Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shortcut to apply SyntaxHighlighter in Blogger for Java code

This is a shortcut post to enable syntax highlighting of your Java code examples in Blogger.

First, open the HTML template under "Design". Locate the <head> section, then add the following:

Then, in your posts, just enclose <pre class="brush: java">...</pre> tags around your code snippets.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bad Certificate in WAS 5.1.0 (IBM JDK 1.4.1)

Once upon a time, there was a legacy web application system handling loans processing. It ran on Windows 2000 but used IBM WebSphere Application Server (WAS) 5.1.0 installation (yes, no fixpacks!). It ran well until recently when the system tried to access a remote URL using HTTPS/SSL, an error occurred. The log files were investigated and to the horrified faces of the support personnel... bad certificate

A few recommendations here and there led to them summoning me to have a look at this issue. At first I thought it was just a simple case of not importing the SSL certificates into the keystore. But after using ikeyman (WAS tool) to do the necessary, it still doesn't work. Ok, time to Google...

Version 5.1.0 of WAS runs on IBM JDK 1.4.1 (not even 1.4.2), which made matters worse. A quick search using Google yielded 2 most relevant results:

Problem is, both links didn't actually provide any solution, but they did nudge me a little to a workaround which I am documenting here right now.

This problem is not common if the WAS installations are patched up to at least v5.1.1, but due to the system's legacy status and most likely be replaced by another system early next year, there was no real incentive to patch it and 'hope for the best'. The personnel of the vendor supporting the system was also a blur case contract worker who spew common buzzwords yet lack any substance and logic.

So, what to do, what to do??? There were no source codes available (the vendor decided not to give an earlier contract worker his time off, so he retaliated by deleting all the source codes...a case of coder gone cuckoo/crazy). So, I decided to decompile the source codes using JD-GUI ( after learning from the IT support girl on the URL that triggers the remote host handshaking. A quick look at the web.xml file and the servlet responsible for the remote request was identified.

After looking through the servlet code, I was able to identify the root cause and reconfirmed it by writing some JUnit tests:
  • Test #1 - Using Sun JDK1.4.2, no imported certs: Fail, "unknown certificate" (expected)
  • Test #2 - Using Sun JDK1.4.2, with imported certs: Pass (expected)
  • Test #3 - Using IBM JDK1.4.1 (similar to WAS 5.1.0), no imported certs: Fail (expected)
  • Test #4 - Using IBM JDK1.4.1 (similar to WAS 5.1.0), with imported certs: Fail, "bad certificate" (expected)

So the problem is the JDK, not the application code (sort of). IBM JDK1.4.1 is using IBM JSSE v1 (not even v2). I wanted to try using IBM JSSE v2 API files, but after looking through several Google results, no one was triumphant doing this.

To call the remote URL using HTTPS/SSL, Apache HttpClient API was used. A quick look at the online guide ( gave me an idea to replace the default class to handle HTTPS connections with a custom class which can be coded to use Sun JSSE implementation. To do this, some class-overriding was necessary. The final code for the socket factory (I had to dig through the Sun JSSE classes to find the implementation class which actually is 'internal' and not recommended to be referenced externally, but desperate times require desperate measures):


import org.apache.commons.httpclient.protocol.SecureProtocolSocketFactory;


public class SunJsseSslSocketFactory implements SecureProtocolSocketFactory {

 public Socket createSocket(String host, int port) 
  throws IOException, UnknownHostException
  SSLSocketFactoryImpl sfi = new SSLSocketFactoryImpl();
  return sfi.createSocket(host, port);

 public Socket createSocket(String host, int port, 
  InetAddress clientHost, int clientPort) 
   throws IOException, UnknownHostException
  SSLSocketFactoryImpl sfi = new SSLSocketFactoryImpl();
  return sfi.createSocket(host, port, clientHost, clientPort);

 public Socket createSocket(Socket socket, String host, 
  int port, boolean autoClose) 
   throws IOException, UnknownHostException
  SSLSocketFactoryImpl sfi = new SSLSocketFactoryImpl();
  return sfi.createSocket(socket, host, port, autoClose);


Then, to modify the HttpClient call to use this new socket factory class:

Protocol myHTTPS = new Protocol( "https", new SunJsseSslSocketFactory(), url.getPort() );

This line is placed before any calls to the remote URL, and only needed to be executed once.

2 other steps to do to complete the fix:
  • Place the Sun JSSE file (jsse.jar) into [WAS_HOME]/java/jre/lib/ext
  • Add the Sun JSSE provider into file [WAS_HOME]/java/jre/lib/security/

In the end, the fix was applied to the production boxes and the remote call finally worked. All credit goes to the HttpClient API makers who at least coded some hooks for this customisation.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Remote Login to Kubuntu via XDMCP

After searching the Internet for the elusive solution, here's what worked for me, using Kubuntu 10.10. Using SSH tunneling to run GUI programs on a Linux server would be easier for me as it's the standard practice at my workplace, but takes out the fun in having to play around with the entire desktop display.

My ex-colleague in my ex-company showed me how to do remote login to a Solaris 9 box via XDMCP using Cygwin (xwin) on Windows XP. Back then there was no need to configure anything on that Solaris box, it just works. When I moved on to my current company, I tried to do the same on the 'standard build' RHEL3/4 box. Failed miserably. The 'standard build' stripped the window manager away, and I have to settle for SSH tunneling. Some simple applications can be run, most of the cool ones don't.

Of course, there are other alternative ways to display the desktop remotely, such as VNC, but I prefer XDMCP because the display resolution is 'customized' to your viewing machine's resolution. XDMCP also establishes a different session so unlike VNC, it will not 'hijack' or take over the current user's session. Maybe VNC can also do these things with some tweaking, but this out of scope in this posting.

Server Settings
Ok, firstly, make sure KDE (I'm using Kubuntu) is running fine & fast. If you are using NVIDIA graphics card, update your drivers via launcher: Applications > System > Additional Drivers. This is the fastest & easiest way. In my workplace where I needed to set a global proxy to connect to the Internet, this way didn't work. I've tried downloading the drivers from NVIDIA website and followed the instructions, but to no avail.

Ok, here's the real meat:
  1. As root, open up /etc/kde4/kdm/kdmrc file. Search for the section with header [Xdmcp], and update as highlighted below (even though the comment says 'Default is true', the Enable key had the value 'false' by default)

    # Whether KDM should listen to incoming XDMCP requests.
    # Default is true
  2. Save the file above. If you are happy with the defaults, then open up /etc/kde4/kdm/Xaccess file, and uncomment the following lines (remove the # at the start of the line, and both lines are not next to each other, it's shown as below for conciseness):

    * #any host can get a login window

    * CHOOSER BROADCAST #any indirect host can get a chooser
  3. Save the file above. Ok, now just restart KDM only, but restarting the OS will also achieve the same effect.
  4. Before we move on, make sure you have the server's IP address, we'll need it for the client setup below. Let's say it's
Client Settings
For the client, I used Windows XP. I wanted to use Cygwin (xwin) but somehow the command prompt just closes by itself after a few seconds. It's a mystery...but I also have Xming installed. So I used it instead. Get Xming @
  1. Open up the command prompt and navigate to the Xming installation folder. It should contain xming.exe file.
  2. Then run this command (replace the IP address with your own server's IP): xming -query
  3. It will take a while if your server is not that powerful and using a slow network connection (I was using my old P4 box as server and my WinXP notebook was connecting via wireless). If everything's working, you will see the KDE login screen. Yahoo!