dimanche 20 novembre 2016

Bootable flash drive for both Linux and Windows: live Linux

Three years ago, I wrote a small series about having all my favourite tools on a USB flash drive when I am on the go. Some things have changed in these years, so the time has come to write fresh blog posts on the subject. My main aim is a full portable Linux OS, and this third part is about just that!

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Bootable flash drive for both Linux and Windows: boot loader

The following text is the second part of a reboot —as they say for films, now— of my 3-year-old series about having a universal Linux and Windows toolbox on a bootable USB flash drive. The main target is a full portable Linux OS, but I will also address the Windows OS, for those times when you have no choice ;-)

This part is about the boot loader and miscellaneous tools accessible from there.

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vendredi 18 novembre 2016

Bootable flash drive for both Linux and Windows: BIOS and EFI

This is a new take on my 3-year-old series on the same subject, with the aim of having a portable toolbox for anything PC, from booting Linux, to having my favourite productivity tools at all time, to being able to rescue a broken disk or OS, and so on. This toolbox takes the form of a standard USB flash drive, made bootable and filled with all that I need, yet still uncluttered, and usable as any USB flash drive for transferring data.

This first article is about the “bootable” part.

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jeudi 5 février 2015

Moving Transmission-daemon’s files

I first heard of BitTorrent when Mandriva began encouraging its users to download the Linux distribution’s ISO files using BitTorrent, in order to lessen the load on Mandriva’s servers. Yet it is somewhat recently that I began to actually use it. To this end, I installed the transmission-daemon package from Debian.

Lacking experience and expectations regarding the BitTorrent protocol and Transmission, I simply set the latter up with /data/partial as the directory for the temporary files, and /data/share as the final destination for completed downloads; the latter is the place where I put all my shared files (LAN-wide). I thought that I would move the completed downloads to the right subdirectories as they appear…

There is a problem with this configuration: the BitTorrent protocol expects you to share (“seed”) what you have downloaded from other users, thus preventing you from removing the files once you have them. Of course, I wish to keep these files, but elsewhere!

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vendredi 12 septembre 2014

The do-it-all port 443…


samedi 6 septembre 2014

Transparent networking with help from SSH


When SSH must go through HTTP…


dimanche 31 août 2014

New article about SSH


mardi 11 mars 2014

Synchronize Firefox Mobile with your own Sync server

If you run your own Sync server, and tried to synchronize your Firefox Mobile browser, you may have been blocked by the “Invalid server URL” message. Or, if you added your device using the easy method of typing three strings of four characters, then the synchronization is accepted, but nothing ever gets synchronized (silent failure).

If your configuration is anything like mine, it turns out that the problem is with the SSL ciphers being used: Firefox Mobile is using RC4-SHA.

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samedi 22 février 2014

Multiplex SSH and HTTPS on a single port

I want to allow both SSH and HTTPS on port 443 of my server, because port 22 is often blocked by firewalls. The usual tool for this task is the excellent sslh tool, which can recognize SSH and HTTPS connections, but also HTTP, OpenVPN, tinc, and XMPP! Besides, sslh does not rely only on the “who speaks first, server or client?” technique, which makes it compatible with more SSH clients; an excellent port multiplexer indeed!

There is one drawback, though: sslh listens to a port on the server, receives an incoming connection from a remote client, detects the protocol, and then forwards packets for this connection to the adequate service; the problem is that the latter is seeing packets coming from the server itself (usually localhost), not from the IP address of the remote client.

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jeudi 23 janvier 2014

Compress the mobile web even further - both HTTP and HTTPS

As already stated in a previous post, there are a couple of reasons why you may want to compress the data you receive from the Internet. The main reason is the cost associated with mobile data transfers.

Unfortunately, the previous post only dealt with HTTP, whereas more and more web sites force HTTPS on us, starting with Google. This post exposes another solution, that is suitable for both protocols.

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Optimize your mobile data plan ;-)

Unlimited Internet on your mobile phone is not the norm, yet. So you have to rely on Wifi, and on a limited amount of data that can be exchanged through your mobile data plan. Let me show you how to expand the latter, for free. This will only work for free if you already have a Internet-facing server available somewhere, with Linux on it. You must also be allowed to configure a proxy on your mobile phone.

Note that this post is also relevant to situations where you have a very low-bandwidth Internet connection, provided that your server is remotely-hosted.

Here we go…

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mardi 26 novembre 2013

Configure PHP with Nginx only once for several aliases

When I first installed Nginx, I discovered that PHP configuration was much less straightforward than it was with Apache. In my case, PHP is used both on the main “root” site, and with several “alias” locations. Besides, some of these locations use a feature called “path info” that definitely added some spice to the challenge!

While this article was written in the context of Debian Linux Wheezy, I’m sure it is not very different with other distributions.

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jeudi 31 octobre 2013

Synchronize Firefox on your Weave Minimal server through Nginx

A long time ago, I installed Weave Minimal on my Apache server, so that I could synchronize Firefox without having to rely on a third-party server.

This Weave server is now officially deprecated, but I still use it because it works, and it is really light-weight! Someone recognized this and is now proposing a new weave-minimal server; I did not try it, but if you have nothing installed yet, it may be a better choice.

In this blog post, I explain how to configure the Nginx web server for the old Weave Minimal.

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mardi 22 octobre 2013

Change the default file manager for Cairo-dock / Glx-dock applets

I had much difficulty changing the default file manager for the “Quick browser” and the “Shortcuts” applets from Cairo-dock. The Internet was no help for once, but find and grep were ;)

So, to change the file-manager, you have to edit the ~/.local/share/applications/defaults.list file, locate the line starting with “x-scheme-handler/file=” (although it cannot be bad to also change the line starting with “inode/directory=”), and change the application to the one you want.

Most available applications can be found in /usr/share/applications under most Linux distributions. If the application you want does not have its own desktop file, you can create one in ~/.local/share/applications/, or simply use the exo system from the XFCE project : choose you favourite application with the exo-preferred-applications command, then choose “exo-file-manager.desktop” in the fore-mentioned file.

dimanche 22 septembre 2013

Test booting from your USB device without rebooting your Linux PC

Let’s assume you want to test that your newly bootable USB device is indeed bootable. Here’s a way to do this without rebooting, using VirtualBox.

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lundi 29 juillet 2013

Arch Linux with systemd did not send its hostname through DHCP

I found the solution here: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=1241596#p1241596.

So I appended “dhcp=dhcpcd” to /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf, the full content of which is now:


mercredi 3 juillet 2013

Authoring a DVD with DVDAuthor

I intend to transfer family films from VHS to DVD, and VHS tapes that I bought, too. I previously recorded a big video file from the VHS and split this video into several parts. The time has come to make a DVD out of these parts.

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vendredi 21 juin 2013

The “bash” shell in TinyCore Linux outputs a “~” when I hit the Delete, Home, or End key

As far as I understand, different command-line interpreters (the Linux console, the bash shell, busybox…) translate these keys (Insert, Delete, Home, End) to key-codes in different ways, and then the underlying programs (aterm, urxvt…) interpret these key-codes with some variations. All of this makes for a rather fragile process. If the terminfo database is up-to-date on your system, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, TinyCore Linux doesn’t seem to even have a terminfo database.

That is why “bash”, or rather the “readline” library that “bash” is using, fails to correctly handle the said keys. But “readline” can be taught.

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UTF-8 everywhere in TinyCore Linux

TinyCore being Linux at the core, it does handle UTF-8. This encoding has been the default in most Linux distributions for years; not so for TinyCore. That’s because this distribution strives to be tiny and UTF-8 support does make the overall size grow a bit.

In my case, with a whole 16GB (woot!) flash drive, I can easily afford the comfort brought by UTF-8. Here we go…

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