Wandering Thoughts archives


The appeal of doing exact string comparisons with Apache's RewriteCond

I use Apache's RewriteCond a fair bit under various circumstances, especially here on Wandering Thoughts where I use it in .htaccess to block undesirable things (cf). The default RewriteCond action is to perform a regular expression matches, and generally this is what I want; for instance, many web spiders have user agents that include their version number, and that number changes over time. However, recently I was reminded of the power and utility of doing exact string matches for some circumstances.

Suppose, not hypothetically, that you have some bad web spiders that crawl your site with a constant bogus HTTP Referer of:


Or another web spider might crawl with an unusual and fixed user-agent of:

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Fedora; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/79.0.3945.117 Safari/537.36

I could use regular expressions to match and block these, but that's at least annoying because both of these strings have various special regular expression characters that I'd have to carefully escape. So instead we can use RewriteCond's '=' option to do an exact string comparison. The one slightly tricky bit is that you want to enclose the entire thing in "'s, that is:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} "=http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1" [NC]

(The '[NC]' is perhaps overkill, especially as the spider probably never varies the case. But it's a reflex.)

As you can see, instances of '=' in the string don't have to be escaped. If the string I wanted to match (exactly) on had quotes in it, I'd have to look up how to escape them in Apache.

Now that I've looked up this RewriteCond option and gotten it working for me, I'm probably going to make more use of it. Various bad web spiders (and other software) has pretty consistent and unique signatures in various headers, which generally beats playing whack-a-mole with their IP address ranges.

(This probably isn't very useful outside of blocking bad people, although I suppose it could be used to rewrite only certain exact URLs while allowing others to fall through, or the reverse.)

web/ApacheRewriteCondExactMatch written at 22:40:50; Add Comment

ZFS on Linux has now become the OpenZFS ZFS implementation

The other day I needed to link to a specific commit in ZFS on Linux for my entry on how deduplicated ZFS streams are now deprecated, so I went to the ZFS on Linux Github repository, which I track locally. Somewhat to my surprise, I wound up on the OpenZFS repository, which is now described as 'OpenZFS on Linux and FreeBSD' and is linked as such from the open-zfs.org page that links to all of them.

(The OpenZFS repo really is a renaming of the ZFS on Linux repo, because my git pulls have transparently kept working. The git tree in the OpenZFS repo is the same git tree that was previously ZFS on Linux. I believe that this is a change for OpenZFS's own repo, although I don't know where that was.)

I knew this was coming (I believe I've seen it mentioned in passing in various places), but it's still something to see that it's been done now. As I thought last year (in this entry), the center of gravity of ZFS development has shifted from Illumos to Linux. The OpenZFS 'zfs' repository doesn't represent itself as the ZFS upstream, but it certainly has a name that tacitly endorses that view (and the view is pretty much the reality).

Although there are risks to this shift, it feels inevitable. Despite ZFS being a third party filesystem on Linux, Linux is still where the action is. It's certainly where we went for our current generation of ZFS fileservers, because Linux could give us things that OmniOS (sadly) could not (such as working 10G-T Ethernet with Intel hardware). As someone who is on Linux ZFS now, I'm glad that it hasn't stagnated even as I'm sad that Illumos apparently did (for ZFS and other things).

I don't think this means anything different for ZFS on Illumos than it did before, when the Illumos people were talking about increasingly adopting changes from what was then ZFS on Linux (cf). I believe that changes and features are flowing between Illumos and OpenZFS (in both directions), but I don't know if there's any effort to make the OpenZFS repo directly useful for (or on) Illumos.

solaris/ZFSOnLinuxNowOpenZFS written at 00:39:28; Add Comment

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