Tag Archives: windows

Migrating to Ubuntu – Practical Guide for Voice/Network Engineers

I’ve recently migrated from Windows to Ubuntu.  I was issued a new Dell laptop at the office after suffering through an HP device for… too long!

I decided to take the opportunity to migrate to Ubuntu.  It’s been a long time coming.  I wasn’t new to the OS, but I’m not a guru either. 🙂

 

INSTALLATION AND SETUP

The key to success here is a good plan before even creating your LiveCD/USB and installing the OS!

CONVERTING FROM WINDOWS

Some planning is involved to make this a success.  These guides helped me:

 

DISK PARTITIONING

Ensure that you have a good plan on your disk partitioning, especially for /, /home, /boot, swap:

DUAL BOOT WITH WINDOWS

Very good guide – boot loader consideration, partitioning are key here:

OS INSTALLATION

The installation itself is straightforward.

 

GRUB2 BOOTLOADER

Becomes quite important, especially for non-trivial and dual boot.

 

BASIC UBUNTU DESKTOP SETUP

CLI COMMANDS

Just the basics for day 0 if you need it:

TEXT EDITOR – VI

I’m quite a fan.  For GUI-based editors, I like Geany as well (quite a lot like Notepad++ in Windows – its pretty much an IDE).

Noteinstall vim immediately! vi has issues with certain keys in 14.04.

FILE RENAMING – REMOVING WHITESPACE FROM MIGRATED WIN DOCS

Sounds silly, but this is a really key issue to resolve.

Migrate files, then update them.  Thankfully, this is what BASH was made for, and a one-liner find does this perfectly!

 

FILE SHARING AND SAMBA

Key topic in mixed office environments.

 

PRINTING

Setting up network printers for an office environment.

 

MAIL

I chose to use Thunderbird as my mail client.  Exchange generally is a problem, but there are some solutions… Took me a while to get this working, but wasn’t too emotional.

MIGRATING PST MAIL ARCHIVES

This process is key.  The realpst package is awesome!

INTEGRATING TO EXCHANGE FROM THUNDERBIRD

Use Exquilla if you can.

This is not a free tool!

 

INTEGRATING TO OWA FROM THUNDERBIRD

I ended up using this as our exchange team couldn’t get me the EWS integration information I needed for Exquilla and auto-discovery didn’t auth with my account.

This is an excellent solution.  Watch out for package dependencies needed (JDK will be required) and untrusted sources.

CALENDAR INTEGRATION

I used DavMail for this again with DavCal.

I also integrated Gmail with DavCal.

 

THUNDERBIRD CUSTOMIZATION

Thunderbird may require some tweaking to have your client act more like Outlook – I needed this to comply to office mail standards with signatures and reply/forwarding behaviour.

Consider installing the SmartTemplate4 add-on:

Creating customized HTML mail signatures:

 

PRINTING

Easy to set up.  A good read as well

 

VIRTUALIZATION

I decided to go for VirtualBox.  Just some pointers that for things that I needed to get working with a Ubuntu Host/Win7 Guest setup.

I had some performance issues (v. high host CPU) related to:

SHARING USB

Works with vmware-tools if you using vmware, but some considerations if you use VB:

SHARING FOLDERS

Not too difficult to get working:

However, you do need to have Guest Tools loaded:

LEAVE IN WINDOWS

Some things are not better and for non-trivial tasks I didn’t even look at open source alternatives:

  • Visio
  • Office

 

PROGRAMS / SOFTWARE IN LINUX

Just the basics – it’s a great blog! 🙂

NETWORK ENGINEERING TOOLS

Just a selection of Voice/Network Engineering tools that I found useful to immediately use in Ubuntu.  This is what Linux is made for, and why I migrated I guess 🙂

VOIP/SIP TOOLS

Just to get started, the usual suspects:

  • RTMT
  • TranslatorX
  • audacity – IVR-related stuff
  • Winimage for Answer Files? – wrote a simple BASH script for that!
  • SIP Workbench in Windows – will look for a decent alternative and update…

NETWORKING TOOLS

Just some to get started with:

  • geany  – I start with this because every good engineer needs a good text editor.  For GUI-based this is my favourite
  • nmap – n00bs like me can ease into the CLI by starting with zenmap
  • gns3 – much better in linux!
  • wireshark + tshark
  • pac – excellent PERL-based replacement for SecureCRT!

A lot of scripting in Python and BASH will replace awkward Windows programs…

VPNs

As a consulting engineer, I have a number of client VPNs to connect to – covering PPTP, Cisco VPN and AnyConnect/JunOs/FortiClient.

Here’s a general Ubuntu overview:

PPTP

This is a stock standard for smaller clients.  There are occasional errors, but most are easily solved by tailing /var/log/syslog.

VPNC

I’d had tremendous issues with this, usually related to poor encryption on the server-side configuration that Linux doesn’t accept.

I wrote this wrapper script that deals with the challenges relating to 1DES weak encryption-related issues if you want to use the terminal to initiate the connection:

#!/bin/sh
sudo vpnc –local-port 0 –enable-1des /etc/vpnc/myvpncconffile.conf

I named it vpnc-connect-wrapper, made it executable and placed in it /home/myuser/bin.  It’s now available to initiate weaker connections.  I saw some solutions re-naming the default binary, which I didn’t like.

Hard-coded with the .conf filename for now…  Will add shell options later.  It’s fairly trivial to do.

The Network Manager Gnome GUI also has added a weak encryption Advanced Setting option to deal with this as well

UPDATE:

I still can’t get this working for multiple VPN connections.  I’ve resorted to doing this in my Windows VM.  I see many online posts with the same logs, and no solution in 14.04 or 14.10.  Not sure about later versions, but its been broken since before 12.04.

SSL VPN:

Got this working as well!

CHECKPOINT SNX

Used to be available as a Linux command line tool, but sadly is now only available through a browser connection – a number of dependencies to get this working, including installing Java.

 

 

OS ADMINISTRATION

LINUX KERNEL

Quite advanced.  Keep for reference for later:

 

PACKAGE MANAGEMENT

Just an overview for Linux newbies…

LINUX SYSTEM DEBUGGING

This really is an excellent tutorial on this topic

 

HARDWARE TROUBLESHOOTING

A basic overview of common troubleshooting tools and tips:

 

BASIC SYS-ADMIN HACKS

Some sys-admins tasks to get you going.  Some were useful early on.

BACKUPS + SYSTEM IMAGING

Key topics when you are new to an OS and you wanna back out a f&^k up.

 

USEFUL LINUX FORUMS

I got a lot of value out of these:

Hope this helps a few folks!

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Quick and Dirty DNS Testing

Quick and easy sanity checks…

My requirement was to test 500 A/PTR records.  The client didn’t feel comfortable with bulk loading the records, so the work had been split up to be manually added between multiple resources – I was concerned, and didn’t have much time to find the errors.

Process followed:

  1. Save a file containing all your IP’s
  2. Save a file containing all FQDNs
  3. Run the following from windows cmd:

FOR /F %i in (txt) DO nslookup %i >> resolutions-ip.txt 2>> failures-ip.txt

FOR /F %i in (.txt) DO nslookup %i >> resolutions-fqdn.txt 2>> failures-fqdn.txt

  1. Go have coffee and think how clever you are
  2. Realize that this could actually be scripted properly in Python and realize how clever you aren’t

This quickly gave me a great list of missed records from STDERR.  The duplicates and mismatched records were confirmed with some regex magic in notepad++ on the STDOUT output.

3mins work for pretty good yield, but if it’s a repetitive task (it wasn’t for me… yet…), script it properly!

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