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HP-UX tips


Enterprise Unix System Administration

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One important tip for HP-UX admin is to upgrade Perl using HP binaries for Perl 5.8.8 and install bash on the system. See Perl for HP-UX 11i:

HP OpenSource Perl is built using HP C/C++ Compilers. 32-bit and 64-bit perl can be installed independently with the default being 32-bit.

HP OpenSource Perl is optimized for HP-UX 11i PA-RISC and HP-UX 11i Itanium Processor Family (IPF) platforms. The perl bundle revision E.5.8.8.D or later versions are available as HP OpenSource Perl.

HP OpenSource Perl is based on OpenSource Perl similar to the previously delivered ActivePerl.

Perl is available as an always-installed product on all HP-UX 11i Operating Environment media. The following are the list of ActivePerl Modules and their equivalent CPAN modules.

More information about open source packages for HP-UX is provided at Open source for HP-UX

Some tips:

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Old News ;-)

[Dec 14, 2012] MAXHOSTNAMELEN constant

Solaris to HP-UX Software Transition Kit

The MAXHOSTNAMELEN constant is the maximum length of Internet host name strings, and is defined differently on Solaris and HP-UX 11i v2 and earlier versions of HP-UX.

The MAXHOSTNAMELEN constant is the size of the largest host name the system can handle. On Solaris, it is 256 characters; on HP-UX 11i v2 and earlier versions, it is 64 characters. This might affect programs using the following APIs and commands:

If the code does not use the MAXHOSTNAMELEN constant, you must still ensure that any buffers containing a host name in the code are defined to be less than MAXHOSTNAMELEN.

On Solaris, MAXHOSTNAMELEN is defined in the <netdb.h> header file. On any HP-UX, it is defined in the <sys/param.h> header file.

Starting with HPUX 11i v3, long node and host names sizes are supported. This feature enables user to set hostname of length 256 characters.

[Dec 14, 2012] Fixing some HP-UX log file location idiosyncrasies

Location of many system configuration files is idiosyncratic much like AIX, but still, unlike AIX, HP-UX does provide syslog by default. Location of syslog messages file is strange though: /var/adm/syslog (

You can fix this idiosyncrasy like many others by creating symlinks. In this case

ls -s /var/adm/syslog/syslog.log /var/adm/messages 

Init.d directory for some reason is a subdirectory of sbin, so to start, say named daemon you need to use command

/sbin/init.d/named start

In this case a symlink also can help to ease the pain of remembering this strange location.

[Dec 14, 2012] Note of HP-UX nslookup

The nslookup command is originally a DNS server testing tool. Linux and Solaris versions of nslookup will always try to contact a DNS server, because that's what it's programmed to do.

HP-UX nslookup does not behave like Linux or Solaris nslookup. It behaves more like Solaris getent Command. So it does not consult DNS only like "normal" nslookup. It checks all sources in the order specified in /etc/nsswitch.conf

[Dec 14, 2012] Note on HP-US /etc/nsswitch.conf file settings

In HP-UX /etc/nsswitch.conf file there is elaborate (aka over-engineered) set of criteria for continuation of search and it looks like on some of our boxes they are set sub-optimally.

For example:

cat /etc/nsswitch.conf 
hosts: files[NOTFOUND=continue UNAVAIL=continue TRYAGAIN=continue] \
       dns[NOTFOUND=return UNAVAIL=continue TRYAGAIN=return] 

Should probably be

hosts: files[SUCCESS=return NOTFOUND=continue UNAVAIL=continue TRYAGAIN=continue] \
       dns[NOTFOUND=return UNAVAIL=continue TRYAGAIN=return] 

One side effect of the first configuration (without SUCCESS=return) is that even if the entry exists, HP-UX in its infinite wisdom continue looking in DNS and use DNS resolution of it. Which might make sense in some cases, but in most cases, like was the case with nti244, it does not and it makes it impossible to override DNS resolution with the entry in /etc/hosts file. Which is not what sysadmins who get used to Linux and Solaris expect.

Here is the meaning of HP /etc/nsswitch.conf keywords:
Requested database entry was found
Source is not responding or corrupted
Source responded "no such entry"
Source is busy, might respond to retries

For each status code, two actions are possible:

Try the next source in the list
Return now

The complete syntax of an entry is

<entry> ::= <database> ":" [<source> [<criteria>]]* <source> <criteria> ::= "[" <criterion>+ "]" <criterion> ::= <status> "=" <action> <status> ::= "success" | "notfound" | "unavail" | "tryagain" <action> ::= "return" | "continue"

Each entry occupies a single line in the file. Lines that are blank, or that start with white space character are ignored. Everything on a line following a # character is also ignored; the # character can begin anywhere in a line, to be used to begin comments. The database and source names are case-sensitive, but action and status names are case-insensitive.

The default criteria are to continue on anything except SUCCESS; in other words, [SUCCESS=return NOTFOUND=continue UNAVAIL=continue TRYAGAIN=continue].

[Dec 14, 2012 ] ifconfig -a Equivalent for HP-UX

January 29, 2010


HP-UX lacks the -a flag for the ifconfig command which I have used on all other UNIX and Linux variants. An alternative is to create an alias for the following command which outputs the equivalent.

for i in `netstat -rn |grep lan |cut -c55-59 |sort |uniq`; do ifconfig $i; done

Or another alternative using lanscan.

for i in `lanscan -i | awk '{print $1}'` ; do ifconfig $i ; done

" Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 07:48:10 am by scotbuff "

Configuring NTP on HP-UX

The idiosyncratic portion is modifying /etc/rc.config.d/netdaemons. Make sure following variables are defined and XNTPD is set to 1:

export XNTPD=1
export XNTPD_ARGS=


Make sure correct timezone is setup in /etc/TIMEZONE file (look for TZ variable):

Make sure the NTP servers are also defined in /etc/ntp.conf :


Restart HP-UX ntp service:
# /sbin/init.d/xntpd stop && /sbin/init.d/xntpd start

Watch out log file /var/adm/syslog/syslog.log for errors:
# tail -f /var/adm/syslog/syslog.log

If clock were not syncronized make sure xntpd is running:
# ps -ef | grep xntpd

Note: SAM can also be used to configure NTP service under HP-UX, just start SAM and open time window.

Using rsync on an Alternate SSH Port or with OpenSSH Keys

9 October systemBash

Best practices state that you should run ssh on an non-standard port. Unfortunately some programs use port 22 by default and it isn't obvious what the switch is to change this port.

One of these programs is the eminently useful rsync. It states how to do this in the man file, but it is hidden and non-obvious. You simply add the option via the -e command to pass ssh options. -e is the shell rsync uses to connect to a remote host.

Using rsync on an alternate ssh port

rsync -avz -e "ssh -p $port" username@ip:/path/to/files/ /local/files/

Using rsync with an openssh key

rsync -avz -e "ssh -i /path/to/private/key" username@ip:/path/to/files/ /local/files/

Or with both an alternate port and openssh key:

rsync -avz -e "ssh -i /path/to/private/key -p $port" username@ip:/path/to/files/ /local/files/

This can be used in a bash script if you set the $port variable or directly on the command line by using the set port instead of $port.

Here are some other useful pages regarding using rsync. If you don't use rsync for remote file transfer – I highly recommend it. The transfer speed is much faster than scp over ssh.

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