Posts Tagged ‘running’

Linux script to periodically log enabled systemctl services, configured network IPs and routings, server established connections and iptables firewall rules

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022


For those who are running some kind of server be it virtual or physical, where multiple people or many systemins have access, sometimes it could be quite a mess as someone due to miscommunication or whatever could change something on the configured Network Ethernet interfaces, or configured routing tables, or simply issue an update which might change the set of automatically set to run systemctl services due to update. Such changes on a Linux server Operating system often can remain unnoticed and could cause quite a harm. Even when the change is noticed the logical question occurs what was the previous network route on the server or what kind of network was configured on Ethernet interface ethX etc. 
Problems like the described where, pretty common in many public Private Clouds or VMWare / XEN based Hypervisors that host multiple  Virtual machines, for that reason I've developed a small script which is pretty dumb on the first glimpse but mostly useful as it keeps historical records of such important information.

# script to show configured services on system, configured IPs, netstat state and network routes
# Script to be used during CentOS and Redhat Enterprise Linux RPM package updates with yum

ddate=$(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S');
iptables=$(which iptables);
if [ ! -d /root/logs/ ]; then
mkdir /root/logs/;

echo "STARTED: $(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S'):" | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
echo -e "# systemctl list-unit-files\n" | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
systemctl list-unit-files –type=service | grep enabled | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
echo -e '# systemctl | grep ".service" | grep "running"\n' | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
systemctl | grep ".service" | grep "running" | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
echo -e "# netstat -tulpn\n" | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
netstat -tulpn | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
echo -e "# netstat -r\n" | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
netstat -r | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
echo -e "# ip a s\n" | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
ip a s | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
echo -e "# /sbin/route -n\n" | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
/sbin/route -n | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
echo -e "# $iptables -L -n\n" | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
echo -e "# $iptables -t nat -L" | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
$iptables -L -n | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
$iptables -t nat -L | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log
echo "ENDED $(date '+%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S'):" | tee -a /root/logs/$output_file-$(hostname)-$ddate.log


Script produces its logs inside  /root/logs/network_ip_routes_services_status*hostname*currentdate*.log, put the script inside /root/ or wherever you like.

To keep an eye how network routing or ip configuration or firewall changed or there was a peak with the established connections towards daemons running on host (lets say requiring a machine upgrade), I've set the script to run as usually via cron job at the end of the predefined cron job tasks, like so:

# crontab -u root -e
# periodic dump and log network routing tables, netstat and systemctl list-unit-files
*/1 01 01,25 * * /root/ 2>&1 >/dev/null

You can download a copy of script here.
The script is written without much of efficiency on mind, as you can see the with the multiple tee -a and for critical hosts it might be a good idea to rewrite it to use '>>' OPERAND instead, anyhows as most machines today are pretty powerful it doesn't really matter much.

Of course today such a script is quite archaic, as most big corporations are using much more complex monitoring software such as Zabbix, Prometheus or if some kind of Elastic Search is used Kibana etc. but for a basic needs and even for a double checking and comparing with other more advanced monitoring tools  (in case if monitoring tools  database gets damaged or temporary down until backupped), still I think such an oldschool simple monitoring script can be of use.

A good addition to that if you use a central logging server is to set another cron to periodically synchronize produced /root/logs/* to somewhere, here is how to do it with simple rsync (considering your host is configured to login with a user without password with ssh key authentication).

# HOSTNAME=$(hostname); rsync -axHv –ignore-existing -e 'ssh -p 22' /bashscripts/  -q -i –out-format="%t %f %b" –log-file=/var/log/rsync_sync_jobs.log –info=progress2 root@BACKUP_SERVER_HOST:/$(HOSTNAME)-logs/

Once something strange occurs with the machine, like the machine needs to be rebuild

I would be glad to hear if some of my readers uses some useful script which I can adopt myself. Cheers  🙂

How to test RAM Memory for errors in Linux / UNIX OS servers. Find broken memory RAM banks

Friday, December 3rd, 2021



1. Testing the memory with motherboard integrated tools

Memory testing has been integral part of Computers for the last 50 years. In the dawn of computers those older perhaps remember memory testing was part of the computer initialization boot. And this memory testing was delaying the boot with some seconds and the user could see the memory numbers being counted up to the amount of memory. With the increased memory modern computers started to have and the annoyance to wait for a memory check program to check the computer hardware memory on modern computers this check has been mitigated or completely removed on some hardware.
Thus under some circumstances sysadmins or advanced computer users might need to check the memory, especially if there is some suspicion for memory damages or if for example a home PC starts crashing with Blue screens of Death on Windows without reason or simply the PC or some old arcane Linux / UNIX servers gets restarted every now and then for now apparent reason. When such circumstances occur it is an idea to start debugging the hardware issue with a simple memory check.

There are multiple ways to test installed memory banks on a server laptop or local home PC both integrated and using external programs.
On servers that is usually easily done from ILO or IPMI or IDRAC access (usually web) interface of the vendor, on laptops and home usage from BIOS or UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) acces interface on system boot that is possible as well.


An old but gold TIP, more younger people might not know is the


Prolonged SHIFT key press which once held with the user instructs the machine to initiate a memory test before the computer starts reading what is written in the boot loader.

So before anything else from below article it might be a good idea to just try HOLD SHIFT for 15-20 seconds after a complete Shut and ON from the POWER button.

If this test does not triggered or it is triggered and you end up with some corrupted memory but you're not sure which exact Memory bank is really crashing and want to know more on what memory Bank and segments are breaking up you might want to do a more thorough testing. In below article I'll try to explain shortly how this can be done.

2. Test the memory using a boot USB Flash Drive / DVD / CD 

Say hello to memtest86+. It is a Linux GRUB boot loader bootable utility that tests physical memory by writing various patterns to it and reading them back. Since memtest86+ runs directly off the hardware it does not require any operating system support for execution. Perhaps it is important to mention that memtest86 (is PassMark memtest86)and memtest86+ (An Advanced Memory diagnostic tool) are different tools, the first is freeware and second one is FOSS software.

To use it all you'll need is some version of Linux. If you don't already have some burned in somewhere at your closet, you might want to burn one.
For Linux / Mac users this is as downloading a Linux distribution ISO file and burning it with

# dd if=/path/to/iso of=/dev/sdbX bs=80M status=progress

Windows users can burn a Live USB with whatever Linux distro or download and burn the latest versionof memtest86+ from  on Windows Desktop with some proggie like lets say UnetBootIn.

2.1. Run memtest86+ on Ubuntu

Many Linux distributions such as Ubuntu 20.0 comes together with memtest86+, which can be easily invoked from GRUB / GRUB2 Kernel boot loader.
Ubuntu has a separate menu pointer for a Memtest.


Other distributions RPM based distributions such as CentOS, Fedora Linux, Redhat things differ.

2.2. memtest86+ on Fedora

Fedora used to have the memtest86+ menu at the GRUB boot selection prompt, but for some reason removed it and in newest Fedora releases as of time such as Fedora 35 memtest86+ is preinstalled and available but not visible, to start on  already and to start a memtest memory test tool:

  •   Boot a Fedora installation or Rescue CD / USB. At the prompt, type "memtest86".

boot: memtest86

2.3 memtest86+ on RHEL Linux

The memtest86+tool is available as an RPM package from Red Hat Network (RHN) as well as a boot option from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux rescue disk.
And nowadays Red Hat Enterprise Linux ships by default with the tool.

Prior redhat (now legacy) releases such as on RHEL 5.0 it has to be installed and configure it with below 3 commands.

[root@rhel ~]# yum install memtest86+
[root@rhel ~]# memtest-setup
[root@rhel ~]# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg

    Again as with CentOS to boot memtest86+ from the rescue disk, you will need to boot your system from CD 1 of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation media, and type the following at the boot prompt (before the Linux kernel is started):

boot: memtest86

memtest86+ testing 5 memory slots

As you see all on above screenshot the Memory banks are listed as Slots. There are a number of Tests to be completed until
it can be said for sure memory does not have any faulty cells. 

Pass: 0
Errors: 0 

Indicates no errors, so in the end if memtest86 does not find anything this values should stay at zero.
memtest86+ is also usable to detecting issues with temperature of CPU. Just recently I've tested a PC thinking that some memory has defects but it turned out the issue on the Computer was at the CPU's temperature which was topping up at 80 – 82 Celsius.

If you're unfortunate and happen to get some corrupted memory segments you will get some red fields with the memory addresses found to have corrupted on Read / Write test operations:


2.4. Install and use memtest and memtest86+ on Debian / Mint Linux

You can install either memtest86+ or just for the fun put both of them and play around with both of them as they have a .deb package provided out of debian non-free /etc/apt/sources.list repositories.

root@jeremiah:/home/hipo# apt-cache show memtest86 memtest86+
Package: memtest86
Version: 4.3.7-3
Installed-Size: 302
Maintainer: Yann Dirson <>
Architecture: amd64
Depends: debconf (>= 0.5) | debconf-2.0
Recommends: memtest86+
Suggests: hwtools, memtester, kernel-patch-badram, grub2 (>= 1.96+20090523-1) | grub (>= 0.95+cvs20040624), mtools
Description-en: thorough real-mode memory tester
 Memtest86 scans your RAM for errors.
 This tester runs independently of any OS – it is run at computer
 boot-up, so that it can test *all* of your memory.  You may want to
 look at `memtester', which allows testing your memory within Linux,
 but this one won't be able to test your whole RAM.
 It can output a list of bad RAM regions usable by the BadRAM kernel
 patch, so that you can still use you old RAM with one or two bad bits.
 This is the last DFSG-compliant version of this software, upstream
 has opted for a proprietary development model starting with 5.0.  You
 may want to consider using memtest86+, which has been forked from an
 earlier version of memtest86, and provides a different set of
 features.  It is available in the memtest86+ package.
 A convenience script is also provided to make a grub-legacy-based
 floppy or image.

Description-md5: 0ad381a54d59a7d7f012972f613d7759
Section: misc
Priority: optional
Filename: pool/main/m/memtest86/memtest86_4.3.7-3_amd64.deb
Size: 45470
MD5sum: 8dd2a4c52910498d711fbf6b5753bca9
SHA256: 09178eca21f8fd562806ccaa759d0261a2d3bb23190aaebc8cd99071d431aeb6

Package: memtest86+
Version: 5.01-3
Installed-Size: 2391
Maintainer: Yann Dirson <>
Architecture: amd64
Depends: debconf (>= 0.5) | debconf-2.0
Suggests: hwtools, memtester, kernel-patch-badram, memtest86, grub-pc | grub-legacy, mtools
Description-en: thorough real-mode memory tester
 Memtest86+ scans your RAM for errors.
 This tester runs independently of any OS – it is run at computer
 boot-up, so that it can test *all* of your memory.  You may want to
 look at `memtester', which allows to test your memory within Linux,
 but this one won't be able to test your whole RAM.
 It can output a list of bad RAM regions usable by the BadRAM kernel
 patch, so that you can still use your old RAM with one or two bad bits.
 Memtest86+ is based on memtest86 3.0, and adds support for recent
 hardware, as well as a number of general-purpose improvements,
 including many patches to memtest86 available from various sources.
 Both memtest86 and memtest86+ are being worked on in parallel.
Description-md5: aa685f84801773ef97fdaba8eb26436a

Tag: admin::benchmarking, admin::boot, hardware::storage:floppy,
 interface::text-mode, role::program, scope::utility, use::checking
Section: misc
Priority: optional
Filename: pool/main/m/memtest86+/memtest86+_5.01-3_amd64.deb
Size: 75142
MD5sum: 4f06523532ddfca0222ba6c55a80c433
SHA256: ad42816e0b17e882713cc6f699b988e73e580e38876cebe975891f5904828005


root@jeremiah:/home/hipo# apt-get install –yes memtest86+

root@jeremiah:/home/hipo# apt-get install –yes memtest86

Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information… Done
Suggested packages:
  hwtools kernel-patch-badram grub2 | grub
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 21 not upgraded.
Need to get 45.5 kB of archives.
After this operation, 309 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 buster/main amd64 memtest86 amd64 4.3.7-3 [45.5 kB]
Fetched 45.5 kB in 0s (181 kB/s)     
Preconfiguring packages …
Selecting previously unselected package memtest86.
(Reading database … 519985 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack …/memtest86_4.3.7-3_amd64.deb …
Unpacking memtest86 (4.3.7-3) …
Setting up memtest86 (4.3.7-3) …
Generating grub configuration file …
Found background image: saint-John-of-Rila-grub.jpg
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-18-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.19.0-18-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-17-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.19.0-17-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-8-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.19.0-8-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-6-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.19.0-6-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.19.0-5-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.19.0-5-amd64
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.9.0-8-amd64
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.9.0-8-amd64
Found memtest86 image: /boot/memtest86.bin
Found memtest86+ image: /boot/memtest86+.bin
Found memtest86+ multiboot image: /boot/memtest86+_multiboot.bin
File descriptor 3 (pipe:[66049]) leaked on lvs invocation. Parent PID 22581: /bin/sh
Processing triggers for man-db (2.8.5-2) …


After this both memory testers memtest86+ and memtest86 will appear next to the option of booting a different version kernels and the Advanced recovery kernels, that you usually get in the GRUB boot prompt.

2.5. Use memtest embedded tool on any Linux by adding a kernel variable


2.4.1. Reboot your computer

# reboot

2.4.2. At the GRUB boot screen (with UEFI, press Esc).

2.4.3 For 4 passes add temporarily the memtest=4 kernel parameter.

memtest=        [KNL,X86,ARM,PPC,RISCV] Enable memtest
                Format: <integer>
                default : 0 <disable>
                Specifies the number of memtest passes to be
                performed. Each pass selects another test
                pattern from a given set of patterns. Memtest
                fills the memory with this pattern, validates
                memory contents and reserves bad memory
                regions that are detected.

3. Install and use memtester Linux tool

At some condition, memory is the one of the suspcious part, or you just want have a quick test. memtester  is an effective userspace tester for stress-testing the memory subsystem.  It is very effective at finding intermittent and non-deterministic faults.

The advantage of memtester "live system check tool is", you can check your system for errors while it's still running. No need for a restart, just run that application, the downside is that some segments of memory cannot be thoroughfully tested as you already have much preloaded data in it to have the Operating Sytstem running, thus always when possible try to stick to rule to test the memory using memtest86+  from OS Boot Loader, after a clean Machine restart in order to clean up whole memory heap.

Anyhow for a general memory test on a Critical Legacy Server  (if you lets say don't have access to Remote Console Board, or don't trust the ILO / IPMI Hardware reported integrity statistics), running memtester from already booted is still a good idea.

3.1. Install memtester on any Linux distribution from source

# tar zxvf memtester-4.2.2.tar.gz
# cd memtester-4.2.2
# make && make install

3.2 Install on RPM based distros


On Fedora memtester is available from repositories however on many other RPM based distros it is not so you have to install it from source.

[root@fedora ]# yum install -y memtester


3.3. Install memtester on Deb based Linux distributions from source

To install it on Debian / Ubuntu / Mint etc. , open a terminal and type:

root@linux:/ #  apt install –yes memtester

The general run syntax is:

memtester [-p PHYSADDR] [ITERATIONS]

You can hence use it like so:

hipo@linux:/ $ sudo memtester 1024 5

This should allocate 1024MB of memory, and repeat the test 5 times. The more repeats you run the better, but as a memtester run places a great overall load on the system you either don't increment the runs too much or at least run it with  lowered process importance e.g. by nicing the PID:

hipo@linux:/ $ nice -n 15 sudo memtester 1024 5


  • If you have more RAM like 4GB or 8GB, it is upto you how much memory you want to allocate for testing.
  • As your operating system, current running process might take some amount of RAM, Please check available Free RAM and assign that too memtester.
  • If you are using a 32 Bit System, you cant test more than 4 GB even though you have more RAM( 32 bit systems doesnt support more than 3.5 GB RAM as you all know).
  • If your system is very busy and you still assigned higher than available amount of RAM, then the test might get your system into a deadlock, leads to system to halt, be aware of this.
  • Run the memtester as root user, so that memtester process can malloc the memory, once its gets hold on that memory it will try to apply lock. if specified memory is not available, it will try to reduce required RAM automatically and try to lock it with mlock.
  • if you run it as a regular user, it cant auto reduce the required amount of RAM, so it cant lock it, so it tries to get hold on that specified memory and starts exhausting all system resources.

If you have 8 Gigas of RAM plugged into the PC motherboard you have to multiple 1024*8 this is easily done with bc (An arbitrary precision calculator language) tool:

root@linux:/ # bc -l
bc 1.07.1
Copyright 1991-1994, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012-2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
For details type `warranty'. 

 for example you should run:

root@linux:/ # memtester 8192 5

memtester version 4.3.0 (64-bit)
Copyright (C) 2001-2012 Charles Cazabon.
Licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2 (only).

pagesize is 4096
pagesizemask is 0xfffffffffffff000
want 8192MB (2083520512 bytes)
got  8192MB (2083520512 bytes), trying mlock …Loop 1/1:
  Stuck Address       : ok        
  Random Value        : ok
  Compare XOR         : ok
  Compare SUB         : ok
  Compare MUL         : ok
  Compare DIV         : ok
  Compare OR          : ok
  Compare AND         : ok
  Sequential Increment: ok
  Solid Bits          : ok        
  Block Sequential    : ok        
  Checkerboard        : ok        
  Bit Spread          : ok        
  Bit Flip            : ok        
  Walking Ones        : ok        
  Walking Zeroes      : ok        
  8-bit Writes        : ok
  16-bit Writes       : ok



4. Shell Script to test server memory for corruptions

If for some reason the machine you want to run a memory test doesn't have connection to the external network such as the internet and therefore you cannot configure a package repository server and install memtester, the other approach is to use a simple memory test script such as

# Downloaded from
echo "ByteOnSite Memory Test"
cpus=`cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep processor | wc -l`
if [ $cpus -lt 6 ]; then
threads=$(($cpus / 2))
echo "Detected $cpus CPUs, using $threads threads.."
memory=`free | grep 'Mem:' | awk {'print $2'}`
memoryper=$(($memory / $threads))
echo "Detected ${memory}K of RAM ($memoryper per thread).."
freespace=`df -B1024 . | tail -n1 | awk {'print $4'}`
if [ $freespace -le $memory ]; then
echo You do not have enough free space on the current partition. Minimum: $memory bytes
exit 1
echo "Clearing RAM Cache.."
sync; echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_cachesfile
echo > dump.memtest.img
echo "Writing to dump file (dump.memtest.img).."
for i in `seq 1 $threads`;
# 1044 is used in place of 1024 to ensure full RAM usage (2% over allocation)
dd if=/dev/urandom bs=$memoryper count=1044 >> dump.memtest.img 2>/dev/null &
echo $i
for pid in "${pids[@]}"
wait $pid

echo "Reading and analyzing dump file…"
echo "Pass 1.."
md51=`md5sum dump.memtest.img | awk {'print $1'}`
echo "Pass 2.."
md52=`md5sum dump.memtest.img | awk {'print $1'}`
echo "Pass 3.."
md53=`md5sum dump.memtest.img | awk {'print $1'}`
if [ “$md51” != “$md52” ]; then
elif [ “$md51” != “$md53” ]; then
elif [ “$md52” != “$md53” ]; then
if [ $fail -eq 0 ]; then
echo "Memory test PASSED."
echo "Memory test FAILED. Bad memory detected."
rm -f dump.memtest.img
exit $fail

Nota Bene !: Again consider the restults might not always be 100% trustable if possible restart the server and test with memtest86+

Consider also its important to make sure prior to script run,  you''ll have enough disk space to produce the dump.memtest.img file – file is created as a test bed for the memory tests and if not scaled properly you might end up with a full ( / ) root directory!


4.1 Other memory test script with dd and md5sum checksum

I found this solution on the well known sysadmin site nixCraft, I think it makes sense and quicker.

First find out memory site using free command.

# free
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:      32867436   32574160     293276          0      16652   31194340
-/+ buffers/cache:    1363168   31504268
Swap:            0          0          0

It shows that this server has 32GB memory,

# dd if=/dev/urandom bs=32867436 count=1050 of=/home/memtest

free reports by k and use 1050 is to make sure file memtest is bigger than physical memory.  To get better performance, use proper bs size, for example 2048 or 4096, depends on your local disk i/o,  the rule is to make bs * count > 32 GB.

# md5sum /home/memtest; md5sum /home/memtest; md5sum /home/memtest

If you see md5sum mismatch in different run, you have faulty memory guaranteed.
The theory is simple, the file /home/memtest will cache data in memory by filling up all available memory during read operation. Using md5sum command you are reading same data from memory.

5. Other ways to test memory / do a machine stress test

Other good tools you might want to check for memory testing is mprime – 

  •  (mprime can also be used to stress test your CPU)

Alternatively, use the package stress-ng to run all kind of stress tests (including memory test) on your machine.
Perhaps there are other interesting tools for a diagnosis of memory if you know other ones I miss, let me know in the comment section.

Linux: How to set KVM Virtual Machine to autostart on system boot

Thursday, July 15th, 2021


Recently I've written a short article on how to make auto boot OpenVZ container Virtual Machine if system gets rebooted as I had the task to do so in daily job as sysadmin.
Few days ago after some power outage in one of Frankfurt based Data Centers, some Rack tech equipment has been temporary powered of and once the electricity was up again, some Linux servers  running Kernel Based Virtualization ( KVM ) some of the virtual machines did not managed to automatically start up and we had to manually start them one by one.
To manually start each of the machines that did not start up had to do the trivial:

[root@hypervisor ~]# virsh list
 Id    Name                           State
 3     VM500                   running

[root@hypervisor ~]# virsh dominfo VM500
Id:             3
Name:           VM500
UUID:           82075903-a4ce-5ec0-a3d8-9ee83d85fc75
OS Type:        hvm
State:          running
CPU(s):         2
CPU time:       247407.9s
Max memory:     2097152 KiB
Used memory:    2097152 KiB
Persistent:     yes
Autostart:      disable
Managed save:   no
Security model: selinux
Security DOI:   0
Security label: system_u:system_r:svirt_t:s0:c447,c723 (permissive)

[root@hypervisor ~]# virsh start VM_domain_Name

Of course logcally to prevent future issues in case if Linux server gets suddenly rebooted due to whatever reason, we had to configure the machines in questions to automatically boot on OS system boot.

In some rare cases if above start command does not help you might want to check what is the status of libvirtd and investigate the logs in /var/log/libvirt/ i.e. /var/log/libvirt/libvirt.log

An alternative but more complicated way to set virtual machine to automatically start on boot is by using default location for automatic VM start just like OpenXEn has its /etc/xen/auto/ dirtory from where each soft symlinked VM configuration from /etc/xen/VM_name.cfg is started in KVM Hypervisor hosts to auto boot a certain vm you have to link /etc/libvirt/qemu/VM-to-autoboot-name.xml to /etc/libvirt/qemu/autostart/VM-to-autoboot-name.xml

[root@hypervisor ~]# systemctl status libvirtd
● libvirtd.service – Virtualization daemon
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/libvirtd.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Tue 2021-06-29 10:21:30 CEST; 2 weeks 2 days ago
     Docs: man:libvirtd(8)
 Main PID: 1809 (libvirtd)
    Tasks: 22 (limit: 32768)
   CGroup: /system.slice/libvirtd.service
           ├─1809 /usr/sbin/libvirtd
           ├─2335 /usr/sbin/dnsmasq –conf-file=/var/lib/libvirt/dnsmasq/default.conf –leasefile-ro –dhcp-script=/us…
           ├─2336 /usr/sbin/dnsmasq –conf-file=/var/lib/libvirt/dnsmasq/default.conf –leasefile-ro –dhcp-script=/us…
           ├─2386 /usr/sbin/dnsmasq –conf-file=/var/lib/libvirt/dnsmasq/Host-Only.conf –leasefile-ro –dhcp-script=/…
           └─2387 /usr/sbin/dnsmasq –conf-file=/var/lib/libvirt/dnsmasq/Host-Only.conf –leasefile-ro –dhcp-script=/…

If for some reason libvirtd is not running or disabled state you will have to enable it with:

[root@hypervisor ~]# systemctl enable libvirtd

If the virtualization is running on some RPM based distribtuion OpenSuse whatever and libvirtd is controlled via chkconfig (redhat runlevel alternative system), you will have to :

[root@hypervisor ~]# chkconfig libvirtd on

Disabling KVM Virtual Machine from auto start on server boot

[root@hypervisor ~]# virsh autostart Debian10 –disable
Domain Debian10 unmarked as autostarted

Linux: logrotate fix log file permissions on newly created logs after rotation

Monday, July 5th, 2021

fix logrotate permission issues of newly logrotated files, howto chown chmod logrotate linux logo

If you have to administer a bunch of Web or Application servers you will definetely end up with some machines that has some logrotate misconfiguration.

Perhaps the most common one sysadmin faces is when you have rotated webserver, proxy, mail server logs that gets gzipped with a date timestamp of the rotation and a brand new files is created by logrotate. Such a thing could be seen on various Linux distributions and even a more corporate prodcution ready Linux – es like CentOS and Fedora occasionally end up with issues caused by improperly created user / group permissions (usually root:root) of logrotate. 

The wrong permissions of usually normally logging to file by a service, happens when the log file will get filled (or matches some thresholds) configured by logrotate respective config, the log rotate mechanism will rename this file gzip / bzip it depending on how it is prepared to behave and opens a new one, however the newly produced log file will not have the  read write  permission which are necessery for the respective service because the service is not running as administrator (root), lets say there is a haproxy daemon running with user / group haproxy, haproxy, like it happeed today on one of our legacy CentOS 6.5 servers.

The sad result is /var/log/haproxy.log or whatever log file stays empty forever even though the service is normally working and you end up blind not seeing what's going on …

To solve the empty file due to logrotate dumping the original file permissions to a wrong one due to misconfiguration or a lack of special configuration it is as easy as setting up the logrotated file to write down the new rotated file to a specic user, this is done with a one line addition of code with a syntax like:

create mode owner group

Below is extract from logrotate man page (man logrotate)

Immediately after rotation (before the postrotate script is run) the log file is created (with the same name as the log file just rotated).  mode  specifies the mode for the log file in octal (the same as chmod(2)), owner specifies the user name who will own the log file, and group specifies the group the log file will belong to. Any of the log file attributes may be omitted, in which case those attributes for the new file will use the same values as the original log file for the omitted attributes. This option can be disabled using the nocreate option.

 Lets say you have following /etc/logrotate.d/haproxy configuration that is instructing logrotate to do the rotation and this will create empty file with root:root after rotate:

root@haproxy2:/etc/logrotate.d# cat haproxy

/var/log/haproxy.log {
    rotate 52

To make /var/log/haproxy.log be owned by haproxy user and group and chmod to certain owner permissions hence, do add inside the block something like: 


/var/log/haproxy.log {
        create 664 user group

i.e. :

/var/log/haproxy.log {
        create 644 haproxy hapoxy

To test the configuration do a logrotate config dry run do:

root@haproxy2:/etc/logrotate.d# logrotate -v -d -f /etc/logrotate.d/haproxy
WARNING: logrotate in debug mode does nothing except printing debug messages!  Consider using verbose mode (-v) instead if this is not what you want.

reading config file /etc/logrotate.d/haproxy
Reading state from file: /var/lib/logrotate/status
Allocating hash table for state file, size 64 entries
Creating new state
Creating new state
Creating new state
Creating new state
Creating new state
Creating new state
Creating new state
Creating new state
Creating new state
Creating new state
Creating new state
Creating new state


Handling 1 logs

rotating pattern: /var/log/haproxy.log  forced from command line (52 rotations)
empty log files are not rotated, old logs are removed
considering log /var/log/haproxy.log
  Now: 2021-07-05 21:51
  Last rotated at 2021-07-05 00:00
  log needs rotating
rotating log /var/log/haproxy.log, log->rotateCount is 52
dateext suffix '-20210705'
glob pattern '-[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]'
compressing log with: /bin/gzip

renaming /var/log/haproxy.log.8.gz to /var/log/haproxy.log.9.gz (rotatecount 52, logstart 1, i 8),
renaming /var/log/haproxy.log.7.gz to /var/log/haproxy.log.8.gz (rotatecount 52, logstart 1, i 7),
renaming /var/log/haproxy.log.6.gz to /var/log/haproxy.log.7.gz (rotatecount 52, logstart 1, i 6),
renaming /var/log/haproxy.log.5.gz to /var/log/haproxy.log.6.gz (rotatecount 52, logstart 1, i 5),
renaming /var/log/haproxy.log.4.gz to /var/log/haproxy.log.5.gz (rotatecount 52, logstart 1, i 4),
renaming /var/log/haproxy.log.3.gz to /var/log/haproxy.log.4.gz (rotatecount 52, logstart 1, i 3),
renaming /var/log/haproxy.log.2.gz to /var/log/haproxy.log.3.gz (rotatecount 52, logstart 1, i 2),
renaming /var/log/haproxy.log.1.gz to /var/log/haproxy.log.2.gz (rotatecount 52, logstart 1, i 1),
renaming /var/log/haproxy.log.0.gz to /var/log/haproxy.log.1.gz (rotatecount 52, logstart 1, i 0),
log /var/log/haproxy.log.53.gz doesn't exist — won't try to dispose of it
renaming /var/log/haproxy.log to /var/log/haproxy.log.1
creating new /var/log/haproxy.log mode = 0644 uid = 106 gid = 112
running postrotate script
running script with arg /var/log/haproxy.log: "



root@haproxy2:/etc/logrotate.d# grep -Ei '106|112' /etc/passwd

You do it for any other service respectively by editting whatever /etc/logrotate.d/file, lets say postfix's /var/log/maillog should be owned with 644 by postfix:postfix.

# cat /etc/logrotate/postfix
/var/log/maillog {
        create 664 postfix postfix

Howto install Google Chrome web browser on CentOS Linux 7

Friday, December 11th, 2020

After installing CentOS 7 Linux testing Virtual Machine in Oracle Virtualbox 6.1 to conduct some testing with php / html / javascript web script pages and use the VM for other work stuff that I later plan to deploy on production CentOS systems, I came to requirement of having a working Google Chrome browser.

In that regards, next to Firefox, I needed to test the web applications in commercial Google Chrome to see what its usercan expect. For those who don't know it Google Chrome is based on Chromium Open source browser ( which is available by default via default CentOS EPEL repositories.

One remark to make here is before installing Google Chrome, I've also test my web scripts first with chromium, to install Chromium free browser on CentOS:

[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# yum install chromium
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror, langpacks
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
 * base:
 * epel:
 * extras:
 * updates:
Resolving Dependencies
–> Running transaction check
—> Package chromium.x86_64 0:85.0.4183.121-1.el7 will be installed
–> Processing Dependency: chromium-common(x86-64) = 85.0.4183.121-1.el7 for package: chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64
–> Processing Dependency: nss-mdns(x86-64) for package: chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64
–> Processing Dependency: for package: chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64
–> Running transaction check
—> Package chromium-common.x86_64 0:85.0.4183.121-1.el7 will be installed
—> Package minizip.x86_64 0:1.2.7-18.el7 will be installed
—> Package nss-mdns.x86_64 0:0.14.1-9.el7 will be installed
–> Finished Dependency Resolution


Dependencies Resolved

 Package                              Arch                        Version                                   Repository                 Size
 chromium                             x86_64                      85.0.4183.121-1.el7                       epel                       97 M
Installing for dependencies:
 chromium-common                      x86_64                      85.0.4183.121-1.el7                       epel                       16 M
 minizip                              x86_64                      1.2.7-18.el7                              base                       34 k
 nss-mdns                             x86_64                      0.14.1-9.el7                              epel                       43 k

Transaction Summary
Install  1 Package (+3 Dependent packages)

Total download size: 113 M
Installed size: 400 M
Is this ok [y/d/N]: y
Downloading packages:
(1/4): minizip-1.2.7-18.el7.x86_64.rpm                                                                               |  34 kB  00:00:00     
(2/4): chromium-common-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64.rpm                                                                |  16 MB  00:00:08     
(3/4): chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64.rpm                                                                       |  97 MB  00:00:11     
(4/4): nss-mdns-0.14.1-9.el7.x86_64.rpm                                                                              |  43 kB  00:00:00     
Total                                                                                                       9.4 MB/s | 113 MB  00:00:12     
Running transaction check
Running transaction test
Transaction test succeeded
Running transaction
  Installing : minizip-1.2.7-18.el7.x86_64                                                                                              1/4
  Installing : chromium-common-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64                                                                               2/4
  Installing : nss-mdns-0.14.1-9.el7.x86_64                                                                                             3/4
  Installing : chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64                                                                                      4/4
  Verifying  : chromium-common-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64                                                                               1/4
  Verifying  : minizip-1.2.7-18.el7.x86_64                                                                                              2/4
  Verifying  : chromium-85.0.4183.121-1.el7.x86_64                                                                                      3/4
  Verifying  : nss-mdns-0.14.1-9.el7.x86_64                                                                                             4/4

  chromium.x86_64 0:85.0.4183.121-1.el7                                                                                                     

Dependency Installed:
  chromium-common.x86_64 0:85.0.4183.121-1.el7            minizip.x86_64 0:1.2.7-18.el7            nss-mdns.x86_64 0:0.14.1-9.el7           


Chromium browser worked however it is much more buggy than Google Chrome and the load it puts on the machine as well as resources it consumes is terrible if compared to Proprietary G. Chrome.

Usually I don't like google chrome as it is a proprietary product and I don't even install it on my Linux Desktops, neither use as using is against any secure wise practice and but I needed this time ..

Thus to save myself some pains therefore proceeded and installed Google Chromium.
Installion  of Google Chrome is a straight forward process you download the latest rpm run below command to resolve all library dependencies and you're in:



[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# rpm -ivh google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm
warning: google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm: Header V4 DSA/SHA1 Signature, key ID 7fac5991: NOKEY
error: Failed dependencies:
    liberation-fonts is needed by google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64 is needed by google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64
[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# wget
–2020-12-11 07:03:02–
Resolving (…, 2a00:1450:4017:802::200e
Connecting to (||:443… connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 200 OK
Length: 72280700 (69M) [application/x-rpm]
Saving to: ‘google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm


100%[==================================================================================================>] 72,280,700  11.0MB/s   in 6.6s   

2020-12-11 07:03:09 (10.4 MB/s) – ‘google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm’ saved [72280700/72280700]

[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# yum localinstall google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm
Loaded plugins: fastestmirror, langpacks
Examining google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm: google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64
Marking google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm to be installed
Resolving Dependencies
–> Running transaction check
—> Package google-chrome-stable.x86_64 0:87.0.4280.88-1 will be installed
–> Processing Dependency: liberation-fonts for package: google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
 * base:
 * epel:
 * extras:
 * updates:
–> Processing Dependency: for package: google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64
–> Running transaction check
—> Package liberation-fonts.noarch 1:1.07.2-16.el7 will be installed
–> Processing Dependency: liberation-narrow-fonts = 1:1.07.2-16.el7 for package: 1:liberation-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch
—> Package vulkan.x86_64 0: will be installed
–> Processing Dependency: vulkan-filesystem = for package: vulkan-
–> Running transaction check
—> Package liberation-narrow-fonts.noarch 1:1.07.2-16.el7 will be installed
—> Package vulkan-filesystem.noarch 0: will be installed
–> Finished Dependency Resolution

Dependencies Resolved

 Package                             Arch               Version                      Repository                                        Size
 google-chrome-stable                x86_64             87.0.4280.88-1               /google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64             227 M
Installing for dependencies:
 liberation-fonts                    noarch             1:1.07.2-16.el7              base                                              13 k
 liberation-narrow-fonts             noarch             1:1.07.2-16.el7              base                                             202 k
 vulkan                              x86_64                  base                                             3.6 M
 vulkan-filesystem                   noarch                  base                                             6.3 k

Transaction Summary
Install  1 Package (+4 Dependent packages)

Total size: 231 M
Total download size: 3.8 M
Installed size: 249 M
Is this ok [y/d/N]: y
Downloading packages:
(1/4): liberation-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch.rpm                                                                     |  13 kB  00:00:00     
(2/4): liberation-narrow-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch.rpm                                                              | 202 kB  00:00:00     
(3/4): vulkan-filesystem-                                                                   | 6.3 kB  00:00:00     
(4/4): vulkan-                                                                              | 3.6 MB  00:00:01     
Total                                                                                                       1.9 MB/s | 3.8 MB  00:00:02     
Running transaction check
Running transaction test
Transaction test succeeded
Running transaction
Warning: RPMDB altered outside of yum.
  Installing : vulkan-filesystem-                                                                                  1/5
  Installing : vulkan-                                                                                             2/5
  Installing : 1:liberation-narrow-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch                                                                           3/5
  Installing : 1:liberation-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch                                                                                  4/5
  Installing : google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64                                                                               5/5
Redirecting to /bin/systemctl start atd.service
  Verifying  : vulkan-                                                                                             1/5
  Verifying  : 1:liberation-narrow-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch                                                                           2/5
  Verifying  : 1:liberation-fonts-1.07.2-16.el7.noarch                                                                                  3/5
  Verifying  : google-chrome-stable-87.0.4280.88-1.x86_64                                                                               4/5
  Verifying  : vulkan-filesystem-                                                                                  5/5

  google-chrome-stable.x86_64 0:87.0.4280.88-1                                                                                              

Dependency Installed:
  liberation-fonts.noarch 1:1.07.2-16.el7         liberation-narrow-fonts.noarch 1:1.07.2-16.el7       vulkan.x86_64 0:      
  vulkan-filesystem.noarch 0:      


Once Chrome is installed you can either run it from gnome-terminal

[test@localhost ~]$ gnome-terminal &


Or find it in the list of CentOS programs:

Applications → Internet → Google Chrome


Last step to do is to make Google Chrome easily updatable to keep up VM level on high security and let it get updated every time when apply security updates with yum check-update && yum upgrade
for that its necessery to create new custom repo file

[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# vim /etc/yum.repos.d/google-chrome.repo

Now letes import the gpg checksum key

[root@localhost mozilla_test0]# rpmkeys –import

That's all folks google-chrome is at your disposal.

Deny DHCP Address by MAC on Linux

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

Deny DHCP addresses by MAC ignore MAC to not be DHCPD leased on GNU / Linux howto

I have not blogged for a long time due to being on a few weeks vacation and being in home with a small cute baby. However as a hardcore and a bit of dumb System administrator, I have spend some of my vacation and   worked on bringing up the the and the other Websites hosted as a high availvailability ones living on a 2 Webservers running on a Master to Master MySQL Replication backend database, this is oll hosted on  servers, set to run as a round robin DNS hosts on 2 servers one old Lenove ThinkCentre Edge71 as well as a brand new real Lenovo server Lenovo ThinkServer SD350 with 24 CPUs and a 32 GB of RAM
To assure Internet Connectivity is having a good degree of connectivity and ensure websites hosted on both machines is not going to die if one of the 2 pair configured Fiber Optics Internet Providers Bergon.NET has some Issues, I've rented another Internet Provider Line is set bought from the VIVACOM Mobile Fiber Internet provider – that is a 1 Gigabit Fiber Optics Line.
Next to that to guarantee there is no Database, Webserver, MailServer, Memcached and other running services did not hit downtimes due to Electricity power outage, two Powerful Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS)  FPS Fortron devices are connected to the servers each of which that could keep the machine and the connected switches and Servers for up to 1 Hour.

The machines are configured to use dhcpd to distributed IP addresses and the Main Node is set to distribute IPs, however as there is a local LAN network with more of a personal Work PCs, Wireless Devices and Testing Computers and few Virtual machines in the Network and the IPs are being distributed in a consequential manner via a ISC DHCP server.

As always to make everything work properly hence, I had again some a bit weird non-standard requirement to make some of the computers within the Network with Static IP addresses and the others to have their IPs received via the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and add some filter for some of the Machine MAC Addresses which are configured to have a static IP addresses to prevent the DHCP (daemon) server to automatically reassign IPs to this machines.

After a bit of googling and pondering I've done it and some of the machines, therefore to save others the efforts to look around How to set Certain Computers / Servers Network Card MAC (Interfaces) MAC Addresses  configured on the LAN network to use Static IPs and instruct the DHCP server to ingnore any broadcast IP addresses leases – if they're to be destined to a set of IGNORED MAcs, I came up with this small article.

Here is the DHCP server /etc/dhcpd/dhcpd.conf from my Debian GNU / Linux (Buster) 10.4


option domain-name "pcfreak.lan";
option domain-name-servers,,,;
max-lease-time 891200;
class "black-hole" {
    match substring (hardware, 1, 6);
    ignore booting;
subclass "black-hole" 18:45:91:c3:d9:00;
subclass "black-hole" 70:e2:81:13:44:11;
subclass "black-hole" 70:e2:81:13:44:12;
subclass "black-hole" 00:16:3f:53:5d:11;
subclass "black-hole" 18:45:9b:c6:d9:00;
subclass "black-hole" 16:45:93:c3:d9:09;
subclass "black-hole" 16:45:94:c3:d9:0d;/etc/dhcpd/dhcpd.conf
subclass "black-hole" 60:67:21:3c:20:ec;
subclass "black-hole" 60:67:20:5c:20:ed;
subclass "black-hole" 00:16:3e:0f:48:04;
subclass "black-hole" 00:16:3e:3a:f4:fc;
subclass "black-hole" 50:d4:f5:13:e8:ba;
subclass "black-hole" 50:d4:f5:13:e8:bb;
subnet netmask {
        option routers        ;
        option subnet-mask    ;
host think-server {
        hardware ethernet 70:e2:85:13:44:12;
default-lease-time 691200;
max-lease-time 891200;
log-facility local7;

To spend you copy paste efforts a file with Deny DHCP Address by Mac Linux configuration is here
Of course I have dumped the MAC Addresses to omit a data leaking but I guess the idea behind the MAC ADDR ignore is quite clear

The main configuration doing the trick to ignore a certain MAC ALenovo ThinkServer SD350ddresses that are reachable on the Connected hardware switch on the device is like so:

class "black-hole" {
    match substring (hardware, 1, 6);
    ignore booting;
subclass "black-hole" 18:45:91:c3:d9:00;

The Deny DHCP Address by MAC is described on distribution lists here but it seems the documentation on the topic on how to Deny / IGNORE DHCP Addresses by MAC Address on Linux has been quite obscure and limited online.

As you can see in above config the time via which an IP is freed up and a new IP lease is done from the server is severely maximized as often DHCP servers do use a max-lease-time like 1 hour (3600) seconds:, the reason for increasing the lease time to be to like 10 days time is that the IPs in my network change very rarely so it is a waste of CPU cycles to do a frequent lease.

default-lease-time 691200;
max-lease-time 891200;

As you see to Guarantee resolving works always as expected I have configured – Google Public DNS and OpenDNS IPs

option domain-name-servers,,,;

One hint to make is, after setting up all my desired config in the standard config location /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf it is always good idea to test configuration before reloading the running dhcpd process.


root@pcfreak: ~# /usr/sbin/dhcpd -t
Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Server 4.4.1
Copyright 2004-2018 Internet Systems Consortium.
All rights reserved.
For info, please visit
Config file: /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf
Database file: /va/home/hipo/infor/lib/dhcp/dhcpd.leases
PID file: /var/run/

That's all folks with this sample config the IPs under subclass "black-hole", which are a local LAN Static IP Addresses will never be offered leasess anymore from the ISC DHCP.
Hope this stuff helps someone, enjoy and in case if you need a colocation of a server or a website hosting for a really cheap price on this new set High Availlability up described machines open an inquiry on


Find when cron.daily cron.weekly and cron.monthly run on Redhat / CentOS / Debian Linux and systemd-timers

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020



The problem – Apache restart at random times

I've noticed today something that is occuring for quite some time but was out of my scope for quite long as I'm not directly involved in our Alert monitoring at my daily job as sys admin. Interestingly an Apache HTTPD webserver is triggering alarm twice a day for a short downtime that lasts for 9 seconds.

I've decided to investigate what is triggering WebServer restart in such random time and investigated on the system for any background running scripts as well as reviewed the system logs. As I couldn't find nothing there the only logical place to check was cron jobs.
The usual

crontab -u root -l

Had no configured cron jobbed scripts so I digged further to check whether there isn't cron jobs records for a script that is triggering the reload of Apache in /etc/crontab /var/spool/cron/root and /var/spool/cron/httpd.
Nothing was found there and hence as there was no anacron service running but /usr/sbin/crond the other expected place to look up for a trigger even was /etc/cron*


1. Configured default cron execution times, every day, every hour every month


# ls -ld /etc/cron.*
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 feb 27 10:54 /etc/cron.d/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 dec 27 10:55 /etc/cron.daily/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 dec  7 23:04 /etc/cron.hourly/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 dec  7 23:04 /etc/cron.monthly/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 dec  7 23:04 /etc/cron.weekly/


After a look up to each of above directories, finally I found the very expected logrorate shell script set to execute from /etc/cron.daily/logrotate and inside it I've found after the log files were set to be gzipped and moved to execute WebServer restart with:

systemctl reload httpd 


My first reaction was to ponder seriously why the script is invoking systemctl reload httpd instead of the good oldschool

apachectl -k graceful


But it seems on Redhat and CentOS since RHEL / CentOS version 6.X onwards systemctl reload httpd is supposed to be identical and a substitute for apachectl -k graceful.
Okay the craziness of innovation continued as obviously the reload was causing a Downtime to be visible in the Zabbix HTTPD port Monitoring graph …
Now as the problem was identified the other logical question poped up how to find out what is the exact timing scheduled to run the script in that unusual random times each time ??

2. Find out cron scripts timing Redhat / CentOS / Fedora / SLES


/etc/cron.{daily,monthly,weekly} placed scripts's execution method has changed over the years, causing a chaos just like many Linux standard things we know due to the inclusion of systemd and some other additional weird OS design changes. The result is the result explained above scripts are running at a strange unexpeted times … one thing that was intruduced was anacron – which is also executing commands periodically with a different preset frequency. However it is considered more thrustworhty by crond daemon, because anacron does not assume the machine is continuosly running and if the machine is down due to a shutdown or a failure (if it is a Virtual Machine) or simply a crond dies out, some cronjob necessery for overall set environment or application might not run, what anacron guarantees is even though that and even if crond is in unworking defunct state, the preset scheduled scripts will still be served.
anacron's default file location is in /etc/anacrontab.

A standard /etc/anacrontab looks like so:

[root@centos ~]:# cat /etc/anacrontab
# /etc/anacrontab: configuration file for anacron
# See anacron(8) and anacrontab(5) for details.
# the maximal random delay added to the base delay of the jobs
# the jobs will be started during the following hours only
#period in days   delay in minutes   job-identifier   command
1    5    cron.daily        nice run-parts /etc/cron.daily
7    25    cron.weekly        nice run-parts /etc/cron.weekly
@monthly 45    cron.monthly        nice run-parts /etc/cron.monthly


START_HOURS_RANGE : The START_HOURS_RANGE variable sets the time frame, when the job could started. 
The jobs will start during the 3-22 (3AM-10PM) hours only.

  • cron.daily will run at 3:05 (After Midnight) A.M. i.e. run once a day at 3:05AM.
  • cron.weekly will run at 3:25 AM i.e. run once a week at 3:25AM.
  • cron.monthly will run at 3:45 AM i.e. run once a month at 3:45AM.

If the RANDOM_DELAY env var. is set, a random value between 0 and RANDOM_DELAY minutes will be added to the start up delay of anacron served jobs. 
For instance RANDOM_DELAY equels 45 would therefore add, randomly, between 0 and 45 minutes to the user defined delay. 

Delay will be 5 minutes + RANDOM_DELAY for cron.daily for above cron.daily, cron.weekly, cron.monthly config records, i.e. 05:01 + 0-45 minutes

A full detailed explanation on automating system tasks on Redhat Enterprise Linux is worthy reading here.

!!! Note !!! that listed jobs will be running in queue. After one finish, then next will start.

3. SuSE Enterprise Linux cron jobs not running at desired times why?

in SuSE it is much more complicated to have a right timing for standard default cron jobs that comes preinstalled with a service 

In older SLES release /etc/crontab looked like so:



# run-parts
01 * * * * root run-parts /etc/cron.hourly
02 4 * * * root run-parts /etc/cron.daily
22 4 * * 0 root run-parts /etc/cron.weekly
42 4 1 * * root run-parts /etc/cron.monthly

As time of writting article it looks like:


# check scripts in cron.hourly, cron.daily, cron.weekly, and cron.monthly
-*/15 * * * *   root  test -x /usr/lib/cron/run-crons && /usr/lib/cron/run-crons >/dev/null 2>&1



This runs any scripts placed in /etc/cron.{hourly, daily, weekly, monthly} but it may not run them when you expect them to run. 
/usr/lib/cron/run-crons compares the current time to the /var/spool/cron/lastrun/cron.{time} file to determine if those jobs need to be run.

For hourly, it checks if the current time is greater than (or exactly) 60 minutes past the timestamp of the /var/spool/cron/lastrun/cron.hourly file.

For weekly, it checks if the current time is greater than (or exactly) 10080 minutes past the timestamp of the /var/spool/cron/lastrun/cron.weekly file.

Monthly uses a caclucation to check the time difference, but is the same type of check to see if it has been one month after the last run.

Daily has a couple variations available – By default it checks if it is more than or exactly 1440 minutes since lastrun.
If DAILY_TIME is set in the /etc/sysconfig/cron file (again a suse specific innovation), then that is the time (within 15minutes) when daily will run.

For systems that are powered off at DAILY_TIME, daily tasks will run at the DAILY_TIME, unless it has been more than x days, if it is, they run at the next running of run-crons. (default 7days, can set shorter time in /etc/sysconfig/cron.)
Because of these changes, the first time you place a job in one of the /etc/cron.{time} directories, it will run the next time run-crons runs, which is at every 15mins (xx:00, xx:15, xx:30, xx:45) and that time will be the lastrun, and become the normal schedule for future runs. Note that there is the potential that your schedules will begin drift by 15minute increments.

As you see this is very complicated stuff and since God is in the simplicity it is much better to just not use /etc/cron.* for whatever scripts and manually schedule each of the system cron jobs and custom scripts with cron at specific times.

4. Debian Linux time start schedule for cron.daily / cron.monthly / cron.weekly timing

As the last many years many of the servers I've managed were running Debian GNU / Linux, my first place to check was /etc/crontab which is the standard cronjobs file that is setting the { daily , monthly , weekly crons } 


 debian:~# ls -ld /etc/cron.*
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 фев 27 10:54 /etc/cron.d/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 фев 27 10:55 /etc/cron.daily/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 дек  7 23:04 /etc/cron.hourly/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 дек  7 23:04 /etc/cron.monthly/
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 дек  7 23:04 /etc/cron.weekly/


debian:~# cat /etc/crontab 
# /etc/crontab: system-wide crontab
# Unlike any other crontab you don't have to run the `crontab'
# command to install the new version when you edit this file
# and files in /etc/cron.d. These files also have username fields,
# that none of the other crontabs do.

PATH=/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin# Example of job definition:
# .—————- minute (0 – 59)
# |  .————- hour (0 – 23)
# |  |  .———- day of month (1 – 31)
# |  |  |  .——- month (1 – 12) OR jan,feb,mar,apr …
# |  |  |  |  .—- day of week (0 – 6) (Sunday=0 or 7) OR sun,mon,tue,wed,thu,fri,sat
# |  |  |  |  |
# *  *  *  *  * user-name command to be executed
17 *    * * *    root    cd / && run-parts –report /etc/cron.hourly
25 6    * * *    root    test -x /usr/sbin/anacron || ( cd / && run-parts –report /etc/cron.daily )
47 6    * * 7    root    test -x /usr/sbin/anacron || ( cd / && run-parts –report /etc/cron.weekly )
52 6    1 * *    root    test -x /usr/sbin/anacron || ( cd / && run-parts –report /etc/cron.monthly )

What above does is:

– Run cron.hourly once at every hour at 1:17 am
– Run cron.daily once at every day at 6:25 am.
– Run cron.weekly once at every day at 6:47 am.
– Run cron.monthly once at every day at 6:42 am.

As you can see if anacron is present on the system it is run via it otherwise it is run via run-parts binary command which is reading and executing one by one all scripts insude /etc/cron.hourly, /etc/cron.weekly , /etc/cron.mothly

anacron – few more words

Anacron is the canonical way to run at least the jobs from /etc/cron.{daily,weekly,monthly) after startup, even when their execution was missed because the system was not running at the given time. Anacron does not handle any cron jobs from /etc/cron.d, so any package that wants its /etc/cron.d cronjob being executed by anacron needs to take special measures.

If anacron is installed, regular processing of the /etc/cron.d{daily,weekly,monthly} is omitted by code in /etc/crontab but handled by anacron via /etc/anacrontab. Anacron's execution of these job lists has changed multiple times in the past:

debian:~# cat /etc/anacrontab 
# /etc/anacrontab: configuration file for anacron

# See anacron(8) and anacrontab(5) for details.


# These replace cron's entries
1    5    cron.daily    run-parts –report /etc/cron.daily
7    10    cron.weekly    run-parts –report /etc/cron.weekly
@monthly    15    cron.monthly    run-parts –report /etc/cron.monthly

In wheezy and earlier, anacron is executed via init script on startup and via /etc/cron.d at 07:30. This causes the jobs to be run in order, if scheduled, beginning at 07:35. If the system is rebooted between midnight and 07:35, the jobs run after five minutes of uptime.
In stretch, anacron is executed via a systemd timer every hour, including the night hours. This causes the jobs to be run in order, if scheduled, beween midnight and 01:00, which is a significant change to the previous behavior.
In buster, anacron is executed via a systemd timer every hour with the exception of midnight to 07:00 where anacron is not invoked. This brings back a bit of the old timing, with the jobs to be run in order, if scheduled, beween 07:00 and 08:00. Since anacron is also invoked once at system startup, a reboot between midnight and 08:00 also causes the jobs to be scheduled after five minutes of uptime.
anacron also didn't have an upstream release in nearly two decades and is also currently orphaned in Debian.

As of 2019-07 (right after buster's release) it is planned to have cron and anacron replaced by cronie.

cronie – Cronie was forked by Red Hat from ISC Cron 4.1 in 2007, is the default cron implementation in Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux at least since Version 6. cronie seems to have an acive upstream, but is currently missing some of the things that Debian has added to vixie cron over the years. With the finishing of cron's conversion to quilt (3.0), effort can begin to add the Debian extensions to Vixie cron to cronie.

Because cronie doesn't have all the Debian extensions yet, it is not yet suitable as a cron replacement, so it is not in Debian.

5. systemd-timers – The new crazy systemd stuff for script system job scheduling

Timers are systemd unit files with a suffix of .timer. systemd-timers was introduced with systemd so older Linux OS-es does not have it.
 Timers are like other unit configuration files and are loaded from the same paths but include a [Timer] section which defines when and how the timer activates. Timers are defined as one of two types:


  • Realtime timers (a.k.a. wallclock timers) activate on a calendar event, the same way that cronjobs do. The option OnCalendar= is used to define them.
  • Monotonic timers activate after a time span relative to a varying starting point. They stop if the computer is temporarily suspended or shut down. There are number of different monotonic timers but all have the form: OnTypeSec=. Common monotonic timers include OnBootSec and OnActiveSec.



    For each .timer file, a matching .service file exists (e.g. foo.timer and foo.service). The .timer file activates and controls the .service file. The .service does not require an [Install] section as it is the timer units that are enabled. If necessary, it is possible to control a differently-named unit using the Unit= option in the timer’s [Timer] section.

    systemd-timers is a complex stuff and I'll not get into much details but the idea was to give awareness of its existence for more info check its manual man systemd.timer

Its most basic use is to list all configured systemd.timers, below is from my home Debian laptop

debian:~# systemctl list-timers –all
NEXT                         LEFT         LAST                         PASSED       UNIT                         ACTIVATES
Tue 2020-03-24 23:33:58 EET  18s left     Tue 2020-03-24 23:31:28 EET  2min 11s ago laptop-mode.timer            lmt-poll.service
Tue 2020-03-24 23:39:00 EET  5min left    Tue 2020-03-24 23:09:01 EET  24min ago    phpsessionclean.timer        phpsessionclean.service
Wed 2020-03-25 00:00:00 EET  26min left   Tue 2020-03-24 00:00:01 EET  23h ago      logrotate.timer              logrotate.service
Wed 2020-03-25 00:00:00 EET  26min left   Tue 2020-03-24 00:00:01 EET  23h ago      man-db.timer                 man-db.service
Wed 2020-03-25 02:38:42 EET  3h 5min left Tue 2020-03-24 13:02:01 EET  10h ago      apt-daily.timer              apt-daily.service
Wed 2020-03-25 06:13:02 EET  6h left      Tue 2020-03-24 08:48:20 EET  14h ago      apt-daily-upgrade.timer      apt-daily-upgrade.service
Wed 2020-03-25 07:31:57 EET  7h left      Tue 2020-03-24 23:30:28 EET  3min 11s ago anacron.timer                anacron.service
Wed 2020-03-25 17:56:01 EET  18h left     Tue 2020-03-24 17:56:01 EET  5h 37min ago systemd-tmpfiles-clean.timer systemd-tmpfiles-clean.service


8 timers listed.

N ! B! If a timer gets out of sync, it may help to delete its stamp-* file in /var/lib/systemd/timers (or ~/.local/share/systemd/ in case of user timers). These are zero length files which mark the last time each timer was run. If deleted, they will be reconstructed on the next start of their timer.


In this article, I've shortly explain logic behind debugging weird restart events etc. of Linux configured services such as Apache due to configured scripts set to run with a predefined scheduled job timing. I shortly explained on how to figure out why the preset default install configured cron jobs such as logrorate – the service that is doing system logs archiving and nulling run at a certain time. I shortly explained the mechanism behind cron.{daily, monthy, weekly} and its execution via anacron – runner program similar to crond that never misses to run a scheduled job even if a system downtime occurs due to a crashed Docker container etc. run-parts command's use was shortly explained. A short look at systemd.timers was made which is now essential part of almost every new Linux release and often used by system scripts for scheduling time based maintainance tasks.

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

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019



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

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

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

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


PermitRootLogin no

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


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

a. Execute on Src Host:


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


b. Execute on Dst Host:


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


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

a. On Src Host

su – rsyncuser

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096


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


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



3. Copy to Destination host server under authorized_keys


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


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

Hence, On Destionation Host Server B fix permissions with:

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

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


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


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


4. Test ssh passwordless authentication works correctly

For that Run as a normal ssh from rsyncuser

On Src Host


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


6. Test rsync passwordless authentication copy with superuser works

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

The general command to test is like so:

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

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


On Src_Host run:


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


7. Copying files with root credentials via script

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

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




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

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


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