Posts Tagged ‘free software’

Must have software on freshly installed windows – Essential Software after fresh Windows install

Friday, March 18th, 2016


If you're into IT industry even if you don't like installing frequently Windows or you're completely Linux / BSD user, you will certainly have a lot of friends which will want help from you to re-install or fix their Windows 7 / 8 / 10 OS. At least this is the case with me every year, I'm kinda of obliged to install fresh windowses on new bought friends or relatives notebooks / desktop PCs.

Of course according to for whom the new Windows OS installed the preferrences of necessery software varies, however more or less there is sort of standard list of Windows Software which is used daily by most of Avarage Computer user, such as:

I tend to install on New Windows installs and thus I have more or less systematized the process.

I try to usually stick to free software where possible for each of the above categories as a Free Software enthusiast and luckily nowadays there is a lot of non-priprietary or at least free as in beer software available out there.

For Windows sysadmins or College and other public institutions networks including multiple of Windows Computers which are not inside a domain and also for people in computer repair shops where daily dozens of windows pre-installs or a set of software Automatic updates are  necessery make sure to take a look at Ninite


As official website introduces Ninite:

Ninite – Install and Update All Your Programs at Once

Of course as Ninite is used by organizations as NASA, Harvard Medical School etc. it is likely the tool might reports your installed list of Windows software and various other Win PC statistical data to Ninite developers and most likely NSA, but this probably doesn't much matter as this is probably by the moment you choose to have installed a Windows OS on your PC.


For Windows System Administrators managing small and middle sized network PCs that are not inside a Domain Controller, Ninite could definitely save hours and at cases even days of boring install and maintainance work. HP Enterprise or HP Inc. Employees or ex-employees would definitely love Ninite, because what Ninite does is pretty much like the well known HP Internal Tool PC COE.

Ninite could also prepare an installer containing multiple applications based on the choice on Ninite's website, so that's also a great thing especially if you need to deploy a different type of Users PCs (Scientific / Gamers / Working etc.)

Perhaps there are also other useful things to install on a new fresh Windows installations, if you're using something I'm missing let me know in comments.

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How to password encrypt / decrypt files on Linux to keep and pass your data private

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

If you have a sensitive data like a scan copy of your ID card, Driving License, Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate or some revolutionary business / idea or technology and you want to transfer that over some kind of network lets say Internet vie some public unencrypted e-mail service like ( / Yahoo Mail / / (Bulgarian Mail etc. you will certainly want to transfer the file in encrypted form to prevent, someone sniffing your Network or someone having administrative permissions to servers of free mail where your mail data is stored.

Transferring your files in encrypted form become very important these days especially after recent Edward Snowden disclosures about American Mass Surveilance program PRISM – for those who didn't yet hear of PRISM (this is a American of America's NSA – National Security Agency aiming to sniff and log everyone's information transferred in digital form via the Internet and even Mobile Phone conversations)…

First step to mitigate surveilance is to use fully free software (100% free software) OS distribution like Trisquel GNU / Linux.
Second is to encrypt to use encryption –  the process of transforming information (referred to as plaintext) using an algorithm (called cipher) to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge, usually referred to as a key.
There are many ways to encrypt your data on Linux and to later decrpyt it, I've earlier blogged about encryping files with GPG and OpenSSL on Linux, however encryption with GPG and OpenSSL is newer as concept than the old-school way to encrypt files on UNIX with crypt command which in Linux is replaced by mcrypt command.

mcrypt is provided by mcrypt package by default on most if not all Linux distributions, however mcrypt is not installed by default so to start using it you have to install it first.

1. Install mcrypt on Debian / Ubuntu / Mint (deb based) Linux

apt-get install –yes mcrypt


2. Install mcrypt on Fedora / CentOS rest of RPM bases Linux

yum -y install libmcrypt


3. Encrypting file with mcrypt

To get a list with all supported algorithms by mcrypt:

mcrypt –list
cast-128 (16): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
gost (32): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
rijndael-128 (32): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
twofish (32): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
arcfour (256): stream
cast-256 (32): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
loki97 (32): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
rijndael-192 (32): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
saferplus (32): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
wake (32): stream
blowfish-compat (56): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
des (8): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
rijndael-256 (32): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
serpent (32): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
xtea (16): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
blowfish (56): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
enigma (13): stream
rc2 (128): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb
tripledes (24): cbc cfb ctr ecb ncfb nofb ofb



mcrypt < File-To-Crypt.PDF > File-To-Crypt.PDF.cpy


Enter the passphrase (maximum of 512 characters)
Please use a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers.
Enter passphrase:
Enter passphrase:

If crypt is invoked to create the encrypted file without OS redirects (< >), i.e.:

mcrypt -a blowfish File-To-Crypt.PDF

Please use a combination of upper and lower case letters and numbers.
Enter passphrase:
Enter passphrase:

File File-To-Crypt was encrypted.


mcrypt outputs encrypted file in .nc extension and the new file and file default mode of 0600 (read write only for root user) are set, while new file keeps the modification date of the original.

4. Decrypting file with mcrypt

Decryption of files is done mdecrypt

mdecrypt File-To-Crypt.PDF.cpy

Enter passphrase:
File File-To-Crypt.PDF.cpy was decrypted.

To make mcrypt behave in a certain way when invoked modify ~/.mcryptrd

mcrypt is also available as a module for php5 (php5-mcrypt).

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Happy Sysadmin day! – Last Friday of July – The day of the system administrator

Friday, July 25th, 2014


Every Last Friday of July is System Administrator's day. This relatively new technocrat tradition started as suggested by the system administrator Ted Kekatos in 2000.

SysAdmin Day or (SAD) 🙂 as it is also famous is a day to appreciate the achieviments of anyone seriously involved in IT industry. Now is time to say SAD day is not a day for programmers to celebrate as there is separate Programmer's day / Day of the Programmer feast or (DOP / DOPE ) 🙂 that is celebrated on the 256th (hexadecimal 100th, or the 28th) day of each year (September 13 during common years and on September 12 in leap years).

System Administrator Appreaciation Day – (SAAD) was historically inspired by Hewlett Packard magazine advertisement in which a system administrator is presented with flowers and fruit-baskets by grateful co-workers as thanks for installing new printers.


DOPE's started as proposed by Valentin Balt and Michael Cherviakov, employees of Parallel Technologies (a software company). In 2002, they tried to gather signatures for a petition to the government of Russia to recognize the day as the official programmers' day.

The modern usual way to celebrate Sysadm day is to get your system administrator a day. If you're at poisition to administrate a couple of hundreds of Windows hosts, you can send a prank message to your colleagues reminding them to buy you a beer or mass mail / set a Outlook Meeting reminder that system administrators – doesn't drink flowers and chocolate 🙂


A Day In The Life Of A SAN Administrator

Since 2000, a lot of UNIX / Linux sysadmins and  geeks tend to organize gatherings and Free Software celebration meetings on the SAD day.

SysAdminDay has inspired plenty of other pranky novels and music to glorify the remarkable event 🙂

Here are few to cheer you up.

System Administrator's Day song

Sysadmin day (Karaoke) song

Here are also some PoC for some weird ways to celebrate the day of the system administrator 🙂

System Administrator's Day in Russia Remix


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Is Free software communistic in essence. My 5 cents rant on Free Software’s ideology

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013


I've seen people online blaming Stallman and Free Software Movement for being communistic. I've thought over it for a while so decided to give my 5 cents rant on that. Obviously there is still people in America who doesn't make difference between capitalism, communism and socialism. Yes it is true, GNU / Linux and Free Software are socialistic in essence and obviously Stallman's ideas are close to Socialists ideas, but for sure in his essence its not against capitalism and even less against democracy. So why there are still people recognizing free software as communistic? I think it is due to their mis-understanding that Free Software doesn't stand for making people equal but it is for giving chance to everyone who has interest to learn and doesn't have the financial possibility to do it. By its existince free software gives the poor Afrika's population legal way to install and use software free of charge. The idea of free software is purely scientific, there are plenty of researchers who denied patenting their invention because they wanted to share their findings with the world like Willhelm Roentgen's finding of X-rays. FS is for giving to society it is for software for people who should not be necessary divided by social status or bank account. Free Software puts out bariers since its fosters a spirit of community so much lost in our very divided century, it makes people involved in FS opened to itself and being friends no matter of social status. It is to make people free to choose and do whatever they like with each software it is about transperancy and equal start to programmers and computer enthusiasts. I'll be curious to hear people's opinion?

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Happy Birthday GNU – Celebrating 30 years of Free Software and Computer Freedom!

Friday, September 27th, 2013

GNU GNU is not UNIX project logo - Happy Birthday GNU

On 27 of September this year (2013) Richard Stallman's GNU Project celebrates its 30 years Anniversary! Richard started the GNU Project and devoted his last 30 years of his life and thanks to him now we have free software. His work is remarkable. Million of GNU / Linux System Administrators and Programmers (including me in this number) round the world today has a daily income thanks to RMS. Interestingly the GNU Project was started in year I was born in the distant 1983. In fact the GNU Project is older than me with a couple of days (I'm born on 8-th of October 1983! :). Probably it is not a coincidence that I got so interested in Free Software GNU and Software freedom as the project was started so near my birthdate 🙂

Here is how RMS Announced the existence of GNU project and the general philosophy behind it:

I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it. I cannot in good conscience sign a nondisclosure agreement or a software license agreement.

So that I can continue to use computers without violating my principles, I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along without any software that is not free.

You can read whole original Stallman announcement here

Stallman's GNU Project is a good example how a single man who believes in something can change the world, by sticking to his believes. We all know Stallman is a true hacker legend, besides that as a friend used to say RMS is one of the greatest philosophers of our times.  Stallman doesn't have kids but according to his words for him the GNU Project is like his Child. His Virtual Child gave chance to millions of people around the world to study source codes and develop in their career. Even his child gave birth to thousands of hundred other "hacker" childs 🙂

Again, Happy Birthday GNU!!!
I wish Stallman another 30 years of work in field of protection of Human Liberty and Software Rights!

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SumatraPDF Adobe Acrobat Reader free software ( Secure ) Alternative

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Whether you're forced to use MS Windows but still want to use as much as possible Free Software – i.e. Stay away from Non-Free Adobe Acrobat Reader. There is Sumatra PDF – a good alternative that reads well most of PDFs. For rendering PDF Sumatra PDF usees muPDF library. SumatraPDF is minimalistic software it does exactly what it is meant for – reads PDF. Unfortunately from version 0.6 of Sumatra there is DRM implemented (Digital Right Managements) so it is not possible to copy from DRM-ed documents.
Sumatra opens  following formats: Open XML Paper Specification, DjVu, EPUB, XPS, CHM, CBZ and CBR, and MOBI files.
As of  time of writting official Sumatra PDF version is at ver. 2.3.2

sumatra pdfafter install thank you screenshot

I've made mirror of Sumatra PDF 2.3.2 installer here , Sumatra PDF zipped is here

Sumatra pdf reader screenshot ms windows 7
Sumatra PDF works on Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 & 7

  One of key advantages of Sumatra PDF over Adobe Acrobat Reader is you don't need to update it all the time and it is much less likely that Sumatra PDF is hit by security flaw in PDF format. 

For people who use Linux / BSD or some other Unix and want to stay free from proprietary Adobe Acrobat Reader two nice alternatives are default's GNOME PDF reader Evince and KDE's Okular

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PeaZip good Windows and Linux free software alternative to non-free WinRar and WinZip archiver tools

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

peazip extract rar and zip files Winrar Winzip good alternative program free windows linux freebsd graphic software

Until recently it was almost impossible to have Microsoft Windows without WinRar and WinZip archiver programs installed.
Though both can be used as trial versions for personal use for commercial use one had to purchase license. It is pretty annoying that each time you run Winrar you get reminded you're using its trial version. As I'm trying to substitute all non-free software with free software even whether I have to install or maintain Windows, just recently I found out about existence of PeaZip – Free Zip file utility / Free Rar Extractor.

Besides being open source software PeaZip and supports Windows it is also available prepackaged for Linux / BSD as well.
PeaZip supports unarchiving of 150 archive file types, and by installing it you save time otherwise spend in installing two separate tools on Windows. It can do plenty of other useful stuff for instance joining / splitting files ending in suffix (001, 002, 003) etc. as well as splitting archives in parts (…part1, …part2, …part3 …), create self-extracting (.exe) archives, do multiple archives at once.

Peazip Windows Linux rar zip archives create and extract supported basic formats screenshot

Here is list of  most popular archive file types supported to browse / test / archive / dearchive:

7z, bz, bz2, bzip2, tbz2, tbz, gz, gzip, tgz, tpz, tar, zip, zipx, z01, smzip, arj, cab, chm, chi, chq, chw, hxs, hxi, hxr, hxq, hxw, lit, cpio, deb, lzh, lha, rar, r01, 00, rpm, z, taz, tz, iso, jar, ear, war, lha, pet, pup, pak, pk3, pk4, slp, [Content], xpi, wim, u3p, lzma86, lzma, udf, xar, dmg, hfs, part1, split, swm, tpz, kmz, xz, txz, vhd, mslz, apm, mbr, fat, ntfs, exe, dll, sys, msi, msp, ods, ots, odm, oth, oxt, odb, odf, odg, otg, odp, otp, odt, ott, gnm, doc, dot, xls, xlt, ppt, pps, pot, docx, dotx, xlsx, xltx, swf, flv, quad, balz, zpaq, paq8f, paq8jd, paq8l, paq8o, lpaq1, lpaq5, lpaq8, ace, arc, wrc, 001, pea, cbz, cbr, cba, cb7, cbt …

Even better PeaZip has ports for both 32 and 64 bit Windows (XP / Vista / 7 and 8), Linux and *BSD. Official PeaZip download page is on Sourceforge here

peazip winrar winzip unarchive all in one unarchive windows linux freebsd program screenshot

Next time you need multi-format unarchive program on a new Windows install, give it a try.
PeaZip has good compitability with new versions of WinRar and WinZip archived files, so it is not very likely you will ever in future need these proprietary applications.
One note to make is during install as most software, it offers installing some useless stuff like "Free Smilies" and a Toolbar, make sure you don't click Next by mistake – ( un-tick them ) !


peazip install screenshot get the free smileys we love extension screenshot

For Linux users on PeaZip's website there is package in deb, rpm and tgz. Packages are available with builds for GNOME graphical environment with GTK2 lib or KDE QT.

I tried installing PeaZip  on my Debian 7 Wheezy downloading deb provided by Sourceforge, but install failed with error:

noah:~# dpkg -i peazip_5.0.LINUX.GTK2-2_all.deb
Selecting previously unselected package peazip.
(Reading database … 226682 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking peazip (from peazip_5.0.LINUX.GTK2-2_all.deb) …
dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of peazip:
 peazip depends on libgmp3c2; however:
  Package libgmp3c2 is not installed.

dpkg: error processing peazip (–install):
 dependency problems – leaving unconfigured
Errors were encountered while processing:

In previous Debian release Squeeze there was package libgmp3c2 but it is no longer available from repos on Wheezy. Thus to install it on Wheezy I used Universal Linux .TGZ Package and just extracted it in root directory ( / ):

noah:~# cd /
noah:/# links
noah:~# tar -zxf peazip-5.0.LINUX.GTK2.tgz

To run it:

hipo@noah~:$ /usr/local/bin/peazip

PeaZip on Debian Gnu Linux screenshot rar unrar zip unzip archive dearchive ms windows and linux free instrument
PeaZip's archive / unarchive operation speed compared to CPU use and memory consumption is fast, though it eats a bit more ram than GNOME's default Archive ToolFile Roller.

Peazip rar zip archive unarchive windows linux program archiving zip file screenshot

Thanks God for PeaZip! Buy-buy forver to Winrar and Winzip 🙂

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Create ASCII Art Text banners in GNU / Linux console and terminal with figlet and toilet

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Create fun and colorful text ASCII art banner logos on Linux (figlet and toilet)

As an old school hobbyist, I'm a kind of ASCII art freak. Free Software is just great for this text / console maniacs like me, who spend their youth years in a DOS (Disk Opearting System) command prompt.
For long time, I'm researching the cool programs which has to do somehow with ASCII Art, in that relation I decided to write few ones of figlet and toilettwo nice programs capable of generating ASCII art text beautiful banners based on a typed in text string. Obviously toilet developer Sam Hocevar had a great sense of humor 🙂

To play with figlet and toilet install them, according to (rpm or deb based package manager on distro) with yum / apt-get.

yum -y install toilet figlet

apt-get --yes install toilet figlet

There are no native tool packages for Slackware, so Slackaware Linux users need to compile figlet from source code – available on figlet's home page

Once figlet and toilet are installed, here is few sample use cases;

hipo@noah:~/Desktop$ figlet hello world!             

figlet ascii art banner hello world

hipo@noah:~/Desktop$ figlet -f script Merrcy Christmas

figlet merry christmas text in ascii art with script font linux

Plenty of figlet font examples are available on Figlet's website example section – very cool stuff btw 🙂 To take a quick look on all fonts available for toilet – ascii art banner creation. Type in your console tty or terminal; for i in $(dpkg -L toilet-fonts|grep -i /usr/share/figlet); do toilet -f $(echo $i|sed -e "s#.tlf##g" -e "s#/usr/share/figlet/##g") test; done

On below picture, I made a screenshot of my gnome terminal with most fonts installed by toilet-fonts (fonts package).

ascii art banner create generate program linux figlet toilet with fonts on debian linux screenshot pic - how to create ascii banners linux

There are about 150 fonts, most of which needs to be downloaded and installed manually. A quick search online led me to a fonts collection of 263 figlet ascii art fonts – you can download a mirror of the file here. To aid up toilet and  with those 263 extra fonts (on Debian) do; wget cd /usr/share/figlets unzip Note: you have to have installed unzip in advance, unzip is not in default install, so if you don't have it fetch it with; apt-get install --yes unzip toilet and figlet are partially compatible, between each other so most fonts should work okay on both.

figlet supports, also simple formatting of ASCII art banner, here is few examples with formatting; a.) format to center  

$ figlet -c bla bla

figlet centered ascii art text bla bla screenshot

b.) format to left

figlet ascii art banner left formatted text debian gnu linux

c. right formatting

figlet ascii art banner right formatted ascii art text debian linux generator

d. format to terminal width By default text that figlet generates is to suit for 80 rows terminals, normally on higher resolution in gnome-terminal and other Linux environments, terminals are not dimensioned 80×25, thus it is useful for longer sentences text to display text in accordance to terminal size;

figlet ascii art banner sentence phrase to terminal width banner debian gnu linux

The cool thing and advantage of toilet over figlet is toilet can print out ASCII art banners in colors – very very cool stuff; To quickly test all filters issue; for i in $(toilet -F list|awk '{ print $1 }'|grep -v Available|sed -e 's#"##g'); do toilet -F $i pC-fREAK; done Change text pC-fREAK with whatever you like;

> using toilet to create funny ascii-art banners linux pc-freak logo pictures

Very nice use of toilet or figlet, can be if it is placed to produce some nice message in ASCII banner on each user login. Other nice fun applications  is together with cowsay.

apt-cache show cowsay|grep -i description -A 5 Description: A configurable talking cow Cowsay (or cowthink) will turn text into happy ASCII cows, with speech (or thought) balloons. If you don't like cows, ASCII art is available to replace it with some other creatures (Tux, the BSD daemon, dragons, and a plethora of animals, from a turkey to an elephant in a snake).

In case interested in using cowsay on system logins, I suggest you check out my tiny cowrand script which uses cowsay and shows random cow ASCII art picture on each user login.

Also a good use if you're Christian is to combine, some nice Holy Scriptures  verse in text ascii with  some encouraging daily bible phrase from verse or fortune.

Apart from fun, common use of ASCII art slogans is in e-mail or blog comments ASCII art signatures, also they are certainly good for creating unusual (text) advertisements and even can be used to save printer ink:) cause text generated in ASCII art logo is not massive like most text fonts are 🙂 Last but not least  ASCII art banners are useful in generation of ASCII slogans as an art; after all ASCII art is one of innovative arts of 21st century 🙂

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Currency converter Free Desktop Software for Microsoft Windows

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Business or not a business entity, in the mostly globalized world it is almost inevitable to go on at least monthly basis without a need for some kind of currency convertion. Of course there are plenty of websites allowing Free Money Convertion services out there. However as I'm not a big fan of the Software as a Service (SAS). I don't like other people to be able to sniff what kind of money, amounts I'm intending to convert as well as I don't like google or other search engine to profile me how frequently I'm converting or intending to convert money. Thus today I did a quick research what kind of Free and  Open Source Software FOSS is available to do the money convertion operation custom on my own webserver or my desktop PC. Though It was not exactly what I was looking for I found a Windows Desktop Software -CConverter which is capable of convertions between mostly if not all Currencies around the world. I'm not a m$ Windows user myself, but I was glad to know a Free Software exists for the task. CConverter is definitely a piece of soft useful for Businesses and People. In future if I do my own business it would be nice to know of this little handy soft existence and I will put it in action (to save costs) and add confidentiality to my business money transaction / convertions. Below is the two screenshots of CConverter I found on the project's sourceforge website:

Desktop Currency converter program cconverter windows desktop currency converter program

cconverter money desktop currency converter m$  windows software in action $$$

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How to delete MySQL user using mysql cli command

Monday, September 24th, 2012

I decided to clean up a bit my MySQL obsolete users. I use to test free software every now and then and often in the hurry I forgot to clean up the respective soft database and created user in database/table mysql.user.

This is how this tiny article get born. Deleting users in version MySQL 5.0 and higher use command:

mysql> DROP USER username@localhost;

On older MySQL versions; 3.x / 4.x the SQL query is a bit longer:

mysql> DELETE FROM user WHERE User= 'type_your_user_name_here' AND Host= 'localhost'; mysql> FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

Well that's all, now user is wiped out, Enjoy 🙂

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