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Look no further than FreeNas

April 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Freenas Logo

So, my desktop PC at home died recently. The motherboard blew up leaving me with 4 drives that I couldn’t access data from without pluggin in my trusty IDE/SATA to USB converter. Now this can be a pain when your tunes are spread across multiple drives or I am accessing my PC remotely and happen to need data from the drive that isn’t plugged into the adapter.

With funds being tight, I decided to look to my old friend FreeNas to take care of my data sharing needs. FreeNas is a NAS operating system made strictly for creating a network storage device. It can be run on older hardware, so I dug around and found a old 800mhz PC with 512mb of ram and the gigabit NIC from my recently dead PC. With the addition of a SATA to IDE converter (I had a SATA drive) and an IDE expansion card, I popped in the FreeNas CD and started installing. I decided to install the OS on an old 3 gig hard drive I had lying around. Installation is as easy as answering a few questions and your up and running. Once installed I was able to log into the remote console (via the web interface) and mount each of my NTFS formatted drives with ease. Another added bonus is FreeNas, among its many features, has a built in FTP server. Now all my data is available remotely through FTP. Thanks FreeNas for solving my Data Whoes!

(FreeNas can be found at http://www.freenas.org)

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Categories: Linux Tags: , , , ,

Hylafax as a manual fax to E-mail gateway

March 26, 2008 1 comment

Hylafax┬áLogoOne of the tasks that was mentioned to me when I first started this job was to find a way to convert our received faxes to e-mail. This of course has many advantages, from saving trees to people getting their faxes quicker. Keeping with my open source theme, I decided to use a little application I found called Hylafax. Hylafax itself has the ability to receive faxes and e-mail them directly to a user. I decided to tweak this to a samba share that everyone would have access too (this way if the person that received faxes was off sick we could still check our incoming faxes). This article is a guide on How-To install a Hylafax server in VMware. This has its advantages as it doesn’t really require the full resources of a server to run, and by using a VM, you can use any modem windows can support compared to hunting down drivers for Linux. Here we go!

Hylafax… Trees rejoice!

Create a VM from the RedHat 4 Template

  1. To add a modem to the VM
    1. Click on “Edit Virtual Machine Settings” and then “Add…
    2. Choose “Serial Port” and Next
    3. Choose “Use physical serial port on the host
    4. Choose the port on the host that the modem is using (in my case COM2)
  2. Download the latest Hylafax build for RedHat from hylafax.org and save it on a network share
  3. Install CentOS4 with the following packages
    1. Editors
    2. Windows file server
    3. Printing Support
  4. log in as Root
  5. type yum install sharutils
  6. type yum install ghostscript
  7. Now copy the Hylafax install that was previously downloaded from the website by typing smbclient \\fileserver\share -U username
  8. Once connected to the correct share, copy the file by typing get hylafax-4.4.4-1rhel4.i386.rpm then disconnect by typing exit
  9. Now to install Hylafax by typing rpm -Uvh hylafax*.rpm
  10. Once Hylafax is finished installing run /usr/sbin/faxsetup to configure Hylafax and your modem
  11. Use most of the defaults and input the pertinent data (area code, etc.). When you get top the point where it asks what serial port your modem is on, use ttyS0 . The rest is pretty self explanatory. after a while it will get into probing the modem for a host speed. this will take up to 5 minutes, so just be patient.
  12. Hylafax should now be set up to receive faxes. Next we want to edit the samba config file to create a share for our faxes. Do this by typing vi /etc/samba/smb.conf . Once in vi, you will want to edit the following lines (by first pressing i)
    1. server string = name of server
    2. guest account = nobody
    3. security = share
  13. Under the “Share Definitions” create a share similar to the following
    [Faxes]
    path = /var/spool/hylafax/recvq
    force group = uucp
    force user = uucp
    browseable = yes
    read only = now
    guset ok = yes
  14. Save the smb.conf file by pressing ESC and then typing : x and pressing enter
  15. Again using vi edit the /etc/inittab file, adding the line: mo:2345:respawn:/usr/sbin/faxgetty ttyS0
  16. Restart the server and you can browse to the IP address of the server and to the faxes share (//ip_address/faxes)
  17. To be alerted when a fax is received, we need to first mount the fax share in windows (I used t:\) and download/install File Alert Monitor. FAM will display a popup whenever a file is created (AKA a fax being received). To configure FAM:
    1. Click on Folder -> Add and select your mapped drive letter
    2. Click on View -> Options and check the following
      1. Monitoring – creation of new files
      2. Run on system startup
      3. Minimimize when the program Starts
    3. Click on the “File Types” tab and click on the “Customize…” button. remove .WAV and add .TIF then click OK
  18. Click on OK and minimize the program to finish configuration

Using this method, as a fax is received it can be e-mailed right away without the user constantly having to check the share.

Have fun!

VMware Server, a good FREE solution to Virtualization

March 24, 2008 Leave a comment

After using VMware for 3 years, it’s hard to imagine life about it. It has helped me get much more out of my hardware and given me the ability set up test environments in a matter of minutes. I first started using VMware sever at home, more fiddling around with new software than using it. It really became a viable tool in college when we first started setting up mini work environments to work with our various software packages. Since then I have consolidated 3 of my home servers onto 1 Virtual Server and started consolidating at work as well, cutting back on electrical costs and gaining usage from my servers.

Needless to say when I came across some old server hardware not being in use, I started installing VMware. using a host OS of Windows XP I managed to create a file server, automated network backup server and a SpiceWorks server (leaving room for more as needed). in doing this I was able to reuse old hardware and use a variety of Operating systems with open source software creating minimum cost for my dealership while adding a huge amount of functionality.

Over the next few days I will be posting on some How-to type documents that will outline how to configure some of these open source servers. So keep checking for updates!