MariaDB with Active Directory authentication via PAM module

I needed to get mariadb authenticating users via Active Directory at work. Configuration was confusing until I stumbled across this article saying you can just tie into the system’s PAM configuration., which in my case is already configured for AD authentication. Awesome!

First, enable PAM plugin and restart mariadb:

/etc/my.cnf, anywhere in the mysqld section

Restart mariadb:

sudo systemctl restart mariadb

Next, configure a PAM file to interface with mariadb:

sudo vi /etc/pam.d/mysql
auth include system-auth 
account required 
account include system-auth 
password include system-auth 
session optional force revoke 
session include system-auth 
session required

Create catch all user in MariaDB and configure to use your PAM configuration:


Lastly, grant permissions in mariadb being sure to specify pam as the mechanism:

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES on <database>.* to '<user>'@'<host>' IDENTIFIED VIA pam;


Rename files to reflect modified time while preserving extension

I’m undergoing a big project of scanning old family scrapbooks. I have two scanners involved, each with their own naming scheme, dumping files of various types (pdf, jpg) into the same folder. I need to have an accurate chronological view of when things were scanned (nothing was scanned at the exact same moment.) At this point the only way to get this information is to sort all the files by modified time,  but no other programs but a file manager look at files this way. I needed a way to rename all the files to reflect their modified time.

I found a couple different ways to do this, but settled on a bash for loop utilizing the stat, sed, and mv commands.

Challenge 1

Capture the extension of the files.

Using sed:

ls <filename> | sed 's/.*\(\..*\)$/\1/'

Challenge 2

Obtain the modified time of your file in an acceptable format. I do this using the stat command.

stat -c %y <filename>

%y is the best option here – it leaves no room for ambiguity. You could also choose %Y so the filenames aren’t so large and don’t contain colons (some systems struggle with this.) The downside do this is you only have to-the-second precision. In my case I had a few files that had the same epoch timestamp, which caused problems. More on how to format this can be found here and here.

Stringing it all together

I wrapped it all up in a bash for loop with appropriate variables. This was my final command, which I ran inside the directory I wanted to modify:

for file in *; do name=$(stat -c %y "$file"); ext=$(echo "$file" | sed 's/.*\(\..*\)$/\1/'); mv -n "$file" "$name$ext"; done

The for loop goes through each file one at a time and assigns it to the $file variable.  I then create the name variable which uses the stat command to obtain a precise date modified timestamp of the file. The ext variable is derived from the filename but only keeps the extension (using sed.) The last step uses mv -n (no clobber mode – don’t overwrite anything) to rename the original file to its date modified timestamp. The result: a directory where each file is named precisely when it was modified – a true chronology of what was scanned irrespective of file extension or which scanner created the file. Success.

Make Java run on privileged ports in CentOS 7

I recently gnashed my teeth at trying to get java to directly bind to port 443 instead of using nginx to proxy to a java application I had to use. I was surprised at the complication of finding the solution, but I eventually did thanks to the following sites:

First, determine the full path of your current java install:

sudo update-alternatives --config java

In my CentOS 7 install, the java binary was located here:


Next, use setcap to configure java to be able to bind to port 443:

sudo setcap CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE=+eip /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.8.0-openjdk-

Now, test to make sure java works:

java -version

java: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

The above error means that after setting setcap, it breaks how java looks for its library to run. To fix this, we need to symlink the library it’s looking for into /usr/lib, then run ldconfig

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.8.0-openjdk- /usr/lib/
sudo ldconfig

Now test Java again:

java -version

It took longer than I like to admit to get this working, but it it does indeed work this way.

Revive an old Samsung Galaxy S3

I have an old Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3) that has been collecting dust in my closet. Its batter has swollen to alarming size and as a result it won’t ever turn on (even when plugged in.) I wondered if I could bypass the battery completely and it turns out you can! Thanks to xda forums I was able to hack this old phone to get it to work again.

Here’s the trick:

  • Look on the battery for + and – signs. These correspond to the positive and negative terminals on the battery prongs on the phone.
  • Grab any USB cable and cut the micro-usb end off of it. Strip away the shielding until you get the four smaller wires: red, green, white, black. Ignore white and green, we’re interesting in black and red (power)
  • Carefully strip the plastic sheath around red & black wires, and solder them to the battery terminal to the phone (be careful to line up the red wire with + and the black wire with – )
  • Profit! Once you’ve soldered red & black into their appropriate terminals you can plug the other end of the USB cable into a power source and turn the phone on!

Caution: Plugging something that provides power into the MicroUSB port will cause the phone to attempt to charge your “battery.” In my case this was pretty disastrous as the usb cable  got REALLY hot very fast. Not recommended.

Whitelist IPs with varnish

I recently needed to restrict which IP addresses can access wp-login.php for a wordpress site of mine. This site is sitting behind varnish cache for speed. Modifying htaccess doesn’t work in this case so I have to modify the varnish configuration in order to get this to work.

The varnish documentation is actually quite good at telling you what you need to do.  You have to first specify an acl and then in the vcl_recv function specify the action when these IPs are used.

I kept running into a problem where varnish wouldn’t compile. I kept receiving this error:

"Expected CSTR got 'admin_net'" (C String?)

It turns out my load balancer does not support the PROXY protocol, so client.ip is always the IP of the load balancer, not the IP of the person making the request.

The solution was finally found here where it was explained that in absence of PROXY protocol you can use the std.ip() function to convert a string containing an IP address to the value varnish expects an IP address to be, in order to check it against an ACL (see here for syntax reference.)

I then had to take it a step further to trim all the extraneous commas and quotes from X-Forwarded-For so that the std.ip() function would work:

# set realIP by trimming CloudFlare IP which will be used for various checks
set req.http.X-Actual-IP = regsub(req.http.X-Forwarded-For, "[, ].*$", "");

With these three bits combined I was able to properly restrict access to wp-login.php to a specified whitelist of IP addresses:

acl admin {


sub vcl_recv {

 # set realIP by trimming CloudFlare IP which will be used for various checks
 set req.http.X-Actual-IP = regsub(req.http.X-Forwarded-For, "[, ].*$", "");

 #Deny wp-login.php access if not in admin ACL
 if ((std.ip(req.http.X-Actual-IP, "") !~ admin) && req.url ~ "^/wp-login.php") {
  return(synth(403, "Access denied."));


gvfs-mount doesn’t use kerberos ticket fix

I had a very frustrating issue when I switched my work desktop from Linux Mint to CentOS 7. My network drives no longer would mount using a kerberos ticket. Before, when I would initialize a kerberos ticket I could mount network shares without any kind of username or password prompt:

gvfs-mount smb://server/share

With CentOS 7, though, the above process would produce a username and password prompt. After much searching I came across this forum that contained the answer: append your fully qualified domain name to the server. Now the process is like this:

gvfs-mount smb://

and it worked!

VMWare Horizon View Mac client USB Smartcard passthrough

I came across a need to pass through a USB smartcard device to a VM using the VMware Horizon View client for Mac OS. My smart card reader would not show up in the list of devices to redirect to the VM. After doing some research I came across this document which outlines the commands I needed to run:

sudo defaults write com.vmware.viewusb IncludeFamily smart-card
sudo defaults write com.vmware.viewusb AllowSmartcard Enable

You can verify which settings have been applied with the following command:

sudo defaults read com.vmware.viewusb

Success! The client now sees my smartcard reader as an option to pass through to a VM guest.


Fix no internet in pfSense OpenVPN

I came across an issue with pfSense where I had created an openVPN connection but it would not work with internet traffic. The VPN connection established fine and I could connect to all internal hosts, but all internet traffic simply didn’t work. I checked the firewall logs and there were no firewall denies.

After scratching my head for a while I came across this post which suggests it might be due to the fact that there was no outbound NAT defined for the VPN network I created.

I went to Firewall / NAT / Outbound and sure enough, there was no outbound NAT rule for my VPN network. I manually created it for my VPN network and voila! Internet over the VPN!

Fix no bluetooth devices found in Linux Mint

I had a peculiar issue today where I suddenly lost the ability to see any bluetooth devices on my Linux Mint 18.2 desktop utilizing a Plugable USB Bluetooth adapter.

The fix involved checking kernel messages for anything insightful. In my case this is what led me to the solution:

[ 608.988353] Bluetooth: hci0: BCM: Patch brcm/BCM20702A1-0a5c-21e8.hcd not found
[ 609.156320] Bluetooth: hci0: BCM: chip id 63
[ 609.172330] Bluetooth: hci0: LPP-3389-WIN
[ 609.173313] Bluetooth: hci0: BCM20702A1 (001.002.014) build 1764
[ 609.173347] bluetooth hci0: Direct firmware load for brcm/BCM20702A1-0a5c-21e8.hcd failed with error -2

After some googling I finally came across the solution here. The fix is to download the firmware for your bluetooth adapter and place it in the place the bluetooth kernel module expects it to be in, then to reload the bluetooth kernel module.

sudo mkdir -p /lib/firmware/brcm
sudo wget -O /lib/firmware/brcm/BCM20702A1-0a5c-21e8.hcd
sudo rmmod btusb bnep bluetooth btrtl btintel bnep btbcm
sudo modprobe btusb bnep bluetooth btrtl btintel bnep btbcm

That did the trick! You can also reboot your machine instead of removing / re-loading the kernel modules and it will accomplish the same thing.