debian

Removing packages and configurations with apt-get

Yesterday while re-purposing a server I was removing packages with apt-get and stumbled upon an interesting problem. After I removed the package and all of it's configurations, the subsequent installation did not re-deploy the configuration files. After a bit of digging I found out that there are two methods for removing packages with apt-get. One of those method should be used if you want to remove binaries, and the other should be used if you want to remove both binaries and configuration files.

Using rsync to synchronize a local and remote directory

Recently I had moved my blog from WordPress to a custom python script that generates static HTML pages. After generating files I need to copy them to my web servers. While it is easy enough to FTP or SCP the files from my local machine to the remote web servers. I am looking for a little more elegant and automated solution. For that reason I have chosen to use the rsync command.

Finding the OS version and Distribution in Linux

When supporting systems you have inherited or in environments that have many different OS versions and distributions of Linux. There are times when you simply don't know off hand what OS version or distribution the server you are logged into is. Luckily there is a simple way to figure that out. Ubuntu/Debian $ cat /etc/lsb-release DISTRIB_ID=Ubuntu DISTRIB_RELEASE=13.04 DISTRIB_CODENAME=raring DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION="Ubuntu 13.04" RedHat/CentOS/Oracle Linux # cat /etc/redhat-release Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 5 (Tikanga) Catchall If you are looking for a quick way and don't care what the output looks like, you can simply do this as well.

Installing MySQL on Ubuntu/Debian

MySQL is the most popular open source relational database management system (RDBMS) in the world. MySQL is used by everyone from the simple small business website to the large internet giants like Facebook, Google or Amazon. In fact the contents of this page are even stored within MySQL. Installing MySQL is a fairly common task for any systems administrator; especially if that administrator is running a standard LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL & PHP/Python/Perl).

NFS: Setting up a basic NFS file system share

While there are many distributed file systems out there; especially with the rise of cloud & virtual computing. The Network File System or NFS protocol has by far held its title as an easy to use, fast to implement and very efficient distributed file system. In today's article I will be covering how to set up a basic NFS share. This article will assume that you have already created a file system, if not hop over to this article and then come back for the NFS steps.

iptables: Linux firewall rules for a basic Web Server

For today's article I am going to explain how to create a basic firewall allow and deny filter list using the iptables package. We will be focused on creating a filtering rule-set for a basic everyday Linux web server running Web, FTP, SSH, MySQL, and DNS services. Before we begin lets get an understanding of iptables and firewall filtering in general. What is iptables? iptables is a package and kernel module for Linux that uses the netfilter hooks within the Linux kernel to provide filtering, network address translation, and packet mangling.

Cheat Sheet: 21 useful find commands

For todays article I wanted to put together a quick little cheat sheet for some GNU find command examples. Some of these commands will be basic some will be more advanced, but they all will be useful. As a caveat some commands don't work in all Unix environments and this is especially true with older releases. If you find yourself in one of those situations there is a way to make the find command work you will just need to use different methods like the -exec flag.

ACL: Using Access Control Lists on Linux

Access Control Lists aka ACL's are one of those obscure Linux tools that isn't used every day; and if you find yourself using ACL's every day than you probably have a very complicated Linux environment. A few years ago I had an engineer tell me “Any thing you want to solve with ACL's can be solved with standard unix permissions” and while he may have just been justifying why he didn't know ACL's very well.

Why you should avoid running applications as root

I'm going to start this post by saying what I'm really thinking. 90% of the time if an application is running as the root user on a Unix/Linux machine; it is because the sysadmin who setup or designed the environment was being lazy. Now before getting offended, being a lazy sysadmin is a good thing. The fact is that most systems administrators are lazy in some way, and that is the reason why most systems administration tasks end up being scripted.

When it's Ok and Not Ok to use rc.local

On System V based OS's the /etc/rc.local file is executed by the init process at the end of the systems boot process. The fact that the rc.local file is executed during the boot process makes it an easy target for misuse by lazy Sysadmins. Since I started my Unix experience on FreeBSD which relies primarily on the /etc/rc.* configuration files, I've seen and shamefully contributed to my fair share of misuse in the rc.