Coming Soon: Dell Server Preinstalled with Ubuntu Linux Server Edition

Posted on in Categories Linux, Linux distribution, Ubuntu Linux last updated October 10, 2007

Currently Dell only offers Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Suse Novell on Dell Server. Canonical, the company that supports Ubuntu Linux, is trying to work out a deal with hardware vendors such as Dell to make Ubuntu available preinstalled on servers.

Ubuntu Desktop from Dell was the first preinstalled mainstream distro for end users. It’s been hard to tell how popular the Ubuntu desktop has been for Dell, which started selling the OS in May on two desktop PCs and the Inspiron E1505n notebook. Asked how well those PCs have sold, Canonical referred the questions to Dell. A Dell spokeswoman said the figures are confidential. I’m quite sure there will be a good demand for server product too.

=> Canonical chases deals to ship Ubuntu Server preinstalled

How to: Upgrade VMWARE Server under Linux

Posted on in Categories CentOS, Howto, Linux Virtualization, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Suse Linux, Tips last updated September 25, 2007

Build 56528 is a release build of VMware Server 1.0.4. It is a maintenance bug fix release to address security issues. Upgrading VMWare server is a piece of cake under Redhat Enterprise Linux / CentOS Linux version 5.0.

Please note that following instructions are tested on RHEL 4.5, 5.0 and CentOS Linux 5.0 only. You can use tar ball based package to upgrade vmware under Debian Linux.

Find out current VMware server version

First find out current vmware server version, enter:
# vmware -v

VMware Server 1.0.3 build-44356

You can download the latest version from official site.

Shutdown all VMWARE guest oses / vps

Login to each running VM and bring down (halt) guest operating system. You can also use vmware server console or web based interface for the same purpose.
Stop VMWARE Server:
# /etc/init.d/vmware stop

Stopping VMware services:
   Virtual machine monitor                                 [  OK  ]
   Bridged networking on /dev/vmnet0                       [  OK  ]
   Virtual ethernet                                        [  OK  ]

Stop VMWARE Webbased interface:
# /etc/init.d/httpd.vmware stop

   Shutting down http.vmware:                              [  OK  ]

Download VMWARE Server

Use wget the ultimate command line downloader
# cd /tmp
# wget
# wget

Upgrade VMWARE server

Use rpm command to upgrade VMWARE server, enter:
# rpm -Uvh VMware-server-1.0.4-56528.i386.rpm

Preparing...                ########################################### [100%]
   1:VMware-server          ########################################### [100%]

Reconfigure VMWARE Server

Just reconfigure Vmware server with old values/options:
Just accept accept the End User License Agreement and press CTRL+C. Now configure server with old values:
# -d

aking sure services for VMware Server are stopped.

Stopping VMware services:
   Virtual machine monitor                                 [  OK  ]
   Bridged networking on /dev/vmnet0                       [  OK  ]
   Virtual ethernet                                        [  OK  ]

Configuring fallback GTK+ 2.4 libraries.

In which directory do you want to install the mime type icons?

What directory contains your desktop menu entry files? These files have a
.desktop file extension. [/usr/share/applications]

In which directory do you want to install the application's icon?

Trying to find a suitable vmmon module for your running kernel.
*** Output truncated ***

Upgrade VMware Server Web-based management interface

The VMware Server Web-based management interface. Install on your VMware Server system to enable control from a Web browser. Untar and install the same:
# tar -zxvf VMware-mui-1.0.4-56528.tar.gz
# cd vmware-mui-distrib/
# perl

Just follow on screen instructions to install Web-based management interface. Finally just start all guest oses.

How to: Linux reset the permissions of the installed rpm packages with –setperms option

Posted on in Categories CentOS, File system, Howto, Linux, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Security, Shell scripting, Suse Linux, Sys admin, Tips, Troubleshooting last updated June 2, 2017

Sometimes by mistakes, all package file permissions get changed, and you need to restore file permission. For example, a shell script or some sort of corruption could alter the permissions for packages installed files, it may be necessary to reset them.

Linux rpm command no such file or directory error and solution

Posted on in Categories File system, Howto, Linux, Linux distribution, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Suse Linux, Troubleshooting last updated July 30, 2007

New Linux user often get this error. Let us say you haved downloaded the RPM file from net and saved to /tmp, you may get error – no no such file or directory – when the file is really downloaded and ls command can show the same.

Answer is pretty simple rpm command needs the full path to RPM command. Use pwd command to get full path and type the following commands:
ls *.rpm
Now install the rpm file:
rpm -ivh myrpm.rpm
or use full path:
rpm -ivh /tmp/myrpm.rpm

Running query on uninstalled rpm package

However if you run query on uninstalled package you will get an error:
# rpm -qi /tmp/bandwidth-0.12-1.el5.rf.x86_64.rpm

package bandwidth-0.12-1.el5.rf.x86_64.rpm is not installed

To query an uninstalled package pass -p option to rpm command.
# rpm -qip /tmp/bandwidth-0.12-1.el5.rf.x86_64.rpm

Name        : bandwidth                    Relocations: (not relocatable)
Version     : 0.12                              Vendor: Dag Apt Repository,
Release     : 1.el5.rf                      Build Date: Sat 28 Jul 2007 03:27:28 PM CDT
Install Date: (not installed)               Build Host:
Group       : Applications/Internet         Source RPM: bandwidth-0.12-1.el5.rf.src.rpm
Size        : 30905                            License: GPL
Signature   : DSA/SHA1, Sat 28 Jul 2007 03:31:11 PM CDT, Key ID a20e52146b8d79e6
Packager    : Dag Wieers 
URL         :
Summary     : Artificial benchmark for measuring memory bandwidth
Description :
bandwidth is an artificial benchmark for measuring memory bandwidth,
useful for identifying a computer's weak areas.

Linux audit files to see who made changes to a file

Posted on in Categories File system, GNU/Open source, Howto, Linux, Monitoring, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Security, Sys admin, Tips last updated March 19, 2007

This is one of the key questions many new sys admin ask:

How do I audit file events such as read / write etc? How can I use audit to see who changed a file in Linux?

The answer is to use 2.6 kernel’s audit system. Modern Linux kernel (2.6.x) comes with auditd daemon. It’s responsible for writing audit records to the disk. During startup, the rules in /etc/audit.rules are read by this daemon. You can open /etc/audit.rules file and make changes such as setup audit file log location and other option. The default file is good enough to get started with auditd.

In order to use audit facility you need to use following utilities
=> auditctl – a command to assist controlling the kernel’s audit system. You can get status, and add or delete rules into kernel audit system. Setting a watch on a file is accomplished using this command:

=> ausearch – a command that can query the audit daemon logs based for events based on different search criteria.

=> aureport – a tool that produces summary reports of the audit system logs.

Note that following all instructions are tested on CentOS 4.x and Fedora Core and RHEL 4/5 Linux.

Task: install audit package

The audit package contains the user space utilities for storing and searching the audit records generate by the audit subsystem in the Linux 2.6 kernel. CentOS/Red Hat and Fedora core includes audit rpm package. Use yum or up2date command to install package
# yum install audit
# up2date install audit

Auto start auditd service on boot
# ntsysv
# chkconfig auditd on
Now start service:
# /etc/init.d/auditd start

How do I set a watch on a file for auditing?

Let us say you would like to audit a /etc/passwd file. You need to type command as follows:
# auditctl -w /etc/passwd -p war -k password-file


  • -w /etc/passwd : Insert a watch for the file system object at given path i.e. watch file called /etc/passwd
  • -p war : Set permissions filter for a file system watch. It can be r for read, w for write, x for execute, a for append.
  • -k password-file : Set a filter key on a /etc/passwd file (watch). The password-file is a filterkey (string of text that can be up to 31 bytes long). It can uniquely identify the audit records produced by the watch. You need to use password-file string or phrase while searching audit logs.

In short you are monitoring (read as watching) a /etc/passwd file for anyone (including syscall) that may perform a write, append or read operation on a file.

Wait for some time or as a normal user run command as follows:
$ grep 'something' /etc/passwd
$ vi /etc/passwd

Following are more examples:

File System audit rules

Add a watch on “/etc/shadow” with the arbitrary filterkey “shadow-file” that generates records for “reads, writes, executes, and appends” on “shadow”
# auditctl -w /etc/shadow -k shadow-file -p rwxa

syscall audit rule

The next rule suppresses auditing for mount syscall exits
# auditctl -a exit,never -S mount

File system audit rule

Add a watch “tmp” with a NULL filterkey that generates records “executes” on “/tmp” (good for a webserver)
# auditctl -w /tmp -p e -k webserver-watch-tmp

syscall audit rule using pid

To see all syscalls made by a program called sshd (pid – 1005):
# auditctl -a entry,always -S all -F pid=1005

How do I find out who changed or accessed a file /etc/passwd?

Use ausearch command as follows:
# ausearch -f /etc/passwd
# ausearch -f /etc/passwd | less
# ausearch -f /etc/passwd -i | less

  • -f /etc/passwd : Only search for this file
  • -i : Interpret numeric entities into text. For example, uid is converted to account name.


type=PATH msg=audit(03/16/2007 14:52:59.985:55) : name=/etc/passwd flags=follow,open inode=23087346 dev=08:02 mode=file,644 ouid=root ogid=root rdev=00:00
type=CWD msg=audit(03/16/2007 14:52:59.985:55) :  cwd=/webroot/home/lighttpd
type=FS_INODE msg=audit(03/16/2007 14:52:59.985:55) : inode=23087346 inode_uid=root inode_gid=root inode_dev=08:02 inode_rdev=00:00
type=FS_WATCH msg=audit(03/16/2007 14:52:59.985:55) : watch_inode=23087346 watch=passwd filterkey=password-file perm=read,write,append perm_mask=read
type=SYSCALL msg=audit(03/16/2007 14:52:59.985:55) : arch=x86_64 syscall=open success=yes exit=3 a0=7fbffffcb4 a1=0 a2=2 a3=6171d0 items=1 pid=12551 auid=unknown(4294967295) uid=lighttpd gid=lighttpd euid=lighttpd suid=lighttpd fsuid=lighttpd egid=lighttpd sgid=lighttpd fsgid=lighttpd comm=grep exe=/bin/grep

Let us try to understand output

  • audit(03/16/2007 14:52:59.985:55) : Audit log time
  • uid=lighttpd gid=lighttpd : User ids in numerical format. By passing -i option to command you can convert most of numeric data to human readable format. In our example user is lighttpd used grep command to open a file
  • exe=”/bin/grep” : Command grep used to access /etc/passwd file
  • perm_mask=read : File was open for read operation

So from log files you can clearly see who read file using grep or made changes to a file using vi/vim text editor. Log provides tons of other information. You need to read man pages and documentation to understand raw log format.

Other useful examples

Search for events with date and time stamps. if the date is omitted, today is assumed. If the time is omitted, now is assumed. Use 24 hour clock time rather than AM or PM to specify time. An example date is 10/24/05. An example of time is 18:00:00.
# ausearch -ts today -k password-file
# ausearch -ts 3/12/07 -k password-file

Search for an event matching the given executable name using -x option. For example find out who has accessed /etc/passwd using rm command:
# ausearch -ts today -k password-file -x rm
# ausearch -ts 3/12/07 -k password-file -x rm

Search for an event with the given user name (UID). For example find out if user vivek (uid 506) try to open /etc/passwd:
# ausearch -ts today -k password-file -x rm -ui 506
# ausearch -k password-file -ui 506

Other auditing related posts

Further readings

  • Read man pages – auditd, ausearch, auditctl

Updated for accuracy.