Port or Package Installation Date

There are a number of times that I need to find out when a port or package was last upgraded or installed.  This comes in very handy every time I need to upgrade all my ports and I can't remember how far back I need to check in /usr/ports/UPDATING.


Upgrading all ports via portupgrade.

portupgradeis a tool that allows you to upgrade ports on your FreeBSD system. It has its faults, and it doesn't always work (see below), but its about as close as you can get on FreeBSD to a 'one-click' upgrade.

DHCP and resolv.conf

DHCP on FreeBSD updates your DNS information in /etc/resolv.conf.  This works great for workstation and other systems that only have one interface but what about systems that are connected to multiple networks.  You may not want it to update your /etc/resolv.conf or just update part of it.


Samba Errors and ZFS

I have been working on cleaning up a lot of errors that I am seeing on my samba install.  It appears that ZFS needs all the extended ACL support installed and configured in smb.conf to make it work without spitting out errors.  I used to see the following errors every now and then....

FreeBSD ZFS mirror/raidz

This how-to documents how to setup ZFS and install FreeBSD 9.1 into it. ZFS is a great modern file system (invented by SUN Microsystems) to use under FreeBSD. It is very fast and will give you the same features available in a modern SAN (mirrors, raid, snapshots, clones, and pooled storage just to name a few).

ICMP Limits in FreeBSD

FreeBSD limits ICMP and UDP packets that come in on an interface in order to avoid a number of DoS attacks. The Default limits are good for 100Mb/s links but don't work well on 1Gb/s connections. It is important to raise the limits on the FreeBSD box that will be doing a lot of ICMP traffic or UDP traffic (A DNS or NTP server is a very good example).


Working with the Postfix Queue

Postfix has a great array of tools to check and manipulate the mail queues.  The postfix queues can get email stuck or backed up in them. This can happen for a number of reasons, anything from network issues, remote mailservers not responding, or just simple miss configuration. When this happens here is a list of a few ways to deal with it.


Encrypted Backup and Restore

I currently backup my FreeBSD servers using tar.  Tar works very well for backups but does not have encryption capabilities built into the client. I now have a need to make sure that all my tape backups are encrypted. In comes OpenSSL  to handle the encrytion.  I use a combination of tar and OpenSSL to do the backup by piping the output of the tar process into OpenSSL and then onto tape.

Screen Status Line

Screen is a great program for running multiple virtual terminals from the command line.  It also gives you the ability to start a process, disconnect, and then come back to it later. If you haven't tried screen, I recommend getting to know it (it works great for a long makeworld or when recompiling your ports tree).

I always thought that screen (or the standard terminal program) was missing some thing though.  Wouldn't it be great if you could have a status bar at the bottom of your terminal that showed the time, hostname, load averages, and other stuff like that.  The regular bash shell can't do this but screen comes to the rescue once more.