Posts Tagged ‘Set’

Apache Webserver: How to Set up multile SSL certificates on multiple domains running on one IP address with Apache SNI feature

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

apache-ssl-handshake-how-client-talks-to-server-illustrated

In the recent past it was impossible to add multiple different SSL .crt / .pem bundle certificates on Apache Webserver but each one of it was supposed to run under a separate domain or subdomain, preconfigured with a separate IP address, this has changed with the introduction of Apache SNI (Server Name Indication). What SNI does is it sends, the site visitor initiating connections on encrypted SSL port (443) or whatever configured a certificate that matches, the client requested server name.

Note that SNI is Apache HTTPD supported only and pitily can't be used on other services such as Mail Servers (SMTPS), (POP3S), (IMAPS) etc.
Older browsers did not have support for proper communication with WebServers supporting SNI communication, so for Websites whose aim is interoperatibility and large audience of Web clients still the preferrable way is to set up each VirtualHost under a separate IP, just like the good old days.

However Small and MidSized businesses could save some cash by not having to buy separate IPs for each Virtualhost, but just use SNI.
Besides that the people are relatively rarely using old browsers without SNI, so having clients with browsers not supporting SNI would certiainly be too rare. To recognize where a browser is having support for TLS or not is to check whether the Browser has support for TLS extension.

One requirement in order for SNI to work properly is to have registered domain because SNI works based on the requested ServerName by client.

On Debian GNU / Linux based distributions, you need to have Apache Webserver installed with enabled mod_ssl module:

 

linux:~# apt-get install –yes apache2

linux:~# a2enmod ssl

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


If you're not planning to get a trusted source certificate, especially if you're just a start-up business which is in process of testing the environment (you still did not ordered certificate via some domain registrar you might want to generate self signed certificate with openssl command and use that temporary:

 

linux:~# openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout /etc/apache2/ssl/your-domain.com/apache.key –out /etc/apache2/ssl/your-domain.com/apache.crt

Here among the prompted questions you need the a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank.
For some fields leave the default value,
If you enter '.', or press enter the field will be left blank.

—–
 

Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:BG
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]: Sofia
Locality Name (eg, city) []:SOF
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:Pc-Freak.NET
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
Common Name (e.g. server FQDN or YOUR name) []:your-domain.com                
Email Address []:webmaster@your-domain.com

 


(by the way it might be interesting to mention here the list of cheapest domain name registrars on the Internet as of January 2017 – source site here

 

Below order is given as estimated by price /  quality and provided service approximate

 

1. BlueHost.com – Domains $6.95

2. NameCheap.Com – Annual fee $10.69

3. GoDaddy.com – Annual fee $8.99 for first year, $14.99$ for each additional year

4. HostGator.com – Annual fee $15.00

5. 1and1.com – Annual fee $0.99 for first year ($14.99 for each additional year)

6. Network Solutions – This was historically one of the first domain registrar companies, but the brand is pricy $34.99

7. Register.com – Not sure

8. Hostway.com – $9.95 (first year and $9.95 renewals)

9. Moniker.com – Annual fee $11.99

10. Netfirms.ca – Annual fee $9.95 first year, Renewal fee is $11.99 per year

 

Note that domain pricing could value depending on the type of domain name country extension and many of the domain registrars would give you discount if you purchase domain name / SSL for 2 / 3+ years.

sni-illustrated-how-it-works-how-to-configure-multiple-domains-ssl-on-same-ip-apache-webserver

Next step in order to use SNI is to configure the WebServer Virtualhosts file:

 

linux:~# vim /etc/apache2/sites-available/domain-names.com

 

# Instruct Apache to listen for connections on port 443
Listen 443
# Listen for virtual host requests on all IP addresses
NameVirtualHost *:443

# Go ahead and accept connections for these vhosts
# from non-SNI clients
SSLStrictSNIVHostCheck off

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerAdmin webmaster@your-domain.com
        ServerName your-domain.com
        DocumentRoot /var/www

# More directives comes here

</VirtualHost>


<VirtualHost *:443>

        ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
        ServerName your-domain.com
        DocumentRoot /var/www

        #   SSL Engine Switch:
        #   Enable/Disable SSL for this virtual host.
        SSLEngine on

        #   A self-signed (snakeoil) certificate can be created by installing
        #   the ssl-cert package. See
        #   /usr/share/doc/apache2.2-common/README.Debian.gz for more info.
        #   If both key and certificate are stored in the same file, only the
        #   SSLCertificateFile directive is needed.
        SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl/your-domain.com/apache.crt
        SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl/your-domain.com/apache.key

# More Apache directives could be inserted here
</VirtualHost>

 

<VirtualHost *:443>
  DocumentRoot /var/www/sites/your-domain2
  ServerName www.your-domain2.com

  # Other directives here

</VirtualHost>

Add as many of the SNI enabled VirtualHosts following the example below, or if you prefer seperate the vhosts into separate domains.

I also recommend to check out Apache's official documentation on SNI for NameBasedSSLVhostsWithSNI etc.


Hope this article was not too boring 🙂
Enjoy life

 

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How to shutdown Windows after 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. X hours with a batch script – Shutdown / Reboot / Logoff Windows with a quick command

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

http://pc-freak.net/images/windows-pc-server-shutdown-after-3-5-hours-howto-shutdown-windows-with-command-batch

I recently wondered how it is possible to shutdown Windows in some prior set time lets say in 30 minutes, 1 hour, 3 hours or 8 hours.

That's handy especially on servers that are being still in preparation install time and you have left some large files copy job (if you're migration files) from Old server environment to a new one
or if you just need to let your home WIndows PC shutdown to save electricity after some time (a very useful example is if you're downloading some 200GB of data which are being estimated to complete in 3 hours but you need to get out and be back home in 2 or 4 days and you don't want to bother connecting remotely to your PC with VNC or teamviewer then just scheduling the PC / server to shutdown in 3 hours with a simple is perfect solution to the task, here is how:

1. Open Command Prompt (E.g. Start menu -> Run and type CMD.EXE)

2. Type in command prompt

 

shutdown -s -t 10800

 

If you by mistake has typed it to shutdown earlier and suddenly you find out your PC needs to be running for a short more time in order to cancel the scheduled Shutdown type:

 

shutdown -a


Shutdown Windows command -s flag has also a possibiltiy to not shutdown but just logoff or if you just need to have the system rebooted a reboot option:
 


options    effect
-l         to log off
-r         to reboot

If you need to shutdown the PC after half an hour use instead the command:

 

shutdown -s -t 1800


shutdown-windows-pc-with-command-in-half-an-hour-screenshot.gif


Half an hour is 1800 seconds for one hour delayed shutdown use 3600 for 3 hours, that would be 3*3600 10800, for 5 hours 5*3600 = 18000 seconds and so on

 


An alternative way to do it with a short VBscript, here is an example:

Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

Dim Input
Input = "10:00"

'Input = InputBox("Enter the shutdown time here.","", "10:00")

For i = 1 to 2

CurrentTime = Time & VbCrLf

If Left(CurrentTime,5) = Input Then

objShell.Run "shutdown -s -t 00", 0
WScript.Quit 1

Else

WScript.Sleep 1000

End If

i=i-1

Next

Enjoy

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Fix random reboots of ZTE Blade 3 Android and other chineese smartphones – Fix battery strange discharge after reboot

Monday, August 25th, 2014

fix-solve-random-mobile-reboots-on-chineese-Android-mobile-phones-Android_greenman_logo
I'm owning ZTE Blade 3 chineese brand mobile phone. I thought there is not a big deal to buy chineese mobile phone as it saves money but the good old saying: "The Cheap always is more expensive" came true to proof the old wisdom.

The phone runs some Android port of version 4.0.4 and generally it runs well for a couple of days, but after the increase of application the battery started discharging too quickly, I have to charge almost daily … also occasionally since I have turned synchronization of mobile phone numbers with Google  from settings the ZTE Andorid phone started to randomly loose its contacts (after which I had to restore with proprietary application Dr. Fone). After a while I realized there is another fix, sometimes Contacts restore was also possible through using free application Contacts Sync Fix, but most of the times the only thing that could resolve the contacts is to dig for lost phonebook contacts with Dr. Fone …. Eventually I realized the Lost PhoneBook Contacts issue can be resolved by itself on a random principle so the missing phones issue sometimes solved by itself just by switching off complete the phone for some time and switching it on again after 12 hours?! Recently I found another alternative way to restore sudden (deleted) disappered phone numbers by:

Settings -> Profiles and Synchronization -> (Go to configured gmail account settings) -> Settings of Profile

Then

(Frequency of syncrhonization, messaging etc.) -> (click over the email address) -> Frequency of email check (every 4 hours) 

Set the every 4 hours settings to Never and then after a minute or 2 (interval), set back the Never (opt) to every 4 hours

Since some time I started facing another more severe problem – random phone reboots after which the battery often kept at a critically low charged. The batter often fall to 40% or 50% charge from 99% / 100% charge, and after some time of talking over the phone the battery fall down to as low as 18% and in a short random time it fall to 9%, then after a reboot it uppered the charge to 35% or 45% and the oddities continued. My first guess was it could be the battery being broken, some colleagues at work advised me to completely discharge the battery so the phone couldn't boot and then try to charge it with Battery Doctor free Android Application. Battery Doctor has a special 3 stage charging:

battery-doctor-android-revolutionary-battery-3-stage-charging-or-recovering-deat-dried-out-batteries-calibrating-broken-android-phone-battery-application

1. Bulk Charge

The primary purpose of a battery charger is to recharge a battery. This first stage is typically where the highest voltage and amperage the charger is rated for will actually be used. The level of charge that can be applied without overheating the battery is known as the battery's natural absorption rate. For a typical 12 volt AGM battery, the charging voltage going into a battery will reach 14.6-14.8 volts.

Where first 80% of the battery are charged with a rapid electricity influx to battery once 80% of battery charge is reached charging is moved to the so Absorption Battery Charge

2. Absorption Charge

Smart chargers will detect voltage and resistance from the battery prior to charging. After reading the battery the charger determines which stage to properly charge at. Once the battery has reached 80%* state of charge, the charger will enter the absorption stage. At this point most chargers will maintain a steady voltage, while the amperage declines. The lower current going into the battery safely brings up the charge on the battery without overheating it. This charge phase takes much longer time to charge.
Then comes the final charging state Float Charge

3. Float Charge

Some chargers enter float mode as early as 85% state of charge but others begin closer to 95%. Either way, the float stage brings the battery all the way through and maintains the 100% state of charge. The voltage will taper down and maintain at a steady 13.2-13.4 volts, which is the maximum voltage a 12 volt battery can hold. This charging is also known as "trickle charging". Float Charging battery electricity influx is so small that you can leave the phone to charge in this mode for days (if you like).

But guess what, after I tried to completely discharge the battery, it discharged to a state where it auto rebooted just before Android boots and reboots again and again, after nothing happened for about 2 hours of leaving the phone to automatically rebooted I decided to try the Battery Doctor 3 stage charging without having my battery completely dried out. The 3 Stage Charging is also known as Android Battery Calibration process and as I heard it helped fix many people's battery which for some reason got their Android battery in a broken state without physically substituting it.

Unfortunately In my case using Battery Doctor didn't help … so after spending time to read on some forum threads finally found this one. There many Bulgarians complained for buying ZTE Blade III and Huawei variations from the 3 major stream bulgarian mobile phone operatorsM-Tel, Vivacom and Globul and shortly after experiencing the strange random chineese smart phone reboots.  Some suggested that the Android Kernel is causing the issues or the firmware and suggested Phone Software Reset, however as I red most people that tried to solve it that way reported this doesn't solve it. Many People said to have shipped the phone as it was in a warranty back to services and phones were given back often with flushed firmware and in a little while the problem re-occured, some reported of another strange fix – a tiny sticky thing which kept the battery more stable?!! 🙂

zte-blade-3-and-huawei-and-other-android-chineese-phone-random-reboot-problem-fix-picture

Yes I know it looks kinda of insane … as this little holder could be any piece of paper and many reported to have fix the random battery charge drop down by sticking a tiny piece of paper between the battery and mobile shell I try it myself and GUESS WHAT?? IT WORKED !!! :)))

zteblade3_and-other-android-based-mobile-phone-brands-resolve-restart-fix-solution-screenshot

This is pretty much the Bulgarian and Russian primitive way to fix things but it works 🙂 I was exceedingly happy as I already have spend plenty of money for this mobile and I really was unwilling to buy another phone and it was out of warranty. I guess the whole issues started after I have occasionally dropped my phone on a couple of times on the ground and some little piece of plastic holding the battery eroded or whatever … Anyways the PAPER WAY WORKS! Cheers and hope this saves someone else out there from having to spend on new mobile!

Hooray !!! Thanks goes to the Lord Jesus Christ for Everything, for helping me solve it ! 🙂

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Windows add command to PATH variable – Adding (Putty, VIM) new binaries folder to windows %PATH%

Friday, June 27th, 2014

windows-add-to-path-location-of-new-binaries-putty-vim-etc-system-properties-environment-variable-screenshot
I want to use vim (text editor) on my Windows 7 work computer and hence installed VIM (VI Improved) port for Windows GVim.
VIM works perfect on Windows and for those coming from UNIX background having it installed is a must, however vim doesn't include a PATH location to its (vim) executable in Windows %PATH%.
PATH command line variable stores path locations to all binaries that could be executed directly from cmd line with no need to type full directory path to binary.

To illustrate what PATH is lets say you want to make Putty accessible straight from Windows command line (cmd.exe), you can add Putty's installation Path Folder to global Windows %PATH%. On my 64-bit Windows PC Putty binary is installed in C:Program Files (x86)PuTTY.

echo %PATH%
 

C:Perl64sitebin;C:Perl64bin;C:Program FilesRA2HP;C:Windowssystem32;C:
Windows;C:WindowsSystem32Wbem;C:WindowsSystem32WindowsPowerShellv1.0;C:
Program FilesWIDCOMMBluetooth Software;C:Program FilesWIDCOMMBluetooth Sof
twaresyswow64;C:Program Files (x86)Hewlett-PackardHP ProtectTools Security M
anagerBin;C:Program FilesActivIdentityActivClient;C:Program Files (x86)A
ctivIdentityActivClient;C:Program Files (x86)QuickTimeQTSystem


To make Putty accessible only by typing Putty instead of typing C:Program Files (x86)PuTTYPutty.exe, it has to be included in PATH, normally from Win command line (cmd.exe). This is done with:

 

set PATH=%PATH%;C:Program Files (x86)PuTTY

 

echo %PATH%

 

C:Usersggeorgi7Desktop>echo %PATH%
C:Perl64sitebin;C:Perl64bin;C:Program FilesRA2HP;C:Windowssystem32;C:
Windows;C:WindowsSystem32Wbem;C:WindowsSystem32WindowsPowerShellv1.0;C:
Program FilesWIDCOMMBluetooth Software;C:Program FilesWIDCOMMBluetooth Sof
twaresyswow64;C:Program Files (x86)Hewlett-PackardHP ProtectTools Security M
anagerBin;C:Program FilesActivIdentityActivClient;C:Program Files (x86)A
ctivIdentityActivClient;C:Program Files (x86)QuickTimeQTSystem;C:Program
Files (x86)PuTTY

To check all the exported variables, use SET command, here is my default SET variables:

C:> SET
 

ALLUSERSPROFILE=C:ProgramData
APPDATA=C:UsersgeorgiAppDataRoaming
CLASSPATH=.;C:Program Files (x86)Javajre6libextQTJava.zip
CommonProgramFiles=C:Program FilesCommon Files
CommonProgramFiles(x86)=C:Program Files (x86)Common Files
CommonProgramW6432=C:Program FilesCommon Files
COMPUTERNAME=GEORGI
ComSpec=C:Windowssystem32cmd.exe
DEFLOGDIR=C:ProgramDataMcAfeeDesktopProtection
FP_NO_HOST_CHECK=NO
HOMEDRIVE=C:
HOMEPATH=Usersggeorgi7
LOCALAPPDATA=C:Usersggeorgi7AppDataLocal
LOGONSERVER=G1W4730
NUMBER_OF_PROCESSORS=4
OS=Windows_NT

To make inclusion of VIM, Putty or other binary directory) into PATH variable permanent:


From Windows desktop, right-click My Computer and click Properties.
In the Advanced system settings click on Properties window, click on the Advanced tab.
In the Advanced System section, click the Environment Variables button.


windows-add-command-to-path-variable-adding-new-folder-to-windows-path-add-putty-vim-to-easy-execute
Finally, in the Environment Variables window, search for the Path variable in Systems Variable section and click the Edit button.
Add or modify the path lines including the paths to binaries you wish to be easy access.
Note that each different directory should be separated with a semicolon (;), e.g.
 

C:Program Files;C:Winnt;C:WinntSystem32; C:Perl64bin

 

 

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Windows Explorer (Open directory in command prompt preserving dir PATH) – Add Dos Prompt Here feature via tiny registry tweak

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Windows explorer dos prompt here open directory in windows command line

If you have to use Windows on system administration level, you had to use command prompt daily, thus its useful to be able to be able to open Command Line starting from desired directory with no need to copy directory Path by hand and CD to it manually.

By default Command Prompt, cmd.exe always opens itself setting a path to user home directory, reading what is defined by win system variable %USERPROFILE% or %HOMEPATH% – MS Windows equivalent of UNIX's $HOME shell variable.

To add open in  DOS Prompt Here Command Prompt option to Windows Explorer menus its necessary to apply few rules to Windows registry DB
Use above Download link and launch it and from there on clicking with right Mouse button to any directory will enable you to open directory in CMD.EXE.

Here is content of little registry tweak adding the new menu Dos Prompt Here button
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\DosHere]
@="Dos &Prompt Here"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\DosHere\Command]
@="cmd.exe /k cd %1"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shell\DosHere]
@="Dos &Prompt Here"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shell\DosHere\Command]
@="cmd.exe /k cd %1"

Windows explorer open program files or any specific directory in windows command line

windows opening directory in command line program files screenshot win 7

This little registry code is originally for Windows 2000, anyways it is compatible with all NT technology based Windowses, Add DOS Prompt Here tweak works fine on Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 (Home, Pro and Business editions).

By Mentioning $HOME its interesting to say Windows equivalent of Linux's as it might be useful to know:

linux:~# echo $HOME
/home/hipo

is

C:\\> echo %USERPROFILE%
C:\\Users\\georgi

To list all Windows Command Prompt environment variable equivalent to Linux's bash shell env / setenv is SET command), here is example output from my Winblows;

C:\Users\georgi> SET
ALLUSERSPROFILE=C:\\ProgramData
APPDATA=C:\\Users\georgi\AppData\Roaming
CLASSPATH=.;C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Java\\jre6\\lib\\ext\\QTJava.zip
CommonProgramFiles=C:\\Program Files\Common Files
CommonProgramFiles(x86)=C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Common Files
CommonProgramW6432=C:\\Program Files\\Common Files
COMPUTERNAME=GEORGI
ComSpec=C:\\Windows\\system32\\cmd.exe
DEFLOGDIR=C:\\ProgramData\\McAfee\\DesktopProtection
FP_NO_HOST_CHECK=NO
HOMEDRIVE=C:
HOMEPATH=\\Users\\georgi
LOCALAPPDATA=C:\\Users\\georgi\\AppData\\Local
NUMBER_OF_PROCESSORS=4
OS=Windows_NT
Path=C:\\Program Files\\RA2HP\\;C:\\Windows\\system32;C:\\Windows;C:\\Windows\\S
Wbem;C:\\Windows\\System32\\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\;C:\\Program Files\\WIDCOM
oth Software\\;C:\\Program Files\\WIDCOMM\\Bluetooth Software\\syswow64;C:\\Pr
les (x86)\\Hewlett-Packard\\HP ProtectTools Security Manager\\Bin\\;C:\\Progr
\\ActivIdentity\\ActivClient\\;C:\\Program Files (x86)\\ActivIdentity\\ActivCl
\\Program Files (x86)\\QuickTime\\QTSystem\\
PATHEXT=.COM;.EXE;.BAT;.CMD;.VBS;.VBE;.JS;.JSE;.WSF;.WSH;.MSC
PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE=AMD64
PROCESSOR_IDENTIFIER=Intel64 Family 6 Model 58 Stepping 9, GenuineIntel
PROCESSOR_LEVEL=6
PROCESSOR_REVISION=3a09
ProgramData=C:\\ProgramData
ProgramFiles=C:\\Program Files
ProgramFiles(x86)=C:\\Program Files (x86)
ProgramW6432=C:\\Program Files
PROMPT=$P$G
PSModulePath=C:\\Windows\\system32\\WindowsPowerShell\\v1.0\Modules\\
PTSMInstallPath_X86=C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Hewlett-Packard\\HP ProtectToo
ity Manager\\
PUBLIC=C:\\Users\\Public
QTJAVA=C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Java\\jre6\\lib\\ext\\QTJava.zip
SESSIONNAME=Console
SystemDrive=C:
SystemRoot=C:\\Windows
TEMP=C:\\Users\\georgi\\AppData\\Local\\Temp
TMP=C:\\Users\\georgi\\AppData\\Local\\Temp
USERDNSDOMAIN=EMEA.CPQCORP.NET
USERDOMAIN=EMEA
USERNAME=georgi
USERPROFILE=C:\\Users\\georgi
VSEDEFLOGDIR=C:\\ProgramData\\McAfee\\DesktopProtection
windir=C:\\Windows
windows_tracing_flags=3
windows_tracing_logfile=C:\\BVTBin\\Tests\\installpackage\\csilogfile.log

Hope this little trick hopes someone out there.
I will be glad to hear of other cool useful windows registry tweaks?

 

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How to set up Qmail auto reply (Out of the Office), vacation message manually using .qmail message processing file

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Qmail Logo Auto reply message / how to setup qmail auto reply out of the office vacation message

I had to setup a QMAIL auto reply (Out of the Office) message on 5 email addresses and since I haven't done it for a long time it took me a couple 20 minutes to consult Qmail (Life With Qmail http://lifewithqmail.org (great website!) documentation and read a couple of online forum threads until I finally remembered, how I used to be setting up a vacation message manually via qmail's .qmail file.

Of course Setting qmail auto reply can always be done via QmailAdmin or VQadmin ..Qmail Vpopmail web frontends however on many Qmail mail servers Qmailadmin or/and VQadmin is absent due to some reason or even on a big mail servers the server doesn't run Apache at all. Hence it is good to know how to set qmail vacation message directly via plain SSH terminal connection and this is why how this article got born.

So here is how I enable qmail auto reply "manually", through .qmail for my email address info@my-email-domain.com:

1. Set a /var/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/.qmail file with the following content:

| /usr/bin/autorespond 86400 3 /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation/message /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation

2. Create /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation directory

linux:~# mkdir -p /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation/

3. Create /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation/message file with auto reply message

First create the message file with touch command:

linux:~# touch /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation/message

Then put with vim or mcedit etc. an auto-reply vacation message similar to the sample below:

From: info@cadiainsurance.com
Subject: We have received your message. Thank you!

Dear Customer, we thank you for the interest in our services.
A member of our team will reply promptly to your enquiry shortly.

4. Set proper permissions for vacation/message and .qmail files

/home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation/message and /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/.qmail files has to be owned by user/group vpopmail:vchkpw, e.g.:

linux:~# chown -R vpopmail:vchkpw /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation
linux:~# chown vpopmail:vchkpw /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/.qmail

If you are a qmail administration with the requirement to create auto reply message for employees going on a holiday often (in a middle sized company office), setting up the out of the office auto reply manually one by one is a time consuming, annoying task and "crazy" task. Therefore some time ago while still I was employed in a Bulgarian mid-sized company called Design.BG, I've written a tiny shell script which creates qmail email users vacation messages by passing few arguments.

Here is my create_vpopmail_vacation.sh shell script
Note that this script might have a lot of bugs and is not much tested, so read it carefully and test it before you put it for daily use 😉
Happy Hacking! 😉

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

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

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

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

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

1. Install Virtualbox required packages with apt

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

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

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

Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)

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

VirtualBox vboxdrv not loaded error Ubuntu Screen

To fix the error:

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

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

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

3. Rebuild VirtualBox DKMS deb packages

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

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

4. Load vboxdrv virtualbox kernel module

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

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

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

5. Set vboxdrv to load on every Ubuntu boot

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

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

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

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

VirtualBox installed MS Windows VM screenshot

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

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How to convert any internet Webpage to PDF from command line on GNU/Linux

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Linux webpage html to pdf command line convertor wkhtmltopdf

If you're looking for a command line utility to generate PDF file out of any webpage located online you are looking for Wkhtmltopdf
The conversion of webpages to PDF by the tool is done using Apple's Webkit open source render.
wkhtmltopdf is something very useful for web developers, as some webpages has a requirement to produce dynamically pdfs from a remote website locations.
wkhtmltopdf is shipped with Debian Squeeze 6 and latest Ubuntu Linux versions and still not entered in Fedora and CentOS repositories.

To use wkhtmltopdf on Debian / Ubuntu distros install it via apt;

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

Next to convert a webpage of choice use cmd:

linux:~$ wkhtmltopdf www.pc-freak.net pc-freak.net_website.pdf
Loading page (1/2)
Printing pages (2/2)
Done

If the web page to be snapshotted in long few pages a few pages PDF will be generated by wkhtmltopdf
wkhtmltopdf also supports to create the website snapshot with a specified orientation Landscape / Portrait

-O Portrait options to it, like so:

linux:~$ wkhtmltopdf -O Portrait www.pc-freak.net pc-freak.net_website.pdf

wkhtmltopdf has many useful options, here are some of them:
 

  • Javascript disabling – Disable support for javascript for a website
  • Grayscale pdf generation – Generates PDf in Grayscale
  • Low quality pdf generation – Useful to shrink the output size of generated pdf size
  • Set PDF page size – (A4, Letter etc.)
  • Add zoom to the generated pdf content
  • Support for password HTTP authentication
  • Support to use the tool over a proxy
  • Generation of Table of Content based on titles (only in static version)
  • Adding of Header and Footers (only in static version)

To generate an A4 page with wkhtmltopdf:

wkhtmltopdf -s A4 www.pc-freak.net/blog/ pc-freak.net_blog.pdf

wkhtmltopdf looks promising but seems a bit buggy still, here is what happened when I tried to create a pdf without setting an A4 page formatting:

linux:$ wkhtmltopdf www.pc-freak.net/blog/ pc-freak.net_blog.pdf
Loading page (1/2)
OpenOffice path before fixup is '/usr/lib/openoffice' ] 71%
OpenOffice path is '/usr/lib/openoffice'
OpenOffice path before fixup is '/usr/lib/openoffice'
OpenOffice path is '/usr/lib/openoffice'
** (:12057): DEBUG: NP_Initialize
** (:12057): DEBUG: NP_Initialize succeeded
** (:12057): DEBUG: NP_Initialize
** (:12057): DEBUG: NP_Initialize succeeded
** (:12057): DEBUG: NP_Initialize
** (:12057): DEBUG: NP_Initialize succeeded
** (:12057): DEBUG: NP_Initialize
** (:12057): DEBUG: NP_Initialize succeeded
Printing pages (2/2)
Done
Printing pages (2/2)
Segmentation fault

Debian and Ubuntu version of wkhtmltopdf does not support TOC generation and Adding headers and footers, to support it one has to download and install the static version of wkhtmltopdf
Using the static version of the tool is also the only option for anyone on Fedora or any other RPM based Linux distro.

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

Friday, September 30th, 2011

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

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

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

1. Edit RewriteLog and place following variables:

RewriteLogLevel 9
RewriteLog /var/log/rewrite.log

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

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

a. Create /var/log/rewrite.log

freebsd# touch /var/log/rewrite.log

b. Set writtable permissons

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

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

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

On Debian and alike distros:

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

On CentOS, Fedora etc.:

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

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

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

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

To restart Apache On FreeBSD:

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

To restart Apache on Debian and derivatives:

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

On Fedora and derivive distros:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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