Netatalk authentication gotchas and diagnostic steps for Ubuntu 10.04

Posted: September 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: netatalk, Ubuntu | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

For some reason the netatalk package that is in the Ubuntu repository doesn’t come with any password authentication packages. So unless you want a fully non password appletalk setup on your Ubuntu server. DO NOT apt-get install netatalk!

I followed Mr. Kretschmann’s handy HowTo for installing Netatalk on Ubuntu. It seems to work for Ubuntu 10.04 (actually it should work with all linux distributions). However when I try login, I kept getting unknown username / password problem.

Here are my installation steps:

sudo apt-get source netatalk
sudo apt-get build-dep netatalk
sudo apt-get install cracklib2-dev
sudo apt-get install libssl-dev
cd netatalk-2*
sudo DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS=ssl dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot
sudo dpkg -i ../netatalk-2*.deb
echo "netatalk hold" | sudo dpkg --set-selections

Here are my diagnostic steps:

  1. Check your afpd.conf and AppleVolumes.default files for any typos, especially when you are cutting and pasting!
  2. If you want to let each user to access his/her own directory, you should put
    ~/ "$u" allow:$u cnidscheme:cdb

    in AppleVolumes.default; $u is the variable for username; instead of username1/username2 combination as listed in the HowTo. The list of variable names is in the comment section of the file or here.

  3. Open Log File Viewer under System -> Administration. What this does is whenever there is any updates in any of the log files, the updated log file on the left will appear bold.
  4. What I encountered was my installation steps above only created the uams_dhx2*.so authentication libraries. My syslog file has these entries
    afpd[17919]: ASIP started on (2.0.5)
    afpd[17919]: uam: loading (/usr/lib/netatalk/
    afpd[17919]: uam: uam not found (status=-1)
    afpd[17919]: uam: loading (/usr/lib/netatalk/
    afpd[17919]: uam: uam not found (status=-1)
    afpd[17919]: Finished parsing Config File
  5. Go to /usr/lib/netatalk directory and verify which authentication modules you have. Update your afpd.conf appropriately. Mine is:
    - -transall -uamlist -savepassword -advertise_ssh

    dhx2 authentication is only supported by MacOSX machines, if you have OS9 or earlier you will have to have the others fall back to. I think it is much easier to use a normal MacOSX machine to do Appletalk though.

  6. I also noticed in with Netatalk 2.0.5 (vs 2.0.3 in the HowTo), there is a Time Machine support option in the AppleVolumes.default file. So an entry like this:
    ~/TimeMachine "$u" allow:$u cnidscheme:cdb options:usedots,upriv,tm

    would allow a per user login to have their own TimeMachine backup. or you can do it by ip via the $c variable. With that option enabled, I can run TimeMachine without having to create my own sparsebundle etc. You still have to issue the Defaults write TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1 command in a terminal of the Mac you want to start TimeMachine though.

  7. Oh after each change, remember to run:
    /etc/init.d/netatalk stop
    /etc/init.d/netatalk start

    I find 2 commands work better than one command using the restart flag.

Some notes on submitting code to

Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Drupal | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The web browsers have improved by leaps and bounds. However it is still a pain for academics to communicate and present their formulas and graphs. Good thing there are now Javascript solutions like MathJAX and JSXGraph to bridge the gap (not to mention relatively cheap bandwidth). However there aren’t that many off the shelf plugins/modules that integrates easily to CMS systems like Drupal.

Recently I helped a friend create a Drupal plugin for JSXGraph. Since all the code is GNU. I applied for CVS access at Here are some notes:
The code itself:
Formatting: Tab is 2 spaces. Give the Coding Standard document a quick read through.
3rd party code: In my case, the JSXGraph core files are not created by me, so they are not allowed into the repository.

    Apply for CVS access:

  1. Have your source code production ready and have them in a zip file.
  2. Make an account on
  3. Apply for CVS access here. Once approved, it is attached to your account.
  4. Attached the zip file into the review queue, and set the status tag to “need review”
  5. Patiently wait for volunteers to review your code and suggest changes

    Configure your client for CVS:

  1. I use TortoiseCVS under //s and Windows.
  2. Install Tortoise and create a local directory for CVS files (non zipped) to reside.
  3. Once your code has been reviewed, your Drupal account will be CVS enabled.
  4. Right click on the directory in Step 2 and select Check Out, paste in the CVSROOT information. You will check out all the directories in contribution/modules directory.
  5. Alternatively, I find it easier just to do a cvs checkout -l contributions/modules
  6. Once you have checked out the modules directory, you can create your own.
  7. For more information refer to here.
  8. Move your source files via Explorer into the directory you set Tortoise to in step 2.
  9. You can then Add and Commit the files and files will be added to the CVS!.

    Project Page

  1. Create your project page.
  2. Create a new release node BEFORE you create a new release, if not it will give you some weird errors like ‘The Patch-level must be “x” for snapshot release from a branch (or HEAD)’, even when you got everything right.
  3. Click on “Add New Release” at the Project page.

    Advantages of submitting your code to

  1. Users of your module will able get to get the latest plugins on their Drupal installations automatically.
  2. You can use to handle all feature requests and bug fixes.
  3. It is good to contribute to the greater good of the world.