Changing the Synology icons for Mac OS X Finder

I have been the happy owner of a Synology DS-1010+ NAS for some time now. The NAS works without problems since I got it and although it took a short while, it fully supports Mac OS X Lion after the last upgrade to DSM 3.2.

One of the things that had annoyed me for some time though, was that on the Mac Finder, the Synology NAS is shown as if it was a Windows host, both for the AFP shares as well as its TimeMachine function. Functionally nothing wrong, but not as I wanted. Since I had been playing with AFP and Avahi on Linux and set this up correctly in the past based on this blog post of Simon Wheatley,I decided to check whether I could achieve the same on my NAS.

Screenshot of Mac Finder after the patchAfter a bit of debugging I found out that the Synology NAS (DSM 3.2) was also using avahi, but that its configuration files were re-generated every time the avahi service was restarted based on the configuration of the NAS. To show the right icons in the finder meant 2 simple changes to the file /usr/syno/etc/rc.d/, which changes how the Synology NAS to what is depicted to the right

In the function AddTimeMachine(), one has to add the following just before the </service-group> tag:


and in the function AddAFP(), the following must be added just before the </service-group> tag:


Next, the avahi service must be restarted/reloaded with the following command:

/usr/syno/etc/rc.d/ reload

and after logging in again on you Mac the Finder will start showing the right icons (apparently this information is cached).

The resulting file for DSM3.2 that can be used as a drop-in replacement is attached to this post.

Monitoring e-mail while respecting someone’s privacy

My kids each have their own e-mail address. As they are still very young and not using checking their e-mail very frequently, my wife and I would like to be able to monitor what is happening while still respecting their privacy. They each have their own logins and we do not want to check their e-mail, but we do want to know what is happening and at least be aware that they received certain e-mails (i.e. reminders from the library that they need to return books).

Today I have implemented a simple solution for this using SIEVE rules using the folowing script:

require ["enotify", "variables"];

# Store the sender in a variable
if header :matches "From" "*" {
    set "from" "${1}";

# Store the subject in a variable
if header :matches "Subject" "*" {
    set "subject" "${1}";

# And notify the parent
notify :message "NAME has new mail from ${from}: ${subject}"

The script above simply stores the sender and subject in a variable and then uses the enotify SIEVE extention to notify a user by e-mail. This way we get notified of a new e-mail and know who sent it and what the subject was, without ever seeing the e-mail itself.

Please note that this script requires a mail server supporting SIEVE, e.g. Cyrus or Dovecot with SIEVE plugin, contact your system administrator to find out if you can use this. For a list of clients to manage rules, see this list.

Firefox 4 Multi-Language

One of the features I really like of MacOS  X is that is is multi-language out of the box and, unlike M$ Windows, does not require a reinstall to switch language. For some people (like myself) English is the only language a computer should be, but or my kids having everything in their own language really helps them to find their way around (actually they are bilingual but that is no problem either as they can switch language as they like).

As we really got used to Firefox and really like its cross-platform availability, we also use that as our browser on our Macs. Unfortunately there is no multi-language version of Firefox. Since I don’t like to maintain multiple installed versions on the same computer (one for each language), I found a reall solution that was actually very simple.

Using the Quick Locale Switcher plugin for Firefox one can switch the locale of Firefox. One neat feature of it is that it will also change the language of Firefox if you have the right language pack installed. As it was not that obvious where to find these, I decided to document that here:

  • Go to the Firefox releases folder on the Mozilla website
  • Select the folder of the version you use (or the latest version)
  • Select the folder of the platform you are using (i.e. mac for MacOS X)
  • Scroll down the list of available installer languages and enter the xpi folder (direct link to the latest MacOS X xpi folder)
  • Next click on the language packages to install them.
    A popup may appear requesting permission to install from an untrusted location,which looks like this on MacOS X with Firefoxe 4:
    Screenshot showing Firefox4's popup for an untrusted installation location on MacOS X
    Click allow to proceed with the normal installation of the language pack
  • After the installation of language packs, Firefox must be restarted to install them and make them active.
  • Once Firefox has been restarted, you can now switch locale using the Quick Locale Switcher’s controls and/or preferences and Firefox will switch locale/language as well if the corresponding language pack is installed.

I hope this is clear, let me know if not.

Glassfish Admin Console fix after 3.1 upgrade

After upgrading my GlassFish server from 3.0 to 3.1 using its updatetool the admin console was no longer working. When accessing the admin console, I only got an empty page. In the domain server.log file I noticed the following error:

[#|2011-05-07T20:58:45.708+0200|WARNING|glassfish3.1||_ThreadID=102;_ThreadName=Thread-1;|ApplicationDispatcher[] PWC1231: Servlet.service() for servlet FacesServlet threw exception java.lang.RuntimeException: java.lang.reflect.InvocationTargetException while attempting to process a 'beforeCreate' event for 'event1'.
        at com.sun.jsftemplating.layout.descriptors.LayoutElementBase.dispatchHandlers(
        at com.sun.jsftemplating.layout.descriptors.LayoutElementBase.dispatchHandlers(
        at com.sun.jsftemplating.layout.descriptors.LayoutComponent.beforeCreate(
        at com.sun.jsftemplating.layout.descriptors.LayoutComponent.getChild(

After a little searching I found that this issue was apparently already reported and fixed (GLASSFISH-16087). Unfortunately on my server the problem still existed and the suggested workaround didn’t work for me. Fortunately directly changing the domain’s config/server.xml file directly did work. I shutdown Glassfix and lookup the following entry:

    <property name="restAuthURL" value="http://localhost:${ADMIN_LISTENER_PORT}/management/sessions"/>

as I understood from the reported issue the server was no longer listening to localhost I changed it into (please note I added both the hostname and changed the protocol to https):

    <property name="restAuthURL" value="https://prod.glassfish.mydomain.tld:${ADMIN_LISTENER_PORT}/management/sessions"/>

and after restarting my Glassfish server the admin console worked normally again.

Started a new challenge

Today I started a new challenge as senior manager with one the largest global Consultancy and System Integration practices. The first day was already very promising after working for a very small firm. A lot of things have been organized and people are taking care of it, instead of having to sort out things yourself. I am currently going through a 3-day introduction and hope to start my first assignment soon. Anyway the coming months will be very interesting…

Great… my employer declared bankrupt

I was informed today that my employer was declared bankrupt today by the court in Amsterdam… the interesting part is that 3 out of the 4 employees were still working on customer projects with contracts for between 1 and 6 months…

This definitely felt like a strange situation to be in, I definitely need to think this over to decide how to move forward. Later more…

Migrated my legacy Debian Linux server to ESXi

Today I managed to migrate my legacy Debian Linux server to a VMWare guest running on my temporary ESXi server without any problem. The downgrade from grub2 to grub (see Downgrading grub2 to grub legacy on Debian) apparently did the trick and after a few hours the migration complete successfully.

I must say I am pretty impressed by the functionality offered by VMWare vCenter Converter (Standaline). Not only does it allow one to migrate physical and virtual machines, when converting a physical machine it also gives you full control over the partitions created.

Tomorrow I will try to get VMWare ESXi running on my Dell PowerEdge 2850 server (apparently that old model still is supported by ESXi 4.1)…

Downgrading grub2 to grub legacy on Debian

Today I attempted to migrate my legacy Linux server to a VM on my ESXi server using VMWare vCenter Converter Standalone. Unfortunately the process failed after about 4 hours of processing with the error message “__FAILED: An error occurred during the conversion.__”… well, that was very helpful!
Fortunately the VMWare Converter allows to save the logs, in which after a bit of digging I found the following error:
[2011-01-01 22:17:14.338 10552 error ‘App’] [task,344] [LRO] Unexpected Exception: converter.fault.CloneFault
[2011-01-01 22:17:14.401 10552 info ‘App’] [task,373] [task-5] — ERROR — Convert: converter.fault.CloneFault
(converter.fault.CloneFault) {
dynamicType = ,
faultCause = (vmodl.MethodFault) null,
description = “GrubInstaller::InstallGrub: /usr/lib/vmware-converter/ failed with return code: 127, and message:
/ line 37: grub: command not found
Error running GRUB
Error running through chroot into /mnt/p2v-src-root
msg = “”,
Apparently it attempted to make the converted VM bootable by executing grub again. This failed because my Debian system (running testing for a long time) had migrated to grub2 ages ago. Since googling didn’t render any hints and it would be a temporary move anyway as I am migrating everything off to other servers, I decided to downgrade grub to the legacy grub version available. Below is a description of the steps to achieve this.

1 Downgrade from grub2 to grub legacy
Before you start make a backup of the current grub2 configuration with:
sudo tar -cvzf /boot/grub2-backout.tar.gz /etc/grub.d /boot/grub
~~Please note that I am using sudo to execute commands as root. If you don’t use sudo, simply login as root and remove the sudo from each command.~~

To get starte with the downgrade, get the list of grub packages installed as you need to remove them all (sounds more dangerous than it is). Get the list and store and show it with the following command:
dpkg -l grub\* | egrep “^ii ” | tee /boot/grub2-backout.list
which on my system gave:
ii grub 0.97-63 GRand Unified Bootloader (dummy package)
ii grub-common 1.98+20100804- GRand Unified Bootloader, version 2 (common
ii grub-doc 0.97-63 Documentation for GRand Unified Bootloader (
ii grub-legacy-do 0.97-63 Documentation for GRUB Legacy
ii grub-pc 1.98+20100804- GRand Unified Bootloader, version 2 (PC/BIOS
With the above 2 pieces of output in /boot/ you should be able to recover and rollback the procedure below in case anything goes wrong. See under Rollback below for the steps to revert this procedure.

First purge the current grub installation (please note this __is__ dangerous as it makes your system unbootable) and install the “~~legacy~~” grub package. Please be aware that the following statements will not just remove the packages, but also your all configuration (that’s why you needed the backup).
sudo apt-get remove –purge `dpkg -l grub\* | egrep “^ii ” | cut -d\ -f 3`
sudo apt-get install grub-legacy
The first line above automatically deinstalls all grub packages and their configuration automatically. You can also specify yourself which packages to remove by writing your ~~apt-get remove~~ statement yourself, just make sure you get rid of everything!

Next let grub install itself on your MBR of your primary harddisk ~~/dev/sda~~ in my case with:
sudo grub-install /dev/sda
which should give output like:
Searching for GRUB installation directory … found: /boot/grub
Installation finished. No error reported.
This is the contents of the device map /boot/grub/
Check if this is correct or not. If any of the lines is incorrect,
fix it and re-run the script `grub-install’.

(hd0) /dev/sda
(hd1) /dev/sdb

If the output is similar (the list of devices is obviously depending on your system’s configuration), you have succesfully installed grub on your harddisk, now it is time to let grub regenerate its configuration with the following command:
sudo update-grub
Which should produc output similar to
Searching for GRUB installation directory … found: /boot/grub
Searching for default file … found: /boot/grub/default
Testing for an existing GRUB menu.lst file …

Generating /boot/grub/menu.lst
Searching for splash image … none found, skipping …
Found kernel: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-trunk-686-bigmem
Found kernel: /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-5-686-bigmem
Updating /boot/grub/menu.lst … done
If your output again looks similar (obviously the list of kernels may differ), congratulations! You have successfully downgraded to grub.

Please note that the grub boot menu created has been automatically generated, so any customizations you made to the boot menu are lost. In case you originally had made customizations made in your menu.lst before you upgraded to grub2, you may be able to see those by executing
diff -wu /boot/grub/menu.lst /boot/grub/menu.lst_backup_by_grub2_postinst | more
Putting them back in ~~/boot/grub/menu.lst~~ is unfortunately a manual step, but doable if you have something to start with.

Now it’s time to test the downgrade by rebooting… fingers crossed!

Now I still need to retry to virtualize my legacy Linux server, but that’s something for tomorrow…

1 Rollback
In case anything goes bad during your downgrade, you should be able to roll things back with the following three commands:
sudo apt-get remove –purge `dpkg -l grub\* | egrep “^ii ” | cut -d\ -f 3`
sudo apt-get install `cut -d\ -f 3 < /boot/grub2-backout.list`
sudo tar -xzf /boot/grub2-backout.tar.gz

Happy New Year!

A happy 2010 to everyone! I wish you all the best for this year, all in good health. Enjoy the festivities and make it a great start of the new year.

During this year do have the intention to make frequent posts to this blog, you will be the judge of whether I will be able to keep that promise you (and feel free to remind me of it!).

now back to the party…

Configuring IP aliases cleanly on Debian

I like using different IP addresses for different services on my internal network. Thanks to RFC1918 this is no problem at all, as there are several network ranges dedicated for private networks. Using a firewall with that supports NAT (something people didn’t think of yet when writing the RFC) gives a maximum amount of flexibility when moving services around between servers and keeping things simple.

Setting up network interfaces with multiple interfaces is not really supported by Debian’s ifupdown tools. Yes you can do this easily by adding the necessary calls to the ip utility to your network interface definitions, but this is ugly and error-prone. That’s why I came up with the attached script, which adds support for the keyword aliases to your /etc/network/interfaces configuration so you can define additional IP addresses like this:

iface eth0 inet static

Bringing up or down the interface will automatically add or remove the aliases. Please note that aliases added this way should always be on the same network as the primary address of the interface. To have multiple addresses on the same physical interfaces you need to use vlan’s or alias devices.

To install the script on you Debian host, simply save the script attached to this post as a file called aliases in your current directory and execute the following commands as root:

chmod 755 aliases
chown root.root aliases
cp aliases /etc/network/if-up.d
ln -s ../if-up.d/aliases /etc/network/if-down.d

And add your aliases to your devices in /etc/network/interfaces