MMEncode is not available on Linux distros any more.

Posted by admin - Under: Linux, Software

Not sure what happened to this or why but its no longer available. I used to have a script that used it to convert binary data to text for attachments on emails. Having searched high and low I came up with a new solution – use openssl.

You can do the same that you were doing with mmencode by doing the following

openssl base64 -e < $FILE


MySQL pegging CPU after the leap second adjustment.

Posted by Paul Farrow - Under: Linux, Software

So I find that my MySQL database is running high on CPU all of a sudden. I optimize the tables etc and no difference. I hunt around the internet to find that there seems to be a problem with this years leap second adjustment which sends MySQL into orbit.

The solution reset the date

date -s "`date`"

and it dropped back to normal.

Credit goes to this lady here

BackupPC Has qw(…) Warnings Since Upgrading Perl

Posted by Paul Farrow - Under: Linux, Software

So since upgrading Perl I am presented with qw warnings coming out of the cron job checking that BackupPC is running.

Use of qw(...) as parentheses is deprecated at /usr/share/BackupPC/lib/BackupPC/Storage/ line 301.
Use of qw(...) as parentheses is deprecated at /usr/share/BackupPC/lib/BackupPC/ line 1412.

The way to get rid of these warnings is to enclose qw in parentheses and Perl processes the foreach parameters without warnings.

Like so (Line 301)

# Promote BackupFilesOnly and BackupFilesExclude to hashes
foreach my $param (qw(BackupFilesOnly BackupFilesExclude)) {
next if ( !defined($conf->{$param}) || ref($conf->{$param}) eq "HASH" );
$conf->{$param} = [ $conf->{$param} ]
if ( ref($conf->{$param}) ne "ARRAY" );
$conf->{$param} = { "*" => $conf->{$param} };
} (Line 1412)

foreach my $param (qw(BackupFilesOnly BackupFilesExclude)) {
next if ( !defined($conf->{$param}) );
if ( ref($conf->{$param}) eq "HASH" ) {

#Rackmax #SATA Enclosure With A Silicon Image SiI3114 PCI SATA Raid Card

Posted by Paul Farrow - Under: Hardware, Linux, Mini-ITX

Last week I bought a Rackmax 4 x 3.5 Sata Enclosure from Linitx.  It has four drives but fits inside 3 x 5.25 external slots.  Initial inspection was that its well made and rugged.  Only niggle I had was that the two power molex sockets on the back are quite close together and because of this you cant use sata to molex power converters in it or not the ones I have cause the sata moulding touches and pushes the plug out of the socket.

There were no other problems, I housed it in an Antec mini tower just fine.  Kept the fan on the back which is a little noisy but not too bad, it seems noisy because the motherboard is fanless and the Antec case has a 120 mm fan which together is basically silent and this fan is the only thing in the tower making any noise.  Now I put disks a couple of old 250Gb Samsung Spinpoint SATA II drives in it which just happened to be laying around in my office and bought a couple of 1TB Samsung Spintpoint SATA II drives from Ebuyer.  Mounted the drives and put them in the Rackmax enclosure.  Powered it up and all the lights came on and went off but one of the drives in the Rackmax enclosure had a solid yellow light on which I think signals a problem.  I swapped them around and another light came on a different drive !!! wierd so I just put it down to the fact that the enclosure wasnt configured properly yet with the motherboard.

Ok so while I bought the terabyte drives I also bought a 4 port sata raid card from Linitx, it was only a cheapy and just thought its bound to be fine with Linux.  Linitx are a very reputable dealer who specialise in small form factor motherboards and embedded systems.  So got it slotted into my fanless VIA EK8000 board and plugged the drives up.  Powered it up and it just halts on when it is declaring what SATA drives it has on itself.  MMM I thought to myself wonder if its all SATA drives or what?!  So I unplugged the drives and powered it up and went through no problem.  So then I thought perhaps its a size thing so just plugged up one of the 250Gb drives and powered it up.  The system booted fine.  So tried again with the terabyte drive and low and behold it just halts before it even gets to the Linux boot up.  Ok so looked up the model of SATA card I have and it is the Silicon Image Sil3114 PCI SATA Raid Card.

Now some people on the web are saying it is because it cant negotiate the lower 1.5Gbps speed with the SATA II drives and to set your drives to the lower speed.  So thought ok that sounds feasible and set about lowering the speed from SATA II to SATA I on my Samsung drives.  Now Samsung have a utility that does this for you.  Downloaded it off their website and tried it.  The ramdrive they have wont load on anything other than a proper Intel processor.  It wouldnt load on my VIA C7 board or my Atom board.  Therefore I had to break apart my desktop just to be able to flash the drives – it was a real ROYAL pain.  Did all that put my desktop back together and still had a problem arrrhghghghghghg.  Ok so now I thought it has to be a BIOS problem on the SATA Raid card.  Low and behold the BIOS on the card was at 5.0.37 and the latest update was at 5.4 something.  Gosh that was like 4 years out of date !!!  So now did I have to break open my desktop just to flash the BIOS.  No after reading up on the flash utility etc I realised that it can be flashed in windows from the device manager.  So opened my Atom machine running Windows 7 (purely because it has an easy access case) and put the card in there.  I then downloaded the latest drivers for the card via Windows Update and went into the device manager and right clicked on the device and there is a tab called flash bios.  Clicked there browsed to the image and flashed it.  Couldnt have been simpler.   I took the binary prefixed with the letter R.

Threw the card back into the VIA board booted with the terabyte drives in it and it came up fine.  Just wish I had done that first rather than thinking it was because my drives needed to be downgraded.

And its all running very smoothly now.

Barclays Stockbrokers Have An Invalid Security Certificate

Posted by Paul Farrow - Under: Linux, Personal

if you go to the url and try to login you get presented with an invalid security certificate error by firefox and ie 8.  The certificate is for not

I have rang them and emailed them but no one seems that interested in getting fixed they dont see it as a problem.  Well in these days of phishing and spoofing I would say its a problem.  We will see how long they take to fix it, if at all.

UPDATE: 9 July 2009

Well eventually someone got back to me about it.  Looks like they have a problem with the login on the page as its hardcoded to instead of the using the url that you actually come from.  I have been told by there technical bods that if you use the login at the top of the page it uses the correct url.  And it does work.  Come on Barclays sort it out so that all the logins use the correct URL.  I cant believe it took so long for you to actually come back to me with a sensible answer but to still see the site broken in this way is really unbelievable.  I expect quite a few people are having this problem as your eyes go to the login button within the site not the black bar at the top.

Looking at the stats on my page quite a few people are getting this error as the number of people coming to my site with the search words ‘barclays stockbrokers’ and ‘invalid certificate’ are quite high.

Accessing Vista with smbclient

Posted by Paul Farrow - Under: Hardware, Linux, Mini-ITX, Software

Just bought a new machine and decided to put VISTA on it.  Now biggest problem was accessing the shares via smbclient or Samba.  Hunted high and low on the net couldnt find anything not specific for VISTA and smbclient.

I then looked for windows xp and smbclient and found a post about changing a registry entry.  Up to this point I had tried everything everyone else was saying like enable file sharing, private sharing etc and couldnt get any of that too work at all.

Probably works via another vista machine but not from linux or my apple.

I upgraded samba to the latest version before doing this.  I then added a registry entry in \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE


called LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy which a hexadecimal value of 1 and bobs your uncle you should be able to access shares and admin shares such as C$ on the vista machine from smbclient or mounting it in the fstab.

Hope that helped you, it helped me no end as I was getting very frustrated about it.  And samba is key to my machines here.


VIA Kernel Panic with Sangoma S518 ADSL Cards

Posted by Paul Farrow - Under: Hardware, Linux, Mini-ITX, Software

When using the drivers for the Sangoma S518 ADSL card on the VIA EPIA architecture you must install them using the following

./Setup install –arch=i386

otherwise on connecting to the isp you will get a kernel panic and the whole machine will freeze

Checkpassword-0.90 Compilation Error on Fedora Core 3

Posted by Paul Farrow - Under: Linux, Mini-ITX, Software

Ok now next problem that I ran into in trying to get qmail running on the distrubution is that checkpassword-0.90 doesnt want to compile and looking on the web there is 1 arabic website explaining how to get around this which I cant understand but with again more pain I have finally cracked it.

In the source directory of checkpassword you will need to change the error.h file to include errno.h just after the line extern int errno like so…

extern int errno;


then recompile and everything should work. 

IPTABLES doesn't work on initial boot

Posted by Paul Farrow - Under: Linux, Mini-ITX, Software

Now for a long long time I have been perplexed by why my firewall never works on my linux boxes on initial boot. 

When you run iptables –list is shows all the rules but never works until you run it again under the root account.  Now I finally got around to finding out why and its because the ipv4 forwarding is being reset somewhere down the boot chain.  Yep I found it, what you need to do is edit /etc/sysctl.conf and change the net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1 as this is set to 0 by default and switches off all forwarding used in any firewall script.

Now I did have the forwarding set in the script but the sysctl appears to run after all the startup processes.

Hope this helps as it certainly has been puzzling me for sometime.

Building the Linux-ATM software on Fedora Core 3 on a VIA C3 Processor

Posted by Paul Farrow - Under: Linux, Mini-ITX, Software

Recently I built the linux-atm software, which is an atm utility which allows me to use my pci ADSL card on linux.

The latest release is version 2.4.1 which I pulled down off of sourceforge, and I then tried to compile it.  This is what I fell fowl of..

1. The source has four compilation errors which are at lines with default: in the case statements these need ; after them, you can either edit the four bits of source code yourself or get a patched version of the code from here.

2. Then I kept getting the error ‘storage size of req is not know’ and ‘invalid application of sizeof to incomplete type atmif_soic’ which I realised that I had the paths to my kernel source incorrect.  Now I put in a symbolic link to the source so /usr/src/linux pointed to /usr/src/redhat/BUILD/kernel-2.6.9/linux-2.6.9/include [ which is where the source really was ].  So to correct this error I typed this before running the configure of linux-atm.

CFLAGS=-I/usr/src/linux ./configure

and that got me over that problem.

3.  Then I got the error ‘config.h:6:2 error including kernel header in userspace use the glibc headers instead’ in atmdev.h to get around this I changed the line config.h to autoconf.h

Then it all worked and everything was installed into /usr/local/bin and /usr/local/sbin.

Hope that has helped someone.  The linux-atm package has been around for sometime but I didnt think the documentation or notes about how to change the path to pick up your distributions source code was that clear.