chroot and serial console to fix ubuntu distro upgrade gone wrong

I had to fix a do-distro-upgrade from 16.04 to 18.04 due to a severed ssh connection, and no screen running (apparently earlier distro upgrades used screen to prevent this kind of problem)

the machine as a PCengine apu2, so no video. also, the root file system is sitting on a miniPCI ssd.

eventually, my thinkpad x230i, and this chroot cheatsheet helped: https://aaronbonner.io/post/21103731114/chroot-into-a-broken-linux-install

mount the root filesystem device

$ mount -t ext4 /dev/<device> /mnt/

if there’s a different boot partition or anything else

$ mount -t ext2 /dev/<device> /mnt/boot

special devices mounts

$ mount -t proc none /mnt/proc
$ mount -o bind /dev /mnt/dev
$ mount -o bind /sys /mnt/sys

chroot

$ chroot /mnt /bin/bash
$ source /etc/profile

In order to help troubleshoot in the future, i followed this advice to get a systemd service unit for a constant shell on the serial port, but mine runs for some reason on S0:
http://0pointer.de/blog/projects/serial-console.html

# systemctl enable serial-getty@ttyS0.service
# systemctl start serial-getty@ttyS0.service

It won’t help if systemd does not start, but otherwise it is online really early.

Install and monitor skypool’s Nimiq client via ansible playbook, systemd and ruby & cron

INTRODUCTION

This is a short entry to document installation and monitoring of the skypool nimiq client. The Nimiq network is a decentralized payment network that runs in the browser and is installation-free.

Personally, i believe that the Litecoin and Ethereum projects have been so far able to generate a strong economy around them, however, projects like Nimiq definitely convince me in terms of usability and simplicity approach to the user.

CONTENT

I am considering Ubuntu 16.04 as base operating system.

The playbook does the following things:

  1. Install the necessary dependencies
    ruby-dev for ruby 2.3, ruby gem package manage
    unzip to handle the release file from github
  2. Create a specific user nimiq and a program directory /opt/nimiq
  3. Download and unpack the release file from github under a version-specific directory below the program directory
  4. Create skypool client configuration file according to your demands and with your wallet address
  5. Create a systemd unit file, start the skypool client as a service and enable restart on reboot
  6. Create a status checker that uses the skypool api to check the worker’s online/offline status
  7. Create a crontab entry for the root user to run the status checker every ten minutes

REMARKS

cron

The cron entry running every 10 minutes is a tradeoff on how brittle the online/offline check delay currently is experienced by me through the skypool site. Presumably skypool does not have a real heartbeat check towards the worker but assumes that the worker is online when it receives results from it, and subsequently assumes the worker to be offline if it does not (most pools in the cryptocurrency world work like that). That means in terms of perfect time period between checks, your mileage may vary.

systemd

The service runs currently under the user nimiq, hence a non-privileged user of the system. However, the systemd daemon used is the one from root. Hence only the root user can restart the nimiq service. For this reason, the cron entry is registered through the root user. If you want to be able to use the nimiq user to restart the nimiq service, you have to run a systemd daemon based on the nimiq user. I have successfully done that for another service playbook, and I might add this information in the future, if demand is voiced.

GIST

Find below the full gist as published on github. Full gist here.

Installing ubuntu per minimal image to PC engines APU2

This is the company: PCengines
This is the devices: APU2

nullmodem setup

using putty

Check which com port, mine was set to ‘com4’

Get a usb to serial converter, install drivers. Some of those converters seem to have timing problems, but i did not encounter that.

I once tried lowest baud rate 9600 and that produced some nice screen carnival, but nothing really legible.

prepping usb stick

Download usb prep tool ‘TinyCore USB Installer‘ and run it against on usb, i’ve used an 8GB stick, make sure it’s not the slowest

To try out you can now boot into TINYCORE. So put this into the APU2’s usb port and boot up having the serial nullmodem cable connected and the putty session open. Finished boot is indicated by an audible beep. This is good to check the serial connection which you should have established parallel to that.

If you want to keep the option of booting into TINYCORE open, backup the syslinux.config fom the USB’s root directory, as this one will be overwritten by the package content we are now downloading.

Download special ubuntu package from pcengines, unpack and move the three files into the usb root folder / or :/ depending on your system.

Now plug in the usb into the apu2 and boot having the serial nullmodem cable connected and the putty session open. You will see the setup menu, similar to this screen shot:

The terminal setup process seems daunting at first, but it essentially is really analogues to the graphical ubuntu installer. I found my way around by basically following the Easy Path(tm) of most of the suggestions of the installer, going automatically step by step through the menu. On some of the sub menus i was able to make some educated changes as i knew a bit of more details and i had a good idea where i want to go with this system, but this might not apply to you.

The one exception was the network configuration. running the automatic network detection seems to have got the dhcpd info , but when i dropped into the busy box ash shell environment (one menu option Execute a shell in the main hierarchy at the beginning of the installation process), i had to run dhclient directly on the interface again. Checking via ip addr i now could verify the indeed applied values, and could ping any public server. With exit i dropped back into the installation menu. On a later second setup run this problem did not occur again.

I chose no automatic updates as i can see the cronjob using quite some resources. I’d rather manually schedule that for this particular system at them moment. Part of the minimum running service policy of mine for this instance.

I followed some tip regarding the bootloader installation, and it apparently solved my problem of an unfinished installation before. I lost the link, but it boiled down to manually enter the first partition of the setup target (pcie flash device in my case), so that was /dev/sdb1 as opposed to /dev/sdb. Again, this might be different for you.

Once that was done, and with a bit more patience i rebooted and eventually login via ssh could be established. I then halted the machine, physically unplugged the usb key and the console, and replugged power.

After about 45 sec ping answered and after than ssh came back online.

Quick way to forward mails via postfix

Thanks to https://www.bentasker.co.uk/documentation/linux/173-configuring-postfix-to-automatically-forward-mail-for-one-address-to-another

Assuming you’re running Postfix, it’s as simple as the steps below

First we make sure the virtual mappings file is enabled

vim /etc/postfix/main.cf 

# Scroll down until you find virtual_alias_maps 

# Make sure it reads something like 
virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual 
# We also need to make sure the domain is enabled 
virtual_alias_domains=example.com

Save and exit, next we add the aliases to our mapping file

nano /etc/postfix/virtual 
# Forward mail for admin@example.com to jo.bloggs@hotmail.com 
admin@example.com  jo.bloggs@hotmail.com

Simple! And if we want to send to two different addresses at once, we just specify them

admin@example.com  jo.bloggs@hotmail.com jos.wife@hotmail.com

Finally, we just need to create a hash (actually later versions of Postfix don’t require this)

postmap /etc/postfix/virtual

It’s exactly the same principle as passing mail into a local user’s mailbox.

How to create a self-signed (wildcard) certificate

This is a quick step to generate self-signed certificate :

openssl genrsa 2048 > host.key
openssl req -new -x509 -nodes -sha1 -days 3650 -key host.key > host.cert
#[enter *.domain.com for the Common Name]
openssl x509 -noout -fingerprint -text < host.cert > host.info
cat host.cert host.key > host.pem
chmod 400 host.key host.pem

from here

Seafile 3 GUI client and Fedora 20

Currently there is no official rpm pacakge available for the GUI version of the Seafile 3 client. You can find extensive build instructions here:

https://github.com/haiwen/seafile/wiki/Build-and-use-seafile-client-from-source

I had to add the Vala package to the dependencies:

sudo yum install vala vala-compat wget gcc libevent-devel openssl-devel gtk2-devel libuuid-devel sqlite-devel jansson-devel intltool cmake qt-devel fuse-devel

Current versions:

  • https://github.com/haiwen/libsearpc/tags
  • https://github.com/haiwen/ccnet/tags
  • https://github.com/haiwen/seafile/tags
  • https://github.com/haiwen/seafile-client/tags

Here’s a little fix up for the script parts:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

echo "Building and installing seafile client"

export version=3.0.2 # change this to your preferred version 
alias wget='wget --content-disposition -nc'
wget https://github.com/haiwen/libsearpc/archive/v${version}.tar.gz
wget https://github.com/haiwen/ccnet/archive/v${version}.tar.gz
wget https://github.com/haiwen/seafile/archive/v${version}.tar.gz
wget https://github.com/haiwen/seafile-client/archive/v${version}.tar.gz
tar xf libsearpc-${version}.tar.gz
tar xf ccnet-${version}.tar.gz
tar xf seafile-${version}.tar.gz
tar xf seafile-client-${version}.tar.gz

export PREFIX=/usr
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="$PREFIX/lib/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH"
export PATH="$PREFIX/bin:$PATH"

echo "Building and installing libsearpc"

cd libsearpc-${version}
./autogen.sh
./configure --prefix=$PREFIX
make
sudo make install

cd ..

echo "Building and installing ccnet"

cd ccnet-${version}
./autogen.sh
./configure --prefix=$PREFIX
make
sudo make install

cd ..

echo "Building and installing seafile"

cd seafile-${version}/
./autogen.sh
./configure --prefix=$PREFIX --disable-gui
make
sudo make install

cd ..

echo "Building and installing seafile-client

cd seafile-client-${version}
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$PREFIX .
make
sudo make install

Run the lib linker, just in case
sudo ldconfig

Start the client with
seafile-applet