Posts Tagged ‘free software’

Why don’t you use Window Maker GNU Step to improve your computer interaction performance

Monday, October 30th, 2017

Why-dont-you-use-Window-Maker-graphical-environment-for-your-GNU_Linux-FreeBSD-desktop

If you're pissed off too already of GNOME 3 Unity / GNOME 3 Flashback and KDE Plasma  as I am you perhaps are looking for something more light weigth but you're not okay with default Debian Cinnanom GUI environment or you don't feel confortable for system administration jobs and programming with XFCE then perhaps you would like to give a try to something more old school but build with good design in Mind.

Those who are fans of the evil genius Steve Jobs (as Richard Stallman use to call him), definitely Remember NeXT company and the revolutionary Graphic Environment they tried to develop NeXT Step then you'll be happy to hear about GNUStep  which historically was called AfterStep and is a Free Software remake of NextStep graphical environment for Free and Open Source operating systems (FOSS) such as GNU / Linux and FreeBSD / OpenBSD / NetBSD etc.

Amanda_the_panda_mascot_of_window_maker-graphical-environment-system

Amanda the Panda is the mascot of Window Maker. She was designed by Agnieszka Czajkowska.

The good thing about Window Maker and the complete bunch of desktop environment GNUStep is it much lighter and less complex than the more and more becoming bloated modern Free Software graphical environments, it definitely easifies the way the user interacts with basic browsing with Firefox / Opera, terminal code writting or command system administration and basic chat functionalities such as with Gajim or Pidgin and basic email writting operatins be it with some text email client such as Mutt or with Thunderbird. Its great also to reduce the overall load the Operating System puts on your brain so you can have more time to invest in more useful stuff like programming.

windows-maker-increase-performance-of-work-with-your-computer-howto-wmaker-screenshot

After all simplicity in Operating System is a key for an increased productivity with your computer.
Besides that stability of Window Maker is much better when compared to GNOME and GNOME 2 fork MATE graphical environment which nowadays in my opinion is becoming even more buggy than it used to be some years ago.

Below is how Window Makers site describes Window Maker:

"Window Maker is an X11 window manager originally designed to provide integration support for the GNUstep Desktop Environment. In every way possible, it reproduces the elegant look and feel of the NEXTSTEP user interface. It is fast, feature rich, easy to configure, and easy to use. It is also free software, with contributions being made by programmers from around the world.

Window Maker has a stable user interface since many years and comes with a powerful GUI configuration editor called WPrefs, which removes the need to edit text-based config files by hand. It supports running dockapps which make everyday tasks such as monitoring system performance and battery usage, mounting devices or connecting to the internet very easy. Please see the features section for more specifics on what Window Maker can do, and how it compares with other popular window managers."

Window Maker is bundled with a number of useful applications which gives ability to put Dock applets easily for easily intearcive desktop update of current Weather Report, Monitoring Network Traffic, TV Player (video4linux), laptop battery info dock, CD player and Volume control management app, text editor, pdf viewer, integrated Mail application, Calculator, RSS Reader, GNUStep games and much useful things to customize from the desktop resembling many of the basic features any other graphical environment such as GNOME / KDE Provides.

The User Interface (UI) of Window Maker is highly configurable with an integrated WMaker tool called

WPrefs

Why-dont-you-use-Wmaker-for-better-desktop-performance-Windowmaker_colour_preferences

All generated settings from WPrefs (Window Maker Prefernces) GUI tool are to be stored in a plaintext file:
 

~/GNUstep/Defaults/WMRootMenu

All Wmaker configurations are stored inside ~/GNUstep/ (Your user home GNUStep), so if you're to become its user sooner or later you will have to get acquired to it.

Wmaker is very minimalist and the performance is killing so Window Maker is perhaps the number one choice Graphical Environment to use on Old Computers with Linux and BSD.

Below is a full list of all packages installed on my Debian GNU / Linux that provides WMaker / GNUStep great functionalities:

root@jericho:/home/hipo# dpkg -l |grep -i wmaker; dpkg -l |grep -i gnustep
ii  wmaker                                        0.95.8-2                             amd64        NeXTSTEP-like window manager for X
ii  wmaker-common                                 0.95.8-2                             all          Window Maker – Architecture independent files
ii  wmbattery                                     2.50-1+b1                            amd64        display laptop battery info, dockable in WindowMaker
ii  wmcdplay                                      1.1-2+b1                             amd64        CD player based on ascd designed for WindowMaker
ii  wmifs                                         1.8-1                                amd64        WindowMaker dock app for monitoring network traffic
ii  wmnut                                         0.66-1                               amd64        WindowMaker dock app that displays UPS statistics from NUT's upsd
ii  wmpuzzle                                      0.5.2-2+b1                           amd64        WindowMaker dock app 4×4 puzzle
ii  wmrack                                        1.4-5+b1                             amd64        Combined CD Player + Mixer designed for WindowMaker
ii  wmtv                                          0.6.6-1                              amd64        Dockable video4linux TV player for WindowMaker
ii  wmweather                                     2.4.6-2+b1                           amd64        WindowMaker dockapp that shows your current weather
ii  wmweather+                                    2.15-1.1+b2                          amd64        WindowMaker dock app that shows your current weather
ii  addressmanager.app                            0.4.8-2+b2                           amd64        Personal Address Manager for GNUstep
ii  agenda.app                                    0.42.2-1+b7                          amd64        Calendar manager for GNUstep
ii  charmap.app                                   0.3~rc1-3                            amd64        Character map for GNUstep
ii  charmap.app-common                            0.3~rc1-3                            all          Character map for GNUstep (arch-independent files)
ii  cynthiune.app                                 1.0.0-1+b4                           amd64        Music player for GNUstep
ii  dictionaryreader.app                          0+20080616+dfsg-2+b6                 amd64        Dict client for GNUstep
ii  edenmath.app                                  1.1.1a-7.1+b1                        amd64        Scientific calculator for GNUstep
ii  gnumail.app                                   1.2.2-1.1                            amd64        Mail client for GNUstep
ii  gnumail.app-common                            1.2.2-1.1                            all          Mail client for GNUstep (common files)
ii  gnustep                                       7.8                                  all          User applications for the GNUstep Environment
ii  gnustep-back-common                           0.25.0-2                             amd64        GNUstep GUI Backend – common files
ii  gnustep-back0.25                              0.25.0-2                             all          GNUstep GUI Backend
ii  gnustep-back0.25-cairo                        0.25.0-2                             amd64        GNUstep GUI Backend (cairo)
ii  gnustep-base-common                           1.24.9-3.1                           all          GNUstep Base library – common files
ii  gnustep-base-doc                              1.24.9-3.1                           all          Documentation for the GNUstep Base Library
ii  gnustep-base-runtime                          1.24.9-3.1                           amd64        GNUstep Base library – daemons and tools
ii  gnustep-common                                2.7.0-1                              amd64        Common files for the core GNUstep environment
ii  gnustep-core-devel                            7.8                                  all          GNUstep Development Environment — core libraries
ii  gnustep-core-doc                              7.8                                  all          GNUstep Development Environment — core documentation
ii  gnustep-devel                                 7.8                                  all          GNUstep Development Environment — development tools
ii  gnustep-games                                 7.8                                  all          GNUstep games
ii  gnustep-gui-common                            0.25.0-4                             all          GNUstep GUI Library – common files
ii  gnustep-gui-doc                               0.25.0-4                             all          Documentation for the GNUstep GUI Library
ii  gnustep-gui-runtime                           0.25.0-4+b1                          amd64        GNUstep GUI Library – runtime files
ii  gnustep-icons                                 1.0-5                                all          Several free icons for use with GNUstep and others
ii  gnustep-make                                  2.7.0-1                              all          GNUstep build system
ii  gnustep-make-doc                              2.7.0-1                              all          Documentation for GNUstep Make
ii  gomoku.app                                    1.2.9-2+b2                           amd64        Extended TicTacToe game for GNUstep
ii  gorm.app                                      1.2.23-1                             amd64        Visual Interface Builder for GNUstep
ii  gridlock.app                                  1.10-4+b2                            amd64        Collection of grid-based board games for GNUstep
ii  grr.app                                       1.0-1+b2                             amd64        RSS reader for GNUstep
ii  gworkspace-common                             0.9.3-1                              all          GNUstep Workspace Manager – common files
ii  gworkspace.app                                0.9.3-1+b2                           amd64        GNUstep Workspace Manager
ii  helpviewer.app                                0.3-8+b3                             amd64        Online help viewer for GNUstep programs
ii  libaddresses0                                 0.4.8-2+b2                           amd64        Database API backend framework for GNUstep (library files)
ii  libaddressview0                               0.4.8-2+b2                           amd64        Address display/edit framework for GNUstep (library files)
ii  libgnustep-base-dev                           1.24.9-3.1                           amd64        GNUstep Base header files and development libraries
ii  libgnustep-base1.24                           1.24.9-3.1                           amd64        GNUstep Base library
ii  libgnustep-gui-dev                            0.25.0-4+b1                          amd64        GNUstep GUI header files and static libraries
ii  libgnustep-gui0.25                            0.25.0-4+b1                          amd64        GNUstep GUI Library
ii  libpantomime1.2                               1.2.2+dfsg1-1                        amd64        GNUstep framework for mail handling (runtime library)
ii  libpopplerkit0                                0.0.20051227svn-7.1+b9               amd64        GNUstep framework for rendering PDF content (library files)
ii  libpreferencepanes1                           1.2.0-2+b2                           amd64        GNUstep preferences library – runtime library
ii  librenaissance0                               0.9.0-4+b6                           amd64        GNUstep GUI Framework – library files
ii  librenaissance0-dev                           0.9.0-4+b6                           amd64        GNUstep GUI Framework – development files
ii  librsskit0d                                   0.4-1                                amd64        GNUstep RSS framework (runtime library)
ii  mknfonts.tool                                 0.5-11+b5                            amd64        Create nfont packages for GNUstep
ii  price.app                                     1.3.0-1                              amd64        Image filtering and manipulation using GNUstep
ii  projectcenter.app                             0.6.2-1                              amd64        IDE for GNUstep Development
ii  renaissance-doc                               0.9.0-4                              all          GNUstep GUI Framework – documentation
ii  systempreferences.app                         1.2.0-2+b2                           amd64        GNUstep preferences application
ii  terminal.app                                  0.9.8.1-1                            amd64        Terminal Emulator for GNUstep
ii  textedit.app                                  4.0+20061029-3.5+b1                  amd64        Text editor for GNUstep
ii  viewpdf.app                                   1:0.2dfsg1-5+b2                      amd64        Portable Document Format (PDF) viewer for GNUstep
ii  zipper.app                                    1.5-1+b2                             amd64        Archive manager for GNUstep

Well yes it is true Window Maker is not a spoon for every mouth, those who want to have more confortable desktop environment better look out at other options as Window Maker is Unix / Linux graphical environment that fits better hackers, computer developers and system administrators.

Anyhow if you have some old family member that has to use an old computer architecture and the person is only to use mainly just browser to check email, youtube and basic surfing then Wmaker will be a great choice as it will consume little CPU and Memory much less than the heavy and computer resources sucking GNOME and KDE.

I've historically used Wmaker also with its teminal emulator rxvt (VT102 terminal emulator for the X Windows System) which is a kinda of improved version of xterm (the default terminal program bundled with Xorg server), but for those who are already used to Gnome Terminal nice tabs perhaps that would be not the terminal of choice.

rxvt was build to match well the look and feel of AfterStep and consequently Wmaker, its scrollbar was aiming to very much resemble NeXTStep style scrollbar

windowmaker-bind-run-application-to-make-alt-f2-work-like-in-gnome

Most "custom" shortcuts are used to launch specific applications. To add your own keyboard shortcut for an application, go to the "Applications Menu Definition" panel in the Preferences app.  Select the application item in the menu for which you want to create a shortcut, then use the "capture" button to capture the keystrokes you want to assign to that item.  In the screenshot, I've assigned Mod1 + W to open Firefox.

Above  screenshot shows how to map the Run Application keyboard bind to behave like GNOME Run application ALT + F2

window-maker-run-command-like-gnome-run-screenshot-gnu-linux-unix-freebsd

Customizing background of Window Maker

Because WMaker is so simple made and targetting more of a developer audience for use it doesn't have a special graphical interaface to set a Background if you like so, but instead you need to use a wmsetbg command to do so:
 

wmsetbg -s -u filename.jpg

 

WMSetBG command stands for WindowMaker Set Background


If you're too lazy to install and start configuring wmaker, there is a Window Maker LiveCD, you can run Window Maker through LiveCD in Virtual Machine such as VirtualBox to get feeling what you're about to get if you install and start using Wmaker on your Computer.

window-maker-livecd-screenshot-synaptic+wprefs
 

Well at first with Window Maker you might feel confused and quickly irritating missing the already established way to work with your computer, but that's just for a starter sooner you will realize, that for using a limited number of applications for work wmaker, makes you much more efficient. Moreover using your computer with Wmaker can rewire your brain circuits to think a little bit different.

Once you switched to Window Maker you will likely want to have a graphical option to connect to Wireless Networks especially if you're using Wmaker on a notebook it is convenient to not always manually do scan for networks with
 

Iwlscan


commad and use wpasupplicant command to connect instead you can just install wicd and stop default Gnome Network Manager (called Network Manager), you can do so by running as root:
 

service network-manager stop
apt-get install wicd wicd-gtk
service wicd start
wicd-gtk &

 

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How to turn keyboard backlight on GNU / Linux, keyboard no backlight solution

Friday, October 20th, 2017

how-to-make-CM_Storm_Devastator-keyboard_backlight-work-on-linux-enabled-disable-keyboard-glowing-gnu-linux

If you're a GNU / Linux user and you happen to buy a backlighted keyboard, some nice new laptop whose keyboard supports the more and more modern keyboard growing or if you happen to install a GNU / Linux for a Gamer friend no matter the Linux distribution, you might encounter sometimes  problem even in major Linux distributions Debian / Ubuntu / Mint / Fedora with keyboard backlight not working.

Lets say you buy a Devastator II backlighted keyboard or any other modern keyboard you plug it into the Linux machine and there is no nice blinking light coming out of the keyboard, all the joy is gone yes I know. The free software coolness would have been even more grandiose if your keyboard was shiny and glowing in color / colors 🙂

But wait, there is hope for your joy to be made complete.

To make the keyboard backlight switch on Just issue commands:

 

xmodmap -e 'add mod3 = Screen_Lock'

 

# Turn on the keyboard bright lamps
xset led on

# Turns off the keyboard bright lamps
xset led off


If you want to make the keyboard backlight be enabled permanent the easiest solution is to

– add the 3 command lines to /etc/rc.local

E.g. to do so open /etc/rc.local and before exit 0 command just add the lines:

 

vim /etc/rc.local

 

xmodmap -e 'add mod3 = Screen_Lock'

# Turn on the keyboard bright lamps
xset led on

# Turns off the keyboard bright lamps
xset led off


If you prefer to have the keyboard colorful backlight enable and disabled from X environment on lets say GNOME , here is how to make yourself an icon that enabled and disables the colors.

That's handy because at day time it is a kind of meaningless for the keyboard to glow.

Here is the shell script:

#!/bin/bash
sleep 1
xset led 3
xmodmap -e 'add mod3 = Scroll_Lock'


I saved it as /home/hipo/scripts/backlight.sh

(don't forget to make it executable!, to do so run):

 

chmod +x /home/hipo/scripts/backlight.sh


Then create  the .desktop file at /etc/xdg/autostart/backlight.desktop so that it runs the new shell script, like so:

[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Name=Devastator Backlight
Exec=/home/hipo/scripts/backlight.sh
Icon=system-run
X-GNOME-Autostart-enabled=true

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Play Midis on Linux / Make Linux MIDI Ready for the Future – Enable embedded MIDI music to play in a Browser, Play MIDIs with VLC and howto enjoy Midis in Text Console

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

how-to-play-midi-on-gnu-linux-in-graphic-environment-console-and-browser-midi-synthesizer-and-linux-tux-together

 

Play Midis on Linux or Make Linux MIDI Ready for the Future – Enable embedded MIDI music to play in a Browser, Play MIDIs with VLC and howto enjoy Midis in Text Console HOWTO

 

Playing MIDI has been quite a lot of fun historically,

if you grow up in the days when personal computers were still young and the Sound Blaster was a luxury, before the raise of Mp3 music format, you have certainly enjoyed the beeping of PC Speaker and later on during 386 and 486 / 586 computers the enjoyment of playing tracked music such as S3M and MOD,

in that good days playing MIDI music was the only alternative for PC maniacs who doesn't own a CD Drive (which itself) was another luxury and even thouse who had a CD ROM device, were mainly playing music in CD audio format (.CDA).
Anyhow MIDI was a cheap and a CPU unintensive way to listen to equivalent of favourite popular Audio Songs and for those who still remember many of the songs were recreated in MIDI format, just with a number of synthesized instruments without any voice (as MIDI is usually).

The same was true also for the good old days of raise of Mobile Phones, when polyphonic was a standard as CPU power was low MIDI was a perfect substitute for the CPU heavy Encoded MP3s / OGG and other formats that required a modern for that time Intel CPU running in 50+ Mhz usually 100 / 166Mhz was perfect for the days to play Mp3 but still even on that PCs we listened to Midi songs.

Therefore if you're one of those people like me who still enjoy to play some Midi Music in the year 2017 and feel a bit like Back into the Future movie and a Free Software fan and user, especially if you're a novice GNU  / Linux Free Software user, you will be unpleasently surprised that most today's default Linux distributions doesn't have an easy way to play Midi music format out of the box right after install.

Hence below article aims to give you an understanding on

How you can play Midi Music on GNU / Linux Operating System

First, lets Prepare to load necessery Linux kernel modules to make sure MIDI can be played by soundcard:

In /etc/modules make sure you have the following list of modules loaded:
 

linux-desktop:~# cat /etc/modules
3c59x
snd-emu10k1
snd-pcm-oss
snd-mixer-oss
snd-seq-oss

!Note the modules are working as of time of writting and in time can change to some other modules, depending on how the development of ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) goes, and if the developers decide to rename the upmentioned modules

If you just have added the modules to /etc/modules with vim / nano to reload modules into the Linux kernel run:

 

linux-desktop:~# modprobe -a


Secondly, Installing a whole bunch of MIDI music related program tools can be achieved in Debian by installing the multimedia-midi package, e.g.:

 

linux-desktop:~# apt-get install –yes multimedia-midi

 

1. Playing Midi in Graphical environment with a double click using VLC


How to make MIDI easy listanable in Linux graphical environment like GNOME / KDE / XFCE desktop ?

 

If you want to make Midi music execution sa easy as  just clicking on the .MIDI file format on Linux you can do that with a midi extension available for VLC (Video Lan Client) Universal Multi Platform Media Player player

To install it on Debian Ubuntu GNU / Linux
 

# apt-get install –yes vlc-plugin-fluidsynth

 

Необходимо е да се изтеглят 6754 B архиви.
След тази операция ще бъде използвано 35,8 kB допълнително дисково пространство.
Изт:1 http://deb.debian.org/debian stretch/main amd64 vlc-plugin-fluidsynth amd64 2.2.6-1~deb9u1 [6754 B]
Изтеглени 6754 B за 0с (33,6 kB/сек)           
Selecting previously unselected package vlc-plugin-fluidsynth:amd64.
(Reading database … 382976 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack …/vlc-plugin-fluidsynth_2.2.6-1~deb9u1_amd64.deb …
Unpacking vlc-plugin-fluidsynth:amd64 (2.2.6-1~deb9u1) …
Setting up vlc-plugin-fluidsynth:amd64 (2.2.6-1~deb9u1) …
Processing triggers for libvlc-bin:amd64 (2.2.6-1~deb9u1) …


Besides making your MIDI play on the GUI environment easy as a a point and click VLC will also be able to play MIDIs on GNU / Linux from your favourite browser (nomatter Firefox / Chrome or Opera), even though the player would play in a new PopUP Window it is easy to select once MIDI file from a random website for example – here is a directory listing of Webserver with Doom II Soundtrack in MIDI format , click over any file from list and Choose option for VLC to always remember that MIDI files has to be opened with VLC player.
 


2. Enable Firefox / IceWeasel browser to Support Website embedded MIDI files

 

 

So VLC could make you listen the downloadable MIDIs from Web pages but,
 

What if you have stumbled on an old website which was configured with very OLD HTML Code to play some nice music (or even different MIDI songs) for each part of the website (for each webpage) and you want to have the Websites created with embedded MIDIs to automatically play on Linux oncce you visit the site?


Sadly default support in Browser for MIDI across all GNU / Linux, I've used so far never worked out of the box, not that still anyone is developing modern websites with MIDIs, but still for the sake of backward compitability and for sake of interactivity it is worthy to enable embedded MIDI support in Linux

But with a couple of tunings as usual GNU / Linux can do almost everything, so here is how to enable embedded browser support for Midi on Linux (That should work with minor modifications not only on Debian / Ubuntu / ArchLinux but also on Fedoras, CentOS etc.
If you try it on any of this distributions, please drop a short comment and tell me in few lines how you made embedded midi worked on that distros.

 

apt-get install –yes timidity mozplugger

Next do restart firefox

Sometimes in order to work you might need to delete /home/[YOUR_USERNAME]/.mozilla/pluginreg.dat and restart firefox again, e.g. make a backup and give it a try:

 

cp -rpf /home/hipo/.mozilla/pluginreg.dat /home/hipo/.mozilla/pluginreg.dat.bak
rm -f /home/hipo/.mozilla/pluginreg.dat

 

Another good tip as talking for embedding MIDI support is to embed XPDF to render PDF pages inside the Browser, by default this is done by GNOME's Evince PDF reader but as it is sometimes buggy and might crash it is generally a good idea to switch to xpdf instead, if for some reason PDF is not directly displaying in browser or suddenly stopped working after some distro uipgrade, you might want to do below as well:
 

apt-get install xpdf

vim /etc/mozpluggerrc

Fin d and Comment out the line starting with:

It should look like this afterwards:

 Repeat Swallow ….
 

text/x-pdf: pdf: PDF file
#      repeat swallow(documentShell) fill: acroread -geometry +9000+9000 +useFrontEndProgram "$file"
        repeat noisy swallow(Xpdf) fill: xpdf -g +9000+9000 "$file"
        repeat noisy swallow(gv) fill: gv –safer –quiet –antialias -geometry +9000+9000 "$file"


 

3. Play Midi music in Linux text console / terminal


There is a console tool that historically has been like the Linux standard for playing midis over the years as I remember, its called timidity

 


To install timidity on .Deb based Linux:
 

linux-desktop:~$ su root
Password:
linux-desktop:~# apt-get install –yes timidity

Необходимо е да се изтеглят 0 B/580 kB архиви.
След тази операция ще бъде използвано 0 B допълнително дисково пространство.
(Reading database … 382981 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack …/timidity_2.13.2-40.5_amd64.deb …
Unpacking timidity (2.13.2-40.5) over (2.13.2-40.5) …
Processing triggers for menu (2.1.47+b1) …
Processing triggers for man-db (2.7.6.1-2) …
Setting up timidity (2.13.2-40.5) …
Processing triggers for menu (2.1.47+b1) …

 

To test your new MIDI Synthesizer tool and make the enjoyment full you can download Doom 2 extracted MIDI Soundtrack from here
 

Once you have downloaded above Metal MIDI DOOM old school arcade soundtrack and untarred it into your home directory be it ~/doom-midis

A remark to make here is timidity is quite CPU intensive, but on modern Dual and Quad-Core PC Notebooks, the CPU load is not of a big concern.

To test and play with timidity:
 

linux-desktop~$ timidity ~/mp3/midis/*


timidity-playing-doom-midi-bunny-song-on-debian-stretch-gnome-terminal-screenshot
 

hipo@jericho:~/mp3/midis$ aplaymidi -l
 Port    Client name                      Port name
 14:0    Midi Through                     Midi Through Port-0
128:0    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 0
128:1    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 1
128:2    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 2
128:3    TiMidity                         TiMidity port 3

 


We have also the playmidi  (simple midi text console terminal player), which historically was working quite decent and I use it to in the past on my RedHat 6.0 and RedHat 7.0 to listen to my .MID format files but unfortunately as of time of writting something is wrong with it, so when I try to play MIDIs with it instead of timidity I get this erro:

 

$ playmidi *.mid
Playmidi 2.4 Copyright (C) 1994-1997 Nathan I. Laredo, AWE32 by Takashi Iwai
This is free software with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
For details please see the file COPYING.
open /dev/sequencer: No such file or directory

Even though I tried hard to resolve that error by loading various midi related MIDI modules and following a lot of the suggestions online on how to  make /dev/sequencer work again it was all no luck.
 

Some people back in the distant year 2005, reported the problem was solved by simply loading snd-seq

But as of time of writting:

 

# modprobe snd-seq

 

Some people said in archlinux's Forum

/dev/sequencer sequencer: No such file or directory

 

is solved by loading snd-seq-oss kernel module, but on my Debian Linux 9.1 Stretch, this ain't work as well :

 

root@jericho:/home/hipo/mp3/midis# modprobe snd-seq-oss
modprobe: FATAL: Module snd-seq-oss not found in directory /lib/modules/4.9.0-3-amd64
root@jericho:/home/hipo/mp3/midis# uname -a;
Linux jericho 4.9.0-3-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.9.30-2+deb9u5 (2017-09-19) x86_64 GNU/Linux


Another invention of mine was to try to also link /dev/snd/seq to /dev/sequencer but this produced no positive result either:

 

# ln -sf /dev/snd/seq /dev/sequencer
# ls -al /dev/sequencer
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 12 окт  4 16:48 /dev/sequencer -> /dev/snd/seq


Note that after lining in that way I got following error with my attempt to play MIDIs with playmidi

# playmidi *.mid
Playmidi 2.4 Copyright (C) 1994-1997 Nathan I. Laredo, AWE32 by Takashi Iwai
This is free software with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
For details please see the file COPYING.
there is no soundcard


Anyhow on some other Linux distributions (especially with Older Kernel versions), some of the above 3 suggested Fix might work perfectly fine so if you have some time give it a try please and drop me  a comment on how it went, you will help the GNU / Linux community out there that way.

Well never mind the bollocks, so

Now back to where I started timidity even though it will play fine it will not give any indication on the lenght of the midi song (precious information such as how much time is left until the end is over).

Hence if you prefer a player that gives you an indicator on how much is left towards the end length of each of the played MIDI file you can give a try to wildmidi:

 

linux-desktop:~$ apt-cache show wildmidi|grep -i description -A 2

Description-en: software MIDI player
 Minimal MIDI player implementation based on the wildmidi library that
 can either dump to WAV or playback over ALSA. It is intended to

Description-md5: b4b34070ae88e73e3289b751230cfc89
Homepage: http://www.mindwerks.net/projects/wildmidi/
Tag: implemented-in::c, role::program, sound::midi, sound::player,

Description: software MIDI player
Description-md5: 4673a7051f104675c73eb344bb045607
Homepage: http://wildmidi.sourceforge.net/
Bugs: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+filebug


If yet not installed install it after becoming admin user:

 

linux-desktop:~$ su root
Password:

linux-desktop:~# apt-get install –yes wildmidi


wildmidi is much less CPU intensive (it uses gstreamer to play (Gstreamer – open source multimedia framework)

And next give it a try by running:

 

linux-desktop:~$ wildmidi ~/mp3/midis/*

 

wildmidi-midi-lenght-status-text-console-player-for-linux-ubuntu-debian-fedora-suse

 

 

4. Editting MIDI files with Free Software and Proprietary MIDI Editor Programs

 


If you want a professional software that can play Midi in a fuzzy interactive GUI way and have some extra possibilities to edit MIDIs and other format give a try to Muse Sequencer:
 

 

linux-desktop:~$ sudo apt-get install –yes muse

The following NEW packages will be installed:
  muse
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 38 not upgraded.
Need to get 5814 kB of archives.
After this operation, 21.0 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://deb.debian.org/debian stretch/main amd64 muse amd64 2.1.2-3+b1 [5814 kB]
Fetched 5814 kB in 2s (2205 kB/s)                             
    are supported and installed on your system.
Preconfiguring packages …
Selecting previously unselected package muse.
(Reading database … 382981 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack …/muse_2.1.2-3+b1_amd64.deb …
Unpacking muse (2.1.2-3+b1) …
Processing triggers for mime-support (3.60) …
Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils (0.23-1) …
Processing triggers for doc-base (0.10.7) …
Processing 1 added doc-base file…
Registering documents with scrollkeeper…
Processing triggers for man-db (2.7.6.1-2) …
Processing triggers for shared-mime-info (1.8-1) …
Unknown media type in type 'all/all'
Unknown media type in type 'all/allfiles'
Processing triggers for gnome-menus (3.13.3-9) …
Setting up muse (2.1.2-3+b1) …
Processing triggers for hicolor-icon-theme (0.15-1) …


 

Below is short description what Muse can do for you:

 

MusE is a MIDI/audio sequencer with recording and editing capabilities.
 Some Highlights:
 

  * Standard midifile (smf) import-/export.
  * Organizes songs in tracks and parts which you can arrange with
    the part editor.
  * MIDI editors: pianoroll, drum, list, controller.
  * Score editor with high quality postscript printer output.
  * Realtime: editing while playing.
  * Unlimited number of open editors.
  * Unlimited undo/redo.
  * Realtime and step-recording.
  * Multiple MIDI devices.
  * Unlimited number of tracks.
  * Sync to external devices: MTC/MMC, Midi Clock, Master/Slave.
  * Audio tracks, LADSPA host for master effects.
  * Multithreaded.
  * Uses raw MIDI devices.
  * XML project file.
  * Project file contains complete app state (session data).
  * Application spanning Cut/Paste Drag/Drop.

 

linux-desktop~:$ muse

muse-advanced-midi-editor-free-software-for-linux

 

Below is another non-free program that you might, try if MusE doesn't fit your needs (is not rich enough for editting capabilities is bitwig (though I don't recommend since it is not free software)

bitwig – Bitwig Studio is a multi-platform music-creation system for production, performance and DJing, with a focus on flexible editing tools and a super-fast workflow.
 


bitwig-midi-and-audio-non-free-software-advanced-useful-sound-editor-for-linx


 

5. Some examples for Text editing and MIDI Conversion to CSV and ABC file formats There is pretty much more

For the MIDI Extremists who or people that create MIDIs and want to learn how a MIDI is made (the content of it etc.), I suggest you take a look at these 3 command line MIDI editing / conversion tools
 

  • midi2abc – A little tool to create MIDI formats to ABC format
  • midi2csv – Conver tour Favourite MIDI files to CSV for educational purposes so see what Channels, Tracks and Time Intervals is a MIDI song mad
  • midicopy – Copy selected, track, channel, time interval of MIDI file to another MIDI file3

 

Well, that's all folks now enjoy your MIDIs and don't forget to donate, as I'm jobless at the moment and the only profit I make is just a few bucks out of advertisement on this blog.
 

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

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Install-update-multiple-programs-applications-at-once-using-ninite

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

ninite-automate-windows-program-deploy-and-update-on-new-windows-os-openoffice-screenshot

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.

ninite-choises-to-build-an-install-package-with-useful-essential-windows-software-screenshot
 

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

how-to-password-protect-encrypt-decrypt-files-linux-tux-logo.png
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 (Gmail.com / Yahoo Mail / Mail.com / (Bulgarian Mail Abv.bg)) 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

Its-SysAdminDay-SAD-day-the-day-of-the-system-administrtator-cake-hooray

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
 


HAPPY SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR DAY – HOORAY ! 🙂

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

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

linux-because-microsoft-is-for-capitalists-running-dos

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-installation-process-registryreviver-offer

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:
 peazip

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 http://sourceforge.net/projects/peazip/files/5.0/peazip-5.0.LINUX.GTK2.tgz/download
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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