python console import tip

Tags: python console, python, import, pysphere

This is a quick little python tip. When experimenting with python commands and modules, it’s usually easiest to use the python console interactively, then create your programs later. The downside of this is that sometimes you have to do a bit of typing before you get to the specific command you want to try.

Imagine the following example:

[email protected]:~$ python
Python 2.7.3 (default, Aug  1 2012, 05:14:39)
[GCC 4.6.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> from pysphere import *
>>> server = VIServer()
>>> server.connect("", "username", "password")
>>> print server.get_server_type(), server.get_api_version()
VMware vCenter Server 5.0

Here, I had to type in 3 lines, including my password in plaintext, to test out querying the server. I can’t demonstrate this live, because then I reveal my password. Well last week, I made a [] file that reads a yaml configuration file and does the commands I just did. Here’s the smart bit. I can import that file directly into the python console. Once it imports, it runs each python command and leaves me in the console, ready to query the system again. The only caveat is that my “server” variable is now part of the test1 module as “test1.server”.

[email protected]:~$ python
Python 2.7.3 (default, Aug  1 2012, 05:14:39)
[GCC 4.6.3] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import test1
VMware vCenter Server 5.0
>>> test1.server.is_connected()
>>> vmlist = test1.server.get_registered_vms()
>>> for v in vmlist:
...     print v
[iscsi-244gb-raid10] rhel-puppet1/rhel-puppet1.vmx  
[iscsi-244gb-raid10] puppet2-ubuntu 12.04LTS server/puppet2-ubuntu 12.04LTS server.vmx
[iscsi-488gb-raid10] puppet3-solaris11/puppet3-solaris11.vmx

pysphere: VMWare in Python

Tags: api, python, programming, vmware, pysphere

I do a good bit of work with VMWare vSphere and I’ve been wanting to
work more with their API. Everything (except console) that you can do in
the vSphere client, you should be able to do through a web-based API.
Unfortunately, it seems that VMWare does not provide an SDK for Python,
my current language of choice. I could work in Perl or Java, but I want
to develop a web application, which I don’t want to do in Perl.
Fortunately, I found pysphere, which is a fairly active project of
implementing the VI API in python. It might not fully implement the API,
but it looks relatively stable and easy to implement. Plus, if I find
any functionality missing, I can extend the class directly.
I followed their Getting Started page to get it installed
and get connected, but I didn’t like having my password right there in
my working code. This was easily resolved by installing PyYaml and
creating a config.yaml file. Then, it was just a matter of following
along with the examples to make a good test script.
My config.yaml:

user: john
pass: password



import yaml
from pysphere import *

f = open('config.yaml')
config = yaml.load(f)

server = VIServer()
server.connect(config["server"], config["user"], config["pass"])

print server.get_server_type(), server.get_api_version()
vm1 = server.get_vm_by_name("puppet1-centos6")
print vm1.get_property('name'), vm1.get_property('ip_address')

And does it work?

$ ./
VMware vCenter Server 5.0

I was even able to go so far as cloning a vm (vm2 = vm1.clone(‘new vm’))
and can already see massive possibilities with this library in its
current state. The API can be queried much like a simple database, and
objects acted upon with simple statements. Operations like my vm clone
can be setup as a task and run asynchrously. I could easily see
integrating this with something like tornado, twisted, or even
cyclone to make a non-blocking web framework.

Upgrade Redmine

Currently, I have Redmine version redmine 1.3.3 installed via the
ondrej/redmine PPA. I have been wanting to upgrade to the 2.x series
of redmine, but no PPA currently exists for it. Redmine is officially
provided by Ubuntu, but the version for Precise is 1.3.2, and Ondřej’s
PPA is on 1.4.3. While I usually prefer to have my software installation
and updates handled by packages, it looks like to get to the 2.x series,
I’ll have to go back to source.

I will be following the official upgrade guide closely, but with a
few variations.

  1. The apt-get/ppa version uses multiple file locations for source code
    and configuration. I’ll have to consolidate to one place.
  2. My ruby and passenger modules were installed and modified to work
    with the ppa version of redmine. Adjustments will be needed.

My ruby version is 1.8.7 (1.8.7 min), rails 2.3.14 (2.3.6 min) and gem
1.8.15 (1.8 min. Already having the minimum requirements makes this a
bit easier.

After performing a mysql backup (hint: database.yml is in
/etc/redmine/default), I downloaded redmine to /usr/local/redmine-2.0. I
also decided to stop Apache so that Passenger wouldn’t be running the
existing redmine instance. If I had other sites running on this server,
I would have disabled this virtual host or put up a maintenance page.

cp /etc/default/database.yml /usr/local/redmine-2.0/config
cp /var/lib/redmine/default/files/* /usr/local/redmine-2.0/files

I didn’t have any plugins, but if I did they would either be in
/usr/share/redmine/vendor/plugins or /usr/share/redmine/lib/plugins. I
do intend to install a couple plugins when I get into 2.x though.

I found in step 3 that the rake commands didn’t work. This is probably
because I wasn’t working from an existing rails directory. I went to the
Redmine Installer page, which gave me the answer. “Since 1.4.0,
Redmine uses Bundler to manage gems dependencies. You need to install
Bundler first.”.

cp /etc/default/database.yml /usr/local/redmine-2.0/config
cp /var/lib/redmine/default/files/* /usr/local/redmine-2.0/files

I ran into an error when bundle was installing json 1.7.4.

gem install bundler
# run the next command from /usr/local/redmine-2.0
# it reads the file "Gemfile"
bundle install --without development test

According to an page, I need build-essentials,
libopenssl-ruby, and ruby1.8-dev installed. The one I was missing was
ruby1.8-dev. This is easily fixed with an apt-get install ruby1.8-dev.

I had to install the following other packages for certain gems. The
Gemfile includes items for postgresql and sqlite, even if you don’t use
it. The install guide lets you know that you can
skip these with the –without option. You would just add “pg sqlite
rmagick” to the end of your bundle install line (above).

  • json: build-essentials, libopenssl-ruby, and ruby1.8-dev
  • mysql: libmysqlclient-dev
  • pg: libpq-dev (alternatively: add pg to the –without list)
  • rmagick: libmagickcore-dev, libmagickwand-dev (alternatively: add
    rmagick to the –without list)
  • sqlite: libsqlite3-dev

Once we got Bundler installed and all the required gems, we switch back
to the Upgrade Guide to update our session
store and migrate the database. I had no plugins, so I’m skipping that

/usr/bin/ruby1.8 extconf.rb
extconf.rb:1:in `require': no such file to load -- mkmf (LoadError)
from extconf.rb:1

Let’s start this locally before we mess with passenger or apache (be
sure to allow port 3000 via iptables or ufw).

rake generate_secret_token
rake db:migrate RAILS_ENV=production 
# unecessary, as this is a new directory, but why not clean up?
rake tmp:cache:clear
rake tmp:sessions:clear

This worked without a hitch for me. Now on to my passenger setup. I
already has this configured and installed previously, so all I have to
do is change my VirtualHost directory.

DocumentRoot /usr/local/redmine-2.0/public
RailsSpawnMethod smart
# Keep the application instances alive longer. Default is 300 (seconds)
PassengerPoolIdleTime 1000
RailsAppSpawnerIdleTime 0
RailsFrameworkSpawnerIdleTime 0
PassengerMaxRequests 5000
PassengerStatThrottleRate 5

        AllowOverride all
        Options -MultiViews

I did have to change a few permisssions (all files installed as owned by

chgrp -R www-data config
chown -R www-data files
chown -R www-data log

Markdown Blogging

I recently have started a process of migrating my website over to One of the main reasons for this was because in my last
server move, I had broken my Movable Type installation, and found myself
too busy to fix it. I found I didn’t want to spend my time fixing and
updating blogging software. I wanted to work on my projects, write them
up, and post them. It was time to move my content to an existing
platform that handled the back end. I looked at a few, and decided would be as good as any other service.
It only took a short time to setup a blog, point a CNAME at it, and then
to import my existing posts. When I started creating some new posts, I
immediately ran into some limitations.

  1. You used to be able to edit permalinks on blogger. Now, you can only
    do that before you publish. The only way to change a permalink after
    publishing is to create a new post with the desired permalink and
    delete the old one.
  2. Blogger has no built in formatting for code blocks. So if I want to
    show a config file, source code, or terminal session log, I have to
    fiddle with changing fonts, size, and “blockquote” to get it
    presentable. Even then, you run the risk of strange formatting of
    your raw text.

I found a solution that other bloggers use called SyntaxHighlighter.
This is a combination of javascript and css code that takes text within

; tags and gives you nice looking blocks of code, highlighted and (optionally) with line numbers. The catch is that your pre tags need to have a class name, along with the language (perl/c/bash/text) "brush" to use. If you go with pre tags, you have to change any angle bracks to their HTML escaped equivalents of < and >. They have a work-around using SCRIPT/CDATA, but it takes some getting used to. Adding this to your blog only requires a few steps.

I rather liked syntaxhighlighter, but it still seemed like I had to do a
lot of manual work with the code. Also, I had to select the brush each
time. Couldn’t it guess? Notepad++ and some others will guess at what
language you’re using and highlight accordingly. I found something
called prettify that does just that. You only need to load one js
file and one css file. Prettify works off of either

 or  tags and has similar limitations to SyntaxHighlighter regarding html tags. However, it has the advantage of being able to guess the language automatically.

Being able to use this code made my posts look much nicer, but the
entire process got me thinking. The way I “document” most of projects
typically invole using a notepad editor like Geany or
Notepad++. As I work, I add notes, copy in source code or shell
comands, and do everything in a plain text editor. Later, I add
commentary and clean up the document. I take this and paste it into the
WYSIWYG editor on blogger. Finally, I have to keep switching between
compose and html mode to get my text looking suitable. There are too
many steps for me to want to do this consistently. All I really want to
do is take my text file, add a little formatting in a few spots, a few
hyperlinks in others, and post it.
Enter markdown. Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web
writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read,
easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid
. I have used this before, but didn’t pay it close
enough attention. It’s used on github and reddit, there are plugins for
it in dokuwiki and redmine. The idea is you write in text, adding
formatting using the markdown syntax. This format is both human readable
and machine readable. When read by the appropriate library, clean html
is generated. It also has a feature for wrapping blocks of code inside

&;lt;code> tags and html-escaping html inside of those tags.

Within the MarkDown project is a paged called “dingus” which means
“placeholder”. You can paste your markdown text into one textarea and
get the generated html plus a preview back. I tested pasting that
generated html into Blogger’s HTML box and it seems to work perfectly
fine. What this means is that I can type up my documentation completely
within my text editor of choice, save it locally, and then generate my
html code to paste into blogger.
Some of you may have realized that my

 tags are missing that class name (. Well, I copy the generated html, do a search and replace of  with  and then paste it, but that's adding more steps. Instead, I sought to make my own dingus that does this automatically. I found that there is an extension of markdown called Markdown Extra written in PHP. Extra adds a few features such as simple tables, but remains consistent with original Markdown formatting. Using that library, I was able to create my own dingus rather easily and alter the  tag with one line of code $render2 = str_replace("<pre>", "<pre class="prettyprint linenums">", $render);. In my experimentation, I made a parser that reads a text file and outputs html, and three dingus parsers. Dingus1 does straightforward conversion of markdown extra to html. Dingus2 and 3 provide the class names for prettified code, with #3 going the extra step of applying stylesheets for the preview.

With this setup, I can quickly paste in my text document and pull html
code to paste into’s html edit box. With some more research,
I can modify the dingus to interact with blogger’s API and post on my
behalf. There are also some WYSIWYM live editors that show you an
instant render of your markdown as you type (you type in a textarea
while your html renders in a nearby div). This would be a good way to do
some tweaking to the markdown text before posting the html to the web.
My next plans are to make a better dingus, possibly with a live preview
and a “post to blogger” option.
Some other links:


Gate One supervisor script

Yesterday, I setup gateone to run as a non-root user. I also spent
some time looking at potential init scripts for starting and stopping
this. The gateone project does not currently provide any init scripts,
but this is planned for the future ([Issue #47]). I tried to use one
of the scripts in that thread, but I wasn’t really pleased with them.
The big issue is that doesn’t fork. However, I believe there
is a better solution.

supervisord is a python script designed to control and monitor
non-daemonizing python scripts. As Gate One is a foreground only
process, it seems particularly suited to this task – more so than
writing my own script in python or daemontools.

Installation can be done with python-pip or easy_install. On newer
systems, pip is recommended.

sudo pip install supervisor

On Ubuntu, pip installs supervisord to /usr/local/bin. By default,
/usr/local/bin is not in root’s path, so it makes sense (to me at least)
to create symlinks to /usr/sbin.

[email protected]:~$ ls /usr/local/bin
echo_supervisord_conf  pidproxy  supervisorctl  
[email protected]:~$ sudo ln -s /usr/local/bin/supervisord /usr/sbin
[email protected]:~$ sudo ln -s /usr/local/bin/supervisorctl /usr/sbin

Now, we need to create a configuration file. Supervisord has a utility
to generate a sample one.

echo_supervisord_conf  > supervisord.conf

To get started, we can use the sample configuration and just add a
couple lines to the bottom for gateone.

 ;user=johnh   ; Default is root. Add a user= to setuid

Now, copy supervisord.conf to /etc/supervisord.conf and start
supervisord. Make sure is not currently running. Then we’ll
run supervisorctl to test things out.

[email protected]:~$ sudo cp supervisord.conf /etc
[email protected]:~$ sudo supervisord
[email protected]:~$ sudo supervisorctl status
gateone                          RUNNING    pid 9549, uptime 0:00:05
[email protected]:~$ ps ax | grep gateone
 9549 ?        Sl     0:00 python /opt/gateone/
[email protected]:~$ sudo supervisorctl stop gateone
gateone: stopped
[email protected]:~$ ps ax | grep gateone
 9605 ?        Ss     0:00 dtach -c /opt/gateone/tmp/gateone/../dtach_3 -E -z -r none /opt/gateone/plugins/ssh/scripts/ -S /tmp/gateone/.../%SHORT_SOCKET% --sshfp -a -oUserKnownHostsFile=/opt/gateone/users/[email protected]/ssh/known_hosts
 9606 pts/3    Ss+    0:00 python /opt/gateone/plugins/ssh/scripts/ -S /tmp/gateone/.../%SHORT_SOCKET% --sshfp -a -oUserKnownHostsFile=/opt/gateone/users/[email protected]/ssh/known_hosts

In this example, we see that is started and stopped by
supervisorctl, but because we have dtach enabled, our sessions are still
in place. If we restart, we can connect to it again and have
our sessions resumed. While we could probably configure supervisord to
kill these terminals, I believe we’d normally want to keep them running.
The few times I would want to stop those terminals would be a) manually
reconfiguring/troubleshooting opengate, b) updating software, or c)
rebooting the server. For a&b, running the command “ -kill”
will kill those terminals. For a server shutdown or reboot, the act of
shutting down the OS will kill these terminals.

Finally, we need a way to start and stop supervisord itself.
Fortunately, the supervisord project has provided a number of init
. I was able to use the Debian script in Ubuntu with only
a few minor changes.

  1. I had symlinked supervisord and supervisorctl to /usr/sbin. The
    script expects them in /usr/bin (but even says that /usr/sbin is a
    better location). I had to change /usr/bin to /usr/sbin.
    Alternatively, you can symlink the files into /usr/bin
  2. I added a status option that runs $SUPERVISORCTL status
  3. If you started supervisord manually, you must shut it down and start
    it with the script. The script won’t be able to stop supervisord
    unless /var/run/ is current.

Here is my complete init script for Ubuntu:

# Provides:          supervisord
# Required-Start:    $local_fs $remote_fs $networking
# Required-Stop:     $local_fs $remote_fs $networking
# Default-Start:     2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop:      0 1 6
# Short-Description: Starts supervisord - see
# Description:       Starts and stops supervisord as needed 
# Author: Leonard Norrgard 
# Version 1.0-alpha
# Based on the /etc/init.d/skeleton script in Debian.
# Please note: This script is not yet well tested. What little testing
# that actually was done was only on supervisor 2.2b1.
# Do NOT "set -e"
# PATH should only include /usr/* if it runs after the script
DESC="Run a set of applications as daemons."
# Supervisord is installed in /usr/bin by default, but /usr/sbin would 
# make more sense
DAEMON_ARGS="--pidfile ${PIDFILE}"
# Exit if the package is not installed
[ -x "$DAEMON" ] || exit 0
# Read configuration variable file if it is present
[ -r /etc/default/$NAME ] && . /etc/default/$NAME
# Load the VERBOSE setting and other rcS variables
. /lib/init/
# Define LSB log_* functions.
# Depend on lsb-base (>= 3.0-6) to ensure that this file is present.
. /lib/lsb/init-functions
# Function that starts the daemon/service
        # Return
        #   0 if daemon has been started
        #   1 if daemon was already running
        #   2 if daemon could not be started
        [ -e $PIDFILE ] && return 1
        start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --pidfile $PIDFILE --exec $DAEMON -- 
                || return 2
        # Add code here, if necessary, that waits for the process to be ready
        # to handle requests from services started subsequently which depend
        # on this one.  As a last resort, sleep for some time.
# Function that stops the daemon/service
        # Return
        #   0 if daemon has been stopped
        #   1 if daemon was already stopped
        #   2 if daemon could not be stopped
        #   other if a failure occurred
        [ -e $PIDFILE ] || return 1
        # Stop all processes under supervisord control.
        $SUPERVISORCTL stop all
        start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --retry=TERM/30/KILL/5 --pidfile $PIDFILE  
             --name $NAME
        [ "$RETVAL" = 2 ] && return 2
        # Wait for children to finish too if this is a daemon that forks
        # and if the daemon is only ever run from this initscript.
        # If the above conditions are not satisfied then add some other code
        # that waits for the process to drop all resources that could be
        # needed by services started subsequently.  A last resort is to
        # sleep for some time.
        start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --oknodo --retry=0/30/KILL/5 --exec $DAEMON
        [ "$?" = 2 ] && return 2
        # Many daemons don't delete their pidfiles when they exit.
        rm -f $PIDFILE
        return "$RETVAL"
# Function that sends a SIGHUP to the daemon/service
do_reload() {
        # If the daemon can reload its configuration without
        # restarting (for example, when it is sent a SIGHUP),
        # then implement that here.
        start-stop-daemon --stop --signal 1 --quiet --pidfile $PIDFILE --name $NAME
        return 0
case "$1" in
        [ "$VERBOSE" != no ] && log_daemon_msg "Starting $DESC" "$NAME"
        case "$?" in
                0|1) [ "$VERBOSE" != no ] && log_end_msg 0 ;;
                2) [ "$VERBOSE" != no ] && log_end_msg 1 ;;
        [ "$VERBOSE" != no ] && log_daemon_msg "Stopping $DESC" "$NAME"
        case "$?" in
                0|1) [ "$VERBOSE" != no ] && log_end_msg 0 ;;
                2) [ "$VERBOSE" != no ] && log_end_msg 1 ;;
        # If do_reload() is not implemented then leave this commented out
        # and leave 'force-reload' as an alias for 'restart'.
        #log_daemon_msg "Reloading $DESC" "$NAME"
        #log_end_msg $?
        # If the "reload" option is implemented then remove the
        # 'force-reload' alias
        log_daemon_msg "Restarting $DESC" "$NAME"
        case "$?" in
                case "$?" in
                        0) log_end_msg 0 ;;
                        1) log_end_msg 1 ;; # Old process is still running
                        *) log_end_msg 1 ;; # Failed to start
                # Failed to stop
                log_end_msg 1
        $SUPERVISORCTL status
        #echo "Usage: $SCRIPTNAME {start|stop|restart|reload|force-reload}" >&2
        echo "Usage: $SCRIPTNAME {start|stop|restart|force-reload|status}" >&2
        exit 3

And here is a complete copy of my supervisord.conf file:

file=/tmp/supervisor.sock   ; (the path to the socket file)
logfile=/tmp/supervisord.log ; (main log file;default $CWD/supervisord.log)
logfile_maxbytes=50MB        ; (max main logfile bytes b4 rotation;default 50MB)
logfile_backups=10           ; (num of main logfile rotation backups;default 10)
loglevel=info                ; (log level;default info; others: debug,warn,trace)
pidfile=/tmp/ ; (supervisord pidfile;default
nodaemon=false               ; (start in foreground if true;default false)
minfds=1024                  ; (min. avail startup file descriptors;default 1024)
minprocs=200                 ; (min. avail process descriptors;default 200)
supervisor.rpcinterface_factory = supervisor.rpcinterface:make_main_rpcinterface
serverurl=unix:///tmp/supervisor.sock ; use a unix:// URL  for a unix socket

Exploring GateOne Browser SSH terminal

I came across a program called Gate One by LiftOff Software that
just amazed me. This is an open-source, web-based ssh terminal. It is
capable of multiple users, sessions, and bookmarks. I’ve tried a number
of AJAX terminals or Java applet based ones in the past. The javascript
ones usually did not have very good terminal emulation, while the Java
apps worked, but worked just like a local desktop app (making it’s own
connection to port 22). Gate One uses WebSockets, allowing for full
duplex communication through your web browser over the same port 80 or
443 used to serve up the web page.


Gate One is a python application using the Tornado framework. As
such, at runs independently of an existing web server and handles
connections from browsers internally. If you already have a web server
running on your system, you will need to tell Gate One to use a
different IP or a different port.

Installation using pre-built binaries or the source is fairly
straightforward and detailed in the documentation.

The installer creates a directory of /opt/gateone and places all
necessary files there. You can run it by changing to that directory and
running as root.

[email protected]:/opt/gateone$ sudo ./
[W 120801 13:52:06 terminal:166] Could not import the Python Imaging Library (PIL) so images will not be displayed in the terminal
[W 120801 13:52:06 gateone:2232] dtach command not found.  dtach support has been disabled.
[I 120801 13:52:06 gateone:1800] No authentication method configured. All users will be ANONYMOUS
[I 120801 13:52:06 gateone:1876] Loaded plugins: bookmarks, help, logging, logging_plugin, notice, playback, ssh
[I 120801 13:52:06 gateone:2329] Listening on https://*:443/

At this point, gateone is running in the foreground and you can view as
connections occur and any errors. Pressing Ctrl If you conect to gateone
using your webbrowser, you are logged in as user ANONYMOUS and can
connect to any ssh host, either localhost or something remote.

If you edit /opt/gateone/server.conf, you can change authentication to
“pam” or “google”. Using pam will perform a Basic HTTP style
authenication requiring a system-level username and password. Using
google will log you in with your google account. Both of these “just
work” without complicated setup.

Running as a Non-Root

Before I put something like this in production, I wanted to apply some
additional security. First off, I want to see if I can get this to run
as a non-root user.

Since gateone ran as root user initially, it has files owned by rootOnly UID 0 can open ports below 1024.gateone may need permission to write to system directories

To solve the first one, I chowned the /opt/gateone directory to my
username. In the future, I’ll want to run it under its own user, but
I’ll use mine for now for simplicity. To solve the second and third, I
edited server.conf.

[email protected]:/opt/gateone$ sudo chown -R johnh:johnh .
[email protected]:/opt/gateone$ vi server.conf# change/add the following lines appropriatelyport = 2443session_dir = "/opt/gateone/tmp/gateone"pid_file = "/opt/gateone/tmp/"uid = 1000gid = 1000
[email protected]:/opt/gateone$ ./
[W 120801 14:06:01 terminal:166] Could not import the Python Imaging Library (PIL) so images will not be displayed in the terminal
[W 120801 14:06:01 gateone:2232] dtach command not found.  dtach support has been disabled.
[I 120801 14:06:01 gateone:1802] No authentication method configured. All users will be ANONYMOUS
[I 120801 14:06:01 gateone:1876] Loaded plugins: bookmarks, help, logging, logging_plugin, notice, playback, ssh
[I 120801 14:06:01 gateone:2329] Listening on https://*:2443/


Running as a lower uid, you can use authentication of None or “google”
without issue. If you use “pam”, you discover you can only login with
the username that gateone is running under. If you are the only intended
user of the service, this may not be an issue. But if you want to allow
other users, this becomes an issue. If you are fine with running as root
or using Google as your authentication provider, you can ignore this
next step.

Fortunately, pam is highly configurable. You aren’t required to
authenticate against shadow passwords. You can also authenticate against
db4 files with pam_userdb, msyql, or even htpasswd files. To start off,
I’m going to use htpasswd files. Note that Ubuntu doesn’t provide by default. You need to install libpam-pwdfile (“sudo
apt-get install libpam-pwdfile”).

Note – in testing, I discovered gateone uses Crypt encryption while htpasswd defaults to MD5. Use -d to switch to crypt encryption.

[email protected]:/opt/gateone$ htpasswd -c -d users.passwd user1
New password:
Re-type new password:
Adding password for user user1
[email protected]:/opt/gateone$ cat users.passwd

Create a pam module called gateone under /etc/pam.d

[email protected]:/opt/gateone$ cat /etc/pam.d/gateone
# Login using a htpasswd file
@include common-sessionauth    
required          pwdfile /opt/gateone/users.passwdaccount 

Modify server.conf to use pam and pam_service of gateone:

auth = "pam"
pam_service = "gateone"

Now start gateone and log in.

[email protected]:~/g1/gateone$ ./
[W 120801 14:59:16 terminal:168] Could not import the Python Imaging Library (PIL) so images will not be displayed in the terminal
[W 120801 14:59:16 gateone:2577] dtach command not found.  dtach support has been disabled.
[I 120801 14:59:16 gateone:2598] Connections to this server will be allowed from the following origins: 'http://localhost https://localhost https://puppet2 https://puppet2:2443'
[I 120801 14:59:16 gateone:2023] Using pam authentication
[I 120801 14:59:16 gateone:2101] Loaded plugins: bookmarks, help, logging, logging_plugin, mobile, notice, playback, ssh
[I 120801 14:59:16 gateone:2706] Listening on https://*:2443/
[I 120801 14:59:16 gateone:2710] Process running with pid 32591
[I 120801 14:59:17 gateone:949] WebSocket opened ([email protected]).

One additional nice feature with authentication enabled is the ability
to resume sessions – even across different computers or browsers.

Reverse Proxy

(I failed on this part, but felt it was worth recording)

Once I got it working in single user mode, I wanted to go ahead and set
this up under a reverse proxy under Apache. This would allow me to
integrate it into my existing web server under a sub-directory.

First, I edited server.conf to use a URL prefix of /g1/

Second, I tried setting up a ReverseProxy in Apache.

# GateOne 
OnProxyPass /g1/ https://localhost:2443/g1/
ProxyPassReverse /g1/ https://localhost:2443/g1/
ProxyPassReverseCookieDomain localhost localhost
ProxyPassReverseCookiePath / /g1/

This almost worked. I had no errors, but the resulting page was
unreadable. However, at the bottom was a clue. “The WebSocket connection
was closed. Will attempt to reconnect every 5 seconds… NOTE: Some web
proxies do not work properly with WebSockets.” The problem was Apache
not properly proxying my websocket connection. People have managed to
get this working under nginx, but not Apache.

Searching for a solution led me to a similar question on ServerFault, an
apache-websocket module on github, and a websocket tcp proxy based on
that module.


In order to get this work, I’ll need to download and compile some code.
The apxs command requires the apache-prefork-dev package in
Debian/Ubuntu. Install it with “sudo apt-get install

Now we are ready to download the code and install the module:

[email protected]:~$ git clone
Cloning into 'apache-websocket'..... done
[email protected]:~$ wget
[email protected]:~$ cd apache-websocket
[email protected]:~/apache-websocket$ sudo apxs2 -i -a -c mod_websocket.c*snip*
[email protected]:~/apache-websocket$ sudo apxs2 -i -a -c mod_websocket_draft76.c*snip*
[email protected]:~$ cd examples
[email protected]:~$ tar -xzvf ../../mod_websocket_tcp_proxy.tar.gzmod_websocket_tcp_proxy.c
[email protected]:~$ cd apache-websocket/examples/
[email protected]:~/apache-websocket/examples$ sudo apxs2 -c -i -a -I.. mod_websocket_tcp_proxy.c
chmod 644 /usr/lib/apache2/modules/
[preparing module `websocket_tcp_proxy' in /etc/apache2/mods-available/websocket_tcp_proxy.load]
Enabling module websocket_tcp_proxy.To activate the new configuration, you need to run:service apache2 restart
[email protected]:~$

Before we restart, I want to remove my Proxy lines and replace them with
the mod_websocket_tcp_proxy lines.

SetHandler websocket-handler        
WebSocketHandler  /usr/lib/apache2/modules/ tcp_proxy_init        
WebSocketTcpProxyBase64 on        
WebSocketTcpProxyPort 2443        
WebSocketTcpProxyProtocol base64

Despite all this, I was still unable to get this to work. I even
attempted using the web root (/) as my location. If the Location matches
and your HTTP request is handled by mod_websocket, you get a 404. If
you use Proxy, then your websocket request is handled by mod_proxy.
Mod_proxy wins out over Location matches. Perhaps you can modify
gateone code to have one URL for the web interface and one for
websockets (or maybe it’s already in place and we just need to know),
but I don’t see a way at this time to get this working under Apache. I
may be able to work with the gateone author and the
mod_websocket_tcp_proxy.c author to come up with a solution. Or I
could try installing nginx. In the meantime, I can continue to run Open
Gate as a non-root user on a non-standard port. Alternatively, I could
find a wrapper to bring port 443 to 2443.

Puppet Dashboard and selinux

Tags: puppet selinux

Once I got a rough handle on setting up Puppet, I decided to get Puppet
working on my puppetmaster (a Centos 6 server) to have a
sort of web interface to view puppet statuses. Since I already have the
puppetlabs repositories setup from when I installed puppet, this was
almost as simple as running “yum install puppet-dashboard”.

You then go to /usr/share/puppet-dashboard and follow the install
to get the database working. Then you can run it locally using
the “sudo -u puppet-dashboard ./script/server -e production” command or
starting the service (service puppet-dashboard start). I recommed
running it manually the first few times to make sure everything is

At this point, I was able to browse to http://puppetmaster:3000/ and
view a nice looking dashboard with no hosts checked in. I then made sure
to add the following to puppetmaster’s puppet.conf [master] section and
restart puppet.

reports = http, store
reporturl = http://localhost:3000/reports/upload

I performed a “puppet agent –test” on one of my puppets, and here is
where I ran into trouble. Everything appeared to work, but no report or
“pending task” showed up in the Dashboard. I ran the Dashboard locally
so I could see the http request coming in. No request. I double checked
my configuration, everything looked good.

Finally, I ran my puppetmaster in debug/no-daemonize mode.
(/usr/sbin/puppetmaster –debug –no-daemonize) so I could watch what
was happening. However, in this mode, it worked fine. I ran
/usr/sbin/puppetmaster without debugging and it still worked. The
reports would get submitted to dashboard if I ran puppetmaster directly,
but not if I started it with the init scripts.

I couldn’t find any differences between how the init script was starting
puppetmaster vs me starting it manually. However, I did come across this
entry in /var/log/messages:

 Jul 25 10:15:16 puppetmasterj puppet-master[11988]: Compiled catalog for puppet2.lab in environment production in 1.16 seconds
 Jul 25 10:15:17 puppetmasterj puppet-master[11988]: Report processor failed: Permission denied - connect(2)

Which led me to the following entry in audit.log

 type=AVC msg=audit(1343225819.078:1582): avc:  denied  { name_connect } for  pid=11988 comm="puppetmasterd" dest=3000 scontext=unconfined_u:system_r:puppetmaster_t:s0 tcontext=system_u:object_r:ntop_port_t:s0 tclass=tcp_socket

This was an selinux issue. I quickly ascertained that turning enforcing
off in selinux allowed my reports to get through. I couldn’t find anyone
else online encountering this issue. However, many people disable
selinux enforcing early on and I guess the cross-section of
puppet-dashboard users and those using selinux enforcing is somewhat

How to fix this? There is a set of python programs called “audit2why”
and “audit2allow” as part of the policycoreutils-python package. These
tools will parse entries from the audit.log and either explain why an
action was denied or provide a solution. You can get these tools by
doing a “yum install policycoreutils-python”.

Now we can use audit2allow to parse our audit.log error. You’ll want to
run the tool, paste in your log entry, and then hit Ctrl+D on a blank

 [[email protected] tmp]# audit2allow -m puppetmaster
 type=AVC msg=audit(1343232143.497:1617): avc:  denied  { name_connect } for  pid=12552 comm="puppetmasterd" dest=3000 scontext=unconfined_u:system_r:puppetmaster_t:s0 tcontext=system_u:object_r:ntop_port_t:s0 tclass=tcp_socket
 module puppetmaster 1.0;
 require {
     type puppetmaster_t;
     type ntop_port_t;
     class tcp_socket name_connect;
 #============= puppetmaster_t ==============
 allow puppetmaster_t ntop_port_t:tcp_socket name_connect;

The above gives you a textual view of a module you can create to allow
puppetmaster to make an outbound connection. audit2allow will even
generate that module with the -M option.

 [[email protected] tmp]# audit2allow -M puppetmaster
 type=AVC msg=audit(1343232143.497:1617): avc:  denied  { name_connect } for  pid=12552 comm="puppetmasterd" dest=3000 scontext=unconfined_u:system_r:puppetmaster_t:s0 tcontext=system_u:object_r:ntop_port_t:s0 tclass=tcp_socket
 ******************** IMPORTANT ***********************
 To make this policy package active, execute:
 semodule -i puppetmaster.pp

That generated the module “puppetmaster.pp”. Despite the pp extension,
this is not a puppet manifest, but an selinux binary module. Let’s
install it.

 [[email protected] tmp]# semodule -i puppetmaster.pp

With that, puppetmaster can communicate with dashboard and reports are
flowing. The only remaining thing left to do is to file a bug report. As
it happened, someone had posted a bug report similar to this for
documentation on the puppetdb project. I decided to append to that
issue, but I suggested migrating the issue to the main puppet project.
Issue #15567.

Using puppet to install djbdns

This is a basic walkthrough of getting a slightly complex “step by step
to install” program like djbdns to install under puppet (in this case,
under Ubuntu 12.04). It shows building the manifest, testing it, and
some possible gotchas.

I am generally following the guide put together by Higher Logic[1], with
a few changes of my own.

Step 1: Installation
I use the dbndns fork of djbdns, which has a few patches installed that
djbdns lacks. In fact, the djbdns package in Debian/Ubuntu is a virtual
package that really install dbndns. To install it normally, you would
type “sudo apt-get install dbndns”. This would also install daemontools
and daemontools-run. However, we’ll also need make and ucspi-tcp.

We’re going to do this the puppet way. I’m assuming my puppet
configuration in in /etc/puppet, node manifests are in
/etc/puppet/nodes, and modules are in /etc/puppet/modules.

a. Create the dbndns module with a package definition to install

sudo mkdir -p /etc/puppet/modules/dbndns/manifests
    sudo vi /etc/puppet/modules/dbndns/manifests/init.pp

        class dbndns {
            package {
                    ensure => present;

                    ensure => present;

                    ensure => present;


b. Create a file for your node (ie:

sudo vi /etc/puppet/nodes/

        node    ‘’ {
            include dbndns

c. Test
Ok, to test on your puppet client, run “sudo puppet agent –test”

[email protected]:~# sudo puppet agent –test
    info: Retrieving plugin
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/facter_dot_d.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/root_home.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/puppet_vardir.rb
    info: Caching catalog for
    info: Applying configuration version ‘1340213237’
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Package[dbndns]/ensure: created
    notice: Finished catalog run in 3.39 seconds

Here we can see our dbndns package installed. But is it running? Well,
djbdns uses daemontools, which runs svscan, and some searching online
shows that in Ubuntu 12.04/Precise, this is now an upstart job. svscan
is not running. So let’s make it run. Add the following to your init.pp
(within the module definition):

define the service to restart

        service { “svscan”:
                ensure  => “running”,
                provider => “upstart”,
                require => Package[“dbndns”],

Now back on puppet2, let’s test it.

[email protected]:~# sudo puppet agent –test
    info: Retrieving plugin
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/facter_dot_d.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/root_home.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/puppet_vardir.rb
    info: Caching catalog for
    info: Applying configuration version ‘1340213237’
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Service[svscan]/ensure: ensure changed
‘stopped’ to ‘running’
    notice: Finished catalog run in 0.47 seconds

We now told puppet to ensure that svscan is running. The “provider”
option tells it to use upstart instead of /etc/init.d/ scripts or the
service command. Also, we make sure that it doesn’t attempt to start
svscan unless dbndns is already installed.

Now we have daemontools running, but we haven’t got it start our tinydns
service yet. To do that, we need to create some users and configure the

Step 2: Create users

Going back to our guide, our next step is to create users. We can do
that in puppet as well.
    # Users for the chroot jail
    adduser –no-create-home –disabled-login –shell /bin/false dnslog
    adduser –no-create-home –disabled-login –shell /bin/false
    adduser –no-create-home –disabled-login –shell /bin/false

So in our init.pp module file, we need to define our users:

user { “dnslog”:
            shell => “/bin/false”,
            managehome => “no”,
            ensure => “present”,

    user { “tinydns”:
            shell => “/bin/false”,
            managehome => “no”,
            ensure => “present”,

    user { “dnscache”:
            shell => “/bin/false”,
            managehome => “no”,
            ensure => “present”,

Back on puppet2, we can give that a test.

[email protected]:~$ sudo puppet agent –test
    info: Retrieving plugin
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/facter_dot_d.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/root_home.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/puppet_vardir.rb
    info: Caching catalog for
    info: Applying configuration version ‘1340215757’
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[dnscache]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[tinydns]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[dnslog]/ensure: created
    notice: Finished catalog run in 0.86 seconds
    [email protected]:~$ cat /etc/passwd | grep dns

So far, so good. Now we have to do the configuration, which will require
executing some commands.

Step 3 – Configuration
Our next step are the following commands:


    tinydns-conf tinydns dnslog /etc/tinydns/
    dnscache-conf dnscache dnslog /etc/dnscache
    cd /etc/dnscache; touch /etc/dnscache/root/ip/127.0.0
    mkdir /etc/service ; cd /etc/service ; ln -sf /etc/tinydns/ ; ln -sf

The first two commands create our service directories. Authoratative
tinydns is set to listen on and dnscache is set to listen on The 3rd command creates a file that restricts dnscache to
only respond to requests from IPs starting with 127.0.0. This is isn’t
necessary, but the challenge is interesting.

What we want to do first is see if /etc/tinydns and /etc/dnscache exist
and if not, run the -conf program. We also need to know the IP address.
Fortunately, puppet provides this as a variable “$ipaddress”. Try
running the “facter” command.

Puppet has a property call creates that is ideal. If the directory
specified by creates does not exist, it will perform the associated
commands. Here are our new lines:

exec { “configure-tinydns”:
            command => “/usr/bin/tinydns-conf tinydns dnslog
/etc/tinydns $ipaddress”,
            creates => “/etc/tinydns”,
            require => Package[‘dbndns’],

exec { “configure-dnscache”:
            command => “/usr/bin/dnscache-conf dnscache dnslog
            creates => “/etc/dnscache”,
            require => Package[‘dbndns’],

Thos will configure tinydns and dnscache, and then we can restrict

file { “/etc/dnscache/root/ip/127.0.0”:
            ensure => “present”,
            owner => “dnscache”,
            require => Exec[“configure-dnscache”],

Then, we need to create the /etc/service directory and bring tinydns and
dnscache under svscan’s control.

    file { “/etc/service”:
            ensure => “directory”,
            require => Package[“dbndns”],

file { “/etc/service/tinydns”:
            ensure => “link”,
            target => “/etc/tinydns”,
            require => [ File[‘/etc/service’],
Exec[“configure-tinydns”], ],

file { “/etc/service/dnscache”:
            ensure => “link”,
            target => “/etc/dnscache”,
            require => [  File[‘/etc/service’],
Exec[“configure-dnscache”]  ],

And our tests:

[email protected]:~$ sudo puppet agent –test
    info: Retrieving plugin
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/facter_dot_d.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/root_home.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/puppet_vardir.rb
    info: Caching catalog for
    info: Applying configuration version ‘1340218775’
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Exec[configure-dnscache]/returns:
executed successfull
/Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/dnscache/root/ip/127.0.0]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service/dnscache]/ensure:
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Exec[configure-tinydns]/returns:
executed successfully
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service/tinydns]/ensure:
    notice: Finished catalog run in 0.59 seconds
    [email protected]:~$ ls /etc/service/tinydns/root/
    add-alias  add-alias6  add-childns  add-host  add-host6  add-mx 
add-ns  data  Makefile
    [email protected]:~$ ps ax | grep supervise
     7932 ?        S      0:00 supervise dnscache
     7933 ?        S      0:00 supervise log
     7934 ?        S      0:00 supervise tinydns
     7935 ?        S      0:00 supervise log

Doing a dig @localhost returns, so dnscache

Now, let’s check tinydns. No domains are configured yet, so let’s put in there. Edit /etc/tinydns/root/data and put these lines in
it, substituting for your own “public” IP address.


Then “make” the data.cdb file:

cd /etc/tinydns/root ; sudo make

Now test:

[email protected]:/etc/tinydns/root$ dig @

; <<>> DiG 9.8.1-P1 <<>> @
    ;; global options: +cmd
    ;; Got answer:
    ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 25433
    ;; flags: qr aa rd; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL:
    ;; WARNING: recursion requested but not available

    ;               IN      A

;; ANSWER SECTION:        3600    IN      A

;; AUTHORITY SECTION:            3600    IN      NS

Ok, for a final test, let’s remove everything and run it again.

sudo service svscan stop
    sudo apt-get purge daemontools daemontools-run ucspi-tcp dbndns
    sudo rm -rf /etc/service /etc/tinydns /etc/dnscache
    sudo userdel tinydns
    sudo userdel dnslog
    sudo userdel dnscache

Let’s do this:

[email protected]:~$ sudo puppet agent –test
    info: Retrieving plugin
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/facter_dot_d.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/root_home.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/puppet_vardir.rb
    info: Caching catalog for
    info: Applying configuration version ‘1340220032’
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Service[svscan]/ensure: ensure changed
‘stopped’ to ‘running’
    err: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Exec[configure-dnscache]/returns: change
from notrun to 0 failed: /usr/bin/dnscache-conf dnscache dnslog
/etc/dnscache returned 111 instead of one of [0] at
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[dnscache]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[tinydns]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service/dnscache]: Dependency
Exec[configure-dnscache] has failures: true
    warning: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service/dnscache]: Skipping
because of failed dependencies
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[dnslog]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/dnscache/root/ip/127.0.0]:
Dependency Exec[configure-dnscache] has failures: true
    warning: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/dnscache/root/ip/127.0.0]:
Skipping because of failed dependencies
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Exec[configure-tinydns]/returns:
executed successfully
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service/tinydns]/ensure:
    notice: Finished catalog run in 0.98 seconds

Looks like we had something fail. Oops! configure-dnscache failed. We
see that the user dnscache and tinydns were created after. So we need to
make sure that the users are created before we can configure the
service. This needs to happen to tinydns as well as dnscache. Good thing
we did this test so it doesn’t bite us in the future. Let’s adjust our

exec { “configure-tinydns”:
                command => “/usr/bin/tinydns-conf tinydns dnslog
/etc/tinydns $ipaddress”,
                creates => “/etc/tinydns”,
                require => [ Package[‘dbndns’], User[‘dnscache’],
User[‘dnslog’] ],

exec { “configure-dnscache”:
                command => “/usr/bin/dnscache-conf dnscache dnslog
                creates => “/etc/dnscache”,
                require => [ Package[‘dbndns’],  User[‘dnscache’],
User[‘dnslog’] ],

Also, let’s go ahead and run our commands above to get rid of everything

[email protected]:~$ sudo puppet agent –test
    info: Retrieving plugin
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/facter_dot_d.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/root_home.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/puppet_vardir.rb
    info: Caching catalog for
    info: Applying configuration version ‘1340220641’
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Service[svscan]/ensure: ensure changed
‘stopped’ to ‘running’
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[dnscache]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[tinydns]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[dnslog]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Exec[configure-dnscache]/returns:
executed successfully
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service/dnscache]/ensure:
/Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/dnscache/root/ip/127.0.0]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Exec[configure-tinydns]/returns:
executed successfully
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service/tinydns]/ensure:
    notice: Finished catalog run in 1.05 seconds

Everything looks good, but when we run “ps ax | grep svscan” we don’t
see svscan running. So we check /var/log/syslog and see this

Jun 20 19:31:35 puppet2 kernel: [ 9646.348251] init: svscan main
process ended, respawning
    Jun 20 19:31:35 puppet2 kernel: [ 9646.359074] init: svscan
respawning too fast, stopped

If we start it by hand, it works, so what happened? /etc/service didn’t
exist yet.

[email protected]:~$ sudo service svscan start
    svscan start/running, process 9726
    [email protected]:~$ ps ax | grep supervise
     9730 ?        S      0:00 supervise dnscache
     9731 ?        S      0:00 supervise log
     9732 ?        S      0:00 supervise tinydns
     9733 ?        S      0:00 supervise log

Let’s fix that.

define the service to restart

        service { “svscan”:
                ensure  => “running”,
                provider => “upstart”,
                require => [ Package[“dbndns”], File[“/etc/service”] ]

Now, let’s give it a go:

[email protected]:~$ sudo puppet agent –test
    info: Retrieving plugin
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/facter_dot_d.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/root_home.rb
    info: Loading facts in /var/lib/puppet/lib/facter/puppet_vardir.rb
    info: Caching catalog for
    info: Applying configuration version ‘1340220885’
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[dnscache]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[tinydns]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Service[svscan]/ensure: ensure changed
‘stopped’ to ‘running’
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/User[dnslog]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Exec[configure-dnscache]/returns:
executed successfully
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service/dnscache]/ensure:
/Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/dnscache/root/ip/127.0.0]/ensure: created
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/Exec[configure-tinydns]/returns:
executed successfully
    notice: /Stage[main]/Dbndns/File[/etc/service/tinydns]/ensure:
    notice: Finished catalog run in 1.24 seconds
    [email protected]:~$ ps ax | grep svscan
    10613 ?        Ss     0:00 /bin/sh /usr/bin/svscanboot
    10615 ?        S      0:00 svscan /etc/service
    10639 pts/0    S+     0:00 grep –color=auto svscan
    [email protected]:~$ ps ax | grep supervise
    10630 ?        S      0:00 supervise dnscache
    10631 ?        S      0:00 supervise log
    10632 ?        S      0:00 supervise tinydns
    10633 ?        S      0:00 supervise log
    10641 pts/0    S+     0:00 grep –color=auto supervise

Excellent! We now have a working puppet class that will install puppet,
configure it, and get it up and running. At this point, we don’t have
any records being served by tinydns, but it wouldn’t be hard to push a
file to /etc/tinydns/root/data and execute a command to perform the
make. In my case, I will be using VegaDNS’s[2] to pull
the data remotely.

Here is our completed modules/dbndns/init.pp:

class dbndns {

package {
                ensure => present;

                ensure => present;

                ensure => present;

define the service to restart

        service { “svscan”:
                ensure  => “running”,
                provider => “upstart”,
                require => [ Package[“dbndns”], File[“/etc/service”] ]

user { “dnslog”:
                        shell => “/bin/false”,
                        managehome => false,
                        ensure => “present”,

user { “tinydns”:
                        shell => “/bin/false”,
                        managehome => false,
                        ensure => “present”,

user { “dnscache”:
                        shell => “/bin/false”,
                        managehome => false,
                        ensure => “present”,

exec { “configure-tinydns”:
                command => “/usr/bin/tinydns-conf tinydns dnslog
/etc/tinydns $ipaddress”,
                creates => “/etc/tinydns”,
                require => [ Package[‘dbndns’], User[‘dnscache’],
User[‘dnslog’] ],

exec { “configure-dnscache”:
                command => “/usr/bin/dnscache-conf dnscache dnslog
                creates => “/etc/dnscache”,
                require => [ Package[‘dbndns’],  User[‘dnscache’],
User[‘dnslog’] ],

file { “/etc/dnscache/root/ip/127.0.0”:
                ensure => “present”,
                owner => “dnscache”,
                require => Exec[“configure-dnscache”],

file { “/etc/service”:
                ensure => “directory”,
                require => Package[“dbndns”],

file { “/etc/service/tinydns”:
                ensure => “link”,
                target => “/etc/tinydns”,
                require => [ File[‘/etc/service’],

file { “/etc/service/dnscache”:
                ensure => “link”,
                target => “/etc/dnscache”,
                require => [  File[‘/etc/service’],



Enabling remote logging

I was experimenting with rsyslog to allow remote logging and within 20 minutes, I had two rogue log entries show up from random hosts.

Jan 17 05:00:23 kernel: Configuring keys for mac:14:5a:05:ad:6b:cd, sc_hasclrkey is set
Jan 17 05:01:05 kernel: Configuring keys for mac:14:5a:05:ad:6b:cd, sc_hasclrkey is set

So what is interesting about this? I’m on comcast in PA. The host that sent this is on, or Lumos in (most likely) West Virginia. For some reason, a system there is sending a log message to my IP address. I just now am accepting it.

Audible Thoughts

Recently, I’ve been working my way through the Ender’s Saga audio books. I had read Ender’s Game back in grade school, but I didn’t know there was a whole series. They’re a really good read.. or listen, as the case may be.

I’ve been listening to the Ender series in mp3 format. First, I had them on a thumb drive which was read by my car’s radio. I find it very convenient that a radio in my car can directly read a thumb drive’s file-system and play any audio files found on it. My wife has the same feature in her car and updates her thumb drive quite often with different music.

When I was listening to Ender’s Game, I noticed that sometimes when I turned off the car, it would forget my place in the current file and start from the beginning. With Ender’s Game, the book was split up into lots of small MP3s, several per chapter, so this wasn’t too big a deal. I soon determined that the trick was to make sure the track was playing before I shut the car off. If I had it paused for some reason (say a phone call) when I shut the car off, the file would restart when I started the car back off. If I just turned off the car while it was playing, it would resume perfectly.

However, after listening to the third book, “Xenocide” for around a week, somehow it went back to the beginning of the book. I did some fiddling with the and found I couldn’t find my place. After further examination, I discovered that this book is split into 3 MP3s, each over 6 hours long. My radio doesn’t have the ability to forward within each track. Not many MP3 players do.

I was able to resolve this by moving the book to my Android phone and setting up a Winamp playlist. Here, I can slide a little dot to any position in the file (and therefore the story) I want. I can also listen to the book outside of the car and keep my place. Rather nice.

I am still bit annoyed about the need to do this. To me, this represented a huge shortcoming in audio books. After reflecting on this, I realised it wasn’t a shortcoming in audio books, but rather in the particular format and players involved.

In my last vehicle, I had listened to some audio books on mp3 on cd. Here, it was one huge mp3 for the entire book. However, the cd player always resumed at the same place. I knew that if I took the CD out, I would go back to the beginning though. This was another shortcoming. The CD player considered each MP3 a track and couldn’t fastforward within a track itself, only from track to track.

Some of the original audio books were on tape. I suppose there might have been some on records, but the first format I’ve ever been familiar with was cassette tape. Tape players had no concept of tracks, everything was just a position on the tape. Ok, I know I had one tape player that would attempt to detect when one song ended and the other began, which would stop a fast forward when it reached a silent spot. But by and large, you navigated every second of the tape using fast forward and reverse. Tape was probably the best implementation of audio books.

Then came audio books on CD. Most CD players I knew back then, along with some modern ones we have in our house now works track by track. Discmans, home theatre stereos and vehicle cd players almost universally have this limitation. I know a few players that can fast forward within a track, but there isn’t that big of a market for this feature, so it gets left out. Audio books on CD were a step backwards from tape.

Today, we have audio books in a digital format such as mp3 or wav. These have a big advantage that they can be purchased online and downloaded. But unless you have a “smart” player such as a computer, ipod touch or smartphone, you have the same limitation as a CD. Even the non-touch ipods have ‘track by track, file by file’ controls.

I suppose this problem will correct itself as tablets, smartphones, and all manner of personal computing devices proliferate. For now though, a decent audio book experience is limited to tape or “smart players”. There is a wide range of inexpensive (and expensive) mp3 players that will most likely end up frustrating anyone getting into audio books.