KVM bridged to the LAN with DHCP

The goal here is to instantiate VMs with a br0 interface grabbing an IP from the LAN DHCP, so in turn the VM can instantiate LXD containers whose IP is also exposed to the LAN. That way everything is visible on the same network segment and this makes some experimentation easier. Host configuration Some info […]

Forcing Python Requests to connect to a specific IP address

Recently I ran into a script which tried to verify HTTPS connection and response to a specific IP address. The “traditional” way to do this is  (assuming I want http://example.com/some/path on IP requests.get(“”, headers={‘Host’: ‘example.com’}) This is useful if I want to specifically test how is responding; for instance, if example.com is DNS […]

Take me to your leader – Using Juju leadership for cron tasks in a multiunit service

I’m working on adding some periodic maintenance tasks to a service deployed using Juju. It’s a standard 3-tier web application with a number of Django application server units for load balancing and distribution. Clearly the maintenance tasks’ most natural place to run is in one of these units, since they have all of the application’s […]

How to configure e-mail alerts with Munin

I had a hell of a time configuring Munin to send out e-mail alerts if values surpass specific thresholds. Many of the articles I found focused just on setting up the email command (which was the easy part), while few told me *how* to configure the per-service thresholds. Once the thresholds are configured, you’ll see […]

Proxying Python file-like objects for fun and profit

As part of a project I’m working on, I wanted to be able to do some “side processing” while writing to a file-like object. The processing is basically checksumming on-the-fly. I’m essentially doing something like: source = get_a_readable_file_like_object() destination = get_a_writable_file_like_object() destination.write(source.read()) what I’d like is to be able to also get the data read […]

Updating lxc image/container caches

One of lxc’s nice time-saving features is that, after initial container creation, it will cache the files it downloaded to do so, and when you create a new container using the same template/version/architecture, it will leverage the existing files and create the container with minimal downloads and really quickly. A downside of this is that […]

Speeding up local debian builds with sbuild (eatmydata, apt-cacher-ng and config laziness)

As part of the team that maintains several testing tools for Ubuntu, including checkbox, I sometimes find myself needing to build .deb packages from our source tree. A simple way of achieving this is of course to run dpkg-buildpackage or even bzr-buildpackage. Assuming all build-deps are correctly installed in the host system, this will result […]

ifconfig.me – Programmatically-usable external IP finder

You’re probably familiar with whatismyip services. One problem with these is that they wrap the IP data in a visually-pleasing but impossible to parse smorgasboard of HTML. I needed to determine external IP for a text-only host with somewhat limited tools, and I came across the wonderful ifconfig.me page. This basically does the same as […]

Recording terminal sessions – script and friends

Most of us have wanted, at some time or another, to share an entire “session” on the terminal. I mean showing a log of the commands we typed, their output, and so on, to illustrate a procedure or clarify a concept. The “script” command has long been a tool of choice for this. To use […]

Ubuntu – Automating virtual machine installation using network preseeds

Virtual machines are very useful for testing. I often use them to verify changes to software, without messing up the local environment. Due to laziness I use VirtualBox and install Ubuntu official ISOs on them, rather than something more elegant/complicated such as kvm, lxc containers or chroots. This replicates an actual desktop environment pretty closely […]

Video conversion for iPhone with avconv

avconv replaces the venerable ffmpeg. It can be used to convert videos for the iPhone quite easily. apt-get install avconv libavcodec-extra-53 libx264-123 x264 then run this script: avconv -i input-file.mp4 \     -vcodec libx264 -vprofile high \     -t 30 \ -preset slow \     -b:v 1000k -maxrate 1000k \     -bufsize 2000k -vf scale=1136:474 […]