Posted in Linux

The below is a quick guide to creating partitions on a newly purchased, unformatted disk. For this guide I’ll be formatting a new WD 2TB Black.

 

Find the disk you want to partition

# lsblk

NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda 8:0 0 55.9G 0 disk
├─sda1 8:1 0 53.6G 0 part /
├─sda2 8:2 0 1K 0 part
└─sda5 8:5 0 2.3G 0 part [SWAP]
sdb 8:16 0 1.8T 0 disk
sdc 8:32 0 1.8T 0 disk

Partitions appear as subitems. Notice sdb and sdc have no partitions – those are the disks I want to format.

 

Create the partition

# sudo fdisk /dev/sdb

Device contains neither a valid DOS partition table, nor Sun, SGI or OSF disklabel
Building a new DOS disklabel with disk identifier 0xd3e43840.
Changes will remain in memory only, until you decide to write them.
After that, of course, the previous content won’t be recoverable.

Warning: invalid flag 0x0000 of partition table 4 will be corrected by w(rite)

Command (m for help):

Below I’m using the default values to create one large partition for the whole disk.

n

Partition type:
p primary (0 primary, 0 extended, 4 free)
e extended

Select (default p):
Using default response p
Partition number (1-4, default 1):
Using default value 1
First sector (2048-3907029167, default 2048):
Using default value 2048
Last sector, +sectors or +size{K,M,G} (2048-3907029167, default 3907029167):
Using default value 3907029167

Command (m for help):

All done? Write!

w

The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.
Syncing disks.

That’s all for partitioning! Take a gander at your fancy new partitions:

# lsblk

NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda 8:0 0 55.9G 0 disk
├─sda1 8:1 0 53.6G 0 part /
├─sda2 8:2 0 1K 0 part
└─sda5 8:5 0 2.3G 0 part [SWAP]
sdb 8:16 0 1.8T 0 disk
└─sdb1 8:17 0 1.8T 0 part
sdc 8:32 0 1.8T 0 disk
└─sdc1 8:33 0 1.8T 0 part

 

Format to NTFS

I’m choosing a quick format. You may choose instead to remove the -f argument for a proper one instead.

# sudo mkntfs -f /dev/sdb1

Cluster size has been automatically set to 4096 bytes.
Creating NTFS volume structures.
mkntfs completed successfully. Have a nice day.

 

Optional: Name the drives

Because I’m running NTFS I can give the drives labels. Make sure you have ntfsprogs installed then enter:

# sudo ntfslabel -f /dev/sdb1 YourLabel

 

More Information

For more information on partitioning check out Chris Wakefield’s post here.
For a short and sweet howto on  formatting as NTFS check here.
Information on NTFS labels here.

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Posted in Linux

If you’re a Ubuntu user, you may be familiar with ppa-purge. It’s a handy little automated script to remove a PPA and roll back the version of any apps installed from that PPA. Debian doesn’t have this nicety by default but there’s a relatively simple way to get something close.

Firstly, remove your PPA from /etc/apt/sources.list or from the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ directory.

Do an update:

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sudo apt-get update

Find any packages that are now obsolete:

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aptitude search '?obsolete'

For me this returned the following:

# aptitude search '?obsolete'
i A libmysqlclient18      - MySQL database client library                                                                           
i A mysql-client-5.5      - MySQL database client binaries                                                                          
i A mysql-server-5.5      - MySQL database server binaries and system database setup                                                
i A mysql-server-core-5.5 - MySQL database server binaries                                                                          
i A ruby-passenger        - Rails and Rack support for Apache2 and Nginx

Now just remove the listed packages with apt-get remove and reinstall as necessary. It’s not quite the automated tool that ppa-purge is, but it’s a pretty good start.

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Posted in Linux

I’ve been getting alot of frozen messages with Exim and needed to find out what they were so figured I’d document a few handy commands for doing so:

List messages in queue:

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exim -bp

Show message header/body:

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exim -Mvh <id> #For header
exim -Mvb <id> #For body

Delete all messages in queue:

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exim -bp | exiqgrep -i | xargs exim -Mrm

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux

It seems Gnome 3 removed the button allowing users to add specified applications into the ‘Other Applications’ list under ‘Open With’ in file properties. Until the functionality is restored, you can add applications manually by doing the below:

cp /usr/share/applications/gedit.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/your_app.desktop

Modify the contents of your_app.deskop to look something like the below:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=your_app
GenericName=Your App
Comment=Edit text files
Keywords=Plaintext;Write;
Exec=your_app %U
Terminal=false
Type=Application
StartupNotify=true
MimeType=text/plain;
Icon=accessories-text-editor
Categories=GNOME;GTK;Utility;TextEditor;
Actions=Window;Document;
X-Ubuntu-Gettext-Domain=your_app

You can copy any .desktop file from /usr/share/applications so pick the one that closest resembles the application you’re adding. Below you can see komodo added to mine:

Komodo has been added to my 'Open With' list
Komodo has been added to my ‘Open With’ list

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux, PHP

I’ve been seeing up an Amazon EC-2 server with Debian Squeeze and used tasksel to install Web Server and Mail Server. Like all things debian, this worked pretty well after the installation completed and everything ‘just worked’ however I wasn’t happy with the default from name and email address assigned to emails sent by PHP – www-data <www-data@my.domain.com>.

I discovered a quick and simple fix to change these defaults for all mail sent with PHP:

Open /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini and set

sendmail_path = '/usr/sbin/sendmail -t -i -fno-reply@my.domain.com -Fno-reply'

You can see a list of sendmail arguments and what they do here.

Restart apache and you’re good to go:

sudo service apache2 restart

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Posted in Linux, PHP

I’ve been looking for ways to speed up my site recently and came across this interesting article on seamlessly integrating nginx with Apache to handle asset files without requiring a CDN subdomain. This works by checking the requests file extension for .js, .jpg, .pdf etc and if not found, proxies the request to Apache and serves the results.

Benefits

You won’t need to modify all your pages/posts updating asset locations to point to a subdomain! Everything will ‘just work’.

Issues/Drawbacks

There are 2 issues I’ve found with this setup:

  • Because Apache is now running on port 8080, your mod_rewrite redirects will now redirect to that port. You won’t be able to use RedirectMatch anymore, however below is the solution I came up with:
    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteRule ^foo\.php$ http://%{HTTP_HOST}:80/bar.php [R=301,L]
  • You can no longer use .htaccess redirects for any asset files nginx is serving. Instead, use nginx redirects. Below is an example:
    rewrite ^\/foo\.jpg$ http://173.255.221.210/bar.jpg permanent;

    For more information on nginx redirects, see the official documentation.

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux

A couple of times now we’ve needed to forward foo@oursite.com to my@gmail.com. If you’re running postfix here’s how to do that.

nano /etc/postvix/virtual

Add

from@email.com to@email.com

then run

postmap /etc/postfix/virtual

If the above doesn’t work, make sure you have the following line in /etc/postfix/main.cf:

virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual

and type

service postfix reload

Thanks to Matt Simmons of ServerFault for his answer.

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Posted in Linux
Pidgin Attention button successfully hidden
Pidgin Attention button successfully hidden

Ever since the developers added the Attention button to Pidgin, one of the most common questions asked is how to remove it. I finally set some time aside to answer this question.

  • Download the plugin that does exactly this from the Pidgin developer page.
  • Install the Pidgin developer dependencies if you haven’t already:
    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-dev-tools subversion g++ pidgin-data libpurple0 libpurple-dev pidgin-dev libgtk2.0-dev

    This step is important or you’ll receive errors like the following:

    $ make
    [CC] hide_attention_button.o
    Package pidgin was not found in the pkg-config search path.
    Perhaps you should add the directory containing `pidgin.pc'
    to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable
    No package 'pidgin' found
    Package purple was not found in the pkg-config search path.
    Perhaps you should add the directory containing `purple.pc'
    to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable
    No package 'purple' found
    Package gobject-2.0 was not found in the pkg-config search path.
    Perhaps you should add the directory containing `gobject-2.0.pc'
    to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable
    No package 'gobject-2.0' found
    Package gtk+-2.0 was not found in the pkg-config search path.
    Perhaps you should add the directory containing `gtk+-2.0.pc'
    to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable
    No package 'gtk+-2.0' found
    hide_attention_button.c:24:20: fatal error: plugin.h: No such file or directory
    compilation terminated.
    make: *** [hide_attention_button.o] Error 1
  • Drop the .c and Makefile into a folder and in a terminal run the following commands:
    make
    sudo make install

    If all went well you’ll see:

    $ make
    [CC] hide_attention_button.o
    [SHLIB] hide_attention_button.so
    $ sudo make install
    mkdir -p /`pkg-config --variable=prefix purple`/lib/purple-2
    install hide_attention_button.so /`pkg-config --variable=prefix purple`/lib/purple-2

Restart pidgin and enable the plugin under Tools – Plugins – Hide Pidgin Attention Button.

Close but not Perfect

Although this plugin really does hide your Attention button, it still exists if you hover over where it used to be:

The button is much smaller but still clickable
The button is much smaller but still clickable

At least it’s much smaller now and less likely to be accidentally clicked!

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux

Tonight I discovered I had an entire folder of dual audio MKV files with the wrong default language and wrong default subtitle track. I could have used mkvpropedit to manually change each file but that’s such a hassle. Instead, here’s a handy one-liner to do them all at once:

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find . -name "*.mkv" -exec mkvpropedit {} --edit track:a1 --set flag-default=0 --edit track:a2 --set flag-default=1 --edit track:s1 --set flag-default=0 --edit track:s2 --set flag-default=1 \;

 

Explanation

At first glance they may look a bit complicated, but let’s break it down a bit:

Find all .mkv files and execute an operation on them:

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find . -name "*.mkv" -exec ... \;

Do an mkvpropedit on the current matched file:

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mkvpropedit {}

Set the first audio track to not be default, the second audio track to be default, and do the same with the subtitle tracks:

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--edit track:a1 --set flag-default=0
--edit track:a2 --set flag-default=1
--edit track:s1 --set flag-default=0
--edit track:s2 --set flag-default=1

 

You’ll need mkvtoolnix installed for the mkvpropedit command. To determine what the various tracks contain, do a

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mkvinfo /path/to/file.mkv

or mkvinfo -g for you GUI users 🙂 This can be a bit tricky to read though so I tend to just open the file in VLC and look at the audio and video tracks that way.

As an added bonus, here’s the Windows equivalent of the above script:

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@echo off
FOR /f "tokens=*" %%G IN ('dir /a-d /b') DO (
	mkvpropedit.exe "%%G" --edit track:2 --set flag-default=0
	mkvpropedit.exe "%%G" --edit track:3 --set flag-default=0
	mkvpropedit.exe "%%G" --edit track:4 --set flag-default=1
	mkvpropedit.exe "%%G" --edit track:5 --set flag-default=0
	echo.
)
pause

I’ve been told the Windows version works but haven’t tested personally.

Happy viewing!

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Posted (Updated ) in Database, Linux, PHP

Tonight I had to move my WPMU install from my local development machine to the live server – this meant a change in installation path which is always a hassle with WordPress. Below I’ll detail my issues and the corresponding fixes in the hopes it will make life easier for others experiencing the same problems.

Redirection to wp-signup.php

First thing I noticed was that when loading the site on a live domain, I’d get instantly redirected to mydomain.com/wp-signup.php?new=mydomain.com. With a bit of Googling I came across this forum thread which recommended adding the following to my wp-config.php:

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define( 'NOBLOGREDIRECT', '' );
define( 'SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', false );

Don’t do this! It will get the site closer to working order but it’s not going to help you in the long run – especially when you need the other domains working too. Instead here’s what you should be doing:

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#Dump your DB
mysqldump - u<username> -p<password> -h<host> <dbname> > test.sql
 
#Update folder path to that of the new servers
sed -i "s/path\/to\/install/new\/path\/to\/install/g" test.sql 
#If you installed into localhost/foo/bar/mysite, change that to your live servers domain
sed -i "s/url\/path\/to\/site/www\.domain\.com/g" test.sql

This is pretty standard behavior for moving WordPress sites, however if you load the above dump up on your live domain you’ll probably be greeted with the dreaded Error establishing a database connection.

Error establishing a database connection

Heading to www.domain.com/wp-admin will shed a little more light on the situation – you need to update your wp_blogs table for the main site. WPMU is currently using your development servers URL from this table and ignoring what’s in wp-config.php. To play things safe we’ll update any occurrances of our test servers domain in test.sql:

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#Update your live servers subdomain in wp_blogs to your live servers domain
sed -i  "s/yoursite\.localhost\.com/www\.yourdomain\.com/g" test.sql

This should do the trick. Load that bad boy into your live server and you should be good to go!

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