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Junior Member

Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2
01-03-2006, 04:56 PM
Default Entropy pool never grows...

This is causing major issues when running programs that need entropy. Programs just 'hang' and wait for more to be created.

A good example is, if i load the apache mod auth_digest and start apache , only the parent process is created and child processes are never spawned, the startup process just hangs on "[Tue Jan 03 16:31:04 2006] [notice] Digest: generating secret for digest authentication ...".
Digest needs entropy.

I have never encountered a system when entropy was never gathered so, im guessing this is a side effect of the vps envirement.

Anyone knows of a workaround or a patch or any fix for this?
lpcau is offline

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01-03-2006, 05:31 PM

The entropy pool is most commonly filled with random data coming in from Keyboard input, or Mouse input. Many servers suffer this problem since they usually sit in nice air-conditioned rooms for months at a time without anyone ever needing to plug a keyboard or mouse in.

One workaround is to use /dev/urandom instead. Even though it's not a true random number generator like /dev/random, it's got enough randomness for most applications.

You could also submit a trouble ticket through our support section ( with your account details so we can identify the system affected and start generating some entropy.

Stephen Koenig
Spry Hosting Support
Junior Member

Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2
01-03-2006, 05:45 PM

Thx for the quick reply.

I read somewhere that there is a way to use disks and network connection to generate entropy, i just never found a document explaining how...

I will try to see how to use urandom instead (gotta read a bit :P ).

If i can't work it, ill open a ticket like you suggested.

Thank you.
lpcau is offline
Junior Member

Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
01-05-2006, 07:50 PM

Stephen was kind enough to shine the light on how to fix this problem for SVN 1.1.4 on the Debian 3.1 Webmin VPS (well, really it's a workaround for the stable branch of Debian 3.1 Sarge). As root you can relink /dev/random to point to /dev/urandom, which is good enough for SVN purposes. For other purposes, consider the lag of using /dev/random while waiting for entropy if you need lots of random numbers ... /dev/urandom is much faster in general.

Of course, if you really need /dev/random, this isn't good enough, but I don't really need it so far. Stephen has indicated that this issue will be addressed at the VPS level, so meanwhile this is a transparent solution for my Debian VPS.
SpryDisasterCandidate is offline
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