New Vim 8 on Debian 9 Stretch has buggy Mouse/Paste/Syntax handling

The new Vim 8 on Debian tries again to appeal to the 95% of the people (the noobs) and adds features the are annoying to professionals. When these new features are buggy it’s even worse.

Problem: vim 8 on debian 9 has some annoying default settings for vim

  1. paste uses a vim internal clipboard instead the system clipboard (when not using shift). This is totally stupid because if you copy something from the browser to the editor you get something else. It might even be some thing you copied hours ago from a different file logged in from a different client
  2. The cursor jumps to the mouse cursor when clicking into vim. This sounds correct for non professional geeks but it’s actually annoying because I use “hjkl” to move the cursor and use the mouse to copy/paste and I hate it when I loose the cursor position when selecting text for copy/paste
  3. Syntax highlighting is so ugly and hard to read. Noobs may like this but again for professional geeks that’s annoying.

Changing this system wide should be easy by adding these two lines to /etc/vim/vimrc. But this fails.

syntax off
set mouse=

Settings in /etc/vim/vimrc are ignored because settings in /etc/vim/vimrc are overruled by “/usr/share/vim/vim80/defaults.vim”

Workaround: until Debian fixes this bug, you have two ways to change this.

Add the lines from above to “/usr/share/vim/vim80/defaults.vim” directly.

Remember that this change might be over written when vim is updated.

When you don’t like the autoindent feature you can also add this line:

filetype plugin indent off

If you want to be save for system updates you can ignore default.vim all together by adding “/etc/vim/vimrc.local” to your system with this content:

let g:skip_defaults_vim = 1
set mouse=””

Web Audio Silence

Problem: I had problems with an audio driver (no not on Linux). The sound started with a delay after every gap of silence. This bug cuts off about 1/2 of a second of the attack of the sound. This is a problem when you try to make music in particular.

Workarround: I made a little webpage that plays “Total Silence” or “Almost Silent” sound. This keeps the sound driver busy and prevents the driver from shutting down the sound.


Juniper MX204 Setup Guide

Juniper MX204 is router from Juniper running Junipers own operation system Junos.

The MX204 has 4x 40Gb and 8x 10Gb. The 40Gb ports can be split into 4x 10Gb.

After unboxing it has no configuration. Connect a standard RS232 console cable with a Cisco style RJ45 connector, set your terminal to 9600 8N1 and power it up.

The Junos console welcomes you with a standard FreeBSD login.

Login in with “root” and no password.

Start the Junos CLI with “cli”

roo@:# cli

This is the standard mode that you will reach later when configuring such device over a network connection (Telnet/SSH)

Like Cisco, Junos has two modes “standard” mode and “configure” mode:

root> configure

Different to Cisco, on Junos configuration changes are not active immediatly. You can configure different things in config mode and when you finished type “commit” to active changes or “exit” to discard your changes.

Here are some settings for the first setup:

# change root password
set system root-authentication plain-text-password
# add another user
set system login user USERNAME authentication plain-text-password
set system login user USERNAME class super-user
# set host name
set system host-name HOSTNAME
# set the managment IP for the “mgmt” port
set interfaces fxp0 unit 0 family inet address ADDRESS/PREFIX_LENGTH
# Starting in Junos OS 17.3R1 you can seperate the mgmt interface from the default routing table
set system management-instance
set routing-instances mgmt_junos routing-option static route next-hop MGMT_LAN_ROUTER
# activate ssh (and/or telnet)
set system services telnet
set system services ssh
# active and save all changes

You can list you current configuration with “show” inside and “show configuration” outside of configuration mode


Javascript Bugs ?

Javascript is a fun programming language, its non blocking, event-driven paradigm is really interesting for many cases.

On the other hand there are strange things that are really making me nervous when using this language:

: parseInt doing strange things:

# nodejs
> parseInt(0.000007, 10);
> parseInt(0.0000007, 10);

: numbers in JavaScript are always floats, with all its weaknesses

> 0.1+0.2
> 10000000000000000-1


Version: nodejs-6

Boot ISO from USB Stick

Many Linux distribution builders like Devuan and Debian produce hybrid ISO image that work on discs and USB sticks. You can make bootable USB sticks by simply copying the image to the USB device with this command

dd if=isoimage of=/dev/sdX bs=10240

You can find the device name (X) by looking into dmesg oder lsscsi, and looking for newly plugged scsi/block devices.

But some companies still don’t know about hybrid images and provide ISO images the need to be on disk. (like samsung SSD updater).

Workarround: You can use SysLinux to make an USB stick that can boot an ISO image

Install SysLinux using standard procedures, in my case: aptitude install syslinux (currently 3:6.03-dfsg-5-deb8u1)

Do the following steps:

  1. (optional) wipe the USB stick:  dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX
  2. make a bootable vfat partition: eg with fdisk /dev/sdX  (“n”), set the partition type to VFAT (“t” “c”) and make it active (“a”)
  3. format the partition to vfat: mkfs.vfat /dev/sdX1
  4. install SysLinux on it: syslinux /dev/sdX1
  5. mount the newly created partition: mount /dev/sdX1 /mnt/usb
  6. copy the memdisk feature to syslinux: cp /usr/lib/syslinux/memdisk /mnt/usb/
  7. make a syslinux.cfg file on the USB stick: vi /mnt/usb/syslinux.cfg
    LABEL iso
        LINUX memdisk
        INITRD image.iso
        APPEND iso
  8. copy the iso image to the usbstick: cp isoimage.iso /mnt/usb/image.iso
  9. unmount the USB strick: umount /mnt/usb

You can even put different ISO images to one stick by copying multiple ISO images and making multiple entries in syslinux.cfg.

Source IP Address Based on User

If you want to use different source IP addresses based on the logged in user or running service on a Linux computer you can use these simple commands:

/sbin/ifconfig eth0:1 NEW-IP-ADDRESS netmask YOUR-NORMAL-NETMASK
/sbin/iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -m owner --uid-owner USERNAME -j SNAT --to-source NEW-IP-ADDRESS

You can use this if the source IP is necessary for remote firewall filter lists, or to separate IP traffic from services that don’t allow to configure the outgoing source IP.

Add these lines to /etc/rc.local to make it permanent.

Version: Should work on every Linux kernel of the last 10 years, tested on Linux 4.11.1

Multi Seat Linux Workstation

Current computers are fast enough to handle more than one user at a time. So I started the project to setup my workstation to support two seats, one for me and one for my gf.


  1. Two concurrent Xorg sessions both with one keyboard, one mouse, and two monitors
  2. Separate audio for both seats
  3. Auto mounting of USB storage sticks for the secondary seat. When connected to a specific USB port the usb stick is mounted in the home directory of the logged in user of the second seat.

All this has to work while still keeping root privileges strictly separated. For security reasons I don’t use systemd polkit and other tools that allow normal users to gain root privileges. (Un)Mounting, Shutdown, Printersetup, Hardwaresetup are root tasks, normal users must not be able to do these tasks because it would compromise system security.

A normal user must not be able to shut down the system or see other users USB storages just because she is sitting in front of the local console.

Two Xorg Sessions

The workstation has two graphics cards one nvidia PEG card and an onboard Intel CPU graphics. I had to activate the onboard graphics in BIOS to be able to use it on Linux. The xorg-server-intel driver on Debian Jessie was to old to support the Intel Skylake HD530 graphics, so I upgraded the package “xserver-xorg-video-intel” from jessie-backports (“aptitude -t jessie-backports install xserver-xorg-video-intel”).

Then I configured the Xservers. Xorg can run multiple times with some configuration tweaking. I built two simple Xorg.conf. One for the first seat

# /etc/X11/Xorg.first-desk.conf

Section “Device”

Identifier “Nvidia Graphics”
Driver “nvidia”


Section “InputClass”

Identifier “Dell Keyboard”
MatchVendor “DELL”
MatchIsKeyboard “true”
Option “Ignore” “true”


Section “InputClass”

Identifier “Logitech Mouse”
MatchVendor “Logitech”
MatchIsPointer “true”
Option “Ignore” “true”


And one for the second seat:

# /etc/X11/Xorg.second-desk.conf

Section “Device”

Identifier “Intel Graphics”
Driver “intel”
BusID “PCI:0:2:0”


Section “InputClass”

Identifier “TheRest”
Option “Ignore” “true”


Section “InputClass”

Identifier “Dell Keyboard”
MatchVendor “DELL”
MatchIsKeyboard “true”
Option “Ignore” “false”


Section “InputClass”

Identifier “Logitech Mouse”
MatchVendor “Logitech”
MatchIsPointer “true”
Option “Ignore” “false”


Xorg tries take the first graphics card. To force one Xserver to the second card you need the BusID line. You can find this BusID with lspci:

# lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Device 191f (rev 07)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 1901 (rev 07)
00:02.0 Display controller: Intel Corporation Device 1912 (rev 06)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Device a12f (rev 31)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Device a13a (rev 31)

The sepration of mouse and keyboard works by blacklisting (“Ignore”) one keyboard and one mouse on the primary Xsession and an inverted blacklist on the secondary seat that blacklists all input devices except this one keyboard and mouse.

Two start two Xorg Xservers I added changed the file /etc/X11/xdm/Xservers to this:

:0 local /usr/bin/X :0 vt7 -config /etc/X11/Xorg.first-desk.conf -novtswitch -nolisten tcp
:1 local /usr/bin/X :1 -sharevts -config /etc/X11/Xorg.second-desk.conf -novtswitch -nolisten tcp

“-sharevts” and “-novtswitch” were the magic settings that allowed to run Xorg concurrently. Without this option the Xservers could only run one at a time by switching between VT7 and VT8 (Ctrl-Alt-F7 / Ctrl-Alt-F8).

Separate Audio

The onboard sound card has 8 channel output for surround sound. ALSA can split this multichannel output to multiple soundcards with this /etc/asound.conf file:

# /etc/asound.conf

pcm_slave.fourchannels {
    pcm "hw:0"
    period_time 0
    period_size 1024
    buffer_size 8192
    channels 4

pcm.jack1 {
   type plug
   slave.pcm {
        type dmix
        ipc_key 2381
        ipc_perm 0666
        slave "fourchannels"
        bindings [ 0 1 ]

pcm.jack2 {
   type plug
   slave.pcm {
        type dmix
        ipc_key 2381
        ipc_perm 0666
        slave "fourchannels"
        bindings [ 2 3 ]

This configuration splits the front from the surround (back) speaker output. Per user you can set the default output to either jack1 or jack2 with this ~/.asoundrc file:

pcm.!default {
    type plug
    slave.pcm "jack2"

Currently I hard wired this configuration per user. If me and my GF would change seats frequently I would write a “.asoundrc” file during Xsession startup every time a users logs in on the first or second seat (DISPLAY :0 or :1).

Automounting USB Storage for Second Seat

I used udevd and a small shell script to do the job.

Udevd can start scripts on USB events:

# /etc/udev/rules.d/10-multiseat-usb.rules
# filter on SD* (scsi events) of the blockdevice subsystem
# filter on events with the sub device tree (ATTRS) of the second seat's USB Hub idVender==05e3 named "USB2.0 Hub"
# for these events start: /root/user_usb_mounter
# which mounts the device for the logged in user and opens a filebrowser
KERNEL=="sd*", SUBSYSTEM=="block", ACTION=="add", ATTRS{idVendor}=="05e3", ATTRS{product}=="USB2.0 Hub", RUN+="/root/user_usb_mounter"

The script /root/user_usb_mounter looks like this:


# logfile output
echo "================================" 

if [ "$ID_FS_USAGE" != "filesystem" ]; then
    echo "ignoring udev event without FS_USAGE == filesystem"
    echo "new files system"

    # look which user is logged in on seat :1
    second_user=`who | grep " :1 " | cut -d " " -f 1`

    if [ "$second_user" == "" ]; then
        echo "No user Session on :1 found, giving up"
        # get userid of logged in user
        muid=`grep -- "^$second_user:" /etc/passwd | cut -d ":" -f 3`
        if [ "0$muid" -le 99 ]; then
            echo "No Userid for User $second_user on :1 found, giving up"
            # find an non existant directory mountpoint and create it
            while [ -e /home/$second_user/media/usb$i ]; do 
               i=$(( $i + 1 ))
            mkdir /home/$second_user/media/usb$i
            chown $second_user /home/$second_user/media/usb$i

            #  mount the filesystem in the users home directory
            echo mount -o noatime,nodev,noexec,nosuid,uid=$muid,gid=100 "$DEVNAME" "/home/$second_user/media/usb$i"
            mount -o noatime,nodev,noexec,nosuid,uid=$muid,gid=100 "$DEVNAME" "/home/$second_user/media/usb$i" || exit 

            echo "usbstick mounted to /home/$second_user/media/usb$i"
            echo "starting xfe for $second_user"
            # Starting xfe for the user and wait for xfe close. unmount the usb device, inform the user
            (    su "$second_user" -l -c "DISPLAY=:1 xfe /home/$second_user/media/usb$i" 
                 umount "/home/$second_user/media/usb$i" && rmdir "/home/$second_user/media/usb$i" && sync && 
                 su "$second_user" -l -c "DISPLAY=:1 xmessage \"USB Stick is save to remove!\"" && exit
                 su "$second_user" -l -c "DISPLAY=:1 xmessage \"USB Stick umount failed. DANGER!\""
            ) &

) >> /tmp/udevtest.log 2>&1

This script checks if the udev event is from a filesystem. Then it checks which user is logged in, gets it’s user ID. Then it mounts the USB device in the users context and home directory. Then it opens a file browser for the user and waits until it’s closed. Then it unmounts the stick and informs the user. This script is not very pretty but it’s a quick and working hack.

Versions: Skylake Intel CPU i5-6500 64bit mode, on ASUS motherboard Z170, Debian 8 (Nov 2017), NVidia GT 640 Nvidia Drivers 375.66, Xorg Intel Drivers 2:2.99.917+git20161206

Android Battery Drain Riddle!

Problem: an android phone is loosing battery very quickly. The battery settings don’t show any app, the display or other reasons for the battery drain.

Discussion: I found out that the battery drain is only when connected to WLAN. Then I recognized that it only happens when connected to my WLAN. The mobile phone never sleeps when connected to my WLAN. So I checked if there are many broadcasts in the network, which wasn’t. Then I moved the IP of my mobile phone to a Linux and checked for unicast traffic using tcpdump. There was it !

Solution: I have an Inverto Multibox SAT>IP server in my network and used the SAT>IP server from my mobile phone several days ago. The bug in the Inverto box is (or was) that the box has a broken idle timer implemented which means the SAT>IP stream never stops if not shut down correctly. As a result the box pushed a SAT transport stream to the mobile phone every time I am connected to WLAN, and never stopped. I rebooted and upgraded the SAT>IP box. Battery drain was gone.

Version: Inverto SAT>IP Multibox 1.17

Battery usage before and after the bugfix.

CPU Bug on Intel Skylake and Kabylake

I had two or three system crashes on my Linux workstation after upgrading to a new mother board and CPU within some months. This is very unusual for me because stability is the main objective when I build a new a workstation. So I tried to find the reason.

Some weeks ago I found this bug report:

Hyperthreading on Skylake and Kabylake CPUs is buggy!

If your processor model (listed in /proc/cpuinfo) is 78 or 94, and the stepping is 3 you are lucky because Intel already provides a microcode update. My workstation is processor level 94 which is Intel Core i5 6500. So I installed the debian packages intel-microcode 3.20170511.1 from jessie-backports.

Since this update I had no System crash and hang up.

FlexFabric 5700 Backup Config to TFTP in MGMT VPN-Instance

Problem: if you separate the management from the normal traffic on a switch you will usually configure the swtich via this mgmt vpn-instance and also backup and restore config files via this mgmt vpn-instance. But if you use the “backup startup-configuration to ..” it always tries to find the tftp server on the normal network Even after changing the tftp configuration with “tftp client source interface M-GigabitEthernet 0/0/0” tftp still does not work.

Solution: The backup command has no vpn-instance parameter, but the “tftp put” command has. So you can use:

tftp put startup.cfg switchbackup.cfg vpn-instance MGMT

Version: HP/HPE FlexFabric System image version: 7.1.045, Release 2422P02