Archive for the ‘ How tos ’ Category

Deleting files with rm and getting
rm: invalid option –Try ‘rm –help’ for more information.

In Linux, trying to delete a file its name starts with dash(‘-‘) or double dashes(‘–‘) will fails, as dash or ‘-‘ is interpreted as an option by the rm and most linux commands.

Here are two files with filenames starting with ‘-‘ and ‘–‘ and the typical rm command deletion attempt fails with an error –

$ ls -1

$ rm -tempfile1
rm: invalid option -- 't'
Try 'rm ./-tempfile1' to remove the file '-tempfile1'.
Try 'rm --help' for more information.

$ rm --tempfile2
rm: unrecognized option '--tempfile2'
Try 'rm ./--tempfile2' to remove the file '--tempfile2'.
Try 'rm --help' for more information.

There are several ways of addressing this – you can precede the file name with ./ OR pass double dash after rm to end all option processing.

$ ls
-tempfile1  --tempfile2

$ rm -- -tempfile1

$ mv -- --tempfile2 tempfile2

$ rm ./-tempfile1

References –

Terraform – show logging

Enable debugging terraform

By default, a terraform plan or apply run only shows the resources to create, update or delete. It doesn’t give much detail on the activity terraform is doing behind the scene. All the debug logging would especially be helpful when you encounter an error.

Here is a typical terraform plan output, in this case it is a code for creating a firewall rule in Google cloud platform(GCP) –

$ terraform plan
Refreshing Terraform state in-memory prior to plan...

An execution plan has been generated and is shown below.
Resource actions are indicated with the following symbols:
  + create

Terraform will perform the following actions:

# google_compute_firewall.glb-allow will be created
  + resource "google_compute_firewall" "glb-allow" {
      + creation_timestamp = (known after apply)
      + description        = "Allow GLB proxies"
      + destination_ranges = (known after apply)
      + direction          = (known after apply)
      + id                 = (known after apply)
      + name               = "allow-glb-access"
      + network            = "internal"
      + priority           = 1000
      + project            = "my-gcp-project"
      + self_link          = (known after apply)
      + source_ranges      = [
          + "",
          + "",
      + target_tags        = [
          + "webservers",

      + allow {
          + ports    = [
              + "80",
              + "443",
              + "8080",
              + "8443",
          + protocol = "tcp"

Plan: 1 to add, 0 to change, 0 to destroy.

Terraform supports an environment variable – TF_LOG – for detailed logging purposes. You can set the logging to different severity levels which includes – TRACE, DEBUG, INFO, WARN, and ERROR

$ TF_LOG=DEBUG terraform plan
2020/03/20 17:03:39 [WARN] Log levels other than TRACE are currently unreliable, and are supported only for backward compatibility.
  Use TF_LOG=TRACE to see Terraform's internal logs.
2020/03/20 17:03:39 [INFO] Terraform version: 0.12.20  
2020/03/20 17:03:39 [INFO] Go runtime version: go1.12.13
2020/03/20 17:03:39 [INFO] CLI args: []string{"/usr/local/bin/terraform", "plan"}
2020/03/20 17:03:39 [DEBUG] Attempting to open CLI config file: /home/daniel/.terraformrc
2020/03/20 17:03:39 [DEBUG] File doesn't exist, but doesn't need to. Ignoring.
2020/03/20 17:03:39 [INFO] CLI command args: []string{"plan"}
2020/03/20 17:03:39 [DEBUG] checking for provider in "." 
2020/03/20 17:03:39 [DEBUG] checking for provider in "/usr/local/bin"
2020/03/20 17:03:39 [DEBUG] checking for provider in ".terraform/plugins/linux_amd64"
2020/03/20 17:03:39 [DEBUG] found provider "terraform-provider-google_v3.13.0_x5"

Terraform also supports saving logs to a file with the TF_LOG_PATH environment variable.

$ TF_LOG=DEBUG TF_LOG_PATH=/tmp/terraform-debug.log terraform plan
$ ls -lh /tmp/terraform-debug.log
-rw-r--r-- 1 daniel daniel 15K Mar 20 17:06 /tmp/terraform-debug.log


Creating a text file in Linux

In Unix, everything is a file. In this particular case though we will be demonstrating how to create a text file. Of course, these are some of the many ways of creating a file


Just touch it! – touch command followed by some file name and a file will magically appear.

$ ls linuxfreelancer
ls: cannot access 'linuxfreelancer': No such file or directory

$ touch linuxfreelancer

$ $ ls -l linuxfreelancer 
-rw-rw-r-- 1 daniel daniel 0 Feb  8 16:53 linuxfreelancer


vi or any text editor. In fact, any process which writes to a file.

$ vi linuxfreelancer

Save with “:wq” in vi to save the file.


Write multi-line text with “Here Document” syntax in bash.

$ cat <<EOF>linuxfreelancer
my blog is at

$ cat linuxfreelancer 
my blog is at


The echo command with some redirection –

$ echo 'My blog is at' > linuxfreelancer

$ cat linuxfreelancer 
My blog is at


You can redirect the output of any command to a new file

$ ps > ps.output
$ cat ps.output 
  PID TTY          TIME CMD
 2703 pts/0    00:00:00 bash
 3290 pts/0    00:00:00 ps


$ tee linuxfreelancer
Writing for my blog
Writing for my blog

$ cat linuxfreelancer 
Writing for my blog


Why does the tee command repeat what I typed? that is what it does – it reads from standard input and write to standard output and file at the same time.

Exclude files from Dockerfile

How to exclude files from being added to docker image

TL;DR – use .dockerignore file, Docker’s equivalent of .gitignore for git

When building docker images, minimizing the size of the image is the goal. During building docker images with Dockerfile, especially with in a git repository, we might unintentionally add all the files into the docker image.

It is not uncommon to have something like “ADD . /app” in your Dockerfile. There are two ways to prevent this

  • Explicitly add only the files you need to Dockfile
  • Use .dockerignore file

A typical .dockerignore files in a git repo directory might look like this –

daniel@hidmo:/tmp/myapp$ ls -al
total 56
drwxr-xr-x  4 daniel daniel 4096 Dec 17 17:51 .
drwxrwxrwt 20 root   root   4096 Dec 17 17:51 ..
-rwxr-xr-x  1 daniel daniel  338 Dec 17 17:41
drwxr-xr-x  2 daniel daniel 4096 Dec 17 17:41 .cache
-rw-r--r--  1 daniel daniel  245 Dec 17 17:41 Dockerfile
-rw-r--r--  1 daniel daniel  102 Dec 17 17:51 .dockerignore
drwxr-xr-x  8 daniel daniel 4096 Dec 17 17:52 .git
-rw-r--r--  1 daniel daniel    6 Dec 17 17:51 .gitignore
-rw-r--r--  1 daniel daniel  133 Dec 17 17:41 README
-rw-r--r--  1 daniel daniel  181 Dec 17 17:41 requirements.txt
-rw-r--r--  1 daniel daniel 7871 Dec 17 17:41
-rw-r--r--  1 daniel daniel 7871 Dec 17 17:50 web.pyc
daniel@hidmo:/tmp/myapp$ cat .dockerignore 
# Exclude files from being added to docker image


Linux – query a specific name server with nslookup or dig

By default, nslookup in Linux will use the name servers configured in /etc/resolv.conf. To check against a specific dns server, add the dns server IP address or name at the end of the nslookup command.

Below is an example to query Cloudflare name server –

daniel@linux:/$ nslookup -type=MX

Non-authoritative answer:	mail exchanger = 40	mail exchanger = 5	mail exchanger = 10	mail exchanger = 20	mail exchanger = 30

For dns related debugging though, dig (under “dnsutils” package) is more feature rich. For troubleshooting the “dig +trace” command is handy in spotting failure points. Here is a useful link on how to use dig to troubleshoot dns issues –

daniel@linux:/$ dig @ mx +short

References –

Linux – Cheat sheet

Using curl to get help on Linux commands, programming languages and more. The most comprehensive cheat sheet.

If you are looking for a Linux and programming cheat sheet, please check

It provides nicely colored help page, with plenty of examples in a CLI. Here are some sample runs I did.

Curl cheat sheet

daniel@hidmo:/tmp$ curl
# Download a single file

# Download a file and specify a new filename
curl -o

# Download multiple files
curl -O URLOfFirstFile -O URLOfSecondFile

# Download all sequentially numbered files (1-24)

# Download a file and follow redirects
curl -L

# Download a file and pass HTTP Authentication
curl -u username:password URL 

# Download a file with a Proxy
curl -x http://addressiwantto.access

# Download a file from FTP
curl -u username:password -O

# Get an FTP directory listing

# Resume a previously failed download
curl -C - -o

# Fetch only the HTTP headers from a response
curl -I

# Fetch your external IP and network info as JSON

# Limit the rate of a download
curl --limit-rate 1000B -O

# POST to a form
curl -F &quot;name=user&quot; -F &quot;password=test&quot;

curl -H &quot;Content-Type: application/json&quot; -X POST -d '{&quot;user&quot;:&quot;bob&quot;,&quot;pass&quot;:&quot;123&quot;}'

# POST data from the standard in / share data on
curl -F 'sprunge=&amp;lt;-'

Python lists cheat list

daniel@hidmo:/tmp$ curl
#  python - Why does += behave unexpectedly on lists?
#  The general answer is that += tries to call the __iadd__ special
#  method, and if that isn't available it tries to use __add__ instead.
#  So the issue is with the difference between these special methods.
#  The __iadd__ special method is for an in-place addition, that is it
#  mutates the object that it acts on. The __add__ special method returns
#  a new object and is also used for the standard + operator.
#  So when the += operator is used on an object which has an __iadd__
#  defined the object is modified in place. Otherwise it will instead try
#  to use the plain __add__ and return a new object.
#  That is why for mutable types like lists += changes the object's
#  value, whereas for immutable types like tuples, strings and integers a
#  new object is returned instead (a += b becomes equivalent to a = a +
#  b).
#  For types that support both __iadd__ and __add__ you therefore have to
#  be careful which one you use. a += b will call __iadd__ and mutate a,
#  whereas a = a + b will create a new object and assign it to a. They
#  are not the same operation!

>>> a1 = a2 = [1, 2]
>>> b1 = b2 = [1, 2]
>>> a1 += [3]          # Uses __iadd__, modifies a1 in-place
>>> b1 = b1 + [3]      # Uses __add__, creates new list, assigns it to b1
>>> a2
[1, 2, 3]              # a1 and a2 are still the same list
>>> b2
[1, 2]                 # whereas only b1 was changed

#  For immutable types (where you don't have an __iadd__) a += b and a =
#  a + b are equivalent. This is what lets you use += on immutable types,
#  which might seem a strange design decision until you consider that
#  otherwise you couldn't use += on immutable types like numbers!
#  [Scott Griffiths] [so/q/2347265] [cc by-sa 3.0]

Golang concurrency cheat sheet

daniel@hidmo:/tmp$ curl
 * go - When should I use concurrency in golang?
 * Not an expert in Go (yet) but I'd say:
 * Whenever it is easiest to do so.
 * The beauty of the concurrency model in Go is that it is not
 * fundamentally a multi-core architecture with checks and balances where
 * things usually break - it is a multi-threaded paradigm that not only
 * fits well into a multi-core architecture, it also fits well into a
 * distributed system architecture.
 * You do not have to make special arrangements for multiple goroutines
 * to work together harmoniously - they just do!
 * Here's an example of a naturally concurrent algorithm - I want to
 * merge multiple channels into one. Once all of the input channels are
 * exhausted I want to close the output channel.
 * It is just simpler to use concurrency - in fact it doesn't even look
 * like concurrency - it looks almost procedural.

  Multiplex a number of channels into one.
func Mux(channels []chan big.Int) chan big.Int {
    // Count down as each channel closes. When hits zero - close ch.
    var wg sync.WaitGroup
    // The channel to output to.
    ch := make(chan big.Int, len(channels))

    // Make one go per channel.
    for _, c := range channels {
        go func(c &amp;lt;-chan big.Int) {
            // Pump it.
            for x := range c {
                ch &amp;lt;- x
            // It closed.
    // Close the channel when the pumping is finished.
    go func() {
        // Wait for everyone to be done.
        // Close.
    return ch

 * The only concession I have to make to concurrency here is to use a
 * sync.WaitGroup as a counter for concurrent counting.
 * Note that this is not purely my own work - I had a great deal of help
 * with this here (
 * [OldCurmudgeon] [so/q/19747950] [cc by-sa 3.0]

Please check for more information on installation and using its comprehensive features.