Posts Tagged ‘download’

Mount remote Linux SSHFS Filesystem harddisk on Windows Explorer SWISH SSHFS file mounter and a short evaluation on what is available to copy files to SSHFS from Windows PC

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

swish-mount-and-copy-files-from-windows-to-linux-via-sshfs-mount

I'm forced to use Windows on my workbook and I found it really irritating, that I can't easily share files in a DropBox, Google Drive, MS OneDrive, Amazon Storage or other cloud-storage free remote service. etc.
I don't want to use DropBox like non self-hosted Data storage because I want to keep my data private and therefore the only and best option for me was to make possible share my Linux harddisk storage
dir remotely to the Windows notebook.

I didn't wanted to setup some complex environment such as Samba Share Server (which used to be often a common option to share file from Linux server to Windows), neither wanted to bother with  installing FTP service and bother with FTP clients, or configuring some other complex stuff such as WebDav – which BTW is an accepted and heavily used solution across corporate clients to access read / write files on a remote Linux servers.
Hence, I made a quick research what else besides could be used to easily share files and data from Windows PC / notebook to a home brew or professional hosting Linux server.

It turned out, there are few of softwares that gives a similar possibility for a home lan small network Linux / Windows hybrid network users such, here is few of the many:

  • SyncThingSyncthing is an open-source file synchronization client/server application, written in Go, implementing its own, equally free Block Exchange Protocol. The source code's content-management repository is hosted on GitHub

     

     

     

     

     

    syncthing-logo

  • OwnCloud – ownCloud provides universal access to your files via the web, your computer or your mobile devices

     

     

     

     

     

    owncloud-logo

  • Seafile – Seafile is a file hosting software system. Files are stored on a central server and can be synchronized with personal computers and mobile devices via the Seafile client. Files can also be accessed via the server's web interface


seafile-client-in-browser

I've checked all of them and give a quick try of Syncthing which is really easy to start, just download the binary launch it and configure it under https://Localhost:8385 URL from a browser on the Linux server.
Syncthing seemed to be nice and easy to configure solution to be able to Sync files between Server A (Windows) and Server B(Linux) and guess many would enjoy it, if you want to give it a try you can follow this short install syncthing article.
However what I didsliked in both SyncThing and OwnCloud and Seafile and all of the other Sync file solutions was, they only supported synchronization via web and didn't seemed to have a Windows Explorer integration and did required
the server to run more services, posing another security hole in the system as such third party softwares are not easily to update and maintain.

Because of that finally after rethinking about some other ways to copy files to a locally mounted Sync directory from the Linux server, I've decided to give SSHFS a try. Mounting SSHFS between two Linux / UNIX hosts is
quite easy task with SSHFS tool

In Windows however the only way I know to transfer files to Linux via SSHFS was with WinSCP client and other SCP clients as well as the experimental:

As well as few others such as ExpandDrive, Netdrive, Dokan SSHFS (mirrored for download here)
I should say that I first decided to try copying few dozen of Gigabyte movies, text, books etc. using WinSCP direct connection, but after getting a couple of timeouts I was tired of WinSCP and decided to look for better way to copy to remote Linux SSHFS.
However the best solution I found after a bit of extensive turned to be:

SWISH – Easy SFTP for Windows

Swish is very straight forward to configure compared to all of them you download the .exe which as of time of writting is at version 0.8.0 install on the PC and right in My Computer you will get a New Device called Swish next to your local and remote drives C:/ D:/ , USBs etc.

swish-new-device-to-appear-in-my-computer-to-mount-sshfs

As you see in below screenshot two new non-standard buttons will Appear in Windows Explorer that lets you configure SWISH

windows-mount-sshfs-swish-add-sftp-connection-button-screenshot

Next and final step before you have the SSHFS remote Linux filesystem visible on Windows Xp / 7 / 8 / 10 is to fill in remote Linux hostname address (or even better fill in IP to get rid of possible DNS issues), UserName (UserID) and Direcory to mount.

swish-new-fill-in-dialog-to-make-new-linux-sshfs-mount-directory-possible-on-windows

Then you will see the SSHFS moutned:

swish-sshfs-mounted-on-windows

You will be asked to accept the SSH host-key as it used to be unknown so far

swish-mount-sshfs-partition-on-windows-from-remote-linux-accept-key

That's it now you will see straight into Windows Explorer the remote Linux SSHFS mounted:

remote-sshfs-linux-filesystem-mounted-in-windows-explorer-with-swish

Once setupped a Swish connection to copy files directly to it you can use the Send to Embedded Windows dialog, as in below screenshot

swish-send-to-files-windows-screenshot

The only 3 problem with SWISH are:

1. It doesn't support Save password, so on every Windows PC reboot when you want to connect to remote Linux SSHFS, you will have to retype remote login user pass.
Fron security stand point this is not such a bad thing, but it is a bit irritating to everytime type the password without an option to save permanently.
The good thing here is you can use Launch Key Agent
as visible in above screenshot and set in Putty Key Agent your remote host SSH key so the passwordless login will work without any authentication at
all however, this might open a security hole if your Win PC gets infected by virus, which might delete something on remote mounted SSHFS filesystem so I personally prefer to retype password on every boot.

2. it is a bit slow so if you're planning to Transfer large amounts of Data as hundreds of megabytes, expect a very slow transfer rate, even in a Local  10Mbit Network to transfer 20 – 30 GB of data, it took me about 2-3 hours or so.
SWISH is not actively supported and it doesn't have new release since 20th of June 2013, but for the general work I need it is just perfect, as I don't tent to be Synchronizing Dozens of Gigabytes all the time between my notebook PC and the Linux server.

3. If you don't use the established mounted connection for a while or your computer goes to sleep mode after recovering your connection to remote Linux HDD if opened in Windows File Explorer will probably be dead and you will have to re-enable it.

For Mac OS X users who want to mount / attach remote directory from a Linux partitions should look in fuguA Mac OS X SFTP, SCP and SSH Frontend

I'll be glad to hear from people on other good ways to achieve same results as with SWISH but have a better copy speed while using SSHFS.

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Windows XP / 7, Minimize any program to system tray free software – RBTray, Trayconizer and Windows HideIT

Monday, January 5th, 2015

rbtray-screenshot1-on-ms-windows-minimize-any-application-systray-winblows
As Linux admin, I'm already aware of AllTray *NIX application able to send any application to GNOME / KDE tray.
But what If you have a program on Windows XP / 7 / 8,  that doesn't have a minimize to tray functionality and you want to send it to tray?
I.e. what if you want to send programs like Notepad (that doesn't by default go to win systray) to Windows  tray in order to prevent them mess up with other Open Windows minimized windows?

After a quick research on the topic I found these 3 – RBtray, Trayconizer, HideIt, Below is a very quick review on each

.

1. Minimize any Windows program to tray with RBTray

rbtray_windows-7-screenshot-minimize-any-application-to-tray-minimize-notepad
If you want to stick to open source (GPL) software a tiny free software proggie that does the trick is RBTray current latest RBtray is 4.3 release is download mirror is here.

To use RBTray you don't need to do anything, once program is unarchived from archive, once launched there will be no system application that it is running, but you can go to any minimized program (not in tray) and by clicking with right mouse button on minimize button you will the app minimize to tray.

Here is how RBTray works (taken from archive README file):

Installing:
Extract the 32-bit or 64-bit binaries (depending on your OS) to a
 folder, e.g.
C:Program FilesRBTray.  Double click RBTray.exe to start it.  If you want it
to automatically start after you reboot, create a shortcut to RBTray.exe in
your Start menu's Startup group.

Using:
Right click on any program's minimize button to minimize it to the tray.  To
restore, single-click the program's icon in the tray.

Exiting:
Right click on any tray icon created by RBTray and click Exit RBTray in the
popup menu.  Or run RBTray.exe with the –exit parameter.


2. Miminize any app to system tray with Trayconizer

trayconizer_screenshot-microsoft-windows-minimize-notepad
Trayconizer is the other tray minizer tool you might want to check out, Windows tray minize application a download mirror of Trayconizer is here. As of time of writing this post (current) latest Trayconizer version is 1.1.1.

Trayconizer allows you to minimize virtually any application to the system tray rather than having it take up valuable space in your taskbar. The screen shot to the left shows Trayconizer minimizing Notepad to the system tray. Trayconizer is definitely the tool of choice of system administrators who need to keep minimized windows program to system tray each time on boot as it can be easily run from command line.

Using Trayconizer is simple. To start Trayconizer on Notepad, you would execute: C:PathToTrayconizer.exe C:WindowsNotepad.exe.

You can create a shortcut in your Startup group to execute Trayconizer on a program that you use frequently but want to keep tucked out of the way in the system tray when you're not using it. There is even an option for starting the application initially in the minimized state.

Trayconizer will automatically shut itself down when you close the program you are Trayconizing. Additionally, multiple Trayconized programs are handled by a single instance of Trayconizer to avoid wasting system resources.

Trayconizer requires no DLL's beyond the base Win32 API libraries and will not store any entries in your registry.

3. Minimize any program to Windows systray with Windows HideIT

windows-hideit-minimize-to-tray-screenshot-send-any-running-windows-program-to-systray

Another good tool useful in hiding (minimizing) Windows programs which are lacking the minimize option embedded built-in is Windows HideIT.

Hideit official download website is here, note that with Hideit, Its pretty confusing to find where to download in (so to download look in the right upper corner for a download button) HideIT Download Mirror is here.

Hideit should be able to minimize any Application to sysytem tray, while Rbtray fails ith some. Both RBtray and Windows
HIdeIT will popup with a blue down-arrow on Tray icon once launched and you can show / hide minimized applications from there.

All RbTray, Trayconizer and HideIt tray minimizers should work on virtually all NT 4.0 Windows XP / 2000 / Vista / 7 / 8 though I haven't tested on all of 'em yet. If you happen to find it working on  Win NT 4.0 / 8 etc., please drop a comment.

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How to pass ITIL preparation – Dumps, PC and Mobile Android software to prepare

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

ITIL-service-design-serice-operations-service-transition
I'm just coming from my ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) Foundations Exam. ITIL Certification is mandatory for all HP employees and everybody in my team already passed it. Thanks God I passed the ITIL as well with 87.5%.

To prepare for the exam I used Dump files (files with questions and answers given to people on previous exams) and software that simulates testing Avanset Visual CertExam Manager on PC as well as VCE Exam Simulator for Mobile.

VCE Exam Simulator is a test engine designed specifically for certification exam preparation. It allows you to create, edit, and take practice tests in an environment very similar to an actual exam.

ITIL exam was held here in Sofia in Technologica EAD Study Center. ITIL exam is kindly paid by HP and costs $250. ITIL Foundation is first level of certification next one is ITIL intermediate.

In order to prepare for ITIL it took me about half a day reading the ITIL Dump files (you can download them here) and 2 days of actively simulating the exams mainly with VCE EXam Simulator on my Android based mobile.
For those who want to become ITIL professionals and are going to certify further in ITIL Intermediate I recommend check all the ITIL Books covering the ITIL v.3 exam (here).

If you have the time and you want to have in depth understanding on ITIL also download and watch this ITIL Exam preparation Videos.

Here are also ITIL Foundation v.3 Dumps for Visual Cert exam manager. By the way ITIL exam is nowadays is required for almost anyone employeed in middle or large sized IT companies so if you still don't know anything about it and you're working or you will be working in the IT field take a look at. Lastly when I was looking for job offers I've noticed there are already plenty of companies who either require the candidate to have an ITIL passed or count ITIL certified candidates advantageous.

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Script to Automatically change current MySQL server in wp-config.php to another MySQL host to minimize WordPress and Joomla downtimes

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I'm running a two servers for a couple of home hosted websites. One of the servers is serving as Apache host1 and has configured MySQL running on it and the second is used just for database host2 – (has another MySQL configured on it).
The MySQL servers are not configured to run as a MySQL MASTER and MySQL SLAVE (no mysql replication), however periodically (daily), I have a tiny shell script that is actualizing the data from the active SQL host2 server to host1.

Sometimes due to electricity problems or CPU overheats the active MySQL host at host2 gets stoned and stops working causing the 2 WordPress based websites and One joomla site inaccessible.
Until I manually get to the machine and restart host2 the 3 sites are down from the net and as you can imagine this has a very negative impact on the existing website indexing (PageRank) in Google.

When I'm at home, this is not a problem as I have physical access to the servers and if somethings gets messy I fix it quickly. The problem comes, whether I'm travelling or in another city far from home and there is no-one at home to give the hanged host hard reboot ….

Lately the problems with hang-ups of host2 happaned 3 times or so for 2 weeks, as a result the websites were inaccessible for hours and since there is nobody to reboot the server for hours; the websites keep hanging until the DB host is restarted ;;;;

To work-around this I came with the idea to write a tiny shell script to check if host2 is ping-able in order to assure the Database host is not down and then if script determines host2 (mysql) host is down it changes wp-config.php (set to use host2) to a wp-config.php (which I have beforehand configured to use) host1.

Using the script is a temporary solution, since I have to actually find the real hang-up causing troubles, but at least it saves me long downtimes. Here is a download link to the script I called change_blog_db.sh .
I've configured the script to be run on the Apache node (host1) via a crontab calling the script every 10 minutes, here is the crontab:
 

*/10 * * * * /usr/sbin/change_blog_db.sh > /dev/null 2>&1

The script is written in a way so if it determins host2 is reachable a copy of wp-config.php and Joomla's configuration.php tuned to use host2 is copied over the file config originals. In order to use the script one has to configured the head variables script section, e.g.:

host_to_ping='192.168.0.2';
blog_dir='/var/www/blog';
blog_dir2='/var/www/blog1';blog_dir3='/var/www/joomla';
notify_mail='hipo@pc-freak.net';
wp_config_orig='wp-config.php';
wp_config_localhost='wp-config-localhost.php';
wp_config_other_host='wp-config-192.168.0.2.php';
joomla_config_orig='configuration.php';
joomla_config_other_host='configuration-192.168.0.2.php';

You will have to manually prepare;;;

wp-config-localhost.php, wp-config-192.168.0.2.php ,configuration-192.168.0.2.php, wp-config-localhost.php to be existing files configured to with proper host1 and host2 IP addresses.
Hope the script will be useful to others, experiencing database downtimes with WordPress or Joomla installs.
 

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How to configure VIVACOM 3g USB ( internet ) modem HUAWEI Mobile broadband E173 on Debian and Ubuntu GNU / Linux

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

I've been given a HUAWEI Mobile Broadband E173 USB 3g model. The USB modem contains a flash USB Storage segment storing a little install program dedicated to make the modem work fine on Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / 7 and probably other M$ OSes. I'm a long time DebianGNU / Linux user and as a free software enthusiast I ofcourse wanted to be able to use Vivacom's 3G USB Modem on my Linux powered notebook.

Thanksfully as I've red on Vivacom's website the modem supports Linux OS 🙂

For those unaware in Bulgaria there are currently 3 major GSM network providers providing 3G internet this are;;;
 

  • VIVACOM – The ex Government ran national company BTC (Bulgarian Telecommunication Company)
  • M-Tel – The first GSM network provider that entered Bulgaria around year 1995
  • GLOBUL – The 3rd and last GSM mobile and net provider entered last and not so much used by Bulgarians today

Until today I had no experience in running any 3G modems on Linux, neither I had used the 3 networks 3G internet to determine which one is best, however I've been given for temporal use a VIVACOM 3G internet modem today so I proceeded to try installing it on my Debian host.

My Linux system is a bit strangely configured as I use wicd network connection manager -( wicd-gtk ) to manage wireless and LAN connections instead of the standard installed GNOME network manager – available through package ( network-manager-gnome ).

The reason I use wicd is not that it is so much better than GNOME network manger but rather for historical reasons because few years past I had impression it works better in connecting me to wireless networks. Another reason why I choosed wicd back then was the nice looking stats …

I tried plugging in the Vivacom USB 3G modem stick and checked in wicd to see if I can see a possibility to connect to the mobile opeartor 3G network but unfortunately nothing appeared.

Though the 3G adsl modem was unavailable straing in wicd, checking about it in the list of attached USB devices I could see it detected, e.g.:

noah:~# lsusb |grep -i huawei
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 12d1:1c05 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

This was at least a good sign pointing me to the thoughts that the modem is probably gonna work.

I did a quick Google search to see if other people succeded running the device on a Linux host and came across a few blog posts in Bulgarian explaining a "success story" on Ubuntu Linux through using a tweakened shell script – sakis3g. For more on how the script works and script download check out Sakis3g

Here is a quote from sakis3g's website describing the script:
 

It automagically setups your USB or Bluetooth™ modem, and may even detect operator settings.
You should try it when anything else fails!

Sakis3g has different versions designed for for plenty of spacific hware architectures i.e. for (i386, amd64, armv4t, armv5t).
There is also a version of the script which by the way contains a combination of bash shell scripting instruction and some binary exec data.

To run sakis3g on my laptop I did:

1. Download sakis3g

My notebook architecture is 64 bit so I download and used the amd64 version of the script;;;

hipo@noah:~$ mkdir sakis3g
hipo@noah:~$ cd sakis3g
hipo@noah:~/sakis3g$ wget http://www.sakis3g.org/versions/latest/amd64/sakis3g.gz

I've made also a mirror of sakis3g i386, 64 bit and all architecture the mirrors just in case it disappears in future. The mirror versions of sakis3g are here:

a. sakis3g i386 b. sakis3g amd64 c. sakis3g all architectures source

2. Unarchive and make it executable

After downloading it as it is in gzip I had to do the usual de-gzipping and making the file executable;;;

hipo@noah:~/sakis3g$ /bin/gzip -d sakis3g.gz
hipo@noah:~/sakis3g$ chmod +x sakis3g

The script is then ready to run by either clicking twice on it or (as I prefer for debugging reasons to run it in terminal):

hipo@noah:~$ ./sakis3g

Something that I have wondered a bit was the dialog where I had to fill in some data of some variable APN abbreviation for – (Access Point Name)

The APN host for VIVACOM mobile internet is;;;
APN: internet.vivacom.bg

I've used the Windows configuration progrma to gather also the following data that I thought might be important for configuring the 3G adsl modem on the Linux host;;;

Auth: *99#
User: VIVACOM
pass: VIVACOM

Here are all the configuration screenshots I've taken from sakis3g and all the data that I filled in.
Next the following tiny window appeared on screen:

Sakis3g configure usb modem kdialog shot 1 VIVACOM USB Modem Sakis 3g Shot 2 sakis 3g usb modem vivacom connect screenshot 2 vivacom 3g modem linux sakis3g enter pin dialog shot 4 Sending pin screenshot 5 sakis3g APN Dialog sakis3g screenshot 6sakis3g Internet Linux VIVACOM screenshot 7sakis3g Debian GNU Linux VIVACOM 3g Internet screenshot 8sakis3g initializing modem screenshot 9sakis3g successful connect to VIVACOM mobile 3g usb adls modem shot 10

Well that's all folks, now sakis3g succesfully connected to the I_net via an (PPP) VPN connection tunnel here is data from ifconfig command showing the succesful 3G connection to VIVACOM;;;

noah:~# /sbin/ifconfig ppp0
ppp0 Link encap:Point-to-Point Protocol
inet addr:10.58.146.232 P-t-P:10.64.64.64 Mask:255.255.255.255
UP POINTOPOINT RUNNING NOARP MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
RX packets:2066 errors:1 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:1609 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:3
RX bytes:2232058 (2.1 MiB) TX bytes:341693 (333.6 KiB)

The internet via the 3G connection is not blazing fast but good enough to check your mail or read some webpages. VIVACOM currently has different (traffic limited packages) for their 3G internet, I'm not sure which package exactly is the 3G USB stick modem but probably the "quick" internet connection that is now would slow down once the traffic limit is reached …
Hope this post helps someone to configure 3G internet on VIVACOM in Debian and Ubuntu Linux. Though I've tested sakis3g on Debian it should work with no hassles on any other GNU Linux distribution that has bash installed.

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After a loooongg, looong waiting finally a New Version of Skype 4.0 is out – Skype 4 on Debian GNU / Linux short review

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

After about 3 years of no new version for GNU / Linux finally Skype has released a new version of Skype.
I thought already there will be never a new skype version out for GNU / Linux, since the moment Microsoft purchased skype.

Now suddenly and quite in quiet the new version of Skype 4.0 is out for download from Skype's website. The latest Skype download for Linux is to be found here

As of time of writting this post there are Skype 4 versions for following Linux-es;;;
 

  • Ubuntu 10.04 32 / 64-bit (probably would work fine on latest Ubuntus too)
  • Debian 6.0 Squeeze 32 / 64-bit
  • Fedora 16 / 32 bit
  • OpenSUSE 12.1 32bit (only)
  • Most likely the Ubuntu release of skype 4 will work flawlessly on Linux Mint and other debian derivatives.The The release mentions, Skype 4 is supposed to have 4 major advancements and the gap in interface and usability with latest Mac OS and M$ Windows Skype versions is now filled.The four major changes said in the announcement are;;;

  • 1. a new Conversations View where users can easily track all of their chats in a unified window.
    Those users who prefer the old view can disable this in the Chat options;
  • 2. a brand new Call View;
  • 3.Call quality has never been better thanks to several investments we made in improving audio quality;
  • 4. Improved video call quality and extended support for more cameras.
  • Some of the minor improvements in those

  • new Linux skype
  • are:- improved chat synchronization- new presence and emoticon icons- the ability to store and view phone numbers in a Skype contact's profile- much lower chance Skype for Linux will crash or freeze- chat history loading is now much faster- support for two new languages: Czech (flag:cz) and Norwegian (flag:no)Just like with prior Skype releases 2.0 and 2.2beta this release comes with almost same list of non-english language support ,,,Seeing those announcement, I've hurried to download and test skype 4 on my 64-bit desktop running Debian 6 Squeeze.Once downloaded to install the pack skype-debian_4.0.0.7-1_amd64.deb I used the usual dpkg -i i,e,;;;noah:~# dpkg -iskype-debian_4.0.0.7-1_amd64.deb…………..Just like the release announcement mentions the first initial launch of Skype 4 took about 3 or 4 minutes doing something (probably sending half of my hard disk data to Microsoft 🙂 🙂 🙂 ) along with importing the prior skype data and chat history :)The minimum software dependencies for correct operation of Skype are:Qt libraries; D-Bus; libasound and pulseaudioHere are few screenshots of Skype 4 to give you an idea what to expect:The Skype Options is almost identical to Skype 2.2. One interesting new feature I've noticed is Skype WIFIUnfortunately to use Skype WIFI you need to have purchased skype credits.Another notable difference is the organization of Skype Chats, which is more like in the good old times of mIRC and IRC chat clientsHere is also the list of Skype emoticons including bundled with Skype 4:The "look & feel" of the new interface gives the impression of seriously improved Skype client stability too.There was a minor trouble with the voice recording (microphone) with Skype 4;To make the microphone work properly I had to raise up the mic volume from PulseAudio settings in Skype options.Well that's all the only unpleasent thing for this new skype is it is using KDE's libQT and seems not to have a native interface for GNOME via GTK2. If we put away this I guess this version of Skype is much more stable and therefore I would recommend anyone to update.Of course we never know if this new updated more stable Skype release is not filled up with backdoors or does not transfer all our conversations to microsoft but we didn't know that even when Skype was not Microsoft's so and since it is not a free software I guess it doesn't matter so much.As you can guess Microsoft has imposed centralization on Skype protocol so connecting the peers is now done by Microsoft servers this news is another intriguing one.According to one recent article from May 1, 2012 Microsoft Skype replaces the Peer-to-Peer P2P supernodes with Linux boxes hosted by Microsoft – In short that probably means that by changing this nowdays microsoft probably now logs all chat sessions between Skype users, even it is likely the calls between users are recorded too. We all know Microsoft imperialism pretty well so I guess this is not a big news …..This new release of Skype if it is significantly more stable than it is prior releases would certainly have serious positive implication on the development and adoption of Linux for the Desktop. So far I'm sure one of the obstacles of many manufacturers of notebooks and comp equipment to ship with Linux was the lack of a stable and easy to implement skype release for Linux.Well that's all folks. Enjoy the New Skype Cheeres ! 🙂

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How to add support for DJVU file format on M$ Windows, Mac, GNU / Linux and FreeBSD

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Windjview Format paper Clipper logo / support DjView on Windows and Linux

By default there is no way to see what is inside a DJVU formatted document on both Windows and Linux OS platforms. It was just a few months ago I saw on one computer I had to fix up the DJVU format. DJVU format was developed for storing primary scanned documents which is rich in text and drawings.
Many old and ancient documents for example Church books in latin and some older stuff is only to be found online in DJVU format.
The main advantage of DJVU over lets say PDF which is also good for storing text and visual data is that DJVU's data encoding makes the files much more smaller in size, while still the quality of the scanned document is well readable for human eye.

DJVU is a file format alternative to PDF which we all know has been set itself to be one of the major standard formats for distributing electronic documents.

Besides old books there are plenty of old magazines, rare reports, tech reports newspapers from 1st and 2nd World War etc in DJVU.
A typical DJVU document takes a size of only lets say 50 to 100 KBytes of size just for comparison most a typical PDF encoded document is approximately sized 500 KiloBytes.

1.% Reading DJVU's on M$ Windoze and Mac-s (WinDjView)

The program reader for DJVU files in Windows is WinDjView WinDjView official download site is here

WinDjView is licensed under GPLv2 is a free software licensed under GPL2.

WinDjView works fine on all popular Windows versions (7, Vista, 2003, XP, 2000, ME, 98, NT4).

WinDjView with opened old document Sol manual ,,,,

I've made a mirror copy of WinDjView for download here (just in case something happens with the present release and someone needs it in future).

For Mac users there is also a port of WinDjView called MacDjView ;;;,

2.% Reading DJVU files on GNU / Linux

The library capable of rendering DJVUs in both Linux and Windows is djviewlibre again free software (A small note to make here is WinDjView also uses djviewlibre to render DJVU file content).

The program that is capable of viewing DJVU files in Linux is called djview4 I have so far tested it only with Debian GNU / Linux.

To add support to a desktop Debian GNU / Linux rel. (6.0.2) Squeeze, had to install following debs ;;;

debian:~# apt-get install --yes djview4 djvulibre-bin djviewlibre-desktop libdjviewlibre-text pdf2djvu
........
...

pdf2djvu is not really necessery to install but I installed it since I think it is a good idea to have a PDF to DJVU converter on the system in case I somedays need it ;;;

djview4 is based on KDE's QT library, so unfortunately users like me who use GNOME for a desktop environment will have the QT library installed as a requirement of above apt-get ;;;

Here is Djview4 screenshot with one opened old times Bulgarian magazine called Computer – for you

DJVU Pravetz Computer for you old school Bulgarian Pravetz magazine

Though the magazine opens fine, every now and then I got some spit errors whether scrolling the pages, but it could be due to improperly encoded DJVU file and not due to the reader. Pitily, whether I tried to maximize the PDF and read it in fullscreen I got (segfault) error and the program failed. Anyways at least I can read the magazine in non-fullscreen mode ;;; ,,,,

3.% Reading DJVU's on FreeBSD and (other BSDs)

Desktop FreeBSD users and other BSD OS enthusiasts could also use djview4 to view DJVUs as there is a BSD port in the ports tree.
To use it on BSD I had to install port /usr/ports/graphics/djview4:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/graphics/djview4
freebsd# make install clean
,,,,...

For G / Linux users who has to do stuff with DJVU files, there are two other programs which might be useful:
 

  • a) djvusmooth – graphical editor for DjVu
  • b) gscan2pdf – A GUI to produce PDFs or DjVus from scanned documents

DJVUSmooth Debian GNU / Linux opened prog

I tried djusmooth to edit the same PDF magazine which I prior opened but I got an Unhandled exception: IOError, as you can in below shot:

DJVUSmooth Unhandled Exception IOError

This is probably normal since djvusmooth is in its very early stage of development – current version is 0.2.7-1

Unfortunately I don't have a scanner at home so I can't test if gscan2pdf produces proper DJVUs from scans, anyways I installed it to at least check the program interface which on a first glimpse looks simplistic:

gscan2pdf 0.9.31 Debian Linux Squeeze screenshot
To sum it up obviously DJVU seems like a great alternative to PDF, however its support for Free Software OSes is still lacking behind.
The Current windows DJVU works way better, though hopefully this will change soon.

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Why I never liked Mandrake Linux / Mankdrake Linux has took its name from an 1930s comics Mandrake the Magician

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

I never liked Mandrake Linux, since day 1 I saw it.
Historically Mandrake Linux was one of the best Linux distributions available for free download in the "Linux scene" some 10 to 12 years ago.

Mandrake was simple gui oriented and trendy. It also one the Linux distribution with the most simplified installer program and generally a lot of GUI software for easy configuration and use by the end user.

Though it's outside nice look, still for me it was like an "intuition" that Mandrake is not so good as it appeared.

Now many years later I found by chance that Mandrake has been sued to change their Operating System name with another, due to a law suit requit by the copyright holders of Mandrake The Magician comics. "Mandrake the Magician" used to be a very popular before the Second World war in the 1930's.

Mandrake the Magician Comics Magazine from 1930's Cover, Mandrake the Black Magic Magician

It obviously not a co-incidence that the Mandrake names was after this comics and not the mandrake herb plants available in Europe, Africa and Asia. This is clear in Mandrake Linux distro earlier mascot, you see below:

Mandrake Linux old distribution logo, magician penguin

Later on they changed Mandrake's logo to loose the connection with Mandrake The Magician and used another new crafted logo:

Mandrake GNU Linux newer logo
Its quite stunning nowdays magician obsession, has so heavily infiltrated our lives that even something like a Free Softwre Linux distribution might have some kind of reference to magician and occult stuff (I saw this from the position of being Christian) …

Later due to the name copyright infringement Mandrake Linux was renamed first to Mandragora Linux.
Instead of putting some nice name non related to occultism or magic stuff the French commercian company behind Mandrake rename it to another non-Christian name Mandragora.
Interestingly the newer name Mandragora as one can read in wikipedia means:
 

Mandragora (demon), in occultism

Well apparently, someone from the head developers of this Linux distribution has a severe obsession with magic and occultism.

Later MandrakeSoft (The French Company behind Mandrake Linux) renamed finally the distribution to Mandriva under the influence of the merger of Mandrake with the Brazillian company Connectiva this put also an over to the legal dispute copyright infringement dispute with Hearst Corporation (owning the rights of Mandrake the Magician).

Having in mind all fact on current Mandriva "dark names history", I think it is better we Christians avoid it …

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How to run your Own / Personal Domain Web WHOIS service in a minute with SpeedyWHOIS

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Running your own personal WHOIS service speedy whois in browser screenshot

I've been planning to run my own domain WHOIS service, for quite sime time and I always postpone or forgot to do it.
If you wonder, why would I need a (personal) web whois service, well it is way easier to use and remember for future use reference if you run it on your own URL, than wasting time in search for a whois service in google and then using some other's service to get just a simple DOMAIN WHOIS info.

So back to my post topic, I postpopned and postponed to run my own web whois, just until  yesterday, whether I have remembered about my idea to have my own whois up and running and proceeded wtih it.

To achieve my goal I checked if there is free software or (open source) software that easily does this.
I know I can write one for me from scratch, but since it would have cost me some at least a week of programming and testing and I didn't wanted to go this way.

To check if someone had already made an easy to install web whois service, I looked through in the "ultimate source for free software" sourceforge.net

Looking for the "whois web service" keywords, displayed few projects on top. But unfortunately many of the projects sources was not available anymore from http://sf.net and the project developers pages..
Thanksfully in a while, I found a project called SpeedyWhois, which PHP source was available for download.

With all prior said about project missing sources, Just in case if SpeedyWhois source  disappears in the future (like it probably) happened with, some of the other WHOIS web service projects, I've made SpeedyWhois  mirror for download here

 
Contrary to my idea that installing the web whois service might be a "pain in the ass", (like is the case  with so many free software php scripts and apps) – the installation went quite smoothly.
 
To install it I took the following 4 steps:
 
1. Download the source (zip archive) with wget 
 
# cd /var/www/whois-service;
/var/www/whois-service# wget -q http://www.pc-freak.net/files/speedywhois-0.1.4.zip
 
2. Unarchive it with unzip command 
 
 
/var/www/whois-service# unzip speedywhois-0.1.4.zip
3. Set the proper DNS records

My NS are using Godaddy, so I set my desired subdomain record from their domain name manager.
 

4. Edit Apache httpd.conf to create VirtualHost
 
This step is not mandatory, but I thought it is nice if I put the whois service under a subdomain, so add a VirtualHost to my httpd.conf
 
The Virtualhost Apache directives, I used are:
 
<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerAdmin hipo_aT_pc-freak.net
        DocumentRoot /var/www/whois-service
        ServerName whois.pc-freak.net
        &lt;Directory /var/www/whois-service
        AllowOverride All
        Order Allow,Deny
        Allow from All
        </Directory>
</VirtualHost>
 
Onwards to take effect of new Webserver configs, I did Apache restart
 
# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/apache2 restart
 
Further on You can test whois a domain using my new installed SpeedyWHOISWeb WHOIS service  on http://whois.pc-freak.net
Whenever I have some free time, maybe I will work on the code, to try to add support for logging of previous whois requests and posting links pointing to the previous whois done via the web WHOIS service on the main whois page.
 
One thing that I disliked about how SpeedyWHOIS is written is, if there is no WHOIS information returned for a domain request (e.g.) a:
 
# whois domainname.com
 
returns an empty information, the script doesn't warn with a message there is no WHOIS data available for this domain or something.
 
 
This is not so important as this kind of behaviour of 'error' handling can easily be changed with minimum changes in the php code.
If you wonder, why do I need the web whois service, the answer is it is way easier to use.
I don't have more time to research a bit further on the alternative open source web whois services, so I would be glad to hear from anyone who tested other web whois service that is free comes under a FOSS license.
In the mean time, I'm sure people with a small internet websites like mine who are looking to run their OWN (personal) whois service SpeedyWHOIS does a great job.

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