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Want Factory Restore/System Rescue for Linux?

June 12th, 2014 by

Considering that My sCool Server will be deployed in many schools, some in remote places and Linux system administration knowledge is quite rare, and users quite new to this whole Linux way of doing thing, there are bound to be instances where some bug between chair and the keyboard, online update gone haywire, or may be “it just happened on it’s own” kind of thing, will make something stop working as configured. We needed a way to get the system in it’s original “Factory” setting easily and quickly. Enter recovery-kit.
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Tiny Core kiwi-ltsp thin client

May 31st, 2014 by

Couple of days back went to a school here to demonstrate what openSUSE Education Li-f-e with KIWI-LTSP can bring to their lab. We have created a product based on Li-f-e called My sCool Server. It brings together all the goodies that a modern operating system must have and all the softwares required by the state board curriculum in one seamless package.
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Web frontend to change ldap password

May 12th, 2014 by

Web frontend to change ldap password, based on http://ilya-evseev.narod.ru/posix/webldappasswd/

Minor changes to make it work with SUSE ldap server.

To deploy do these steps on ldap server:

cd /srv/www/htdocs

git clone git@github.com:cyberorg/webldappasswd.git

cp ldap.php-sample ldap.php

Change the text in bold below to point to your correct ldap domain in ldap.php

$ldapFullUsername = “uid=$userLogin,ou=people,dc=digitalairlines,dc=com“;

You of course need, web server running with PHP support and ldappasswd (openldap2-client package) installed.

Goodbye EC2 Tools Long Live AWS Tools

February 26th, 2014 by

For quite some time we had a package named ec2-api-tools in the Cloud:EC2 project and I suspect many that work with EC2 had found the package and were using the ec2-* commands to manage stuff in EC2. Along with the ec2-api-tools Amazon maintained a separate ec2-* tool set for various services. Keeping up with the armada of Amazon developers is not easy and thus the other ec2-* tool sets never got packaged.

Now a new integrated set of tools is available called with the “aws” command and provided by the aws-cli package. The package is available from the Cloud:Tools project and a submit request to Factory is pending. The new package does not obsolete the ec2-api-tools package as there is no issue with having both packages installed. However, I did take the liberty to remove the ec2-api-tool package from the Cloud:EC2 project as it would no longer receive updates considering that we have a nice new tool that unifies all Amazon services. The documentation for the new command can be found .

The aws code is hosted on github and thus contribution of fixes is easy and that is another big plus over the ec2-* tool sets.

Yes, and of course we need to get openSUSE 13.1 into EC2, and I am working on that, stay tuned….

Network boot live ISO

January 29th, 2014 by

The x86_64 edition of openSUSE Education’s Li-f-e live DVD supports PXE booting the iso over the network, here is how to do it:

* Install Li-f-e (Switch to GRUB from Installation Summary page if your hardware does not support EFI boot ), make sure you have plenty of space assigned to / partition(about 20G)
* Set up LTSP by following this quick start guide
* Create /srv/nfs folder and copy Li-f-e iso there
* Run the following as root in terminal:

mount /srv/nfs/openSUSE-Edu-li-f-e.x86_64-13.1.1.iso /mnt
cp /mnt/boot/x86_64/loader/linux /srv/tftpboot/boot/linux-life64
cp /mnt/boot/x86_64/loader/initrd /srv/tftpboot/boot/initrd-life64
echo "/srv/nfs *(ro,no_root_squash,async,no_subtree_check)" >> /etc/exports
cat <<EOF>> /srv/tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default
LABEL Li-f-e
kernel boot/linux-life64
append initrd=boot/initrd-life64 isofrom_device=nfs:10.0.0.254:/srv/nfs/ isofrom_system=/openSUSE-Edu-li-f-e.x86_64-13.1.1.iso nonm
IPAPPEND 2
EOF
chkconfig rpcbind on && service rpcbind restart
chkconfig nfsserver on && service nfsserver restart

Now you can PXE boot any machine over the network, select Li-f-e from the end of the boot menu to boot live DVD iso instead of normal LTSP session.

Please note that if you install Li-f-e booted over the network then after the installation you will need to remove “nonm” boot option using yast2 bootloader to get NetworkManager working again.

Continuing Opening YaST

December 16th, 2013 by

YaST switched to the GPL license back in 2004, but there were still a lot of obstacles to easy contributions to the project. There was a bunch of changes in the past to improve contribution to the project, like switching from the openSUSE subversion server to GitHub, generating documentation to doc.opensuse.org or having public IRC. But we are not satisfied and do even more steps to make it easy to contribute to YaST.

The most visible action in the last year was the conversion from YCP to Ruby. We found that having a special language just for YaST made some sense in the past, but now becomes useless and makes obstacles for newcomers which must at first learn a language before they can change anything. Ruby is a well known language with a nice ecosystem around including benchmarking, profiling, debugging or testing frameworks. The latest mentioned testing framework is quite important, because good test coverage allows reducing of fear from changes. For tests we chose the well known framework RSpec, so people coming from the Ruby world know it and others find it intuitive.

Related to tests are also continuous integration that tests code after each code change and automatically sends new packages to the devel project and to Factory if needed. We make our CI node publicly visible on the openSUSE CI server, so everyone can see if build succeeded and what is the reason if it failed.

We also decided to help newcomers with a quick introductory documentation. One page recently updated to reflect the current state is about code organization which helps newcomers to orient in current YaST modules. The content is a bit terse and a minority of pages links to some old tutorials and documentation, but we take care to quickly react to questions and suggestions.

Another change is deletion of the internal YaST IRC channel and now all communication happens on the #yast Freenode channel. This change really increases the chance that you catch YaST developers on IRC. Others ways are the YaST mailing list, Bugzilla, GitHub or openSUSE feature tracker.

So let’s start hacking YaST and if you find any obstacle, contact us, so we can remove it.

openSUSE and GCC part 1: getting started

October 7th, 2013 by

I try to explain in this series of blog entries how to install gcc (GNU C-Compiler) and what to do with it. I  also try to explain little make and CMake/Autotools. This is not very generic tutorial because I like to promote openSUSE as coding platform. Most of the tips goes just fine with every distro. For the first words I like to say one thing: openSUSE is excellent platform for C-coding. Though, you can choose your programming language  but this time I like to talk about GCC and specially C-Compiler. I’ll try to how to get there with these writings because I have noticed that this substance is getting less attention that it needs. Also noted that GCC anf GNU is 30 years and I have used it almost 15 so time to share some information. (more…)

Live USB GUI

February 14th, 2013 by

Here is a new tool that provides a simple zenity based GUI frontend to live-fat-stick script. The live-fat-stick script allows you to create multi boot USB stick/HDD which has vfat partition on it without formatting or removing existing data on it, it uses whole ISO images to boot so the image is still usable to create more live USB sticks or burn CD/DVDs. In live mode the device’s vfat partition can be mounted to access/modify and save files.

Currently live CD/DVD isos of openSUSE 12.2(and derivatives) including all from susestudio, Mint, Ubuntu(and derivatives) and Fedora are supported. Fedora iso is not copied but is extracted on the USB device instead as it does not support booting from iso image yet.

Here is Live USB GUI in action:
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OpenStack on openSUSE

January 11th, 2013 by

Do you want to play with cloud software on your own machines?
Some people have been working to package the current OpenStack version “Folsom” for openSUSE (tested on 12.2) and add scripts to configure it into a working state.
You need 2GB of RAM and 3+ GB of free disk space under /var/lib/
Then you do

wget https://raw.github.com/SUSE-Cloud/automation/master/scripts/jenkins/qa_openstack.sh
export cloudsource=openstackfolsom ; bash -x qa_openstack.sh

This is a script we use for continous integration testing, but it is as useful to setup a simple environment for development, testing or demoing.
Folsom packages are still rather rough and might see some change over the coming weeks.

If you want the older stable version, you can use the above snippet with cloudsource=openstackessex
however, there are some known bugs in that old version and backports are really hard.

Soon there will be Grizzly packages upcoming. More is to come…

P.S. To interact with your cloud, you need credentials, which are automatically sourced from /etc/bash.bashrc.local (it is admin:openstack) and then you use commands like
nova list and glance image-list
but there is also a web-interface that allows you to do most actions in a browser – even VNC, if you use KVM instead of the default lxc.

Snapper for Everyone

October 16th, 2012 by

With the release of snapper 0.1.0 also non-root users are able to manage snapshots. On the technical side this is achieved by splitting snapper into a client and server that communicate via D-Bus. As a user you should not notice any difference.

So how can you make use of it? Suppose the subvolume /home/tux is already configured for snapper and you want to allow the user tux to manage the snapshots for her home directory. This is done in two easy steps:

  1. Edit /etc/snapper/configs/home-tux and add ALLOW_USERS=”tux”. Currently the server snapperd does not reload the configuration so if it’s running either kill it or wait for it to terminate by itself.
  2. Give the user permissions to read and access the .snapshots directory, ‘chmod a+rx /home/tux/.snapshots’.

For details consult the snapper man-page.

Now tux can play with snapper:

  tux> alias snapper="snapper -c home-tux"

  tux> snapper create --description test

  tux> snapper list
  Type   | # | Pre # | Date                             | User | Cleanup  | Description | Userdata
  -------+---+-------+----------------------------------+------+----------+-------------+---------
  single | 0 |       |                                  | root |          | current     |         
  single | 1 |       | Tue 16 Oct 2012 12:15:01 PM CEST | root | timeline | timeline    |         
  single | 2 |       | Tue 16 Oct 2012 12:21:38 PM CEST | tux  |          | test        |

Snapper packages are available for various distributions in the filesystems:snapper project.

So long and see you at the openSUSE Conference 2012 in Prague.