tech stuff.

Quicktip: Use your own VNC client for Softlayer CloudLayer console

with 3 comments

Contrary to what Softlayer sales would have me believe, Softlayer’s CloudLayer service does, in fact, provide console access. It’s provided via a java VNC applet accessible from https://manage.softlayer.com.

I use Linux on the desktop, though, so anything involving the words “java” and “applet” seems destined for failure. Fortunately, Softlayer is stand-up enough to provide the VNC connection information on the same page, so I thought I might fire up PPtP and give it a shot.

Strangely, I was unable to get Vinagre or gtkvncviewer to work. They would connect and send keystrokes successfully, but the display would remain blank. Bummer. The jtightvncviewer provided by Ubuntu’s tightvnc-java package works, though, and I don’t care enough to figure out why Vinagre didn’t work.

Good Luck, and if you figure out why Vinagre doesn’t work please let me know.

Written by Lee Verberne

2012-02-12 at 13:29

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

OpenBSD Install via IPMI on SuperMicro Server

leave a comment »

This is a step-by-step guide for how I remotely installed OpenBSD 5.0 to my SuperMicro X8SIE-LN4F based server.  This includes setting up IPMI and remote serial console.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lee Verberne

2012-01-13 at 22:07

Posted in BSD

Tagged with

Insufficient serial devices in the amd64 GENERIC kernel for SuperMicro

leave a comment »

As I was futzing around trying to get OpenBSD 5.0 (amd64) to play well with the SOL provided by the BMC on my new SuperMicro server, I noticed something unexpected about the amd64 GENERIC kernel.

I really want a reliable console on these new servers, and I’m pretty sure that if any OS is going to manage decent serial support, it’s going to be OpenBSD.  Getting OpenBSD to use a serial console is well documented and pretty easy, but installing via serial console is a little more difficult.  In my case, though, I don’t need to modify the install CD because I don’t technically need a 100% serial install.

The AMI BIOS on this server provides console redirection that — while not the best — works well enough to allow me to interrupt the VGA boot loader and change the console to the serial port via set tty com2.  After that, the ramdisk kernel booted with a console on the third serial port and my generic OpenBSD 5.0 install went very smoothly.  Until it came time to boot into the new OS, that is.

An OpenBSD install is a thing a beauty.  It’s the most well thought out installer I’ve ever used, and it’s exclusively text-based.  So it’s a great fit for a serial console install.  It even detected that I was using com2, and asked if I wanted to make that the console on the install.  When I rebooted, however, I received all the kernel messages on the SOL console, but nothing from the startup scripts or getty.

It appears to me the problem is that — while the amd64/RAMDISK_CD and the i386/GENERIC kernels both come configured with 3 COM ports — the amd64 GENERIC kernel is only configured with 2 COM ports.  If I use config -e to add a third com port and boot that modified kernel, everything works perfectly.

As soon as I understand the issue a bit better, I’ll be posting a step-by-step guide with some model numbers.

Written by Lee Verberne

2012-01-07 at 00:45

Posted in BSD

Tagged with

x509 hash changes in Ubuntu Oneiric

leave a comment »

Did your commands with custom -CApath stop working after upgrading to Oneiric? Mine did. It turns out Oneiric introduced a change (via OpenSSL 1.0.0, maybe?) that changed the subject hash algorithm used to index certificates in a -CApath directory. Look for a handy code snippet after the jump.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lee Verberne

2011-11-10 at 17:27

Posted in Linux

scp and POSIX ACLs

leave a comment »

scp doesn’t play well with POSIX filesystem ACLs, and as far as I can tell there’s nothing to be done about it.

The problem is that the server side explicitly calls open(2) with the mode of the file on the client side in all cases.  Since the file’s group permissions are linked to the mask ACL, this means that — for a mode 644 file — the file gets set mask::r-- instead of inheriting the default mask from the directory.

In my opinion, the correct way to do it would be to create the file without an explicit mode unless the -p command line option was used.  In fact, I would have thought that was the point of the -p flag.

This issue isn’t exclusive to ACLs, really.  It seems like it would cause problems with standard unix permissions as well.  Anyway, the only way around it seems to be changing the mode on the client side prior to the scp.  bummer.

Note: I determined this by examining the version of OpenSSH distributed with Ubuntu Lucid, which is 5.3p1.  Please let me know if you’ve had a different experience.

Written by Lee Verberne

2011-07-07 at 13:21

Posted in Linux

Tagged with , ,

OpenBSD Embedded Router

with 4 comments

The excellent flashrd project makes easy work of installing OpenBSD as an embedded platform.  I had an excellent experience installing OpenBSD 5.0 on a PCEngines ALIX 2d13 using a 4GB CF.  A rough outline of the steps follows.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lee Verberne

2011-06-12 at 10:43

Posted in BSD

Tagged with

Shells shells everywhere

leave a comment »

tmux makes it easy to construct a plethora of ssh connections via tmux neww "ssh $HOST", so I find myself frequently doing this from scripts.  tmux uses a shell to execute the ssh command, though, and I never liked how it left idle shells littering my process tree thusly:

\-+= 23132 user tmux: server (/tmp/tmux-505/default) (tmux)
  |-+= 25189 user sh -c sh
  | \--- 01613 user ssh hostA
  |-+= 08778 user sh -c sh
  | \--- 03665 user ssh hostB

Recently I actually bumped into my process limit and couldn’t spawn any new windows. This turned out to be pretty solve, though. I couldn’t figure out how to convince tmux not to use a shell to execute the command, but we can at least replace that shell process by telling the shell to exec rather than fork/exec. Now my script looks like this, and my process tree is nice and tidy.

let i=1
for host in $hosts; do
  tmux neww -d -n ${host%%.*} -t $session:$i "exec ssh $host"
  let i=i+1
done

Written by Lee Verberne

2011-06-12 at 08:48

Posted in BSD

Tagged with ,

OpenBSD creating additional ptys

with one comment

I like a lot of windows.  A lot of them.  Today I bumped into a default limit on OpenBSD 4.8 and tmux(1) started returning “No such file or directory” when I attempted to create a new window.  This turned out to be a simple thing to solve, though.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lee Verberne

2011-03-16 at 10:21

Posted in BSD

Tagged with ,

Dell OMSA quick links

leave a comment »

In my recent web scour, here are the most useful links for a minimal install of Open Manage Server Administrator to keep an eye on storage status.

Random Notes for OMSA & Dell Update Packages on CentOS 5:

  • Use the more recent OpenIPMI package from Dell’s yum repo
  • Dell Update Packages rely on libstdc++-33.i386 (which is documented) but also libxml2.i386 & procmail (which is not)

Written by Lee Verberne

2011-03-14 at 13:44

Posted in Linux

Tagged with , ,

Dell embraces and extends command line utilities

leave a comment »

From Dell’s OMSA Manual:

Use the omreport -? command to get a list of the available commands for omreport.

Really, Dell?  You’ve decided to go another way on the whole CLI thing?  That’s cool, I’m sure there wasn’t any good reason every other Unix utility uses -h for help.  Oh wait…

# ./omreport -?
zsh: no matches found: -?
zsh: exit 1 ./omreport -?

Thanks Dell. What I needed was another special case in my life.

Written by Lee Verberne

2011-03-14 at 11:04

Posted in Linux

Tagged with