Nov 27

Get Linux system process list without ‘ps’ command

Reading time: < 1 minute

When you work with embedded systems sometimes you would feel happy to have a Linux box until you discover there are plenty of basic things that you don’t have available, the extreme of that could be the ‘ps’ command which is used most of the time for checking if any process is running . Maybe you know that thanks the /proc filesystem there is access to the source of the information.

Keep next command close for solving this inconvenience he next time:

find /proc -mindepth 2 -maxdepth 2 -name exe -exec ls -lh {} \; 2>/dev/null
Jun 11

Nested byobu, re-assigning shortcuts

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

I’m a byobu user for a long time, I love it for many reasons. But this is just a quick tip for extreme users like me. I mean people who use byobu for local consoles with remote byobu sessions running on top of SSH, for instance.

When prefix key combinations has to be sent to the remote host we have to press “Control + a + a” and finally the command that we want to send to the remote systems. This is not comfortable many times. So, I modified my configuration file for changing the prefix when I want to send remote commands to the nested byobu.

This is going to work this way:

Control + a

    • as a prefix for local byobu session.

Control + b

    as a prefix for remote byobu session

Take a look on this screen capture where you can see byobu status bars stacked.

If you find useful the configuration that I described the only thing that you have to do is modify the configuration file: ~/.byobu/keybindings.tmux

unbind-key -n C-a 
set -g prefix C-a
set -g prefix2 F12
unbind-key -n C-b 
bind-key -n C-b send-prefix

I hope this is useful as it is for me.

Jun 06

Portable FTP server for Windows

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Usually, simple things are the best, in the case I want to recommend an FTP server for Windows. This is a really simple but super useful FTP server for Windows. I’m using in Windows 10 and it works perfectly. Configuration is done in less than 10″ and installation is not required, I love that. Super portable.

Don’t expect sophisticated options but the most useful and advanced ones are there. If you need something like that my recommendation is:

Quick’n Easy FTP Server Lite by Pablo Software Solutions

Just a summary and extracted from the product webpage this is a summary of features:

  • Simple, intuitive and cool looking user interface, with several pages for managing the users, configuration and security.
  • Easy to setup using the build-in FTP Server Setup Wizard. 
  • Add new user accounts with the User Account Wizard.
  • Support for systems that are a part of a network with a router and/or firewall.
  • Configuration is saved in XML format.
  • Realtime server trace, which displays every command and it’s reply on the screen.
  • Everything can also be logged to a file.

Screenshots are always lovely, some of them are:

Finally just say THANKS Pablo for such good job and so useful stuff.

Mar 21

Linux: Mounting file as a partition

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

When we have a file with a ‘dd’ of a full disk and we want to mount a partition of that disk, we have to use an offset for jumping to the beginning of the partition that we want to mount.
Using ‘fdisk’ command we can find the partitions of that disk copied inside a file.

fdisk -l FILE_WITH_DISK_INSIDE

Once partition table is shown there is a column called ‘Start’ using the corresponding number in this column for the partition that we want we can obtain the offset required for our mounting point. Reasoning behind that is multiply start sector per number of bytes per sector.

# OFFSET = START * 512
mount -o ro,loop,offset=OFFSET FILE_WITH_DISK_INSIDE /mnt

I hope thanks to this technical note next time that I forget how to get the offset I find it fastly.

UPDATE 2018/08/29:

If you don’t want to do that manually, there is a small tool called losetup which maps the partitions of a disk image on a file.


# example, attaching partitions to loopback devices
losetup -P /dev/loop0 DISK_IMAGE
# just mount the devices now, they are /dev/loop0pX where X is the number of the partition
# dettach this assignament:
losetup -d /dev/loop0

Jan 24

ngrok – service which solve services behind NAT issues

Reading time: < 1 minute This is another short entry, in this case for recommending a service which we solve typical problem solved using a DNAT. Once we have a service on our laptop, or on a private server and we have to expose that service on the internet for some time or permanently usually we have to go the firewall, or router and create a NAT rule forwarding a port. This is a simple and powerful service which is going to solve that for you. There is a free account for understanding and testing the service, other plans are available and especially affordable for professional requirements.

ngrock.com

I was frogetting to say it’s compatible with Linux, Windows and Mac.

May 05

Spark Post: Mail relay host for mailings

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

This is going to be a very short post entry, I just want to refer a very interesting mail relay (smart host) which define itself like:

Email delivery services built for developers, by developers
Combined with your language of choice, using the power of our robust cloud API couldn’t be easier.

Open a SparkPost account today and send up to 100.000 emails per month for free. The best is you can do using SMTP or using a REST API; really nice easy to use an powerful control dashboard simplify externally keys management, statistics, templates for mailings, and many more features.

Personally I love the service because is extremely useful to be configured on SSMTP service of Linux as a default relay host, for personal and professional use. Another use could be to check end-to-end mail services.

Personally I love the service, and if you want to send really big mailings theirs costs are very competitive. 

Apr 25

ncdu: Analyze disk usage in Linux

Reading time: < 1 minute Some time ago I found a ncurses based tool very small easy and useful to get a very fast and easy way to analyze disk usage in linux. This entry is just to remember the name of that tool because I always forget its name.

Ncdu is a disk usage analyzer with an ncurses interface. It is designed to find space hogs on a remote server where you don’t have an entire graphical setup available, but it is a useful tool even on regular desktop systems. Ncdu aims to be fast, simple and easy to use, and should be able to run in any minimal POSIX-like environment with ncurses installed.

A screenshot is always useful:

Jun 06

Remove old kernels when there is no space in /boot

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

The first step is get some space in the partition “/boot” because without that it’s impossible to do anything.

So go to /boot and remove some “initrd” files as they are the biggest ones. A few of them will be enough.

After that a good point is to ensure there is no partial installation pending to finish:

apt-get -f install

Now it’s a good idea to purge all kernels except the running one:

dpkg -l 'linux-*' | sed '/^ii/!d;/'"$(uname -r | sed "s/\(.*\)-\([^0-9]\+\)/\1/")"'/d;s/^[^ ]* [^ ]* \([^ ]*\).*/\1/;/[0-9]/!d' | xargs sudo apt-get -y purge

To avoid that in future before filling the partition, it’s a good idea to install and run periodically: purge-old-kernels. Installation and example of use are:

# installation
apt-get install bikeshed
# keep three old kernels:
purge-old-kernels --keep 3
# if you want to put that in the crontab use that command
purge-old-kernels --keep 3 -qy

If you’re a Grub user don’t forget to run:

update-grub2

Personally I have a nightmare with that problem and Ubuntu, especially with version 12.04 which is installed in a lot of servers that I manage. I repeated the previous process a lot of times and in the end, I decided to document it because I always have to go to Google and find the proper steps to solve that problem.

Oct 13

Small recap of web shell applications

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Lately I found some useful web applications that publish a terminal application. This is very useful when you are traveling or you have a remote server which you want to maintain or access from anywhere. Also another interesting use of this kind of applications is as a terminal for embedded devices.

I tried to use them as my default applications but all of them have the same problem: keyboard shortcuts conflict with the browser. I’m very used to use a lot of shortcuts to manage my terminal application and remote shell and this is a problem because most of the shortcuts are redefined by your browser. May be it’s possible to disable browser shortcuts when you are using this kind of web applications but I didn’t find how.

I hope this small list is as much useful for you as it is for me:

  • Wetty = Web + tty (the best one IMHO)

wetty

ajaxterm

anyterm

gateone

Feb 10

Turn on virtual machines in VMWare ESXi

Reading time: < 1 minute Next commands are very useful when you don't have access to the vSphere UI and you have to access to VMWare Hypervisor using SSH or console:

# get the list of virtual machines
vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms

# get the state of a VM with #id: VM_ID
vim-cmd vmsvc/power.getstate VM_ID

# turn on the virtual machine with #id: VM_ID
vim-cmd vmsvc/power.on VM_ID

Another option to turn on the virtual machine using an Ansible playbook:

- hosts: vmware
  gather_facts: false
  tasks:
    - vsphere_guest:
        vcenter_hostname: "X.X.X.X"
        username: "{{ hostvars[inventory_hostname].ansible_ssh_user|quote }}"
        password: "{{ hostvars[inventory_hostname].ansible_ssh_pass|quote }}"
        guest: "NAME_OF_THE_VM"
        state: "powered_on"
      delegate_to: localhost