Posts Tagged ‘filesystems’

What is inode and how to find out which directory is eating up all your filesystem inodes on Linux, Increase inode count on a ext3 ext4 and ufs filesystems

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

what-is-inode-find-out-which-filesystem-or-directory-eating-up-all-your-system-inodes-linux_inode_diagram

If you're a system administrator of multiple Linux servers used for Web serving delivery / Mail server sysadmin, Database admin or any High amount of Drives Data Storage used for backup servers infra, Data Repository administrator such as Linux hosted Samba / CIFS shares, etc. or using some Linux Hosting Provider to host your website or any other UNIX like Infrastructure servers that demands a storage of high number of files under a Directory  you might end up with the common filesystem inode depletion issues ( Maximum Inode number for a filesystem is predefined, limited and depending on the filesystem configured size).

In case a directory stored files end up exceding the amount of possible addressable inodes could prevent any data to be further assiged and stored on the Filesystem.

When a device runs out of inodes, new files cannot be created on the device, even though there may be plenty free space available and the first time it happened to me very long time ago I was completely puzzled how this is possible as I was not aware of Inodes existence  …

Reaching maximum inodes number (e.g. inode depletion), often happens on Busy Mail servers (receivng tons of SPAM email messages) or Content Delivery Network (CDN – Website Image caching servers) which contain many small files on EXT3 or EXT4 Journalled filesystems. File systems (such as Btrfs, JFS or XFS) escape this limitation with extents or dynamic inode allocation, which can 'grow' the file system or increase the number of inodes.

 

Hence ending being out of inodes could cause various oddities on how stored data behaves or communicated to other connected microservices and could lead to random application disruptions and odd results costing you many hours of various debugging to find the root cause of inodes (index nodes) being out of order.

In below article, I will try to give an overall explanation on what is an I-Node on a filesystem, how inodes of FS unit could be seen, how to diagnose a possible inode poblem – e.g.  see the maximum amount of inodes available per filesystem and how to prepare (format) a new filesystem with incrsed set of maximum inodes.

 

What are filesystem i-nodes?

 

This is a data structure in a Unix-style file system that describes a file-system object such as a file or a directory.
The data structure described in the inodes might vary slightly depending on the filesystem but usually on EXT3 / EXT4 Linux filesystems each inode stores the index to block that contains attributes and disk block location(s) of the object's data.
– Yes for those who are not aware on how a filesystem is structured on *nix it does allocate all stored data in logical separeted structures called data blocks. Each file stored on a local filesystem has a file descriptor, there are virtual unit structures file tables and each of the inodes that are a reference number has a own data structure (inode table).

Inodes / "Index" are slightly unusual on file system structure that stored the access information of files as a flat array on the disk, with all the hierarchical directory information living aside from this as explained by Unix creator and pioneer- Dennis Ritchie (passed away few years ago).

what-is-inode-very-simplified-explanation-diagram-data

Simplified explanation on file descriptors, file table and inode, table on a common Linux filesystem

Here is another description on what is I-node, given by Ken Thompson (another Unix pioneer and father of Unix) and Denis Ritchie, described in their paper published in 1978:

"    As mentioned in Section 3.2 above, a directory entry contains only a name for the associated file and a pointer to the file itself. This pointer is an integer called the i-number (for index number) of the file. When the file is accessed, its i-number is used as an index into a system table (the i-list) stored in a known part of the device on which the directory resides. The entry found thereby (the file's i-node) contains the description of the file:…
    — The UNIX Time-Sharing System, The Bell System Technical Journal, 1978  "


 

What is typical content of inode and how I-nodes play with rest of Filesystem units?


The inode is just a reference index to a data block (unit) that contains File-system object attributes. It may include metadata information such as (times of last change, access, modification), as well as owner and permission data.

 

On a Linux / Unix filesystem, directories are lists of names assigned to inodes. A directory contains an entry for itself, its parent, and each of its children.

Structure-of-inode-table-on-Linux-Filesystem-diagram

 

Structure of inode table-on Linux Filesystem diagram (picture source GeeksForGeeks.org)

  • Information about files(data) are sometimes called metadata. So you can even say it in another way, "An inode is metadata of the data."
  •  Inode : Its a complex data-structure that contains all the necessary information to specify a file. It includes the memory layout of the file on disk, file permissions, access time, number of different links to the file etc.
  •  Global File table : It contains information that is global to the kernel e.g. the byte offset in the file where the user's next read/write will start and the access rights allowed to the opening process.
  • Process file descriptor table : maintained by the kernel, that in turn indexes into a system-wide table of files opened by all processes, called the file table .

The inode number indexes a table of inodes in a known location on the device. From the inode number, the kernel's file system driver can access the inode contents, including the location of the file – thus allowing access to the file.

  •     Inodes do not contain its hardlink names, only other file metadata.
  •     Unix directories are lists of association structures, each of which contains one filename and one inode number.
  •     The file system driver must search a directory looking for a particular filename and then convert the filename to the correct corresponding inode number.

The operating system kernel's in-memory representation of this data is called struct inode in Linux. Systems derived from BSD use the term vnode, with the v of vnode referring to the kernel's virtual file system layer.


But enough technical specifics, lets get into some practical experience on managing Filesystem inodes.
 

Listing inodes on a Fileystem


Lets say we wan to to list an inode number reference ID for the Linux kernel (files):

 

root@linux: # ls -i /boot/vmlinuz-*
 3055760 /boot/vmlinuz-3.2.0-4-amd64   26091901 /boot/vmlinuz-4.9.0-7-amd64
 3055719 /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-5-amd64  26095807 /boot/vmlinuz-4.9.0-8-amd64


To list an inode of all files in the kernel specific boot directory /boot:

 

root@linux: # ls -id /boot/
26091521 /boot/


Listing inodes for all files stored in a directory is also done by adding the -i ls command flag:

Note the the '-1' flag was added to to show files in 1 column without info for ownership permissions

 

root@linux:/# ls -1i /boot/
26091782 config-3.2.0-4-amd64
 3055716 config-4.19.0-5-amd64
26091900 config-4.9.0-7-amd64
26095806 config-4.9.0-8-amd64
26091525 grub/
 3055848 initrd.img-3.2.0-4-amd64
 3055644 initrd.img-4.19.0-5-amd64
26091902 initrd.img-4.9.0-7-amd64
 3055657 initrd.img-4.9.0-8-amd64
26091756 System.map-3.2.0-4-amd64
 3055703 System.map-4.19.0-5-amd64
26091899 System.map-4.9.0-7-amd64
26095805 System.map-4.9.0-8-amd64
 3055760 vmlinuz-3.2.0-4-amd64
 3055719 vmlinuz-4.19.0-5-amd64
26091901 vmlinuz-4.9.0-7-amd64
26095807 vmlinuz-4.9.0-8-amd64

 

To get more information about Linux directory, file, such as blocks used by file-unit, Last Access, Modify and Change times, current External Symbolic or Static links for filesystem object:
 

root@linux:/ # stat /etc/
  File: /etc/
  Size: 16384         Blocks: 32         IO Block: 4096   catalog
Device: 801h/2049d    Inode: 6365185     Links: 231
Access: (0755/drwxr-xr-x)  Uid: (    0/    root)   Gid: (    0/    root)
Access: 2019-08-20 06:29:39.946498435 +0300
Modify: 2019-08-14 13:53:51.382564330 +0300
Change: 2019-08-14 13:53:51.382564330 +0300
 Birth: –

 

Within a POSIX system (Linux-es) and *BSD are more or less such, a file has the following attributes[9] which may be retrieved by the stat system call:

   – Device ID (this identifies the device containing the file; that is, the scope of uniqueness of the serial number).
    File serial numbers.
    – The file mode which determines the file type and how the file's owner, its group, and others can access the file.
    – A link count telling how many hard links point to the inode.
    – The User ID of the file's owner.
    – The Group ID of the file.
    – The device ID of the file if it is a device file.
    – The size of the file in bytes.
    – Timestamps telling when the inode itself was last modified (ctime, inode change time), the file content last modified (mtime, modification time), and last accessed (atime, access time).
    – The preferred I/O block size.
    – The number of blocks allocated to this file.

 

Getting more extensive information on a mounted filesystem


Most Linuxes have the tune2fs installed by default (in debian Linux this is through e2fsprogs) package, with it one can get a very good indepth information on a mounted filesystem, lets say about the ( / ) root FS.
 

root@linux:~# tune2fs -l /dev/sda1
tune2fs 1.44.5 (15-Dec-2018)
Filesystem volume name:   <none>
Last mounted on:          /
Filesystem UUID:          abe6f5b9-42cb-48b6-ae0a-5dda350bc322
Filesystem magic number:  0xEF53
Filesystem revision #:    1 (dynamic)
Filesystem features:      has_journal ext_attr resize_inode dir_index filetype needs_recovery sparse_super large_file
Filesystem flags:         signed_directory_hash
Default mount options:    (none)
Filesystem state:         clean
Errors behavior:          Continue
Filesystem OS type:       Linux
Inode count:              30162944
Block count:              120648960
Reserved block count:     6032448
Free blocks:              13830683
Free inodes:              26575654
First block:              0
Block size:               4096
Fragment size:            4096
Reserved GDT blocks:      995
Blocks per group:         32768
Fragments per group:      32768
Inodes per group:         8192
Inode blocks per group:   512
Filesystem created:       Thu Sep  6 21:44:22 2012
Last mount time:          Sat Jul 20 11:33:38 2019
Last write time:          Sat Jul 20 11:33:28 2019
Mount count:              6
Maximum mount count:      22
Last checked:             Fri May 10 18:32:27 2019
Check interval:           15552000 (6 months)
Next check after:         Wed Nov  6 17:32:27 2019
Lifetime writes:          338 GB
Reserved blocks uid:      0 (user root)
Reserved blocks gid:      0 (group root)
First inode:              11
Inode size:              256
Required extra isize:     28
Desired extra isize:      28
Journal inode:            8
First orphan inode:       21554129
Default directory hash:   half_md4
Directory Hash Seed:      d54c5a90-bc2d-4e22-8889-568d3fd8d54f
Journal backup:           inode blocks


Important note to make here is file's inode number stays the same when it is moved to another directory on the same device, or when the disk is defragmented which may change its physical location. This also implies that completely conforming inode behavior is impossible to implement with many non-Unix file systems, such as FAT and its descendants, which don't have a way of storing this invariance when both a file's directory entry and its data are moved around. Also one inode could point to a file and a copy of the file or even a file and a symlink could point to the same inode, below is example:

$ ls -l -i /usr/bin/perl*
266327 -rwxr-xr-x 2 root root 10376 Mar 18  2013 /usr/bin/perl
266327 -rwxr-xr-x 2 root root 10376 Mar 18  2013 /usr/bin/perl5.14.2

A good to know is inodes are always unique values, so you can't have the same inode number duplicated. If a directory is damaged, only the names of the things are lost and the inodes become the so called “orphan”, e.g.  inodes without names but luckily this is recoverable. As the theory behind inodes is quite complicated and is complicated to explain here, I warmly recommend you read Ian Dallen's Unix / Linux / Filesystems – directories inodes hardlinks tutorial – which is among the best academic Tutorials explaining various specifics about inodes online.

 

How to Get inodes per mounted filesystem

 

root@linux:/home/hipo# df -i
Filesystem       Inodes  IUsed   IFree IUse% Mounted on

 

dev             2041439     481   2040958   1% /dev
tmpfs            2046359     976   2045383   1% /run
tmpfs            2046359       4   2046355   1% /dev/shm
tmpfs            2046359       6   2046353   1% /run/lock
tmpfs            2046359      17   2046342   1% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/sdb5        1221600    2562   1219038   1% /usr/var/lib/mysql
/dev/sdb6        6111232  747460   5363772  13% /var/www/htdocs
/dev/sdc1      122093568 3083005 119010563   3% /mnt/backups
tmpfs            2046359      13   2046346   1% /run/user/1000


As you see in above output Inodes reported for each of mounted filesystems has a specific number. In above output IFree on every mounted FS locally on Physical installed OS Linux is good.


Here is an example on how to recognize a depleted Inodes on a OpenXen Virtual Machine with attached Virtual Hard disks.

linux:~# df -i
Filesystem         Inodes     IUsed      IFree     IUse%   Mounted on
/dev/xvda         2080768    2080768     0      100%    /
tmpfs             92187      3          92184   1%     /lib/init/rw
varrun            92187      38          92149   1%    /var/run
varlock            92187      4          92183   1%    /var/lock
udev              92187     4404        87783   5%    /dev
tmpfs             92187       1         92186   1%    /dev/shm

 

Finding files with a certain inode


At some cases if you want to check all the copy files of a certain file that have the same i-node pointer it is useful to find them all by their shared inode this is possible with simple find (below example is for /usr/bin/perl binary sharing same inode as perl5.28.1:

 

ls -i /usr/bin/perl
23798851 /usr/bin/perl*

 

 find /usr/bin -inum 435308 -print
/usr/bin/perl5.28.1
/usr/bin/perl

 

Find directory that has a large number of files in it?

To get an overall number of inodes allocated by a certain directory, lets say /usr /var

 

root@linux:/var# du -s –inodes /usr /var
566931    /usr
56020    /var/

To get a list of directories use by inode for a directory with its main contained sub-directories sorted from 1 till highest number use:
 

du -s –inodes * 2>/dev/null |sort -g

 

Usually running out of inodes means there is a directory / fs mounts that has too many (small files) that are depleting the max count of possible inodes.

The most simple way to list directories and number of files in them on the server root directory is with a small bash shell loop like so:
 

for i in /*; do echo $i; find $i |wc -l; done


Another way to identify the exact directory that is most likely the bottleneck for the inode depletion in a sorted by file count, human readable form:
 

find / -xdev -printf '%h\n' | sort | uniq -c | sort -k 1 -n


This will dump a list of every directory on the root (/) filesystem prefixed with the number of files (and subdirectories) in that directory. Thus the directory with the largest number of files will be at the bottom.

 

The -xdev switch is used to instruct find to narrow it's search to only the device where you're initiating the search (any other sub-mounted NAS / NFS filesystems from a different device will be omited).

 

Print top 10 subdirectories with Highest Inode Usage

 

Once identifed the largest number of files directories that is perhaps the issue, to further get a list of Top subdirectories in it with highest amount of inodes used, use below cmd:

 

for i in `ls -1A`; do echo "`find $i | sort -u | wc -l` $i"; done | sort -rn | head -10

 

To list more than 10 of the top inodes used dirs change the head -10 to whatever num needed.

N.B. ! Be very cautious when running above 2 find commands on a very large filesystems as it will be I/O Excessive and in filesystems that has some failing blocks this could create further problems.

To omit putting a high I/O load on a production filesystem, it is possible to also use du + very complex regular expression:
 

cd /backup
du –inodes -S | sort -rh | sed -n         '1,50{/^.\{71\}/s/^\(.\{30\}\).*\(.\{37\}\)$/\1…\2/;p}'


Results returned are from top to bottom.

 

How to Increase the amount of Inodes count on a new created volume EXT4 filesystem

Some FS-es XFS, JFS do have an auto-increase inode feature in case if their is physical space, whether otheres such as reiserfs does not have inodes at all but still have a field reported when queried for errors. But the classical Linux ext3 / ext4 does not have a way to increase the inode number on a live filesystem. Instead the way to do it there is to prepare a brand new filesystem on a Disk / NAS / attached storage.

The number of inodes at format-time of the block storage can be as high as 4 billion inodes. Before you create the new FS, you have to partition the new the block storage as ext4 with lets say parted command (or nullify the content of an with dd to clean up any previous existing data on a volume if there was already existing data:
 

parted /dev/sda


dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/path/to/volume


  then format it with this additional parameter:

 

mkfs.ext4 -N 3000000000 /dev/path/to/volume

 

Here in above example the newly created filesystem of EXT4 type will be created with 3 Billion inodes !, for setting a higher number on older ext3 filesystem max inode count mkfs.ext3 could be used instead.

Bear in mind that 3 Billion number is a too high number and if you plan to have some large number of files / directories / links structures just raise it up to your pre-planning requirements for FS. In most cases it will be rarely anyone that want to have this number higher than 1 or 2 billion of inodes.

On FreeBSD / NetBSD / OpenBSD setting inode maximum number for a UFS / UFS2 (which is current default FreeBSD FS), this could be done via newfs filesystem creation command after the disk has been labeled with disklabel:

 

freebsd# newfs -i 1024 /dev/ada0s1d

 

Increase the Max Count of Inodes for a /tmp filesystem

 

Sometimes on some machines it is necessery to have ability to store very high number of small files (e.g. have a very large number of inodes) on a temporary filesystem kept in memory. For example some web applications served by Web Server Apache + PHP, Nginx + Perl-FastCGI are written in a bad manner so they kept tons of temporary files in /tmp, leading to issues with exceeded amount of inodes.
If that's the case to temporary work around you can increase the count of Inodes for /tmp to a very high number like 2 billions using:

 

mount -o remount,nr_inodes=<bignum> /tmp

To make the change permanent on next boot if needed don't forget to put the nr_inodes=whatever_bignum as a mount option for the temporary fs to /etc/fstab

Eventually, if you face this issues it is best to immediately track which application produced the mess and ask the developer to fix his messed up programs architecture.

 

Conclusion

 

It was explained on the very common issue of having maximum amount of inodes on a filesystem depleted and the unpleasent consequences of inability to create new files on living FS.
Then a general overview was given on what is inode on a Linux / Unix filesystem, what is typical content of inode, how inode addressing is handled on a FS. Further was explained how to get basic information about available inodes on a filesystem, how to get a filename/s based on inode number (with find), the well known way to determine inode number of a directory or file (with ls) and get more extensive information on a FS on inodes with tune2fs.
Also was explained how to identify directories containing multitudes of files in order to determine a sub-directories that is consuming most of the inodes on a filesystem. Finally it was explained very raughly how to prepare an ext4 filesystem from scratch with predefined number to inodes to much higher than the usual defaults by mkfs.ext3 / mkfs.ext4 and *bsds newfs as well as how to raise the number of inodes of /tmp tmpfs temporary RAM filesystem.

Things to install on newly installed GNU / Linux (My favourite must have Linux text and GUI programs missing in fresh Linux installs)

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

must-have-packages-to-install-on-a-freshly-brand-new-linux-installed-on-desktop-computer-gnu-linux-logo

On every next computer I use as a Desktop or Laptop, I install with Debian GNU / Linux I install the following bunch of extra packages in order to turn the computer into a powerful Multimedia, User, Sys Admin army knife tools, A Programmer desktop and Hacker / Penetration Testing security auditting station.

The packages names might vary less or more across various Debian releases and should be similar or the same in Ubuntu / Linux Mint and the rest of Deb based distribtuions.

Also some of the package names might given in the article might change from time of writting this article just like some  already changed in time from a release to release, nomatter that the general list is a collection of packages I have enjoyed for the last 8 years. And I believe anyone who is new to GNU / Linux and  or even some experienced free software users in need of  full featured computer system for remote system administration purposes or general software development and even small entertainment such as Movie Watching or Playing some unsophisticated basic games to kill some time might benefit from the list of programs collected from my experience as a Free Software GNU / Linux users over the last 12 years or so.

So here we go as you might know, once you have a Debian GNU / Linux, first thing to do is to add some extra repositories in /etc/apt/sources.list

For example my debian 9 Stretch sources.list looks like this:

cp -rpf /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list-bak

vim /etc/apt/sources.list

And delete / substitute everything within with something as following:

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian stretch main non-free
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian stretch main

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian stretch-updates main
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian stretch-updates main

deb http://security.debian.org/ stretch/updates main
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ stretch/updates main

deb http://security.debian.org/debian-security stretch/updates main contrib
deb-src http://security.debian.org/debian-security stretch/updates main contrib

deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian stretch contrib

If you're using an older Debian release for example debian 7 or 8, the sources.list codename stretch word should be changed to wheezy for legacy debian 7 or jessie for debian 8, do it respectively for any future or older Deb releases.

Then proceed and update all current installed packages to their latest release with:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

If you're running on a very old Debian GNU / Linux release , you might encounter errors from above cmds, if that's your case just follow the online guides and update to a newer still supported Deb release.

Once all this is done assuming you have connected to the internet via LAN network or if on a laptop via Wireless, here are some useful stuff to install especially if you're planning to use your computer effectively in both console and graphics environment.

 

1. Install some basic packages necessery if you're planning to be using compilers on the freshly installed GNU / linux

apt-get install –yes gcc autoconf build-essential fakeroot devscripts equivs libncurses5-dev g++ make libc6-dev fontconfig gdc

The most notable package here is build-essential it provides the following collection of C / C++ programs on Deb package based distributions Debian / Ubuntu / Mint etc.
 

  1. libc6-dev – C standard library.
  2. gcc – C compiler.
  3. g++ – C++ compiler.
  4. make – GNU make utility to maintain groups of programs.
  5. dpkg-dev – Debian package development tools.

2. Install w3m lynx elinks text browsers

apt-get install –yes lynx elinks w3m-img w3m

3. Install wireless and networking tools
 

apt-get install  –yes tcpdump vnstat wpasupplicant wpagui dnsutils

4. Install Network sniffing, penetration testing and network evaluation tools
 

apt-get install  –yes wireshark nmap zenmap sniffit iptraf iptraf-ng tshark dsniff netsniff-ng netwox netwag sslsniff darkstat kismet netcat ngrep hashcat hydra hydra-gtk ophcrack ophcrack-cli

————–

wiresharkGUI network traffic analyzer

nmapnmap port mapper and security audit tool

zenmapGUI frontend to nmap

sniffitconsole text based basic packet sniffer and monitoring tool very used tool to sniff servers authenticatoins in the past

iptraf-ngNext Generation interactive colorful IP Lan mointor

tsharkanother network traffic analyzer console version

dsniffVarious tools to sniff network traffic for cleartext insecurities

netsniff-ngLinux network packet sniffer toolkit

netwoxProvides more than 200 tools to solve network problems with DNS, FTP, HTTP, IRC, NNTP, SMTP, SNMP, SYSLOG, TELNET, TFTP

netwaggraphical frontend to netwox

sslsniff SSL/TLS man-in-the-middle attack tool

darkstatnetwork traffic analyzer

kismetwireless sniffer and monitor (very useful in the past for sniffing passwords on a Wi-Fi network)

netcatTCP / IP swiss army knife (good tool to listen and connect to local and remote ports)

ngrepgrep like tool for network traffic

hashcatClaims to be world's fastest and most advanced password recovery utility, capable of attacking more than 160 highly optimized hashing algorithms, supports CPU and GPU (using the video card CPU to enhance password cracking speed), also could be used for distributed password cracking

hydra Very fast network logon cracker, supports webforms works with dictionary attacks etc.

hydra-gtkGTK GUI version of Hydra

ophcrackMicrosoft Windows password cracker using rainbow tables GUI

ophcrack-cli Console version of Microsoft Windows password cracker using rainbow tables for speed

————

 

5. Install multimedia, entertainment few useful tools and other useful stuff
 

apt-get install –yes workrave xscreensaver xscreensaver-data xulrunner xutils zenity yelp zgv   tracker-utils alltray ant apt-utils bsdutils  aumix bwidget ca-certificates pulseaudio-module-jack aumix audacious ffmpeg bluefish bluefish-plugins blender blueman bluez cabextract bluez-firmware bsdmainutils dcraw dmidecode evtest file fonts-liberation fonts-stix fonts-uralic fonts-opensymbol fonts-lyx fonts-cantarell fuse gimp gimp-data-extras gimp-plugin-registry git gnupg gnupg2 imagemagick imwheel inkscape iw less 


bsdutils – Provides some nice old school programs such as :

-=-=-=-=-=-

wall – a program to write to every logged in user console, used in old times on time sharing servers to notify all users about sys admin planning for a reboot or for some other update activity

renice – allows to renice priority over already prioritized process with (nice command)

script – Allows you to do a recorder like saves of user activity on a console / terminal

logger – send logging output from programs to syslog 

-=-=-=-=-=-

alltray – A small program that allows you to bring to dock any program useful to make Thunderbird appear in Gnome / Mate / KDE Dock in a similar manner as Outlook does in m$ Windows

zgv – SVGAlib graphical (picture viewer) useful to view pictures from tty consoles

zenity – allows to display graphical dialog boxes by using shell scripts

aumix – Simple text based mixer control, useful to tune up sound values and mic recording volume from console

WorkRave – is a useful program to periodically remind you to stand out of the computer on a specified interval and shows you graphically some exercies to do to prevent your physical health to not deteriorate by standing all day immobilized

Bluefish – Is Advanced GTK+ HTML Editor useful if you're about to edit HTML / CSS and other Web files

dcraw – Decode raw digital images

dmidecode – Text program that reports your computer hardware

blueman, bluez – Programs to enable USB support on your Linux

evtest – evtest is a utility to monitor Linux input devices

file – little tool to determine file type based on "magic numbes"

fontsliberation – Fonts with same metrics as Times, Arial and Courier


6. Install Text based console Multimedia Mp3 / Mod / S3m players

apt-get install –yes mpg321 mpg123 cmus mp3blaster mplayer sox  ogg123 mikmod cplay cdcd cdck eject

———

mpg321, mpg123 Mp3 and Ogg Vorbis console player historically one of the earliest I used to play my music

cmus Another awesome ncurses menu based small music player

mp3blaster Full Screen ncurses text console mp3 and Ogg vorbis music player

mplayer An awesome old school (the defacto standard) and still one of the best Music and Video player for GNU / Linux

sox Swiss army knife of sound processing, contains (sox, play, rec and soxi commands), which could be used to play, rec and add effects to WAV and other popular old sound formats

ogg123 Play Ogg Vorbis .OGG Free encoding file format in console

mikmodThe most famous Tracker (S3M, MOD, IT) music player for *NIX, play the old soundtracker formats on your GNU / Linux

cplay – A really nice text front end to music players, the cool thing about it it shows how much is left for the song to over using ASCII

cdcd – play Audio CDs from console

eject – eject your CD Drive from console

cdck – tool to verify the quality of written CDs/DVDs

———


7. Install Games

apt-get install –yes xpenguins frozen-bubble alex4 bsdgames bb ninvaders blobwars btanks chromium-bsu criticalmass figlet freetennis njam swell-foop dreamchess extremetuxracer gltron gnuchess wesnoth njam wing nikwi dreamchess gltron gnome-games swell-foop aisleriot prboom

———–

xpenguins – little penguins walk on your screen great to use as a screensaver

frozen-bubble – cool game with bubbles you have to pop out

blobwars – platform shooting game

njam – pacman like game with multiplayer support

extremetuxracer – 3D racing game featuring Tux the Linux penguin mascot

gltron – 3D remake of the good well known Tron Game

gnuchess – GNU remake of classic Chess game

wing – arcade Galaga like game for GNU / Linux

wesnoth – Fantasy turne based strategy game

dremachess – 3D chess game

swell-fool – Colored ball puzzle game

gnome-games – A collection of Games for the GNOME Desktop

nikwi – platform game with a goal to collect candies

aisleriot – GNOME solitaire card game 

prboom – PrBoom, a remake of the Doom 3d shooter classic game using SDL (supports OpenGL), to play it you will need WAD files if you don't have it install (doom-wad-shareware) package

figlet – Make large character ASCII banners out of ordinary provided text (just provide any text and get a nice ASCII picture out of it)

———-
 

8. Install basic archivers such as rar, zip, arj etc.

apt-get install –yes zip unrar arj cpio p7zip unzip bzip2 file-roller


———–

cpioGNU cpio, a program to manager archive files

bzip2BunZip2 block compressor decompressor utility (necessery to untar the .tar.bz2 tar balls)

unzipDe-archiver for .zip files console version

rar, unrarArchiver Unarchiver for .rar files in terminal / console (unfortunately non-free software)

file-rollerArchive manager for gnome

gpg – gnu privacy guard to be able to generate gpg keys

————-

If you're looking for an advanced file archive, dearchive software GUI that be a substitute for Windows WinRar,  WinZip there is also the proprietary software PeaZip for Linux, as I stay as much as possible away from non-free software I don't use PeaZip though. For me file-roller's default GNOME archiver / unarchiver does a pretty good job and if it fails someties I use the console versions of above programs
 

9. Install text and speech synthesizer festival freetts
 

apt-get install –yes festival festival-cmu festvox-kallpc16k festvox-ru mbrola-en1 speech-dispatcher-festival freetts flite yasr gnupg2

————-

FestivalIs the general multi-lingual speech synthesis system

yasris a basic console screen reader program

flitea small run time speech synthesis engine alternative to festival, another free software synthesis tool based built using FestVox

————–

Festival is great if you want to listen to text files and can easily be used to convert basic PDFs or DOC files to listen them if you're lazy to read I've explained on how you can use festival to read speak for you PDFs and DOCs, ODF (Open Document Format) here
 

10. Install linux-header files for latest installed Debian kernel

apt-get install –yes linux-headers-$(uname -r)

You will need that package if you need to compile external usually DRM (Digital Rights Management)  external modules that could be loaded to current Debian precompiled kernel, I recommend you abstain from it since most of the modules are DRMed and doesn't respect your freedom.
 

11. Install GUI programs and browsers

apt-get install –yes gnome-themes-standard gnome-themes-standard-data epiphany-browser dconf-tools gnome-tweak-tool

epiphany-browserIntuitive GNOME web browser (I love this browser, though sometimes Crashing I prefer to use it as it is really fast and lightweight I think Mac OS's Safari has been partially based on its programming code)

dconf-tools Dconf is a low-level key / value database designed for storing desktop environment variables (provides dconf-editor – which allows you to tune tons of gnome settings tunable only through this database it is something like Windows regedit registry editor tool but for GNOME)

gnome-themes-standard / gnome-themes-standard-data The name says it all it provides beautiful gnome standard themes

gnome-tweak-tool Graphic tool to adjust many advanced configuration settings in GNOME in GNOME 3.2, many of the old GNOME 3.0 and 2.X capabilities such as Desktop icons or Computer on the Desktop and many more useful gnome capabilities you might be used for historically can be enabled through that handy tool, it is a must for the GNOME user

12. Install text and GUI mail clients

apt-get install –yes mutt fetchmail bsd-mailx mailutils thunderbird aspell-bg aspell-en aspell-ru

I use primary 3 languages Russian, Bulgarian and English, so by installing the 3 packages aspell-bg, aspell-en, aspell-ru, that would add a possiility for Thunderbird and LibreOffice to have ability to spell check your mails and ODF documents, if your native language is different or you speak different languages do run:
 

apt-cache search aspell 


And install whatever languages spell check support you need

 


13. Install filesystem mount, check and repair tools
 

apt-get install –yes ntfs-3g sshfs dosfstools ext3grep  e2fsprogs e2fsck-static growisofs  e2undel extundelete recover bleachbit


———–

ntfs-3g – read / write NTFS driver support for FUSE (Filesystem in UserSpace) or in other words install these to be able to mount in read/write mode NTFS filesystems

sshfs – filesystem client based on SSH File Transfer Protocol, that little nitty tool enables you to mount remotely SSH Filesystems to your local Linux Desktop, it is also useful to install across servers if you need to remotely mount SSH Filesystems

e2fsprogs ext2 / ext3 / ext4 filesystem utilities to check, fix, tune, defragment resize and create etc. new filesystems  (provides crucial commands such as fsck.ext2, fsck.ext3, fsck.ext4, e2label, lsattr, chattr, resize2fs, mkfs.ext2, mkfs.ext3, mkfs.ext4 …)

dosfstoolstool giving you ability to check, create and diagnose DOS and Windows FAT 32 Filesystems provides commands such as dosfsck, mkdosfs, dosfslabel, fsck.msdos, fsck.vfat, mkfs.msdos

growisofs DVD+ RW / Read Only Recorder

ext3greptool to help recover deleted files on ext3 filesystems

e2undel Undelete utility for ext2 filesystems
———–

14. Install emulators for PC OS Emuation (Qemu), DOS and Wine to run native Windows programs on GNU / Linux
 

apt-get install –yes qemu qemu-utils aqemu dosbox mame mame-extra os8 simh wine nestopia dgen


—————-

QemuVirtual Machine emulator with support UEFI firmware

Aqemu – Qemu QT VM GUI Frotend

Dosbox – Dos Emulator, great to have to play the good old DOS games on your GNU / Linux

Mame – Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, great if you want to play the old arcade games of your youth such as The Punisher, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Captain America, Robocop, Captain Commando, Wonderboy and so on the list goes on and on …

simh – PDP-1 PDP-4 PDP-7, PDP-9, PDP-10, PDP-11, PDP-15 HP 2100, IBM System 3, IBM 1620, Interdata, SDS, LGP-21, LGP-30, DEC VaX emulator

nestopia Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom Emulator

dgen – Sega MegaDrive GNU / Linux Emulator

—————
 


15. Install Network Time protocol daemon and ntpdate (time synchronizing text client)

apt-get install –yes ntpdate ntp

16. Install Djview and CHM books reader

apt-get install –yes djview djview4 djvulibre-bin xchm kchmviewer chm2pdf

Install this packages to be able read DjView and CHM book formats

17. Install other text stuff

# Install text calculator I always prefer and use this console tool instead of the GUI gnome-calculator

apt-get install –yes bc

18. Install printing CUPs and printing utilities

apt-get install –yes cups-client cups-daemon cups-server-common hplip hplip-data printer-driver-hpcups printer-driver-hpijs ghostscript 

A bunch of packages for your Linux Deskto po properly support printing, you might need to install some extra packages depending on the type of printer you need to use, perhaps you will have to take few minutes probably to configure CUPs.

19. Install text monitoring tools

apt-get install –yes htop atop  dnstop  iftop iotop  jnettop ntopng  pktstat  powertop  sntop mariadb-client  iotop  itop jnettop kerneltop logtop
pgtop powertop


—————–

htop – More interactive colorful process viewer similar to top

atop – Monitor for system resources and process activity

dnstop – Console tool for analyze DNS traffic

iftop displays bandwidth usage information on a chosen network interface

iotopsimple top-like I/O (I / O) information output by the Linux kernel

jnettopView hosts / ports taking up the most network traffic

ntopng High-Speed Web-based Traffic analysis and Flow Collection tool

pktstat top like utility for network connections usage

powertop tool to diagnose issues with power consumption and management (useful for Linux running laptops)

sntop A ncurses-based utility that polls hosts to determine connectivity

mariadb-clientthis is the new name for the old mytop / mtop MySQL top package

kerneltop shows Linux kernel usage in a style like top

pgtop Show PostgreSQL queries in a top like style

lograte real time log line rate analyzer

—————-

20. Install text command line tools for transferring data from Web sites and FTP

apt-get install –yes curl wget lftp filezilla gftp transmission linuxdcpp

———-
curl command line tool for transferring data with URL syntax

wget tool to retrvie files and html from the web

lftp sophisticated command-line FTP/HTTP/BitTorrent client program

filezilla Full-featured graphical FTP/FTPS/SFTP client

gftp X/GTK+ and console FTP client

transmission lightweight Bittorrent client

linuxdcpp – Port of the Windows file-sharing program DC++

———–

21. Install text based communication programs

apt-get install –yes irssi freetalk centerim finch

———-

Irssi Great console IRC chat client with support for encryption

FreeTalk console based jabber client

centerim Console based ICQ client

finch – Multi protocol Text console client for AIM/ICQ, Yahoo!, MSN, IRC, Jabber / XMPP / Google Talk Sametime, MySpaceIM, Napster, Zephyr, Gadu-Gadu, Bonjour, GroupWise

———-

22. Install Apache Webserver and MySQL

This two are necessery if you're about to use your computer as a PHP / MySQL develment station

apt-get install –yes mysql-server phpmyadmin apache2 libapache2-mod-php php-pear php php-mysql  ant ant-contrib apache2-dev apache2-ssl-dev

———-

mysql-server MySQL community edition

ant Java based build tool like make (necessery for building many third party apache modules and code)

libapache2-mod-php5the php module loaded into apache

phpmyadminWebtool admin to manage your MySQL database

——–

23. Install mouse support for consoles

apt-get install –yes gpm


———–

gpm is the general purpose mouse interface, if you want to have support for your mouse in TTY consoles (the ones you go to with CTRL + ALT + F2, CTRL + ALT + F3 and so on install it).

———–

24. Install various formats converter tools

apt-get install –yes html2text pdf2djvu unoconv oggconvert webkit2pdf img2pdf gsscan2pdf netpbm dir2ogg soundconverter


————

gsscan2pdfGUI program to produce PDF or DJVU from scanned documents

img2pdfLossless conversion of raster images to PDF

webkit2pdfexport web pages to PDF files or printer

html2textAdvanced HTML to text converter

oggcconvert – convert media files to free format 

netpbmGraphics conversion tools between image formats

dir2ogg – converts MP3, M4A, WMA, FLAC, WAV files and Audio CDs to the open-source OGG format.

soundconverter – GNOME application to convert audio files into other formats

————

There are probably a lot of more handy packages that other Free Software users like to install to make the GNU / Linux desktop notebook even more entertaining and fulfillful for daily work. If you can think of other useful packages not mentioned here you tend to use on a daily basis no matter where Debian based or other distro, please share that would help me too to learn a new thing and I'll be greateful.

Enjoy !

UPDATE: If you get errors with missing packages, just delete them out of the apt-get lines. The reason is some packages are beying removed from .deb repositories or the software package name has changed due to some reason.
 

Migrate Webserver and SQL data from old SATA Hard drive to SSD to boost websites performance / Installing new SSD KINGSTON 120GB hard disk on Linux

Monday, March 28th, 2016

ssd-linux-migrate-webserver-and-mysql-from-old-SATA-to-SSD-Kingston-Hard-drive-to-boost-performance-installing-new-SSD-on-Debian-linux
Blog and websites hosted on a server were giving bad performance lately and the old SATA Hard Disk on the Lenovo Edge server seemed to be overloaded from In/Out operations and thus slowing down the websites opeining time as well as SQL queries (especially the ones from Related Posts WordPress plugin was quite slow. Sometimes my blog site opening times were up to 8-10 seconds.

To deal with the issue I obviously needed a better speed of I/O of hard drive thus as I've never used SSD hard drives so far,  I decided to buy a new SSD (Solid State Drive) KINGSTON SV300S37A120G, 605ABBF2, max UDMA/133  hard disk.
Mounting the hard disk physically on the computer tower case wasn't a big deal as there are no rotating elements of the SSD it doesn't really matter how it is mounted main thing is that it is being hooked up somewhere to the case.

I was not sure whether the SSD HDD is supported by my Debian GNU / Linux so I had see whether Linux Operating System has properly detected your hard disk use dmesg

1. Check if SSD Hard drive is supported in Linux

 

linux:~# dmesg|grep -i kingston
[    1.182734] ata5.00: ATA-8: KINGSTON SV300S37A120G, 605ABBF2, max UDMA/133
[    1.203825] scsi 4:0:0:0: Direct-Access     ATA      KINGSTON SV300S3 605A PQ: 0 ANSI: 5

 

linux:~# dmesg|grep -i sdb
[    1.207819] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] 234441648 512-byte logical blocks: (120 GB/111 GiB)
[    1.207847] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
[    1.207848] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00
[    1.207860] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[    1.207928]  sdb: unknown partition table
[    1.208319] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI disk

 

Well great news as you see from above output obviously the Kingston SSD HDD was detected by the kernel.
I've also inspected whether the proper dimensions of hard drive (all 120 Gigabytes are being detected by the OS):

 

linux:~# fdisk -l /dev/sdb
Disk /dev/sdb: 120.0 GB, 120034123776 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 14593 cylinders, total 234441648 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Even better as the proper HDD sizing was detected by Linux kernel.
Next thing to do was of course to create ext4 filesystem on the SSD HDD.
I wanted to give 2 separate partitions for my Webserver Websites DocumentRoot directories which all lay under the standard Apache location inside /var/www as well as MySQL data folder which is also under the standard Debian based Linuces – /var/lib/mysql as the SQL data directory was just 3.3 GB size, I've decided to reserve 20GB gigabytes for the MySQL and another 100 GB for my PHP / CSS / JS / HTML and other data files /var/www.
 

2. Create SSD partitions with cfdisk

Hence I needed to create:

1. SSD partition of 100GB
2. SSD partition of 20GB

I have cfdisk installed and I believe, the easiest way to create the partitions is using interactive partitioner as CFDISK instead of fdisk: so in order to make the proper partitions I've ran

 

linux:~# cfdisk /dev/sdb


I' will skip explainig details on how to use CFDISK as it is pretty standard – display or manipulate disk partition table tool.
Just press on NEW button (moving with arrow keys buttons) and choose the 2 partitions size 100000 and 20000 MB (one thing to note here is that you have to choose between Primary and  Logical creation of partitions, as my SSD is a secondary drive and I already have a ) and then press the
WRITE button to save all the partition changes.

!!! Be very careful here as you might break up your other disks data make sure you're really modifying the SSD Hard Drive and not your other /dev/sda or other attached external Hard drive or ATA / SATA disk.
Press the WRITE button only once you're absolutely sure, you do it at your own (always create backup of your other data and don't blame me if something goes wrong) …

Once created the two partitions will look like in the screenshot below:
creating-linux-partitions-with-cfdisk-linux-partitioning-tool.png

 


3. Create ext4 filesystem 100 and 20 GB partitions

Next thing to do before the two partitions are ready to mount under Webserver's files documentroot /var/www and /var/lib/mysql is to create ext4 filesystem, though some might prefer to stick to ext3 or reiserfs partition, I would recommend you use ext4 for the reason ext4 according to my quick research is said to perform much better with SSD Hard Drives.

The tool to create the ext4 filesystems is mkfs4.ext4 it is provided by debian package e2fsprogs I have it already installed on my server, if you don't have it just go on and install it with:
 

linux:~# apt-get install –yes e2fsprogs

 

To create the two ext4 partitions run:
 

linux:~# mkfs4.ext4 /dev/sdb5

 

linux:~# mfs4.ext4 /dev/sdb6


Here the EXT4 filesystem on partition that is supposed to be 100 Gigabytes will take 2, 3 minutes as the dimensions of partition are a bit bigger, so if you don't want to get boring go grab a coffee, once the partitions are ready you can evaluate whether everyhing is properly created with fdisk you should get output like the one below

 

linux:~# fdisk -l /dev/sdb
Disk /dev/sdb: 120.0 GB, 120034123776 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 14593 cylinders, total 234441648 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1              63   234441647   117220792+   5  Extended
/dev/sdb5             126    39070079    19534977   83  Linux
/dev/sdb6        39070143   234441647    97685752+  83  Linux

 

4. Mount newly created SSD partitions under /var/www and /var/lib/mysql

Before I mounted /var/www and /var/lib/mysql in order to be able to mount under the already existing directories I had to:

1. Stop Apache and MySQL server
2. Move Mysql and Apache Documentroot and Data directories to -bak
3. Create new empty /var/www and /var/lib/mysql direcotries
4. Copy backpups ( /var/www-bak and /var/lib/mysql-bak ) to the newly mounted ext4 SSD partitions

To achieve that I had to issue following commands:
 

linux:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 stop
linux:~# /etc/init.d/mysql stop

linux:~# mv /var/www /var/www-bak
linux:~# mv /var/lib/mysql /var/lib/mysql-bak

linux:~# mkdir /var/www
linux:~# mkdir /var/lib/mysql
linux:~# chown -R mysql:mysql /var/lib/mysql


Then to manually mount the SSD partitions:
 

linux:~# mount  /dev/sdb5 /var/lib/mysql
linux:~# mount /dev/sdb6 /var/www


To check that the folders are mount into the SSD drive, ran mount cmd:

 

linux:~# mount
/dev/sda1 on / type ext3 (rw,errors=remount-ro)
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620)
fusectl on /sys/fs/fuse/connections type fusectl (rw)
/dev/sdc1 on /backups type ext4 (rw)
/dev/sdb5 on /var/lib/mysql type ext4 (rw,relatime,discard,data=ordered))
/dev/sdb6 on /var/www type ext4 (rw,relatime,discard,data=ordered))

 

That's great now the filesystem mounts fine, however as it an SSD drive and SSD drives are being famous for having a number of limited writes on disk before the drive lifetime is over it is a good idea to increase a bit the lifetime of the SSD by mounting the SSD partitions with noatime and errors=remount-ro (in order to not log file access times to filesystem table and to remount the FS read only in case of some physical errors of the drive).

5. Configure SSD partitions to boot every time Linux reboots

Now great, the filesystems gets mounted fine so next thing to do is to make it automatically mount every time the Linux OS boots up, this on GNU / Linux is done through /etc/fstab, for my 2 ext4 partitions this is the content to add at the end of /etc/fstab:

 

/dev/sdb5               /var/lib/mysql      ext4        noatime,errors=remount-ro       0       1
/dev/sdb6               /var/www        ext4    noatime,errors=remount-ro       0       1

 

quickest way to add it without a text editor is to echo to the end of file:
 

linux:~# cp -rpf /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.bak_25_03_2016
linux:~# echo ' /dev/sdb5               /var/lib/mysql      ext4        noatime,errors=remount-ro,discard       0       1' >> /etc/fstab
linux:~# echo ' /dev/sdb6               /var/www        ext4    noatime,errors=remount-ro,discard       0       1 ' >> /etc/fstab


Then mount again all the filesystems including the 2 new created SSD (100 and 20 GB) partitions:
 

linux:~# umount /var/www
linux:~# umount /var/lib/mysql
linux:~# mount -a


To assure properly mounted with noatime and remount-ro on errors options:


linux:~# mount | grep -i sdb
/dev/sdb5 on /var/lib/mysql type ext4 (rw,noatime,errors=remount-ro)
/dev/sdb6 on /var/www type ext4 (rw,noatime,errors=remount-ro)

 

It is also a good idea to check a statistics of disk free command:
 

linux:~# df -h|grep -i sdb
/dev/sdb5         19G  0G    19G  0% /var/lib/mysql
/dev/sdb6         92G   0G    92G  0% /var/www


6. Copy all Webserver and SQL data from backupped directories to new SSD mounted

Last but not least is to copy all original content files from /var/www-bak and /var/lib/mysql-bak to the new freshly  created SSD partitions, though copying the files can be made with normal linux copy command (cp),
I personally prefer rsync because rsync is much quicker and more efficient in copying large amount of files in my case this were 48 Gigabytes.

To copy files from with rsync:

 

linux:~# rsync -av –log-file /var/log/backup.log  /var/www-bak /var/www
linux:~# rsync -av –log-file /var/log/backup.log  /var/lib/mysql-bak /var/lib/mysql


Then ofcourse, finally to restore my websites normal operation I had to bring up the Apache Webservers and MySQL service

 

linux:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 start
linux:~# /etc/init.d/mysql start


7. Optimizing SSD performance with periodic trim (discard of unused blocks on a mounted filesystem)

As I digged deeper into how to even further optimize SSD drive performance I learned about the cleaning action TRIM of the partitions for a long term performance proper operation, to understand it better think about trimming like Windows degrament operatin.
 

NAME
fstrim – discard unused blocks on a mounted filesystem

SYNOPSIS
fstrim [-o offset] [-l length] [-m minimum-free-extent] [-v] mountpoint

DESCRIPTION
fstrim is used on a mounted filesystem to discard (or "trim") blocks which are not in use by the filesystem. This is useful for
solid-state drives (SSDs) and thinly-provisioned storage.

By default, fstrim will discard all unused blocks in the filesystem. Options may be used to modify this behavior based on range or
size, as explained below.


Trimming is really necessery, otherwise SSD become very slow after some time. All modern SSD's support TRIM, but older SSD's from before 2010 usually don't.
Thus for an older SSD you'll want to check this on the website of the manufacturer.

As I mentioned earlier TRIM is not supported by all SSD drives, to check whether TRIM is supported by SSD:

linux:~# hdparm -I /dev/sdb|grep -i -E 'trim|discard'
                  *          Data set Management TRIM supported (limit 1 block)

It's easiest to let the system perform an automatic TRIM. That can be done in several ways.

The quickest way for trimming is to place into /etc/rc.local trim  commands, in my case it was the following commands:

 

fstrim -v /var/lib/mysql
fstrim -v /var/www

To add it I've used my favourite vim text editor.
Adding commands to rc.local will make SSD trimming be executed at boot time so this will reduce a bit the downtime during the trim with some time so perhaps for those like me which are running a crually important websites a better

An alternative way is to schedule a daily cron job to do just place a new job in /etc/cron.daily/trim e.g.:
 

linux:~# vim /etc/cron.daily/trim

 

#!/bin/sh
fstrim -v /var/lib/mysql
fstrim -v /var/www

linux:~# chmod +x /etc/cron.daily/trim

However the best way to enable automatic trimming to SSD  is to just add the discard parameter to /etc/fstab I've already done that earlier in this article.

Not really surprising the increase of websites opening (page load times) were decreased dramatically web page loading waiting time fall down 2 to 2.5 times, so the moral of story for me is always when possible from now on to use SSD in order to have superb websites opening times.

To sum it up what was achieved with moving my data into SSD Drive, before moving websites and SQL data to SSD drive the websites were opening for 6 to 10 seconds now sites open in 2 to 4.5 seconds which is below 5 seconds (the normal waiting time for a user to see your website).
By the way it should be not a news forfor people that are into Search Engine Optimization but might be for some of unexperienced new Admins and Webmasters that, all that all page opening times that  exceeds 5 secs is considered to be a slow website (and therefore perhaps not worthy to read).
The high load page times >5 secs makes the website also less interesting not only for end users but also for search engines (Google / Yahoo / Bing / Baidoo etc.) will is said to crawl it less if website is slow.
Search Engines are said to Index much better and crawl more frequently into more responsive websites.
Hence implementing SSD to a server and decreasing the page load time should bring up my visitors stats a bit too.

Well that's all for today, hope you enjoyed 🙂

How to read ext2 / ext3 / ext4 Linux filesystem and Mac OS X HFS+ partitions from Windows

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

access-linux-drives-filesystem-disks-from-microsoft-windows-howto-picture
If you are using a Dual-boot PC with installed M$ Windows and GNU .Linux OS storing many of your Documents / Music / Movie data on Linux's ext3 / ext4 filesystem partition  but using often also Windows PC for Professional Graphic Design or Photoshop CS5 / Coreldraw Graphics Suite X7 / 3D Studio / Adobe Drewmweaver you will certainly want to be able to mount (Map drive) as a drive Linux partitions ext3 / ext4 or Mac OS's HFS+ read / use it straight from Windows.

Below are few softs that does allow mounting Mac and Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSE etc.) partitions on Windows

1. Mapping Linux ext3 and ext4 as a Windows drive

There are number of programs that can map Linux partition as a drive / directly explore Linux FS content. Most famous (free) ones are:

  • Ext2Explore (also known as Ext2Read) – Probably best historically known Windows driver that does Linux ext FS reading 

     

     

     

    ext2explore-access-ubuntu-debian-fedora-suse-linux-from-your-windows-screenshot
     

  • Ext2FSD – Open source file system driver for Windows (2K / XP / WIN7 / WIN8 – both x86 and 64 bit arch) supports ext2 / ext3 FSs and even CIFS protocol shares over network mounts. Ext4 filesystems are supported in read only mode only. It supports many language codepage utf8, cp936, cp950 etc..- Cyrillic file names shown correctly 🙂

     

     

     

    ext2fsd-mount-linux-partitions-in-microsoft-windows-screenshot
     

  • Explore2FS – GUI explorer tool for accessing ext2 and ext3 filesystems. It runs under all versions of Windows and can read almost any ext2 and ext3 filesystem.

     

     

    explore2fs-linux-partitions-from-widnows-screenshot
     

  • Disk Internals Linux reader – A freeware tool for reading and extracting files from EXT2/EXT3/EXT4, HFS, UFS2, Reiser4, and ReiserFS partitions in Windows.

     

     

     

    disk-internals-linux-reader-2.0-screenshot-proprietary-linux-filesystem-reader-mounter-for-windows


Other useful multiplatorm Linux FS reader unfortunately proprietary one is ParagonExtFS – proprietary software having version for both Win OS and Mac (Supports also mounting Linux partitionons Mac).

Note that if you copy some files using some of above tools to Windows permissions held in Linux could screw up, so it is not a good idea to try backup Linux configuration files to Windows's partitions 🙂

2. Read Copy files from Mac OS HFS+ filesystem to Windows

Apple has Boot Camp driver package which allows Mac OS's HFS+ to be viewable from Windows.

reading-Mac-OSX-HFS-plus-partitions-from-ms-windows-with-bootcamp-driver

For people who don't intend to continuosly read data HFS+ it might be better to not load Boot Camp but use:

hfsexplorer-explorero-allowing-read-access-to-mac-osx-from-ms-windows-os

 Only problem with Boot Camp and HFSExplorer is it allows you to read data from Mac OS filesystem only read only.If you want to write to HFS+ filesystem from Windows you will need:

  • Proprietary Paragon HFS+ (or)

find text strings recursively in Linux and UNIX – find grep in sub-directories command examples

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

unix_Linux_recursive_file_search_string_grep
GNU Grep
is equipped with a special option "-r" to grep recursively. Looking for string in a file in a sub-directories tree with the -r option is a piece of cake. You just do:

grep -r 'string' /directory/

or if you want to search recursively non-case sensitive for text

grep -ri 'string' .
 

Another classic GNU grep use (I use almost daily) is whether you want to match all files containing (case insensitive) string  among all files:

grep -rli 'string' directory-name
 

Now if you want to grep whether a string is contained in a file or group of files in directory recursively on some other UNIX like HP-UX or Sun OS / Solaris where there is no GNU grep installed by default here is how to it:

find /directory -exec grep 'searched string' {} dev/null ;

Note that this approach to look for files containing string on UNIX is very slowThus on not too archaic UNIX systems for some better search performance it is better to use xargs;

find . | xargs grep searched-string


A small note to open here is by using xargs there might be weird results when run on filesystems with filenames starting with "-".

Thus comes the classical (ultimate) way to grep for files containing string with find + grep, e.g.

find / -exec grep grepped-string {} dev/null ;

Another way to search a string recursively in files is by using UNIX OS '*' (star) expression:

grep pattern * */* */*/* 2>/dev/null

Talking about recursive directory text search in UNIX, should mention  another good GNU GREP alternative ACK – check it on betterthangrep.com 🙂 . Ack is perfect for programmers who have to dig through large directory trees of code for certain variables, functions, objects etc.

 

Create Easy Data Backups with Rsnapshot back-up tool on GNU / Linux

Monday, April 15th, 2013

 

rsnapshot Linux and FreeBSD easy data backup tool logo
Backing up information on Linux servers is essential part of routine system adminsitrator job. Thus I decided to write for those interested in how one can easily create backups of important data through a tiny tool called rsnapshot which I prior used to make periodic data incremental backups on few of Debian Linux servers I manage. In case you wonder why use rsnapshot and not just rsync – the reasons are 2.
a. Rsnapshot is very easy to configure and use and you don't need to have deep understanding on  rsync numerous options to use it.
b. Rsnapshot does support incremental data backups – saving a lot of disk space on backup host.

 

 

 

Mentioning  incremental data backups for some those term might be a news so I will in short explain here what is Incremental Data Backups?

Incremental Data Backups are such backups which only create new backup of system scheduled files to backup only whether there are changes in files to backup or new ones are added to directory/directories set to be routinely backed up. Incremental backups are often desirable as they consume minimum storage space and are quicker to perform than normal periodic whole data archiving (differential backups). rsync has also support for incremental backups but configuring it to do so takes time and requires extra time on reading and understanding how they work, so I personally prefer simplicity rsnapshot brings.

1. Installing rsnapshot with apt-get

Here is rsnapshot debian package description;

debian:~#  apt-cache show rsnapshot|grep -i description -A 5

 

Description: local and remote filesystem snapshot utility
 rsnapshot is an rsync-based filesystem snapshot utility. It can take
 incremental backups of local and remote filesystems for any number of
 machines. rsnapshot makes extensive use of hard links, so disk space is
 only used when absolutely necessary.
Homepage: http://www.rsnapshot.org/

As you can read from description, rsnapshot is a frontend command using rsync to make data backups.

Install of rsnapshot is done through;

 debian:~# apt-get install --yes rsnapshot

Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree      
Reading state information… Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  rsnapshot
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/140 kB of archives.
After this operation, 598 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Selecting previously deselected package rsnapshot.
(Reading database … 87026 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking rsnapshot (from …/rsnapshot_1.3.1-1_all.deb) … –
Processing triggers for man-db …
Setting up rsnapshot (1.3.1-1) …

2. Rsnapshot  package content and Documentation

Once installed here is file content of rsnapshot deb package;

debian:~# dpkg -L rsnapshot

 

/.
/usr
/usr/share
/usr/share/doc-base
/usr/share/doc-base/rsnapshot
/usr/share/doc
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/TODO
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/changelog.gz
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/Upgrading_from_1.1.gz
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/rsnapshot.conf.default.gz
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/backup_mysql.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/mysqlbackup.pl
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/random_file_verify.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapreport.pl.gz
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/make_cvs_snapshot.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/backup_pgsql.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapshotdb
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapshotdb/CHANGES.txt
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapshotdb/rsnapshotDB.pl.gz
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapshotdb/INSTALL.txt
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapshotdb/TODO.txt
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapshotdb/rsnapshotDB.xsd
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapshotdb/rsnapshotDB.conf.sample
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapshotdb/README.txt
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapshot-copy
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/backup_rsnapshot_cvsroot.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/backup_dpkg.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/sign_packages.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/mkmakefile.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnaptar
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapshot_invert.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/rsnapshot_if_mounted.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/README
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/debug_moving_files.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/backup_smb_share.sh
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/README.gz
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/changelog.Debian.gz
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/copyright
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/README.Debian
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/html
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/html/rsnapshot-HOWTO.en.html
/usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/NEWS.Debian.gz
/usr/share/lintian
/usr/share/lintian/overrides
/usr/share/lintian/overrides/rsnapshot
/usr/share/man
/usr/share/man/man1
/usr/share/man/man1/rsnapshot.1.gz
/usr/share/man/man1/rsnapshot-diff.1.gz
/usr/bin
/usr/bin/rsnapshot-diff
/usr/bin/rsnapshot
/var
/var/cache
/var/cache/rsnapshot
/etc
/etc/cron.d
/etc/cron.d/rsnapshot
/etc/rsnapshot.conf
/etc/logrotate.d
/etc/logrotate.d/rsnapshot

To get basic idea, on rsnapshot and how it can be configured and run manually as well as how it can be set-up to run periodic via a cronjob README shipped with package is a good start point.

debian:~# zless /usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/README.gz
....

It is also useful to check program documentation in HTML, whether you have some text browser installed – i.e. lynx or links:

debian:~# links /usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/html/rsnapshot-HOWTO.en.html

Note that many of information in rsnapshot-HOWTO is related to how rsnapshot is installed manually from source, so for Deb based distro users reading these sections can be safely skipped. For Debian users hence it is useful to read howto from section 4.A onwards. man rsnapshot's Examle section is very good reading too as it gives a lot of use scenarios necessary in more complicated backup situations.

3. Configuring Rsnapshot – Setting Data Directories to Backup

Configuration of Rsnapshot is done through /etc/rsnapshot.conf file. There is plenty of comments in file, so opening in text editor and taking few minutes to read commented lines is necessery. Configuration options just like with most Linux tool config files is done through config directives, not commented.

debian:~# cat /etc/rsnapshot.conf |grep -v "#"|uniq

 

 

config_version    1.2

snapshot_root    /var/cache/rsnapshot/

cmd_rm        /bin/rm

cmd_rsync    /usr/bin/rsync

cmd_logger    /usr/bin/logger

interval    hourly    6
interval    daily    7
interval    weekly    4

verbose        2

loglevel    3

lockfile    /var/run/rsnapshot.pid

backup    /home/        localhost/
backup    /etc/        localhost/
backup    /usr/local/    localhost/

 

 

Above config options are clear to understand, there is interval of backups to set (hourly, daily, weekly), verbose level of rsnapshot backup operation log file, lockfile which will be used by rsnapshot to prevent duplicate rsnapshot runs and last backup directive in which you need to specify what needs to be backed up. In config file there is also commented variable for creating rsnapshot backup once a month

#interval   monthly 3

If you need to create backups once a month uncomment it.

In backup directive add all directories from filesystem which need to have routine backup, for example I keep my Apache Web server files in /var/www/, store various install software in
/root/

and keep backup of Qmail (Vpopmail) old emails kept in
/var/vpopmail
.
To make rsnapshot backup those I add after rest of backup directives:

backup  /var/www/   localhost/
backup  /var/vpopmail/  localhost/
backup  /root/  localhost/


It is good practice to change snapshot_root directive to /root/.backups or whether you prefer to keep snapshot_root to default /var/cache/rsnapshot at least link with ln command /root/.backups to -> /root/.backups.

debian:~# ln -sf /var/cache/rsnapshot /root/.backups

If you change snapshot_root to /root/.backups, don't forget to create /root/.backups and set chmod  dir persmissions only readable to owner, i.e.:

debian:~# mkdir /root/.rsnapshot
debian:~# chmod -R 700 /root/.backups

Note that, it is important to use tab delimiters, everywhere in /etc/rsnapshot.conf, if you use space key delimiter instead of Tab you will end up with errors preventing rsnapshot to run.

4. Testing rsnapshot configuration and launching it first time

I will say it once again use Tab key for delimiters in config. It was my mistake on first time Rsnapshot launch to use spaces to delimiter my config options, thus testing my configuration, rsnapshot print an error and failed:

debian:~# rsnapshot configtest

 

———————————————————
rsnapshot encountered an error! The program was invoked with these options: /usr/bin/rsnapshot configtest ———————————————————
ERROR: /etc/rsnapshot.conf on line 199: ERROR: backup /var/www/ localhost/
ERROR: ———————————————————
ERROR: Errors were found in /etc/rsnapshot.conf, ERROR: rsnapshot can not continue. If you think an entry looks right, make
ERROR: sure you don't have spaces where only tabs should be.  

After changing, Space delimiters with Tabs and re-running rsnapshot configtest if all fine you get:

debian:~# rsnapshot configtest
Syntax OK

Once all good with config to launch Rsnapshot do its first complete incremental data backup, to display what rsnapshot will backup and what exact rsync invocations will it use type:


debian:~# rsnapshot -t hourly

echo 5644 > /var/run/rsnapshot.pid
mv /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.2/ /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.3/
mv /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.1/ /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.2/
native_cp_al("/var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0", \
    "/var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.1")
/usr/bin/rsync -a –delete –numeric-ids –relative –delete-excluded /home \
    /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0/localhost/
/usr/bin/rsync -a –delete –numeric-ids –relative –delete-excluded /etc \
    /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0/localhost/
/usr/bin/rsync -a –delete –numeric-ids –relative –delete-excluded \
    /usr/local /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0/localhost/
/usr/bin/rsync -a –delete –numeric-ids –relative –delete-excluded \
    /var/www /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0/localhost/
/usr/bin/rsync -a –delete –numeric-ids –relative –delete-excluded \
    /var/vpopmail /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0/localhost/
/usr/bin/rsync -a –delete –numeric-ids –relative –delete-excluded /root \
    /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0/localhost/
touch /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0/

To launch backup first time manually:

debian:~# rsnapshot hourly

Depending on backupped data (Mega/Giga/Terabytes) size and the number of files which had to be backed up, backup takes from minutes to hours.
Note that it is always good idea to create backups on separate hard disk configured in some kind of RAID array, preferrably (RAID 1 or RAID 5). Creating backups on separate hard disk has numerous advantages, the most important one is it doesn't put too much Input / Output (I/O) stress on hard disk and thus will not create server downtimes on High traffic – Busy servers slow old Hard Disks or servers with Big amount of I/O HDD read/writes .

5. Enabling Rsnapshot to create backups via scheduled cron job

On package install Rsnapshot creates a skele file for running via cronjob in /etc/cron.d/rsnapshot.

debian:~# cat /etc/cron.d/rsnapshot

 

 

# This is a sample cron file for rsnapshot.
# The values used correspond to the examples in /etc/rsnapshot.conf.
# There you can also set the backup points and many other things.
#
# To activate this cron file you have to uncomment the lines below.
# Feel free to adapt it to your needs.

# 0 */4        * * *        root    /usr/bin/rsnapshot hourly
# 30 3      * * *        root    /usr/bin/rsnapshot daily
# 0  3      * * 1        root    /usr/bin/rsnapshot weekly
# 30 2      1 * *        root    /usr/bin/rsnapshot monthly
 

To make hourly, daily, weekly, monthly backup uncomment one of above 4 lines. For paranoid admins scared to loose even a bit of data, hourly data is a good solution. For me personally I prefer configuring weekly backups for the reason I routinely monitor servers – keeping an eye regularly on dmesg and checking Linux smard / smartmontools logs to find out whether a hard disk or RAID has bad blocks

6. Checking backup size / backup difference and backup structure

Checking size of backups can be done by using standard du command on backup directory:

debian:~# du -hsc /var/cache/rsnapshot/*
4.3G /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0
4.5M /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.1
68M /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.2
4.4G total

rsnapshot also has du argument via which backup size can be viewed:

debian:~# rsnapshot du 4.3G /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0/
4.5M /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.1/
68M /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.2/
4.4G total

As you can see each new incremental backup is with new number after hourly{0,1,2} etc.

To check difference between two different backups:

debian:~# rsnapshot diff /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0/ /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.1/
Comparing /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.1 to /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0
Between /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.1 and /var/cache/rsnapshot/hourly.0:
660 were added, taking 3728377727 bytes;
492 were removed, saving 17623 bytes;

Structure of backed up files is identical to normal copy of files without any compression:

debian:~# cd /root/.backups/hourly.0/localhost/
debian:~/.backups/hourly.0/localhost# ls

etc/ home/ root/ usr/ var/

 

7. Restoing files or directory from rsnapshot backup

To restore lets say /var directory cd into it:

debian:~/.backups/hourly.0/localhost# cd var
debian:~/.backups/hourly.0/localhost/var#

Then use rsync as follows:

debian:~/.backups/hourly.0/localhost/var# rsync -avr * /
 

 

8. Creating rsnapshot backups from remote server via SSH protocol

In /etc/rsnapshot.conf you should have set SSH port on which remote server is accepting SSH connections. Standard port is 22, however it is wise to configure on backup server SSH to listen to some other non standard port.

In config variables to look on are:

ssh_args -p 22

and

Onwards to enable remote login via ssh uncomment in /etc/rsnapshot.conf :

# cmd_ssh /usr/bin/ssh

to

cmd_ssh /usr/bin/ssh

Before starting rsnapshot to create backups on remote host2 you need to Configure automatic SSH passwordless login by generating DSA or RSA key pair between host1 and host2. Where host1 is machine on which rsnapshot is run and to which backups will be copied from host2
Once passwordless ssh to remote host is active, to force rsnapshot create backups from host1 you will need to add near end of /etc/rsnapshot.conf .

backup  root@host2.com:/root/ host2.com/

The same way you can add a number of remote hosts from which periodic backups will be created to central host1. Only condition is on each node – host3, host4, host5.

backup  root@host3.com:/root/root/ host3.com
backup  root@host4.com:/home/ host4.com
backup  root@host4.com:/var/ host4.com

To create on host1 public key (id_dsa.pub) file with command:

debian:~# ssh-keygen -t dsa
...
....
debian:~# ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_dsa.pub root@host3

Once all hosts that needs to get backed up to central backup host – host1. To test if backups gets uploaded manually issue:

debian:~# rsnapshot -v hourly
...

Rsnapshot has a number of other scripts which can be easily integrated with it in /usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils.
Inside you can find example scripts on how to create MySQL / PostgreSQL database backup, Samba Share backups, backup CVS repositories and so on. The scripts can be easily modified and work with mostly any data or protocol with a bit of tweaking. Short description of each of example scripts can be found in /usr/share/doc/rsnapshot/examples/utils/README

How to mount NTFS Windows XP filesystem on FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Mounting NTFS hdd partitions on FreeBSD logo picture

A friend of mine bring home a Seagate External Hard Disk Drive using USB 3 as a communication media. I needed to attach the hard disk to my FreeBSD router to transfer him some data, the External HDD is formatted to use NTFS as a main file partition and hence to make the file transfers I had to somehow mount the NTFS partition on the HDD.

FreeBSD and other BSDs, just like Linux does not have embedded NTFS file system mount support.
In order to add an external write support for the plugged hdd NTFS I looked in the ports tree:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports
freebsd# make search name='ntfs'
Port: fusefs-ntfs-2010.10.2
Path: /usr/ports/sysutils/fusefs-ntfs
Info: Mount NTFS partitions (read/write) and disk images
Maint: ports@FreeBSD.org
B-deps: fusefs-libs-2.7.4 libiconv-1.13.1_1 libtool-2.4 libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
R-deps: fusefs-kmod-0.3.9.p1.20080208_7 fusefs-libs-2.7.4 libiconv-1.13.1_1 libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
WWW: http://www.tuxera.com/community/

Port: ntfsprogs-2.0.0_1
Path: /usr/ports/sysutils/ntfsprogs
Info: Utilities and library to manipulate NTFS partitions
Maint: ports@FreeBSD.org
B-deps: fusefs-libs-2.7.4 libiconv-1.13.1_1 libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
R-deps: libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
WWW: http://www.linux-ntfs.org/
freebs# cd sysutils/fusefs-ntfs/
freebsd# ls
Makefile distinfo files/ pkg-descr pkg-plist
freebsd# cat pkg-descr
The ntfs-3g driver is an open source, freely available read/write NTFS
driver, which provides safe and fast handling of the Windows XP, Windows
Server 2003 and Windows 2000 filesystems. Almost the full POSIX filesystem
functionality is supported, the major exceptions are changing the file
ownerships and the access rights.
WWW: http://www.tuxera.com/community/

Using ntfs-3g I managed to succeed mounting the NTFS on my old PC running FreeBSD ver. 7_2

1. Installing fuserfs-ntfs support on BSD

Before I can use ntfs-3g, to mount the paritition, I had to install fuserfs-ntfs bsd port, with:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/sysutils/fusefs-ntfs
freebsd# make install clean
.....

I was curious if ntfsprogs provides other utilities to do the ntfs mount but whilst trying to install it I realized it is already installed as a dependency package to fusefs-ntfs.

fusefs-ntfs package provides a number of utilities for creating, mounting, fixing and doing various manipulations with Microsoft NTFS filesystems.

Here is a list of all the executable utilities helpful in NTFS fs management:

freebsd# pkg_info -L fusefs-ntfs\* | grep -E "/bin/|/sbin|README"
/usr/local/bin/lowntfs-3g
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g.probe
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g.secaudit
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g.usermap
/usr/local/bin/ntfscat
/usr/local/bin/ntfscluster
/usr/local/bin/ntfscmp
/usr/local/bin/ntfsfix
/usr/local/bin/ntfsinfo
/usr/local/bin/ntfsls
/usr/local/sbin/mkntfs
/usr/local/sbin/ntfsclone
/usr/local/sbin/ntfscp
/usr/local/sbin/ntfslabel
/usr/local/sbin/ntfsresize
/usr/local/sbin/ntfsundelete
/usr/local/share/doc/ntfs-3g/README
/usr/local/share/doc/ntfs-3g/README.FreeBSD

The README and README.FreeBSD are wonderful, reading for those who want to get more in depth knowledge on using the up-listed utilities.

One utility, worthy to mention, I have used in the past is ntfsfix. ntfsfix resolve issues with NTFS partitions which were not unmounted on system shutdown (electricity outage), system hang up etc.

2. Start fusefs (ntfs) and configure it to auto load on system boot

Once fuserfs-ntfs is installed, if its necessery ntfs fs mounts to be permanently supported on the BSD system add fusefs_enable="YES" to /etc/rc.conf(the FreeBSD services auto load conf).

freebsd# echo 'fusefs_enable="YES"' >> /etc/rc.conf

One note to make here is that you need to have also dbus_enable="YES" and hald_enable="YES" in /etc/rc.conf, not having this two in rc.conf will prevent fusefs to start properly. Do a quick grep to make sure this two variables are enabled:

Afterwards fsusefs load up script should be run:

freebsd# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/fusefs start
Starting fusefs.

Another alternative way to load ntfs support on the BSD host is to directly load fuse.ko kernel module:

freebsd# /sbin/kldload fuse.ko

3. Mounting the NTFS partition

In my case, the Seagate hard drive was detected as da0, where the NTFS partition was detected as s1 (da0s1):

freebsd# dmesg|grep -i da0
da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 target 0 lun 0
da0: Fixed Direct Access SCSI-4 device
da0: 40.000MB/s transfers
da0: 953869MB (1953525164 512 byte sectors: 255H 63S/T 121601C)br />GEOM_LABEL: Label for provider da0s1 is ntfs/Expansion Drive.
GEOM_LABEL: Label for provider da0s1 is ntfs/Expansion Drive.

Therefore further to mount it one can use mount_ntfs (to quickly mount in read only mode) or ntfs-3g for (read / write mode):

If you need to just quickly mount a disk drive to copy some data and umount it with no need for writting to the NTFS partition do;

freebsd# /sbin/mount_ntfs /dev/ad0s1 /mnt/disk

Note that mount_ntfs command is a native BSD command and have nothing to do with ntfs-3g. Therefore using it to mount NTFS is not the same as mounting it via ntfs-3g cmd

freebsd# /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1 /mnt/disk/

Something, I've noticed while using ntfs-3g is, it fails to properly exit even when the ntfs-3g shell execution is over:

freebsd# ps ax |grep -i ntfs|grep -v grep
18892 ?? Is 0:00.00 /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1 /mnt/disk/

I dunno if this is some kind of ntfs-3g bug or feature specific to all versions of FreeBSD or it is something local to FBSD 7.2

Thought ntfs-3g, keeps appearing in process list, praise God as of time of writting NTFS support on FreeBSD prooved to be stable.
Read / Write disk operations to the NTFS I tested it with works great. Just about 5 years ago I still remember write mode was still experimental. Now it seems NTFS mounts can be used with no hassle even on production machines.

4. Auto mounting NTFS partition on FreeBSD system boot

There are two approaches towards 'the problem' I can think of.
The better way to auto mount on boot (in my view) is through /etc/fstab use

If /etc/fstab + ntfs-3g is to be used, you will however change the default /sbin/mount_ntfs command to point to /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g, i.e.:

freebsd# mv /sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs.orig
freebsd# ln -s /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g /sbin/mount_ntfs

Then to mount /dev/da0s1 via /etc/fstab add line:

/dev/ad0s1 /mnt/disk ntfs rw,late 0 0

To not bother with text editor run:

freebsd# echo '/dev/ad0s1 /mnt/disk ntfs rw,late 0 0' >> /etc/fstab

I've red in posts in freebsd forums, there is also a way to use ntfs-3g for mounting partitions, without substituting the original bsd /sbin/mount_ntfs, the exact commands suggested to be used with no need to prior mv /sbin/mount_ntfs to /sbin/mount_ntfs.orig and link it to ntfs is:

/dev/ad0s1 /disk ntfs rw,mountprog=/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g,late 0 0

For any other NTFS partitions, for instance /dev/ad0s2, /dev/ad2s1 etc. simply change the parititon name and mount points.

The second alternative to adding the NTFS to auto mount is through /etc/rc.local. /etc/rc.local content will be executed very late in system boot. :

echo '/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1' >> /etc/rc.local

One disadvanage of using /etc/rc.local for mounting the partition is the hanging ntfs-3g in proc list:

freebsd# ps ax |grep -i ntfs|grep -v grep
18892 ?? Is 0:00.00 /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1 /mnt/disk/

Though, I haven't tested it yet. Using the same methodology should be perfectly working on PC-BSD, DragonFlyBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD.
I will be glad if someone who runs any of the other BSDs can confirm, following this instructions works fine on these BSDs too.

How to reboot remotely Linux server if reboot, shutdown and init commands are not working (/sbin/reboot: Input/output error) – Reboot Linux in emergency using MagicSysRQ kernel sysctl variable

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

SysRQ an alternative way to restart unrestartable Linux server

I’ve been in a situation today, where one Linux server’s hard drive SCSI driver or the physical drive is starting to break off where in dmesg kernel log, I can see a lot of errors like:

[178071.998440] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Result: hostbyte=DID_BAD_TARGET driverbyte=DRIVER_OK,SUGGEST_OK
[178071.998440] end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 89615868

I tried a number of things to remount the hdd which was throwing out errors in read only mode, but almost all commands I typed on the server were either shown as missng or returning an error:
Input/output error

Just ot give you an idea what I mean, here is a paste from the shell:

linux-server:/# vim /etc/fstab
-bash: vim: command not found
linux-server:/# vi /etc/fstab
-bash: vi: command not found
linux-server:/# mcedit /etc/fstab
-bash: /usr/bin/mcedit: Input/output error
linux-server:/# fdisk -l
-bash: /sbin/fdisk: Input/output error

After I’ve tried all kind of things to try to diagnose the server and all seemed failing, I thought next a reboot might help as on server boot the filesystems will get checked with fsck and fsck might be able to fix (at least temporary) the mess.

I went on and tried to restart the system, and guess what? I got:

/sbin/reboot init Input/output error

I hoped that at least /sbin/shutdown or /sbin/init commands might work out and since I couldn’t use the reboot command I tried this two as well just to get once again:

linux-server:/# shutdown -r now
bash: /sbin/shutdown: Input/output error
linux-server:/# init 6
bash: /sbin/init: Input/output error

You see now the situation was not pinky, it seemed there was no way to reboot the system …
Moreover the server is located in remote Data Center and I the tech support there is conducting assigned task with the speed of a turtle.
The server had no remote reboot, web front end or anything and thefore I needed desperately a way to be able to restart the machine.

A bit of research on the issue has led me to other people who experienced the /sbin/reboot init Input/output error error mostly caused by servers with failing hard drives as well as due to HDD control driver bugs in the Linux kernel.

As I was looking for another alternative way to reboot my Linux machine in hope this would help. I came across a blog post Rebooting the Magic Wayhttp://www.linuxjournal.com/content/rebooting-magic-way

As it was suggested in Cory’s blog a nice alternative way to restart a Linux machine without using reboot, shutdown or init cmds is through a reboot with the Magic SysRQ key combination

The only condition for the Magic SysRQ key to work is to have enabled the SysRQ – CONFIG_MAGIC_SYSRQ in Kernel compile time.
As of today luckily SysRQ Magic key is compiled and enabled by default in almost all modern day Linux distributions in this numbers Debian, Fedora and their derivative distributions.

To use the sysrq kernel capabilities as a mean to restart the server, it’s necessery first to activate the sysrq through sysctl, like so:

linux-server:~# sysctl -w kernel.sysrq=1
kernel.sysrq = 1

I found enabling the kernel.sysrq = 1 permanently in the kernel is also quite a good idea, to achieve that I used:

echo 'kernel.sysrq = 1' >> /etc/sysctl.conf

Next it’s wise to use the sync command to sync any opened files on the server as well stopping as much of the server active running services (MySQL, Apache etc.).

linux-server:~# sync

Now to reboot the Linux server, I used the /proc Linux virtual filesystem by issuing:

linux-server:~# echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger

Using the echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger simulates a keyboard key press which does invoke the Magic SysRQ kernel capabilities and hence instructs the kernel to immediately reboot the system.
However one should be careful with using the sysrq-trigger because it’s not a complete substitute for /sbin/reboot or /sbin/shutdown -r commands.
One major difference between the standard way to reboot via /sbin/reboot is that reboot kills all the running processes on the Linux machine and attempts to unmount all filesystems, before it proceeds to sending the kernel reboot instruction.

Using echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger, however neither tries to umount mounted filesystems nor tries to kill all processes and sync the filesystem, so on a heavy loaded (SQL data critical) server, its use might create enormous problems and lead to severe data loss!

SO BEWARE be sure you know what you’re doing before you proceed using /proc/sysrq-trigger as a way to reboot ;).

Reboot Safely a frozen (hanged up) Linux Server with Magic SysRQ Key combination

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Linux Magic SysRQ Key picture

Being a remote system administrator for many years from now, I’ve experienced many times sudden Linux crashes, mostly caused by system hardware overloads.

This is a common thing especially on busy Web Servers with (Apache/MySQL). Situations like this are really messy and many times in order to bringt the server back online, one has to either physically go to the Data Center or contact the Technical support to request a server reboot.

In this terrible times, data loss might occur if the Server reset button is used to cold reboot it.

Happily in 99% of the cases the data loss which might occur could be prevented with Linux’s kernel capability to support the Magic SysRQ key !

Having the Magic SysRQ key functionality being supported in Linux in past times wasn’t that common, thanksfully these days this has changed andlmost every Linux distrubution supports this handy feature.

Now you might wonder what is the magic with those Magic SysRQ key ?

Let me explain, Magic SysRQ is a kernel level functionality which supports even completely crashed Linux systems with the horrifying:

Kernel Panic
message to be properly shutdown.

Using Magic SysRQ instead of the mostly used indiced cold reboots is really advantageous, as all the opened files by programs on the crashed server which hanged will be properly saved and closed and thus possible data loss caused by the sudden server crash will be minimized.

One other good thing about the Magic SysRQ Key keyboard combination is that initiating the Magic SysRQ could be made blindly (no need for server monitor or display to present any error messages on the failed server).

Now to check if the magic sysrq is enabled on a server one should issue the command:

Here are some Magic SysRQ keyboard combinations one can use in case of server failure:

ALT+SYSRQ+M to dump memory info;
ALT+SYSRQ+P to dump processes states;
ALT+SYSRQ+S to sync disks;
ALT+SYSRQ+U to unmount all mounted filesystems;
ALT+SYSRQ+E to terminate processes;
ALT+SYSRQ+I to kill all processes
ALT+SYSRQ+U to try to unmount once again;
ALT+SYSRQ+B to reboot.

I would skip to explain what each of the keyboard combinations will do as I believe the above description explains it well.

One classics of combinations one might want to issue on a failed Linux server supporting the Magic SysRQ would be:

ALT+SYSRQ+R
ALT+SYSRQ+E
ALT+SYSRQ+I
ALT+SYSRQ+S
ALT+SYSRQ+U
ALT+SYSRQ+B

The ALT+SYSRQ+REISUB key combination is very popular among system administrators.
Also Magic SysRQ is heavily used by kernel developers as it includes many handy debugging options.

If you try the Magic SysRQ key on older servers and you realize it doesn’t react you will have to recompile the linux kernel and enable the CONFIG_MAGIC_SYSRQ kernel time compilation option.

The Magic SysRQ can also be initiated remotely on a properly running server 😉 by initiating:

server:~# echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger

This command would be useful if you want to just have fun and test that magic sysrq works on your system for sure 😉

To sum it up using the Magic SysRQ will guarantee your locked up, server a Safe Reboot and will hopefully save you a lot of time for backups recovery.

How to fully recover deleted files on ext3 Debian Linux partition – undelete files from ext3 filesystems with ext3grep

Monday, March 7th, 2011

In order to recover fully data by mistake or on purpose deleted on Debian GNU/Linux there is a tool called ext3grep which is able to completely recover data by innodes.

Recovering the deleted files data is very easy and can be done via some livecd after installing the ext3grep tool.

In my case I used the Back Track Linux distribution to recover my data. Recovery is still in process and it appears all or at least most of my data is about to be recovered.

For the recovery procedure all necessary is an external partition in ext3 or ext3 where the recovered data from the ext3 device can be stored.

My partition was about 20GB and since I had no external hard dive to store the data to I used the sshfs to mount remotely a hard drive via the networking using the sshfs program to make the ssh mount for more see my previous post Howto mount remote server ssh filesystem using sshfs

The Backtrack livecd linux security distribution is missing the ext3grep tool thus I had to first install the tool after booting the livecd on the notebook to succeed in that it was necessary to install the e2fslibs-dev package through the command:

debian:~# apt-get install e2fslibs-dev

Further on I've downloaded the latest version of the ext3grep and untarred the archive and compiled it with the commands:

debian:~# ./configure && make && make install
Then I used the simple commands:

debian:~# cd /mnt/res
debian:~# ext3grep --restore-all /dev/sda8

to launch the recovery.
Where in the above commands /mnt/res is the mountpoint location where I wanted to have all my data recovered and the /dev/sda8 is the device from which I wanted to recover my data.

It takes a bit long until the recovery is completed and with 20 gigabytes of data about 5, 6 hours might be necessary for the data to be recovered but the main point is it recovers.