Archive for the ‘debian’ Category

Server folder as photo gallery in web browser

August 26, 2020 Leave a comment

I wanted to make image folders on our family file server browseable and provide convenient image gallery features like index view, slideshow, etc.

The file server is on our home network and runs Debian GNU/Linux.

I installed webfs, configured it to use port 80 (instead of its default port 8000), added a symbolic link to the root folder of the image folders that I wanted to make browseable (/opt/data in my case) and restarted webfsd:

sudo apt install webfs
sudo sed 's/web_port=.*/web_port="80"/' -i /etc/webfsd.conf
sudo sed 's/web_root=.*/web_root="/var/www/html"' -i /etc/webfsd.conf
sudo sed 's/web_index=.*/web_index="index.html"/' -i /etc/webfsd.conf
sudo ln -s /opt/data /var/www/html
sudo service webfs restart

The name of the server is “bubba” and at this point pointing a web browser to http://bubba/ already worked, but it only showed a simple listing of file names like this:

Next I installed the Slideshow Firefox add-on on all our computers, and now the image folder is presented like this:

Mission accomplished! 😀

Categories: debian, firefox, linux Tags: , ,

Connect to Cisco AnyConnect using Debian buster

February 28, 2020 Leave a comment

My employer uses a Cisco AnyConnect VPN.

Today I set up my Debian GNU/Linux 10 (“buster”) to connect to it, using only Open Source components.

My setup:

  • XFCE desktop
  • network-manager
  • openconnect

To install the required packages:

sudo apt install openconnect network-manager-openconnect-gnome network-manager-gnome curl xmlstarlet

The curl and xmlstarlet packages are used by, a Cisco Anyconnect CSD wrapper script included with OpenConnect.

Debian 10 by default demands at least TLS 1.3 which caused this error:

error:1425F102:SSL routines:ssl_choose_client_version:unsupported protocol

I fixed it by creating a more relaxed openssl configuration:

sudo cp /etc/ssl/openssl.cnf /etc/ssl/openssl_tls_1_0.cnf
sudo vi /etc/ssl/openssl_tls_1_0.cnf

Change only the “MinProtocol” line towards the end of the file to

MinProtocol = TLSv1.0

Then add a helper script /usr/local/bin/ to use the relaxed config:

export OPENSSL_CONF="/etc/ssl/openssl_tls_1_0.cnf"
/usr/libexec/openconnect/ "$@"

Then configure your VPN connection through the network-manager applet (you might have to logout/login to let XFCE autostart the systray applet):

Check “Allow Cisco Secure Desktop trojan” and as “CSD Wrapper Script” use /usr/local/bin/ :

And finally connect:

Categories: bash, debian Tags: , ,

Cleanbrowsing DNS + dnsmasq

August 17, 2019 Leave a comment

I have children and I want to keep porn out of our home network.

Cleanbrowsing DNS provides a free “Family” filter. You can set your router to use their DNS servers. It seems quite good in comparison to other DNS filters:

However, their filter is sometimes a little strict and even blocks and, curiously, the Haligonian event magazine website

On the other hand, it does not block user-uploaded images on Twitter, and its many porn peddling accounts.

So basically what I wanted was a configurable whitelist and blacklist on top of the Cleanbrowsing Family filter.

To do that, I installed dnsmasq on a Linux server in our network and configured the DHCP server on our router to give out the IP address of that Linux box as DNS server, effectively directing all machines on our home network to get their DNS from the dnsmasq installation.

I configured dnsmasq as a proxy that by default passes on all DNS request to the Cleanbrowsing Family filter:

This is the content of /etc/dnsmasq.d/cleanbrowsing.conf :

# ignore /etc/resolv.conf

# use cleanbrowsing family nameservers as default

This is currently the content of /etc/dnsmasq.d/whitelist.conf :


This is currently the content of /etc/dnsmasq.d/blacklist.conf :

# block twitter user media servers (porn and tracker pixels)

Whenever I edit any of the above I have to restart the dnsmasq service.

The files in /etc/dnsmasq.d are read by default on my Debian GNU/Linux. If you use a different distro you might have to adjust /etc/dnsmasq.conf accordingly, look for the “conf-dir” directive.

If your router allows you to configure outgoing firewall rules, block all DNS requests from anywhere but the dnsmasq server, to prevent a savvy teenager from bypassing your DNS filter.

Categories: coding, debian, linux Tags: , , ,

Setting up a free C64 emulator for retro game fun

August 8, 2018 Leave a comment

I just installed the C64 emulator VICE on an old Windows laptop and set it up with shortcuts for some old time games that I used to play in the 80s.

My 6 year old son really likes Donald Duck’s Playground where you do odd jobs as Donald to earn cents and dollars to buy playground equipment for your nephews and let them play:

Setting up the game required the download of a zip archive containing a *.d64 image file that can be autostarted by VICE. I created a desktop shortcut to the x64.exe file in VICE with the path of the d64 file as command line parameter. That gives you a shortcut that will start VICE and autostart the game right away. Add the -fullscreen option to start the emulator in fullscreen mode.

I had to enable keyboard mapping for Joystick 2 as shown on the WinVice c64-Wiki.

VICE is a cool emulator that runs on Unix, MS-DOS, Win32, OS/2, BeOS, QNX 4.x, QNX 6.x, Amiga, Syllable or Mac OS.

Games I might try next include Spy vs Spy, Aztec Tomb, Q-Bert and I few others. :)

Recursively compare content of two directories

August 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Command line

This requires the diff and vim packages.

diff --recursive /dir/ect/ory1 /dir/ect/ory2 > 1_vs_2.diff
vimdiff 1_vs_2.diff

Potentially useful diff options:



Install Intellij CE.

Then either Run IntelliJ Diff from the command-line.

Or from within a running Intellij window:

  • Open a common parent directory as a project
  • Select the two directories to compare
  • Right-click – Compare Directories


I often see the GPL-licensed WinMerge tool recommended, But it works only on Windows, last release was 2013 and navigation into sub-directories and file diffs is a bit clunkier than in Intellij.

Redshift to reduce eye strain from nightly computer use

January 11, 2017 4 comments

Note: This tutorial is mainly for Linux users. For other operating systems you could consult the article “Best Automatic Display Adjustment Software for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android“.

Redshift is a little Free and Open Source tool that can reduce the blue component in the light emitted by your computer screen. By default, it does so between sunset and sunrise based on your latitude / longitude coordinates, but you can also use a permanent fixed light temperature.

The underlying idea is that too much blue light can strain your eyes, especially at night.

Permanent candle light

On Debian and derivatives like Ubuntu, the redshift command line version can be installed like this:

sudo apt-get install redshift

I personally like a “permanent candlelight” setting at all times. This simple example sets a relatively low fixed light temperature of 2200K and a slightly dimmed brightness (see man redshift for more details):

redshift -r -O 2200 -b 0.8

If you like this approach, you can run this command at X session start, similar to what is shown under “Autostart after Login” below.

Emulating Day and Night

If you want redshift to distinguish between day and night, it is convenient to use the GUI version with a config file that specifies your latitude and longitude as shown below.

On Debian and derivatives like Ubuntu, redshift with the GTK UI can be installed like this:

sudo apt-get install gtk-redshift

You can determine your coordinates by googling for the name of your town or city, combined with the words “longitude” and “latitude”, for example for the German town of “Rodgau” this would be:

Note that latitudes south of equator and longitudes west of Greenwich must be specified as negative values. The following shows an example ~/.config/redshift.conf for Halifax (44.65° North, 63.58° West):



You can visit the Redshift website for more details about installation and configuration, etc.

Run the tool for the first time either via Start Menu – Accessories – Redshift on Debian systems, or as redshift-gtk on the Linux command line. You should then be able to see a reddish light-bulb icon in the system tray (aka “notification area”) of your desktop system. Clicking on it gives you options to temporarily disable the tool or view info about your configured geo-location and whether redshift thinks it is currently night-time. If so, you should notice a reddish screen color temperature.

Autostart after Login

To have redshift-gtk start up on every X session, add an entry to the Autostart mechanism of your desktop environment or window manager. For XFCE on Debian, open Start Menu – Settings – Session and Startup – Application Autostart tab and add an entry like this:


Categories: debian, linux, xfce Tags: ,

Convert mpc to mp3 on Linux

January 1, 2017 2 comments

You need the lame and mpcdec commands. On Debian, mpcdec is in the musepack-tools package:

sudo apt-get install lame musepack-tools

Then to convert all mpc files in the current directory to matchingly named mp3 files:

for x in *.mpc; do mpcdec "${x}" - | lame -r - "${x%.mpc}.mp3"; done
Categories: bash, coding, debian, linux, music

Determine which Tomcat version is running

August 6, 2016 7 comments

Determine process id

First we determine the process id(s) of the running Tomcat instance(s).

We can grep the running process list for ‘catalina.home’:

pgrep -f 'catalina.home'

This might yield more than one pid.

Or we can search by port (8080 is the default, adjust if necessary). The following commands will likely require root privileges:

lsof -t -i :8080

Alternatively, for example if lsof is not installed:

fuser 8080/tcp

Or yet another way, using netstat (or its “ss” replacement):

netstat -nlp | grep 8080
ss -nlp | grep 8080

Determine catalina.home

For the process id(s) determined above, we look at process details:

ps -o pid,uid,cmd -p [pidlist] | cat

For each specified pid, this shows the uid (system user) and the full command line of the process.

Typically the command line will contain something like “-Dcatalina.home=[path]” and that path is the catalina.home system property of the Java process.

Alternatively – with Java 7 and later – we can use the JDK command “jcmd” to query the JVM process for its system properties:

sudo -u [uid] jcmd [pid] VM.system_properties \
   | grep '^catalina.home' \
   | cut -f2 -d'='

Determine version

Now we can finally determine which Tomcat version is installed under the catalina.home path:

[catalina.home]/bin/ version \
   | grep '^Server number:'

Note: Please replace [catalina.home] with the path you determined above.

The final output should be something like this:

Server number:

Compare two Tomcat installations using rsync

May 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Lets assume you manage multiple servers that host Java web applications using the Tomcat web server.

To quickly compare the Tomcat installations on host1 and host2, we can use the “dry-run” mode of the rsync command.

In the following example, we assume that you have ssh access to both of your Tomcat hosts, the installations are in /opt/tomcat and the “tomcat” system user has read access to all relevant files and directories of the installation:

ssh tomcat@host1
rsync --archive --checksum --dry-run --verbose --delete \
      --exclude temp --exclude work --exclude logs --exclude webapps \
      /opt/tomcat/ tomcat@host2:/opt/tomcat/

This will list

  • All files that differ in checksum
  • All files that only exist on host2 (look for ‘deleting [filename]’)

Run the same commands with host1 and host2 switched, to also see the files that only exist on host1.

We excluded the temp, work and logs directories because they are variable in nature.
We also excluded the webapps directory because we only wanted to compare the base installation.

Categories: bash, coding, cygwin, debian, linux, mac os

Spotify on Debian GNU/Linux in Canada

March 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Today I decided to try out the free ad-sponsored Spotify music streaming service. It has been available in Canada since September 2014.

After signing up you can immediately use the flash-based web player at

Installing the client app

Alternatively you can download and install the Spotify client app. I cannot say yet what the advantages or disadvantages are, maybe reading this article can be helpful.

Anyway, if you want to try the client app, for Debian (or Ubuntu) users it works like this:

  1. Add the repo key (to verify downloaded packages)
  2. Add the spotify repo to apt sources
  3. Update apt caches
  4. Install the spotify client

Here are the shell commands (requires sudo):

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp:// --recv-keys BBEBDCB318AD50EC6865090613B00F1FD2C19886
echo deb stable non-free | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/spotify.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install spotify-client

After successful installation you will find a “Spotify” entry in the “Multimedia” section of your start menu.

Using your Facebook login

If you use your Facebook account to sign into Spotify you will probably see this question:

Spotify would like to post to Facebook for you.
Who do you want to share these posts with?

It is safe to choose “Not Now” which prevents Spotify from posting to your timeline. The login will still work.

If your are using the downloaded stand-alone client app and the Facebook login fails with an error page, then simply enter the email address and password from your Facebook account into the login fields of the Spotify client app.

Spotify says that it only uses these credentials to pass through to the Facebook authentication and won’t store your password anywhere. I hope that’s true.

Categories: bash, debian, linux, music Tags: