Apr 28

Upgrading Redmine in a nutshell

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

I use Redmine to track my personal projects, and every time that I have to update I have to re-read the full upgrading page which is long and full of exceptions. So I decided to write my own reduced cookbook to solve that. FYI I’m using Ubuntu 16.04, Apache2, MySQL and Passenger for running Redmine. 

Being root user run:

  • backup MySQL database
  • download new redmine package and unpack in /var/www
  • change ‘redmine’ soft link to new folder
  • copy old files and directories overwriting the new ones:
  • locating work directory on new redmine folder, run:
    bundle install --without development test
    bundle exec rake generate_secret_token
    bundle exec rake db:migrate RAILS_ENV=production
    bundle exec rake redmine:plugins:migrate RAILS_ENV=production
    bundle exec rake tmp:cache:clear tmp:sessions:clear RAILS_ENV=production
  • restart apache server
Sep 12

Ubuntu server as wifi AP and Mikrotik as a DHCP server

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

It’s important to have a very clear picture about the scenario that we’re going to configure in that case because it’s a little bit particular. This is an evolution of the previous post: Ubuntu server as wifi AP and Mikrotik as a DHCP server


There is a server running Ubuntu 16.04 and offering wifi service as an AP. The wifi interface is in bridge mode with the ethernet port and send all traffic to the Mikrotik gateway where there is a DHCP server in charge to serve IP address to wifi clients.

Start by configuring the bridge in the Ubuntu server. File “/etc/network/interfaces”:

source /etc/network/interfaces.d/*

auto lo br0
iface lo inet loopback

#ethernet interface
allow-hotplug enp2s0
iface enp2s0 inet manual

#wifi interface
allow-hotplug wlp3s0
iface wlp3s0 inet manual

# Setup bridge
iface br0 inet static
    bridge_ports enp2s0 

Pay attention on “bridge_ports” the wifi interface is not added on the list, this is because until the hostapd is running it doesn’t make sense to do that. You’ll see “bridge=br0” option on hostapd.conf which will fix that misbehavior.

Wifi AP configuration, “/etc/default/hostapd”:


and “/etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf”:

bridge=br0                # bridge interface
interface=wlp3s0          # wifi interface name
ssid=the_ssid_name        # name of your network
wpa_passphrase=the_secret_key   # secret key to joing with the wifi network

DHCP server configuration on Mikrotik:

# setting the interface address, in my case ether4
/ip address
add address= interface=ether4 network=

# setting up DHCP on interface 4 of the mikrotik device
/ip dhcp-server
add address-pool=dhcp-pool disabled=no interface=ether4 name=dhcp-pool

# network of the DHCP server
/ip dhcp-server network
add address= dns-server= domain=your_network.local gateway= netmask=24

# IP pool used by the DHCP server
/ip pool
add name=dhcp-pool ranges=
Sep 05

Cookbook: set-up a TFTP server on Ubuntu

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Sometimes TFTP is the only protocol available to exchange files with an embedded system. So, it’s very easy to have that supported in our workstation or any other place to exchange files with those systems.

Set up steps:

apt-get install tftpd-hpa

modify file “/etc/default/tftpd-hpa”:

TFTP_OPTIONS="--secure --create"

–secure: Change root directory on startup. This means the remote host does not need to pass along the directory as part of the transfer, and may add security. When –secure is specified, exactly one directory should be specified on the command line. The use of this option is recommended for security as well as compatibility with some boot ROMs which cannot be easily made to include a directory name in its request.

–create Allow new files to be created. By default, tftpd will only allow upload of files that already exist. Files are created with default permissions allowing anyone to read or write them, unless the –permissive or –umask options are specified.

Needed to allow uploads in that directory:

chown -R tftp /var/lib/tftpboot

Restart and check if the service is running:

service tftpd-hpa restart
service tftpd-hpa status
netstat -a | grep tftp
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:


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.

May 01

Relay mail from your server without MTA

Reading time: < 1 minute Sometime you need to send notifications or simply you need to use sendmail command from your server, but you don't want to use a local mail server. Maybe use simple SMTP (ssmtp) could be a good idea to solve this kind of situations. I use to configure SSMTP with a GMail account to send notifications from server different daemons, for example, crontab, supervisord, etc. This is a cookbook configuration for SSMTP and GMail: /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf



Installation in ubuntu server is as easy as: apt-get install ssmtp

Sep 06

Changing Ubuntu CLI language

Reading time: < 1 minute My mother tongue is Catalan and of course I speak and understand Spanish very well, but when I'm using a Linux CLI it's impossible to be agile if the interface is not in English. Then when I need to change Ubuntu interface to English I modify the file /etc/default/locale: 

Nov 20

APT protocol o AptURL – instal·lant soft des del browser

Reading time: < 1 minute

AptURL o APT protocol plateja una idea molt interessant. Per exemple, quan estem mirant una pàgina web i aquesta ens parla d’un aplicatiu per Debian/Ubuntu la idea seria clicar a un enllaç del tipus: apt:exampleapp i això llençaria el gestor d’aplicacions (package manager) del sistema APT que instal·laria aquesta applicació en el nostre sistema.
Per tal de fer això possible hi ha una serie d’extencions per diversos navegadors: firefox, crhome, konqueror, opera, etc. si voleu més informació podeu consultar el wiki d’ubuntu on parla de AptURL.
Jul 14

Notes sobre Munin i Crontab, problemes amb locales

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

muninResum de notes interessants que acabo de descobrir sobre: munin, crontab i locales. Tot plegat corrent amb Ubuntu.

  • crontab, té diversos fitxers de configuració a /etc/cron.d la sintaxis d’aquests és la mateixa que /etc/crontab
  • els fitxers que hi ha a /etc/cron.d sovint pertanyen a serveis que necessiten executar ordres periódicament
  • al llençar munin des de dintre d’aquest directori es generaben correus d’error del crontab, queixant-se de problemes amb les locales
  • dins el fitxer /etc/cron.d/munin podem declarar les locales i així no se’ns tornarà a donar el problema
  • si volem sobrecarregar on s’han d’enviar els correu d’error de cron en un dels fitxers que hi ha /etc/cron.d podem declarar la variable MAILTO=user@domain.tld dins el propi fitxer