Installing LibreELEC Kodi in a VMware vSphere Virtual Machine

LibreELEC banner

I tried a couple of methods of installing LibreELEC in a VMware virtual machine before finding the solution. The first was to simply pass through a Jump drive with a bootable image to the virtual machine. This didn’t work as I discovered that vSphere virtual machines cannot boot from USB.

I also tried converting an image file to an .iso and booting from that – that also didn’t work.

I finally discovered the LibreELEC virtual appliance and simply deployed that to vSphere.

I would typically just post a link, but it appears that the LibreELEC mirrors seem to change so it is best to know how to get a link to the .ova file.

First head to the LibreELEC download page. What we are looking for is a link named info behind which is a mirror list.

libreelec mirror list
(info) link to LibreELEC mirror list.

On the mirror list page you can see that I have two mirrors available in the US:

LibreELEC Mirrors 2
LibreELEC mirrors with path to URL highlighted.

Notice that I have the first portion of the path to a LibreELEC image selected. This URL takes me to the full listing of available LibreELEC images on that mirror.

libreELEC ova
Mirror link to LibreELEC .ova highlighted.

Copy the link to the LibreELEC .ova file and then run the vSphere Client to start deploying the virtual appliance.

Click the File menu and then Deploy OVF Template.

Paste the LibreELEC .ova hyperlink and then click Next to continue through the rest of the deployment wizard.

virtual LibreELEC
LibreELEC installed in VMware vSphere 5.5.

Ubuntu Server 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) – Quick MediaDrop Installation


MediaDrop is a open source online video platform for managing and delivering video, audio and podcasts.


Sadly I found the official documentation to be lacking and had to cross reference it with other install guides to even get a basic setup running.

This guide will take you through a basic installation of MediaDrop that utilizes the built in Paste Server provided by Python. If you prefer a more permanent solution you can setup an Apache 2 or Nginx web server yourself. For the time being I am happy enough to just have MediaDrop running – having experienced a couple of bugs I do not want to mess with my working configuration any further right now.

My working environment is a minimal installation of Ubuntu 14.04 Server on VMware vSphere 5.x.

Let’s begin our installation – first we will elevate ourselves to the root user and then install MySQL, System libraries, development headers, python libraries and tools:

sudo -i

apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client libjpeg-dev zlib1g-dev libfreetype6-dev libmysqlclient-dev python-dev python-setuptools python-virtualenv git

When prompted enter a password for the MySQL root user.

Setup Python virtual environment:

cd /

virtualenv --no-site-packages venv

Activate the virtual environment:

source venv/bin/activate

Install MediaDrop from Git:

git clone git:// mediadrop-git

Download and install all the necessary dependencies for MediaDrop into your virtual environment:

cd mediadrop-git

python develop

Generate the deployment.ini file:

paster make-config MediaDrop deployment.ini

We will now bring up a mysql> prompt to administer the MySQL database:

mysql -u root -p

Enter your MySQL password when prompted.

Create the MySQL database mediadrop_db and the MySQL user mediadrop_user and a password for mediadrop_user:

mysql> create database mediadrop_db;
mysql> grant usage on mediadrop_db.* to mediadrop_user@localhost identified by 'mysecretpassword';
mysql> grant all privileges on mediadrop_db.* to mediadrop_user@localhost;
mysql> exit;

Note: Change ‘mysecretpassword‘ to the password you want for mediadrop_user.

Edit the delpoyment.ini file:

nano deployment.ini

Under the [app:main] heading, look for the sqlalchemy.url setting:

sqlalchemy.url = mysql://username:pass@localhost/dbname?charset=utf8&use_unicode=0

Change the username, pass, and dbname entities to mediadrop_user, password and mediadrop_db:

Note: password here refers to the password that you designated earlier for mediadrop_user.

sqlalchemy.url = mysql://mediadrop_user:mysecretpassword@localhost/mediadrop_db?charset=utf8&use_unicode=0

Setup the built in server:

paster setup-app deployment.ini

Enable simple full text searching:

mysql -u root mediadrop_db < setup_triggers.sql -p

Enter your MySQL password when prompted.

Now that MediaDrop itself is installed and the basics are configured, we can test it out using the Paste server:

paster serve --reload deployment.ini

Open a browser and enter the ip address for your server using port 8080. For example – http://server-ip:8080

To access the admin dashboard you need to append /admin to the above url. The default administrative username is admin, and the password is also admin. Remember to change your password!

If you restart your server you will need to activate the virtual environment again and run the Paste server again. A basic script to handle this looks like this:

cd /
source venv/bin/activate
cd mediadrop-git
paster serve --reload deployment.ini

Save this as something like and then make it executable:

chmod +x

Run the script as follows:

sudo ./

As a closing note I did encounter issues accessing the admin panel after changing the admin password when using Firefox. I could access the admin panel using Internet Explorer though.


Ubuntu Server – Installing Tiny Tiny RSS


I have been using Gregarius as my web-based RSS aggregator for quite some time now but have wanted to try Tiny Tiny RSS for a while.

Now that WebUpd8 have created a PPA (Personal Package Archives) for Tiny Tiny RSS I really had no excuse for not installing it.

Note: I am installing Tiny Tiny RSS on Ubuntu Server 12.04. PPAs have been available for Ubuntu since Ubuntu 9.10 – so this will not work on prior editions of Ubuntu Server.

The first step is to update our repositories and install Apache and MySQL:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client apache2 libapache2-mod-php5

When prompted enter a password for your MySQL root user:

MySQL Password

Confirm your MySQL password:

Confirm MySQL Password

Now that we have our prerequisites installed we can add the Tiny Tiny RSS PPA.

Note: On a minimal virtual machine installation of Ubuntu Server we need to install the  python-software-properties package to be able to add a PPA:

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties

Add the Tiny Tiny RSS PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/tt-rss
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tt-rss

Set Apache as the Tiny Tiny RSS web server:

tt-rss apache

Set the URL for the Tiny Tiny RSS installation – for a local install on my LAN i used http://localhost/tt-rss/:

tt-rss url

Select Yes for database configuration:

tt-rss database config

Confirm MySQL as the database for Tiny Tiny RSS:

tt-rss database mysql

Enter your root MySQL password:

tt-rss root mysql password

Enter a password for Tiny Tiny RSS to register with MySQL – a random password will be generated if left blank:

tt-rss application password

Confirm your application password:

tt-rss confirm application password

Next we need to use nano to edit some configuration files.

First we need to edit our server address in /etc/tt-rss/config.php:

sudo nano /etc/tt-rss/config.php

Find the line  define('SELF_URL_PATH', 'http://yourserver/tt-rss/'); and change it to  define('SELF_URL_PATH', 'http://localhost/tt-rss/'); (as per the server address that we set previously):

tt-rss config.php

Press Ctrl + O then Enter to save the changes to config.php and then Ctrl +X to exit nano.

To get Tiny Tiny RSS to update feeds we need to edit /etc/default/tt-rss:

sudo nano /etc/default/tt-rss

Change DISABLED=1 to DISABLED=0 to allow the Tiny Tiny RSS daemon to be started:

tt-rss tt-rss

Press Ctrl + O then Enter to save the changes to config.php and then Ctrl +X to exit nano.

Start the Tiny Tiny RSS service:

sudo service tt-rss start

Obtain the IP address of your Ubuntu Server installation:


tt-rss ifconfig

Open a browser on another machine and navigate to your Tiny Tiny RSS URL:

tt-rss login

Login with the username: admin and the password: password.

Click Actions, Preferences and Users to change your admin password and add users. You can import feeds under the Feeds tab or click Exit Preferences and then Actions, Subscribe to feed to add feeds manually.


Windows Server 2012 – Installing Active Directory Domain Services

server 2012 logo

Today I set about installing Windows Server 2012 in a virtual test environment. Further down the road I plan to look at publishing remote applications, but for now let’s begin with installing Active Directory.

This is a basic outline of the post-installation steps that I will follow:

  • Change the machine name
  • Set a static IP address
  • Install Windows Updates
  • Install Active Directory Domain Services
  • Promote server to Domain Controller

1. Change the machine name

From the desktop press Ctrl + X and then click System on the pop-up menu. Under Computer name, domain and workgroup settings click Change Settings.


In the System Properties window click the Change button and then change the Computer name. Click OK to exit.

2. Set a Static IP Address

From the Start Screen click Control Panel and then click Network and Sharing Center and then click the link for your Ethernet connection.


In the Ethernet Status window click the Properties button. Scroll down and select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and then click the Properties button.

Set your static IP address, Subnet mask, Default gateway and Preferred DNS server.


My settings are provided just so that you have a screenshot. I am using a NAT network provided by VMware Player.


3. Check for Windows Updates

From the Start Screen click Control Panel and then click Windows Update. If necessary turn updates on and then Check for updates and install them.

4. Installing Active Directory Domain Services (ADDS)

From the Server Manager Dashboard click Add roles and features.

Install ADDS 01

Review the Before you begin screen for any actions that are required prior to installing roles, role services or features, and then click Next.

Install ADDS 02

Select Role-based or feature-based installation and then click Next.

Install ADDS 03

Select your server from the server pool and then click Next.

Install ADDS 04

Select Active Directory Domain Services from the list.

Install ADDS 05

Review the role services and features to be installed and click the Add Features button.

Install ADDS 06

You will be returned to the Server Roles page of the Add Roles and Features Wizard, click Next to proceed.

On the Features page of the Wizard the Group Policy Management feature is automatically selected, click Next.

Install ADDS 07

Review the AD DS page and then click Next. If you do not have a DNS server on your network you will be prompted to install DNS later.

Install ADDS 08

The Confirmation page gives the option to Export configuration settings and to Restart the destination server automatically if required. Configure as required and then click Install.

Install ADDS 09

The previously selected roles and features will now be installed. Click Close to exit the wizard.

Install ADDS 10

5. Promote Windows Server 2012 to a Domain Controller

An Alert notification will appear on the Server Manager Dashboard prompting you to Promote this server to a domain controller.

Install ADDS 11

Review the domain deployment options. I will Add a new forest called Pricklytech.local. Click Next.

Install ADDS 12

Select the Forest functional level (FFL) and the Domain functional level (DFL) from the two drop-down menus – they should be set to the highest level that your environment supports (to enable as many AD features as possible). The FFL, for example, can be set to Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 or 2012.

Next specify domain controller capabilities. I have Domain Name System (DNS) server selected as I do not yet have a DNS server in this particular test environment. You will also notice that Global Catalog is checked and greyed out – because this is the first domain controller in a new forest.

Type and confirm the Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) password. DSRM is  a safe mode boot option that is used to repair / recover Active Directory.

Click Next.

Install ADDS 13

Review the DNS delegation alert. In my environment no action is required – so after closing the alert I clicked Next.

Install ADDS 14

The NetBIOS domain name is supplied – click Next.

Install ADDS 15

The default paths for the AD DS database, log files, and SYSVOL are displayed. Click Next.

Install ADDS 16

Review your selections. You can export a Powershell script to automate additional installations by clicking the View script button. Click Next.

Install ADDS 17

Install ADDS 18

A prerequisite check is run. If All prerequisite checks passed successfully click Install to continue.

Install ADDS 19

Once the server is successfully promoted it was automatically rebooted.

Install ADDS 20

Windows 7 – TV Archive Does Not Have Permissions to Access This Folder

I recently installed Windows 7 in a virtual machine on VMware vSphere so that I could start recording TV shows again with my HDHomerun.

Everything was working fine and all of a sudden I noticed that my recorded TV shows were not being moved to my Windows Home Server (WHS).

When I checked the activity of the TV achive in my Media Center I found the following status: TV Archive Does Not Have Permissions to Access This Folder.

I checked access to the Recorded TV folder on WHS from my Media Center using Windows Explorer and it worked fine. I double checked the user settings and folder permissions on WHS and they were fine too.

I had accessed WHS from my Media Center using another account and figured that might be the cause of the issue. So I set about removing the cached credentials for the non Media Center account as follows:

Press the Windows key and R to open the run dialogue box and then enter: control userpasswords2

Click the Advanced tab and then click the Manage Passwords button.

Locate the IP address for your WHS and then expand the selection and click Remove from vault.

This resolved the issue for me.

Windows Home Server – Windows 8 (VMware) Backup and Restore

Now that I have been playing around with Windows 8 (Release Preview) for a while I was curious to see if I could install the Windows Home Server (WHS) Connector Software and perform a backup and restore.

As you can see I was able to backup my VMware Windows 8 virtual machine (VM) just fine. Similarly I did not have any issues restoring it to a new VM either.

I do not have a spare physical machine for testing though and I have read that WHS does not support restoring to a machine that boots with UEFI.

Apart from this – and the potential for driver issues during restore (for networking or storage) – I hope to be able to continue to use the WHS backup and restore feature for Windows 8. I would much prefer to be able to do this for physical rather than just virtual machines though …

xbmc – 100% CPU Usage in VMware vSphere 4.x

I installed xbmc (eden) in VMware vSphere this evening to try to learn how to configure my HDHomeRun, so that I can record TV shows on my HTPC.

I found however that xbmc.bin was using almost 100% CPU after installation.

The solution was to edit home/.xbmc/userdata/advancedsettings.xml and add the following:


After a reboot my CPU usage was normal – hurrah!