SSH without password

SSH is one of the most friendly deamons in the Linux toolbox, you can port forward your home server, you can surf the internet via your own proxy server, you can transfer files, it’s the first thing I set up on a freshly installed box and by far the most used service around my home (yeah, that’s nerdy) 🙂
This post will outline how you can create a public and private RSA key pair, and then we will use that key pair to authenticate ourselves to another computer in the network.
We will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Create a public/private rsa key pair
  2. Copy the public key to the remote host via ssh-copy-id
  3. Login to the remote system without a password

Create a public/private rsa key pair

If you haven’t created a rsa key pair yet, we can create it with this command:


As shown in this screenshot:
Screenshot from 2014-07-28 21:28:18If you have previously created a key pair, you will be asked to replace this.
For my home machines I don’t use a passphrase, if you’re more paranoid (or careful) you can do so. Please read this article for more info on passphrases and how to use them.
The keys have been generated in /home/yourloginname/.ssh and are called id_rsa and
Never, never send someone your private (id_rsa) key! That is the same as handing over your house keys..

Copy the public key to the remote host via ssh-copy-id

This step should be repeated for all hosts to which you want to SSH with the newly created RSA key pair.
The command used is:

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa joris@

Screenshot from 2014-07-28 21:30:35
You will need to enter your password one last time, after that your public key is added to the authorized_keys file, which is automatically created on the target system.
After this step you don’t need to use a password any more!

Login to the remote system without a password

Just SSH into the remote system:
Screenshot from 2014-07-28 21:32:01
And wonder what you’re gonna do with all that extra time you’ve just won because entering passwords belongs to the past… 🙂

CHere Bash Here without Admin Rights – CYGWIN

I wanted to add a “Bash Here” context entry when I right click on a directory:
Screenshot - 28-2-2014 , 13_01_20
This Bash Here would open that directory in Cygwin (mintty).
My current PC is fairly regulated, so without admin rights and thus I can’t use the CHere option which I would normally use.
I just created the registry keys via regedit and that works fine.
You can use two options:

  1. Import the registry file mentioned below
  2. Create the keys yourself

1. Import the registry file

Create a file called cygwin_bash_here.reg with the following contents:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
@="Bash Here"

Save the file and double click on it to import it to the registry.

2. Create the keys yourself

  1. Open the registry editor: Start – Run – “regedit”
  2. Open the following path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes
  3. Create key: “Directory”
  4. Inside Directory, create key: “shell”
  5. Inside shell, create key: “bashhere”
  6. Inside bashhere double click on the standard key and insert text “Bash here” without quotes (This is the text which is displayed in the context menu.
  7. Inside bashhere, create key: “command”
  8. Inside command, double click on the standard key and insert text “C:\cygwin\bin\mintty.exe” without quotes. Important: This is the command which is run. Please change directory to your cygwin directory

Screenshot - 28-2-2014 , 13_16_02


Both options will create a context menu item which opens Cygwin at your current windows directory!

Cygwin – Your group is currently mkpasswd

This message occurs every time you start your freshly installed Cygwin when you’re logged in as a domain user.

Your group is currently "mkpasswd".  This indicates that your
gid is not in /etc/group and your uid is not in /etc/passwd.
The /etc/passwd (and possibly /etc/group) files should be rebuilt.
See the man pages for mkpasswd and mkgroup then, for example, run
mkpasswd -l [-d] >> /etc/passwd
mkgroup  -l [-d] >> /etc/group
Note that the -d switch is necessary for domain users.

Important: You need to install Cygwin with the user you are logged in with.
: Remove the word “setup” from the cygwin executable to be able to install it without administrator privileges. (e.g. setup-x64.exe should be renamed to cygwin-x64.exe)

  • mkpasswd -l only shows my local users, and not the domain user I’m logged in with, so that does not solve this.
  • mkpasswd -l -d get an enormous amount of users because it tries to replicate my whole organisation, which is not necessary.

We just need our current user ( mkpasswd -c ) to be sent to the /etc/passwd and /etc/group files, to do this, we use this command:


mkpasswd -c >> /etc/passwd
mkgroup -c >> /etc/group

After that, our current account is added to both /etc/passwd and /etc/group and the annoying greeting message is gone!

SSH through a proxy to a remote server

I wanted to SSH into my home server from my workplace but I couldn’t reach it directly because of the way the network was set up.
As it turns out it is quite easy to do by using the corkscrew program.
Edit ~/.ssh/config and add the following lines:

Host home
    User joris
    ProxyCommand corkscrew proxyserveraddress proxyserverport %h %p

The most important part is the ProxyCommand, this lets your ssh client know that it should use corkscrew as a proxy to your host. %h means the host of your remote server, %p means the port of your remote server.

Run UltraVNC as user, prevent "No Password"

I wanted to run UltraVNC on my laptop to share the screen towards my desktop computer. I have no administrator rights on this pc but I can run the standalone UltraVNC server fine.
To run it without admin rights, download the zip file from the latest version from here, choose the “bin zip” downloads for your OS at the bottom of the page.
When you run winvnc.exe, the following message presented itself in a pop-up:

No password has been set & this machine has been preconfigured to prevent users from setting their own.
You must contact a System Administrator to configure WinVNC properly.

WinVNC No Password popup
Screenshot – WinVNC No Password popup

This means you need to set the password first, but you need to run WinVNC to be able to set the password (kind of a Catch 22 there)
Add the contents below in a new file called ultravnc.ini in the same folder as winvnc.exe and your password is set to “nopassword” (without the quotes). You can now startup WinVNC by doubleclicking winvnc.exe.

; both passwords are "nopassword"

Important: Do change your password in the settings when you can run WinVNC!

Screenshot - WinVNC Administrator Settings
Screenshot – WinVNC Administrator Settings

Format any XML (windows)

With this blog post, it’s possible to format any xml you’ve selected.
It will take about 5 minutes to get this working, a couple of manual steps are necessary.
These are the tools being used:

Steps to get it working: (All steps are necessary!)

  1. First install AutoHotKey_L and start it, you’ll see the logo if it’s running: AutoHotKey logo
  2. Create a folder on your Hard Drive called “C:\autohotkey”
  3. Create a file “tidycfg.ini” in the location “C:\autohotkey\tidycfg.ini” with the following contents:
    1. [Clean Indent XML]
      input-xml: yes
  4. Place tidy.exe in the location C:\autohotkey
  5. Create a file called “autohotkey.ahk” in C:\autohotkey with the following contents:
    1. #x::
      sleep 50
      Send ^c
      clipboard = %clipboard%
      FileDelete, C:\autohotkey\format_with_tidy.xml
      FileAppend, %clipboard%, C:\autohotkey\format_with_tidy.xml
      sleep 50
      RunWait, %comspec% /c C:\autohotkey\tidy.exe -config C:\autohotkey\tidycfg.ini C:\autohotkey\format_with_tidy.xml
      clipboard =
      FileRead, clipboard, C:\autohotkey\format_with_tidy.xml
  6. Doubleclick the file “autohotkey.ahk” in C:\autohotkey
  7. Select unformatted xml and press [ WINKEY+X ]
  8. The formatted xml is now in your clipboard and can be pasted anywhere.

Extra information:

These are the steps what is happening in the autohotkey file:

  1. Configure the keyboard shortcut (# = winkey, x = x-key)
  2. Wait 50 milliseconds
  3. Send the ctrl-c with keyboard combination ^c ( ^ = ctrl, c = c-key)
  4. Wait until the clipboard is filled
  5. remove all formatting from the clipboard
  6. Delete the temporary file (if present)
  7. Paste the clipboard contents in the temporary file
  8. Wait 50 milliseconds
  9. Run tidy.exe on the temporary file with the configuration settings
  10. empty the clipboard
  11. Paste the contents of the temporary file in the clipboard
  12. End script

Validate XML to XSD with XMLLINT on CLI

I was looking for a nice tool to validate my XML messages against an XML Schema, when I ran into this command where you can really easily validate on the command line. That’s really cool since we’re becoming CLI ninjas anyway!
Update: This also works on Windows with this little gem.
The command is as follows:

xmllint --noout --schema schema.xsd ./message.xml

Which delivered the following output:

joris@jorislatitude:~/workspaces/_examples/XSD$ xmllint --noout --schema sample_schema.xsd ./messageone.xml
./messageone.xml:2: element S_UNB: Schemas validity error : Element 'S_UNB': This element is not expected. Expected is ( INSDES ).
./messageone.xml fails to validate

As shown in above message, my example failed to validate, which is what I suspected, but now I can send my integration partner a better and really precise explanation! As said above: Awesomeness! 🙂

Fake SMTP server! Great for testing email / SMTP!

Often in projects you will be asked to send an email when an error occurs, or as a part of the functional process.
Unfortunatly it is sometimes a bit cumbersome to make sure you are not sending mail to real email addresses.. I’ve recently found a nice solution for this problem: a fake SMTP server!
This way, you only have to change the IP address on your SMTP endpoint instead of checking every emailaddress or disabling all the actual email functionality.
The application is called “FakeSMTP” (What’s in a name?) 🙂 and can be found through this link:

Screenshot - FakeSMTP Main screen
Screenshot – FakeSMTP Main screen

As you can see in the screenshot, the program runs on the port you assign to it, acting as an email server with all the correct responses, with the only difference that it does not actually send out the emails. The emails are stored in a folder which you can specify. You can also double click on the message row in the program to open the email in your email client (in my case Outlook) which worked great for testing purposes.
I was quite pleased when I found this solution :-), hope it will help you guys too!

SQL Developer, Comma's before columns!

I’ve been using SQL Developer a lot lately for data analysis and I’ve been getting used to the auto formatting to easily create well readable code out of my garbled-“I’m in a hurry”-SQL-mess.
This works like a charm, except for the comma’s which kept showing up at the end of the column names after the auto formatting, a small annoyance which is easily solved with this trick.
This is the default auto-formatting which is used by SQL Developer:

SELECT t1.column1,
FROM table1 t1
JOIN table2 t2
ON t1.value1 = t2.value2;

You can change this behaviour by accessing the following settings:
Tools -> Preferences -> Database -> SQL Formatting -> Oracle Formatting -> Press button “Edit”
In the Oracle Formatting window: Line-breaks -> Select “Before comma” and deselect “After comma”

After this trick, the default formatting will have this code as a result:

SELECT t1.column1
, t1.column2
, t2.column3
FROM table1 t1
JOIN table2 t2
ON t1.value1 = t2.value2;

Happy querying! 🙂