Totally static Go builds

I wouldn't make a post on my blog just so I don't have to keep googling something would I? Of course I would. It's like...95% of the reason I keep this.

Totally static go builds - these are great for running in Docker containers. The important part is the command line to create them - it's varied a bit, but the most thorough I've found is this (see this Github Issue):

CGO_ENABLED=0 GOOS=linux go build -a -ldflags '-extldflags "-static"' .

This will create an "as static as possible" binary - beware linking in things which want glibc, since pluggable name resolvers will be a problem (which you can workaround in Docker quite well, but that's another question).

Quickly configuring modelines?

Quickly configuring modelines?

Something hopefully no one should ever have to do in the far distant future, but since I insist on using old-hardware till it drops, it still comes up.

Working from an SSH console on an XBMC box, I was trying to tune in an elusive 1366x768 modeline for an old plasma TV.

The best way to do it is with xrandr these days in a ~/.xprofile script which is loaded on boot up.

To quickly go through modelines I used the following shell script:

xrandr -d :0 --output VGA-0 --mode "1024x768"
xrandr -d :0 --delmode VGA-0 "1360x768"
xrandr -d :0 --rmmode "1360x768"
xrandr -d :0 --newmode "1360x768" $@
xrandr -d :0 --addmode VGA-0 "1360x768"
xrandr -d :0 --output VGA-0 --mode "1360x768"

Simply passing in a modeline when running it causes that modeline to be set and applied to the relevant output (VGA-0) in my case.

i.e. ./tryout 84.750 1366 1480 1568 1800 768 769 776 800 -hsync +vsync

Installing the latest docker release

Somehow the installation instructions for Docker never work for me and the website is surprisingly cagey about the manual process.

It works perfectly well if you just grab the relevant bits of that script and run them manually, but usually fails if you let it be a bit too magical.

To be fair, I probably have issues due to the mismatch of LSB release since I run Mint. Still though.

So here's the commands for Ubuntu:

$ apt-key adv --keyserver hkp:// --recv-keys 58118E89F3A912897C070ADBF76221572C52609D
$ echo deb ubuntu-vivid main > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/docker.list
$ apt-get update && apt-get install -y docker-engine

Using the Go playground locally


I modified Rocky Bernsteins go-play to compile with go-assetfs and run from a single executable. Get it here!

Why and How

iPython is one of the things I love best about Python. In a dynamically typed language its a huge benefit to be able to quickly and easily paste in chunks of code and investigate what the actual output would be or what an error situation would look like.

Go is not dynamically typed, but many of the same issues tend to apply - when errors rise they can be tricky to introspect without diving through the code, and sometimes the syntax or results of a function call aren't obvious.

As a learning tool, Go provides the Go Playground - a web service which compiles and runs snippets of Go code within a sandbox, which has proven a huge boon to the community for sharing and testing solutions (its very popular on Stack Overflow).

The public Go playground is necessariy limited - and it would be nice to be able to use Go in the same way clientside, or just without internet access.

Fortunately Rocky Bernstein pulled together an unrestricted copy of the Go play ground which runs as a client-side HTML5 app. Unlike the web playground, this allows unrestricted Go execution on your PC and full testing of things as they would work locally. The Github export is found here.

The one problem I had with this was that this version still exposed dependencies on the location of source files outside the executable - which for a tiny tool was kind of annoying. Fortunately this has been solved in Go for a long time - and a little fun with go-bindata-assetfs yielded my own version which once built runs completely locally.

Get it here. It's fully go-gettable too so go get will work too.

SSH port forwarding when port fowarding is disabled with socat and nc

The Problem

You have a server you can SSH to. For whatever reason AllowTCPPortForwarding is disabled. You need to forward a port from it to your local machine.

If it's any sort of standard machine, then it probably has netcat. It's less likely to have the far more powerful socat - which we'll only need locally.

This tiny tip servers two lessons: (1) disabling SSH port forwarding is not a serious security measure, and far more of an anoyance. And (2) since it's pretty likely you still need to do whatever job you need to do, it would be nice to have a 1-liner which will just forward the port for you

The Solution

socat TCP-LISTEN:<local port>,reuseaddr,fork "EXEC:ssh <server> nc localhost <remote port>"

It's kind of obvious if you know socat well, but half the battle is simply knowing it's possible.

Obviously you can change localhost to also be a remote server. And this is really handy if you want to do debugging since socat can echo all data to the console for you if you want.

The Lesson

As I said at the start: if you have standard tools installed, or if your users can upload new tools (which, with shell access they can), and if you don't have firewall rules or cgroups limitations on those accounts, then stuff like disabled port forwards is not a security measure.