Freenode IRC over SSL in Irssi – FreeBSD

I’ve been reconfiguring my Irssi installation this morning and wanted to document the steps I took. I use irssi on FreeBSD 8.0-RELEASE.

Required Certificates

In order to connect securely over SSL to freenode you need to ensure you have the certificate installed. On FreeBSD, this port is ca_root_nss.

portmaster security/ca_root_nss

Configure the Network and Server

/network add -nick 'nick' -realname 'real name' freenode
/server add -auto -ssl_verify -ssl_cafile /usr/local/share/certs/ca-root-nss.crt -network freenode 7000

Note: If the blog wraps the content, there are three commands above, prefixed with /. /network, /server and /save.

Now, when you open irssi, you’ll automagically connect to Freenode over SSL.

Configure Lighttpd for gitweb on FreeBSD

I spent some time this afternoon setting up a public git repository for my project, Origami. I had a little bit of trouble getting the repository set up initially, particularly the cgi aspect of it all. Below outlines the steps I took to configure Lighttpd for gitweb, hosted on FreeBSD.


First, of course, I installed the git port:

portmaster devel/git

I made sure to select the gitweb option, which is de-activated by default. The other options are up to you.


Second, I configured Lighttpd in the simplest manner I could find. This solution uses the existing gitweb files in-place. This is contrary to what the pkg-message prescribes, but I like this idea because it’ll ensure that upgrades are handled automatically. I don’t plan to run any additional repositories either, so using the one central set of files is preferable in my situation. This is my configuration:

$HTTP["host"] =~ "^" {
$HTTP["url"] =~ "/gitweb/" {
server.indexfiles = ( "gitweb.cgi" )
alias.url += ( "/gitweb/" => "/usr/local/share/examples/git/gitweb/" ),
cgi.assign = ( ".cgi" => "/usr/bin/perl" )

Repository Configuration

Lastly, I update the repository configuration in /usr/local/share/examples/git/gitweb/gitweb.cgi to my repository location:

our $projectroot = "/path/to/git/repository/"


I find that Lighttpd configuration, once you get used to it, is much simpler than Apache configuration. It’s all a matter of taking the time to learn the options (and finding examples, like this one) and it gets simpler.

I think this configuration for gitweb is very clean, requires minimal configuration additions, and is hopefully pretty self explanatory. I hope it works for you as well.

Arch Linux 2010.05 Installer Issue [FIXED]

I reinstalled my Dell Latitude D630 this afternoon using the new Arch Linux installer (2010.05) netinstall. I had an issue however where the live image would start to boot and then I’d get a blank screen. I quickly realized what the problem was, and found a fix.

Note: it looks like it is a similar issue to the one found here.

Basically, the fix that I found, was to append the following to the kernel line at the initial boot prompt:


This is done by hitting the [TAB] key at the boot prompt of the installer and appending that text to the end.

I wanted to get this out in hopes that it’d help others with the same problem.

Good luck, and happy Arch’ing.

Configure Serial Console Access on CentOS 5

Today I built some virtual machines on a KVM platform (Ubuntu 10.04 Server as the host). The three virtual machines are CentOS 5, i386 and will be used primarily for internal application testing. One of the requirements for using these machines in a virtual environment was configuring back-end console access from the host. The virtual machine management tools (virsh) provide custom commands to console into your guest machines, but the guest machines need to be configured to output to the proper console. This article outlines what customizations I made to the CentOS 5 virtual machines in order to console into them from the host using ‘virsh console <guest>’


The first modifications that I needed to make were in GRUB. On CentOS the GRUB config file can be found at: /boot/grub/menu.lst. Below you’ll find the changes I made:

serial --unit=0 --speed=115200
terminal --timeout=10 console serial

I’m sure if you compare that snippet with your current configuration you’ll see the changes that I’ve implemented. Primarily the commenting of the splashimage, and the addition of the serial and terminal lines.

In addition to these changes you’ll also need to append some console configurations to each ‘kernel’ line. Here is an example:

title CentOS (2.6.18-164.15.1.el5)
root (hd0,0)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.18-164.15.1.el5 ro root=/dev/SLIM/root console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200n8

Again, compare this to your current configuration. You’ll notice I’ve added console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200n8


Finally you’ll need to make a change to the /etc/inittab file, which will allow login via the serial console connection:

S0:2345:respawn:/sbin/agetty ttyS0 115200 linux

Once these changes have been applied you should be able to reboot and connect to the console:

virsh console <guest> should then display the GRUB menu, boot output and finally a login.

Lighttpd on FreeBSD : Hard Lock on Upload?

I’ve recently migrated my server(s) to a new VPS, one which offers BSD as a hosting option. I have long been a fan of FreeBSD on my servers, so this was a deal I couldn’t pass up. I did, however, run into one fairly difficult problem based on my combination of FreeBSD and lighttpd web server. I felt it was important to blog about it so that “teh internets” could share the wisdom and, hopefully, others could solve this same issue quickly.


The web server seemed to work great. It was handling traffic efficiently. Logs were going where they were expected. Rewrites were working. All the main things that I would expect to test were working just fine. And then I uploaded a file.

Hard lock. Panic. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. This was bad.

I was even able to reproduce it. Anytime I would upload a file to the server (in my case via WordPress upload form), the server would hard-lock and I’d have to manually bring it back up.


The solution was to manually define the value, instead of using the auto-detected value. Apparently, at the time of this writing, the auto-detection on FreeBSD is.. less than perfect. The solution that I found was to add the following line to my lighttpd.conf: = "writev"

After restarting the lighttpd service things seemed to perform as expected.


FreeBSD is a great, stable hosting platform. Lighttpd is a lightweight, efficient web server. Together they provide me with a very efficient, stable web hosting environment. The simple detail is to define the right parameters for the platform in the configuration.