Jekyll Build From Github

You might or might not remember how I publish this blog with Github. But I wrote a post about this. Since I migrated my hosting to a VPS I changed a few things. The important bits that changed are, the way things get logged. Now I use tee which has the side effect that the output is on my logfiles and get printed to stdout which you can see then on you php update page (this helps to debug the build process). The other thing that changed is that on FreeBSD jekyll is installed in /usr/local/bin, which is not in the default path. This resulted in a blog which get no updates, because the jekyll binary is missing. That's why I added /usr/local/bin to the path, to fix this.

$ cat update.php
    $output = shell_exec('./');
    echo "<pre>$output</pre>"; 
$ cat
export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/bin

#the logfile
datestr=$(date +%Y%m%d_%H%M%S)

#cd to your git repo
cd /usr/local/www/blog_git_src

echo git | tee -a $LOGFILE
git version | tee -a $LOGFILE
git pull origin master | tee -a $LOGFILE

#build page
echo jekyll | tee -a $LOGFILE
jekyll build -d /usr/local/www/blog | tee -a $LOGFILE

Jekyll Nginx Rewrite Rules

I use permalink: pretty which create for each post a folder with a index.html. This creates nice urls like this /2015/04/22/htaccess-proxy. But last time I cheked my error logs I saw a few peoples who tried urls like this: /2015/04/22/htaccess-proxy.html. So I thought why not redirect this urls. Of course I'm not the first person with this problem, I found two blog post on which I based my solution.

My solution:

server {
        listen       80;

        rewrite ^/index.html$ / redirect;
        rewrite ^(/.+)/index.html$ $1 redirect;

        if ($request_uri ~* ".html") {
            rewrite (?i)^(.*)/(.*)\.html $1/$2 redirect;

        location / {
            rewrite ^/(.*) /$1 break;
            proxy_pass http://blog;

If you have any problems or find broken urls, just write me.


For some weird reason all these redirection foo doesn't work when the blog upstream not on port 80 is.

Htaccess Proxy

Lets say you have a web application bound to localhost. For example your ruby or python web project. The next logic step is to install nginx and setup a reverse proxy. If thats not an option and you need to use Apache and can not edit the Apache settings. There is a solution which I used for some time:

This assumes that your application run at port 886688.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^(.*) http://localhost:886688/$1 [P]

Probably not the best and cleanest solution but works for me!

I Accidentally Used Php

I try to avoid PHP software when ever possible. But sometimes the best tool for the job is written in PHP. One of this tools is observium which is a network monitoring platform. And I can really recommend it. But sadly it's written in PHP, because of that I accidentally start debugging at one evening.

But first things first. I want to add my RaspberryPi which is my primary DNS server to observium. So I click on add device fill out the snmp infos and woops "Could not resolve $host". My first thought was well I forgot something, after I double checked everything and it was still not working. This was the point where I was annoyed enough to debug PHP code.

After poking a while in the source code I found this:

dns_get_record($host, DNS_A + DNS_AAAA)

This was my first WTF moment I mean seriously DNS_A + DNS_AAAA what should that do. A grep later with no result, it was clear that it must be a function of PHP. And look it's in the manual. Turns out the way they implement it, allow to do addition and subtraction with this constants since there are internally bit masks or something. Which is a smart idea but of course you find this is not in the manual, it's only in a comment below.

Anyway if you now read in the manual what dns_get_record should return:

This function returns an array of associative arrays, or FALSE on failure.

Doesn't sound entirely wrong. A empty array on a failure might come in handy, why I show you in a second.

var_dump(dns_get_record($host, DNS_A));

array(1) {
  array(5) {
    string(14) ""
    string(2) "IN"
    string(1) "A"
    string(12) ""

Like in the manual described a array is returned.

var_dump(dns_get_record($host, DNS_AAAA));

PHP Warning:  dns_get_record(): DNS Query failed in file.php on line 4

Like in the manual described it returns FALSE if the is no AAAA record found.

I guess you can assume what happens when you combine these two requests.

var_dump(dns_get_record($host, DNS_A + DNS_AAAA));

PHP Warning:  dns_get_record(): DNS Query failed in file.php on line 4

Right it returns only FALSE in this case, even if there is a A record for this domain.

And the moral of this story

Deploy IPv6 everywhere to prevent such things. Or maybe don't build software based on PHP. I personally recommend both things.

If you are a observium pro user it's fixed, according the mailing list in revision 6357 and for everyone else with the next half yearly release.

Zfs Remote Backup

Since no one bought my N54L NAS I need to do something with it. So my first guess was a remote backup, and thats exactly what I did.

So thats why I visited @ronyspitzer this weekend (well some weekend in the past (ages ago), since I failed to finish this). So I grab my hardware and thats how it looks:

hardware relocation

Maybe I should do finally my driving licence, or stop transporting so much stuff from A to B.

But lets talk about the setup. The N54L is loaded with 3 x 2TB drives and 1 TB for the system. So the first step was to install FreeBSD with root on zfs which is really easy with the FreeBSD 10 installer. With the other drives I build a raidz.

zpool create -O utf8only=on -O normalization=formD -O casesensitivity=mixed -O aclinherit=passthrough tank raidz ada0 ada1 ada2

This is basically the same setup like my Dell T20. And a very usefull hint for me was the sysctl for geom debugflags, becaue I used disks with old partition tables on it and I got allways a error like "Device Busy" so you can force to create a zfs volume anyway with sysctl kern.geom.debugflags=16.

With the pool in place, I enable ssh on my NAS with passwordless key login. Maybe I write a blog post about that to. (Probably not but you can find how that is done on teh interwebz)

remote server

After all this is done, I can finally use my 'master' backup scripts. Well you probably don't have a user to receive. But ZFS is nice so there is a nice way for this:

sudo zfs allow -u l33tname create,receive,mount,userprop,destroy,send,hold,compression,aclinherit tank

This allow everything which is necessary to receive snapshots on tank. You can check your config with zfs allow tank.

Since you probably won't send everytime everything you can use the incremental script. Thats what I do. Everynight with cron.

30 2 * * * /root/backup/backup_incremental >> /root/backup/backup.log

The only thing what I can thought off is missing in my scripts is the case when you run a backup while a backup process is still running. I will probably fix this for the future version.

Actually I did this befor I blog about it.