Tag Archives: MacOSX

XtreemFS server on MacOSX

Some time ago I tried to get the XtreemFS server to work on MacOSX (Lion).

I had to patch it a bit to make it compile and run. So here's the patch if you want to give it a try:

[download id="33"]

I wanted to use it to have a synchroneous replicated filesystem over a WAN but in the end I gave up this idea and switched to unison.

Btw. I also tried to get gluster fs to work on MacOSX lion and partially succeeded. You can see my changes on github

vim arrows in MacOSX

I know vim gurus would criticize me for using arrows in vim's insert mode but it's really hard to give them up.

I have this problem when I connect from my linux box to a MacOSX or FreeBSD box over ssh. I find it one of the most annoying things when using vim. When you are in insert mode and hit one of the arrows to move around, instead of the expected action vim will just print A, B, C or D on a new line. This makes vim practically useless.

So either you are very careful and always exit the insert mode before you move or fix the keys.

I think it's hard to always remember to get out of insert mode and it's one extra operation you have to do that I find useless not to mention you will probably have to enter insert again a few seconds after that.

So here's the fix for the arrow keys.  Edit vimrc either the global vimrc ( I'm using vim from macports so my vimrc is /opt/local/share/vim/vimrc ) or ~/.vimrc like this:

$ vim ~/.vimrc
set t_ku= (now type Ctrl-V and press cursor up)
set t_kd= (now type Ctrl-V and press cursor down)
set t_kr= (now type Ctrl-V and press cursor right)
set t_kl= (now type Ctrl-V and press cursor left)

This solution was stolen from vim tips wiki. I posted it here to avoid looking for it again if I need it. It's the second time I am hit by this problem and every time I had to search through a few pages with solutions that didn't work for me

MacOSX: Automount external drives at boot

After spending about an hour trying to figure out why I can't mount disks from /etc/fstab in MacOSX 10.4 I finally figured it out.

MacOSX 10.4 ( and maybe lower ) doesn't use fstab anymore. Well not just fstab. The stupidest thing about this is that fstab is referenced in every man page related to mount but nowhere it says it does NOT work anymore. I guess apple didn't want to invest in updating the man pages, no one is reading them anyway, everyone is using the gui tool, etc...

MacOSX holds all this information about mounts, users, groups, passwords, services, protocols, hosts and other stuff ( that uses to be in plain text files on Unix ) in it's NetInfo database. The good news is that you can import the information from the Unix standard format plain text files into the NetInfo database and you have an easy way to do this over the command line.

To mount one or more external disks at boot you will simply import the fstab entries just by piping them to the niload command:

echo "echo "/dev/disk1s10 none hfs rw,auto"  > /etc/fstab  	
cat /etc/fstab | niload -m fstab /   	# load fstab in netinfo

At the next boot /dev/disk1s10 will be mounted to /Volumes/disk1s10's label.
The weird thing about this is that you can't just remove /etc/fstab after you import in NetInfo. If you do this will not work anymore. If you just put the info in fstab but not inport it with niload it will not work. You need to both have a valid /etc/fstab and import it in order for this to work.

change hostname on MacOSX

here's a quick tip about how you can change the hostname on your MacOSX and keep it changed after a reboot:


Of course you have to type that as root.

It seems there is also possible to set in it /etc/hostconfig but that file on it's own will not work. You have to load it in netinfo somehow but I don't know how to do that.

I think I like the /etc/hostconfig approach more then the scutil (even if it has to be loaded in netinfo ) because it's somehow closer to how most unix/linux systems do it.
Anyone knows how this can be done ?

MacOSX: adduser

I really needed an adduser like program on MacOSX  and after a few searches on the internet I found a script that works like the linux adduser program.

I remember I had to modify it to use bash ( my preferred shell ) as the default shell and I make it use the right path when copying the user template. I can't remember exactly where I found it so if you have seen this someplace else feel free to let me know and I'll be happy to give credit.

Here it is :

  1. span style="color: #ff0000;">"Enter username:""Enter the full name for user $newuser's:""Will $newuser an Admin user (y/N)?"'{print $3f}'"$long_name""""/bin/bash""/Users/$newuser""$is_admin" = Y -o "$is_admin"

Connect to MacOSX over vnc

One of the first unpleasant surprises I had when I first tried MacOSX was that I couldn't connect to it using standard vnc clients available for linux like realvnc or tinyvnc. I was actually able to connect but after the authentication the client would just hang.  I guess the protocol used by apple is a bit different then the protocol used by the rest of the vnc clients.

here are your options:

  1. use another Mac with a vnc client like  the  non free Timbuktu  or the open source Chicken of the VNC.
  2. if you have ssh access to the mac where you want to connect over vnc you can set up Vine server ( also known as OSXvnc ) . Vine is a vnc server that is compatible with realvnc client running on  linux or windows machines.

I chose the second option when possible because I don't want to fire up the macmini every time I needed to connect to a remote machine .

The vine  server comes with a nice GUI and can coexist with the standard MacOSX  vnc server listening on the next available port ( 5901 ) or you can just stop the standard server if you don't need it.

Of course if the system is really remote, you don't have another mac at hand and this is the first time you access it you wouldn't be able to use the GUI so here is how to set start vine form the command line:

  1. connect to the system where you want to install vine over ssh as root or su  root after you have connected as a normal user
  2. download  Vine3.0.dmg  in your home folder or  scp it there .
  3. attach the image:  hdiutil attach Vine3.0.dmg    -  This will make it's contents available in /Volumes/Vine3.0
  4. before you start the server you have to create a password for authentication:
    /Volumes/Vine3.0/Vine\ Server.app/storepasswd    <yourpasswordhere> password_file
  5. start the server:  /Volumes/Vine3.0/Vine\ Server.app/OSXvnc-server  -rfbauth password_file
    The server will output some debuggind information and the last line should be something like:
    Started Listener Thread on port 5901
    The port can be 5900 if the standard vnc server is not already listenting on 5900
  6. leave the ssh session open and use something like realvnc vncviewer  to connect to your server on port 5901 :
    vncviewer mac.machine.name:5901

The only disadvantage of this method is that it requires a bit of work in order to be able to connect but this can be avoided by setting the Vine server to start on boot and that will be explained in another post 🙂

Mount .dmg images from command line

DMG images are the way that a lot of MacOSX binary packages are distributed.  They are somehow like virtual hard disk images or .iso images that you can just mount with a simple double click if you have access to the gui.

But how do you do that from the command line?

quick answer:


and the image should now be mounted somewhere in /Volumes

The hdiutil is a tool used to manipulate such disk images. It can do a lot more then just mount the images. It can even burn  them to an optical media, convert them to an iso  and some other formats , even compress them using gzip or bzip2 .

MacOSX for Unix admins

I'm going to write some posts about doing stuff on MacOSX.

I'm a beginner mac user and I come from a Unix background. I use/administrate/patch/develop on Unix like machines ( mostly just Linux and FreeBSD ) on a daily basis.

Since MacOSX has Unix at it's roots using it shouldn't be hard for me to work with it...right...well I'll see how much it has changed.

Sometimes I find it difficult to do something on MacOSX mostly because I am used to how it is done in Unix and because I don't want or can't use the GUI tools.

The fact that most of the tutorials I find are also  explaining how to do stuff in the GUI makes this an even bigger problem.

So I decided that when I actually find out how to do what I want to do I will write a post  about it so I will not have to look for it again.

Speedlinking Unix 20-07-2007

It seems Solaris features (mostly ZFS ) make a lot of buzz these days. I wonder when ( if ever ) will Linux include ZFS in the kernel. I know there is a ZFS implementaion for Linux in FUSE, but that's never going to be used in production unless it's ported in the kernel.

I think the developers should leave the licensing mambo jumbo aside and really look at what ZFS has to offer and decide upon that if it's worth implementing . Isn't there anyone in the Linux world that wants ZFS ?