September 19, 2010

A brief history of my computer life…

Filed under: About Me,LANDesk,Operating Systems — J. Abram barneck @ 12:44 am

Hello. I came across this post on the FreeBSD forums:  How you did you come FreeBSD world?

I started to respond but I felt my response was too long to put in a forum comment, so I am sticking it here on my blog.

A brief history of my computer life

My family had an Adam computer that ran on tape drives when I was young, boy was that Buck Rogers game and that Pong game awesome back then.  I did my math homework in a primitive text editor when I was in 4th grade (1986), even though it was harder than doing it with a pencil. Then at some point we got a 286 running DOS, which migrated to LeMenu, then to windows 3.11.  I remember hacking around Windows 3.1.1 just learning how the system worked.  Once moment, I would be gaming, the next, just looking at why the game installed the way it did, how the system was laid out.  At some point my family got a 386.

I remember getting online for the first time in 1994 with 14.4 modem. I remember windows 95. King’s Quest (1-6) were my favorite games.  At school I had programming and graphics course, all on Apple of some sort.

In 1995, I had a semester at the University of Utah which included one programming class. All their systems were unix based and we emailed using pine.

I didn’t touch computers much from 1996-1998 because I served a mission for my church in the Dominican Republic.  When I got back, Windows 98 was out and I earned enough to buy a computer. Technically it was the first computer that was “mine” because all the ones I had used before had belonged to my family or my school. StarCraft replaced King’s Quest as my favorite game.

In 1999 I took some MCSE courses. Around the same time, Microsoft outsourced their tech support for Windows 2000 to a company called Convergys.  This was in Orem, Utah. There was a guy there talking up Red Hat who gave me a Red Hat 6 CD. I told him to install it an get on the internet in under an hour.  It installed fine. But we never got it on the internet.  Turns out he was a newbie.  I played with Red Hat 6 for a week and never got Red Hat online. I was a Windows 2000 support guy anyway, right…I did get my NT 4.0 MCSE.

Well, Nortel Networks outsourced their tech support to the same place, and I jumped over there.  I guy named Joe introduced me to FreeBSD 4.6.

At some point, I convinced my brother to drop windows servers and use FreeBSD for his servers at his ISP, Psionyx.net (now FusionNetworks.com).

I then started http://www.bsdcertification.com, however, I was new to the BSD world and not really well-known and some other well-known members started http://www.bsdcertification.org a few months later, completely unaware of the effort I had put in.  At first I was irked and felt like they stole my project but I eventually got over it and turned my website over to them and now I am probably going to proxy exams at the upcoming UTOSC.

I got a job at LANDesk in 2004.  While it has an Agent for Linux/Unix it is pretty  much a windows tool.  I have really kept up my Windows knowledge and though I haven’t updated my MSCE, I probably have enough knowledge and experience with windows to be considered an expert. A year ago I became a developer with LANDesk and we do most everything in C# (though I get to touch legacy C++ code), so needless to say I use Windows 7 at work. I have really nice dev box running Windows 7 that is a VMWare host, and they give me a laptop with Windows 7 on it too.

So I’ve never really left Windows in the desktop world completely. I have a FreeBSD desktop and a FreeBSD server.  Actually, my work gives me a license for VMWare so I have dozens of virtual machines that I continue to use and test all kinds of platforms on, with FreeBSD being my open source platform of choice.  Twice I have gotten a FreeBSD server into production at LANDesk, once as a internal knowledge base, once as an SVN server, neither lasted.  I did become the subject matter expect for the LANDesk Linux agent and the LANDesk Linux-based appliance called the Management Gateway.

I am typing this on my work provided laptop that is running Windows 7.  I have a Remote Desktop session to a decently powerful computer that is also running Windows 7 and is a VMWare Workstation host (BSD is not supported as a VMWare host). As VMWare guests,  I have two FreeBSD VMs running currently and about a dozen freebsd VMs that I create for learning. Eventually, I delete them once I have learned what I created them to learn.

No I haven’t found a permanent FreeBSD project to call my home.  I keep dabbling here and there.  Mostly, I just document my learning, but eventually, I want to develop some BSD-related project.  It would also be awesome to have a job focused on FreeBSD.  However, I am way more than happy at LANDesk and I had an opportunity to leave for a Linux training company and I came close to doing so, but I just couldn’t leave a great company like LANDesk.  So the LANDesk and Windows world remains my work life, and FreeBSD remains one of my hobbies.


December 31, 2009

Why does Firefox prompt for Domain (AD) Authentication? or How to get Firefox to automatically login to web sites with Domain Credentials (Sharepoint for example)?

Filed under: Firefox,LANDesk,Windows 7,Windows XP — J. Abram barneck @ 1:42 pm

Why does Firefox prompt for Domain (AD) Authentication? or How to get Firefox to automatically login to web sites with Domain Credentials (Sharepoint for example)?

Hey all,

I am sure you have been annoyed by the fact that when you use Firefox, the sites that require Domain credentials can popup and ask you to login. Sites like Sharepoint can ask you to log in over and over and over and over again. And then just when you are about as annoyed as you can be with typing your Domain user name and password, it prompts you some more.

For those of you who know, I work for LANDesk and we have server software and our Web Console uses NTLM authentication or Active Directory Domain credentials. You can log into the LDMS Web Console using Firefox using this method.

Well, this is really easy to make this “authentication prompt” go away. A quick search in your favorite search engine will resolve this (on a Windows box at least).

I found this site rather quickly:

Step 1 – Gather the lists of Sites that require domain authentication

  1. Determine all the sites you go to at work that require domain or active directory credentials and put them in a text file.


  2. Now format them like this:

    CompanyName-Sharepoint, CompanyName-HelpDesk, InternalServer1, InternalServer2, InternalServer3, LDMSCore

    Don’t worry if you don’t get them all, you can add new sites at any time.

    Note: Save this text file as you may want to do this again for someone else or you may want to do it again yourself computer gets rebuilt/upgraded.

Step 2 – Configure Firefox to Automatically Authenticate to these sites

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Enter the following for the URL:

  3. When warned to be careful, click the “I’ll be careful, I promise” button.
  4. In the Filter field, enter this value: network.automatic-ntlm-auth.trusted-uris
    Note: If the value is not there, you can add it as a new string.

  5. Right click on the value and choose Modify.
  6. Enter your servers as we formatted them above:

    CompanyName-Sharepoint, CompanyName-HelpDesk, InternalServer1, InternalServer2, InternalServer3, LDMSCore

  7. Click Ok.
  8. You shouldn’t have to close and re-open firefox but some poeple like to do this anyway.

You should now be able to browse your sites without having to enter credentials.

December 14, 2009

LANDesk Support Tools Beta 7

Filed under: Console Add-on — J. Abram barneck @ 10:58 am

Hey all,

It has been a while again and again there are good reasons for this.

If you find something not working, please let me know.

( 9.0.0.x Matches our current release of LDMS, though this is not really version dependent.)

Release Notes

  1. Compiled using LDMS 9.
  2. Changed the OSType xml object to search for the value as an exact match and as a contains. (This resolve an issue where in 9.0 Windows Workstations just say Workstation and Windows Servers just say Server, but 8.8 agents might scan in and say XP Workstation, 2008 Server, so by just putting “Workstation, Server” all windows machines should be obtained.)
  3. Added a trick to handle the different the patch to the LDClient directory, which is now much more necessary since %ProgramFiles% doesn’t point to “c:\program files (X86)” on 64 bit machines. (I use this: %LDMS_LOCAL_DIR%\..\)

WARNING: This version is not tested on 8.8 and it is recommend you continue with version beta 6 for 8.8 and only use this version for LDMS 9.

Latest Version:

LANDesk Support Tools beta 7a.exe

Previous Version for LDMS 8.8

LANDesk Support Tools beta 6.exe

October 23, 2009

WinPE Add-on: Updated PEShell.exe for LDMS 8.7 or 8.8

Filed under: LANDesk,WinPE Add-on — J. Abram barneck @ 7:03 pm


This article contains alternate version of PEShell.exe.

One is an enhanced version of the PEShell.exe that comes with LANDesk’s version of WinPE.  It includes some menu options that can be beneficia.

The other is a PEShell.exe has that no menu options at all, for environments that need more security in WinPE.

Both have only been tested with 8.8.

Download Link

PEShell.exe Exe Zip
PEShell.exe with Enhanced Menu PEShell.exe PEShell.zip
PEShell.exe with No Menu (for secure environments) PEShellNoMenu.exe PEShellNoMenu.zip

How do I install it?

There is really no need for an installer. It can be added to the LDVPE1.IMG on the Core Server or it can be added to the peboot.img file on the PXE Representative directly.

Adding the new PEShell.exe to the LDVPE1.IMG on the Core Server

  1. Download the new PEShell.exe to your Core Server.
  2. Browse to \ManagementSuite\LANDesk\Vboot and open LDVPE1.IMG using a tool such as Winimage (http://www.winimage.com).
  3. Inject the new PEShell.exe into the i386\System32 folder in your LDVPE1.IMG file. The old PEShell.exe will be overwritten.

Any PXE Representatives deployed after replacing the PEShell.exe in the LDVPE1.IMG file will have the new PEShell.exe.

Any Provisioning Boot Media created after replacing the PEShell.exe in the LDVPE1.IMG file will have the new PEShell.exe.

Adding the new PEShell.exe to the PEBOOT.IMG on the PXE Representative

  1. Download the new PEShell.exe to your PXE Representative.
  2. Browse to C:\Program Files\LANDesk\PXE\System\Images and open PEBOOT.IMG using a tool such as Winimage (http://www.winimage.com).
  3. Inject the new PEShell.exe into the i386\System32 folder in your PEBOOT.IMG file. The old PEShell.exe will be overwritten.

July 22, 2009

Console Add-on: LANDesk Support Tools beta 6

Filed under: Console Add-on,LANDesk — J. Abram barneck @ 8:07 am

Hey all,

It has been a while and there are good reasons for this.

First, I have been working too hard both at work and at home.  I stripped, sanded, and stained my deck with a lot of help from my brother in law.  Never-the-less I have continued this project.

A lot of the DLL file I was using was coded a long time ago by someone else and it was mostly procedural code (even though it was C#), and I rewrote it with a bit more oject oriented-ness. Hopefully, this will make it easy to maintain in the future, not to mention the fact that I am now no longer using functions that I don’t know what they do, cause now I wrote them.

Anyway, here are some of the new enhancements.  They aren’t amazing, because it is the same thing rewritten.  If you find something not working, please let me know.

Release Notes

1. Mostly rewrote the SupportTools.dll
    a. Now the SupportTools.xml can be updated and the changes are seen in the console immediately without restarting.
    b. It is now using OS Type instead of OS Name for a filter.
    c. Filtered OS Types no longer show the option disabled, the option is now removed and I didn’t leave in the grayed out option.
    d. Only remote executes check for Remote Control rights, instead of everything checking for those rights.
    e. I slightly altered the XML format.
    f. Moved the SupportTools.xml file to the SupportTools directory.

    g. The Support Tools now are listed in the order placed in the XML, and not automatically sorted, so if you want to change the order you can.
2. Slightly enhanced who.vbs to not crash, but instead give a friendly error for disconnected devices.

3. Added a few options that weren’t there before.

4. Fixed typos in the XML.

5. Added RemoteRegistry.exe (an autoit script recommended to me by user Rich Sterling from community.landesk.com.  Thanks Rich.)

I know most won’t see much difference because they are already using most of the tools in this build.  But there were great strides made that will allow me to now start developing more tools that talk to the agents using LANDesk not RPC, so yeah!

As always you can get the latest link here:

Console Add-on: LANDesk Support Tools

I will keep both versions available for download for now.

I expect my new DLL to be more stable, more rebust, and overwall better.  However, being newly rewritten there is always the chance of an unforseen bug on someone elses system so I am leaving beta 5 downloadable as well.

Latest Version:

LANDesk Support Tools beta 6.exe

Previous Version

LANDesk Support Tools beta 5.exe

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