Category: System Administration

Firewalld — Adding and Removing a Forwarding Rule

(Sorry, Anya … after today, I’ll try to not post anything about computers for three days!) Linux restricts non-root users from opening ports <1024. It’s generally a good idea not to run your services as root. Which means, unfortunately, we end up running a lot of services on nonstandard ports (so frequently that 1389 and 1636 are a quasi-standard port for LDAP and LDAPS, 8080 and 8443 quasi-standard ports for HTTP and HTTPS). But having to remember to add the nonstandard port to a web URL is an annoyance for users — I’ve seen a lot of people fix this by adding a load balanced VIP or NGINX proxy in front of the service to handle port translations. But there is a quick and easy way to handle port translation without any additional equipment. Most Linux hosts have firewalld running, and you can tell the firewall to forward the port for you. In this example, I’m letting my Kibana users access my web service using without needing to append the :5601:

firewall-cmd –permanent –zone=public –add-forward-port=port=443:proto=tcp:toport=5601

Should you decide against the port forwarding, the same command with –remove-forward-port deregisters the rule:
firewall-cmd –zone=public –remove-forward-port=port=443:proto=tcp:toport=5601

Using the Dell 1350CN On Fedora

We picked up a really nice color laser printer — a Dell 1350CN. It was really easy to add it to my Windows computer — download driver, install, voila there’s a printer. We found instructions for using a Xerox Phaser 6000 driver. It worked perfectly on Scott’s old laptop, but we weren’t able to install the RPM on his new laptop — it insisted that a dependency wasn’t found: CXXABI_1.3.1

Except, checking the file, CXXABI_1.3.1 is absolutely in there:

2022-09-17 13:04:19 [lisa@fc36 ~/]# strings /usr/lib64/ | grep CXXABI

We’ve tried using the foo2hbpl package with the Dell 1355 driver to no avail. It would install, but we weren’t able to print. So we returned to the Xerox package.

Turns out the driver package we were trying to use is a 32-bit driver (even though the download says 32 and 64 bit). From a 32-bit perspective, we really didn’t have libstdc++ — a quick dnf install libstdc++.i686 installed the library along with some friends.

Xerox’s rpm installed without error … but, attempting to print, just yielded an error saying that the filter failed. I had Scott use ldd to test one of the filters (any of the files within /usr/lib/cups/filter/Xerox_Phaser_6000_6010/ — it indicated the “” could not be found. We also needed to install the 32-bit cups-libs.i686 package. Finally, he’s able to print from Fedora 36 to the Dell 1350cn!



Finding PCI Devices

You can use dmidecode to list all sorts of information about the system — there is a list of device types that you can use with the “-t” option

   Type   Information
      0   BIOS
      1   System
      2   Baseboard
      3   Chassis
      4   Processor
      5   Memory Controller
      6   Memory Module
      7   Cache
      8   Port Connector
      9   System Slots
     10   On Board Devices
     11   OEM Strings
     12   System Configuration Options
     13   BIOS Language
     14   Group Associations
     15   System Event Log
     16   Physical Memory Array
     17   Memory Device
     18   32-bit Memory Error
     19   Memory Array Mapped Address
     20   Memory Device Mapped Address
     21   Built-in Pointing Device
     22   Portable Battery
     23   System Reset
     24   Hardware Security
     25   System Power Controls
     26   Voltage Probe
     27   Cooling Device
     28   Temperature Probe
     29   Electrical Current Probe
     30   Out-of-band Remote Access
     31   Boot Integrity Services
     32   System Boot
     33   64-bit Memory Error
     34   Management Device
     35   Management Device Component
     36   Management Device Threshold Data
     37   Memory Channel
     38   IPMI Device
     39   Power Supply
     40   Additional Information
     41   Onboard Devices Extended Information
     42   Management Controller Host Interface


[lisa@fedora ~/]# dmidecode -t 9

Handle 0x0024, DMI type 9, 17 bytes
System Slot Information
Designation: Slot6
Type: 32-bit PCI
Current Usage: In Use
Length: Short
ID: 6
3.3 V is provided
Opening is shared
PME signal is supported
Bus Address: 0000:0a:02.0

The “Bus Address” value corresponds to information from lspci:

[lisa@fedora ~/]# lspci | grep “0a:02.0”
0a:02.0 Multimedia video controller: Conexant Systems, Inc. CX23418 Single-Chip MPEG-2 Encoder with Integrated Analog Video/Broadcast Audio Decoder

Building Vouch Oauth Proxy

I am using an NGINX container which is based on Debian 11 — following the vouch-proxy build instructions failed spectacularly on the first step, reporting that “package embed is not in GOROOT”. It appears that Debian package installation gets you go 1.15 — and ’embed’ wasn’t added until 1.16. So … that’s not great.

As a note to myself — here are the additional packages I install to the base container:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get install vim wget net-tools procps git make gcc g++

To manually install golang on Debian:

  • Find the version you want to run on and wget that tar.gz file
    • wget
  • tar -vxf go1.19.linux-amd64.tar.gz
  • mv go /usr/local/
  • vi /etc/bash.bashrc and append the following lines:
    export GOROOT=/usr/local/go
    export PATH=$GOROOT/bin:$PATH
  • Log out and log back in. Test the go installation by running:
    • go version

Now I am able to run their shell script to build the vouch-proxy binary:

  • cd /opt
  • git clone
  • cd vouch-proxy
  • ./ goget
  • ./ build
  • cd configure
  • cp config.yml_example_oidc config.yml
  • ./vouch-proxy


XRDP Logon Hangs on Black Screen

I’m writing it down this time — after completing the steps to set up xrdp (installed, configured, running, firewall port open), we get prompted for credentials … good so far!

And then get stuck on a black screen. This is because the user we’re trying to log into is already logged into the machine. Log out locally, and the user is able to log into the remote desktop connection. Conversely, attempting to log in locally once the remote desktop connection is established just hangs on a black screen too.

Cisco – Converting Access Point from Lightweight to Autonomous Firmware

I’ve seen a number of walkthroughs detailing how to convert an Aironet Wireless Access Point that’s using the lightweight firmware (the firmware which relies on something like a CAPWAP server to provide configuration so there’s not much in the way of local config options) to the autonomous firmware (one with local config & a management GUI). A few people encounter issues because downloading firmware requires a TACACS agreement — great if you’re a network engineer at a company, not great if you’ve bought a single access point somewhere.

While “google it and find someone who has posted the file … then verify the MD5 sum checks out” is an answer, a lot of the newer firmwares appear to have a major bug where any attempt to commit changes yields a 404 error. ap3g2-k9w7-tar.153-3.JF12.tar, ap3g2-k9w7-tar.153-3.JF15.tar, ap3g2-k9w7-tar.153-3.JPI4.tar — all very buggy.  While it may be possible to use the CLI to “copy ru star” and write the running config into the startup config … that’s going to be difficult to explain to someone else. Something else odd — the built-in Cisco account is a ‘read only’ user — this may be normal where the GUI shows it as read only but it’s actually got management permission?

What I’ve realized, in our attempt to convert into a fully functional autonomous firmware, is that the specific version referenced in one of the walkthroughs (ap3g2-k9w7-tar.153-3.JH.tar) is a deliberate selection — it’s a security update firmware release. Which means it’s available for download for anyone with a Cisco account that’s OK for encryption download (i.e. not residing in one of those countries to which American companies are not allowed to ‘export’ good encryption stuff) even if you don’t have a TACACS account.

Luckily, the JH iteration of the firmware doesn’t have the 404 error on committing changes. The Cisco account is still showing up as read-only, but we were able to make our own read-write user & implement changes.

On Federated Identity Providers

The basic idea here is that you may want someone to be able to validate your users without actually having access to your passwords or directory data. As a counter-example, a company I work with has their payroll “stuff” outsourced. Doing so required a B2B VPN that allowed the hosting company to access an internal LDAP directory. I set up an access control list for their connection so they could only authenticate users. Someone at the hosting company couldn’t download all of the e-mail addresses or phone numbers. Even so, a sufficiently motivated employee of the third-party company could get the logon and password for anyone who used their server – if it’s my code, adding the equivalent of ‘fileHandle.write(f”u:{username} p:{password}”)’ would write a log file with every cred used on the site.

Don’t contract with dodgy companies that are going to drop your user creds out to a file and do malicious stuff is a good start, but I would concede that “avoid dodgy companies” isn’t a great security paradigm.  Someone came up with this “federated identity” methodology — instead of you asking the user for their ID and password, you get a URL to redirect not-yet-logged-on users over to someone trusted to handle passwords. This is the “identify provider”, or IDP.

I access your website (called the ‘service provider’, or SP), and you see I don’t have any sort of auth cookie to get me logged in. You forward my browser, along with some header info, over to IdentityProviderSite. IdentityProviderSite says to the end user “hey, what is your username and password”, checks that what is entered, maybe does the MFA “really, prove it” thing, and then redirects the browser back to the originating website. It includes some header stuff that says “Hi, I am IdentityProviderSite and I used my trusted private key to sign this message. I promise that the person associated with this connection is really Lisa. And here’s her important info (could just be username, could be first name, last name, email address, etc) that you can also trust is right.” No idea why, but the info about the person is called an “assertion” — so you’ll see talk about mapping assertions (which is basically telling my application that the thing it calls “logonID” is going to be called “userID” or “uid” or whatever in the data coming from IdentityProviderSite). Voila, I’m now on your website and logged in even though my password never transited your system. All you ever got was a promise that the person on this connection is really Lisa.

To accomplish this, there is a ‘trust’ between an application & an identity provider — if you tried to send a web user to IdentityProviderSite without establishing such a trust, it would say “yeah, I’m not validating users for you — I have no idea who you are”. And, similarly, a web app isn’t going to just trust any random source to say “really, I promise this is Lisa”. So we go into the web application and say “I really, really want to trust IdentityProviderSite when it tells me a user’s ID” and then go into IdentityProviderSite and say “I want WebApp to be able to ask to validate users”. And there’s some crypto stuff because IdentityProviderSite signs it’s “I promise this is Lisa” message & we don’t want someone to be able to edit that to say “I promise this is Fred”.

Why, oh why, is “where to send the authenticated person back to continue on their merry way” called an Assertion Consumer Service? The “service provider” is supposed to “consume” the identity … so it’s the URL of the “assertion consumer” (i.e. the code in the application that has some clue what to do with the “I promise this is Lisa” blob of data that they call an assertion).

Does this make any sense for third-party companies that we really shouldn’t trust? Companies that aren’t located on our internal network to access our directories directly? Absolutely! Does this make any sense for our internal stuff? Stuff with direct, encrypted access to the AD directory? Eh … it goes well with the “trust no one” security principal. And points for consistency — every app’s logon will look the same. But it’s a lot of overhead / Internet traffic / complexity, too.

The basic process flow when a user attempts to use a site is:

  1. A client attempts to access some web resource to which they are not already authenticated
  2. The end web application redirects the client to the Identity Provider.
  3. The Identity Provider authenticates the user.
  4. The Identity Provider redirects the client to the Assertion Consumer Service (ACS) on the web resource by sending a SAML response over HTTP POST.
  5. The web server processes the SAML response.
  6. The client is redirected to the actual web application URL
  7. The web server authorizes the user to access the requested web resource.
  8. The application server sends the HTTP response back to client.

Useful DNF Commands

Beyond basic stuff like “dnf install somepackage” or downloading an rpm and using “dnf install my.package.rpm”, this is a running list of useful dnf commands.

List installed packages (similar to rpm -qa):

dnf list installed

List packages with updates available:

dnf check-update

Update everything but the kernel:
dnf update -x kernel*

Find package that provides something:

[lisa@rhel1 ~/]# dnf whatprovides cdrskin
Last metadata expiration check: 2:35:57 ago on Fri 12 Aug 2022 11:37:43 AM EDT.
cdrskin-1.5.2-2.fc32.x86_64 : Limited cdrecord compatibility wrapper to ease migration to libburn
Repo : fedora
Matched from:
Provide : cdrskin = 1.5.2-2.fc32

cdrskin-1.5.4-2.fc32.x86_64 : Limited cdrecord compatibility wrapper to ease migration to libburn
Repo : updates
Matched from:
Provide : cdrskin = 1.5.4-2.fc32

Package info, including version

[lisa@rhel1 ~/]# dnf info sendmail
Last metadata expiration check: 2:37:19 ago on Fri 12 Aug 2022 11:37:43 AM EDT.
Available Packages
Name : sendmail
Version : 8.15.2
Release : 43.fc32
Architecture : x86_64
Size : 730 k
Source : sendmail-8.15.2-43.fc32.src.rpm
Repository : fedora
Summary : A widely used Mail Transport Agent (MTA)
License : Sendmail
Description : The Sendmail program is a very widely used Mail Transport Agent (MTA).
: MTAs send mail from one machine to another. Sendmail is not a client
: program, which you use to read your email. Sendmail is a
: behind-the-scenes program which actually moves your email over
: networks or the Internet to where you want it to go.
: If you ever need to reconfigure Sendmail, you will also need to have
: the sendmail-cf package installed. If you need documentation on
: Sendmail, you can install the sendmail-doc package.

Show history:

[lisa@rhel1 ~/]# dnf history
ID     | Command line                                                                                                      | Date and time    | Action(s)      | Altered
   102 | remove liberation-fonts                                                                                           | 2021-11-28 18:44 | Removed        |    3
   101 | remove chromedriver                                                                                               | 2021-11-28 18:44 | Removed        |    2
   100 | remove google-chrome-stable                                                                                       | 2021-11-28 18:44 | Removed        |    1  < 99 | install liberation-fonts | 2021-11-28 18:42 | Install | 1 >
    98 | install chromedriver                                                                                              | 2021-11-28 18:38 | Install        |    2
    97 | remove mediainfo                                                                                                  | 2021-11-16 13:31 | Removed        |    4
    96 | install mediainfo                                                                                                 | 2021-11-16 13:29 | Install        |    4


Which brings up an interesting command — you can undo a history step instead of trying to uninstall the list of things you just installed.

dnf history undo 98 -y

Adding Sony SNC-DH220T Camera to Zoneminder

We recently picked up a mini dome IP camera — much better resolution than the old IP cams we got when Anya was born — and it took a little trial-and-error to get it set up in Zoneminder. The first thing we did was update the firmware using Sony’s SNCToolbox, configure the camera as we wanted it, and add a “Viewer” user for zoneminder.

With all that done, the trick is to add an FFMPEG source with the right RTSP address. On the ‘General’ tab, select “Ffmpeg” as the source type:

On the ‘Source’ tab, you need to use the right source path. For video stream one, that is rtsp:// — change video1 to video2 for the second video stream, if available. And, obviously, use the account you created on your camera for zoneminder and whatever password. Since it’s something that gets stored in clear text, I make a specific zmuser account with a password we don’t use elsewhere. We’ve used both ‘TCP’ and ‘UDP’ successfully, although there was a lot of streaking with UDP.

Save, give it a minute, and voila … you’ve got a Sony SNC-DH220T camera in Zoneminder!