Posts Tagged ‘setting’

Configure own Media streaming minidlna Linux server to access data from your Smart TV

Friday, February 18th, 2022

dlna-media-minidlna-server-linux-logo

If you happen to buy or already own or just have to install a Smart TV to be connected with a LAN Network to a Linux based custom built NAS (Network Attached Storage) server. You might benefit of the smart TV to Share and Watching the Disk Storage Pictures, Music, Video files from the NAS  to the Smart TV using the Media Server protocol.

You have certainly already faced the Media Server at your life on many locations in stores and Mall Buildings, because virtually any reoccuring advertisements, movies projected on the TVs, Kids entertainment or Floor and Buildings Room location schedules or timeline promition schedules are streamed using the Media Server protocol, for many years now. Thus having a brief idea about Media Server proto existence is foundamental stuff to be aware of for sysadmins and programmers.

Shortly about DLNA UPnP Media Streaming Protocol

Assuming that your Smart TV has been already connected to your Wireless Router 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz Wifi, one would think that the easiest way to share the files with the SmartTV is via something like a simple SAMBA Linux server via smb:// cifs:// protocols or via the good old NFS Server, however most of Samsung Smart TV and many other in year 2022 does not have embedded support for Samba SMB / CIFS Protocol but instead have support for the DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) streaming support. DLNA is part of the UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) Protocols, UPnP is also known to those using and familiar with Windows Operating Systems realm simply as UPnP AV Media server or Windows Media server.
Windows Media server for those who never heard it or used it 
 allows you to build a Playlists with Media files Video and Audio data files, that can be then later played remotely via a Local LAN or even long distance over TCP / IP remote side connected Internet network.
 

1. Set up and Stream data via Media server on  Windows PC / notebook with integrated Windows Media server 

Windows Media server configuration on Windows 7, 10 and 11 is a relatively easy to configure via:

Network and Sharing Center -> Media Streaming Options -> Turn on Media Streaming 


Then you have to define the name of the Media Library, configure whether Media server should show
on the Local Netework
for other conected devices and Allow or Block access from the other network present devices.


 2. Using a more advanced Media Server to get rid about the limitation of DLNA set of supported file codecs.
 

The Windows default embedded DLNA server is the easiest and fastest one to set up, but it’s not necessarily the best option.
Due to the way DLNA works, you can only stream certain types of media codecs supported by the server. If you have other types of media not defaultly supported and defined by DLNA win server, it just won’t work.

Thus thanksfully it was developed other DLNA servers improve this by offering real-time transcoding.
If you try to play an unsupported file, they’ll transcode it on-the-fly, streaming the video in a supported format to your DLNA device.
Just to name few of the DLNA Media Streaming servers that have supported for larger MPG Video, MP3 / MP4 and other Audio formats encodings,
you can try Plex or the Universal Media Server both of which are free to use under freeware license and have versions for Linux and Mac OS.


Universal_media_server-windows-screenshot-stream-media-data-on-network

 

3. Setting up a free as in freedom DLNA server MiniDLNA (ReadyMedia) on GNU / Linux


ReadyMedia (formerly known as MiniDLNA) is a simple media server software, with the aim of being fully compliant with DLNA/UPnP-AV clients. It was originally developed by a NETGEAR employee for the ReadyNAS product line.

MiniDNLA daemon serves media files (music, pictures, and video) to clients on a network. Linux Media servers clients you can use to test or scan your network for existent Media servers are multiple perhaps the most famous ones are applications such as totem (for QT users) and Kodi (for KDE).
The devices that can be used with minidlna are devices such as portable media players (iPod), Smartphones, Televisions, Tablets, and gaming systems (such as PS3 and Xbox 360) etc.
 

ReadyMedia is a simple, lightweight, the downside of it is It does not have a web interface for administration and must be configured by editing a text file. But for a simple Video streaming in most cases does a great job.


3.1 Install the minidlna software package 

Minidlna is available out of the box on most linux distributions (Fedora / CentOS / Debian / Ubuntu etc.) as of year 2022.

  • Install on Debian Linux (Deb based distro)

media-server:~# apt install minidlna –yes

  • Install on Fedora / CentOS (other RPM based distro)

media-server:~# yum install -y minidlna


3.2 Configure minidlna

– /etc/minidlna.conf – main config file
Open with text editor and set user= ,  media_dir= ,  port=, friendly_name= ,  network_interface= variables as minimum.
To be add minidlnad support symlinks to external file locations, set also wide_links=yes

media-server:~# vim /etc/minidlna.conf

#user=minidlna
user=root
media_dir=/var/www/owncloud/data
network_interface=eth0,eth1

# Port number for HTTP traffic (descriptions, SOAP, media transfer).
# This option is mandatory (or it must be specified on the command-line using
# "-p").
port=8200
# Name that the DLNA server presents to clients.
# Defaults to "hostname: username".
#friendly_name=
friendly_name=DLNAServer Linux
# set this to yes to allow symlinks that point outside user-defined media_dirs.
wide_links=yes
# Automatic discovery of new files in the media_dir directory.
#inotify=yes

Keep in mind that it is supported to provide separete media_dir and provide different USB / External Hard Drive or SD Card sources separated only by content be it Video, Audio or Pictures short named in config as (A,V,P).

media_dir=P,/media/usb/photos
media_dir=V,/media/external-disk/videos
media_dir=A,/media/sd-card/music

You might want to diasble / ineable the inotify depending on your liking, if you don't plan to place new files automated to the NAS and don't care to get indexed and streamed from the Media server you can disable it with inotify=no otherwise keep that on.

– /etc/default/minidlna – additional startup config to set minidlnad (daemon) options such as setup to run with admin superuser root:root 
(usually it is safe to leave it empty and set the user=root, whether needed straight from /etc/minidlna.conf
That's all now go on and launch the minidlna and enable it to automatically boot on Linux boot.

media-server:~# systemctl start minidlna
media-server:~# systemctl enable minidlna
media-server:~# systemctl status minidlna

 

3.3 Rebuilt minidlna database with data indexed files

If you need to re- generate minidlna's database.
To do so stop the minidlna server with the
 

media-server:~# systemctop stop minidlna


 command, then issue the following command (both commands should be run as root):

media-server:~# minidlna -R

Since this command might kept in the background and keep the minidlna server running with incorrect flags, after a minute or two kill minidlna process and relaunch the server via sysctl.

media-server:~#  killall -9 minidlna
media-server:~#  systemctl start minidlna

 

3.4 Permission Issues / Scanning issues

If you plan to place files in /home directory. You better have a seperate partition or folder *outside* your "home" directory devoted to your media. Default user with which minidlna runs is minidlna, this could prevent some files with root or other users being red. So either run minidlna daemon as root or as other user with whom all media files should be accessible.
If service runs as root:root, and still getting some scanning issues, check permissions on your files and remove special characters from file names.
 

media-server:~# tail -10 /var/log/minidlna/minidlna.log 
[2022/02/17 22:51:36] scanner.c:489: warn: Unsuccessful getting details for /var/www/owncloud/data/Videos/Family-Videos/FILE006.MPG
[2022/02/17 22:52:08] scanner.c:819: warn: Scanning /var/www/owncloud/data finished (10637 files)!
[2022/02/17 22:52:08] playlist.c:135: warn: Parsing playlists…
[2022/02/17 22:52:08] playlist.c:269: warn: Finished parsing playlists.
minidlna.c:1126: warn: Starting MiniDLNA version 1.3.0.
minidlna.c:1186: warn: HTTP listening on port 8200
scanner.c:489: warn: Unsuccessful getting details for /var/www/owncloud/data/admin/files/origin/External SD card/media/Viber Images/IMG-4477de7b1eee273d5e6ae25236c5c223-V.jpg
scanner.c:489: warn: Unsuccessful getting details for /var/www/owncloud/data/Videos/Family-Video/FILE006.MPG
playlist.c:135: warn: Parsing playlists…
playlist.c:269: warn: Finished parsing playlists.

 

3.5. Fix minidlna Inotify errors

In /etc/sysctl.conf 

Add:

fs.inotify.max_user_watches=65536

in a blank line at end of file and do 

media-server:~# sysctl -p

Debugging minidlna problems, index errors, warnings etc

minidlna does write by default to /var/log/minidlna/minidlna.log inspect the log closely and you should get most of the time what is wrong with it.
Note that some files might not get indexed because minidlna won't support the strange file codecs such as SWF encoding, if you have some important files to stream that are not indexed by minidlna, then install and try one of the more sophisticated free software Media Servers for Linux:

plex-media-streaming-server-screenshot

Note that most Linux users from my quick research shows, MediaTomb is the preferred advanced features Open Source Linux Media Server of choice for most of the guys.

mediatomb-linux-media-streaming-server-picture.jpg.webp
 

 

4. Test minidlna Linux servers works, getting information of other DLNA Servers on the network

media-server:~# lynx -dump  http://127.0.0.1:8200
MiniDLNA status

  Media library

   Audio files 0
   Video files 455
   Image files 10182

  Connected clients

   ID Type                   IP Address    HW Address        Connections
   0  Samsung Series [CDEFJ] 192.168.1.11  7C:0A:3D:88:A6:FA 0
   1  Generic DLNA 1.5       192.168.0.241 00:16:4E:1D:48:05 0
   2  Generic DLNA 1.5       192.168.1.18  00:16:3F:0D:45:05 0
   3  Unknown                127.0.0.1     FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF 0

   -1 connections currently open
 

Note that there is -1 connections (no active connections) currently to the server. 
The 2 Generic DLNA 1.5 IPs are another DLNA servers provided by a OpenXEN hosted Windows 7 Virtual machines, that are also broadcasting their existence in the network. The Samsung Series [CDEFJ] is the DLNA client on the Samsung TV found, used to detect and stream data from the just configured Linux dlna server.

The DLNA Protocol enabled devices on a network as you can see are quite easy to access, querying localhost on the 8200 server dumps, what minidlna knows, the rest of IPs connecting should not be able to receive this info. But anyways since the minidlna does not have a special layers of security to access it, but the only way to restrict is filtering the 8200 port, it is a very good idea to put a good iptables firewall on the machine to allow only the devices that should have access to the data.

Further more if you happen to need to access the Media files on Linux from GUI you might use some client as upmentioned totem, VLC or if you need something more feature rich Java eezUPnP .

eeZUPnP-screenshot-java-client-for-media-server

That's all folks !
Enjoy your media on the TV 🙂

How to Create New Windows 10 NTFS Drive partition from new empty ( Unallocated ) space with Windows Disk Management or diskpart command

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

Windows-10-paritioning-with-disk-management-diskmgmt.msc

As mentioned in previous article, I've been setting up a new PC that is a bit old a 11 years old Lenovo ThinkCentre model M90P with 8 GB of Memory, Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU         650  @ 3.20GHz   3.19 GHz, Intel Q57 Express Chipset.

After the installation was successful on the new Desktop PC attached SSD, I was curious to see how Windows detects the 521 GB Solid State Drive Samsung  Disk, as well as to assign all the SSD Disk space, so I don't have unused parts of the drive hanging around.

To get the exact type of SSD installed on the Lenovo ThinkCentre, it comes to a simple PowerShell command (note that the PowerShell command has to be executed as Administrator).

 

Windows PowerShell
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Try the new cross-platform PowerShell https://aka.ms/pscore6

PS C:\Windows\system32> Get-PhysicalDisk

Number FriendlyName               SerialNumber   MediaType CanPool OperationalStatus HealthStatus Usage            Size
—— ————               ————   ——— ——- —————– ———— —–            —-
0      SAMSUNG MZ7LN512HAJQ-00000 S3TVNX0MC04330 SSD       True    OK                Healthy      Auto-Select 476.94 GB


PS C:\Windows\system32>
 

 

PowerShell-Get-PhysicalDisk-command-print-exact-SSD-type-attached-to-a-Windows-computer 

During the Windows installation, I did installed Windows on a 110GB partition that was left behind from my attempt to copy another 120GB ssd drive as, I've described in my previous article.
Cause of that big part of the SAMSUNG MZ7LN512HAJQ-00000 SSD was left unpartitioned ( unallocated ) and respectively the space did not show in Windows, hence to work around this I was supposed to 
create new Windows Drive and format it either in VFAT (FAT32) or NTFS. Through the years when I had to do such an operations I often either booted from some bootCD and did the desired partitioning or if
partitioning had to be done on a LivePC without reboot, I've used Windows Partitioning Software, such as:

  • The Industry Standard Partition Manager ( Acronis Disk Director ) 
     
  • EaseUS Partition Manager


Using a Good partition manager is a great thing if some complicated partitioning operations needs to be done,  however for such a trivial stuff such as mine in that case – Creating a new NTFS filesystem from unallocated space is a bit of nonsense, thus this time I've decided to use the Windows Standard tool for Partitioinng
 

  • Disk Management

To run the tool you need to run Computer Management tool first either by just looking it up in the Search bar near Start menu (Windows 10 flag icon) or by invoking command line start window, by pressing together

Windows Button + R and runnining command:

C:\Users\Emilian> compmgmt.msc

 

From there on navigate to

Storage -> Disk Management

windows-computer-management-screenshot

Go over box Unallocated (365.15 GB) and Press Right Mouse Button and select

-> New Simple Volume

new-simple-volume-screenshot

Next steps are quite self explanatory, had to just follow the New Simple Volme Wizard steps

windows-computer-management-screenshot

windows-computer-management-screenshot-3

windows-computer-management-screenshot-4

I Prefer to use NTFS because it is quicker and kinda of a standard since Windows 8+ onwards, besides that this computer will be used as a simple web browsing station and there is no plans the disk will ever have to be attached to a different OS like UNIX / LInux..However always keep in mind for compitability reasons VFAT Filesystem is usually not a bad idea. 

windows-computer-management-screenshot-5

https://www.pc-freak.net/images/new-ntfs-volume-F-drive-windows-10-screenshot

As you can see the drive is prepared and now accessible from Windows Explorer under Drive F:\. If you wonder why the drive is not D:\, it seems to create the D:\ the unallocated space is supposed to be be on a separate Disk which waas not the case with this PC setup.

After installing the SSD drive and setting the proper partitions another good practice is to use Disk Defragmenter Win tool to optimize the Drives for speed. Another useful feature of disk degragmenter is you can use it to check what kind of hard drive you have installed e.g. SATA or SSD, as well as check if the installed SSD is NVME (Non-Volatile-Memory-Express), e.g. of a faster type.

To run Disk Degrafmenter do  Win key + R
 


C:\Users\Emilian> dfrgui

 

dfrgui-command-screenshot-windows-1

Below is what dfrgui reports on the ThinkCentre after running Disk Optimize for each Drive – (Optimize All) option.

dfrgui-partitions-on-lenovo-thinkcentre-windows-screeshot

Just to show you what you can see with dfrgui, here is the dfrgui screenshot from another PC that has attached both SATA disk and NVME SSD Drive.

dfrgui-command-screenshot-windows-2

 

How to do partitioning from Windows console with diskpart command (useful for scripting)

 

If you're coming from Linux world and you're pretty used to fdisk / cfdisk etc. to do partitioning daily, then you'll be most happy to hear about existence of the diskpart command in Windows, which is a kinda of an equivalent tool.
The tool is perfect for domain administrators which need to do some dynamic partitioning operations on multiple computers at once.

 To use diskpart you need Administrator command prompt, there is much you can do with diskpart, below is how to create another NTFS partition on a secondary

C:\Windows\System32> diskpart

diskpart-win-screenshot-1

DISKPART> list disk

diskpart-win-screenshot-2

DISKPART> select disk 2

diskpart-win-screenshot-3

To clean all the content (e.g. delete everything on hard drive) e.g. all files and directories

!!! BEWARE NOT TO DELETE BY MISTAKE YOUR DATA DON'T BLAME ME IF YOU JUST COPY PASTE IRRESPONSIBLY WITHOUT THINKING.
AFTER ALL IT IS YOUR COMPUTER !!!

DISKPART> clean

 

diskpart-win-screenshot-4

Next lets, create a partition, in below screenshot you can see how to use help and what are the supported partition types in Windows 10 as of year 2021.


/diskpart-help-create-partition-type-screenshot
 

DISKPART> create partition primary

diskpart-win-screenshot-6

To format new assigned primary partition as NTFS

DISKPART> format fs=ntfs

diskpart-win-screenshot-7

Once formatted to assign Drive letter that is the next available free one in order

DISKPART> assign

 

diskpart-win-screenshot-8

If instead of auto assigning a letter to new formatted partition, you would want to assign a specific Drive letter, lets say F:\> as it was in our case with the Graphical Windows Disk Management tool earlier in article.

DISKPART> assign letter=F


Using diskpart it is pretty easy to do much stuff from command line such as formatting a new attached empty unallocated drive, or formatting and setting a desired filesysteem of external attached Hard Drive. Note that the disk list arguments will list any externally attached Supported Storage and you can use disklist similarly to do quick format / repartition / wipe out data or whatever.

Further on just for fun I've run CPUID which is a great Windows freeware tool to report System Information, pretty much like the good old Everest such as exact CPU type, MainBoard, Graphics Card and Mainboard type of the certain hardware you have on running.

cpuid-screenshot-windows-10
 
That's all folks Hope this article, helped you learn something new.

Cheers 😉

 

Remove “Windows 7 PC is out of Support” annoying reoccuring warning popup alert

Friday, September 10th, 2021

Windows-7-End-of-life-pc-is-out-of-support-removal-rip-win-7

Since January 15th 2020, Windows 7 which reached its End of Life (EOL)  and is no longer Supported. Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, and Professional installations will display the message


"Your Windows 7 PC is out of support".

The use of Windows 7, since 2020 is steadily declining but some hard core maniacs, who refuse to be in tune with latest fashion do still roll Windows 7 on dedicated VPS Servers (running on Xen / VMWare etc.).
With the reach of End of Support, people who still run Windows 7 have no longer the usual Operating system provided.

  • No security updates
  • No software updates
  • No tech support

Even though running End of Support system is quite dangerous and you might get hacked easily by autometed bot, still for some custom uses and if the Windows 7 Runs behind a solid firewall it could be considered relatively safe.

Microsoft hence made their Windows (remote controlled system) to have an annoying pop up window with the "YOUR WINDOWS 7 PC IS OUT OF SUPPORT" as shown in below screenshot:

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-annoying-message-screenshot.

For those who don't plan to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 10, this message becomes quickly very annoying especially if you happen to access remotely your Windows 7 VPS and use it for simple things as browsing a few news websites or you're a marketer and you use the Windows for accessing Amazon / Ebay from a different country as many Marketers do to access General Webstores emulating access from a remote location. 


Disable "Your Windows 7 PC is out of support" popup alert
 

Luckily it is possible to disable this annoying Your Windows 7 pop-up alert by setting a value key in Windows Registry
DiscontinueEOS to 1.

To do so launch from Administrator command  line cmd.exe prompt (or start it from Windows start menu):

regedit

1. Open Windows Registry Editor and navigate to

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\EOSNotify.

 You will need to set the DWORD DiscontinueEOS value to 1 in the Windows Registry
 

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-eosnotify-dword-registry-03-600x366

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-discontinueEOS-registry-modify

–  In case EOSNotify key is not available, right-click the CurrentVersion key and select New > Key and name it EOSNotify.

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-EOSNotify-create-new-key-600x367

2. Right click anywhere in the right pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it DiscontinueEOS.

3. Set Value data to 1 and click OK.

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-edit-dword-32-bit-value-regedit-screenshot.

4. When the new value has been set, Restart the Windows7 computer / Virtual machine, to make sure registry setting take effect.

windows-7-disable-pc-is-out-of-support-popup-discontninueEOS-reg-dword-0x000000001-600x248

 

To automate the procedure in large environments, you can create a small script using the reg  command load the Registry key or use Windows GPO (Group Policy Object) to enforce the setting across all Active Directory PC members.
 

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\EOSNotify]
"DiscontinueEOS"=dword:00000001
custom GPO in Active Directory.

To avoid potential issues using a non supported OS, you should start planning to upgrade your Windows 7 clients to Windows 10.

That's it ! Out of support Windows 7  alert should no longer bug you 🙂

Remove old unused kernels and cleanup orphaned packages on CentOS / RHEL/ Fedora and Debian Linux

Friday, October 23rd, 2020

remove-old-unused-kernel-on-centos-redhat-rhel-fedora-linux-howto-delete-orphaned-packages

If you administer CentOS 7 / CentOS  8 bunch of servers it is very likely after one of the scheduled Patch days every 6 months or so, you end up with a multiple Linux OS kernels installed on the system.
In normal situation on a freshly installed CentOS machine only one rpm package is installed on the system with the kernel release shipped with CentOS / RHEL / Fedora distro:
The reason to remove the old unused kernels is very simple, you don't want to have a messy installation and after some of the updates to boot up in a revert back old kernel or if you're pedantic to simply save few megas of space.
Some people choose to have more than one kernel just to make sure, if the new installed one doesn't boot, after a restart from ILO / IDRAC remote console interface you can select to boot the proper kernel. I agree having the old kernel before the system *kernel* upgrade as backup recovery is a good thing but this is a good thing to the point the system gets booted after reboot (you know we sysadmins usually after each major system package upgrade), we like to reboot the system warmly praying and hoping it will boot up next time 🙂
 

1. Remove CentOS last XX kernels from the OS

Of course removal of old kernels could be managed by a simple

yum remove kernel


yum-kernel-remove-centos-linux

One more than one kernel is present you can hence leave only lets say the last 2 installed kernel on the CentOS host (some people prefer to have only one) but just for the sake of having a backup kernel I like more to have last two kernels installed present, to do so run package-cleanup which is contained in yum-utils rpm package CentOS – this is CentOS / Redhat ( RHEL) specific command.
 

[root@centos ~ ]:# package-cleanup –oldkernels –count=2

package-cleanup-centos-linux-screenshot-1

–count=number argument – tells how many from the  latest version kernels to get removed.

Note if you don't have the package-cleanup command install yum-utils package:

[root@centos ~ :]#  yum install -y yum-utils

cleanup-old-kernels-linux-leave-only-set-of-2-kernels-active-on-centos-rhel-fedora


2. RemoveOld kernels from Fedora Linux – leave only the latest 3 installed

This is done with dnf by setting the –-latest-limit arg to negative value to how many last kernels want to keep

[root@fedora ~ ]:# dnf remove $(dnf repoquery –installonly –latest-limit=-3 -q)

 

3. Set how many kernels you want to be present on system all the time after package upgrades

It is possible to tell CentOS / RHEL / Fedora's on how many kernels show be kept installed on the system, the default configured on Operating system install time is to keep the last 5 installed kernel on the OS. This is controlled from installonly_limit=5 value that is usually as of year 2020 RPM based distributions found under /etc/yum.conf (on CentOS / RHEL) and in /etc/dnf/dnf.conf (in Fedora) configuration file and sets the desired number of kernels present on system after issuing commands yum upgrade / dnf upgrade –refresh etc.
The minimum number to give to  installonly_limit is 2.
 

4. Remove orphan rpm packages from server

The next thing to do is to check the installed orphan packages to see if we can safely remove them; by orphaned packages we mean all packages which no longer serve a purpose of package dependencies.
Orphan packages are packages who left over from some old dependencies that are no longer needed on the system but just take up space and impose a possible security risk as some of them might end up with time with a public well known and hacked CVE vulnearbility.

Let me try to explain this concept with a quick example: package A is depended on package B, thus, in order to install package A the package B must also be installed. Once the package A is removed the package B might still be installed, hence the package B is now orphaned package.
Here’s how we can safely see the orphan packages we do have on our system:

[root@centos ~ :]#  package-cleanup –quiet –leaves –exclude-bin

And here’s how we can delete them:

[root@centos ~ :]# package-cleanup –quiet –leaves –exclude-bin | xargs yum remove -y


The above commands should be launched multiple times, because the packages deleted with the first batch could create additional orphan packages, and so on: be sure to perform these tasks until no orphan packages appear anymore after the first package-cleanup command.

 

5. Delete Old Kernels and keep only last three ones on Debian / Ubuntu Linux

To do the same on a debian based distribution there is a command is provided by a deb package byobu, if you want to clean up old kernels on Debians :

$ sudo purge-old-kernels –keep 3


That's all folks enjoy ! 🙂

 

Upgrade Debian Linux 9 to 10 Stretch to Buster and Disable graphical service load boot on Debian 10 Linux / Debian Buster is out

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

howto-upgrade-debian-linux-debian-stretch-to-buster-debian-10-buster

I've just took a time to upgrade my Debian 9 Stretch Linux to Debian Buster on my old school Laptop (that turned 11 years old) Lenovo Thinkpad R61 . The upgrade went more or less without severe issues except few things.

The overall procedure followed is described n a few websites out there already and comes up to;

 

0. Set the proper repository location in /etc/apt/sources.list


Before update the sources.list used are:
 

deb [arch=amd64,i386] http://ftp.bg.debian.org/debian/ buster main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64,i386] http://ftp.bg.debian.org/debian/ buster main contrib non-free

 

deb [arch=amd64,i386] http://security.debian.org/ buster/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64,i386] http://security.debian.org/ buster/updates main contrib non-free

deb [arch=amd64,i386] http://ftp.bg.debian.org/debian/ buster-updates main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64,i386] http://ftp.bg.debian.org/debian/ buster-updates main contrib non-free

deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian buster-backports main


For people that had stretch defined in /etc/apt/sources.list you should change them to buster or stable, easiest and quickest way to omit editting with vim / nano etc. is run as root or via sudo:
 

sed -i 's/stretch/buster/g' /etc/apt/sources.list
sed -i 's/stretch/buster/g' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/*.list

The minimum of config in sources.list after the modification should be
 

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main
deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster-updates main
deb http://security.debian.org/debian-security buster/updates main

Or if you want to always be with latest stable packages (which is my practice for notebooks):

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian stable main
deb http://deb.debian.org/debian stable-updates main
deb http://security.debian.org/debian-security stable/updates main

 

1. Getting list of hold packages if such exist and unholding them, e.g.

 

apt-mark showhold


Same could also be done via dpkg

dpkg –get-selections | grep hold


To unhold a package if such is found:

echo "package_name install"|sudo dpkg –set-selections

For those who don't know what hold package is this is usually package you want to keep at certain version all the time even though after running apt-get upgrade to get the latest package versions.
 

2. Use df -h and assure you have at least 5 – 10 GB free space on root directory / before proceed

df -h /

3. Update packages list to set new set repos as default

apt update

 

4. apt upgrade
 

apt upgrade

Here some 10 – 15 times you have to confirm what you want to do with configuration that has changed if you're unsure about the config (and it is not critical service) you're aware as such as Apache / MySQL / SMTP etc. it is best to install the latest maintainer version.

Hopefully here you will not get fatal errors that will interrupt it.

P.S. It is best to run apt-update either in VTTY (Virtual console session) with screen or tmux or via a physical tty (if this is not a remote server) as during the updates your GUI access to the gnome-terminal or konsole / xterm whatever console used might get cut. Thus it is best to do it with command:
 

screen apt upgrade

 

5. Run dist-upgrade to finalize the upgrade from Stertch to Buster

 

Once all is completed of the new installed packages, you will need to finally do, once again it is best to run via screen, if you don't have installed screen install it:

 

if [ $(which screen) ]; then echo 'Installed'; else apt-get install –yes screen ; fi

screen apt dist-upgrade


Here once again you should set whether old configuration to some e services has to stay or the new Debian maintainer package shipped one will overwrite the old and locally modified (due to some reason), here do wisely whatever you will otherwise some configured services might not boot as expected on next boot.

 

6. What if you get packages failed on update


If you get a certain package failed to configure after installed due to some reason, if it is a systemd service use:

 

journalctl -xe |head -n 50


or fully observer output of journalctl -xe and decide on yourself.

In most cases

dpkg-reconfigure failed-package-name


should do the trick or at least give you more hints on how to solve it.

 

Also if a package seems to be in inconsistent or broken state after upgrade  and simple dpkg-reconfigure doesn't help, a good command
that can help you is

 

dpkg-reconfigure -f package_name

 

or you can try to workaround a failed package setup with:
 

dpkg –configure -a

 
If dpkg-reconfigure doesn't help either as I experienced in prior of Debian from Debian 6 -> 7 an Debian 7 ->8 updates on some Computers, then a very useful thing to try is:
 

apt-get update –fix-missing 

apt-get install -f


At certain cases the only work around to be able to complete the package upgrade is to to remove the package with apt remove but due to config errors even that is not possible to work around this as final resort run:
 

dpkg –remove –force-remove-reinstreq

 

7. Clean up ununeeded packages

 

Some packages are left over due to package dependencies from Stretch and not needed in buster anymore to remove them.
 

apt autoremove

 

8. Reboot system once all upgrade is over

 

/sbin/reboot

 

9. Verify your just upgraded Debian is in a good state

 

root@noah:~# uname -a;
Linux noah 4.19.0-5-rt-amd64 #1 SMP PREEMPT RT Debian 4.19.37-5 (2019-06-19) x86_64 GNU/Linux

 

root@noah:~# cat /etc/issue.net
Debian GNU/Linux 10
 

 

root@noah:~# lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID:    Debian
Description:    Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
Release:    10
Codename:    buster

 

root@noah:~# hostnamectl
   Static hostname: noah
         Icon name: computer-laptop
           Chassis: laptop
        Machine ID: 4759d9c2f20265938692146351a07929
           Boot ID: 256eb64ffa5e413b8f959f7ef43d919f
  Operating System: Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
            Kernel: Linux 4.19.0-5-rt-amd64
      Architecture: x86-64

 

10. Remove annoying picture short animation with debian logo looping

 

plymouth-debian-graphical-boot-services

By default Debian 10 boots up with annoying screen hiding all the status of loaded services state .e.g. you cannot see the services that shows in [ FAILED ] state and  which do show as [ OK ] to revert back the old behavior I'm used to for historical reasons and as it shows a lot of good Boot time debugging info, in previous Debian distributions this was possible  by setting the right configuration options in /etc/default/grub

which so far in my config was like so

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash scsi_mod.use_blk_mq=y dm_mod.use_blk_mq=y zswap.enabled=1 text"


Note that zswap.enabled=1 passed option is because my notebook is pretty old machine from 2008 with 4GB of memory and zswap does accelerate performance when working with swap – especially helpful on Older PCs for more you can read more about zswap on ArchLinux wiki
After modifying this configuration to load the new config into grub the cmd is:
 

/usr/sbin/update-grub

 
As this was not working and tried number of reboots finally I found that annoying animated gif like picture shown up is caused by plymouth below is excerpts from Plymouth's manual page:


       "The plymouth sends commands to a running plymouthd. This is used during the boot process to control the display of the graphical boot splash."

Plymouth has a set of themes one can set:

 

# plymouth-set-default-theme -l
futureprototype
details
futureprototype
joy
lines
moonlight
softwaves
spacefun
text
tribar

 

I tried to change that theme to make the boot process as text boot as I'm used to historically with cmd:
 

update-alternatives –config text.plymouth

 
As after reboot I hoped the PC will start booting in text but this does not happened so the final fix to turn back to textmode service boot was to completely remove plymouth
 

apt-get remove –yes plymouth

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

use-remote-dns-on-mozilla-firefox-howto-windows-linux-logo.svg

If you're using Mozilla Firefox browser to browse the Web with Traffic Tunneling via SSH Tunnel to your own Linux server like I do in order to prevent yourself traffic to be sniffed from your Work corporate computer (as most of the corporations such as IBM / Hewlett Packard / Concentrix etc. are forcing all employee PC traffic to be  to be transported via default set Windows Corporate Proxy active for all browsers.

Then you will certainly also want to prevent the DNS requests to be not logged somewhere in your Corporate IT department thus the question arises:

How to force DNS requests to be made through the Proxy server (SSH host)?

Nomatter where you're using Firefox browser with advanced proxying plugin such as FoxyProxy FF add-on or the default Proxy FF features the DNS lookups might end up in Corporate set DNS servers often forced for the computer / notebook and impossible to be changed to a custom ones as many of the Corporation internal Sharepoints and domains are only visible from their internal networks.

Thanksfully in newer versions there is an easy way to do it directly from Visual menus via:

Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Network -> Settings

You will get a screen like below:
 

firefox-use-proxy-remote-dns-howto-screenshot

Just tick the Remote DNS and that will force Firefox to query remote Proxy server proxy DNS

 

If you happen to be running older Firefox which doesn't have the Remote DNS tick you can also try to set the setting manually:

 

  1. In firefox type this in your address bar:

    about:config

  2. Click I'll be careful I  promise.

  3. In the filter textbox, type: proxy

  4. Find the preference name called *network.proxy.socks_remote_dns*. Double click it to set it to true.

    i-will-be-careful-i-promise-firefox-windows-screenshot-warranty


network-proxy-socks-remote_dns-firefox-screenshot

Enjoy ! 🙂

Improve Websites SEO: Optimize images to Increase website loading performance on Linux server – Image Compress tools

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Optimize-website-images-pictures-to-Increase-website-loading-performance-on-Linux-server_Image_Compress_tools-Improve-Websites_SEO
Part of our daily life as Web hosting system adminstrators is to constantly strive to better utilize our Linux / Windows hosting servers hardware.
Therefore it is our constant task to look for new better ways to optimize our Apache Sites and Webservers in order to return served application content light fast to keep the Boss and customers happy 🙂

There are things to tune up for better server performance and better CPU / memory utilization on both server Application server side as well as the website programming code backend, html and pictures / images

Thus it is critically important to not only keep the Webserver / PHP engine optimized but keep hosted sites  stored images and source code clean and efficient.

We as admins usually couldn't directly interfere with clearning the source code and often we have to host a crappy written sites with picture upload forms with un-optimized Image files that was  produced on old Photo Cameras, "Ancient" Mobile Mobiles, Win XP MS Paint, various versions Photoshop, Gimp etc.).

It is a well known fact that a big part from a Website User Experience is how fast the user loads a page, thus if HTML / CSS loaded images loads slow has a negative impact on user look & feel about website

Therefore by optimizing the size of hosted sites Images, you Save Network bandwidth and in some cases when Large Gallery sites HDD disk space.

On Linux, there are already a many command line tools to inspect and optimize (compress) the size of PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNM, Tiff Images, most famous ones are:

  • optipng – PNG optimizer that recompresses image files to a smaller size, without losing any information.
  • jpegoptim –   lossless JPEG optimization (based on optimizing the Huffman tables) and "lossy" optimization based on setting a maximum quality factor.
  • pngcrush – Recommended tool to use by Stoyan Stefanov (Yahoo Yslow Developer)
  • jpegtran – Recommended to use by Google 
  • gifsicle –  command-line tool for creating, editing, and getting information about GIF images and animations. 

It is hence useful to first run manually availale Linux image optimization tools (to get an idea what they do) and later automate them to run as scripts to optimize server stored images size and make pictures load faster on websites and thus improve End Users Experience and speed up Image content delivery to GoogleBot / YahooBot / Bing Crawlers which will make Search Engines to position server hosted sites better (more SEO Friendly).

 

  • How much percents of  space (Mega / Gigabytes ) Pictures compress can save you?

If you run it on 500MB image directory, you can probably save about 20 to 50MB of size, so don't expect extraordinary file reduce, however 5% to 10% reduce in size is not bad too. If you host 100 sites each with half gigas of data this would mean saving of 5GB of data and some 5GB from backups 🙂 At extraordinary cases you can expect 20% to 30% of storage reduce. For even better image compression you can try out GIMP's – Save for Web option.
 

  • Installing jpegtran, optpng, jpegoptim, pngcrush gifsicle on Debian / Ubuntu (deb based) Linux
     

apt-get install –yes libjpeg-progs optipng jpegoptim pngcrush gifsicle

 

  • Installing  jpegtran, optpng, jpegoptim, pngcrush, gifsicle on Fedora / CentOS / RHEL (RPM based distros)
     

yum -y install pngcrush libjpeg-turbo-utils opt-jpg opt-png opt-gif


gifsicle is not availale by default on Redhacks 🙂 but there is a RPM package for fedora from http://pkgs.repoforge.org/gifsicle/

 

Some examples of running image compression on GNU / Linux

  • optipng and jpegoptim optimize for all files in directory
     

cd /home/sites/

find . -iname '*.png' -print0 | xargs -0 optipng -o7 -preserve
find . -iname '*.jpg' -print0 |
 xargs -0 jpegoptim –max=90 –strip-all –preserve –totals


In jpegoptim command, the option –strip-all will strip any metadata including Exif data from images. For websites JPEG metadata is usually not needed, so usually its ok to strip them.

Above jpegoptim example will decrease slightly JPEG image quality to 90%. quality level of 90 is still high enough and website visitors are unlikely to spot any visible quality reduction / defects in the image.

 

  • pngcrush all files in a directory example
     

cd /home/sites/

for png in `find $IMG_DIR -iname "*.png"`; do
    echo "crushing $png …"
        pngcrush -rem alla -reduce -brute "$png" temp.png

 

    # preserve original on error
    if [ $? = 0 ]; then
        mv -f temp.png $png
        else
        rm temp.png
        fi
done

  • Run jpegtran on sites directory
     

find /home/sites -name "*.jpg" -type f -exec jpegtran -copy none -optimize -outfile {} {} ;

 

  • Set a script to compress / reduce size of Sites Images


Here is a basic optimize_images.sh which I used earlier before and was reducing the overall images size just 5 to 10%, then I found the much improved version of optimize images shell script  (useful to  clear up EXIF picture data / And Comments from JPG / PNG files). The script execution could take very long time on large image directories and thus could cause a high HDD disk I/O, however if ran once a week at night time its not such a big deal. 

To set it to run on your server as a cronjob:
 

cd /usr/sbin/
wget -q https://www.pc-freak.net/bshscr/optimize_images2.sh
crontab -u root -e 


Sample cron job to run once a month on 10th and 27th in 3 o'clock AM:
 

 00 3 10,27 * * /usr/sbin/optimize_images2.sh 2>&1 >/dev/null


Also if you need to further optimize million of tiny sized PNG files Yahoo Smush.it service could be helpful. For compression maniacs its worthy to check out also TinyPNG Service (however be awre that this service compresses files with significant quality loss) making picture quality visibly deteriorated.

Besides optimizing server stored Pictures, here are some other stuff that helps in increasing server utilization / lower webpages loading time.

Starting up with the installation (when site is to use Apache + PHP) for its backend, the first thing to on the freshlyinstalled Linux server is to implement the following list of Apache common Timeout variables that help better scale the webserver for the CMS-es hosted, enable Webserver caching with (mod_deflate), enable eAccelerator tune PHP common php variable etc.

Other thing  I sometimes use to speed-up performance of Apache child responce time up to 20-30  is to Include into Virtualhost / httpd.conf Apache configuration any htacces mod_rewrite rules.

On too heavily loaded sites On-line stores / Large Company website portals with more than 60 000 – 100 000 unique IP visitors a day it is useful tip to disable completely Apache logging in access.log / error.log.

Often when old architecture websites are moved from older Linux OS version to a newer one with newer versions of Apache / PHP often sites are working without major code rework, but use many functions which are already obsolete and thus many WARNING messages crap is logged into php_error.log / error.log. Thus to save disk space and decrease hard disk I/O operations it is good to Disable PHP Notices and Warnings messages
 

Disable php notice logging / stop variable warnings in error.log on Apache / Nginx / Lighttpd

Monday, July 28th, 2014

disable_php_notice_warnings_logging_in-apache-nginx-lighttpd
At one of companies where I administrate few servers, we are in process of optimizing the server performance to stretch out the maximum out of server hardware and save money from unnecessery hardware costs and thus looking for ways to make server performance better.

On couple of web-sites hosted on few of the production servers, administrating, I've noticed dozens of PHP Notice errors, making the error.log quickly grow to Gigabytes and putting useless hard drive I/O overhead. Most of the php notice warnings are caused by unitialized php variables.

I'm aware having an unitialized values is a horrible security hole, however the websites are running fine even though the notice warnings and currently the company doesn't have the necessery programmers resource to further debug and fix all this undefined php vars, thus what happens is monthly a couple of hundreds megabytes of useless same php notice warnings are written in error.log.

That  error.log errors puts an extra hardship for awstats which is later generating server access statistics while generating the 404 errors statistics and thus awstats script has to read and analyze huge files with plenty of records which doesn't have nothing to do with 404 error

We found this PHP Notice warnings logged is one of the things we can optimize had to be disabled.

Here is how this is done:
On the servers running Debian Wheezy stable to disable php notices.

I had to change in /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini error_reporting variable.

Setting was to log everything (including PHP critical errors, warning and notices) like so:
 

vi /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini

error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_DEPRECATED

to

error_reporting = E_COMPILE_ERROR|E_ERROR|E_CORE_ERROR


On CentOS, RHEL, SuSE based servers, edit instead /etc/php.ini.

This setting makes Apache to only log in error.log critical errors, php core dump (thread) errors and php code compilation (interpretation errors)

To make settings take affect on Debian host Apache webserver:

/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

On CentOS, RHEL Linux, had to restart Apache with:

/etc/init.d/httpd restart

For other servers running Nginx and Lighttpd webservers, after changing php.ini:

service nginx reload
service lighttpd restart

To disable php notices errors only on some websites, where .htaccess enabled, you can use also place in website DocumentRoot .htaccess:
 

php_value error_reporting 2039


Other way to disable via .htaccess is by adding to it code:
 

php_flag display_errors off


Also for hosted websites on some of the servers, where .htaccess is disabled, enabling / disabling php notices can be easily triggered by adding following php code to index.php

define('DEBUG', true);

if(DEBUG == true)
{
    ini_set('display_errors', 'On');
    error_reporting(E_ALL);
}
else
{
    ini_set('display_errors', 'Off');
    error_reporting(0);
}

 

Fix MySQL connection error – Host ” is blocked because of many connection errors; unblock with ‘mysqladmin flush-hosts’

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

fix-mysql-too-many-connection-errors-explained

If you get a MySQL error like:

Host '' is blocked because of many connection errors; unblock with 'mysqladmin flush-hosts'

This most likely means your PHP / Java whatever programming language application connecting to MySQL is failing to authenticate with the application created (existing) or that the application is trying too many connections to MySQL in a rate where MySQL server can't serve all the requests.

Some common errors for Too many Connection errors are:
 

  • Networking Problem
  • Server itself could be down
  • Authentication Problems
  • Maximum Connection Errors allowed.

The value of the max_connection_errors system variable determines how many successive interrupted connection requests are permitted to myqsl server.
 

Well anyways if you get the:

Host '' is blocked because of many connection errors; unblock with 'mysqladmin flush-hosts'

You can consider this a sure sign application connections to MySQLis logging a lot of error connections, for some reason.
This error could also appear on very busy websites where high amount of separete connections are used – I've seen the error occur on PHP websites whether mysql_pconnect(); is selected in favour of the prooved working mysql_connect();

The first thing to do before changing / increasing default set of max connection errors is to check how many max connection errors are set within MySQL?

For that connect with MySQL CLI and issue:
 

mysql> SHOW VARIABLES LIKE '%error%';


+——————–+————————————————————-+
| Variable_name      | Value                                                           |
+——————–+————————————————————-+
| error_count        | 0                                                                     |
| log_error          | /var/log/mysql//mysqld.log                                |
| max_connect_errors | 10000                                                      |
| max_error_count    | 64                                                               |
| slave_skip_errors  | OFF                                                             |
+——————–+————————————————————-+


A very useful mysql cli command in debugging max connection errors reached problem is

mysql> SHOW PROCESSLIST;

 

To solve the error, try to tune in /etc/my.cnf, /etc/mysql/my.cnf or wherever my.cnf is located:

[mysqld]
max_connect_errors
variable

and

wait_timeout var. Some reasonable variable size would be:

max_connect_errors = 100000
wait_timeout = 60

If such (anyways) high values is still not high enough you can raise mysql config connection timeout

 

to

max_connect_errors = 100000000

Also if you want to try raise max_connect_errors var without making it permanenty (i.e. remember var setting after MySQL service restart), set it from MySQL cli with:

SET GLOBAL max_connect_errors


If you want to keep the set default max_connection_errors and fix it temporary, you can try to follow the error

Host '' is blocked because of many connection errors; unblock with 'mysqladmin flush-hosts'

suggestion and issue in root console:

mysqladmin flush-hosts

Same could also be done from MySQL Cli with cmd:
 

FLUSH HOSTS;

Apache increase loglevel – Increasing Apache logged data for better statistic analysis

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

apache-increase-loglevel-howto-increasing-apache-logged-data-for-better-statistic-analysis
In case of development (QA) systems, where developers deploy new untested code, exposing Apache or related Apache modules to unexpected bugs often it is necessery to increase Apache loglevel to log everything, this is done with:

 

LogLevel debug

LogLevel warn is common logging option for Apache production webservers.
 

Loglevel warn


in httpd.conf is the default Apache setting for Log. For some servers that produce too many logs this setting could be changed to LogLevel crit which will make the web-server log only errors of critical importance to webserver. Using LogLevel debug setting is very useful whether you have to debug issues with unworking (failing) SSL certificates. It will give you whole dump with SSL handshake and reason for it failing.

You should be careful before deciding to increasing server log level, especially on production servers.
Increased logging level puts higher load on Apache webserver, as well as produces a lot of gigabytes of mostly useless logs that could lead quickly to filling all free disk space.

If you  would like to increase logged data in access.log / error.log, because you would like to perform versatile statistical analisys on daily hits, unique visits, top landing pages etc. with Webalizer, Analog or Awstats.

Change LogFormat and CustomLog variables from common to combined.

By default Apache is logging with following LogFormat and Customlog
 

LogFormat "%h %l %u %t "%r" %>s %b" common
CustomLog logs/access_log common


Which will be logging in access.log format:

 

127.0.0.1 – jericho [10/Oct/2000:13:55:36 -0700] "GET /apache_pb.gif HTTP/1.0" 200 2326


Change it to something like:

 

LogFormat "%h %l %u %t "%r" %>s %b "%{Referer}i" "%{User-agent}i"" combined CustomLog log/access_log combined


This would produce logs like:

127.0.0.1 – jericho [10/Oct/2000:13:55:36 -0700] “GET /apache_pb.gif HTTP/1.0” 200 2326 “http://www.example.com/start.html” “Mozilla/4.08 [en] (Win98; I ;Nav)"

 

Using Combined Log Format produces all logged information from CustomLog … common, and also logs the Referrer and User-Agent headers, which indicate where users were before visiting your Web site page and which browsers they used. You can read rore on custom Apache logging tailoring theme on Apache's website