Posts Tagged ‘argument’

How to digital watermark to a picture – Protect pic with copyright image or text with composite, convert and Phatch on GNU / Linux

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Watermarking is a technique to identify a physical or non-physical object with its owner (creator). First watermarks in history originates from very ancient times.

There are two basic types of Watermark types:

I. Physical Watermarks (classical)

II. Digital Watermarks

Historically Classical Watermarks, were mostly important. As we tend to use more and more visible and we switch to use of more invisible stuff, nowdays the importance and use of digital watermarks is steadily raising.

You have most likely already seen pictures from websites which contain a copyright holder message stamp or website logo on it.
As you could imagine the picture watermark is placed in order to prevent pictures from being re-used in another internet space ,without the picture copyright holder explicit permission…

Watermarks have entered most if not all areas of our life, but we often don't recognize they're there / rarely think about them.
Few of the many "physical watermarks" we use daily are:

  • paper money watermark (to protect against anti money forgery)
  • bank debit / credit cards stamps near the card chip
  • postcards paper stamps

There are too many different kind of "physical watermarks" and since this is not the accent of this article, I will continue straight to explaiin a bit on Digital (picture) watermarks and how to watermark images with ImageMagick image editting command line suit.

Just like with physical watermarks, there are different kinds of digital watermarks. There are:

  • Picture (Images) digital watermarks
  • – Steganography

  • Video watermarks
  • Audio stream digital watermarks
  • Visual digital watermarks
  • – Visible area of text or picture over another text picture or video

  • Invisible digital watermarks
  • – digital information (files) metadata with watermark content etc.

The topic of watermarking is quite wide, so I will stop here and focus on the main idea of this article – to show how to place digital watermark on graphic image or collection of pictures.

The most straightway non-interactive way to do picture watermarking is with ImageMagick's composite command line tool. This little handy tool is capable of creating watermarks in single and multiple pictures.

If you prefer to have a simple text as a watermark, then you should use imagick's convert cmd.

1. Putting a watermark of picture in the right bottom corner

$ composite -gravity southeast -dissolve 100 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \

Snoopy Writting pc freak watermark picture text watermark on the right bottom corner with composite

2. Placing watermark to picture in the bottom right corner

$ composite -gravity northeast -dissolve 80 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \

Snoopy Writting pc freak picture text watermark on the right bottom corner with composite

3. Watermarking picture in the bottom left corner

$ composite -gravity southwest -dissolve 90 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \

Snoopy writting watermarking picture on the bottom left corner imagemagick (composite)

4. Watermarking picture in the top left corner

$ composite -gravity northwest -dissolve 100 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.jpg \

As you see from above example, composite even accept mixing up input / output between PNG and JPEG pictures 🙂

Output Watermarked Image picture on top left corner with pc-freak logo image Imagick composite

5. Put a watermark in the image center

$ composite -gravity center -dissolve 100 \
watermark_picture.png image-to-watermark.png \

position watermark on the picture middle (center) composite output picture

6. Sealing image with custom text / Text Watermarking a picture

a) Writting text watermark to an image centered in "footer"

$ convert image-to-watermark.png -pointsize 20 \
-draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 \
'hip0s Watermark'" output-watermarked-image.jpg

This will place a watermark in position 0,12, meaning the text will be added in the bottom center of the watermarked image.

Watermarking a picture sealing with custom text image imagick composite pic

-pointsize 20 defines the text font size. hip0s Watermark is the actual text that will be stamped.

b) Writting image watermark with font type customization (Arial Tahoma etc.):

To list all available fonts ready to be used by convert, type:

$ convert -list font
$ convert -list font |grep -i arial
Font: Arial-Black-Regular
family: Arial Black
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/Arial_Black.ttf
Font: Arial-Bold
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/Arial_Bold.ttf
Font: Arial-Bold-Italic
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/arialbi.ttf
Font: Arial-Italic
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/ariali.ttf
Font: Arial-Regular
family: Arial
glyphs: /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/Arial.ttf

$ convert -list type

On my system, I have 392 of fonts installed, to check the number of installed fonts ready for use by convert I used:

$ convert -list font|grep -i 'font:'|wc -l

To only check exact fonts names usable in convert:

$ convert -list font|grep -i 'font:'

To use the red marked Arial-Regular for font of the text picture timestamp issue;

$ convert watermark_picture.jpg -font Arial-Regular \
-pointsize 20 -draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 'hip0s Watermark'" \

Watermark and with Arial-Regular font image magick convert screenshot dog type writter

c) Using external font with convert to place image text watermark

Lets say you would like to use an external font (arhangai.ttf) not listed in convert -font list usable fonts:

$ convert image-to-watermark.png -pointsize 20 \
-font /usr/share/fonts/truetype/arhangai/arhangai.ttf \
-draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 \
'hip0s Watermark'" output-watermarked-image_7.png

Talking about fonts, if you would like to add some external, nice free-fonts (ttf) files to your current logged in user, exec:

hipo@noah:~$ cd ~/fonts
hipo@noah:/fonts$ for i in \
$(lynx -dump|grep -i .ttf|grep -i http|awk '{ print $2 }'); \
do wget -r -l2 -nd -Nc $i;

This will add 85 new nice looking fonts. Putting fonts in .fonts/ directory, are red while fonts are looked up by applications installed on respective the server or desktop GNU / Linux systems. Any font put there is ready to be used across all ImageMagick command line tools, as well as will be added across the list of possible fonts to use in GIMP and the rest of gui editors installed on the system.

According to the (watermark) texts font size passed to convert on some pictures the text written will exceed the picture dimensions and only partially some of the text intended as watermark will be visible.
If you encounter the exceed picture text problem, take few minutes and play with fonts sizes until you have a good font size to fit the approximate dimensions of the (expected minimum / maximum – horizontal and vertical) stamped picture dimensions.

For the sake of clarity, here is a list with arguments used in above, composite and convert examples.

  • composite — The ImageMagick command that combines two images.
  • -dissolve 80 — The number after the option determines the brightness of the watermark.  100 is full strength.
  • -gravity southeast — Determines the placement of watermark.
    Possible options are; north, west, south, east, northwest, northeast, southeast, southwest, center
  • watermark_picture.png — The watermark image is the first argument.
  • image-to-watermark.jpg — The second argument is the original image to be watermarked.
  • output-watermarked-image.jpg — The third argument is the new composite image to be created.
    N. B. !  If you don't specify a new file, be careful, the original file will be overwritten.

As ImageMagick is cross platform graphic editting suit – it runs on both *nix (Linux,BSD) and Windows. I have tested it on Linux, only but on FreeBSD and other BSDs it should work without any problem.
The composite and convert above examples should be easily rewritten to run on achieve watarmarking on MS Windows too.

7. Watermarking multiple pictures in a directory

To watermark multiple pictures within a directory use, a short bash loop in combination with either convert or composite could be used:

$ cd your-directory/
$ for i in *; do
convert $i -pointsize 20 -draw "gravity south fill black text 0,12 'hip0s Watermark'" output-watermarked-image.jpg

convert and composite also support wildcards like '*.JPG, *.PNG', but I'm not sure if this syntax can be used for mass picture marking?

8. Adding watermark and doing other various advanced Image Edit, Convert and Compose stuff with Phatch GUI program

Another program that is capable to put watermarks on pictures and besides that doing a number of routine graphic manipulation operations achievable with expert Image manipulation programs like GIMP / Inkscape is PHATCH = PHOTO & BATCH

Phatch is swiss army knife for doing web design or or graphics design on Linux.

Phatch is really great and easy to use program. Tt makes putting basic designer effects on pictures with no requirement for any design skills.
With Phatch you can become a designer for a day literally 😉

If you haven't used it yet, make sure you try it!
Below, are two screenshots of Phatch running on my Debian G* / Linux

Phatch Linux Debian Squeeze Screenshot

Phatch Linux Debian Squeeze Screenshot Watermark effect

Phatch is installable via apt on Debian and Ubuntu Linux. It has also a phatch-cli tools, which are a possible substitute to ImageMagick's composite / convert tools.

On deb based distros install Phatch with:

noah:~# apt-get --yes install phatch phatch-cli

In Phatch it is also possible, to create a combination of filters to be later applied to an image file or a group of image files all in a directory. The program capabilities are really outstanding, it is pure joy to work with it.

Using Phatch GUI interface is hard to comprehend in the beginning, I needed few minutes until I can get the idea how to use it. Anyhow once you know the basics, its very easy to use onwards.

Phatch currently can perform the following actions:

  • Auto Contrast – Maximize image contrast
  • Border – Crop or add border to all sides
  • Brightness – Adjust brightness from black to white
  • Canvas – Crop the image or enlarge canvas without resizing the image
  • Colorize – Colorize grayscale image
  • Common – Copies the most common pixel value
  • Contrast – Adjust from grey to black & white
  • Convert Mode – Convert the color mode of an image (grayscale, RGB, RGBA or CMYK)
  • Effect – Blur, Sharpen, Emboss, Smooth, ..
  • Equalize – Equalize the image histogram
  • Fit – Downsize and crop image with fixed ratio
  • Grayscale – Fade all colours to gray
  • Invert – Invert the colors of the image (negative)
  • Maximum – Copies the maximum pixel value
  • Median – Copies the median pixel value
  • Minimum – Copies the minimum pixel value
  • Offset – Offset by distance and wrap around
  • Posterize – Reduce the number of bits of colour channel
  • Rank – Copies the rank'th pixel value
  • Rotate – Rotate with random angle
  • Round – Round or crossed corners with variable radius and corners
  • Saturation – Adjust saturation from grayscale to high
  • Save – Save an image with variable compression in different types
  • Scale – Scale an image with different resample filters.
  • Shadow – Drop a blurred shadow under a photo with variable position, blur and color
  • Solarize – Invert all pixel values above threshold
  • Text – Write text at a given position
  • Transpose – Flip or rotate an image by 90 degrees
  • Watermark – Apply a watermark image with variable placement (offset, scaling, tiling) and opacity

Most of the function / effects Phatch in the up list works fine as I tested them to get to know the program.
The only effect that didn't worked for me is Blender effect.
Trying to apply the Blending effect I got error:

Can not apply action Blender:
'dict' object has no attribute 'rfind'

dict object has not attribiture rfind error screenshot my linux

Its really a pity blender filter don't work. I've seen on Phatch's website some pictures showing the blender effect in action and it looks really awesome.

In attempt to work around the err, I tried downloading Phatch's latest release and running it with python interpreter but it didn't work out …
I tried also to install some packages to the system that somehow seemed to be related to blenderversatile 3D modeller/renderer program but this worked neither.
I suspect Phatch blender effect is not working on Ubuntu too as I've red complains in some Ubuntu forums.
If someone succeeding making blend effect work please let me know how?

Interesting feature of Phatch is the program support for applying its predefined filters using a cli interface.
The syntax for phatch cli, should be something like:

phatch -console action_list.phatch

Where action_list.phatch is a Phatch predefined filter. Anyways I didn't manage to figure out how to use the program CLI. I'll be glad to hear if someone succeeded in using the program console, if so please share with me how?

9. Adding Watermark to pictures with GIMP

To add a watermark text or picture in GIMP, there are plenty of ways but is more time consuming by both Phatch or convert, composite..
There is a script in gimp plugin registry site – watermark.scm which adds watermarking capability to GIMP

On my system this script was installed with the deb package gimp-data-extras. To apply the plugin on a pic, I used GIMP menus:

Filters -> Eg -> Copyright Placer

GIMP Copyright Holder plugin Watermark Screenshot

If someone knows about better or quicker ways to do watermarking, please share 🙂

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How to exclude files on copy (cp) on GNU / Linux / Linux copy and exclude files and directories (cp -r) exclusion

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

I've recently had to make a copy of one /usr/local/nginx directory under /usr/local/nginx-bak, in order to have a working copy of nginx, just in case if during my nginx update to new version from source mess ups.

I did not check the size of /usr/local/nginx , so just run the usual:

nginx:~# cp -rpf /usr/local/nginx /usr/local/nginx-bak

Execution took more than 20 seconds, so I check the size and figured out /usr/local/nginx/logs has grown to 120 gigabytes.

I didn't wanted to extra load the production server with copying thousands of gigabytes so I asked myself if this is possible with normal Linux copy (cp) command?. I checked cp manual e.g. man cp, but there is no argument like –exclude or something.

Even though the cp command exclude feature is not implemented by default there are a couple of ways to copy a directory with exclusion of subdirectories of files on G / Linux.

Here are the 3 major ones:

1. Copy directory recursively and exclude sub-directories or files with GNU tar

Maybe the quickest way to copy and exclude directories is through a littke 'hack' with GNU tarnginx:~# mkdir /usr/local/nginx-new;
nginx:~# cd /usr/local/nginx#
nginx:/usr/local/nginx# tar cvf - \. --exclude=/usr/local/nginx/logs/* \
| (cd /usr/local/nginx-new; tar -xvf - )

Copying that way however is slow, in my case it fits me perfectly but for copying large chunks of data it is better not to use pipe and instead use regular tar operation + mv

# cd /source_directory
# tar cvf test.tar --exclude=dir_to_exclude/*\--exclude=dir_to_exclude1/* . \
# mv test.tar /destination_directory
# cd /destination# tar xvf test.tar

2. Copy folder recursively excluding some directories with rsync

P>eople who has experience with rsync , already know how invaluable this tool is. Rsync can completely be used as for substitute=de.a# rsync -av –exclude='path1/to/exclude' –exclude='path2/to/exclude' source destination

This example, can also be used as a solution to my copy nginx and exclude logs directory casus like so:

nginx:~# rsync -av --exclude='/usr/local/nginx/logs/' /usr/local/nginx/ /usr/local/nginx-new

As you can see for yourself, this is a way more readable for the tar, however it will not work on servers, where rsync is not installed and it is unusable if you have to do operations as a regular users on such for that case surely the GNU tar hack is more 'portable' across systems.
rsync has also Windows version and therefore, the same methodology should be working on MS Windows and good for batch scripting.
I've not tested it myself, yet as I've never used rsync on Windows, if someone has tried and it works pls drop me a short msg in comments.
3. Copy directory and exclude sub directories and files with find

Find in collaboration with cp can also be used to exclude certain directories while copying. Actually this method is better than the GNU tar hack and surely more efficient. For machines, where rsync is not installed it is just a perfect way to copy files from location to location, while excluding some directories, here is an example use of find and cp, for the above nginx case:

nginx:~# cd /usr/local/nginx
nginx:~# mkdir /usr/local/nginx
nginx:/usr/local/nginx# find . -type d \( ! -name logs \) -print -exec cp -rpf '{}' /usr/local/nginx-bak \;

This will find all directories inside /usr/local/nginx with find command print them on the screen, then execute recursive copy over each found directory and copy to /usr/local/nginx-bak

This example will work fine in the nginx case because /usr/local/nginx does not contain any files but only sub-directories. In other occwhere the directory does contain some files besides sub-directories the files had to also be copied e.g.:

# for i in $(ls -l | egrep -v '^d'); do\
cp -rpf $i /destination/directory

This will copy the files from source directory (for instance /usr/local/nginx/my_file.txt, /usr/local/nginx/my_file1.txt etc.), which doesn't belong to a subdirectory.

The cmd expression:

# ls -l | egrep -v '^d'

Lists only the files while excluding all the directories and in a for loop each of the files is copied to /destination/directory

If someone has better ideas, please share with me 🙂

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How to make a mirror of website on GNU / Linux with wget / Few tips on wget site mirroring

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012


Everyone who used Linux is probably familiar with wget or has used this handy download console tools at least thousand of times. Not so many Desktop GNU / Linux users like Ubuntu and Fedora Linux users had tried using wget to do something more than single files download.
Actually wget is not so popular as it used to be in earlier linux days. I've noticed the tendency for newer Linux users to prefer using curl (I don't know why).

With all said I'm sure there is plenty of Linux users curious on how a website mirror can be made through wget.
This article will briefly suggest few ways to do website mirroring on linux / bsd as wget is both available on those two free operating systems.

1. Most Simple exact mirror copy of website

The most basic use of wget's mirror capabilities is by using wget's -mirror argument:

# wget -m

Creating a mirror like this is not a very good practice, as the links of the mirrored pages will still link to external URLs. In other words link URL will not pointing to your local copy and therefore if you're not connected to the internet and try to browse random links of the webpage you will end up with many links which are not opening because you don't have internet connection.

2. Mirroring with rewritting links to point to localhost and in between download page delay

Making mirror with wget can put an heavy load on the remote server as it fetches the files as quick as the bandwidth allows it. On heavy servers rapid downloads with wget can significantly reduce the download server responce time. Even on a some high-loaded servers it can cause the server to hang completely.
Hence mirroring pages with wget without explicity setting delay in between each page download, could be considered by remote server as a kind of DoS – (denial of service) attack. Even some site administrators have already set firewall rules or web server modules configured like Apache mod_security which filter requests to IPs which are doing too frequent HTTP GET /POST requests to the web server.
To make wget delay with a 10 seconds download between mirrored pages use:

# wget -mk -w 10 -np --random-wait

The -mk stands for -m/-mirror and -k / shortcut argument for –convert-links (make links point locally), –random-wait tells wget to make random waits between o and 10 seconds between each page download request.

3. Mirror / retrieve website sub directory ignoring robots.txt "mirror restrictions"

Some websites has a robots.txt which restricts content download with clients like wget, curl or even prohibits, crawlers to download their website pages completely.

/robots.txt restrictions are not a problem as wget has an option to disable robots.txt checking when downloading.
Getting around the robots.txt restrictions with wget is possible through -e robots=off option.
For instance if you want to make a local mirror copy of the whole sub-directory with all links and do it with a delay of 10 seconds between each consequential page request without reading at all the robots.txt allow/forbid rules:

# wget -mk -w 10 -np -e robots=off --random-wait

4. Mirror website which is prohibiting Download managers like flashget, getright, go!zilla etc.

Sometimes when try to use wget to make a mirror copy of an entire site domain subdirectory or the root site domain, you get an error similar to:

Sorry, but the download manager you are using to view this site is not supported.
We do not support use of such download managers as flashget, go!zilla, or getright

This message is produced by the site dynamic generation language PHP / ASP / JSP etc. used, as the website code is written to check on the browser UserAgent sent.
wget's default sent UserAgent to the remote webserver is:

As this is not a common desktop browser useragent many webmasters configure their websites to only accept well known established desktop browser useragents sent by client browsers.
Here are few typical user agents which identify a desktop browser:

  • Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:6.0) Gecko/20110814 Firefox/6.0
  • Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:6.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/6.0
  • Mozilla/6.0 (Macintosh; I; Intel Mac OS X 11_7_9; de-LI; rv:1.9b4) Gecko/2012010317 Firefox/10.0a4
  • Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; rv:2.2a1pre) Gecko/20110324 Firefox/4.2a1pre

etc. etc.

If you're trying to mirror a website which has implied some kind of useragent restriction based on some "valid" useragent, wget has the -U option enabling you to fake the useragent.

If you get the Sorry but the download manager you are using to view this site is not supported , fake / change wget's UserAgent with cmd:

# wget -mk -w 10 -np -e robots=off \
--referer="" \--user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20070725 Firefox/" \--header="Accept:text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/html;q=0.9,text/plain;q=0.8,image/png,*/*;q=0.5" \--header="Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5" \--header="Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate" \--header="Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7" \--header="Keep-Alive: 300"

For the sake of some wget anonimity – to make wget permanently hide its user agent and pretend like a Mozilla Firefox running on MS Windows XP use .wgetrc like this in home directory.

5. Make a complete mirror of a website under a domain name

To retrieve complete working copy of a site with wget a good way is like so:

# wget -rkpNl5 -w 10 --random-wait

Where the arguments meaning is:
-r – Retrieve recursively
-k – Convert the links in documents to make them suitable for local viewing
-p – Download everything (inline images, sounds and referenced stylesheets etc.)
-N – Turn on time-stamping
-l5 – Specify recursion maximum depth level of 5

6. Make a dynamic pages static site mirror, by converting CGI, ASP, PHP etc. to HTML for offline browsing

It is often websites pages are ending in a .php / .asp / .cgi … extensions. An example of what I mean is for instance the URL You see the url page is tutorial.php once mirrored with wget the local copy will also end up in .php and therefore will not be suitable for local browsing as .php extension is not understood how to interpret by the local browser.
Therefore to copy website with a non-html extension and make it offline browsable in HTML there is the –html-extension option e.g.:

# wget -mk -w 10 -np -e robots=off \
--random-wait \

A good practice in mirror making is to set a download limit rate. Setting such rate is both good for UP and DOWN side (the local host where downloading and remote server). download-limit is also useful when mirroring websites consisting of many enormous files (documental movies, some music etc.).
To set a download limit to add –limit-rate= option. Passing by to wget –limit-rate=200K would limit download speed to 200KB.

Other useful thing to assure wget has made an accurate mirror is wget logging. To use it pass -o ./my_mirror.log to wget.

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How to count how many files are in a directory with find on Linux

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

how to count how many directories are on your linux server

Did you ever needed to count, how many files in a directory are there?
Having the concrete number of files in a directory is not a seldom task but still very useful especially for scripts or simply for the sake of learning

The quickest and maybe the easiest way to count all files in a directory in Linux is with a combination of find and wc commands:

Here is how;

linux:~# cd ascii
linux:~/ascii# find . -type f -iname '*' -print |wc -l

This will find and list all matched files in any directory and subdirectories, print them out and count them with wc command.
The -type f argument instructs find to look only for files.

Other helpful variance of finding and listing all files in a directory and subdirectories is to list and count all the files with a certain file extension under a directory. For example, lets list all text files (.txt) contained in a directory and all level sub-directories:

linux:~/ascii# find . -type f -iname '*.txt' -print |wc -l

If you need to check the number of files in a directory for multiple directories on a server and you're aiming at doing it efficienly, issung above find .. | wc code will definitely be not a good choice. If used it will generate heavy load for the system and along with that will complete the execution in ages if issued on a large number of files containing dirs.

Thanksfully if efficiency is targetted, there is a command written in C called tree which is more efficient than find.
To count the number of files in dir but using tree :

linux:~# cd ascii
linux:/ascii# tree | tail -n 1
32 directories, 407 files

By default tree prints info for both the number of found files and directories.
To print out only the files matched, awk comes handy, e.g.:

linux:/ascii# tree |tail -n 1| awk '{ print $3 }'407

To list only the number of files in a directory without its existing sub-directories ls + wc use is also possible:

linux:~/ascii# ls -l | grep ^- | wc -l68

This result the above command would produce is +1 more than the real number of files, as it counts the directory ".." as one file (in UNIX / LINUX everything is file).

A short one liner script that can calculate all files correctly by substracting 1 is and hence present correct result on number of files is like so:

linux:~/ascii# var=$(ls -l | grep ^- | wc -l); var=$(($var - 1)); echo $var

ls can be used to calculate the number of 1-st level sub-directories under certain directory for instance:

linux:~/ascii# ls -l |grep ^d|wc -l

You see the ascii directory has 25 subdirectories in its 1st level.

To check symlinks under a directory with ls the command would be:

linux:~/ascii# ls -l | grep ^l | wc -l

Note above 3 ls | grep … examples, will not work properly if the directory contains files with SUID or some special properties set.
Hence to get the same 3 results for active files, directories and symbolic links, a one liner similar to the one below can be used instead:

linux:~/ascii# for t in files links directories; do echo `find . -type ${t:0:1} | wc -l` $t; done 2> /dev/null
407 files
0 links
33 directories

This will show statistics about all files, links and directories for all directory sub-levels.
Just in case if there is need to only count files, links and directories without directory recursion enabled, use:

linux:~/ascii# for t in files links directories; do echo `find . -maxdepth 1 -type ${t:0:1} | wc -l` $t; done 2> /dev/null
68 files
0 links
26 directories

Anyways the above bash loop will be slow, for directories containing thousands of files. For better performance the equivallent of above bash loop rewritten in perl would be:

linux:~/ascii# ls -l |perl -e 'while(<>){$h{substr($_,0,1)}+=1;} END {foreach(keys %h) {print "$_ $h{$_}\n";}}'
- 68
d 25
t 1
In any case the most preferrable and efficient way to count files en directories is by using tree command.
In my view using always tree command instead of code "hacks" is smart idea.

In Slackware tree command is part of the base install, on Debian and CentOS Linux, tree cmd is not part of the base system and requires install via apt / yum e.g.:

debian:~# apt-get --yes install tree

[root@centos:~ ]# yum --yes install tree

Happy counting 😉

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Fix audioCD play problems with VLC on GNU Linux

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

I've not played audio CD for ages. Anyways I had to set up one computer with Linux just recently and one of the requirements was to be able to play audiocds.
I was surprised that actually a was having issue with such as simple tasks.
Here is how i come with this article.

If you encounter errors playing Audio CDs on any Linux distro in VLC or other players, you might need to apply the following fix.

root@xubuntu-desktop:~# apt-get install xubuntu-restricted-extras
root@xubuntu-desktop:~# apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

I'm not sure if this packages are required, anyways having them installed is a good idea especially on computers which will have to support as much multimedia as possible.

Trying to play a CD with VLC the result was not nice, you see in the picture above the error that poped up while trying it with VLC:

Due to wrong configuration of the play device VLC will be looking to read the audio cd from.

To succesfully play the audiocd invoke VLC command with a cdda///dev/sr0 argument like so:

hipo@xubuntu-desktop:~$ vlc cdda:///dev/sr0

To permanently fix the error you will have to edit ~/.config/vlc/vlcrc :

Inside ~/.config/vlc/vlcrc find the lines:


Substitute the above line with:


Next find the line:


Change the above line with:

Due to a bug in generating vlcrc , the dvd= might be set also to other messy unreadable characters (different from /dev/cdrom). This can also be the reason why it fails to properly read the disc.

If dvd= and vcd is set to a different unreadable characters delete them and substitute with /dev/sr0 .I've experienced this on Xubuntu Linux with a Bulgarian localization (probably the bug can be seen in other Linuxes when GNOME is installed in Russian, Chineese and other UTF-8 languages.

The strange error can be observed also in other players when the localization is set to someone's native language …
Alternative solution is to install and use rhythmbox instead of VLC.
Other program to play audio CDs called workman , you will have to get used to the interface which uses gtk1 and therefore obsolete. Putting aside the ugly interface it works 😉

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Solve ALSA audio and mic issues on Lenovo Thinkpads on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Since I've blogged about my recent skype issues. I've played a lot with pulseaudio, alsa, alsa-oss to experimented a lot until I figured out why Skype was failing to properly delivery sound and record via my embedded laptop mic.

Anyways, while researching on the cause of my Thinkpad r61 mic issues, I've red a bunch of blog posts by people experiencing microphone oddities with Lenovo Thinkpads

Throughout the search I come across one very good article, which explained that in many cases the Thinkpad sound problems are caused by the snd-hda-intel alsa kernel module. snd-hda-intel fails to automatically set proper sb model type argument during Linux install when the soundcard is initialized with some argument like options snd-hda-intel model=auto

Hence, the suggested fix which should resolve this on many Thinkpad notebooks is up to passing the right module argument:

To fix its neceessery to edit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf .

debian:~# vim /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

Find the line in the file starting with:
options snd-hda-intel model=

and substitute with:

options snd-hda-intel model=thinkpad

Finally a restart of Advaned Linux Sound Architecture (alsa) is required:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/alsa restart

At most cases just restarting the alsa via its init script is not enough, since the ssnd-hda-intel kernel module is already in use by some program or something, so its best to do a reboot to make sure the module is loaded with the new model=thinkpad argument.

My exact laptop sound card model is:

debian:~# lspci |grep -i audio
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)

After changing the module and using alsamixer and aumix to make sure mic is unmuted and its volume is high enough, mic sound rec works fine.

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How to copy CD or DVD on GNU/Linux and FreeBSD using console or terminal

Monday, November 14th, 2011

CD Burning Console Terminal Linux / FreeBSD picture

These days more and more people start to forget the g* / Linux old times when we used to copy CDs from console using dd in conjunction with mkisofs .

Therefore to bring some good memories back of the glorious console times I decided to come up with this little post.

To copy a CD or DVD the first thing one should do is to make an image copy of the present inserted CD into the CD-drive with dd :

1. Make copy of the CD/DVD image using dd

# dd if=/dev/cdrom of=/tmp/mycd.iso bs=2048 conv=notrunc

/dev/cdrom is the location of the cdrom device, on many Linuces including (Debian) /dev/cdrom is just a link to the /dev/ which corresponds to the CD drive. Note on FreeBSD the location for the CD Drive is /dev/acd0
/tmp/mycd.iso instructs dd CD image creation to be placed in /tmp/ directory.
bs argument instructs it about the byte size portions by which the content of the CD-Drive inserted CD will be read. bs value of 2048 is actually only 2KB per dd read, increasing this value will decrease the time required for the CD image to be extracted.

2. Prepare CD image file to be ready for burning

After dd completes the image copy operation, next to prepare the extracted image / ISO to be ready for burning mkisofs is used:

# mkisofs -J -L -r -V TITLE -o /tmp/imagefile.iso /tmp/mycd.iso

The -J option makes the CD compatible for Pcs running Microsoft Windows. The -V TITLE option should be changed to whatever title the new CD should have, -r will add up status bar for the mkisofs operation.
-r is passed to create specific file permissions on the newly created CD, -o specifies the location where mkisofs will produce its file based on the CD image /tmp/mycd.iso .

3. Burning the mkisofs image file to a CD/DVD on GNU / Linux

linux:~# cdrecord -scanbus
linux:~# cdrecord dev=1,0,0 /tmp/imagefile.iso

If all wents okay with cdrecord operation, after a while the CD should be ready.

4. Burning the mkisofs image file to CD on FreeBSD

freebsd# burncd -f /dev/acd0 data /tmp/imagefile.iso fixate

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How to fix “sslserver: fatal: unable to load certificate” Qmail error on GNU / Linux

Friday, October 14th, 2011

After setupping a brand new Qmail installation following the QmailRocks Thibs Qmail Debian install guide , I’ve come across unexpected re-occuring error message in /var/log/qmail/qmail-smtpdssl/ , here is the message:

@400000004e9807b10d8bdb7c command-line: exec sslserver -e -vR -l -c 30 -u 89 -g 89
-x /etc/tcp.smtp.cdb 0 465 rblsmtpd -r -r -r -r qmail-smtpd /home/vpopmail/bin/vchkpw /bin/true 2>&1
@400000004e9807b10dae2ca4 sslserver: fatal: unable to load certificate

I was completely puzzled initially by the error as the sertificate file /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem was an existing and properly self generated one. Besides that qmail daemontools init script /service/qmail-smtpd/run was loading the file just fine, where the same file failed to get loaded when sslserver command with the cert argument was invoked via /service/qmail-smtpdssl/run

It took me quite a while to thoroughfully investigate on what’s wrong with the new qmail install. Thanksfully after almost an hour of puzzling I found it out and I was feeling as a complete moron to find that the all issues was caused by incorrect permissions of the /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem file.
Here are the incorrect permissions the file possessed:

linux:~# ls -al /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem
-rw------- 1 qmaild qmail 2311 2011-10-12 13:21 /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem

To fix up the error I had to allow all users to have reading permissions over servercert.pem , e.g.:

linux:~# chmod a+r /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem

After adding all users readable bit on servercert.pem the file permissions are like so:

linux:~# ls -al /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem
-rw-r--r-- 1 qmaild qmail 2311 2011-10-12 13:21 /var/qmail/control/servercert.pem

Consequently I did a qmail restart to make sure the new readable servercert.pem will get loaded from the respective init script:

linux:~# qmailctl restart
* Stopping qmail-smtpdssl.
* Stopping qmail-smtpd.
* Sending qmail-send SIGTERM and restarting.
* Restarting qmail-smtpd.
* Restarting qmail-smtpdssl.

Now the annoying sslserver: fatal: unable to load certificate message is no more and all works fine, Hooray! 😉

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How to crack password protected rar and 7z files on GNU / Linux

Friday, October 7th, 2011

break / crack password protected rar, zip archives on Linux and FreeBSD rarcrcack

RarCrack is able to crack rar and 7z archive files protected by password on Linux.
The program is currently at release version 0.2, so its far from perfection, but at least it can break rars.

RarCrack is currently installable on most Linux distributions only from source, to install on a random Linux distro, download and make && make install . RarCrack’s official site is here, I’ve mirrored the current version of RarCrack for download here . To install rarcrack from source using the mirrored version:

linux:~# wget
linux:~# tar -jxvvf rarcrack-0.2.tar.bz2
linux:~# cd rarcrack-0.2
linux:~/rarcrack-0.2# make
linux:~/rarcrack-0.2# make install

On FreeBSD, rarcrack is available and installable via the ports tree, to install on FreeBSD:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/security/rarcrack
freebsd# make && make install

To use RarCrack to crack rar, zip or 7z archive file:

freebsd% rarcrack rar_file_protected_with_password.rar --type rar

The argument –type rar is optional, in most archives RarCrack should detect the archive automatically. The –type option could also take the arguments of rar and 7z .

I’ve created a sample rar file protected with password linux_then_and_now.png.rar . The archive linux_then_and_now.png contains a graphic file illustrating the linux growth in use in computers, mobiles and servers. linux_then_and_now.png.rar is protected with the sample password parola

RarCrack also supports threads (a simultaneous instance spawned copies of the program). Using threads speeds up the process of cracking and thus using the –threads is generally a good idea. Hence a good way to use rarcrack with the –threads option is:

freebsd% rarcrack linux_then_and_now.png.rar --threads 8 --type rar
RarCrack! 0.2 by David Zoltan Kedves (
INFO: the specified archive type: rar
INFO: cracking linux_then_and_now.png.rar, status file: linux_then_and_now.png.rar.xml
Probing: '0i' [24 pwds/sec]
Probing: '1v' [25 pwds/sec]

RarCrack‘s source archive also comes with three sample archive files (rar, 7z and zip) protected with passwords for the sake of testing the tool.
One downside of RarCrack is its extremely slow in breaking the passwords on my Lenovo notebook – dual core 1.8ghz with 2g ram it was able to brute force only 20-25 passwords per second.
This means cracking a normal password of 6 symbols will take at least 5 hours.
RarCrack is also said to support cracking zip passwords, but my tests to crack password protected zip file did not bring good results and even one of the tests ended with a segmentation fault.

To test how rarcrack performs with password protected zip files and hence compare if it is superior or inferior to fcrackzip, I used the fcrackzip’s sample pass protected zip

hipo@noah:~$ rarcrack --threads 8 --type zip
2 by David Zoltan Kedves (
INFO: the specified archive type: zip
INFO: cracking, status file:
Probing: 'hP' [386 pwds/sec]
Probing: 'At' [385 pwds/sec]
Probing: 'ST' [380 pwds/sec]

As you can see in above’s command output, the zip password cracking rate of approximately 380 passwords per second is a bit quicker, but still slower than fcrackzip.

RarCrack seg faults if cracking a pass protected zip is passed on without specifying the –type zip command arguments:

linux:~$ rarcrack --threads 8
RarCrack! 0.2 by David Zoltan Kedves (
Segmentation fault

While talking about cracking protected rar and zip archives with password, its worthy to mention creating a password protected archive with Gnome Desktop on Linux and FreeBSD is very easy.

To create the password protected archive in Gnome graphic environment:

a. Point the cursor to the file you want to archive with password

Gnome pointing file properties drop down menu

b. Press on Other Options and fill in the password in the pwd dialog

Linux protect rar with password on Gnome Desktop

I think as of time of writting, no GUI frontend interface for neither RarCrack or FcrackZip is available. Lets hope some good guy from the community will take the time to write extension for Gnome to allow us to crack rar and zip from a nice GUI interface.

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