Tag Archives: Debian

Fix Apache Permission Denied errors

The other day I ran the rsync command to migrate files from an old webserver to a new one. What I didn’t notice right away was that the rsync changed the permissions of the folder I was copying into.

The problem presented itself with a very lovely 403 forbidden error message when trying to access any website that server hosted. Checking the logs (/var/log/apache2/error.log on my Debian system) revealed this curious message:

[error] [client] (13)Permission denied: access to / denied

This made it look like apache was denying access for some reason. I verified apache config and confirmed it shouldn’t be denying anything. After some head scratching I came across this site which explained that Apache throws that error when it encounters filesystem access denied error messages.

I was confused because /var/www, where the websites live, had the appropriate permissions. After some digging I found that the culprit in my case was not /var/www, but rather the /var directory underneath /var/www. For some reason the rsync changed /var to not have any execute permissions (necessary for folder access.)  A simple

chmod o+rx /var/

resolved my problem. Next time you get 403 it could be underlying filesystem issues and not apache at all.

Remove and re-install a Debian package

I wanted to completely blow away owncloud on one of my Debian servers today. I did apt-get remove owncloud and removed the owncloud directory. That should be all I need to do, right? Alas, not so.

It turns out that a simple apt-get remove does not remove necessary files, and a simple apt-get install doesn’t restore those missing files. In order to completely blow away the package, you must use the purge command (thanks to this site for the inspiration.)

First, purge the package as well as related packages

sudo apt-get purge owncloud-*

Then, re-install the package with the –reinstall flag

sudo apt-get install --reinstall owncloud

Done! The package has come back anew with all necessary files.

Fix subsonic after 5.0 upgrade

Subsonic is a great media streaming program that I’ve used for a few years now. It was originally designed for streaming your private music collection but has since moved to allowing you to stream your video collection as well. It’s great for those of us who can’t bring their entire audio/visual library with them but would still like access to said library wherever they are.

I run subsonic behind an apache reverse proxy configuration similar to this one to allow it to run on the same server as other websites over port 80 and allow for HTTPS (When I set up my subsonic server years ago it had no native support for HTTPS.  The only way to have HTTPS was through another web server such as apache.)

After downloading and installing the Subsonic 5.0 upgrade I ran into a couple of issues, detailed below.

Issue #1

I have experienced several times over the years – upgrading causes /etc/default/subsonic to be replaced with a default, clean version. This is a problem if you have a few customizations to your subsonic setup, in my case context-path and port. (My experience is with Debian. I don’t know if other distros perform in a similar manner or not)


Before you upgrade subsonic, make a backup copy of /etc/default/subsonic, then restore that copy after upgrade. If you forgot to make a backup first, edit the new /etc/default/subsonic file and check the following

  • Make sure the –port and –https-port arguments are correct
  • Re-add –context-path if you had it configured before. In my setup, I have configured –context-path=/subsonic to make my apache rewrite rules easier to manage.

Issue #2

The video streaming function broke entirely. This was due to the fact that it was trying to reference a local IP address to stream the videos, despite my apache proxypass rule. This problem will only surface itself if you are running Subsonic behind a reverse proxy.


After a few days of searching I finally came across this helpful post. To get video to work, simply add

 ProxyPreserveHost on

to the apache configuration file you used for your reverse proxy, then restart apache. This will fix the video streaming function but you will notice your HTTPS icon change (if you configured HTTPS), notifying you that some content on the page is not encrypted. This is due to subsonic streaming the video in plain HTTP instead of HTTPS.

Unfortunately the fix to that appears to require at least Apache 2.4.5. Since I have an earlier version, I was greeted with this lovely message:

Syntax error on line 15 of /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/subsonic:
Invalid command 'SSLProxyCheckPeerName', perhaps misspelled or defined by a module not included in the server configuration

Since I did not want to upgrade my version of apache, I simply decided to accept the risk of my video streams possibly being intercepted.


FreeNAS on Xenserver with PVHVM support

In my current home setup I have a single server performing many functions thanks to Citrix Xenserver 6.2 and PCI Passthrough. This single box is my firewall, webservers, and NAS. My primary motivation for this is power savings – I didn’t want to have more than one box up 24/7 but still wanted all those separate services, some of which are software appliances that aren’t very customizable.

My current NAS setup is a simple Debian Wheezy virtual machine with the on-board SATA controller from the motherboard passed through to it. The VM runs a six drive software RAID 6 using mdadm and LVM volume management on top of it. Lately, though, I have become concerned with data integrity and my use of commodity drives. It prompted me to investigate ZFS as a replacement for my current setup. ZFS has many features, but the one I’m most interested in is its ability to detect and correct any and all corrupted files / blocks. This will put my mind at ease when it comes to the thousands of files that I have which are accessed infrequently.

I decided to try out FreeNAS, a NAS appliance which utilizes ZFS. After searching on forums it quickly became clear that the people at FreeNAS are not too keen on virtualizing their software. There is very little help to be had there in getting it to work in virtual environments. In the case of Xenserver, FreeNAS does work out of the box but it is considerably slower than bare metal due to its lack of support of Xen HVM drivers.

Fortunately, a friendly FreeNAS user posted a link to his blog outlining how he compiled FreeNAS to work with Xen. Since Xenserver uses Xen (it’s in the name, after all) I was able to use his re-compiled ISO (I was too lazy to compile my own) to test in Xenserver.

There are some bugs to get around to get this to work, though. Wired dad’s xenified FreeNAS doesn’t appear to like to boot in Xenserver, at least out of the box. It begins to boot but then hangs indefinitely on the following error:

run_interrupt_drive_hooks: still waiting after 60 seconds for xenbusb_nop_confighook_cb

This is the result of a bug in the version of qemu Xenserver uses. The bug causes BSD kernels to really not like the DVD virtual device in the VM and refuse to boot. The solution is to remove the virtual DVD drive. How, then, do you install FreeNAS without a DVD drive?

It turns out that all the FreeNAS installer does is extract an image file to your target drive. That file is an .xz file inside the ISO. To get wired dad’s FreeNAS Xen image to work in Xenserver, one must extract that .xz file from the ISO, expand it to an .img file, and then apply that .img file to the Xenserver virtual machine’s hard disk. The following commands can be run on the Xenserver host machine to accomplish this.

  1. Create a virtual machine with a 2GB hard drive.
  2. Mount the FreeNAS-xen ISO in loopback mode to get at the necessary file
    mkdir temp
    mount -o loop FreeNAS- temp/
  3. Extract the IMG file from the freeNAS ISO
    xzcat ~/temp/FreeNAS-x64.img.xz | dd of=FreeNAS_x64.img bs=64k

    Note that the IMG file is 2GB in size, which is larger than can sit in the root drive of a default install Xenserver. Make sure you extract this file somewhere that has enough space.

  4. Import that IMG file into the virtual disk you created with your VM in step 1.
    cd ..
    xe vdi-import uuid=<UUID of the 2GB disk created in step 1> filename=FreeNAS_x64.img

    This results in an error:

    The server failed to handle your request, due to an internal error.  The given message may give details useful for debugging the problem.
    message: Caught exception: VDI_IO_ERROR: [ Device I/O errors ]

    This error can be safely ignored – it did indeed copy the necessary files.
    Note: To obtain the UUID of the 2GB disk you created in step 1, run the “xe vdi-list” command and look for the name of the disk.

  5. Remove the DVD drive from the virtual machine. From Xencenter:
    Shutdown the VM
    Mount xs-toos.iso
    Run this command in a command prompt:

    xe vm-cd-remove uuid=<UUID of VM> cd-name=xs-tools.iso
  6. Profit!

There is one aspect I haven’t gotten to work yet, and that is Xenserver Tools integration. The important bit – paravirtualized networking – has been achieved so once I get more time I will investigate xenserver tools further.