Improving your Nextcloud upgrade experience

Nextcloud, a truly wonderful open source project, allows you to create your own co-lab hub. You can choose to host it yourself, or get a Nextcloud instance at one of the many service providers, such as WebbPlatsen i Sverige AB. Nextcloud can replace many not-so-GDPR-safe alternatives and other costly solutions. If you, by some small miracly, still do not know what Nextcloud is, go check it out at nextcloud.com.

For the past few years, Nextcloud has kept an almost alarmingly fast pace when it comes to updates. Quite often, a major version is followed by a few minor updates, and then another major version is released. Typically, a lot of new functionality has been thrown in for the major updates. Naturally, we want more functionality and toys 🙂

Updating Nextcloud is usually not a big issue, unless the Nextcloud downloads are slow. And they are, quite frequently, very slow. So slow in fact that the Nextcloud updater exits with an error when it comes to the step where it downloads the new files, even if you increase your PHP maximum execution time to 10 minutes (!)

There are ways to improve your Nextcloud upgrade experience, some of them are mentioned here. The remainder of this post assumes you have some sort of file access to your Nextcloud server.

Nextcloud updater times out when downloading

If you go to the data directory for Nextcloud during an update, there’s typically a directory called updater-nnn, where nnn is an arbitrary string. This is where Nextcloud keeps its files for the upgrader, including progression counters and downloads.

From the Nextcloud web interface, under Administration.Overview, there’s a Download now button that is actually just a link. You can copy the link and download the file manually. Once the download has completed, you can place it in the downloads sub-directory of the updater-nnn directory. Once done, re-start the upgrade process.

Nextcloud updater gets stuck during the update process

In the same updater-nnn directory, there is a “step counter” so that Nextcloud can keep track of where in the update process it is currently positioned. If Nextcloud keeps getting stuck at the download step, or you are presented with “Step 4 is currently in process. Please reload this page later.”, you may try to remove the file .step and re-start the upgrade process.

Manually upgrading Nextcloud from CLI

If you have shell access to your Nextcloud instance, you may also attempt a manual upgrade, which may have different timeout settings (or no timeout settings). The short version is listed below, the long version can be found in the official Nextcloud documentation, please make sure you read it before attempting a manual upgrade!

sudo -u www-data php /var/www/nextcloud/occ upgrade
sudo -u www-data php /var/www/nextcloud/occ maintenance:mode --off

Replace www-data for the user PHP and/or your web server is running as and correct paths as needed.

 

Where did my Emacs color-theme go in Ubuntu 20.04.LTS?!

Having recently upgraded a small VPS from Ubuntu 18.04.LTS to Ubuntu 20.04.LTS, I ran into a little snag with Emacs and its color-theme (from the emacs-goodies-el package).

After some digging, it seems this is now done somewhat differently in Ubuntu 20.04.LTS.

This is what my .emacs file used to contain:

(require 'color-theme) 
(color-theme-initialize) 
(color-theme-charcoal-black)

This is what I changed it to:

(add-to-list 'custom-theme-load-path 
(file-name-as-directory "/usr/share/emacs/site-lisp/elpa/color-theme-modern-0.0.2"))
(load-theme 'charcoal-black t t) 
(enable-theme 'charcoal-black)

In addition, I also had to install the elpa-color-theme-modern package (from the Ubuntu 20.04.LTS distribution).

 

Using Thunderbird with Gmail and OAuth2

I’ve been using the Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail client for … a long time. Google has had a “Less secure apps” policy, where you explicitly have to enable a setting to allow external access to things like e-mail over IMAP, and so on. Google has also been warning their users about upcoming changes, where clients that cannot authenticate using “secure methods” (such as OAuth2), will no longer be able to access things like e-mail over IMAP.

Fortunately (for me), Mozilla Thunderbird can handle this just fine 🙂

Incoming settings

Make sure you are using IMAP and not POP3. Go to your account settings. Go to server settings. You should see the IMAP settings (imap.gmail.com:993, etc). Make sure connection security is set to SSL/TLS. Set the authentication method to OAuth2 and re-start Thunderbird. You will be prompted with a Google Login Page. Enter your credentials for the account. Once Google has successfully verified the credentials, it will tell you that Thunderbird wants to access certain things. Allow this, and … you’re done. To verify that everything worked out as it should, re-start Thunderbird once more. You should not be getting any prompts this time.

Outgoing settings

To access settings for outbound e-mail using Gmail, click on the account name in the list to the left of the Account settings window. At the bottom, to the right, you will see Outoing Server (SMTP). Choose to Edit SMTP Server. Again, check your settings to be smtp.gmail.com (587), STARTTLS, and set the Authentication method to OAuth2, just like you did for IMAP. Re-start Thunderbird.

Repeat this procedure for all your Gmail accounts configured in Thunderbird.

Hello FrontDoor Inbox!

FrontDoor InboxAfter years of internal use, we decided it was time to turn the FrontDoor Inbox Ticket system into a SaaS, or Software-as-a-Service at WebbPlatsen. For people that know some of my background, the name comes as no surprise, and I have to admit it does make sense when you think about it.

We played with quite a few “ticket systems” or “Helpdesk software” before putting down the first few lines of code for FrontDoor Inbox, and the biggest reason was, and still remains, simplicity. When the decision was made to go ahead and develop our own software to somehow get a grip of our the e-mail chaos, we simply couldn’t find anything affordable that did what we wanted it to do.

So if your company, or your organization, be it small or less than huge, need a service that’ll help you keep track of support conversations in a safe, GDPR-compliant, efficient, and rather straightforward way, you may want to check out FrontDoor Inbox.

The first lines of code were written in 2008, and during the eleven years that have passed since then, it has been rewritten a number of times, and we and our clients have been using it to handle hundreds of thousands of support tickets and e-mail inquiries. The current release is 2019.3 and it will help you turn chaos into order.

Keep track of FrontDoor Inbox on Twitter (@frontdoorinbox), or head on over to frontdoorinbox.com for more information.

FastStone Image Viewer is awesome

I’ve been doing digital photography for many years and have come across a number of applications that claim to be “photo managers” with functions for fast viewing, basic tasks like cropping and re-sizing, etc. I realize it quite often comes down to personal taste, so you are welcome to completely ignore this post 🙂

I mainly work with adjustments, cropping, and re-sizing when I work with photos. For most post-shoot processing, I use Lightroom. I was once a fond user of the ACDSee products, used as my “Swiss Army knife”. But ever since I ran into the FastStone Image Viewer, I have uninstalled most other similar utilities. Being a fan of Shareware, and similar, I have registered the product for commercial use, and it’s well worth the money!

If you’re looking for a very fast viewer, manager, and “Swiss Army knife” for your photo management, give FastStone Image Viewer a go. It’ll handle all major graphic formats including BMP, JPEG, JPEG 2000, GIF, PNG, PCX, TIFF, WMF, ICO, TGA, and camera raw files. Oh, and it’s not bloatware 🙂

Now, if I could only have the FastStone Image Viewer for Linux too ….

You’ll find FastStone Image Viewer here: faststone.org

Using Shared Resources from your Linux workstation in your RemoteDesktop (RDP) environment and Windows Server

remminaIf you, like me, are using Ubuntu – or similar – for your daily stuff and need to connect to a Windows Server by using RemoteDesktop (RDP) / TerminalServer, you may find that local (Linux) resources are not made available to you on the Windows side.

The Remmina client on at least Ubuntu 14.04.LTS is very outdated. Go grab the latest version directly from their site. Installs without issues and gives you a “somewhat” more up-to-date RemoteDesktop Client for Ubuntu Linux.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:remmina-ppa-team/remmina-next
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libfreerdp-plugins-standard remmina remmina-plugin-rdp

#remmina #linux #rdp #remotedesktop

 

Removing stubborn account and/or account alias in Zimbra

ZimbraZimbra can sometimes be very stubborn when it comes to removing an account or an account alias either via the admin console or by using zmprov. That’s when LDAP access comes in handy. This may, or may not, help you:

# su - zimbra
$ source ~/bin/zmshutil 
$ zmsetvars
$ ldapdelete -r -x -H $ldap_master_url \
                   -D $zimbra_ldap_userdn 
                   -w $zimbra_ldap_password \
                   uid=theuid,ou=people,dc=zimbra,dc=DOMAIN,dc=com

Possible output may be:

ldap_search: No such object (32)
ldap_delete: No such object (32)
  matched DN: dc=com

You can see which matches have been made and what has been (or has not been) removed.

When will Adobe Lightroom support Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 RAW images?

Sony DSC-RX100It’s taking Adobe a surprisingly long time to add RAW (lens correction profile) support for the excellent compact digital camera Sony DSC-RX100. I’m curious as to what the reason could possibly be? The Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 compact camera is by far on par with Canons S90, S95, S100, etc. series compact digital cameras. What seems to be the problem?