Manage devices with legacy Firefox versions on MacOS

I still have a few old web-managed devices of which the web UI does not work (correctly) with modern browser versions. It found out that they worked fine with Firefox 17.0.9esr (yes I know that is really old) and for quite a while I kept an outdated VM available to manage them. Since the OS that runs on now also is way beyond EOL I worked out a way to use older versions of the FireFox browser (as they keep a great archive of their historic versions).

Yes, one shouldn’t use obsolete browser versions as it is not safe for normal browsing, but to access a web interface of an internal device (that otherwise can’t be managed) should be safe enough as long as one doesn’t visit other sites. In this post I will describe how I set this up and also how I ensured that the browser would not conflict with a regular installation of the Firefox Browser

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Integrating Synology DS with FreeIPA

I recently decided to replace my outdated Synology DS 1010+ NAS (in service 24×7 for over 8 years without major issues) with a new DS 1618+ NAS. Of course the new NAS is a lot faster, has an additional drive bay but to me most important was to replace the hardware and benefit from the newer version of DSM (Synology’s NAS software platform). However, this post is not about my new NAS (there are sufficient other sites describing / testing / comparing these devices).

Of course, now that I am integrating everything with FreeIPA (replacing my MacOS OpenDirectory setup) I also needed the Synology NAS to be fully integrated with FreeIPA. Jack Henschel’s excellent post that gave me some clue’s but wasn’t quite clear in how things worked and what was really needed. The article itself was clear in the steps to take but not everything worked for me immediately so I had to find out why and how to fix that and document that in this post.

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Password-Protecting Shell Scripts

When setting up systems, configuring applications and making changes I prefer to script things rather than follow instructions. Main drawback of scripting is that it takes more time but has (in my view) a number of advantages

  • Scripting makes things reproducible
  • Allows for checking and validation
  • (when needed) can produce change logs
  • It can be reused when the same change has

However, frequently these scripts contain sensitive information (e.g. passwords) and must be transferred to someone (or another system) so they should not be stored in clear text. This post explains how to encrypt shell scripts using openssl for cross-platform use.

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Multiple Mosquitto instances on Debian with Systemd

I have been playing for quite a while MQTT to have my Arduino devices communicate with Node-Red for all kinds of automation. Due to the constraints of the Arduino’s, so far I have not been able to effectively secure this as SSL/TLS is not an option on these devices.

Mosquitto supports multiple listeners out of the box though aside from the listener-specific settings all listeners share the same global (e.g. authentication and plugin) settings. To secure my setup and to work on a more permanent solution I needed different settings per listener for which multiple Mosquitto instances are required (i.e. multiple instances of the mosquitto daemon with their configuration and listeners different IP addresses / ports). This was not difficult on my Debian server but as I did not find much documentation on this I will document the necessary steps in this post.

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Cisco EEM Service Module Monitoring

For quite a while I had issues with a faulty service module in a remote Cisco. Sometimes the card would lock-up and no longer respond and the only way to revive it was to issue the command service-module wlan-ap 0 reset to reboot it.

Normally one would simply replace it but that wasn’t that simple as the card itself can’t be replaced (and the device is also EOL) and the device is in a remote location without any technical staff on-site. Since rebooting the service module resolved the issue for that moment I looked for a way to automate that and documented that in this post.

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MacOS Server Replacement #3 – Move OpenDirectory (LDAP) and DNS to FreeIPA on Fedora

As part of the migration of my MacOS Server to Linux the most tricky service to migrate is Apple’s OpenDirectory service. Although it is based on the open-source OpenLDAP project, Apple did customize things a lot, making it very tricky to move and block a real migration due to these closed-source customizations.  Instead of spending a lot of time on trying to figure out how to migrate OpenDirectory, I decided to start with a clean FreeIPA installation and migrate the users to that. Since I have been using MacOS Server’s OpenDirectory handled my  authentication for quite some time and ran in to issues before I learned that starting from scratch (and only migrating user information) isn’t that hard and in often the best approach.

As it is already quite long, this post focuses on how to configure FreeIPA on Fedora Core and migrating DNS and users. Integrating MacOS is covered on the FreeIPA WiKi and will be covered in a subsequent post including the integration with Apple’s Profile Server (the main component Apple seems to intend to support in the future). To aid with the configuration / setup I wrote a couple of scripts that are available from my Gitlab instance.

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Ditching TeamViewer for AnyDesk

I have been using TeamViewer for many years to support my relatives abroad when they had issues with their PC. I really like the product, despite getting huge (100Mb on MacOS) and bloated with many new features I don’t need, as it did the job well and worked cross-platform. For this reason, I have also always endorsed it for professional use with employers / customers (with the right paid license of course). However, as TeamViewer seems to have changed their strategy and seems to now aggressively push free users into a subscription they forced me to consider other options and switch to AnyDesk.

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Installation of VMWare Tools (version 10.3.0) on vSphere Hypervisor

After my upgrade to vSphere Hypervisor 6.7 I (again) had to manually install the VMWare Tools for MacOS (and Solaris). VMware only includes the tools ISO images for Windows and Linux in the vSphere Hypervisor installer and during the installation process, any existing ISO image is removed.

As VMWare published version 10.3.0 of the VMWare Tools a few weeks ago, I will document in this (brief) post both the steps to upgrade VMWare tools on vSphere Hypervisor and the steps install the one for MacOS for future use.

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