Posts Tagged ‘server-manager’

Troubleshooting “server-manager” in SME Server

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Originally this post was going to document my troubleshooting of my login problem with the web based administrative interface of SME Server 7 after my bare (virtual) metal restore. In the end, I gave up fixing the problem, and did the upgrade via CD to SME Server 8 beta 6.  This didn’t turn out to be an easy fix, and I also had my eye on some nice benefits to upgrading to SME8, such as PHP5 and MySQL5 (finally!)

The following now serves as a review of how I think the “server-manager” interface is delivered in SME’s architecture.  It’s elegant, but complex.

The exact error was:

You don’t have permission to access /server-manager on this server.
Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t know how to troubleshoot this error.  A lot of the problem was that SME is more complex than your normal web server do to  security precautions.

This is how I think the “server-manager” GUI is hosted:

  • You normally go to (or whatever your server’s local IP is)
  • The web server, “httpd”, which runs as user www and group www (which I assume has minimal permissions) then reverse proxies to a second httpd process, httpd-admin
  • The second Apache server, httpd-admin, runs on port 980, and runs as user admin and group admin.
  • The 2nd web server has it’s own configuration files.
  • The web scripts are in this folder: /etc/e-smith/web/panels/manager/
  • On a fresh install, the Linux admin user is group id 101, and the admin group is id 101 (my restored server had a different group id)

Fixing the Time in an SME Server Running in VMWare Server 2

Monday, November 8th, 2010

First, a PSA: Please do a backup of all your data, if you haven’t done one in the last week!

A good daily backup over the network  saved my behind this week, after a hard drive crash on our home “server”.  My data was safe, though, I do have some rebuilding of the operating systems to do (Yes, systems, the server is a virtual machine).

I had the craziest time trying to get the time in the VM to stay in sync with the universe.   There are many posts on the web about a dozen different tricks and settings for making the time in a Linux VM work properly.  In my case, I think it turned out to be a simple problem, I didn’t have VMWare Tools automatically starting at boot time.

This page gave me the hints I needed:

The gist:
At the SME console:
/etc/rc.d/init.d/vmware-tools start
Make tools start on reboot:
# Redhat-based distros
chkconfig vmware-tools on
# SME 7
ln -s /etc/rc.d/init.d/vmware-tools /etc/rc7.d/S19vmware-tools


I had to do a song and dance to restore my DAR2 backup, but, generally I’m happy.  I still can’t access SME Server’s “/server-manager” web based GUI… that may be the next post on the PSI blog.

Background: My home server runs SME Server, formerly known as E-smith, from  I’ve been running this Linux based, server bundle for years, maybe even a decade.  However, a couple years ago, I migrated it into a virtual machine to reduce the number of computers that are running 24×7 at home.

Epilog: It might be time to do RAID at home.  Backups are good, but reconfiguration of a highly customized computer still takes a while.