May 312016

So yeah, I’ve been forced into using SystemD for just about everything now that the entire community has taken the koolaid.

I recently had a question where if a ConditionFileIsExecutable fails in the [Unit] section, the logs say that the service was started – but in fact the service won’t attempt to be started. No errors, no warnings, but a message of success. This seemed strange, so I jumped onto #systemd on Freenode and ended up with the following conversation:

17:37 -!- Irssi: Join to #systemd was synced in 5 secs
17:38 < CRCinAU> ok – so if the start of a service fails because ConditionFileIsExecutable fails, is it expected to be a silent failure?
17:38 < CRCinAU> ie nothing in the journal or logged to state why a service failed? just a “Started” then nothing further?
17:39 < grawity> CRCinAU: yeah, it’s supposed to be mostly silent
17:39 < grawity> unlike AssertFileIsExecutable=, by the way
17:39 < CRCinAU> logic behind that?
17:39 < grawity> its primary purpose is in filtering units which should or shouldn’t auto-start
17:40 < grawity> logging failures at default level would result in too much logspam on most systems
17:40 < CRCinAU> o_O
17:40 < grawity> e.g. there’s ssh-keygen.service with Condition= that at least one ssh_host_key is missing
17:41 < grawity> if you want things to be logged loudly, use Assert=
17:41 < CRCinAU> I don’t see a problem with that?
17:41 < grawity> with what
17:41 < CRCinAU> a message that a file doesn’t exist…..
17:41 < grawity> with users seeing “warning: ssh-keygen not started because EVERYTHING IS FINE” on every reboot?
17:42 < grawity> some programs install units with ConditionVirtualization=, which would either log warnings on every VM, or on every bare metal system
17:42 < grawity> if you want things to be logged loudly, use Assert=
17:42 < CRCinAU> wait……..
17:42 < CRCinAU> what the hell is systemd doing thinking about virtualisation?
17:43 < grawity> there are daemons which are only needed in VMs, or aren’t needed in VMs
17:43 < CRCinAU> urrrmmmm…….
17:43 < grawity> e.g. systemd’s own udev has no business running in a container
17:43 < CRCinAU> holy crap… so what you’re telling me is systemd is still hungry and needs to be fed more?
17:44 < michich> another example: vmtoolsd.service:ConditionVirtualization=vmware
17:44 < CRCinAU> I think I just died a little inside in that level of retardation.
17:45 < grawity> so by your own logic, a few minutes ago you were telling me systemd should be checking for your config files, instead of your own daemons doing that themselves?
17:46 < CRCinAU> no – the unit failed to start, and had no warning. if there was a problem and the unit failed, I’d expect to see something that says “blah.service failed because ConditionFileIsExecutable failed” or similar.
17:46 < CRCinAU> not just “Unit blah.service started”
17:46 < CRCinAU> when it fact it wasn’t
17:46 < CRCinAU> it *attempted* to start
17:46 < CRCinAU> but failed.
17:49 < CRCinAU> on another note, now I’m hearing that systemd is becoming virtualisation aware because users are too stupid to do “systemctl enable vmtoolsd.service” when they do a virtualised install?
17:49 -!- mode/#systemd [+b $a:CRCinAU] by evilgrawity
17:49 < CRCinAU> well, not even that… as I guess you’d have to install the VMWare tools in that situation to even have the service file in the first place – so it could even be part of the package install.
17:50 -!- #systemd Cannot send to channel
17:50 -!- CRCinAU was kicked from #systemd by evilgrawity [CRCinAU]

I’m kinda speechless now.

May 282016

Recently, I’ve been going all out on deploying LDAP and realising how much easier it would have made my life over the years. Fusion Directory has proven to be a good management interface for keeping things in check.

That’s the easy part though – now how do you go about making all your software to implement the features of LDAP and FusionDirectory? Sometimes with difficulty!

After a lot of mucking around, I’ve managed to get postfix working properly with LDAP as a source of email accounts, alias, forwards etc. We want to use the standard gosaMailDelivery flags to make life easy – and these are well documented for Fusion Directory.

Firstly, I’m going to assume that you already have openLDAP and Fusion Directory running. The documentation here is more than adequate to follow.

So now we’re down to postfix.

Firstly, we want to handle accounts that postfix needs to deliver mail to. Create a new file /etc/postfix/ and use the following:
server_host =
search_base = ou=people,dc=example,dc=com
scope = sub
bind = no
version = 3
query_filter = (&(mail=%s)(objectClass=gosaMailAccount)(!(gosaMailDeliveryMode=[*I*])))
result_attribute = mail

Now we want to handle aliases – so create /etc/postfix/
server_host =
search_base = ou=people,dc=example,dc=com
scope = sub
bind = no
version = 3
query_filter = (&(gosaMailAlternateAddress=%s)(objectClass=gosaMailAccount)(!(gosaMailDeliveryMode=[*I*])))
result_attribute = mail

Next step is forwards *with* delivery to the local account as well – create /etc/postfix/
server_host =
search_base = ou=people,dc=example,dc=com
scope = sub
bind = no
version = 3
query_filter = (&(|(gosaMailAlternateAddress=%s)(mail=%s))(objectClass=gosaMailAccount)(!(gosaMailDeliveryMode=[*I*])))
result_attribute = mail,gosaMailForwardingAddress

And lucky last, we have forwards only – without a local delivery in /etc/postfix/
server_host =
search_base = ou=people,dc=example,dc=com
scope = sub
bind = no
version = 3
query_filter = (&(|(gosaMailAlternateAddress=%s)(mail=%s))(gosaMailDeliveryMode=[*I*])(objectClass=gosaMailAccount))
result_attribute = gosaMailForwardingAddress

Once these files have been created, we can configure postfix. I use a full virtual delivery – so no user accounts exist on the mail server. Add the following to /etc/postfix/
virtual_alias_maps = proxy:ldap:/etc/postfix/ proxy:ldap:/etc/postfix/ proxy:ldap:/etc/postfix/
virtual_mailbox_maps = proxy:ldap:/etc/postfix/

That is the bulk of the setup done.

May 142016

As I’ve been using StartSSL for a long time to secure everything from SMTP / IMAP to this web site, I’ve gathered quite a few certificates. The scene has changed quite a bit these days with Lets Encrypt becoming available with free certs (but limited to 30 days).

StartAPI was introduced by StartSSL to do a lot of the same features, but gives you a 1 year certificate that you are able to manually place wherever you like. No custom software, no daemons etc. In my mind, this is what Lets Encrypt should have been.

I’ve created a few tools to assist in validating domains, and then retrieving certificates and am looking for people to help me test them before I release them to the general public.

If you already use StartSSL, I’d be happy to hear from you and get you to test what I’ve built up.

EDIT: After having a few people test it out and things work successfully, I’ve written some basic documentation and made it available on GitHub for testing / contribution.

Feb 282016

Just wanted to write a quick note to explain why the current nightlies aren’t working.

The openwrt servers had an outage recently. As of now,, and I think are still down.

As the nightly builds feed from, the builds won’t start again until is restored. If you’ve just flashed an image, chances are that you can’t install things like luci at the moment – as those are stored on

All in all, when things are back in working order, things should just magically start working again.