Benjamin Schieder


2005 October 03

or: Which alternate reality do you live in?

Well, I have this little server where all my stuff runs on. Starting with a SLASH'EM gameserver up to the various websites I'm running.
So, this little server had a bit of a traffic spike late last month with creating almost a gigabyte traffic within minutes. Since I had no traffic accounting tool in place at the time I don't know what program created the traffic.
So I went to look for some nice program that would do just this.
Sadly, I found but one free program that'd list traffic by ports, and one program that would list traffic by application and only one application at a time.


The program donitor was designed to list traffic usage and concurrent connections of an edonkey client or server. This means it can only track one program at a time.
It does this great, but it isn't what I need.

Traffic Tool Troll

Then there is Traffic Tool Troll. Not Free Software as the FSF say, but I don't mind if it gets the job done.
Since this was the only tool that seemed to do what I want to have, and not just lists total traffic passed, I even tried looking over the horrible documentation.
Seeing as it was at version 1.2 I thought it to be a stable piece of software that would be working quite well.
That was my first mistake.
I proceeded to follow the scarce installation instructions, copied the config files to /etc and the perl scripts to a CGI directory. I edited the config file, which led me to think that though this tool might come close, it still isn't what the doctor called for. I needed to configure ports that will be watched for traffic. But I want all ports to be watched!
Okay, let's give it a try anyway. After configuration I assumed that the author knows his way through iptables.
That was my second mistake.
Calling ./main --init wiped my iptables setup clean and inserted his own. Hello? Version 1.2? Even that filesharing application software donitor created its own tables! Why can't this thing do it?
Well, because it's crap, obviously.
At the start website, the first thing I saw was a bug. Where there should be a listing "Day - Month - Year" I saw "0- - 2005". After 30 minutes I figured out where this came from and relaced it with something sane.
Then the next bug hit me. The webinterface to this software uses HTTP GET variables to tell the script what to do. Too bad that the allowed values for the parameter "action" seem to have changed some time ago and not all occurances were changed accordingly. This way I couldn't get any detailed information by hour. Another 10 minutes and this was also fixed.
Since I read something about E-Mail and webbased forum support, I went over to that website and tried searching if this was a known problem.
Assuming that a Proprietary License with Source would still have something like this was my third mistake.
Where the Forum link on the website points to you can now watch images of the authors wedding.

Well, congratulations! You have a wife but for the love of all that is holy, keep your fingers from programming another single line of code!


Category: blog