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Tips And Tricks

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Easily edit environment variables on Windows system

Environment variables are used on all system (Windows, Linux, Mac OS ...) to define specific values used by software or the system itself.
On Windows system, editing environment variables can be really hassles if you use the default system tool. To answer this issue, we recommend you to use the freeware Rapid Environment Editor.

When launching it, on the left side of the application are displayed the system environment variables.

File:ree.png

You may want to edit them using this explorer.

You will need administrator privilege to edit the system environment variable. Otherwise, you will be limited to local environment variables (located on the right side of the application).

The specific environment variable Path is the most important one. It contains a list of folders in which the system will look for finding an application or a specific library.

The Path environment variable is thus really important to be correctly set, in order for CamiTK applications to find their dependencies (ITK, VTK libraries ...).

Use Dependency Walker to understand why the application can not load plugins on Windows system

Dependency Walker is a free utility that builds a hierarchical tree diagram of all dependent modules. Dependency Walker is very useful if a module can not be loaded by your application. If you load the module into Dependendy Walker, it gives you the list of all the functions that are exported by that module, and which of those functions are actually being called by other modules. It will detect if the problem comes from missing modules, invalid modules, import/export mismatches, circular dependency errors, mismatched machine types of modules, or module initialization failures.


Use RSA public/private keys for your SSH transaction

Generate private and public keys

Here you will find information to generate a couple of SSH public and private key using the RSA algorithm. These keys are used during SSH transaction for authentication. Once correctly configured and loaded in your system session you ssh transactions from your computer and a server will no longer prompt for a password.

The public key is shared among the different servers you wish to connect and the private key is stored on your computer.

The private key is really important and you may not share it! Store it wisely.


on Windows

To create private / public RSA keys, please use PuttyGen wich is an RSA key generator for windows.

  • Install and run PuttyGen
  • Generate a private / public RSA keys pairs.
Don't forget to move your mouse to randomize the RSA key generation !

Note that the program uses mouse movement to generate randomness within the key.

  • Add a passphrase to this key for more security
Use a passphrase for more security before saving your public / private keys

A passphrase is the private key password. It is highly recommended to use one. Else, if someone find your private key, he can pretend to be you on any ssh transaction.

  • Save the public and private key on your disk.

On Windows you generate public and private keys under the .ppk format, which is a putty specific format. On Linux, you may generate a couple of keys in another format. PuttyGen allows you also to import a Linux couple of SSH keys and save them back into its own format.

  • Store your private key in a secure place (such as your own usb key).

on Linux

To create private / public RSA keys on Linux, you may use the ssh-keygen command.

  • Run ssh-keygen
  • Provide a filename to store both private and public generated keys
  • Add a passphrase to this key for more security

Store your public key on a server

In order for the SSH transaction to work with your couple of public / private keys you will need to store your public key on the server you wish to establish an SSH transaction with.

on the forge.imag.fr

The timc-imag forge holds many open-source projects. In order to contribute with SVN, on each commit you will need to identify yourself. You will need to give your login and the server will ask you your password for each transaction. As this may be a little bit hassless (especially of you're a great contributor) you may use your RSA keys for these SSH transaction.

  • Go to My Page in the forge website, login if necessary.
  • Clik Edit keys at the bottom of Shell Account Information.
Click on the edit keys link
  • Copy your public key file content in the text box.

The syntax of the key is:

ssh-rsa characters of the public key

Watch out for adding blank (whitespace) or carrier return characters in the content of your public keys. The content of the file following id_rsa does not contain any carrier return character, the RSA characters of the keys are on only ONE line.

Example of public key. The saubatn@merise-ubuntu is optional

The forge server updates its accounts' private keys once every hour. You may need to wait (max 1h) in order for your changes to be effective.

on any Linux running server

On any other server running under a Linux operating system (which is fortunately the most common case), here are the steps to follow.

The svn-timc.imag.fr server, holding restricted timc-imag source code is concerned by those steps.

At this point we consider you have generated a couple of RSA public and private key on your system.

You will need to copy your private key onto the server and add its content to the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file. To simply do it, we will use FileZilla software.

On a Debian Linux distribution you may directly install FileZilla by typing:

sudo apt-get install filezilla
  • Run FileZilla. Indicate the server name, your login, your password and for the port, indicate 22 in the menu bar.
Example for the svn-timc.imag.fr server

On the left side of the application is files explorer on your computer and on the right side on the server you just connected. On the Linux server, the right side location points to your home directory (~).

  • If it does not exist, create the ~/.ssh directory, else open its content.
  • If it does not exist, create the file ~/.ssh/authorized_keys.

Authorized_keys file contains all the public keys stored on this computer and your login for SSH transaction. You will need to copy your public key content into this file.

  • Download the authorized_keys file, modify it to add your public key content and upload it back to the server.


Store your private key in your session

In order to use your private key, you need to load it into your current running session. Here are the steps to do it, depending on your operating system:

on Windows

  • Run pageant tool, by default installed with Putty softwares. If it is not installed, you may download and run it.

Pageant is launched in background. An icon appeared on the bottom menu bar, close to the clock.

  • Right-click on the pageant icon and select add key.
Select add key
  • Choose your private key on the .ppk format.
  • Type your passphrase as pageant asked for it.

on Linux

  • Store your private key in ~/.ssh/id_rsa (create the folder if necessary)
  • Run the ssh-add command to load your private key into the session.


Configure Visual Studio 2010 C++ express to compile in 64bits

Visual Studio 2010 express edition might compile in 64bits since you have installed the 7.1 version of the Windows SDK.

If you installed (you or windows update) the SDK 7.1 SP1 please install this patch for Windows 7.1 SDK x64 compiler as this service pack broke up the x64 compiler.

If you deal with a problem for the installation of Windows SDK 7.1 (which have to be installed before VS2010 SP1) visit this link.

  • Change your Visual Studio projects configuration:
    • Go to Properties of one of your projects.
    • On the top of the dialog box there will be a Configuration drop-down menu. Make sure that selects All Configurations.
    • On the right there is a Configuration Manager button - press it.
    • In the dialog that comes up, find your project, hit the Platform drop-down, select New, then select x64.

When you return to the Properties dialog box, the "Platform" drop-down should now read x64.

  • Finally, change your toolset. In the Properties menu of your project, under Configuration Properties | General, change Platform Toolset from v100 to Windows7.1SDK.

How to check a DLL is 32 or 64bits compiled on Windows system ?

Using Visual Studio compiler

  • Open visual studio command prompt
  • Use this command: dumpbin /headers C:\path\name.dll
  • at the very beginning you will find “FILE HEADER VALUES”, the first value will have a “(x86) ” for 32 bit and “(x64)” for 64 bit

Using MinGW

  • Download and install CyGWin.
  • Launch a console in your windows environment.
  • Use the following command to check the build-type of your DLL
file yourLibrary.dll
  • Check its output:
    • PE32 stands for 32bits DLLs
    • PE32+ stands for 64bits DLLs
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