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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Some notes on replacing parts of a text file with template text using sed on a Busybox system

Posted by jpluimers on 2022/03/17

Note before you think about putting stuff in /etc/rc.local.d/local.sh: that script will not be executed when UEFI booting.

In a very lightweight Busybox system, I wanted to modify some configuration files automatically using fragments stored in template files.

The system has diff, but no patch.

The basic idea is to use sed to insert the template files into certain spots of the configuration file when certain marker texts are not present. So I want the opposite of [Wayback] Hey Stephen Wood: Try patch instead of sed in shell scripts.

Basically the idea is a poor-man’s patch, described in Too bad: ESXi busybox has diff, but not patch « The Wiert Corner – irregular stream of stuff.

Some links that might help me with this:

One alternative would have been to use ed (which is part of the normal Busybox), but ESXi Busybox omits ed like it omits patch.

Too bad that sed commands are too different from ed commands, as I could have used diff -e on another system based on ideas here:

I might give it one more go, as vi is sort of derived from ed via ex (see vi: Creation – Wikipedia), which means that vi “colon mode” (officially command mode: [Wayback] Vim documentation: cmdline) is very similar to ed.

Another alternative would be awk, but I have done so little work with it awk, that I’m hesitating to use a new tool. Some links:

And finally, ash could be used:

The kind of modifications I am after

Below are a few links with examples of the kind of modifications I want to make. Most patch just /etc/rc.local.d/local.sh, but some others introduce other changes as well.

Note that especially with networking settings, local.sh commands might not have any effect (for instance when having slow DHCP or other network issues), see for instance [Wayback/Archive.is] I’m running ESXi 5.5 and my persistent route in local.sh is not taking effect after boot. : vmware.

There is a very convoluted way around using local.sh by using the VIB authoring tool as described in [Wayback] How to create persistent firewall rules on ESXi. It requires lowering the software acceptance level to Community Supported (esxcli software acceptance set --level=CommunitySupported), which gives you a hard time installing ESXi updates.

I got that VIB idea from [Wayback] Solved: Re: Persistent firewall rule – VMware Technology Network VMTN, as:

The local.sh file gets overwritten often with upgrades so it would mean another step during the process.

From the same thread comes [Wayback] Solved: Re: Persistent firewall rule – VMware Technology Network VMTN

set the sticky bit on your separate xml-file – then it will be backed up and persist through reboot: chmod +t

run backup manually before the first reboot: /sbin/auto-backup.sh  because backup runs only once per hour

Within vSphere, one could use [Wayback] Configure ESXi Hosts with Host Profiles, but a standalone ESXi box is not part of vSphere, so that won’t work.

ESXi 7 and up

ESXi 7 makes the above harder as for instance user root cannot change file rights any more, so eventually I might revert to a VM that auto-boots when ESXi comes up, then patches the right files in place over PowerCLI (read-only) or SSH.

Need to give this some thought later:

–jeroen

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