Canonical Voices

What Sean Feole talks about


So I use Xchat daily and connect to a private IRC server to talk with my colleagues. I also have a BIP server in the office to record all of the IRC transcripts, this way I never miss any conversations regardless of the time of day. Because the BIP server is behind a firewall on the companies network I can’t access it from the outside.  For the past year I’ve been working around this by connecting to my companies firewall via ssh and creating a SOCKS tunnel then simply directing xchat to talk through my local SOCKS proxy.

To do this ,  open a terminal and issue:


Ex: ssh -CND

Starting ssh with -CND:

‘D’ Specifies a local “dynamic” application-level port forwarding. This works by allocating a socket to listen to port on the local side, optionally bound to the specified bind_address. It also adds compression to the datastream ‘C’ and the ‘N’ is a safeguard which protects the user from executing remote commands. is my  IPv4 address

9999 is the local port i’m going to open and direct traffic through

After the SSH tunnel is open I now need to launch xchat, navigate to Settings -> Preferences -> Network Setup and configure xchat to use my local IP ( and local port (9999) then press OK then Reconnect.

I should now be able to connect to the IRC server behind the firewall. Usually I run through this process a few times a day, so it becomes somewhat of a tedious annoyance after a while.

Recently I finished a cool python3 script that does all of this in quick command.

The following code will do the following:

1.) identify the ipv4 address of the interface device you specify

2.) configure xchat.conf to use the new ipv4 address and port specified by the user

3.) open the ssh tunnel using the SSH -CND command from above

4.) launch xchat and connect to your server (assuming you have it set to auto connect)

To use it simply run

$./ -i <interface> -p <port>

ex: $./ -i wlan0 -p 9999

the user can select wlan0 or eth0 and of course their desired port. When your done with the tunnel simply issue <Ctrl-C> to kill it and wala!

#!/usr/bin/env python3
#Sean Feole 2012,
#xchat proxy wrapper, for those of you that are constantly on the go:
#   --------------  What does it do? ------------------
# Creates a SSH Tunnel to Proxy through and updates your xchat config
# so that the user does not need to muddle with program settings

import signal
import shutil
import sys
import subprocess
import argparse
import re
import time

proxyhost = ""
proxyuser = "sfeole"
localusername = "sfeole"

def get_net_info(interface):
    Obtains your IPv4 address

    myaddress = subprocess.getoutput("/sbin/ifconfig %s" % interface)\
    if myaddress == "CAST":
        print ("Please Confirm that your Network Device is Configured")
        return (myaddress)

def configure_xchat_config(Proxy_ipaddress, Proxy_port):
    Reads your current xchat.conf and creates a new one in /tmp

    in_file = open("/home/%s/.xchat2/xchat.conf" % localusername, "r")
    output_file = open("/tmp/xchat.conf", "w")
    for line in in_file.readlines():
        line = re.sub(r'net_proxy_host.+', 'net_proxy_host = %s'
                 % Proxy_ipaddress, line)
        line = re.sub(r'net_proxy_port.+', 'net_proxy_port = %s'
                 % Proxy_port, line)
    shutil.copy("/tmp/xchat.conf", "/home/%s/.xchat2/xchat.conf"
                 % localusername)

def ssh_proxy(ProxyAddress, ProxyPort, ProxyUser, ProxyHost):
    Create SSH Tunnel and Launch Xchat

    ssh_address = "%s:%i" % (ProxyAddress, ProxyPort)
    user_string = "%s@%s" % (ProxyUser, ProxyHost)
    ssh_open = subprocess.Popen(["/usr/bin/ssh", "-CND", ssh_address,
                 user_string], stdout=subprocess.PIPE, stdin=subprocess.PIPE)

    print ("")
    print ("Kill this tunnel with Ctrl-C")
    stat = ssh_open.poll()
    while stat is None:
        stat = ssh_open.poll()

def main():
    Core Code

    parser = argparse.ArgumentParser()
    parser.add_argument('-i', '--interface',
                        help="Select the interface you wish to use",
                        choices=['eth0', 'wlan0'],
    parser.add_argument('-p', '--port',
                        help="Select the internal port you wish to bind to",
                        required=True, type=int)
    args = parser.parse_args()

    proxyip = (get_net_info("%s" % args.interface))
    configure_xchat_config(proxyip, args.port)
    print (proxyip, args.port, proxyuser, proxyhost)

    ssh_proxy(proxyip, args.port, proxyuser, proxyhost)

if __name__ == "__main__":

Refer to the launchpad address above for more info.

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So looking for new ways to extend your laptop battery life??  Just recently I found a great combo that involves using a very cool application called “Jupiter

You can grab Jupiter from the launchpad PPA @

I have yet to find a good application that handles “On Demand” mode relatively well. This app clocks down your processors when on battery to their lowest setting and kicks them back up once A/C power is restored. I have used other linux power mgmt tools but haven’t had a great experience. I have a system76 Pangolin and it’s pretty power hungry, it’s pretty much a mobile desktop and during the Natty / Oneiric releases of Ubuntu I was lucky to get 40 minutes on the beast. But that was because everything was running full power, After installing Jupiter and making some additional changes I managed to turn 40 minutes into 2 hours. Not bad eh?

Some of the additional changes I made involved the following:

Taking /var/log and completely mounting it to tmpfs. This way we are writing straight to memory, not needing to bother the disk constant reads/writes. Take note that this causes your logs to clear out at the end of every reboot/shutdown, but I’ve seen improvement.

So first we need to make some modifications in /etc/fstab

tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
tmpfs /var/log tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
tmpfs /var/tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0

Save that off

Then lets carry out the following.

$ sudo service rsyslog status // to check if it’s up and running
$ sudo service rsyslog stop
$ sudo rm -rf /tmp/*
$ sudo rm -rf /var/log/*
$ sudo rm -rf /var/tmp/*
$ sudo mount -a
$ sudo service rsyslog start

Now you will notice all system logs will be directed to /tmp. Give it a try for a week or two and see if you notice any difference in your battery life.

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