Category: FreeBSD

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Every once in awhile, I start receiving the following daily email notification from my web server:

newsyslog: can't notify daemon, pid 569: No such process

If I don't do anything, the very same message will keep on arriving in my mailbox every single day for the rest of my life. The solution is probably pretty trivial, but I cannot figure out what is causing this to occur. I've already wasted way too much time digging around in the innards of my FreeBSD box trying to discover something unusual, but to no avail.

Not that such a trivial warning means the end of the world, but it really bugs me for some reason. I'm impatient and easily aggravated by inconsistencies. Just kill everything by rebooting the system and hoping that it will not come back (but it always does).

$ sudo shutdown -r now

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All of a sudden I started receiving daily crontab email notifications from my web server with the following warning:

expiretable: Error opening "/dev/pf": No such file or directory

I checked my /etc/rc.conf and as expected it contained the following required lines:

$ vi /etc/rc.conf
pf_enable="YES"
pf_rules="/etc/pf.conf"
pflog_enable="YES"

So in theory everything should have started without any problems. Well, maybe not so just in case I fired off the following two commands:

$ kldload pf
$ /etc/rc.d/pf start
$ /etc/rc.d/pf status
No ALTQ support in kernel
ALTQ related functions disabled
Status: Enabled for 0 days 00:10:34           Debug: Urgent
...

Now working. If things go wrong again I'll have to investigate the problems better.


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# portupgrade --batch -arR

 

I try to run this at least once a week so that my web server stays up to date.


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This weekend they were having this big 25% computer sale at Media Markt, so I went there and decided to splurge on an ASUS X59SL-AP275C for my upcoming birthday.

Although it comes pre-installed with Windows Vista, the first thing I'm going to do is remove it and replace it with the latest version of my favorite operating system.

I'll go for the bleeding edge version FreeBSD 7.1-BETA and recompile the kernel with the new and vastly improved ULE scheduler.

$ cd /usr/src/sys/i386/conf
$ cp GENERIC LAPTOP
vi LAPTOP

There are two things to change in this file then we can move to compiling and installing the new and improved kernel.

ident      LAPTOP
options    SCHED_ULE

That's all there is to it. I certainly hope that it works.


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Hurrah, the book I ordered last week from amazon.co.uk has arrived and it's called "Building a Server With FreeBSD 7" by Bryan J. Hong, and I can't wait to read it

Sub-titles "A Modular Approach" it's full of valuable hints on how to install and configure your very own dream machine.

I'm a little bit weary about upgrading FreeBSD, but the new version has so many new features and improvements that I'd be foolish to wait much longer.

Appendix D gives a nice, succinct overview of the protocols.

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One of the aggravating issues I still have is that my wifi connection will get dropped once in awhile, and the only way to reconnect is by manually running this script that I created.

Ideally I want to have this happen automatically, but much investigation and googling has turned up little information.

Someone mentioned that wpa_supplicant might offer a solution, so I'll have a look there when I get more time.


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Those regular ssh attacks to my web server have been bugging me now for some time. Those jerks needed to be taught a lesson.

This evening I gathered up my courage and decided to finally do something about it. Printed out a document about firewalling, studied them well and became an expert in no time.

So I fired up the good old PF packet filter firewall, added a simple pass rule which inserts the baddies into a table, blocking them for good.

That's more like it.


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I struggled last night into the wee hours of the morning scratching my head and yanking out my hair trying to figure out why I kept getting those awful 403 forbidden error pages when all I was trying to do was run a simple CGI-script.

That's when all of a sudden I realized that I had forgotten that all import asterisk, meaning that the correct apache directive should be:

<Directory /var/www/*>
    Options +ExecCGI
</Directory>

Let's be more careful the next time, alright?!


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I upgraded my Gnome desktop to 2.20 and everything went perfectly well.

Well, almost.

My fonts looked overly large and botched, but this was quickly remedied by firing up the good old gnome-control-panel and changing the appearance of the fonts to 96 dots per inch.


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Trying to get OpenVPN to work properly under FreeBSD is turning out to become quite a bear, e.g. a much bigger bummer than I had originally expected it to be.

Up to now all this effort has become almost a complete waste of time, because I haven't accomplished anything (though of course I've learned an awful lot).

What's funny is that according to the installation instructions it should be a piece of cake, but it isn't.

This is yet another ongoing goal in life which hopefully someday I will be able to resolve in my spare time, depending on how sharp my technical acumen remains.


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For quite some time now my APCUPSD daemon has been broken, and such an aggravation is something one typically postpones fixing forever. I'd expected the worst.

However, just a quick look and I figured it out fairly quickly. In the newer versions of apcupsd, the syntax of two parameters in the configuration file /usr/local/etc/apcupsd/apcupsd.conf have changed to:

UPSCLASS standalone
UPSMODE disable

Check it out for yourself by having your own look at my APCUPSD UPS Network Monitor on the kiffingish.com webserver.

Didn't realize it would be so trivial, should have checked it out earlier.


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After several weeks now, I finally got my X.org environment up and running after my ill-fated 7.2 upgrade mess.

The last obstacle was a mysterious error which popped up every time I ran startx, namely:

fatal server error: caught signal 10.

   server aborting.

Yuk! So how did I fix this? The answer is simple: I simply commented out the following line in the /etc/xorg.conf file:

Section "Module"
    ...
    #Load "glx"
    ...
EndSection

Seems to be something wrong with the OpenGL file included with the FreeBSD NVidia driver I downloaded and installed. I'll have to deal with this at a later time if ever.


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I should have never gotten started with the X.org 7.2 upgrade.

Two weeks later and my poor FreeBSD laptop is a complete mess, despite me having followed the upgrade instructions to a tee.

I'll give it one last try this weekend and see what happens.

Perhaps it is finally time to migrate over to Ubuntu.


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So why the heck was my mouse wheel causing the Firefox browser to move back/forward in history when I hit the top/bottom of the page?

This aggravating action has been bugging me for some time now, so you can imagine how relieved I was when I found the solution.

In summary, here is what I had to do:

  • Open up the settings page by typing about:config in the address bar and pressing Enter.
  • Filter on the word 'mousewheel'.
  • Select mousewheel.horizscroll.withnokey.action with the mouse.
  • Click using right mouse button and select Modify from the drop-down list.
  • Change the value from 2 to 1

What a relief now that I can whiz my way up and down the page with the mouse wheel without worrying anymore.


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So this is what I did. I simply added gnome_enable="TRUE" in my /etc/rc.conf file. Now everything works just fine now.

Don't forget to include the following lines in the same order, namely:

dbus_enable="YES"
polkitd_enable="YES"
hald_enable="YES"

Also, in order to disable all that accounting stuff, I added the following line:

accounting_enable="NO"

When in doubt about these kind of aggravating issues a good place to visit is the web page at FreeBSD GNOME Project: GNOME 2.18 FAQ.


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In order to get the gnome-terminal to acquire your complete environment variables which is normally the case by default when firing up the plain-vanilla xterm program, all you have to do is add the following line to the .bashrc file:

. .bash_profile

Finally figured it out after all these years...


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For some strange unknown reason, since I changed ISP and started using a different SpeedTouch wireless access point, my Internet connection occasionally gets drop. My wi0 driver doesn't reconnect like it is supposed to which is pretty aggravating to say the least.

So when this happens I can use a simple script that I wrote which will in one go reconnect everything like magic as if nothing happened in the first place. Here it is:

#!/bin/sh
echo "Configuring wi0 for home ..."
ifconfig wi0 down
ifconfig wi0 media autoselect
ifconfig wi0 channel 1
ifconfig wi0 ssid [SSID goes here...]
ifconfig wi0 authmode open
ifconfig wi0 wepmode on
ifconfig wi0 weptxkey 1
ifconfig wi0 wepkey 0x[wepkey goes here...]
ifconfig wi0 up
dhclient wi0

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Whenever I do a

portsclean -CDD [ ]

and after a while I am returned to the prompt I feel alot better as if in some way or another I have cleansed my soul and prepared myself for the next step in life.


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Switch to workspace on the right:

<control><alt><right>
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After struggling awhile with the installation of Komodo on my FreeBSD 6.2 system, I *finally* was successful in getting it up-and-running. Therefore I would like to share my experiences in the hopes that in the future it may be helpful for some other fellow FreeBSD-er.

Installation:

  1. Download the linux libcpp5 tarball.
  2. Unpack and cd into extracted dirtectory.
  3. As root run ./install.sh
  4. Choose install directory: /usr/compat/linux/opt/Komodo-IDE-4.0
  5. As root cd /usr/compat/linux/opt/Komodo-IDE-4.0
  6. For the bin, share and lib directories do the following:
    1. chmod -R +x dirname
    2. chmod -R -s dirname
    3. chmod -R -t dirname
    4. chmod -R +r dirname
  7. Download the license and install on Windows or Linux (not FreeBSD)
  8. Copy ~/.ActiveState/ActiveState.lic and place in ~/.ActiveState directory
  9. Komodo can now be started as: /usr/compat/linux/opt/Komodo-IDE-4.0/bin/komodo

You can now create a quick launcher by using one of the images found in: /usr/compat/linux/opt/Komodo-IDE-4.0/share/icons/

I hope that this may be helpful to someone someday. I sure would have liked to know this in advance as it would have saved me a day of sweating and hair-pulling.


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"So what are my interesting plans for the weekend?" you may ask.

Well, how about this? Upgrading to FreeBSD 6.2 and rebuilding my ports. More polished, stable.

That sure sounds like a fun and relaxing activity for the weekend, don't you think?


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After all these years I finally figured out how to get the Macromedia flash plugin working under FreeBSD using the Firefox web browser.

Go to the Browsers page in the FreeBSD Handbook and look under chapter 6.2.4 Firefox, Mozilla and Macromedia® Flash™ plugin.

Just follow the directions step by step and then everything will work out just fine. (Don't forget to restart)


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When I upgraded from Gnome 2.14 to 2.16 everything seemed to go along just fine, except for one very aggravating thing: my menus were missing.

In desperation I have been searching around forever trying to find a solution, but to no avail.

Finally this morning I figured it out, and now all my wonderful menus have magically returned, and they are beautiful.

Reinstall the gnome menus stuff and delete my user-defined config stuff just in case.

More accurately, this is what I had to do:

# su -
# pkg_delete -f gnome-menus-2.16.1
# rm -rf /var/db/pkg/gnome-menus-2.16.1
# cd /usr/ports/x11/gnome-menus
# make install clean
# exit
# cd
# rm -rf .config
# startx

Lo and behold it works and I am happy again.


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Here is something that you might be interested in.

portsnap fetch update

In the long run it is so much easier and quicker. Check it out yourself more information about portsnap and how it might simplify things.


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If I could have things my way, there are three main frustrations related to my FreeBSD computer hobby activities that I would like to resolve, namely the following:

  • Being able to print to my old-fashioned HP DeskJet 720C using the apsfilter utility. For some reason printing to a remote network printer works just fine but not locally via my printer port lpt0, as well as under good old Windows XP.
  • Getting Asterisk configured so that it connects alright to the TDM400 telephony card I installed from Digium and connected to a Dect telephone.
  • Configuring the Nagios host and service monitor to run correctly on my server and trigger me when something unusual is detected.

In the last year or so I have been working on and off trying to get these fixed but to no avail.

My life would become much less stressful and a hundred times more enjoyable if these issues could be reconciled in the not so distant future.

What are the chances of getting that to happen?


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For some weird reason my server has been going completely wacko on a daily basis at around eleven o'clock or so every single evening. And I mean completely wacko.

Tons of file access activity, that little red led flashing endlessly, i/o overload is what it is all about, the sounds of disk access echoing all over the place. No way to even access my web site because it all times out. What to do?

In order to investigate things further I have installed Nagios to see if perhaps I can figure out what the heck is happening.

Hopefully I will come up with an answer in the not so distant future, but we will have to see.


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When in doubt then perhaps it is a good idea to get rid of everything and start all over again.

That's what I decided to do when all of a sudden Komodo stopped working becuase of some linux emulation hiccup when I upgraded FreeBSD.

Have a look in the file /usr/ports/UPDATING and this is what you see:

20060616:
AFFECTS users of emulation/linux_base-*

We now use Fedora Core 4 as the linux base port, and the corresponding xorg libs for the linux X11 libs port.
To upgrade you have to run
portupgrade -f -o emulators/linux_base-fc4 linux_base\*
portupgrade -f -o x11/linux-xorg-libs linux-XFree86-libs

...

After this start a linux program to test, e.g., acroread. If you get errors when starting linux programs about problems with libraries, and you made sure no LD_* variable is set as described above, you are one of those unlucky people where we do not have a better solution as to tell you to deinstall every linux port, remove /compat/linux completely to make sure no cruft is left and reinstall everything you need.
So that's what I did and things have improved greatly since then.
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Don't know how I managed it really, but all of a sudden since this afternoon my Gnome desktop seems to be performing back to normal. What a relief.

I suspect that it had something to do with some weird mismatch during the upgrade where my previous private settings messed things up for some reason.

So what I did is this. Delete all of the dot-directories located in my home directory that looked like they had something to do with gnome, like .gnome, .gnome2, .gnome2_private, .icons, .themes, .gconf and .gconfd using good old rm -rf.


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With much enthusiasm, they claim that the latest 2.14 version of Gnome was supposed to be a quantum leap in improvement, what with all that memory optimization, performance gains and a number of other truly amazing tweaks.

However, after having attempted to upgrade from the 2.12 version a number of times, reporting this and that, and reinstalling packages, I am afraid that I have been experiencing the exact opposite on my FreeBSD 6.1 platform.

The newest Gnome desktop has become a veritable nightmare for me. So much wasted time. Very sluggish and unresponsive, applications take forever to startup, and at times things become frozen and/or displaying erratic repaints and all.

I've pretty much given up all hope.


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bsdtalk
Talking about the BSD family of free operating systems.

This is a really good place to find interesting interviews, lessons, whatever about bsd-related information.

Be sure to check it out.


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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2131 entries and as many as 1862 comments.

Important events

I started working at Zarafa 1-15-2014 ago.

This blog came into existence 7-21-2001 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

Thea and I first met 6-14-1980 ago.

I graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

I began my well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.