I have a pipeline which creates live images to network boot different systems. Historically this has been based on CentOS. A little while ago I moved it to CentOS 8 because I had some newer hardware that was not supported on the older kernel of 7. Everything was working well until recently when CentOS 8 went end of life, and I could no longer rely on the CentOS 8 Docker containers.
The journey began for a new EL8 system. I wanted to keep on EL8 instead of switching to Streams because all the other systems I had running were EL8 (CentOS 8 or RHEL8), and I wanted to keep compatibility. At the same time, I didn’t want to do a new build of the image, have things break, and not realize it was because of a CentOS Streams change upstream. I also used the CentOS 8 docker container which seems to have been pulled, so that forced me to do this change now.
My first thought was Oracle Linux. It has been around for a while, is ALMOST drop in compatible, and can be used without going and getting licenses (RHEL). (There are some small silly things like instead of “epel-release” the package is “oracle-epel-release-el8”) This lead to nothing but issues. I replaced all the repos I had in the image creation stage with Oracle Linux ones, then every build I got a ton of “nothing provides module(platform:el8)” lines for any package that used yum/dnf modules. I spent a chunk of time on this, finding no real answers, and one Oracle support page that looked like it could help saying I needed to buy a support contract. Classic Oracle. At one point I thought it had something to do with Commit – rpms/centos-release – 89457ca3bf36c7c29d47c5d573a819dd7ee054fe – CentOS Git server where a line in os-release confuses dnf, but then that line was there. Also Oracle doesn’t seem to have a kickstart url repo, which is needed to do this sort of network boot. They wanted the end user to set that repo up, which may be the source of my issues. This also touched on the issue Disable Modular Filtering in Kickstart Repos – Red Hat Customer Portal, but I wasn’t even getting to a base OS setup, then I could make changes to the os and dnf for how it processes modules.
Then I figured I would try either AlmaLinux or Rocky Linux. They both came out around when Redhat said Cent 8 was going away. Looking into both projects, they both are backed by AWS and Equinix who are big players, which made me feel a bit better about it. I had heard a bit more about Rocky and its support, so I tried that. I dropped in the new repos, and kickstart location, and everything just worked… Even things that were a issue when playing with Oracle Linux went away. For example, epel-release was once again called what it should be.
In the end so far it seems to be happy! We will see if any other small differences pop up and bite me…
Below is an example of the top of the kickstart I am using, if anyone is interested in more of how I create live images, leave a comment and I can do a post on it:
lang en_US.UTF-8 keyboard us timezone Europe/Brussels --isUtc auth --useshadow --enablemd5 selinux --disable network --device=eno1 --bootproto=dhcp skipx part / --size 4096 --fstype ext4 part /opt --size 4096 --fstype ext4 firewall --disabled
I was experimenting with integrating CentOS with my home Active Directory (AD) cluster. I wanted centralized user management, and for a stretch goal, get PKI login working for Smart Card auth. I have used winbind before to connect CentOS 6 to Active Directory, that configuration before was a bit annoying. These days with CentOS/RHEL 7 and 8 we have SSSD, which is more straight forward. For all the following tests I used Putty-CAC (link), a Windows app that allows GSSAPI, and Smart Card auth.
I will start off with my experience, then follow up with a how to; for this article I already have AD configured to support Smart Card auth, and have stored the Smart Card public key for my user. I will follow up with an article about that configuration. Active Directory integration is straight forward and easy. One setting you can enable is: hiding the domain names from the username, this allows the users to feel native to the system. Using users and groups are easy; I made a group to which I gave sudo access. When using Smart Cards you will need to put NOPASSWD in the sudo entry for that group, because the Smart Card users usually do not have passwords, usually… You can use Smart Card auth with Active Directory AND a password as long as you do not set “Smart card is required for interactive logon”. If you do check that box, AD sets a random password on the backend for that user.
After setup, with this config we store the authorized_keys in AD under the attribute altSecurityIdentities. The main tool to debug Smart Card auth is the tool sss_ssh_authorizedkeys, this allows you to have the system attempt to pull their ssh key on demand. A big warning about SSSD, it loves to cache information. If you attempt to run that command, and then make changes to your sssd.conf or AD, and re-run sss_ssh_authorizedkeys, it will fail because it is caching the failed lookup from before. My recommended command as root between tests where it may be caching is:
1. Setup hostnamectl (make sure your host knows what its name is supposed to be) and dns, for SSSD to work well you need the system to be able to find itself in DNS, you can set up SSSD to auto register with dynamic DNS (more on that later)
2. Install Packages
apt -y install realmd sssd sssd-tools libnss-sss libpam-sss adcli samba-common-bin oddjob oddjob-mkhomedir packagekit
sudo yum install realmd sssd oddjob oddjob-mkhomedir adcli samba-common samba-common-tools krb5-workstation
At this point running “# realm discover your_domain_fqdn” will list out services your domain needs for users to login. Usually the main program you need to enable is oddjobd which will create home directories when users login. Note, for these examples I find it easier to have a domain in them than the subsistute it, I will use my home test domain “home.ntbl.co” here.
3. systemctl enable oddjobd 4. systemctl start oddjobd 5. realm join -U admin_user_on_domain home.ntbl.co 6. vim /etc/sudoers.d/winadmins Add the line “%domain\ email@example.com ALL=(ALL) ALL“, where “domain admins” is a group I have in AD, and “home.ntbl.co” is my domain. This setup does not support Smart Card login with sudo, since you need NOPASSWD for that sudo login. Example "%domain\ firstname.lastname@example.orgALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL". You can create a sub sudo file like I did here, or visudo to edit sudo and have it syntax checked.
7. Below is my /etc/sssd/sssd.conf without Smart Card auth setup.
Adding “use_fully_qualified_names” changes your username from “email@example.com” to “dan”. Not a requirement, but a nice, quality of life setting. The bottom adds dynamic dns, which will push your IP to AD DNS. Windows does dynamic DNS updates by default, and unless the systems are statically assigned, or even if they are, this can be a nice feature. Now "systemctl stop sssd" and “systemctl start sssd”, then you should be able to login with your AD account.
Before getting into Smart Card auth, I wanted to briefly mention GSSAPI. This is a method to do auth between systems. It allows Windows clients to one click login to SSH by passing an auth token from your Windows session right to SSH. If you setup SSSD, enable GSSAPIAuthentication in /etc/ssh/sshd_config then you can use an app like Putty-CAC to SSH with GSSAPI. I have found this usually works with SSSD by just setting GSSAPI to yes. If you just want to admin Linux from AD, and have no other requirements I would suggest you look into this for your environment because it is so easy. If yo are going to follow the rest of the guide, make sure to turn GSSAPI back off, or it will log you in automatically and you may think its Smart Card auth working; that fooled me for a few minutes.
Smart Card Auth
For all of my tests, I used the following Smart Card, Amazon link. I think these other cards would work as well, and they are cheaper; but I have not personally tried them. Amazon link. I may write an article later about setting up these cards, if you are interested write a comment below.
Add Certs to AD
You need the Smart Card’s public key data in SSH authorized_keys format. This guide will show you how to get that string from Putty CAC. You have to enjoy when a .gov site tells you to go to user NoMoreFood and get security software, the open source world is great.
In Active Directory, go to Active Directory Users and Computers, turn on Advanced Features, by going to the View menu, and enabling Advanced Features. Then select the user you want to add ssh keys for, and select the “Attribute Editor” tab. You will find an entry at the top called “altSecurityIdentities”, add the line that would usually be in ~/.ssh/authorized_keys there, it should look like “ssh-rsa key_stuff”.
Configuring SSSD for Cert Auth
To add Smart Card auth to SSSD, just add the following to your sssd.conf, merge the sections with the ones from above.
Now restart sssd. If you run "sss_ssh_authorizedkeys dan" with dan replaced with your name, then you SHOULD get a key back if everything is setup correctly. If you do not get a key back, use the command below to reset sssd and reload. If you still do not get a key then you will need to edit settings in sssd.conf, and continue to tweak:
I will say this does seem to take some trial and error. /var/log/sssd/ has some good logs that can help point you in the correct direction if you are running into issues. One quick note I will make, you may see people online say “use the command ‘sss_ssh_authorizedkeys -debug 4 home.ntblc.o’ to debug the command.” This command does not have a debug throw, that that does is uses the -d argument which is domain, then tries to parse the rest. You end up with key lookup attempts on domain “ebug” for user 4. Sadly sss_ssh_authorizedkeys is not very verbose, debugging it is a bit of a pain; do not listen to people who mention the above debug command, at least on CentOS/Rhel 7 and 8 it does not work.
As long as you are getting a key back from the above command, then you can wire it into SSH. Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config with the following, note some sites say AuthorizedKeysCommandUser should be root, some say it should be nobody. I error on the side of lesser permissions and set it to:
With CentOS 7.5, ioMemory VSL 4.3.3 kernel module would no longer load; I could not get it to recompile from source either. I tried a bunch of things including moving my CentOS 7.5 box to the EL7 4.17 kernel to see if that helped me compile from source, no luck. Then I found a forum post, https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/centos-7-fusionio-users-do-not-upgrade-to-kernel-3-10-0-862-2-3-el7-yet.19760/ where they speak of patching VSL 3.2.15. Using this and some playing around I got VSL 4.2.1 to work with my system. This method may work for some later versions, yet 4.3.3 had some other code changes that were causing it not to compile, so I used 4.2.1. Below are the steps to get a working ioMemory VSl 4.2.1 for Centos 7.5; comments if it worked or didnt are welcome.
Note: I did all these steps as my user, and not as root. My card is a FusionIO ioMemory SX350
HipChat 4 has recently come out, and then shortly after it was released to my companies internal HipChat server. Being a Linux user I hoped that the aged HipChat 2 client was finally updated for Fedora or Red Hat or CentOS 7 so I could just use yum to install it. When I went to the download page the old yum instructions were replaced by only Ubuntu/Debian instructions! After playing around with the Debian package and getting it to load, I thought I would look at the repo a little more. Low and behold, Atlassian is making a yum repo! Just not publishing instructions on how to use it! The downside is they seem to not be signing the repo, but the code below works with yum to download the latest version.