Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Resolving slow SSH login times

At work, like most other organizations, we have a Linux server that we access via SSH. However, lately, I've found my use of it skyrocketing in order to test software, and log-ins and file copying have been very slow. In my efforts to find out why, I found out that sshd has in its configuration file a setting called 'UseDNS'. The default is 'yes', so even if this setting is commented out, it will try to perform reverse DNS lookups on the IP addresses of users logging in. This would be a bad thing for us, especially since we have this box locked down and unable to contact any DNS servers. After disabling DNS lookups, my login and file copy time dropped to near 0. I hope this helps somebody.

*EDIT:* I've also encountered this problem on the BeagleBone Black boards which I've recently acquired for use in a project.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two bash functions that will make your software development life 10% easier

... if you use SSH to move between machines a lot. Which I do. I have several machines that I work on regularly, and a centralized development machine shared with others that I frequently have to exchange files with. The following two functions are the most useful two bash functions that you can put in your .bashrc file if you use SSH as much as I do :

function ssh-create-keys {
ssh-keygen -t rsa

function ssh-setup-on {
cat ~/.ssh/ | ssh $1 "cat - >>.ssh/authorized_keys"

The first sets up an SSH key file for you in your home directory, This key file will be used to identify you on other machines, and can be used for various purposes on your local machine as well. The second function logs you into the machine determined by the username@anothermachine given as the first argument to the function, and adds your public key to the list of authorized keys for that machine.

Once you've run the first function, and run the second function to setup your public key on an account on another machine, you'll now be able to use SSH to log in and copy files freely with the account on the other machine without having to enter a password. While this is incredibly convenience, it also comes with a caveat : it's dangerous. If somebody other than yourself gains physical access to your machine and can log on as you, (or use your already logged on account), they can move to those same machines freely and perform possibly malicious actions, as you. Keep that in mind.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Copying files in linux

Lately I've been doing a lot of embedded development with Linux, and copying files between systems has been a bit of a pain. Fortunately, a combination of RSync and SSH solved my problems, with a command that lets me copy files from a directory on one system to a directory on another system, recursively with symlink preservation (and even duplication !) :

rsync -azuv -e ssh  user@systemaddress:~/path/to/dir/* .

Sunday, April 04, 2010

WTF ?! Windows (as of Vista) no longer supports multiple different monitors!? WHY ????

Apparently, as of Windows Vista and later, Windows no longer supports multiple video cards that don't use the same driver!! Why ? I use a Radeon and a Matrox QID to drive 6 displays on my development box, and this just entirely fucks me over. At best, I can only use four of my displays now, and that's only going to be when Matrox gets off their lazy ass and releases a Windows 7 driver for their QID LP PCIe video cards. I'm so disappointed with what's a complete step backward for Microsoft. Epic fail, Microsoft.