Stunnel & Apache (Invalid method in request x80gx01x03)

Here’s a really quick post about an issue I’ve encountered recently when using stunnel to connect through to Apache via HTTPS.  I set up the connections and then tried to view the end-point using ‘links’ (https://localhost) and received an SSL error. The apache logs listed:

Invalid method in request x80gx01x03

The stunnel config that I was using looked something like this

accept=443 # Apache SSL listing on a non-standard port

It turned out to be a really simple fix. Because I was connecting to stunnel using SSL it was being encrypted by my browser then encrypted by stunnel. At the other end it was being decrypted by stunnel and then left with my original browser encrypted data which Apache couldn’t do anything with and couldn’t understand the request.

The fix was to simply change the config to:

accept=80 # Apache SSL listing on a non-standard port

Then test the connection via ‘links http://localhost’ and let stunnel handle the encryption and certificate negotiation on its own.

Firebug not running in Firefox on Linux (solution)

Firebug LogoSince switching to Linux I’ve had one issue that has really caused me grief over the past few weeks, and it’s been with Firebug, which to a web-developer is a pretty indispensable tool!

I compiled Firefox using the ebuild from Gentoo Portage, and then installed the Firebug extension, but once Firefox had restarted to complete the installation, Firebug wouldn’t open at all. Whenever I tried to open it I received various error messages in Firefox’s error console including ‘permission denied to call method location.tostring’. Upgrading to Firefox, and Firebug 1.1.0b10 didn’t help.

After some digging I found a bug report that described exactly what’s happening to me. So I added ‘mozdevelop’ to my Portage USE flags, and then recompiled Firefox and now Firebug works a treat! and other musical things

Last.Fm LogoI’ve been a huge fan of since I started using it back in 2006 (for those who don’t know, it’s a social music website that logs every song you listen to, and connects you with people of similar taste, and suggests other music that you might like), but one feature that I’ve often overlooked is the stand-alone player.

On windows it’s the main tool that scrobbles your tracks as you listen to them in iTunes or Windows Media Player, but you can also type an artists name, or a specific tag, and listen to a stream of similar music; something I’ve been using a lost this Christmas. It’s been great to fire up the player on a laptop and listen to music tagged with ‘acoustic’ while I cook dinner, or type in an artist like ‘John Mayer‘ and find similar artists. Player (streaming)

A side-effect of this is that I’ve also discovered 7digital, an online music store that offers DRM[?] free music ( direct you to 7digital if you want to buy an album electronically) which is perfect now that I’m using Linux. There’s also a Linux version of the stand-alone player, and other options like built in support for scrobbling and listening to streams in Amarok.

One issue that I have experienced since I switched to Linux, is the downside to DRM. I’ve purchased quite a bit of music over the past few years from the iTunes Music Store, which is copy protected and won’t play outside of an authorised copy of iTunes, which is a problem if you’re using Linux and can’t actually run iTunes. Thankfully it’s a pretty common issue and thanks to the Hymn Project I’ve been able to get all of my purchased music into a Linux friendly format!

Happy days.


Linux screen-1 300×240Its official, I’ve decided to drop Microsoft Windows completely at home, and use Linux instead. It started off as a little experiment, to see what Linux is like these days (it’s been a few years since I used it last), but after a few days of using it I love it!

I’m currently running Gentoo Linux, with the KDE desktop (3.5). I’ve included some screen shots of what it currently looks like.

If I’m honest I thought that running Linux day to day would be a bit of a drag, but it’s been great so far. I’ve managed to find open-source equivalents of everything I used to use on Windows, like:

  1. Browser – Firefox (same ol’ browser, with the same plugins)
  2. Instant messaging client – Kopete (includes MSN support)
  3. Music Player – Amarok (even includes built in Last.FM support)
  4. Image editing – Gimp (on a par with Adobe Photoshop)
  5. Open Office (Perfect replacement for Microsoft Office in 90% of cases)
  6. VLC & Xine (media and DVD player), Realplayer, Adobe Flash 9 plugin, and Last.FM player

Linux screen-2 300×240The obvious comment to make is that all of the software above is free, so there’s no need to pay for expensive image editing, or office software!

Getting the software is easy too. From previous experience I was expecting to have to either a) compile everything from source code and track down if one program was dependent on another when something broke, or b) use RPM or another package manager to install software that someone else has configured for you, leaving little room for your own configuration. Thankfully Gentoo have Portage, which is a great package manager. You can search their repository online, or from the command line, and it downloads the latest copy of the application and then complies it for you. The best thing is you can easily set flags to control what options you want the program to compile with, and there’s no need to worry about dependencies, if it detects one then it installs whatever is required first.

Linux screen-3 300×240.jpgOne criticism I had, and somewhat still have of Linux, is that it doesn’t look quite as polished as Windows or OS X does, but I’m still learning what to tweak, and what fonts etc to install so I’ll get there. One excellent feature has to be Compiz Fusion, which provides some real eye-candy with window and desktop animations! I’d never really seen the point to having multiple ‘virtual’ desktops running at the same time for the same user, but Compiz really lets you make full use of those additional desktops. Think of it as having multiple monitors, but without having to give up the desk space.

I’m also using Avant as a dock(which you can see at the bottom of these screen shots), and gives you a nice 3D styled launcher, and task bar of running applications.

Here’s some screenshots of Compiz in action. The first shows a linear view of all four desktops with different applications running simultaneously (from left to right: Gimp, Firefox with, Xine playing Sean of the Dead, and Konsole).

Linux screen-4 300×240.jpg

The second shot is of the cube desktop view, showing the same four desktops with the same applications running, but you can manipulate the 3D cube, and move between desktops.

Linux screen-5 300×240.jpg

The desktop background I’m using at the moment is by 1600 Squirrels you can see the original at

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