Entries Tagged as 'Windows'

FireFox with Bing on Linux

I'm running a Linux Desktop - Linux Mint to be precise.

I just recently read about the news that FireFox has announced a partnership with Microsoft where you can download a version of Firefox that has Bing set as the Home Page, as well as offers Bing search by default. So... like all technophiles do, I went to go check out the new cool tech by visiting their site over at http://www.firefoxwithbing.com/. Instead of a great new browser with great new search options, I got this instead:

Thinking about it, I should probably have expected that, but I found it ironicly funny anyway.

A Look Inside a Vivio VPS Platform Server

In my recent post, "What 256GB of RAM Looks Like", I showed some pictures of some RAM that Vivio had bought to put in to a couple of new platform machines. After that post I got a couple of requests to see it inside the servers that it was going to be in, so I took some pictures of one of the two new Platforms we built this month for those of you who might be interested in seeing the platform machines we use.

vivio vps inside

There are two Opteron 8-Core CPU's here, for a total of 16 CPU cores. The RAM is the same RAM that I showed in the pictures earlier. Each RAM module is 8GB, making for a total of 128GB in each of the two servers we put together this month. The CPU's and RAM are cooled using passive cooling and a fan "funnel" (at least I think that's what it's called) in which 4 separate fans drive air through the funnel.

vivio vps HDD array sas

This platform will be named "Arcticwolf" - which indicates this particular server will be used for Windows VPS Accounts. It will contain 16 Seagate Constallation SAS drives (14 usable and 2 spare). The amount of drive space we will be providing by default in new VPS Accounts will increase (a great deal) in the not too distant future as the price of exceptional drive arrays like this one goes down.

vivio vps psu

The system comes complete with redundant PSU's, so if one of them fails, we can replace it without needing to shut the machine down. 

Personally, I think these servers are just plain awesome in carnate, but that's probably just my predjudice talking. ;)

Using "icoutils" on Linux to create a Windows Icon

What is "icoutils"?

Recently I had a project that required that I have a Windows icon associated with it. This didn't seem too daunting to me at first, because I know that the image editor I was using could save images in the "ico" format I needed. .ico files are used for things like websites (favicon.ico) and program executables. In my case, I was creating a program executable, and I needed to create an icon for it once it was compiled.

The "icoutils" is a free project that can be used to both create ico files or it can be used to extract images from ico files. The "icoutils" home page can be found over here:
http://www.nongnu.org/icoutils/

While I am personally okay with compiling things, I did find that "icoutils" was in my local software repository, (I'm currently using Linux Mint), so you can probably find it in other repositories as well (I haven't checked).

"icoutils" Online Documentation (or Lack Thereof)

While I was happy to find that there was a free utility to create ico files, I was disappointed because I couldn't find online documentation *anywhere* about how to use it. I ended up looking at the source package and seeing that the source creates 3 utilities, none of which are actually named "icoutils". Instead, the three utilities that are created are "icotool", "extresso", and "wrestool".

Since I installed "icoutils" via my repository, I could run each command followed by a "--help", which was nice because it provided me with some basic usage information. I also found that "info" worked, so "info icotool" provided some good documentation on how to use it. There were no actual command examples, so I had to figure out the hard way which command sequence was necessary to create an actual ico file, but eventually I was able to figure it out. So... I thought I'd document the process here.

Using "icoutils" to Create a .ico File

icoutils create icon

After reading a bit about .ico files, I found that .ico files are actually a grouping of several different files at various resolutions and color depths. bundling up all the image files into a single "ico" file allows that file to become larger and smaller depending on how it's used. For example, the favicon.ico has a smaller image that is used in a browser's favorites list, and a larger version that is used as a desktop icon. The same rule applies to an executable file. If the executable is shown in Windows Explorer's "list" view, the small icon is shown, where if you use "tile" view, the larger icon is shown.

With this in mind, I had to create several iamges in order to create my icon. I chose to create the following resolutions: 16x16, 32x32, and 48x48. I created each image and saved each one as a .png file. I did this using The Gimp, which is a free image editor that I use on my Linux Desktop. Next, I used the "icoutils" tool called "icotool", to bundle the images together using the following command:

  • $ icotool -c viv-16-16.png viv-32-32.png viv-48-48.png -o viv.ico

After that, I was immediately provided with my "viv.ico" file which had each image nicely bundled together.

Thanks to the makers of Gimp and "icoutils" for their hard work and for letting folks like me from the community benefit from it!

Windows Server 2008, Disable IE Enhanced Security

I work with Windows Server a lot in my job, particularly setting up new servers for clients and getting them initialy configurred. There is a security feature of Windows which I find *extremely* annoying. The IE Enhanced Security feature. Now, don't get me wrong, I understand Microsoft's reasoning behind this. Many server compromises originate from malicious web sites that people visit while they are surfing the web. The IE Enhanced Security is intended to help protect users from these threats by limiting the sites that a user can visit.

As compotent system administrators, it is fairly easy for this "feature" to simply get in the way and give us grief when we're trying to do our job. So... for us compotent administrators, here is how you can disable the IE Enhanced Security feature and get on with business.

Start by Opening the "Server Manager" if it's not already open. It's added by default to your task bar.



Now make sure that the very top menu item "Server Manager (NAME)", is selected.

With the top menu item selected, you should see a link on the right side of the main screen titled "Configure IE ESC". Click that.

Now disable IE ESC for server administrators. I leave it on for users, but that's just me.

IE ESC

After that, no more stinking prompts!

Hope this helps!

W2K8r2, IIS7.5, Railo/OpenBD Installers, and Plesk

Recently I had the opportunityto work with someone who was trying to use the Vivio Installers for Railo and OpenBD on a W2K8r2 Cloud/VPS system running the Plesk Control Panel and they were having trouble getting the connector to work right. The problem they were encountering was the notorious "Calling LoadLibraryEx on ISAPI filter isapi_redirect-(version).dll failed" error. Usually this error means that you're trying to run a 64-bit connector on a 32-bit machine, but since this was W2K8r2, which ONLY comes in 64-bit, this had me stumped for a little bit.

After some digging, I found that Plesk had updated the IIS7 application pools to actually run in 32-bit mode because Plesk's own DLL's were in 32-bit. I found this out by changing the application pools to disallow 32-bit, and then plesks DLL's stopped working. The IIS7 settings are a bit misleading in this area too. The option in IIS7 is to allow 32-bit DLL's, but when you set that, ONLY 32-bit DLL files can run. Instead of "Allow 32-bit", I think the IIS7 setting should say something along the lines of "run in 32-bit mode. Otherwise it sounds like you can run both 32-bit and 64-bit, which you can't.

The Railo and OpenBD installers use the mod_jk DLL that's provided by the Tomcat project, and both the 64-bit and 32-bit versions are shipped with the installers. During the install process, one of the DLL's is renamed with a generic name and used in the IIS7connect.bat scripts. Those scripts are what run the commands and connect Tomcat to IIS using the mod_jk DLL. This works out in our favor, as it makes the fix for this really easy.

When installing OpenBD or Railo on a Windows 2K8 R2 machine that's running Plesk, here are the steps you will need in order to make it work right:

  1. During the Railo/OpenBD install process, go ahead and select to have the IIS7 connector installed. This will perform the bulk of the work for you.
  2. After the installation, there will be two dll's in the "connector" directory where you installed Railo. The default location to install Railo is c:\railo\ so the connector directory is located by default at c:\railo\connector. The connectors will be named isapi_redirect-1.2.30.dll and isapi_redirect-1.2.30.32-bit.dll
  3. Rename isapi_redirect-1.2.30.dll to isapi_redirect-1.2.30.64-bit.dll
    and
    Rename isapi_redirect-1.2.30.32-bit.dll to isapi_redirect-1.2.30.dll
  4. Now Restart IIS, and restart the Tomcat service that Railo or OpenBD is running on.
  5. Check to see if things are working correctly now.


After things are installed and working, it's important for you to remember that CFML functionality will be available to each and every site that's located on that Server.

Further, a "jakarta" virtual directory will be required in each site as we
ll. You'll more then likely have to add this manually to IIS. Documentation on how to add the Jakarta directory is here:

http://trac.getrailo.org/installers/wiki/VivioInstallerWinAddingSites

Future releases of the Windows installer will probably allow for the manual selection between 64-bit and 32-bit, but the option will defauilt to whatever your system type is. That way it's still easy, but allows for some customization for situations like this.

Hope this helps!

-Jordan