Category Archives: Gentoo

Encrypting individual $HOME folders

Too much time and an unencrypted hard disk on a notebook, lying next to me, are enough reasons to find a comfortable solution to encrypt single user home directories.

The basic setup looks like:

  • encrypt a container file or partition with dm-crypt
  • use openssl to encrypt the needed keyfile
  • configure pam_mount to automatically mount the home dir on login

After you have read some howto‘s about using dm-crypt you should have an usable kernel running. Now it’s time to install the packages we need with the following commands:

doep ~ # emerge -av sys-fs/cryptsetup
doep ~ # emerge -av sys-auth/pam_mount

Because I couldn’t use a whole partition for the home dirs, I hat to use a container file instead. Depending on the container size, the creation takes a bit, so relax.

doep ~ # dd if=/dev/urandom of=/home/doep.img bs=1M count=2048

After the container was written, you have to create a loop back device for it. If loop0 is already taken, use the next available one, but remember on later commands ūüėČ

doep ~ # losetup /dev/loop0 /home/doep.img

As mentioned before, the container will be encrypted using a key file. This key file we have to encrypt with the user’s password. The regexp stuff removed the \n at the ending, otherwise you can get some problems mounting the device.

doep ~ # KEY=$(tr -cd [:graph:] < /dev/urandom | head -c 1024)
doep ~ # echo $KEY | perl -pe 's{\n}{}gs' | openssl aes-256-cbc > /home/doep.key
doep ~ # chown doep:doep /home/doep.key
doep ~ # chmod 0400 /home/doep.key

Now we can start formatting the container with cryptsetup. With cat /proc/crypto you can see, which ciphers are available on your system. If your preferred one is missing, change your kernel config. After everything went fine, you should have a new mapper device in /dev/mapper/doep.img; you also can delete the plain-text key now.

doep ~ # echo $KEY | cryptsetup luksFormat -c aes-cbc-essiv:sha256 -s 256 /dev/loop0
doep ~ # echo $KEY | cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/loop0 doep.img
doep ~ # KEY=""

This mapper device can now be formatted with your preferred filesystem, ext4 in my case. If you want, you can test if the filesystem is mountable. Then remove the LUKS mapping with cryptsetup and the loop device.

doep ~ # mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/doep.img
doep ~ # mount /dev/mapper/doep.img /home/doep_new
doep ~ # umount /home/doep_n
doep ~ # cryptsetup luksClose doep.img
doep ~ # losetup -d /dev/loop0

Now we need to configure the pam_mount plugin to automatically mount the user directory if a new session starts. Therefore add the to lines to your /etc/pam.d/login file

session    optional     /lib/security/
auth       optional     /lib/security/

and add this entry to the <pam_mount> section in the /etc/security/pam_mount.conf.xml file. if you used different ciphers earlier, specify them here.


Now switch to VT and try to login. You will get some verbose output but your container file should be mounted.

doep ~ # df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/loop0            2.0G   35M  1.9G   2% /home/doep_new

If you got some errors, try to mount the container manually with mount.crypt_LUKS to locate the error.

doep ~ # mount.crypt_LUKS -v -ov -o keyfile=/home/doep.key -o fsk_cipher=aes-256-cbc -o fsk_hash=MD5 /dev/loop0 /home/doep_new

If everything works, you can move your files into the container and then replace /home/doep_new with your real $HOME. To work with your desktop manager (XXX), also add the 2 lines you added to /etc/pam.d/login to /etc/pam.d/XXX.

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Using subversion over ssh gate server

If you have the same problem like me, connecting to a svn server that is only reachable over a gate server, try this:

  • Add your root public ssh key to the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys on the gate server.
  • And your user public ssh key to the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys on the svn server.
  • Try this: ssh -L 24:<svn_server>:22 <gate_login>@<gate_server>
  • Now nmap should show something like this:
  • doep ~ # nmap localhost
    24/tcp    open  priv-mail
  • You can also create an init script. /etc/init.d/sshtun
  • #!/sbin/runscript
    SSHTUN_OPTIONS="-L 24:<svn_server>:22 <gate_login>@<gate_server> -N"
    depend() {
    need net
    start() {
    ebegin "Starting sshtun"
    start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --exec /usr/bin/ssh --background \
    --pidfile /var/run/ --make-pidfile -- $SSHTUN_OPTIONS
    eend $?
    stop() {
    ebegin "Stopping sshtun"
    start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile /var/run/
    eend $?
  • Don’t forget to make it executable:
  • doep ~ # chmod +x /etc/init.d/sshtun
  • Then start the ssh tunnel:
  • doep ~ # /etc/init.d/sshtun start
  • To create the tunnel on startup, use rc-update:
  • doep ~ # rc-update add sshtun default
  • Now open your ssh config ~/.ssh/config and add a new server:
  • Host svn
    HostName localhost
    User <svn_user>
    Port 24
  • If you have already checked out a repository you can easily change the location:
  • doep@doep ~ $ svn switch --relocate http://<svn_server>/svn/repository svn+ssh://svn/var/svn/repos/repository
  • Otherwise check it out:
  • doep@doep ~ $ svn co svn+ssh://svn/var/svn/repos/repository
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Using synaptics Touchpad via hal

When reinstalling my notebook, I wanted the Xorg-Server to use the event based device system, but also have the advantage of the synaptics driver.

Easiest approach to realize that, is using the hardware abstraction layer to detect X11 input devices.

First of all we need evdev and synaptics as input devices, as well as the hal and dbus useflag in our make.conf.


USE="${USE} hal dbus"
INPUT_DEVICES="synaptics evdev"

Now remerge the xorg-packages if use flags have changed:

emerge -uNDav --oneshot xorg-drivers xorg-server

Although they should start automatically, it’s no bad idea to add hald and dbus to a runlevel.

rc-update add hald boot
rc-update add dbus boot

Next step is to tell hal what to do with input devices. Fortunatelly gentoo ships predefined rules we can copy:

cp /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/10osvendor/{10-x11-input.fdi,11-x11-synaptics.fdi} /etc/hal/fdi/policy/

These two files define the X11 options for every detected keyboard, mouse and synaptics touchpad. If you want your old xorg configuration, it’s necessary to rewrite the Options of your xorg.conf input related sections into these files.

For example to activate clicking by tapping for the synaptics touchpad, the line

Option "TapButton1" "1"

of the xorg.conf will now move to 11-x11-synaptics.fdi:

<merge key="input.x11_options.TapButton1" type="string">1</merge>

Anyhow, on my system this tweak didn’t work correctly, so i had to add a little startup script:


synclient TapButton1=1
syndaemon -i1 -k -t -d

Don’t forget to make it executable:

chmod a+x ~/.kde4/Autostart/synaptics

If you’re not using kde4, you may place these lines in your ~/.xinitrc

Note: syndaemon is a utility that locks the touchpad while typing, feel free to leave this line out if you don’t like that.

Now comes the fun part, commenting out every input related section of the xorg.conf, because all this is now managed by hald. In my case, the new /etc/X11/xorg.conf looks like this:

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Layout0"
    Screen      0  "Screen0"
#    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
#    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
    Option "AllowEmptyInput" "true"
#Section "InputDevice"
#    # generated from data in "/etc/conf.d/gpm"
#    Identifier     "Mouse0"
#    Driver         "mouse"
#    Option         "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
#    Option         "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
#    Option         "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
#    Option         "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"

#Section "InputDevice"
#    # generated from default
#    Identifier     "Keyboard0"
#    Driver         "evdev"
#    Option         "XkbModel"   "pc105"
#    Option         "XkbLayout"  "de"
#    Option         "XkbVariant" "nodeadkeys"
#    Option         "AutoRepeat" "500 30"

I had some strange results when starting X the first time, so i set the “AllowEmptyInput” Option, that fixed it for me.

That’s it. Now reboot and enjoy.

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Using acerhk with kernel >= 2.6.30

For my notebook (MD 42200) I need acerhk to switch on the wirelessled to get the wifi working. But with newer kernels acerhk doesn’t compile. Last time I had this problem I somewhere found a patched version of it: acerhk-0.5.35_patched.tar.gz

Simply decompress and compile it like this:

doep ~ # tar xvzf acerhk-0.5.35_patched.tar.gz
doep ~ # cd acerhk-0.5.35_patched
doep ~ # make clean; make -j

Then install the module:

doep ~ # make install
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Setup 3D support for Radeon HD 3200 (RS780)

What to do with an ATI graphic card ? Using proprietary fglrx drivers and use old kernels. Btw. they didn’t work for me, I had some strange stripes on my screen.. Or use the open source drivers radeon, radeonhd but without 3D acceleration ? Since 2.6.31 you can solve this problem using unstable drivers.

Here are all the steps I had to do to get working 2D/3D acceleration with open source video drivers. I’m using a 2.6.31 vanilla kernel. The 2.6.32 supports also kms for r6xx/r7xx but it’s not yet in my portage :/

doep ~ # emerge -av  =vanilla-sources-
and then the other stuff..

My xorg-server version is After booting the kernel and installing the modules I reinstalled x11-drivers/xf86-video-radeonhd, media-libs/mesa and x11-libs/libdrm.

doep ~ # emerge -av x11-libs/libdrm media-libs/mesa x11-drivers/xf86-video-radeonhd
[ebuild   R   ] x11-libs/libdrm-9999  USE="-debug" 0 kB [1]
[ebuild   R   ] x11-drivers/xf86-video-radeonhd-9999  USE="-debug" 0 kB [2]
[ebuild   R   ] media-libs/mesa-9999  USE="nptl xcb -debug -gallium -motif -pic"
VIDEO_CARDS="radeonhd -intel -mach64 -mga -none -nouveau -r128 -radeon -s3virge -savage
-sis (-sunffb) -tdfx -trident -via" 0 kB [1]

Total: 3 packages (3 reinstalls), Size of downloads: 0 kB
Portage tree and overlays:
 [0] /usr/portage
 [1] /usr/local/portage/layman/x11
 [2] /usr/local/portage/layman/zen-overlay

Of course you need some portage overlays to get the newest git sources. Then I followed the guide from the xorg wiki:

doep ~ # git clone git:// ~ # cd drm
doep ~ # git checkout -t -b r6xx-r7xx-3d origin/r6xx-r7xx-3d
doep ~ # ./ --prefix=$(pkg-config --variable=prefix libdrm) --libdir=$(pkg-config
--variable=libdir libdrm) --includedir=$(pkg-config --variable=includedir libdrm)
doep ~ # make
doep ~ # make installdoep ~ # cd linux-core
doep ~ # make
doep ~ # make install

After stopping the X server, unloading the old modules: radeon and drm, I start the X with the new modules and the following config:

Section "Device"
 Option     "NoAccel"    "False"
 Option     "AccelMethod"    "exa"
 Option     "DRI"        "True"

 Identifier  "Card0"
 Driver      "radeonhd"
 VendorName  "ATI Technologies Inc"
 BoardName   "Radeon HD 3200 Graphics"
 BusID       "PCI:1:5:0"

Some test: direct rendering is enabled

doep ~ # glxinfo | grep direct
IRQ's not enabled, falling back to busy waits: 2 0
direct rendering: Yes

and glxgears gets over 800 fps

doep ~ # glxgears
IRQ's not enabled, falling back to busy waits: 2 0
4179 frames in 5.0 seconds = 835.678 FPS

Now xv is working and I can play games like quake3, supertux, supertuxkart without problems ūüėÄ

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