Posts Tagged ‘custom’

Poderosa a tabbed Terminal Emulator (PuTTY Windows Alternative)

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Even though, I rarely use Windows to connect to remote servers using SSH or Telnet protocols in some cases I’m forced to do that (in cases I’m away from my Linux notebook). I’m doing my best to keep away from logging anywhere via SSH using Windows as when using Windows you never know what kind of spyware, malware or Viruses is already on the system, not to mention Microsoft are sniffing a lot if not everything which is typed on the keyboard… Anyways, usually I use Putty as a quick way to access a remote SSH, however pitily PuTTY lacks an embedded functionality for Tabs and each new connection to a server I had to run a new instance of PuTTY. This is okay if you need to access a single server but in some cases where access to multple servers is necessery lacking the tab functionality and starting 10 times putty is really irritating and one forgets what kind of connection is present on which PuTTY instance.

Earlier on, I’ve blogged about the existence of PuTTY Connection Manager PuTTY add-on program which is a PuTTY wrapper which enables PuTTY to be used with Connection Tabs feature, however installing two programs is quite inconvenient, especially if you have to do this every few days (in case if travelling a lot).

Luckily there is another terminal emulator free program for Windows called PodeRoSA which natively supports a tabbed Secure Shell connections.
If you want to get some experience with it check out Poderosa’s website , here is also a screenshot of the program running few ssh encrypted connections in tabs on a Windows host.

Poderosa Windows ssh / telnet tabs terminal emulator screenshot
Another good reason that one might consider using Poderosa instead of PuTTY is the Apache License under which Poderosa is developed. Currently the Apache License is compatible with GPL free software license which makes the program fully free software. The PuTTY license is under BSD and MIT and some other weird custom license not 100% compatible with GPL and hence PuTTY can be considered less free software in terms of freedom.

How to debug mod_rewrite .htaccess problems with RewriteLog / Solve mod_rewrite broken redirects

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Its common thing that CMS systems and many developers custom .htaccess cause issues where websites depending on mod_rewrite fails to work properly. Most common issues are broken redirects or mod_rewrite rules, which behave differently among the different mod_rewrite versions which comes with different versions of Apache.

Everytime there are such problems its necessery that mod_rewrite’s RewriteLog functionality is used.
Even though the RewriteLog mod_rewrite config variable is well described on httpd.apache.org , I decided to drop a little post here as I’m pretty sure many novice admins might not know about RewriteLog config var and might benefit of this small article.
Enabling mod_rewrite requests logging of requests to the webserver and process via mod_rewrite rules is being done either via the specific website .htaccess (located in the site’s root directory) or via httpd.conf, apache2.conf etc. depending on the Linux / BSD linux distribution Apache config file naming is used.

To enable RewriteLog near the end of the Apache configuration file its necessery to place the variables in apache conf:

1. Edit RewriteLog and place following variables:

RewriteLogLevel 9
RewriteLog /var/log/rewrite.log

RewriteLogLevel does define the level of logging that should get logged in /var/log/rewrite.log
The higher the RewriteLogLevel number defined the more debugging related to mod_rewrite requests processing gets logged.
RewriteLogLevel 9 is actually the highest loglevel that can be. Setting the RewriteLogLevel to 0 will instruct mod_rewrite to stop logging. In many cases a RewriteLogLevel of 3 is also enough to debug most of the redirect issues, however I prefer to see more, so almost always I use RewriteLogLevel of 9.

2. Create /var/log/rewrite.log and set writtable permissions

a. Create /var/log/rewrite.log

freebsd# touch /var/log/rewrite.log

b. Set writtable permissons

Either chown the file to the user with which the Apache server is running, or chmod it to permissions of 777.

On FreeBSD, chown permissions to allow webserver to write in file, should be:

freebsd# chown www:www /var/log/rewrite.log

On Debian and alike distros:

debian:~# chown www-data:www-data /var/log/rewrite.log

On CentOS, Fedora etc.:

[root@centos ~]# chown httpd:httpd /var/log/rewrite.log

On any other distribution, you don’t want to bother to check the uid:gid, the permissions can be set with chmod 777, e.g.:

linux# chmod 777 /var/log/rewrite.log

Next after RewriteLog is in conf to make configs active the usual webserver restart is required.

To restart Apache On FreeBSD:

freebsd# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/apache2 restart
...

To restart Apache on Debian and derivatives:

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

On Fedora and derivive distros:

[root@fedora ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd restart
...

Its common error to forget to set proper permissions to /var/log/rewrite.log this has puzzled me many times, when enabling RewriteLog’s logging.

Another important note is when debugging for mod_rewrite is enabled, one forgets to disable logging and after a while if the /var/log partition is placed on a small partition or is on an old server with less space often the RewriteLog fills in the disk quickly and might create website downtimes. Hence always make sure RewriteLog is disabled after work rewrite debugging is no longer needed.

The way I use to disable it is by commenting it in conf like so:

#RewriteLogLevel 9
#RewriteLog /var/log/rewrite.log

Finally to check, what the mod_rewrite processor is doing on the fly its handy to use the well known tail -f

linux# tail -f /var/log/rewrite.log

A bunch of time in watching the requests, should be enough to point to the exact problem causing broken redirects or general website malfunction.
Cheers 😉

How to change mail sent from in Nagios on Debian GNU/Linux 6

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

I’ve been playing with configuring a new nagios running on a Linux host which’s aim is to monitor few Windows servers.
The Linux host’s exim is configured to act as relay host to another SMTP server, so all email ending up in the Linux localhost on port 25 is forwarded to the remote SMTP.

The remote smtp only allows the Linux to send email only in case if a real existing username@theserverhostname.com is passed it, otherwise it rejects mail and does not sent properly the email.
As the newly configured Nagios installatio is supposed to do e-mail notification, I was looking for a way to change the default user with which Nagios sends mails, which is inherited directly after the username with which /usr/sbin/nagios3 and /usr/sbin/nrpe are running (on Debian this is nagios@theserverhostname.com).

Thanksfully, there is a work around, I’ve red some forum threads explaning that the username with whch nagios sends mail can be easily changed from /etc/nagios3/commands.cfg by passing the -a “From: custom_user@myserverhostname.com” to all occurance of /usr/bin/mail -s , its preferrable that the -a custom_user@myserverhostname.com is inserted before the -s “” subject option. Hence the occurance of mail command should be changed from:

| /usr/bin/mail -s "** $NOTIFICATIONTYPE$

To:

| /usr/bin/mail -a "From: custom_user@theserverhostname.com" -s "** $NOTIFICATIONTYPE$

Now to read it’s new configurations nagios requirs restart:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/nagios3 restart
...

Now in case of failed services or Hosts Down nagios will send it’s mail from the custom user custom_user@theserverhostname.com and nagios can can send mail properly via the remote relay SMTP host 😉

How to load custom Kernel (tun) module in CentOS and RHEL Linux

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

kernel module load on boot in CentOS and Fedora

Just recently it was necessery to load up a tun kernel module on few CentOS Linux servers.

I’m using Debian on daily basis, and everybody that had even little of experience with Debian should already be aware about the existence of the handy:
/etc/modules file.
On Debian to enable a certain kernel module to load up on Linux boot, all necessery is to just place the kernel module name in /etc/modules.
For example loading the tun tunneling kernel module I issue the command:

debian:~# echo tun >> /etc/modules

I wondered if CentOS, also supports /etc/modules as it was necessery now to add this tun module to load up on CentOS’s boot.
After a bit of research I’ve figured out CentOS does not have support for adding modules names in /etc/modules , anyhow after consulting CentOS documentation on http://www.centos.org/docs/5/html/Deployment_Guide-en-US/s1-kernel-modules-persistant.html , I found CentOS and RHEL use /etc/rc.modules instead of Debian’s /etc/modules to load up any custom kernel modules not loaded by default during system boot.

Therefore instructing the RHEL Linux to load up my desired tun module in kernel on next boot was as easy as executing:

[root@centos ~]# echo 'modprobe tun' >> /etc/rc.modules
[root@centos ~]# chmod +x /etc/rc.modules

Now on next boot CentOS will load up the tun module in kernel. Achiving the same module load up is also possible through /etc/rc.local , but it’s not recommended way as /etc/rc.local would load up the kernel module after all of the rest init boot scripts complete and therefore will load up the module slightly later, at the final boot stage.

Runing sudo command simultaneously on multiple servers with SSHSUDO

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

ssh multiple server command execute
I just was recommended by a friend a nifty tool, which is absoutely nifty for system administrators.

The tool is called sshsudo and the project is hosted on http://code.google.com/p/sshsudo/.

Let’s say you’re responsible for 10 servers with the same operating system let’s say; CentOS 4 and you want to install tcpdump and vnstat on all of them without logging one by one to each of the nodes.

This task is really simple with using sshsudo.
A typical use of sshsudo is:


[root@centos root]# sshsudo -u root \
comp1,comp2,comp3,comp4,comp5,comp6,comp7,comp8,comp9,comp10 yum install tcpdump vnstat

Consequently a password prompt will appear on the screen;
Please enter your password:

If all the servers are configured to have the same administrator root password then just typing one the root password will be enough and the command will get issued on all the servers.

The program can also be used to run a custom admin script by automatically populating the script (upload the script), to all the servers and issuing it next on.

One typical use to run a custom bash shell script on ten servers would be:


[root@centos root]# sshsudo -r -u root \
comp1,comp2,comp3,comp4,comp5,comp6,comp7,comp8,comp9,comp10 /pathtoscript/script.sh

I’m glad I found this handy tool 😉

How to set custom page titles in Joomla 1.5 manually for better SEO

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

he Joomla CMS default behaviour is that Page titles of the Joomla Articles created are always set to the page Title assigned to each of the articles.

This is not very good behaviour in terms of SEO, as the page title of each link on the main page is different and there is no continuous repeating pattern in all of the joomla pages.
Everyone that has even basic idea of SEO knows that page titles are very important weight factor to make indexing inside Search Engines succesful.

There is a well know SEO rule which is the more reoccuring pattern one has in his page titles, more is stressed on the keywords contained in the title.
As I said for some weird reason Joomla has no common page Title for all my the created Article pages linked via the Main Menu*

Thus in order to improve this bad default Joomla SEO behaviour one has to change the default auto assigned titles for created pages, manually.

Two things are necessery to change each of the joomla already existing TITLES.

1. Go to each of the pages (.e.g. Home etc.) and change the Parameters System Page Title settings

After logging in with administrator in Joomla, navigate to Menus -> Main Menu*

Further on choose a menu item from all your existing items, let’s say Home and click on it.

On the left side below the Save, Apply, Close and Help buttons you will notice the menus:

Parameters (Basic), Parameters (Component), Parameters (System)

When clicked on Parameters (System) a submenu will appear:
Joomla Main Menu Parameters System Page Title better SEO

Above is a screenshot of the up-described Parameters (System) [Page Title] location

You need to change where it reads on the screenshot CHANGE THE TITLE HERE !!!!!! 😉

After entering your own desired page title go and save the article via the Apply or Save button (also visible in the screenshot).

Now as the custom Page Title is set, next step is to enable the custom Page Title for the respective Article in Article Manager

2. Enable custom Page Title for created pages in Joomla

Go to the Article Manager by following the menus:

Content -> Article Manager

Select the Article of which you want to change the Page Title to some custom text and click over it.

As the article opens for edit in an html editor, navigate to Parameters (Advanced) tab and therein change the Show Title from default setting value:
Use Global
to
Yes

Once again use the Save or Apply button to confirm the new settings and open your website in a new tab, try to browse and check the title of the articles parameters just edited. It should show up in the Title (page heading) the custom input Title.

Now repeat the same procedure for all pages (Articles), existing in Joomla to attune the Page Titles to some Google friendly strings and enjoy the better Search engine indexing which should likely follow.

What is Xorg’s server DPMS module for? And how to use it to reduce your computer power consumption

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

As I’m manually configuring a Xserver via xorg.conf I have noticed a block of code in:

Section "Monitor"
Identified "Generic Monitor"
Option "DPMS"
EndSection
That triggered my curiousity to research further what is DPMS . A very quick google search revealed that DPMS’s purpose is to communicate to communicate between the monitor and the computer, to make the computer turn off the (CRT or LED) based monitor if the computer is not used

Thus in short to rephrase DPMS is a power saving handy Xorg feature. I many custom configured xorg.conf like the mine I’m building right now does not include DPMS as many people doesn’t have idea what DPMS is and how to enable it.

DPMS is also an interface to the Energy start power-saving capability if not all, most of the modern day monitor screens.

DPMS enables the Xserver to control automatically the computer screen and thus reduces the overall computer power consumption.

To enable the use of DPMS on my Linux, all I had to do is place a couple of configuration directives in my xorg.conf .:
Here is how I enabled DPMS in my Xorg server:

1. Edit with a text editor /etc/X11/xorg.conf

2. Find the Monitor Section , e.g.:

Section "Monitor"
....
EndSection

3. Add inside the Monitor Section Options "DPMS" "true"

4. Lookup for the ServeryLayout section , e.g.:

Section "ServerLayout"
...
EndSection

5. Place inside the ServerLayout section For instance the following options:

Option "StandbyTime" "20"
Option "SuspendTime" "10"
Option "OffTime "25"

You might like to change the options StandbyTime, SuspendTIme or OffTime to match your likings.
6. As a last step restart the Xorg server.

Press Ctrl+Alt+BackSpace or by issuing:

host:~# pkill -HUP X

Test that DPMS is loaded properly by reviewing /var/log/Xorg.0.log for example:

host:~# grep -i /var/log/Xorg.0.log
(II) Loading extensions DPMS

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

Friday, April 15th, 2011

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.