Category: software

  • basic_vsftpd cookbook for Chef

    Recently I was rebuilding an old “virtual user” vsFTPd server, this time using Chef.  Of course I started by looking for a decent vsftpd cookbook.   There are several popular ones, for example: The vsftpd “supermarket” cookbook might be fine for some users, but it’s not been updated since 2010, and it seems to lack a good way to override […]

  • Authenticating vsFTPd virtual users with pam_pwdfile.so

    For years, the standard way to set up password authentication for vsFTPd FTP server was to use PAM with the pam_userdb.so module.  It looks great on paper, but if you have tried this, you know that generating a Berkeley DB password file is a PITA, debugging is blind and brutal, and password file generation does not play well with automated deployments. […]

  • BackupBuddy and Amazon S3

    BackupBuddy, the popular WordPress plugin to back up your WP site, has an option to back up to Amazon S3 storage.  S3 storage is a great solution because it’s cheap, easy to use, and can be secure if you set it up right.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find any decent instructions on how to set up S3 for […]

  • Deploying MediaWiki via Chef

    After deploying a few custom servers to support both Ruby and php applications, setting up a server to run MediaWiki seemed like a breeze.  And it is, sort of, so long as you know where to draw the line. It seemed plausible to create a Chef cookbook to deploy a ready-to-run MediaWiki installation.  And I […]

  • What’s Wrong with Chef and Other Rants

    My apologies, this is a placeholder for a number of things I have meant to write about using Chef to deploy our cloud servers.  It turns out the task took longer and was a lot more convoluted than imagined, even after considering Hofstadter’s Law, so the writing has all been pushed back.  But here’s the proposed list […]