsyncuser';

dst_dir="/root/tmp";
dst_host='$dst_host';
src[1]="/etc/hosts.deny";
src[2]="/etc/sysctl.conf";
src[3]="/etc/samhainrc";
src[4]="/etc/pki/tls/";
src[5]="/usr/local/bin/";

 

for i in $(echo ${src[@]}); do
rsync -aPvz –delete –dry-run -e 'ssh' '–rsync-path=sudo rsync' "$i" $rsyncuser@$dst_host:$dst_dir"$i";
done


In above script as you can see, we define a bunch of files that will be copied in bash array and then run a loop to take each of them and copy to testination dir.
A very sample version of the script rsync_with_superuser-while-root_account_prohibited.sh 
 

Conclusion


Lets do short overview on what we have done here. First Created rsyncuser on SRC Server A and DST Server B, set up the key pair on both copied the keys to make passwordless login possible,
set-up rsync to be able to write as root on Dst_Host / testing all the setup and pinpointing a small script that can be used as a backbone to develop something more complex
to sync backups or keep system configurations identicatial – for example if you have doubts that some user might by mistake change a config etc.
In short it was pointed the security downsides of using rsync NOPASSWD via /etc/sudoers and few ideas given that could be used to work on if you target even higher
PCI standards.

 

Ansible Quick Start Cheatsheet for Linux admins and DevOps engineers

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Reading Time: 6minutes

ansible-quick-start-cheetsheet-ansible-logo

Ansible is widely used (Configuration management, deployment, and task execution system) nowadays for mass service depoyments on multiple servers and Clustered environments like, Kubernetes clusters (with multiple pods replicas) virtual swarms running XEN / IPKVM virtualization hosting multiple nodes etc. .

Ansible can be used to configure or deploy GNU / Linux tools and services such as Apache / Squid / Nginx / MySQL / PostgreSQL. etc. It is pretty much like Puppet (server / services lifecycle management) tool , except its less-complecated to start with makes it often a choose as a tool for mass deployment (devops) automation.

Ansible is used for multi-node deployments and remote-task execution on group of servers, the big pro of it it does all its stuff over simple SSH on the remote nodes (servers) and does not require extra services or listening daemons like with Puppet. It combined with Docker containerization is used very much for later deploying later on inside Cloud environments such as Amazon AWS / Google Cloud Platform / SAP HANA / OpenStack etc.

Ansible-Architechture-What-Is-Ansible-Edureka

0. Instaling ansible on Debian / Ubuntu Linux


Ansible is a python script and because of that depends heavily on python so to make it running, you will need to have a working python installed on local and remote servers.

Ansible is as easy to install as running the apt cmd:

 

# apt-get install –yes ansible
 

The following additional packages will be installed:
  ieee-data python-jinja2 python-kerberos python-markupsafe python-netaddr python-paramiko python-selinux python-xmltodict python-yaml
Suggested packages:
  sshpass python-jinja2-doc ipython python-netaddr-docs python-gssapi
Recommended packages:
  python-winrm
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  ansible ieee-data python-jinja2 python-kerberos python-markupsafe python-netaddr python-paramiko python-selinux python-xmltodict python-yaml
0 upgraded, 10 newly installed, 0 to remove and 1 not upgraded.
Need to get 3,413 kB of archives.
After this operation, 22.8 MB of additional disk space will be used.

apt-get install –yes sshpass

 

Installing Ansible on Fedora Linux is done with:

 

# dnf install ansible –yes sshpass

 

On CentOS to install:
 

# yum install ansible –yes sshpass

sshpass needs to be installed only if you plan touse ssh password prompt authentication with ansible.

Ansible is also installable via python-pip tool, if you need to install a specific version of ansible you have to use it instead, the package is available as an installable package on most linux distros.

Ansible has a lot of pros and cons and there are multiple articles already written on people for and against it in favour of Chef or Puppet As I recently started learning Ansible. The most important thing to know about Ansible is though many of the things can be done directly using a simple command line, the tool is planned for remote installing of server services using a specially prepared .yaml format configuration files. The power of Ansible comes of the use of Ansible Playbooks which are yaml scripts that tells ansible how to do its activities step by step on remote server. In this article, I'm giving a quick cheat sheet to start quickly with it.
 

1. Remote commands execution with Ansible
 

First thing to do to start with it is to add the desired hostnames ansible will operate with it can be done either globally (if you have a number of remote nodes) to deploy stuff periodically by using /etc/ansible/hosts or use a custom host script for each and every ansible custom scripts developed.

a. Ansible main config files

A common ansible /etc/ansible/hosts definition looks something like that:

 

# cat /etc/ansible/hosts
[mysqldb]
10.69.2.185
10.69.2.186
[master]
10.69.2.181
[slave]
10.69.2.187
[db-servers]
10.69.2.181
10.69.2.187
[squid]
10.69.2.184

Host to execute on can be also provided via a shell variable $ANSIBLE_HOSTS
b) is remote hosts reachable / execute commands on all remote host

To test whether hour hosts are properly configure from /etc/ansible/hosts you can ping all defined hosts with:

 

ansible all -m ping


ansible-check-hosts-ping-command-screenshot

This makes ansible try to remote to remote hosts (if you have properly configured SSH public key authorization) the command should return success statuses on every host.

 

ansible all -a "ifconfig -a"


If you don't have SSH keys configured you can also authenticate with an argument (assuming) all hosts are configured with same password with:

 

ansible all –ask-pass -a "ip all show" -u hipo –ask-pass


ansible-show-ips-ip-a-command-screenshot-linux

If you have configured group of hosts via hosts file you can also run certain commands on just a certain host group, like so:

 

ansible <host-group> -a <command>

It is a good idea to always check /etc/ansible/ansible.cfg which is the system global (main red ansible config file).

c) List defined host groups
 

ansible localhost -m debug -a 'var=groups.keys()'
ansible localhost -m debug -a 'var=groups'

d) Searching remote server variables

 

# Search remote server variables
ansible localhost -m setup -a 'filter=*ipv4*'

 

 

ansible localhost -m setup -a 'filter=ansible_domain'

 

 

ansible all -m setup -a 'filter=ansible_domain'

 

 

# uninstall package on RPM based distros
ansible centos -s -m yum -a "name=telnet state=absent"
# uninstall package on APT distro
ansible localhost -s -m apt -a "name=telnet state=absent"

 

 

2. Debugging – Listing information about remote hosts (facts) and state of a host

 

# All facts for one host
ansible -m setup
 # Only ansible fact for one host
ansible
-m setup -a 'filter=ansible_eth*'
# Only facter facts but for all hosts
ansible all -m setup -a 'filter=facter_*'


To Save outputted information per-host in separate files in lets say ~/ansible/host_facts

 

ansible all -m setup –tree ~/ansible/host_facts

 

3. Playing with Playbooks deployment scripts

 

a) Syntax Check of a playbook yaml

 

ansible-playbook –syntax-check


b) Run General Infos about a playbook such as get what a playbook would do on remote hosts (tasks to run) and list-hosts defined for a playbook (like above pinging).

 

ansible-playbook –list-hosts
ansible-playbook
–list-tasks


To get the idea about what an yaml playbook looks like, here is example from official ansible docs, that deploys on remote defined hosts a simple Apache webserver.
 


– hosts: webservers
  vars:
    http_port: 80
    max_clients: 200
  remote_user: root
  tasks:
  – name: ensure apache is at the latest version
    yum:
      name: httpd
      state: latest
  – name: write the apache config file
    template:
      src: /srv/httpd.j2
      dest: /etc/httpd.conf
    notify:
    – restart apache
  – name: ensure apache is running
    service:
      name: httpd
      state: started
  handlers:
    – name: restart apache
      service:
        name: httpd
        state: restarted

To give it a quick try save the file as webserver.yml and give it a run via ansible-playbook command
 

ansible-playbook -s playbooks/webserver.yml

 

The -s optioninstructs ansible to run play on remote server with super user (root) privileges.

The power of ansible is its modules, which are constantly growing over time a complete set of Ansible supported modules is in its official documenation.

Ansible-running-playbook-Commands-Task-script-Successful-output-1024x536

There is a lot of things to say about playbooks, just to give the brief they have there own language like a  templates, tasks, handlers, a playbook could have one or multiple plays inside (for instance instructions for deployment of one or more services).

The downsides of playbooks are they're so hard to write from scratch and edit, because yaml syntaxing is much more stricter than a normal oldschool sysadmin configuration file.
I've stucked with problems with modifying and writting .yaml files and I should say the community in #ansible in irc.freenode.net was very helpful to help me debug the obscure errors.

yamllint (The YAML Linter tool) comes handy at times, when facing yaml syntax errors, to use it install via apt:
 

# apt-get install –yes yamllint


a) Running ansible in "dry mode" just show what ansible might do but not change anything
 

ansible-playbook playbooks/PLAYBOOK_NAME.yml –check


b) Running playbook with different users and separate SSH keys

 

ansible-playbook playbooks/your_playbook.yml –user ansible-user
 
ansible -m ping hosts –private-key=~/.ssh/keys/custom_id_rsa -u centos

 

c) Running ansible playbook only for certain hostnames part of a bigger host group

 

ansible-playbook playbooks/PLAYBOOK_NAME.yml –limit "host1,host2,host3"


d) Run Ansible on remote hosts in parallel

To run in raw of 10 hosts in parallel
 

# Run 10 hosts parallel
ansible-playbook <File.yaml> -f 10            


e) Passing variables to .yaml scripts using commandline

Ansible has ability to pre-define variables from .yml playbooks. This variables later can be passed from shell cli, here is an example:

# Example of variable substitution pass from command line the var in varsubsts.yaml if present is defined / replaced ansible-playbook playbooks/varsubst.yaml –extra-vars "myhosts=localhost gather=yes pkg=telnet"

 

4. Ansible Galaxy (A Docker Hub) like large repository with playbook (script) files

 

Ansible Galaxy has about 10000 active users which are contributing ansible automation playbooks in fields such as Development / Networking / Cloud / Monitoring / Database / Web / Security etc.

To install from ansible galaxy use ansible-galaxy

# install from galaxy the geerlingguy mysql playbook
ansible-galaxy install geerlingguy.mysql


The available packages you can use as a template for your purpose are not so much as with Puppet as Ansible is younger and not corporate supported like Puppet, anyhow they are a lot and does cover most basic sysadmin needs for mass deployments, besides there are plenty of other unofficial yaml ansible scripts in various github repos.

Virtualbox Shared folder set up on Linux between Host and Guest OS – Set up Virtualbox shared folder to Copy files from PC Host to Guest

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Reading Time: 7minutes

mount-shares-between-host-OS-and-guest-virtual-machine-howto-virtualbox-vbox-logo

How to set-up Virtualbox shared folder to Copy files from PC Host  and Guest Virtualized OS?

Running VirtualBox Host is an easy thing to set-up across all Operating Systems.  Once you have it sooner or later you will need to copy files from the VM Host OS (that in my case is GNU / Linux) to the virtualized Guest operating system (again in my case that's again another Linux ISO running indide the Virtual Machine).

Below are steps to follow To use Virtualbox Shared Folder functionality to copy files between VBox and your Desktop / server Linux install.

1. Install Virtualbox Guest Additions CD Image ISO

I've explained how to add the Guest Additions CD image thoroughfully in my previous article Howto enable Copy / Paste Virtualbox betwen Linux guest and Host OS
Anyways I'll repeat myself below for sake of clarity:

To do so use Oracle VBox menus (on the booted virtualized OS VBox window):

 

Devices -> Insert Guest additions CD Image

 

Mount the ISO inside the Linux Virtual Machine:

root@debian:~# mount /media/cdrom1/
 

If the mount fails and there are no files inside the mount point it might be because the virtualbox-dkms and virtualbox-guest-dkms packages might be missing on the Host OS.

To install them (on Debian GNU / Linux) assuming that you're using virtualbox default distro packages /etc/apt/sources.list :
 

apt-get install –yes -qq virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-guest-dkms


and run:

 

root@debian:/media/cdrom1# cd /media/cdrom1; sh VBoxLinuxAdditions.run


2. Create directory for Shared Folder that will be used to access Host / OS files from the Guest Virtualized OS
 

root@debian:~# mkdir /mnt/shared_folder

 

3. Map from VBox program interface Shared folder settings and Mount /mnt/shared_folder location

virtualbox-virtual-machine-devices-shared-folders-shared-folder-settings-linux-screenshot

 

Devices -> Shared Folder -> Shared Folder settings -> Transient Folders (click blue folder add small button right)

 

From Transient Folders add whatever directory you want to be shared from your local notebook / PC to the VM.

virtualbox-devices-Shared-Folder-Add-Shared-Folder-add-share-linux-screenshotDepending on whether you would like to mount the shared folder only for reading files (choose Read Only) to make it a permanent shared folder (and not just for the one session of current running Virtual Machine until its killed use Make Permanent) or check Auto-Mount tick if you want the shared_folder mapping to be mounted on every VM boot.

Once the shared_folder directory location is set-up from GUI menu click OK andin order for the settings to take effect, you'll need to restart the VM Guest with Linux (use halt command from terminal) or Power Off the Machine via the VBox menus.

To mount use command like:

mount -t vboxsf name_of_folder_linked_from_vbox  /mnt/name_folder_guest_os/


mount-vboxsf-shared-folder-mnt-shared-linux-guest-screenshot

In my case I wanted to share home folder /home so the command I used is:

root@debian:~# mount -t vboxsf  shared_folder /mnt/shared_folder


If everything is fine your Host OS file content from /home will be visible (for read and write if you Mapped it so) 
under /mnt/shared_folder …

And as Turtles Ninja used to heavily say Cowabunga !!! 🙂
You have it mounted and ready for file share between Desktop -> Virtualized OS.

 

Bear in mind that above mount command has to run as root (superuser) to succeed.

You now could copy files from your Host OS (running the Virtual Machine) and the Guest OS (Virtualized OS) using /mnt/shared_folder mount point without problems.

The example is if you want to share files between VirtualBox installed Linux and the Guest (Desktop / server) OS, however at many cases mounting your Host OS directory for root users might be not very practical but, instead you might prefer to do the mount for specific non admin user, for example I prefer to do the shared folder mount with my pointed non-root username hipo.

Here is how to do above VM shared_folder mount for non-root user:

First you need to know the exact UID / GID (User ID / Group ID) of user, you can get that with id command:

 

hipo@linux:~$  id
uid=1000(hipo) gid=1000(hipo) groups=1000(hipo),24(cdrom),25(floppy),29(audio),30(dip),44(video),46(plugdev),108(netdev),114(bluetooth),115(lpadmin),119(scanner)

 

As you see UID / GID in my case are 1000 / 1000

hipo@linux:~$ sudomount -t vboxsf -o rw,uid=1000,gid=1000 shared_folder /mnt/shared_folder

 

mount-virtual-box-shared_folder-with-non-administration-permissions-non-root-permissions-id-and-mount-command-screenshot-linux


4. Mounting configured shared_folder to automatically mount into the Guest OS Linux on every boot

a) Configuring shared_folder auto-mount using /etc/rc.local

If you need the shared_folder to automatically mount next-time you boot the virtual machine quickest way is to add the mount command to /etc/rc.local (on Debian 8 and Debian 9 and newer Ubuntu Linuxes rc.local is missing by default to enable it to work like it worked before read follow my previous article).

b) Configuring auto-mount for shared_folder through /etc/fstab

The more professional way to auto-mount on emulated OS VM boot time,  you could add the vboxsf mount definitions to /etc/fstab with your favourite text-editormcedit, nano, joe etc. … (for me that's vim).

Syntax of /etc/fstab is as follows:
 

<Device> <Mount Point> <Type> <Options> <Dump> <Pass>

root@linux:~# vim /etc/fstab

 

shared_folder /mnt/shared_folder                                vboxsf rw,uid=1000,gid=1000 0 0

Note that you will want to change 1000 / 1000, id / gid with the ones of the non-admin user you would like to add to mount it for.

A quick way to add it to /etc/fstab with a shell one-liner is with command
 

root@linux:~# echo 'shared_folder /mnt/shared_folder                                vboxsf rw,uid=1000,gid=1000 0  0' >> /etc/fstab

An alternative way to add a user to have permissions for vboxsf file system (without specifying the long -o uid=1000,gid=1000 options is to simply add the username in question to group vboxsf like so:

c) Adding non super user username to vboxsf group

root@linux:~# usermod -G vboxsf hipo
root@linux:~# grep -i vboxsf /etc/group
vboxsf:x:999:hipo

 

hipo@linux:~$ sudo mount -t vboxsf  shared_folder /mnt/shared_folder

 

without the extra arguments and the options to pass to /etc/fstab (for eventual requirement to auto mount the shared_folder) would be more simple e.g.:

 

echo 'shared_folder /mnt/shared_folder                                vboxsf ' >> /etc/fstab

 

One note to make here is if the uesr is added to vboxsf the line for /etc/fstab to auto mount to mount for root user and non-root will be identical.

Then you can get the /etc/fstab auto-mount configured tested by running:

c) Checking auto-mount is working

hipo@linux:~# mount -a
hipo@linux:~# mount |grep -i vboxsf
shared_folder on /mnt/shared_folder type vboxsf (rw,nodev,relatime)


5. What if you end up with mounting failed errors ? – What might be causing the mounting failed Protocol error (a few things to check to solve)


In case of troubles with the mount you might get an error like:

hipo@linux:~# mount -t vboxsf  share_folder /mnt/shared_folder

/sbin/mount.vboxsf: mounting failed with the error: Protocol error


This error might be caused because of Insert Guest Additions CD Image might be not properly enabled and installed using the ISO provided VBoxLinuxAdditions.sh shell script.
Other common reason you might get this error if you have mistyped the Folder name:given in Shared Folders -> Folder Path -> Add Share for example I have given shared_folder as a Map name but as you can see in above mount -t vboxsf, I've mistyped share_folder instead of the correct one shared_folder inserted.
In some VBox releases this error was caused by bugs in the Virtual Machine.
 

virtualbox-virtual-machine-shared-folder-transient-folder-add-folder-linux-VM-guest-linux

One useful tip is to be able to check whether a Virtualbox Virtual Machine has a configured shared_folder (if you're logging to manage the machine on remote server – nomatter whether you have logged in with VNC / Teamviewer / Citrix etc. or via SSH session.

To do so use VBoxControl as of time of writting usually located on most distributions under (/usr/bin/VBoxControl)
 

 

hipo@linux:~# VBoxControl sharedfolder list -automount
Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions Command Line Management Interface Version 5.2.18
(C) 2008-2018 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.

 

Auto-mounted Shared Folder mappings (0):

No Shared Folders available.

You can use VBoxControl command to get set and list a number of settings on the VBox VM, here is an useful example with it where you get information about numerous VBox info values:

 

root@linux:~# VBoxControl guestproperty enumerate
Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions Command Line Management Interface Version 5.2.18
(C) 2008-2018 Oracle Corporation
All rights reserved.

 

Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/Product, value: Linux, timestamp: 1536681633430852000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/V4/IP, value: 10.0.2.15, timestamp: 1536681633438717000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/HostInfo/GUI/LanguageID, value: en_US, timestamp: 1536697521395621000, flags: RDONLYGUEST
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/MAC, value: 08002762FA1C, timestamp: 1536681633442120000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/ServicePack, value: <NULL>, timestamp: 1536681633431259000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/HostInfo/VBoxVerExt, value: 5.2.18, timestamp: 1536681619002646000, flags: TRANSIENT, RDONLYGUEST
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/V4/Netmask, value: 255.255.255.0, timestamp: 1536681633440157000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/Version, value: #1 SMP Debian 4.9.110-3+deb9u2 (2018-08-13), timestamp: 1536681633431125000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/VersionExt, value: 5.2.18, timestamp: 1536681633431582000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Revision, value: 124319, timestamp: 1536681633432515000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/HostGuest/SysprepExec, value: <NULL>, timestamp: 1536681619002355000, flags: TRANSIENT, RDONLYGUEST
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/LoggedInUsers, value: 1, timestamp: 1536681673447293000, flags: TRANSIENT, TRANSRESET
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/Status, value: Up, timestamp: 1536681633443911000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/Name, value: enp0s3, timestamp: 1536681633445302000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/HostGuest/SysprepArgs, value: <NULL>, timestamp: 1536681619002387000, flags: TRANSIENT, RDONLYGUEST
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Version, value: 5.2.18, timestamp: 1536681633431419000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/HostInfo/VBoxRev, value: 124319, timestamp: 1536681619002668000, flags: TRANSIENT, RDONLYGUEST
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/V4/Broadcast, value: 10.0.2.255, timestamp: 1536681633439531000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/HostInfo/VBoxVer, value: 5.2.18, timestamp: 1536681619002613000, flags: TRANSIENT, RDONLYGUEST
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/LoggedInUsersList, value: hipo, timestamp: 1536681673446498000, flags: TRANSIENT, TRANSRESET
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/Count, value: 1, timestamp: 1536698949773993000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/Release, value: 4.9.0-7-amd64, timestamp: 1536681633431001000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/NoLoggedInUsers, value: false, timestamp: 1536681673447965000, flags: TRANSIENT, TRANSRESET
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/HostVerLastChecked, value: 5.2.18, timestamp: 1536681702832389000, flags: <NULL>

Hope you enjoyed ! Have phun! 🙂

Installing the phpbb forum on Debian (Squeeze/Sid) Linux

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Reading Time: 4minutes

howto-easily-install-phpbb-on-debian-gnu-linux

I've just installed the phpbb forum on a Debian Linux because we needed a goodquick to install communication media in order to improve our internal communication in a student project in Strategic HR we're developing right now in Arnhem Business School.

Here are the exact steps I followed to have a properly it properly instlled:

1. Install the phpbb3 debian package
This was pretty straight forward:

debian:~# apt-get install phpbb3

At this point of installation I've faced a dpkg-reconfigure phpbb deb package configuration issue:
I was prompted to pass in the credentials for my MySQL password right after I've selected the MySQL as my preferred database back engine.
I've feeded my MySQL root password as well as my preferred forum database name, however the database installation failed because, somehow the configuration procedure tried to connect to my MySQL database with the htcheck user.
I guess this has to be a bug in the package itself or something from my previous installation misconfigured the way the debian database backend configuration was operating.
My assumption is that my previously installed htcheck package or something beforehand I've done right after the htcheck and htcheck-php packages installation.

after the package configuration failed still the package had a status of properly installed when I reviewed it with dpkg
I've thought about trying to manually reconfigure it using the dpkg-reconfigure debian command and I gave it a try like that:

debian:~# dpkg-reconfigure phpbb3

This time along with the other fields I've to fill in the ncurses interface I was prompted for a username before the password prompted appeared.
Logically I tried to fill in the root as it's my global privileges MySQL allowed user.
However that didn't helped at all and again the configuration tried to send the credentials with user htcheck to my MySQL database server.
To deal with the situation I had to approach it in the good old manual way.

2. Manually prepare / create the required phpbb forum database

To completet that connected to the MySQL server with the mysql client and created the proper database like so:

debian:~# mysql -u root -p
mysql>
CREATE database phpbb3forum;

3. Use phpmyadmin or the mysql client command line to create a new user for the phpbb forum

Here since adding up the user using the phpmyadmin was a way easier to do I decided to go that route, anyways using the mysql cli is also an option.

From phpmyadmin It's pretty easy to add a new user and grant privileges to a certain database, to do so navigate to the following database:

Privileges -> -> Add a new user ->

Now type your User name: , Host , Password , Re-type password , also for a Host: you have to choose Local from the drop down menu.

Leave the Database for user field empty as we have already previously created our desired database in step 2 of this article

Now press the "Go" button and the user will get created.

Further after choose the Privileges menu right on the bottom of the page once again, select through the checkbox the username you have just created let's say the previously created user is phpbb3

Go to Action (There is a picture with a man and a pencil on the right side of this button

Scroll down to the page part saying Database-specific privileges and in the field Add privileges on the following database: fill in your previosly created database name in our case it's phpbb3forum

and then press the "Go" button once again.
A page will appear where you will have to select the exact privileges you would like to grant on the specific selected database.
For some simplicity just check all the checkbox to grant as many privilegs to your database as you could.
Then again you will have to press the "Go" button and there you go you should have already configured an username and database ready to go with your new phpbb forum.

4. Create a virtualhost if you would like to have the forum as a subdomain or into a separate domain

If you decide to have the forum on a separate sub-domain or domain as I did you will have to add some kind of Virtualhost into either your Apache configuration /etc/apache2/apache2.conf or into where officially the virutualhosts are laid in Debian Linux in /etc/apache2/sites-available
I've personally created a new file like for instance /etc/apache2/sites-available/mysubdomain.mydomain.com

Here is an example content of the new Virtualhost:

<VirtualHost *>
ServerAdmin admin-email@domain.com
ServerName mysubdomain.domain.com

# Indexes + Directory Root.
DirectoryIndex index.php index.php5 index.htm index.html index.pl index.cgi index.phtml index.jsp index.py index.asp

DocumentRoot /usr/share/phpbb3/www/

# Logfiles
ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/yourdomain/error.log
CustomLog /var/log/apache2/yourdomain/access.log combined
# CustomLog /dev/null combined
<Directory /usr/share/phpbb3/www/>
Options FollowSymLinks MultiViews -Includes ExecCGI
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
allow from all </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

In above Virtualhost just change the values for ServerAdmin , ServerName , DocumentRoot , ErrorLog , CustomLog and Directory declaration to adjust it to your situation.

5. Restart the Apache webserver for the new Virtualhost to take affect

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

Now accessing your http://mysubdomain.domain.com should display the installed phpbb3 forum
The default username and password for your forum you can use straight are:

username: admin
password: admin

So far so good you by now have the PHPBB3 forum properly installed and running, however if you try to Register a new user in the forum you will notice that it's impossible because of a terrible ugly message reading:

Sorry but this board is currently unavailable.

I've spend few minutes online to scrape through the forums before I can understand what I have to stop that annoying message from appearing and allow new users to register in the phpbb forum

The solution came natural and was a setting that had to be changed with the forum admin account, thus login as admin and look at the bottom of the page, below the text reading Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group you will notice a link with Administration Control Panel
just press there a whole bunch of menus will appear on the screen allowing you to do numerous things, however what you will have to do is go to
Board Settings -> Disable Board

and change the radio button there to say No

That's all now your forum will be ready to go and your users can freely register and if the server where the forum is installed has an already running mail server, they will receive an emails with a registration data concerning their new registrations in your new phpbb forum.
Cheers and Enjoy your new shiny phpbb Forum 🙂

Why don’t you use Window Maker GNU Step to improve your computer interaction performance

Monday, October 30th, 2017

Reading Time: 8minutes

Why-dont-you-use-Window-Maker-graphical-environment-for-your-GNU_Linux-FreeBSD-desktop

If you're pissed off too already of GNOME 3 Unity / GNOME 3 Flashback and KDE Plasma  as I am you perhaps are looking for something more light weigth but you're not okay with default Debian Cinnanom GUI environment or you don't feel confortable for system administration jobs and programming with XFCE then perhaps you would like to give a try to something more old school but build with good design in Mind.

Those who are fans of the evil genius Steve Jobs (as Richard Stallman use to call him), definitely Remember NeXT company and the revolutionary Graphic Environment they tried to develop NeXT Step then you'll be happy to hear about GNUStep  which historically was called AfterStep and is a Free Software remake of NextStep graphical environment for Free and Open Source operating systems (FOSS) such as GNU / Linux and FreeBSD / OpenBSD / NetBSD etc.

Amanda_the_panda_mascot_of_window_maker-graphical-environment-system

Amanda the Panda is the mascot of Window Maker. She was designed by Agnieszka Czajkowska.

The good thing about Window Maker and the complete bunch of desktop environment GNUStep is it much lighter and less complex than the more and more becoming bloated modern Free Software graphical environments, it definitely easifies the way the user interacts with basic browsing with Firefox / Opera, terminal code writting or command system administration and basic chat functionalities such as with Gajim or Pidgin and basic email writting operatins be it with some text email client such as Mutt or with Thunderbird. Its great also to reduce the overall load the Operating System puts on your brain so you can have more time to invest in more useful stuff like programming.

windows-maker-increase-performance-of-work-with-your-computer-howto-wmaker-screenshot

After all simplicity in Operating System is a key for an increased productivity with your computer.
Besides that stability of Window Maker is much better when compared to GNOME and GNOME 2 fork MATE graphical environment which nowadays in my opinion is becoming even more buggy than it used to be some years ago.

Below is how Window Makers site describes Window Maker:

"Window Maker is an X11 window manager originally designed to provide integration support for the GNUstep Desktop Environment. In every way possible, it reproduces the elegant look and feel of the NEXTSTEP user interface. It is fast, feature rich, easy to configure, and easy to use. It is also free software, with contributions being made by programmers from around the world.

Window Maker has a stable user interface since many years and comes with a powerful GUI configuration editor called WPrefs, which removes the need to edit text-based config files by hand. It supports running dockapps which make everyday tasks such as monitoring system performance and battery usage, mounting devices or connecting to the internet very easy. Please see the features section for more specifics on what Window Maker can do, and how it compares with other popular window managers."

Window Maker is bundled with a number of useful applications which gives ability to put Dock applets easily for easily intearcive desktop update of current Weather Report, Monitoring Network Traffic, TV Player (video4linux), laptop battery info dock, CD player and Volume control management app, text editor, pdf viewer, integrated Mail application, Calculator, RSS Reader, GNUStep gamesand much useful things to customize from the desktop resembling many of the basic features any other graphical environment such as GNOME / KDE Provides.

The User Interface (UI) of Window Maker is highly configurable with an integrated WMaker tool called

WPrefs

Why-dont-you-use-Wmaker-for-better-desktop-performance-Windowmaker_colour_preferences

All generated settings from WPrefs (Window Maker Prefernces) GUI tool are to be stored in a plaintext file:
 

~/GNUstep/Defaults/WMRootMenu

All Wmaker configurations are stored inside ~/GNUstep/ (Your user home GNUStep), so if you're to become its user sooner or later you will have to get acquired to it.

Wmaker is very minimalist and the performance is killing so Window Maker is perhaps the number one choice Graphical Environment to use on Old Computers with Linux and BSD.

Below is a full list of all packages installed on my Debian GNU / Linux that provides WMaker / GNUStep great functionalities:

root@jericho:/home/hipo# dpkg -l |grep -i wmaker; dpkg -l |grep -i gnustep
ii  wmaker                                        0.95.8-2                             amd64        NeXTSTEP-like window manager for X
ii  wmaker-common                                 0.95.8-2                             all          Window Maker – Architecture independent files
ii  wmbattery                                     2.50-1+b1                            amd64        display laptop battery info, dockable in WindowMaker
ii  wmcdplay                                      1.1-2+b1                             amd64        CD player based on ascd designed for WindowMaker
ii  wmifs                                         1.8-1                                amd64        WindowMaker dock app for monitoring network traffic
ii  wmnut                                         0.66-1                               amd64        WindowMaker dock app that displays UPS statistics from NUT's upsd
ii  wmpuzzle                                      0.5.2-2+b1                           amd64        WindowMaker dock app 4×4 puzzle
ii  wmrack                                        1.4-5+b1                             amd64        Combined CD Player + Mixer designed for WindowMaker
ii  wmtv                                          0.6.6-1                              amd64        Dockable video4linux TV player for WindowMaker
ii  wmweather                                     2.4.6-2+b1                           amd64        WindowMaker dockapp that shows your current weather
ii  wmweather+                                    2.15-1.1+b2                          amd64        WindowMaker dock app that shows your current weather
ii  addressmanager.app                            0.4.8-2+b2                           amd64        Personal Address Manager for GNUstep
ii  agenda.app                                    0.42.2-1+b7                          amd64        Calendar manager for GNUstep
ii  charmap.app                                   0.3~rc1-3                            amd64        Character map for GNUstep
ii  charmap.app-common                            0.3~rc1-3                            all          Character map for GNUstep (arch-independent files)
ii  cynthiune.app                                 1.0.0-1+b4                           amd64        Music player for GNUstep
ii  dictionaryreader.app                          0+20080616+dfsg-2+b6                 amd64        Dict client for GNUstep
ii  edenmath.app                                  1.1.1a-7.1+b1                        amd64        Scientific calculator for GNUstep
ii  gnumail.app                                   1.2.2-1.1                            amd64        Mail client for GNUstep
ii  gnumail.app-common                            1.2.2-1.1                            all          Mail client for GNUstep (common files)
ii  gnustep                                       7.8                                  all          User applications for the GNUstep Environment
ii  gnustep-back-common                           0.25.0-2                             amd64        GNUstep GUI Backend – common files
ii  gnustep-back0.25                              0.25.0-2                             all          GNUstep GUI Backend
ii  gnustep-back0.25-cairo                        0.25.0-2                             amd64        GNUstep GUI Backend (cairo)
ii  gnustep-base-common                           1.24.9-3.1                           all          GNUstep Base library – common files
ii  gnustep-base-doc                              1.24.9-3.1                           all          Documentation for the GNUstep Base Library
ii  gnustep-base-runtime                          1.24.9-3.1                           amd64        GNUstep Base library – daemons and tools
ii  gnustep-common                                2.7.0-1                              amd64        Common files for the core GNUstep environment
ii  gnustep-core-devel                            7.8                                  all          GNUstep Development Environment — core libraries
ii  gnustep-core-doc                              7.8                                  all          GNUstep Development Environment — core documentation
ii  gnustep-devel                                 7.8                                  all          GNUstep Development Environment — development tools
ii  gnustep-games                                 7.8                                  all          GNUstep games
ii  gnustep-gui-common                            0.25.0-4                             all          GNUstep GUI Library – common files
ii  gnustep-gui-doc                               0.25.0-4                             all          Documentation for the GNUstep GUI Library
ii  gnustep-gui-runtime                           0.25.0-4+b1                          amd64        GNUstep GUI Library – runtime files
ii  gnustep-icons                                 1.0-5                                all          Several free icons for use with GNUstep and others
ii  gnustep-make                                  2.7.0-1                              all          GNUstep build system
ii  gnustep-make-doc                              2.7.0-1                              all          Documentation for GNUstep Make
ii  gomoku.app                                    1.2.9-2+b2                           amd64        Extended TicTacToe game for GNUstep
ii  gorm.app                                      1.2.23-1                             amd64        Visual Interface Builder for GNUstep
ii  gridlock.app                                  1.10-4+b2                            amd64        Collection of grid-based board games for GNUstep
ii  grr.app                                       1.0-1+b2                             amd64        RSS reader for GNUstep
ii  gworkspace-common                             0.9.3-1                              all          GNUstep Workspace Manager – common files
ii  gworkspace.app                                0.9.3-1+b2                           amd64        GNUstep Workspace Manager
ii  helpviewer.app                                0.3-8+b3                             amd64        Online help viewer for GNUstep programs
ii  libaddresses0                                 0.4.8-2+b2                           amd64        Database API backend framework for GNUstep (library files)
ii  libaddressview0                               0.4.8-2+b2                           amd64        Address display/edit framework for GNUstep (library files)
ii  libgnustep-base-dev                           1.24.9-3.1                           amd64        GNUstep Base header files and development libraries
ii  libgnustep-base1.24                           1.24.9-3.1                           amd64        GNUstep Base library
ii  libgnustep-gui-dev                            0.25.0-4+b1                          amd64        GNUstep GUI header files and static libraries
ii  libgnustep-gui0.25                            0.25.0-4+b1                          amd64        GNUstep GUI Library
ii  libpantomime1.2                               1.2.2+dfsg1-1                        amd64        GNUstep framework for mail handling (runtime library)
ii  libpopplerkit0                                0.0.20051227svn-7.1+b9               amd64        GNUstep framework for rendering PDF content (library files)
ii  libpreferencepanes1                           1.2.0-2+b2                           amd64        GNUstep preferences library – runtime library
ii  librenaissance0                               0.9.0-4+b6                           amd64        GNUstep GUI Framework – library files
ii  librenaissance0-dev                           0.9.0-4+b6                           amd64        GNUstep GUI Framework – development files
ii  librsskit0d                                   0.4-1                                amd64        GNUstep RSS framework (runtime library)
ii  mknfonts.tool                                 0.5-11+b5                            amd64        Create nfont packages for GNUstep
ii  price.app                                     1.3.0-1                              amd64        Image filtering and manipulation using GNUstep
ii  projectcenter.app                             0.6.2-1                              amd64        IDE for GNUstep Development
ii  renaissance-doc                               0.9.0-4                              all          GNUstep GUI Framework – documentation
ii  systempreferences.app                         1.2.0-2+b2                           amd64        GNUstep preferences application
ii  terminal.app                                  0.9.8.1-1                            amd64        Terminal Emulator for GNUstep
ii  textedit.app                                  4.0+20061029-3.5+b1                  amd64        Text editor for GNUstep
ii  viewpdf.app                                   1:0.2dfsg1-5+b2                      amd64        Portable Document Format (PDF) viewer for GNUstep
ii  zipper.app                                    1.5-1+b2                             amd64        Archive manager for GNUstep

Well yes it is true Window Maker is not a spoon for every mouth, those who want to have more confortable desktop environment better look out at other options as Window Maker is Unix / Linux graphical environment that fits better hackers, computer developers and system administrators.

Anyhow if you have some old family member that has to use an old computer architecture and the person is only to use mainly just browser to check email, youtube and basic surfing then Wmaker will be a great choice as it will consume little CPU and Memory much less than the heavy and computer resources sucking GNOME and KDE.

I've historically used Wmaker also with its teminal emulator rxvt (VT102 terminal emulator for the X Windows System) which is a kinda of improved version of xterm (the default terminal program bundled with Xorg server), but for those who are already used to Gnome Terminal nice tabs perhaps that would be not the terminal of choice.

rxvt was build to match well the look and feel of AfterStep and consequently Wmaker, its scrollbar was aiming to very much resemble NeXTStep style scrollbar

windowmaker-bind-run-application-to-make-alt-f2-work-like-in-gnome

Most "custom" shortcuts are used to launch specific applications. To add your own keyboard shortcut for an application, go to the "Applications Menu Definition" panel in the Preferences app.  Select the application item in the menu for which you want to create a shortcut, then use the "capture" button to capture the keystrokes you want to assign to that item.  In the screenshot, I've assigned Mod1 + W to open Firefox.

Above  screenshot shows how to map the Run Application keyboard bind to behave like GNOME Run application ALT + F2

window-maker-run-command-like-gnome-run-screenshot-gnu-linux-unix-freebsd

Customizing background of Window Maker

Because WMaker is so simple made and targetting more of a developer audience for use it doesn't have a special graphical interaface to set a Background if you like so, but instead you need to use a wmsetbg command to do so:
 

wmsetbg -s -u filename.jpg

 

WMSetBG command stands for WindowMaker Set Background


If you're too lazy to install and start configuring wmaker, there is a Window Maker LiveCD, you can run Window Maker through LiveCD in Virtual Machine such as VirtualBox to get feeling what you're about to get if you install and start using Wmaker on your Computer.

window-maker-livecd-screenshot-synaptic+wprefs
 

Well at first with Window Maker you might feel confused and quickly irritating missing the already established way to work with your computer, but that's just for a starter sooner you will realize, that for using a limited number of applications for work wmaker, makes you much more efficient. Moreover using your computer with Wmaker can rewire your brain circuits to think a little bit different.

Once you switched to Window Maker you will likely want to have a graphical option to connect to Wireless Networks especially if you're using Wmaker on a notebook it is convenient to not always manually do scan for networks with
 

Iwlscan


commad and use wpasupplicant command to connect instead you can just install wicd and stop default Gnome Network Manager (called Network Manager), you can do so by running as root:
 

service network-manager stop
apt-get install wicd wicd-gtk
service wicd start
wicd-gtk &

 

How to downgrade package with apt-get on Debian / Ubuntu / Mint Linux

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Reading Time: 2minutes

how-to-downgrade-debian-package-to-an-older-version-debian_package-box

 

How can I downgrade a debian package to an older version with apt-get?

Downgrading a package in Debian is not frequently required but sometimes it is a must lets say a package you just upgraded fails to communicate properly to an application, in my case that's Ejabberd server which was working pretty well with Yaxim, Bruno or Xabber Mobile android application clients, unfortunately right after periodic apt-get upgrades I do with apt due to security upgrade of deb package ejabberd=2.1.10-4+deb7u1 to ejabberd=2.1.10-4+deb7u2 it messed up and even though it worked fine with Desktop clients such as Gajim and Pidgin, there was no Android application on my Phone with Android 4.4 which was able to communicate properly with the TLS encrypted Jabber server so my only option was to downgrade back to ejabberd=2.1.10-4+deb7u1.

I looked through duckduckgo.com a short URL is (ddg.gg) but I couldn't find the old deb file to downgrade so I was in a situation …

 Then I duckduck goed (I've recently stopped using Google as Google is collecting too much data and sharing with NSA) and I found following instructions on downgrade

——— 

If you have the version number, or the target release, apt-get supports choosing a particular version or target release. More details can be found on manual page of apt-get. It can also be accessed from terminal by typing man apt-get

sudo apt-get install <package-name>=<package-version-number> OR

sudo apt-get -t=<target release> install <package-name>

is the command to be run. This can be used to down-grade a package to a specific version.

It has been helpfully pointed out in the comments that

    apt-cache showpkg <package-name> – lists all available versions. (h/t Sparhawk)
    apt-mark hold <package-name> "holds" – the package at the current version, preventing automatic upgrades. (h/t Luís de Sousa )


In other words All I had to do is as root superuser is:
 

apt-get install «pkg»=«version»

OR

aptitude install «pkg»=«version»

Where «pkg» is the name of the package, and «version» is the version number.


So I just issued following cmd:

root@pcfreak:~# apt-get install ejabberd=2.1.10-4+deb7u1
Четене на списъците с пакети… Готово
Изграждане на дървото със зависимости       
Четене на информацията за състоянието… Готово
Предложени пакети:
  libunix-syslog-perl
Следните НОВИ пакети ще бъдат инсталирани:
  ejabberd
0 актуализирани, 1 нови инсталирани, 0 за премахване и 3 без промяна.
Необходимо е да се изтеглят 1795 kB архиви.
След тази операция ще бъде използвано 3699 kB допълнително дисково пространство.
Изт:1 http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ wheezy/main ejabberd amd64 2.1.10-4+deb7u1 [1795 kB]


P.S. Sorry for the cyrillic for those who can't read it but it is standard messages that Debian does in package install time.

Analogously you can do it for any other newer package that upgraded, later on to prevent further security updates of the package you will have to put the package on hold, that's as easy as running:
 

root@pcfreak:~# aptitude hold ejabberd
No packages will be installed, upgraded, or removed.
0 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 4 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B of archives. After unpacking 0 B will be used.

 

OSCommerce how to change / reset lost admin password

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Reading Time: < 1minute

reset-forgotten-lost-oscommerce-password-howto-Os_commerce-logo.svg

How to change / reset OSCommerce lost / forgotten admin password?

The password in OSCommerce is kept in table "admin", so to reset password connect to MySQL with mysql cli client.

First thing to do is to generate the new hash string, you can do that with a simple php script using the md5(); function

 

root@pcfreak:/var/www/files# cat 1.php
<?
$pass=md5('password');
echo $pass;
?>

 

root@pcfreak:/var/www/files# php 1.php
5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99
root@pcfreak:/var/www/files#

 

Our just generated string (for text password password) is hash: 5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99

Next to update the new hash string into SQL, we connect to MySQL:

 

$ mysql -u root -p

 


And issue following command to modify the encrypted hash string:

 

UPDATE `DB`.`admin` SET `admin_password` = '5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99' WHERE `admin`.`admin_id` = 6;