Posts Tagged ‘Ubuntu’

Cracking zip protected password files on GNU/Linux and FreeBSD

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Reading Time: 3minutes

crack-zip-freebsd

Its not very common, but sometimes it happens you have to crack some downloaded file from thepiratebay.com or some other big torrent tracker. An example scenario would be downloading a huge words dictionary (a rainbow tables) dictionary etc., which was protected by the author with a password and zipped.

Fortunately Mark Lehmann developed a software called fcrackzip which is capable of brute forcing zip protected file passwords straight on UNIX like operating systems (GNU/Linux, FreeBSD).

fcrackzip is available from package repositories on Debian and Ubuntu Linuces to install via apt:

linux:~# apt-get install frackzip
...

fcrackzip is also available on FreeBSD via the ports tree and can be installed with:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/security/fcrackzip
freebsd# make install cleam

On Debian it's worthy to have a quick look on the README file:

linux:~# cat /usr/share/doc/fcrackzip/READMESee fcrackzip.txt (which is derived from the manpage), or fcrackzip.html

There is a web page with more information at
http://lehmann.home.ml.org/fcrackzip.html or
http://www.goof.com/pcg/marc/fcrackzip.html

A sample password-protected .zip file is included as "noradi.zip". It's
password has 6 lower case characters, and fcrackzip will find it (and a
number of false positives) with

fcrackzip -b -c a -p aaaaaa ./noradi.zip

which will take between one and thirty minutes on typical machines.

To find out which of these passwords is the right one either try them out
or use the –use-unzip option.

Marc

Cracking the noradi.zip password protected sample file on my dual core 1.8 ghz box with 2gb, it took 30 seconds.

linux:~# time fcrackzip -u -b -c a -p aaaaaa noradi.zip

PASSWORD FOUND!!!!: pw == noradi

real 0m29.627s
user 0m29.530s
sys 0m0.064s

Of course the sample set password for noradi.zip is pretty trivial and with more complex passwords, sometimes cracking the password can take up to 30 minutes or an hour and it all depends on the specific case, but at least now we the free software users have a new tool in the growing arsenal of free software programs 😉

Here are the options passed on to the above fcrackzip command:

-uTry to decompress with the detected possible archive passwords using unzip (This is necessery to precisely find the archive password, otherwise it will just print out a number of possible matching archive passwords and you have to try each of the passwords one by one. Note that this option depends on a working unzip version installed.)

-c ainclude all charsets to be tried with the generated passwords

-bSelect brute force mode – Tries all possible combinations of letters specified

-p aaaaaainit-password string (Look up for a password between the password length 6 characters long)

FCrackZip is partly written in assembler and thus is generally works fast, to reduce the CPU load fcrackzip will put on the processor its also capable of using external words dictionary file by passing it the option:

-DThe file should be in a format one word per line and be preliminary alphabetically sorted with let's say sort

Also fcrackzip supports parallel file brute force, for example if you have 10 zip files protected with passwords it can paralelly try to brute force the pwds.

As of time of writting frackzip reached version 1.0 and seems to be pretty stable. Happy cracking.
Just to make sure fcrackzip's source is not lost somewhere in the line in the long future to come, I've created a fcrackzip download mirror here

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

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Reading Time: 5minutes

sakis3g-configure-usb-modem-kdialog-shot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To run sakis3g on my laptop I did:

1. Download sakis3g

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

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

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

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

2. Unarchive and make it executable

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

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

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

hipo@noah:~$ ./sakis3g

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

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

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

Auth: *99#
User: VIVACOM
pass: VIVACOM

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

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

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

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

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

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.

xorg on Toshiba Satellite L40 14B with Intel GM965 video hangs up after boot and the worst fix ever / How to reinstall Ubuntu by keeping the old personal data and programs

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Reading Time: 4minutes

black screen ubuntu troubles

I have updated Ubuntu version 9.04 (Jaunty) to 9.10 and followed the my previous post update ubuntu from 9.04 to Latest Ubuntu

I expected that a step by step upgrade from a release to release will work like a charm and though it does on many notebooks it doesn't on Toshiba Satellite L40

The update itself went fine, whether I used the update-manager -d and followed the above pointed tutorial, however after a system restart the PC failed to boot the X server properly, a completely blank screen with blinking cursor appeared and that was all.

I restarted the system into the 2.6.35-28-generic kernel rescue-mode recovery kernel in order to be able to enter into physical console.

Logically the first thing I did is to check /var/log/messages and /var/log/Xorg.0.log but I couldn't find nothing unusual or wrong there.

I suspected something might be wrong with /etc/X11/xorg.conf so I deleted it:

ubuntu:~# rm -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf

and attempted to re-create the xorg.conf X configuration with command:

ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

This command was reported to be the usual way to reconfigure the X server settings from console, but in my case (for unknown reasons) it did nothing.

Next the command which was able to re-generate the xorg.conf file was:

ubuntu:~# X -configure

The command generates a xorg.conf sample file in /root/xorg.conf.* so I used the conf to put it in /etc/X11/xorg.conf X's default location and restarted in hope that this would fix the non-booting issue.

Very sadly again the black screen of death appeared on the notebook toshiba screen.
I further thought of completely wipe out the xorg.conf in hope that at least it might boot without the conf file but this worked out neither.

I attempted to run the Xserver with a xorg.conf configured to work with vesa as it's well known vesa X server driver is supposed to work on 99% of the video cards, as almost all of them nowdays are compatible with the vesa standard, but guess what in my case vesa worked not!

The only version of X I can boot in was the failsafe X screen mode which is available through the grub's boot menu recovery mode.

Further on I decided to try few xorg.conf which I found online and were reported to work fine with Intel GM965 internal video , and yes this was also unsucessful.

Some of my other futile attempts were: to re-install the xorg server with apt-get, reinstall the xserver-xorg-video-intel driver e.g.:

ubuntu:~# apt-get install --reinstall xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-video-intel

As nothing worked out I was completely pissed off and decided to take an alternative approach which will take a lot of time but at least will probably be succesful, I decided to completely re-install the Ubuntu from a CD after backing up the /home directory and making a list of available packages on the system, so I can further easily run a tiny bash one-liner script to install all the packages which were previously existing on the laptop before the re-install:

Here is how I did it:

First I archived the /home directory:

ubuntu:/# tar -czvf home.tar.gz home/
....

For 12GB of data with some few thousands of files archiving it took about 40 minutes.

The tar spit archive became like 9GB and I hence used sftp to upload it to a remote FTP server as I was missing a flash drive or an external HDD where I can place the just archived data.

Uploading with sftp can be achieved with a command similar to:

sftp user@yourhost.com
Password:
Connected to yourhost.com.
sftp> put home.tar.gz

As a next step to backup in a file the list of all current installed packages, before I can further proceed to boot-up with the Ubuntu Maverich 10.10 CD and prooceed with the fresh install I used command:

for i in $(dpkg -l| awk '{ print $2 }'); do
echo $i; done >> my_current_ubuntu_packages.txt

Once again I used sftp as in above example to upload my_current_update_packages.txt file to my FTP host.

After backing up all the stuff necessery, I restarted the system and booted from the CD-rom with Ubuntu.
The Ubuntu installation as usual is more than a piece of cake and even if you don't have a brain you can succeed with it, so I wouldn't comment on it 😉

Right after the installation I used the sftp client once again to fetch the home.tar.gz and my_current_ubuntu_packages.txt

I placed the home.tar.gz in /home/ and untarred it inside the fresh /home dir:

ubuntu:/home# tar -zxvf home.tar.gz

Eventually the old home directory was located in /home/home so thereon I used Midnight Commander ( the good old mc text file explorer and manager ) to restore the important user files to their respective places.

As a last step I used the my_current_ubuntu_packages.txt in combination with a tiny shell script to install all the listed packages inside the file with command:

ubuntu:~# for i in $(cat my_current_ubuntu_packagespackages.txt); do
apt-get install --yes $i; sleep 1;
done

You will have to stay in front of the computer and manually answer a ncurses interface questions concerning some packages configuration and to be honest this is really annoying and time consuming.

Summing up the overall time I spend with this stupid Toshiba Satellite L40 with the shitty Intel GM965 was 4 days, where each day I tried numerous ways to fix up the X and did my best to get through the blank screen xserver non-bootable issue, without a complete re-install of the old Ubuntu system.
This is a lesson for me that if I stumble such a shitty issues I will straight proceed to the re-install option and not loose my time with non-sense fixes which would never work.

Hope the article might be helpful to somebody else who experience some problems with Linux similar to mine.

After all at least the Ubuntu Maverick 10.10 is really good looking in general from a design perspective.
What really striked me was the placement of the close, minimize and maximize window buttons , it seems in newer Ubuntus the ubuntu guys decided to place the buttons on the left, here is a screenshot:

Left button positioning of navigation Buttons in Ubuntu 10.10

I believe the solution I explain, though very radical and slow is a solution that would always work and hence worthy 😉
Let me hear from you if the article was helpful.

How to install Toshiba Satellite L40 B14 Wireless Adapter ( ID 0bda:8197 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8187B) on Ubuntu and Debian Linux

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Reading Time: 4minutes

https://pc-freak.net/images/toshiba-satellite-l40

How to install Toshiba L40 B14 Wireless Adapter ( ID 0bda:8197 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8187B) on Ubuntu and Debian Linux
I've been struggling for more than 10 hours to fix up issues on a Ubuntu Maverick-Meerkaat with a rtl8187B Wireless Adapter

The RTL8187B almost drove me mad. I could see the wlan0 which meant the kernel is detecting the device, I could even bring it up with ifconfig wlan0 up , however when I tried it in gnome's network-manager or wicd the wireless networks were not showing up.

Trying to scan for networks using the commands:


ubuntu:~# iwlist wlan0 scan

was also unsuccesful, trying to bring up and down the wireless wlan0 interface with:


ubuntu:~# iwconfig wlan0 up

or


ubuntu:~# iwconfig wlan0 down

Both returned the error:
iwconfig: unknown command "up" and iwconfig: unknown command "down"

Running simply iwconfig was properly returning information about my Wireless Interface wlan0 :


wlan0 IEEE 802.11bg ESSID:off/any
Mode:Managed Access Point: Not-Associated Tx-Power=20 dBm
Retry long limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off
Encryption key:off
Power Management:off

The exact information I could get about the wireless device was via the command:


ubuntu:~# lsusb | grep realtek
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0bda:8197 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8187B Wireless Adapter

Trying manually to scan for wireless networks from console or gnome-terminal with command returned also the below weird results:


ubuntu:~# iwconfig wlan0 scan
iwconfig: unknown command "scan"

More oddly tunning wlan0 interface with commands like:


ubuntu:~# iwconfig wlan0 mode managed
ubuntu:~# iwconfig wlan0 essid ESSID
ubuntu:~# iwconfig wlan0 rate 11M

were succesful …

I read a bunch of documentation online concerning the wireless card troubles on Ubuntu, Gentoo, Debian etc.

Just few of all the resources I've read and tried are:

http://rtl-wifi.sourceforge.net/wiki/Main_Page (Returning empty page already a lot resource)
http://rtl8187b.sourceforge.net (A fork of rtl-wifi.sourceforge.net which is still available though it was not usable)

Some of the other resources which most of the people recommended as a way to properly install the RTL8187B wireless driver on linux was located on the website:

http://datanorth.net/~cuervo/rtl8187b/ (Trying to access this page returned a 404 error e.g. this page is no-longer usable)

I found even a webpage in Ubuntu Help which claimed to explain how to properly install and configure the RTL8187B wireless driver on which is below:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Device/RealtekRTL8187b

Even the Ubuntu help instructions were pointing me to the broken cuervo's website URL

Anyways I was able to find the rtl8187b-modified-dist.tar.gz online and made a mirror of rtl8187b-modified-dist.tar.gz which you can download here

Another rtl8187b driver I found was on a toshiba website made especailly for the wireless linux drivers:

http://linux.toshiba-dme.co.jp/linux/eng/pc/sat_PSPD0_report.htm

The questionable file which was claimed to properly be able to make the Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8187B Wireless Adapter to work out was called rl8187b-modified-804.tar.gz.
I've made a mirror of rtl8187b-modified-804.tar.gz is here

None of the driver archives rtl8187b-modified-dist.tar.gz and rl8187b-modified-804.tar.gz that was supposed to make the Toshiba L40 realtek wireless to work out, after compiling and installing the drivers from source worked out …

Both archives produced plenty of error messages and it seems on newer kernels like the one on this notebook:

Linux zlatina 2.6.35-28-generic #50-Ubuntu SMP Fri Mar 18 19:00:26 UTC 2011 i686 GNU/Linux, they're no longer usable.

The compile errors I got when I tried compiling the rtl8187b driver provided by the archive rtl8187b-modified-dist were:


root@ubuntu:/home/zlatina/rtl8187b-modified# sh makedrv
rm -fr *.mod.c *.mod *.o .*.cmd *.mod.* *.ko *.o *~
make -C /lib/modules/2.6.35-28-generic/build M=/home/zlatina/rtl8187b-modified/ieee80211 CC=gcc modules
make[1]: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.35-28-generic'
scripts/Makefile.build:49: *** CFLAGS was changed in "/home/zlatina/rtl8187b-modified/ieee80211/Makefile". Fix it to use EXTRA_CFLAGS. Stop.
make[1]: *** [_module_/home/zlatina/rtl8187b-modified/ieee80211] Error 2
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.35-28-generic'
make: *** [modules] Error 2
rm -fr *.mod.c *.mod *.o .*.cmd *.ko *~
make -C /lib/modules/2.6.35-28-generic/build M=/home/zlatina/rtl8187b-modified/rtl8187 CC=gcc modules
make[1]: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.35-28-generic'
scripts/Makefile.build:49: *** CFLAGS was changed in "/home/zlatina/rtl8187b-modified/rtl8187/Makefile". Fix it to use EXTRA_CFLAGS. Stop.
make[1]: *** [_module_/home/zlatina/rtl8187b-modified/rtl8187] Error 2
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.35-28-generic'
make: *** [modules] Error 2
root@ubuntu:/home/zlatina/rtl8187b-modified#

Another driver I tried which was found on aircrack-ng.org's website was rtl8187_linux_26.1010.zip

Here are the error messages I experienced while I tried to compile the realtek wireless driver from the archive rtl8187_linux_26.1010.0622.2006


compilation terminated.
make[2]: *** [/home/zlatina/rtl8187_linux_26.1010.0622.2006/beta-8187/r8187_core.o] Error 1
make[1]: *** [_module_/home/zlatina/rtl8187_linux_26.1010.0622.2006/beta-8187] Error 2
make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.35-28-generic'
make: *** [modules] Error 2
make: *** [modules] Error 2

I tried a number of fix ups hoping to solve the compile error messages, but my efforts were useless, as it seems many things has changed in newer Ubuntu versions and they could no longer be compiled.

As I realized I couldn't make the native drivers provided by the above sources compile, I decided to give a try to the Windows drivers for Realtek 8187B with ndiswrapper, a link for download of Realtek 8187B (RTL8187B_XP_6.1163.0331.2010_Win7_62.1182.0331.2010_UI_1.00.0179 is found here

I untarred the
RTL8187B_XP driver
and used ndiswrapper to load driver like so:


root@ubuntu:~# tar -zxvf
RTL8187B_XP_6.1163.0331.2010_Win7_....L.tar.gz
root@ubuntu:/home/zlatina/RTL8187B#
root@ubuntu:/home/zlatina/RTL8187B# cd Driver/WinXP
root@ubuntu:/home/zlatina/RTL8187B/Driver/WinXP# ndiswrapper -i net8187b.inf

In order to test the RTL8178B Windows driver I used:


root@ubuntu:~# ndiswrapper -l
net8187b : driver installed
device (0BDA:8197) present (alternate driver: rtl8187)

To finally load the Windows XP RTL8187B driver on the Ubuntu I used again ndiswrapper:


root@ubuntu:~# ndiswrapper -m

Further on I used the ndisgtk graphical ndiswrapper interface to once again test if the Windows driver is working on the Ubuntu and it seemed like it is working, however still my wicd was unable to find any wireless network ….

There were many online documentation which claimed that the driver for rtl8187b works out of the box on newer kernel releases (kernel versions > 2.6.24)

Finally I found out there is a driver which is a default one with the Ubuntu e.g. rtl8187.ko , I proceeded and loaded the module:


root@ubuntu:~# modprobe rtl8187

I also decided to check out if the hardware switch button of the Toshiba Satellite L40 notebook is not switched off and guess what ?! The Wireless ON/OFF button was switched OFF!!! OMG …

I switched on the button and wicd immediately started showing up the wireless networks …

To make the rtl8187 module load on Ubuntu boot up, I had to issue the command:


root@ubuntu:~# echo 'rtl8187' >> /etc/modules

Voila after all this struggle the wireless card is working now, it's sad I had to loose about 10 hours of time until I come with the simple solution of using the default provided ubuntu driver rtl8187 , what is strange is how comes that it does not load up automatically.

Thanks God it works now.

How to install VirtualBox Virtual Machine to run Windows XP on Ubuntu Linux (11.10)

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Reading Time: 3minutes

Enable_VirtualBox_Windows_XP-fullscreen-with-vboxguest-additions-iso
My beloved sister was complaining games were failing to properly be played with wine emulator , therefore I decided to be kind and help her by installing a Windows XP to run inside a Virtual Machine.My previous install experiments with running MS Windows XP on Linux was on Debian using QEMU virtualmachine emulator.
However as Qemu is a bit less interactive and slower virtualmachine for running Windows (though I prefer it for being completely free software), this time I decided to install the Windows OS with Virtualbox.

My hope was using VirtualBox would be a way easier but I was wrong… I've faced few troubles and I thought many people who initially try to install Virtualbox VM to run Windows on Ubuntu and other Debian based Linux distros will probably experience the same problems as mine, so here is how this article was born.

Here is what I did to have a VirtualBox OS emulator to run Windows XP SP2 on Ubuntu 11.10 Linux

1. Install Virtualbox required packages with apt

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install virtualbox virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-guest-dkms root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install virtualbox-ose-dkms virtualbox-guest-utils virtualbox-guest-x11
...

If you prefer more GUI or lazy to type commands, the Software Package Manager can also be used to straight install the same packages.
virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-guest-dkms packages are the two which are absolutely necessery in order to enable VirtualBox to support installing Microsoft Windows XP. DKMS modules are also necessery to be able to emulate some other proprietary (non-free) operating systems.
The DKMS packages provide a source for building Vbox guest (OS) additional kernel modules. They also require the kernel source to be install otherwise they fail to compile.

Failing to build the DKMS modules will give you error every time you try to create new VirtualMachine container for installing a fresh Windows XP.
The error happens if the two packages do not properly build the vboxdrv extra Vbox kernel module while the Windows XP installer is loaded from a CD or ISO. The error to pop up is:

Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)

The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver (vboxdrv) is either not loaded or there is a permission problem with /dev/vboxdrv. Please reinstall the kernel module by executing

VirtualBox vboxdrv not loaded error Ubuntu Screen

To fix the error:

2. Install latest Kernel source that corresponds to your current kernel version

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`
...

Next its necessery to rebuild the DKMS modules using dpkg-reconfigure:

3. Rebuild VirtualBox DKMS deb packages

root@ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-dkms
...
root@ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-guest-dkms
...
root@ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-ose-dkms
...

Hopefully the copilation of vboxdrv kernel module should complete succesfully.
To test if all is fine just load the module:

4. Load vboxdrv virtualbox kernel module

root@ubuntu:~# modprobe vboxdrv
root@ubuntu:~#

If you get some error during loading, this means vboxdrv failed to properly compile, try read thoroughfully what the error is and fix it) ;).

As a next step the vboxdrv has to be set to load on every system boot.

5. Set vboxdrv to load on every Ubuntu boot

root@ubuntu:~# echo 'vboxdrv' >> /etc/modules

I am not sure if this step is required, it could be /etc/init.d/virtualbox init script automatically loads the module, anyways putting it to load on boot would do no harm, so better do it.

That's all now, you can launch VirtualBox and use the New button to initiate a new Virtual Machine, I will skip explaining how to do the configurations for a Windows XP as most of the configurations offered by default would simply work without any tampering.

After booting the Windows XP installer I simply followed the usual steps to install Windows and all went smoothly.
Below you see a screenshot showing the installed Windows XP Virtualbox saved VM session. The screenshot letters are in Bulgarian as my sisters default lanaguage for Ubuntu is bulgarian 😉

VirtualBox installed MS Windows VM screenshot

I hope this article helps someone out there. Please drop me a comment if you experience any troubles with it. Cya 🙂

How to enable VirtualBox Windows XP FullScreen with VboxGuestAdditions.iso on Ubuntu 11.10 Linux

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes

Enable_VirtualBox_Windows_XP-fullscreen-with-vboxguest-additions-iso
Right after installing Windows XP inside VirtualBox, I've found out everything works fine except the screen. Even though pressing (Right CTRL + F) was changing the Windows XP running window to FullScreen the XP screen was taking only a part of the whole screen area, where almost half of the screen was visible as simply staying blank.

A bit of research and I found the issue is caused by missing VirtualBoxGuestAdditions .

VBoxAdditions is a package which should be installed inside the VirtualBox by navigating to Devices -> Install Guest Additions

Virtualbox offers a download of a VboxGuestAdditions_4.1.2_Ubuntu.iso from url;
http://dlc.sun.edgesuite.net/virtualbox/4.1.2_Ubuntu/VBoxGuestAdditions_4.1.2_Ubuntu.iso, anyways this download fails since the URL is currently unavailable.

To fix this two ways are possible:

1. Download VBoxGuestAdditions.iso from here and put it in directory /usr/share/virtualbox , e.g.:

root@ubuntu:~# cd /usr/share/virtualbox
root@ubuntu:/usr/share/virtualbox# wget https://pc-freak.net/files/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso
...

2. Download and install virtualbox-guest-additions-iso_4.1.2-1_all.deb

root@ubuntu:~# wget https://pc-freak.net/files/virtualbox-guest-additions-iso_4.1.2-1_all.deb
...
root@ubuntu:~# dpkg -i virtualbox-guest-additions-iso_4.1.2-1_all.deb
...

Next to enable and install guest additions once again use menus:

Devices -> Install Guest Additions

VirtualBox Install Guest Additions Ubuntu Screenshot

The screen to appear next will be similar to:

VBox guest Additions windows Ubuntu

Further on follow the few dialogs to complete the installations and integration of Guest Additions and restart the Virtual machine and hooray the Windows will appear in Full screen in VirtualBox ! 😉

How to get rid of Debian and Ubuntu GNU / Linux obsolete configuration files and system directories

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Reading Time: 2minutes

debian_ubuntu-linux-get-rid-of-obsolete-files
I've been using Debian GNU / Linux on my Thinkpad laptop for almost 3 years and half. Initially the Debian version which I had installed was a stable Debian Lenny. As I was mostly dissatisfied of the old versions of the programs, I migrated to testing / unstable
Testing / unstables shipped program versions were a bit better but still back in the day I wanted to get advantage of the latest program versions so for a while I switched to unstable .
Later I regretted for this bad idea, after the migration to Unstable, it was too buggy to run on a notebook one uses for everyday work.
Then to revert back to a bit stable I downgraded to testing unstable again.
When Debian launched Debian Squeeze I set in my /etc/apt/sources.list file software repositories to be the one for the stable Debian Squeeze.

As you can see, I've done quite a lot of "experiments" and "excersises". Many packages were installed, then removed, some became obsolete with time others I just temporary installed out of curiosity. Anyways as a result I ended up with many packages uninstalled / removed , which still kept some of their directory structres and configurations on the machine.

Today, I decided to check how many of these obsolete packages are still present in dpkg database and I was shocked to find out 412 debs were still in my package database! To check the number I used cmd:

root@noah:~# dpkg -l | grep -i '^rcs.*$'|wc -l

Considering the tremendous number of packs waiting to be purged, I decided to get rid of this old and already unnecessery files for the sake of clarity, besides that removing the old already uninstalled packages removes old configuration files, readmes, directories and frees some little space and therefore frees some inodes 😉

Before proceeding to remove them, I carefully reviewed and all the package names which I was about to completely purge in order to make sure there is no package with a configuration files I might need in future:

root@noah:~# dpkg -l |grep -i '^rcs.*$'
...
After reviewing all the deb packages possessing the rc – (remove candidate) flag, I used the following bash one liners to remove the obsolete deb packages:

root@noah:~# for i in $(dpkg -l |grep -i '^rcs.*$'|awk '{ print $2 }'); do echo dpkg --purge $i done...
root@noah:~# for i in $(dpkg -l |grep -i '^rcs.*$'|awk '{ print $2 }'); do dpkg --purge $i done

First line will just print out what will be purged with dpkg , so after I checked it out I used the second one to purge all the RC packs.

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

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes

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

1. Add Medibuntu package repository

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

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

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

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

# regionset

3. Install non-free codecs

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

4. Install Chromium ffmpeg nonfree codecs

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

5. Install w32codecs / w64codecs

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

For 32 bit (x86) Ubuntu install w32codecs:

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install w32codecs

For 64 bit arch Ubuntu:

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install w64codecs

6. Install ubuntu-restricted-extras meta package

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

7. Install cheese for webcam picture/video snapshotting

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install cheese

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

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

9. Install multimedia Sound & Video utilities

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

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

10. Install CD / DVD RIP tools

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

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

12. Install Non-Free Flash Player

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

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

13. Install Archive / Unarchive management programs

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

15. Install VirtualBox and QEmu

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

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

How to add (.srt , .sub) subtitles to .flv flash movie video on Linux

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Reading Time: 2minutes

how-to-add-srt-subtitles-to-flv-flash-movie-video-on-linux
If you're on Linux the questions like, how can I convert between video and audio formats, how to do photo editing etc. etc. have always been a taugh question as with it's diversity Linux often allows too many ways to do the same things.

In the spirit of questioning I have been recently curious, how can a subtitles be added to a flash video (.flv) video?

After some research online I've come up with the below suggested solution which uses mplayer to do the flash inclusion of the subtitles file.

mplayer your_flash_movie.flv -fs -subfont-text-scale 3

While including the subtitles to the .flv file, it's best to close up all the active browsers and if running something else on the desktop close it up.
Note that above's mplayer example for (.srt and .sub) subtitle files example is only appropriate for a .flv movie files which already has a third party published subtitle files.

What is interesting is that often if you want to make custom subtitles to let's say a video downloaded from Youtube on Linux the mplayer way pointed above will be useless. Why?

Well the Linux programs that allows a user to add custom subtitles to a movie does not support the flv (flash video) file format.

My idea on how to create custom subtitles and embed them into a flv movie file is very simple and it goes like this:

1. Convert the .flv file format to let's say .avi or .mpeg
2. Use gnome-subitles or subtitleeditor to create the subtitles for the .avi or .mpeg file
3. Convert back the .avi/.mpeg file with included subtitles to .flv (flash video format)

This methodology is really long and time consuming, but pitily as far as my understanding goes it's the only way to do that on your Linux until now.

To make the conversations between .flv and .avi format you will need to use the ffmpeg – (FFMpeg command line tool video converter), here is how:

– Convert .flv to .avi

debian:~# /usr/bin/ffmpeg -i input_flvfilename.flv output_avifilename.avi

– Convert .avi file to .flv

debian:~# /usr/bin/ffmpeg -y -i /path/to/your/avi/input_avifilename.avi -acodec mp3 -ar 22050 -f flv
/path/to/your/flv/output_flvfilename.flv

The required overall tools which you will have to have installed on your Debian or Ubuntu Linux are:

1. ffmpeg
2. gnome-subtitles
3. subtitleeditor
4. mplayer

You will also have to spend some time to get to know gnome-subtitles or subtitleeditor, but it won't be that long until you get the idea on how to use them.