Archive for the ‘Ubuntu Linux’ Category

The Dangers of Using tcp_tw_recycle in Linux – Strange Intermittent Timeout Issues

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Do Not Use tcp_tw_recycle

I had a very strange connectivity issue recently that I was only able to reproduce intermittently on my own LAN network when connecting to a few of my servers hosting websites that process and receive tons of simultaneous connections at any point in time.  Basically, my connection to a specific set of websites that I host would timeout from my home internet connection.  However, I was never able to reproduce this issue when connecting to the same sites from other networks belonging to my family and friends. 

From my home connection, I used TCPView and saw that SYN_SENT packets were supposedly sent to my servers to establish a connection.  Unfortunately, the server never replied to some of these requests.  As such, my connection would timeout at times, and work perfectly fine sometimes.  I looked at DD-WRT's connection table, and it also claimed that the packets had been sent, but that they were in an UNREPLIED state when I experienced issues.  Thus, packets were supposedly being sent, but the server was not responding at times.  After spending nearly a week trying to tackle this issue and buying new cable internet equipment (an officially supported Comcast modem), I tracked down the issue, and it ended up being a TCP configuration setting on my servers rather than my home LAN equipment.

Modem or Router's Fault?

Originally, I thought my issue was caused by the DD-WRT open source firmware I was running on my wireless router.  If I restored the router's settings to DD-WRT's factory defaults, I could always connect to the websites I was having intermittent connection timeout issues on.  I suspected it might be my router after trying an older router which didn't have any problems either.  I even upgraded the DD-WRT firmware to the latest version and rebuilt my complicated network configuration from scratch.  Unfortunately, the issue was still there.  Thus, despite mixed results with different routers, I started to wonder if the issue was on my server's end.

Finally Fixed

I started looking at sysctl TCP settings I could adjust on my router, and I ended up comparing some of these values to the ones used on my servers (that were hosting the problem websites).  Eventually, I came across configuration values I had changed myself several months ago which were supposed to help the server support multiple simultaneous connections.

After reading this StackOverflow thread (, I decided I would try disabling the tcp_tw_recycle setting.

/proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_tw_recycle was set to 1 (enabled) from tweaks I had run that I had found on the internet.  After I disabled it, /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_tw_recycle was set to 0 (disabled).  By default, Linux keeps tcp_tw_recycle disabled.  Again, this is something I had changed for tuning reasons.  After disabling this setting and rebooting the server, I no longer have any issues connecting to the severs in question.  No more connection timeouts, and everything works properly again.

I have no idea why I wasn't able to reproduce this issue on other networks.  I thought it was my network equipment (modem and router), but it ended up being the server.

Lessons Learned

Be careful when applying settings you find online.  Sometimes, they may not work, or their usage may be buggy.  In fact, net.ipv4.tcp_tw_recycle has been removed from Linux in kernel versions newer than 4.12 by default.  I'm guessing this is because it doesn't work, as I experienced.  Do NOT use  net.ipv4.tcp_tw_recycle! I kept tcp_tw_reuse enabled, so you can enable this setting without running into problems.  Just don't for the love of anything use tcp_tw_recycle!  It doesn't work, and it will cause you headaches trying to track down strange intermittent issues!


Linux Multiple Network Interfaces (NICs) – One Interface with Static Public IP and One Interface with Private DHCP LAN IP Address – Routes and Routing

Friday, July 24th, 2020

Linux KVM:  Using Multiple NICs and Routing Traffic Properly Between Them

When setting up a KVM guest to use multiple network interface controllers (NICs), additional ip routes may be needed in order for the additional interfaces to work properly.  For example, if you configure a NIC with a public static IP address and a NIC with an internal private DHCP LAN IP address, you must create a route for any traffic that comes through the DHCP LAN IP address to respond via the interface from which the request originated.  Otherwise, forwarded NAT traffic from the main KVM host to the DHCP internal LAN IP will reach its destination, but no response will be sent back (because it will attempt to send the response via the configured static IP address interface which may NOT be the original destination of the senders request).

The Solution:

From the above link, the solution for me was to do the following in the KVM guest virtual machine:

Only needs to be done once:

sudo -i
echo 200 isp1 >> /etc/iproute2/rt_tables

Setting up the route (adjust variables as necessary):

sudo -i
ip rule add from <interface_IP> table isp1 priority 900
ip rule add from <interface_IP> dev <interface> table isp1
ip route add default via <gateway_IP> dev <interface> table isp

The command I used for my specific setup:

sudo -i
ip rule add from table isp1 priority 900 
ip rule add from dev ens9 table isp1 
ip route add default via dev ens9 table isp1

Making it permanent (apply on system start up):

sudo -i
nano /etc/network/interfaces

I added the below post-up rules (adjust variables as necessary):

auto ens9
iface ens9 inet dhcp
        post-up ip rule add from <interface_IP> table isp1 priority 900
        post-up ip rule add from <interface_IP> dev <interface> table isp1
        post-up ip route add default via <gateway_IP> dev <interface> table isp1

The route is created whenever the dhcp interface is brought up.

Obtaining Let’s Encrypt HTTP Validation IP Addresses

Saturday, July 11th, 2020

Obtaining Let's Encrypt HTTP Validation Server IP Addresses

Use your webserver logs:

sudo apt-get install john
cat access_log.1 | grep "Let's Encrypt" | awk '{print $1}' | unique ips
cat ips

Installing Chrome WebDriver (Linux Script)

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

Installing Chrome WebDriver (Linux Script)

Find out which version of Chrome is installed on your system before running the below commands.  You can find out your chrome version by running the following command:

google-chrome --version

Adjust the version number (replace {VERSION_NUMBER})  in the below commands to match the version installed on your system!!!

sudo -i
cd ~/Downloads
mv chromedriver /usr/bin/chromedriver
chown root:root /usr/bin/chromedriver
chmod +x /usr/bin/chromedriver

Selenium and other libraries that rely on the Chrome WebDriver should now work properly.

Installing the Newest Version of Python 2.7.x on Older Versions of Ubuntu (like 14.04)

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

Installing the Newest Version of Python 2.7.x on Older Ubuntu Systems

If you need to upgrade to the newest version of Python 2.7.x, and you're running an older distribution (like Ubuntu 14.04), use the following commands to get and compile the latest version from source (works on Ubuntu 17.04 and older – tested on Ubuntu 14.04):

sudo apt-get install build-essential checkinstall
sudo apt-get install libreadline-gplv2-dev libncursesw5-dev libssl-dev libsqlite3-dev tk-dev libgdbm-dev libc6-dev libbz2-dev
cd ~/Downloads/
tar -xvf Python-$version.tgz
cd Python-$version
./configure --with-ensurepip=install
sudo make install

Install requests and hashlib:

sudo rm /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/chardet*.egg-info
sudo rm -r /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/chardet
sudo rm /usr/lib/python2.7/lib-dynload/
sudo rm /usr/lib/python2.7/lib-dynload/
sudo pip install requests
sudo easy_install hashlib

You may need to create a symlink for chardet after installing it directly from pip:

ln -sf /usr/local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/chardet /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/chardet

Getting Let's Encrypt Certbot to Work:

Now, you'll need to delete the EFF directory from the /opt directory to avoid old configuration issues that were used for your older version of python.  Once you cleanup this directory, you'll run certbot again so it can reconfigure itself. 

sudo rm -r /opt/
sudo certbot

Old Way

jonathonf is now a very greedy person and has made his repositories private, so this method no longer works as of 12/20/2019.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jonathonf/python-2.7
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python2.7

Then, you'll need to cleanup a few leftover system packages manually before installing the newest version of python-pip.  If you don't do this, you'll run into problems installing some new packages using pip.

sudo rm /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/chardet*.egg-info
sudo rm -r /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/chardet
sudo rm /usr/lib/python2.7/lib-dynload/
sudo rm /usr/lib/python2.7/lib-dynload/

Now, you can download and install the newest version of python-pip:

curl -o
sudo python

Getting Let's Encrypt Certbot to Work:

First, you'll need to install a few packages that Certbot (the Let's Encrypt client) uses:

sudo pip install requests
sudo pip install hmac

Now, you'll need to delete the EFF directory from the /opt directory to avoid old configuration issues that were used for your older version of python.  Once you cleanup this directory, you'll run certbot again so it can reconfigure itself. 

sudo rm -r /opt/
sudo certbot

You're done.

Full list of commands (for quickly doing all of the above):

sudo -i
add-apt-repository ppa:jonathonf/python-2.7
apt-get update
apt-get install python2.7
rm /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/chardet*.egg-info
rm -r /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/chardet
rm /usr/lib/python2.7/lib-dynload/
rm /usr/lib/python2.7/lib-dynload/
mkdir -p /root/Downloads
cd /root/Downloads
curl -o
pip install requests
pip install hmac
rm -r /opt/

Change the Default Editor to nano in Linux

Saturday, April 27th, 2019

Use nano as the Default Editor

If you hate vi like I do, you can configure Linux to always default to using the nano editor.

Simply add the following to the bottom of the /etc/bashrc file:

export EDITOR="nano"

Save the file.  nano is now the default editor.  When you use

sudo crontab -e

The nano editor will now be used by default.

Copying LVM Containers from One Remote Server to Another

Saturday, April 27th, 2019

Transferring LVM Containers

Before you transfer a KVM container to another machine, create a KVM virtual machine on the target server with the same or larger disk size than the container being transferred. 

You can see a full list of LVM containers by using the below command:

sudo lvdisplay

Copying an LVM Container from the Local Machine to a Remote Server

sudo -i
dd if=/dev/vms/phpdev bs=4096 | pv | ssh root@IPADDRESS_HERE -p SSH_PORT 'dd of=/dev/pool/phpdev bs=4096'

Adjust the above pool paths as necessary since this may vary from server to server. 

Copying an LVM Container from a Remote Machine to the Local Machine

sudo -i
ssh root@IPADDRESS_HERE -p SSH_PORT "dd if=/dev/vms/phpdev bs=4096" | dd of="/dev/vms/phpdev" bs="4096"

Adjust the above pool paths as necessary since this may vary from server to server. 

With SSH Passphrase Key

If you're using an SSH key that is protected with a passphrase, use the below commands to open the key, provide the passphrase for that key, and copy the containers without being prompted for the passphrase when the container transfer begins:

sudo -i
eval $(ssh-agent)
ssh-add /root/keys/{PATH_TO_KEY}
dd if=/dev/pool/test bs=4096 | pv | ssh -p {PORT} -i /root/keys/{PATH_TO_KEY} 'dd of=/dev/haha/test bs=4096'

Running PolicyKit (pkexec) Commands without Prompting for Authentication

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

PolicyKit pkexec – Running without Prompting for Authentication

The following guide explains how to configure a pkexec command to run without prompting for authentication.  This is helpful when you want to grant root access to key piece of the system (such as allowing virsh commands from another user when running KVM virtual machines) or just want to run a GUI command as root without having to login or use authentication.

Or in our own archive in case the above link disappears.

Full Ubuntu Startup Applications Location List

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

Location of Ubuntu Startup Application Scripts

All Versions of Ubuntu

In all versions of Ubuntu, startup scripts can be configured and run from the following locations:

/etc/init/*.conf – some init scripts
/etc/rc.local – a file that is run by root on system boot (bash scritps and other commands can go in here)
~/.config/autostart – user specific GUI programs that are run once the X11 environment is started
/etc/xdg/autostart – Global GUI programs that are run once the X11 environment is started
@reboot cronjob – cronjob scripts that are executed when the system boots

Ubuntu 16.04 and Later

systemd init scripts in /etc/systemd/system/*.service files
systemd init scripts in /lib/systemd/system/*.service files

Network Manager Applet NOT Showing in MATE Desktop Taskbar Ubuntu

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

Network Manager Applet NOT Showing in MATE Desktop

If you install the MATE desktop environment on Ubuntu, your Network Manager icon may not show up in the taskbar as shown below:

Without the Network Manager icon showing, you will have a hard time managing and connecting to WIFI networks.  To get it to show up, you will need to edit the following file using nano:

sudo nano /etc/xdg/autostart/nm-applet.desktop

Look for the below line:

AutostartCondition=GNOME3 unless-session gnome

And comment it out like so:

#AutostartCondition=GNOME3 unless-session gnome

Save the file using "Ctrl + O", and then exit nano using "Ctrl + X".  Restart your computer.  The network icon will show up again as shown below:

Note, the actual icon will vary based on the selected MATE desktop theme.  The screenshots above show the icon used in the LUNA theme.