[LON-CAPA-admin] Cookie problems but still switched?

Stuart Raeburn raeburn at msu.edu
Wed Jan 30 11:46:28 EST 2013


> *httpd error_log gives:  /home/httpd/html/adm/switchserver failed   
> for xx.xx.xx.xx, reason: Cookie  not valid

This message is logged on a lonbalancer server each time a user  
successfully authenticates, and is then internally redirected to  
/adm/switchserver (i.e., it is logged for every successful log-in via  
a lonbalancer server).

Accordingly, it is not really an error, despite its appearance in the  
Apache ssl_error_log file (or error_log file for non-SSL Apache), and  
the use of the word "failed".

What is happening here is that lonauth.pm authenticates the user, and  
then checks if the server should offload the user session (which will  
be yes, if it's a lonbalancer server). If yes, an internal redirect  
occurs to /adm/switchserver.

Because there was no lonID from a cookie in the original request (the  
user was authenticating) when lonacc.pm is called during handling of  
the request for /adm/switchserver it finds no user session, and logs  
the message you see.

Anyway, lonacc.pm (see rev. 1.142 --  
http://source.loncapa.org/cgi-bin/cvsweb.cgi/loncom/auth/lonacc.pm?rev=1.142 )  
now skips logging in this particular case.  However, it may be  
preferable to actually log this event (calling switchserver after  
successful authentication on a lonbalancer server), in some other way.

Stuart Raeburn
LON-CAPA Academic Consortium

Quoting "Lucas, Mark" <lucasm at ohio.edu>:

> Hi,
> I'm doing some forensics on a student who (1) claims to have   
> problems logging in, and (2) when she
> does get in she can't submit problems.
> She is using Safari/536.25, and I think the issues is cookies, but   
> what confuses me is the following:
> * she logged into our lonbalancer, capa5, authenticated, and was   
> switched to capa10.
> *httpd error_log gives:  /home/httpd/html/adm/switchserver failed   
> for xx.xx.xx.xx, reason: Cookie  not valid
> * ... but her session seems to transfer to capa10 'just fine',   
> outside of the fact that she gets strange
>    behavior trying to submit problems.
> Has anyone else seen something like this?  Any quick insights from anyone?
> Thanks,
> Mark
> --
> Mark Lucas 								email: lucasm at ohiou.edu
> 252D Clippinger Lab						phone: (740)597-2984
> Department of Physics and Astronomy		fax: (740)593-0433
> Ohio University
> Athens, OH 45701
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