Fedora 30, Virtualbox and libxcrypt

Fedora 30, Virtualbox and libxcrypt

It is a never ending story. New dist release, new problems with Virtualbox.

What is the current problem with a Fedora 30 guest on a Windows host and Virtualbox 6.0.8? Well, the guest additions won’t work, especially vboxadd.service refuses to start.

After asking my search engine of choice it revealed the libxcrypt to be the culprit. There are some changes mentioned at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/30/ChangeSet and it is referenced at https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=92953.


Install the libxcrypt-compat package and the vboxadd.service will start again, problem fixed.

IBM PC Server 310

IBM PC Server 310

This piece of hardware is from 1996. I found it in our old server room parked under a table next to a box with cables and rack equipment.

And then I remembered the time when I sat in front of it, doing sysadmin stuff with Novell Netware 4.2. Oh my, this was a long time ago!

What do you do if you find such a long forgotten treasure? You want to see if it will boot your favorite OS from back then, right? And it booted really fast into a DOS prompt: C:\>

The ver command revealed a Windows 98 installation. After firing win, good old Windows 98 booted into the beloved GUI. I immediately felt 20 years younger 😉

As it turned out, the PC Server was in very good shape, fully functional and booting super fast. Even the CMOS battery was alive. Wow.

Awestruck as I was I shut it down (well, I just hit power-off as in the good old days) and put it back under the table. There it is waiting for someone else cleaning up and wondering if it will boot one more time …

Vagrant cheat sheet

Vagrant cheat sheet

A quick overview of the most useful vagrant commands.

Hint: “ve” means vagrant environment – the virtual machine(s) you run.

vagrant upstart ve
vagrant haltstop ve
vagrant reloadreload Vagrantfile, restart ve
vagrant destroydestroy ve
vagrant statusshow status of ve(s)
vagrant box listshow local baseboxes
vagrant box add http://local.example.com/vagrant/box.json --box-version 2019.05.04explicitly install a box from the given location and version
vagrant box updateupdate all baseboxes currently installed
vagrant box update --box prefix/boxnameupdate just the given basebox
vagrant box pruneremove outdated baseboxes
vagrant box prune --name prefix/boxnameremove just the given outdated baseboxes
vagrant box remove prefix/boxnameremove all cached instances of the given basebox
vagrant box remove prefix/boxname --box-version 2019.05.04remove just the given basebox and version
vagrant up --provision veprovision the ve with all provisioners (again)
vagrant up --provision-with ansible veprovision the ve with ansible (again)
vagrant reload --provision vereload Vagrantfile, restart the ve and provision it again
vagrant provision veprovision the running ve without restart
vagrant provision --provision-with-ansible veprovision the running ve with ansible and without restart

How to return to a previous version of a vagrant basebox

  1. remove any vagrant environment based on the basebox you want to remove:
    vagrant destroy
  2. remove the basebox:
    vagrant box remove prefix/basebox --box-version xyz
  3. if you already pruned the previous basebox you have to download it again:
    vagrant box add http://local.example.com/vagrant/basebox.json --box-version xyz
  4. check if it is there:
    vagrant box list
  5. create a new vagrant environment:
    vagrant up
Strange mouse behaviour with Fedora 28 in Virtualbox

Strange mouse behaviour with Fedora 28 in Virtualbox

I use Fedora 28 with XFCE as a virtual machine in Virtualbox 5.2.12, hosted on Windows 10.

In full screen mode this works really well.

But suddenly I had huge problems with my left mouse button. In some windows it worked, in others it didn’t and vice versa. After trying random things, it worked for some time, then stopped again. Or didn’t work at all.

The system was actually unusable any more.

It took some time until I realized this strange behaviour was caused by the latest kernel update to 4.17

As soon as it was clear I just had to use the old 4.16 kernel the next steps where easy.

Read More Read More

Certbot, a Let’s Encrypt Client

Certbot, a Let’s Encrypt Client

I have been using Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS certificates since they where available in open beta. Because back then there wasn’t any packaged client to obtain your certs I went with the letsencrypt and later certbot Github vanilla install.

That worked very well but is was a little bit cumbersome. The benefit was primarily to be up to date with the latest version and features.

In Mai 2016 the letsencrypt client became “certbot

certbot vanilla install via git

Obtain a new certificate in webroot mode:

To renew, run:

To update certbot and pull in any changes just run git:

Over time, your local clone of certbot clutters with stale branches. That’s not really a problem. But if you want it tidy you might run an occasional git remote prune origin after your pull.

Today certbot is available in all major Linux distributions.
But if you want the latest and greatest it might be necessary to pick a specific repository.

Ubuntu 16.04 with the latest certbot

In Ubuntu Xenial aka 16.04 there is an PPA with up to date versions available. To install, run:

This package installs a very convenient cronjob which takes care of automatic cert renewal:

This cronjob reliably renews any due certificates. Awesome.

Configure Windows keyboard shortcuts in XFCE

Configure Windows keyboard shortcuts in XFCE

My windows manager of choice for Linux is XFCE.

While working in XFCE I realized that I got so accustomed to the Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts for tiling windows, I wanted to have the same functionality in XFCE.

And it is no problem to make that happen.

Just go to Settings -> Windows Manager -> select the Keyboard tab. Then scroll down to “Tile windows to the …”, mark the entry you want to change and click the “Edit” button. Follow the instructions.

To tile the window to the left enter: <Super(Windows key)> + <left arrow>

Apache IfDefine and startup with sysVinit and systemd

Apache IfDefine and startup with sysVinit and systemd

To define a name for use in directives during Apache startup is an easy way to control the behavior of the webserver depending on your environment specifics.

This way you can have different configurations applied according to the context, facts you have or variables you set. It is possible to distinguish between production and development, detected facts, the hostname or a context string.
And you can have your apache config stored in a git repository which is used on two or more webservers to propagate changes easily between hosts.

These are the two use cases I want to look into:

  • having several web servers (doing the same thing) but with different hardware
  • having a development machine and one or more production machine(s) with a slightly different configuration

How would you do this?

Read More Read More

vim – adjust current line at screen

vim – adjust current line at screen

Here I want to focus on a few keystrokes which help to adjust where your current line appears on your screen in Normal mode.

z[RETURN] redraw screen with current line at top
zz redraw screen with current line at center
z- redraw screen with current line at bottom (as far down as possible)


You can display the screen at center even while you are in Insert mode. No need to leave Insert mode, center the screen and reenter Insert mode. That’s especially helpful if you just want to see more context above and beneath your current position.

[ctrl-o]zz run just one command while in Insert mode,
display screen at center and return to Insert mode


vim – revisited

vim – revisited

Even though I have been using vim for years now, I realized I should renew and improve what I know about vim in general, especially plugins and stuff. And then there’s a pethora of keyboard shortcuts which can make one’s life a lot easier and more productive.

So there will be a series of blog posts about vim, ranging from the most basic keyboard shortcuts (as a refresher) to more advanced topics like plugins and tuning .vimrc

Read More Read More

What is “Kali Linux Light”?

What is “Kali Linux Light”?

Do you know the difference between “Kali Linux 32 bit” and “Kali Linux 32 bit Light”?

There are several ISO images to choose from when it comes to downloading Kali Linux. Most of them are quite obviously named: “Kali Linux 64 bit XFCE” – no doubt about that.

But theres is no hint or easy way to find documentation about the ingredients of this considerably smaller installation variant “light”.

Read More Read More