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Resetting the “Frontpage Extensions” password on a RAQ XTR


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Oh how I love the Sun/Cobalt (discontinued, “end of lifed”) family of


The XTR, and other Cobalt servers, purportedly supported Frontpage

extension on Unix. Unfortunately, their implementation was fraught with

problems. One of the biggest is the inability to reset a password.

Within the web interface for the server, each site has a little

checkbox to enable Frontpage extensions. You check the box, fill out

a default password, and you’re done.

However, when next you went into the site config, there’s a checked

box with nowhere to enter a new password. To reset a password, you

need to turn off Frontpage extensions, and then turn them back on again.

More than just a minor pain in the ass, all Frontpage

extension features for a site will “break” when you shut the

extensions off (forms, slide shows, DHTML magic, etc.). Worse, when you

turned them back on, the features would STAY broken.

So, if you’re running a small hosting operation (a target audience for the RAQ

servers, and a good chuck of my clients) and one of your Frontpage customers lost their password AND

lost the local copy of their site (total hard drive crash, for

example), you’re completely up a creek of a particular color and

consistency without a paddle.

So, here’s what I did to reset the password of a Frontpage site on an

XTR. Hopefully this will help someone stuck supporting one of these blue monsters.

Oh, as always, this will void your warranty with Sun and may hose your

server if you make a mistake. There are zero guarenties. If you need

one, hire a consultant. (cough)

  1. In the Administrative Interface, create a new “fake1

    site with Frontpage extensions turned on (

  2. Connect to the server via ssh. If you’re still using telnet, you really

    ought to install one of the free ssh packages that are floating around.

  3. type “cat /home/sites/”

    You may get a permission denied error. If so, you’ll need to su to root to see the contents of the file. If you don’t know how to do this, you probably shouldn’t be following these instructions.

    You should see something like the following

    # -FrontPage-

    Your gibberish will vary. This is the hashed/crypted version of the frontpage password.

  4. Copy the line that begins with webmaster, and ends with the gibberish.

  5. Using your favorite command line editor, edit the service.pwd file of the site whose password you need to reset

    ex. “vi /home/sites/”

  6. Replace the webmaster:gibberish line in this file with the one copied from your “fake” site.

That's it.  The password for your Frontpage site will now match the password you used when setting up your fake site.  

This typifies why people hate the Cobalt RAQ.  It purported  to be an easy to use and maintain black box, but the reality was you still needed to do a lot of commend line mucking about.  Command line wonks hated it because there was sparse documentation on what the GUI did, so you'd often find your custom changes being overwritten by the GUI application.  

1. fake meaning you're never going to setup DNS

Copyright © Alan Storm 1975 – 2022 All Rights Reserved

Originally Posted: 15th September 2004