Posts Tagged ‘necessery’

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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Removing exim and installing qmail / Generate and install pseudo mta dummy package on Debian / Ubuntu etc. .deb based Linux

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

If you happen to be installing Qmail Mail server on a Debian or Ubuntu (.deb) based Linux, you will notice by default there will be some kind of MTA (Mail Transport Agent) already installed mail-transfer-agent package will be installed and because of Debian .deb package depedency to have an MTA always installed on the system you will be unable to remove Exim MTA without installing some other MTA (Postix / Qmail) etc.

This will be a problem for those like me who prefer to compile and install Qmail from source, thus to get around this it is necessery to create a dummy package that will trick the deb packaging depencies that actually mta-local MTA package is present on the server.

The way to go here is to use equivs (Circumvent debian package dependencies):

debian:~# apt-cache show equivs|grep -i desc -A 10

Description: Circumvent Debian package dependencies
 This package provides a tool to create trivial Debian packages.
 Typically these packages contain only dependency information, but they
 can also include normal installed files like other packages do.
 One use for this is to create a metapackage: a package whose sole
 purpose is to declare dependencies and conflicts on other packages so
 that these will be automatically installed, upgraded, or removed.
 Another use is to circumvent dependency checking: by letting dpkg
 think a particular package name and version is installed when it

Btw creating a .deb dummy package will be necessery in many other cases when you have to install from some third party debian repositories or some old and alrady unmaintaned deb-src packages for the sake of making some archaic software to resurrect somewhere, so sooner or later even if you're not into Mail servers you will certainly need equivs.

Then install equivs and go on proceeding creating the dummy mail-transport-agent package

debian:~# cd /tmp debian:~# cp -rpf /usr/share/doc/equivs/examples/mail-transport-agent.ctl . debian:~# equivs-build mail-transport-agent.ctl

Above command will build and package /tmp/mta-local_1.0_all.deb dummy package.
So continue and install it with dpkg as you use to install debian packages


debian:~# dpkg -i /tmp/mta-local_1.0_all.deb

From then on you can continue your standard LWQ – Life with Qmail or any other source based qmail installation with:




So that's it now .deb packaging system consistency will be complete so standard security package updates with apt-get and aptitude updates or dpkg -i third party custom software insatlls will not be breaking up any more.

Hope that helped someone 🙂





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Configure Linux users to see only their own user processes with Hidepid – Stop users to see what others are doing

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

If you administer a university shared free shell Linux server, have a small community of *NIX users offering free accounts for them, or responsible for Linux software company with development servers, where programmers login and use daily to program software / websites its necessery to have tightened security rules with a major goal to keep the different user accounts processes separate one from other (hide all system and user processes from single logged in user).

Preventing users to see other users processes is essential for Linux servers which are at high risk to be hacked. At earlier times to achieve hiding all processes besides own ones from a logged in user was possible by using A kernel security module Grsecurity.
In latest currenlt Linux kernel version 3.2+ (on both Debian (unstable) / Ubuntu 14.04 / RHEL/CentOS v6.5+ above) you can hide process from other user so only root (useruser) can see all running process with (ps auxwwf) with a native kernel option hidepid. 

Configuring Hidepid

To enable hidepid option you have to remount the /proc filesystem with the Linux kernel hardening hidepid option, to make it one time setting on already running server issue:

 mount -o remount,rw,hidepid=2 /proc

To make the hidepid setting permanently active its necessery to modify /proc filesystem settings in /etc/fstab


vim /etc/fstab

proc    /proc    proc    defaults,hidepid=2     0     0

  • hidepid=0 – Anybody may read all world-readable /proc/PID/* files (default).
  • hidepid=1 – Means users may not access any /proc/ / directories, but only ones owned by them.Important  files like cmdline, sched*, status are now protected to read from other other users.
  • hidepid=2 – Means hidepid=1 plus all /proc/PID/ will be invisible to other users besides logged in. Using this options stops Cracker's from gathering info about running processes, indication of daemon (services) which runs with elevated privileges, other user running processes (some might contain password) passed as argument or some sensitive data. Revealing such data is frequently used to get versions of local / remote running services that can be exploited.

Below is output of htop of a logged in user on hidepid activated server:


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Windows: VMWare Start / Stop from command line stop-vmware.bat / start-vmware.bat script

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

I'm experimenting with different Virtual Machines these days, because often running VMWare together with other Virtual Machines (like VirtualBox) might be causing crashes or VM instability – hence it is always best to have VMWare completely stopped. Unfortunately VMWare keeps running a number of respawning processes (vmnat.exe, vmnetdhcp.exe, vmware-authd.exe, vmware-usbarbitrator64.exe) which cannot be killed from Task Manager with Process KillEnd Tree option. Thus to make this services stop it is necessery run from cmd.exe (which is Run as Administrator):

NET STOP "VMware Workstation Server"
NET STOP "VMware USB Arbitration service"
NET STOP "VMware NAT Service"
NET STOP "VMware DHCP Service"
NET STOP "VMware Authorization Service"

If you will be doing regular START / STOP of VMWare on Windows servers it will be handy to create a little batch script stop-vmware.bat containing:

NET STOP "VMware Workstation Server"
NET STOP "VMware USB Arbitration service"
NET STOP "VMware NAT Service"
NET STOP "VMware DHCP Service"
NET STOP "VMware Authorization Service"

Later whether it is necessery to start VMWare from Windows command line execute above services in reverse order (to prevent from getting warnings or errors on vmware dependent services.

NET START "VMware Authorization Service"
NET START "VMware DHCP Service"
NET START "VMware NAT Service"
NET START "VMware USB Arbitration service"
NET START "VMware Workstation Server"

To script it as a start script create file start-vmware.bat with:

NET START "VMware Authorization Service"
NET START "VMware DHCP Service"
NET START "VMware NAT Service"
NET START "VMware USB Arbitration service"
NET START "VMware Workstation Server"

Of course it is possible to also stop / start VMWare from GUI's Windows Services interface by righclicking on services with VMWare names and selecting "Start" / "Stop".

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How to fix postfix mail server error ‘relay access denied’ on FreeBSD

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

If you're running a newly configured Postfix SMTP server and you get in /var/log/maillog errors like:

Relay access denied

i.e. in log whenever you try to deliver a mail to the mail server you get something like:

Jan 29 10:05:04 600h postfix/smtpd[4624]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from[]: 554 5.7.1 <>: Relay access denied; from=<> to=<> proto=ESMTP helo=<>

This is to because the virtualdomain to which postfix is trying to deliver is not added among the domains for which relaying is allowed.

To fix it edit /etc/postfix/ ; find line

relay_domains = $mydestination

and add all domains, for which relaying should be allowed. Let's say you have virtual domains and to enable relaying, add to conf:

relay_domains = $mydestination

Also whether, virtual domain names are read from a separate configured hashed .db file like /etc/postfix/virtual.db

Usually done via /etc/postfix/ via vars:

virtual_mailbox_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual
virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual

Its necessery to run cmd;

postmap virtual
# ls -al /etc/postfix/virtual*
-rwxrwxrwx  1 root  wheel      45 Jan 29 05:27 /etc/postfix/virtual
-rwxrwxrwx  1 root  wheel  131072 Jan 29 10:58 /etc/postfix/virtual.db

This command re-builds virtual.db including all newly input domains in /etc/postfix/virtual

Finally to load new configs its necessary to restart postfix;

This particular Postfix is running on FreeBSD so to restart it;

# /etc/rc.d/postfix restart



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Installing Usual PHP Apache needed modules for new Debian GNU / Linux servers

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Almost evertime whether install a new Debian Linux server to host some websites, use the popular small and mid-sized hosting solution combination:

  • Apache webserver
  • PHP module to interpret the PHP programming code
  • MySQL to store the DB Backend

Installing the basis for on Debian is easy:

# apt-get install --yes apache2 apache2-mpm-prefork libapache2-mod-php \
mysql-server php5 php5-mysql mysql-client mysql-common phpmyadmin

This of course is in case, if necessery to run websites which are written to usephp code which is not thread safety (Use Apache child prefork technology to manage processes); For websites writen to be thread safety (not use some forking php functions like: php – exec(); fork(); etc. – I install apache2-mpm-prefork for better Webserver performance and speed.

This minimum collection of packages is good only for basic, websites and most Joomla, WordPress, Drupal or whatever custom PHP websites has to be hosted usually require much more PHP functions which are not part of this basic bundle. Hence as I said prior on almost all new Linux debian / ubuntu deb package based servers need to install following list of extra PHP deb packages:

# apt-get install --yes php-apc php-auth-ssl php-mail \
php-http php-net-smtp php-net-socket php-pear php5-cli php5-curl \
php5-gd php5-imagick php5-mapscript php5-mcrypt php5-odbc php5-sybase \

After installing this standard bundle of modules PHP is extended to support somenice functionalities like Image editting / convertion / resizing … various graphic editting functions as supported by infamous ImageMagick and GDlib, PEAR support (PHP Extension and Application Repository) bundle providing number of useful PHP classes.
php5-xInstalling Usual PHP Apache needed modules for new Debian GNU / Linux serverssl is usually necessery for websites which pass data in XSL format (a specific formatted XML data). php5-xsl is usually necessery for websites containing flash animationsPresentation, videos, games etc.

That is mostly it, hope this helps some sys admin like me who need configure new Debian based hosting server 🙂

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Fixing MySQL server start up “ERROR 1045 (28000): Access denied for user ‘debian-sys-maint’@’localhost’ (using password: YES)”

Friday, September 7th, 2012

I'm still busy configuring the new Lenovo (Le-novo) 🙂 ThinkCenter server necessery for migration of old machines. I've done a lot yesterday but really moving all this stuff takes time …

I moved the SQL databases from the old MySQL server host to the new Debian Linux host.

In order to move databsaes, I did the usual SQL dump from current working host with:

mysql:~# mysqldump --opt --allow-keywords --add-drop-table --all-databases -u root > dump.sql

After that did the standard move of dump.sql to the new host with sftp

mysql-new:~# sftp root@mysql-host
Connected to mysql-host.
sftp> get dump.sql
sftp> exit

and imported dump:

mysql-new:~# mysql -u root -p < dump.sql
Enter password:

Databases dump grow really a lot (7GB)!, so I had to wait for dump.sql to import about 20 minutes – (the host configuration is Dual core 6Ghz 3MB Cache CPU, 4GB DDR3 RAM, 7200 500 GB Hitachi ExcelStor Techno V32O HDD).

The dumps migration was between identical release Debian Linux – (Squeeze 6.0.5) servers running identical versions of MySQL.

mysql-new:~# mysql --version
mysql Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.1.63, for debian-linux-gnu (i486) using readline 6.1

Because of that the whole db import worked like a charm.

Once moved the SQL started re-started normally but there was an on screen warning:

ERROR 1045 (28000): Access denied for user
'debian-sys-maint'@'localhost' (using password: YES)"

The cause of this warning error is because of way /etc/init.d/mysql script is written and in particular the custom MySQL (Debian specific start-up philosophy).

/etc/init.d/mysql is written in a way that on every restart a check of Database consistency is done. There in the script the user debian-sys-maint (a user with mysql administrator root privileges) is used to do the quick consistency check. The debian-sys-maint password which is used on start-up is stored in /etc/mysql/debian.cnf:

mysql-new:~# less /etc/mysql/debian.cnf
# Automatically generated for Debian scripts. DO NOT TOUCH!
host = localhost
user = debian-sys-maint
password = pQFM9RetOHFjewwn
socket = /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock
host = localhost
user = debian-sys-maint
password = pQFM9RetOHFjewwn
socket = /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock
basedir = /usr

The whole problem is that during, the old SQL import the password set for user debian-sys-maint is different and once SQL starts the init script reads this pass and fails to login to SQL server.

The warning (error):

ERROR 1045 (28000): Access denied for user
'debian-sys-maint'@'localhost' (using password: YES)
hence appears on every SQL start (including on every system boot). The err is generally harmless and SQL seems to work fine with or without it. However since the consistency check is not done at start up, if there are some CORRUPT tables not initiating the start up check is not a good idea.

There are two options to get rid of the warning one and better one is to check in /etc/mysql/debian.cnf for password string and change the pwd with mysql cli e.g.:

new-mysql:~# grep -i pass /etc/mysql/debian.cnf | uniq
password = pQFM9RetOHFjewwn

GRANT SELECT on `mysql`.`user` to 'debian-sys-maint'@'localhost' identified by 'pQFM9RetOHFjewwn';
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.01 sec)
GRANT SELECT ON mysql.user TO 'debian-sys-main'@'localhost';Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
mysql> flush privileges;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

Second option (not recommended in terms of security) is to set user/pass to root values in /etc/mysql/debian.cnf.

That's all. N-joy 🙂

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How to convert OGG Vorbis .ogg to MP3 on GNU / Linux and FreeBSD

Friday, July 27th, 2012

I’ve used K3B just recently to RIP an Audio CD with music to MP3. K3b has done a great job ripping the tracks, the only problem was By default k3b RIPs songs in OGG Vorbis (.ogg) and not mp3. I personally prefer OGG Vorbis as it is a free freedom respecting audio format, however the problem was the .ogg-s cannot be read on many of the audio players and it could be a problem reading the RIPped oggs on Windows. I’ve done the RIP not for myself but for a Belarusian gfriend of mine and she is completely computer illiterate and if I pass her the songs in .OGG, there is no chance she succed in listening the oggs. I’ve seen later k3b has an option to choose to convert directly to MP3 Using linux mp3 lame library this however is time consuming and I have to wait another 10 minutes or so for the songs to be ripped to shorten the time I decided to directly convert the existing .ogg files to .mp3 on my (Debian Linux). There are probably many ways to convert .ogg to mp3 on linux and likely many GUI frontends (like SoundConverter) to use in graphic env.

SoundConverter Debian GNU Linux graphic GUI environment program for convertion of ogg to mp3 and mp3 to ogg, convert multiple sound formats on GNU / Linux.

I however am a console freak so I preferred doing it from terminal. I’ve done quick research on the net and figured out the good old ffmpeg is capable of converting .oggs to .mp3s. To convert all mp3s just ripped in the separate directory I had to run ffmpeg in a tiny bash loop.

A short bash shell script 1 liner combined with ffmpeg does it, e.g.;

for f in *.ogg; do ffmpeg -i "$f" "`basename "$f" .ogg`.mp3"; done.....

The loop example is in bash so in order to make the code work on FreeBSD it is necessery it is run in a bash shell and not in BSDs so common csh or tcsh.

Well, that’s all oggs are in mp3; Hip-hip Hooray 😉

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Enabling talkd (Console Chat) between logged in users on FreeBSD and other BSDs

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Talk between two useres on  FreeBSD 7.2 screenshot, console peer to peer interactive talk program UNIX, Linux, BSD

Those who are in familiar with older UNIXes, UNIX BSD derivatives and GNU Linux should certainly remember the times, when we hackers used to talk to each other using talk service.

Those who don't know what talk command is it is a simple console / ssh utility to talk to another logged in users.

Talk is very similar to write and mesg one liner messasing utilities available for *nixes, the difference is it is intendted to provide interactive chat between the two logged in users. People who came to know UNIX or free software in older times most likely don't know talk, however I still remember how precious this tool was for communication back in the day.

I believe still it can be useful so I dediced to install ot on one FreeBSD host.

In order to have the talk service running on BSD it is necessery to have /usr/libexec/ntalkd installed on the system this however is installed by default with standard BSD OS installs, so no need for any external ports install to run it.

talk doesn't have it's own init script to start is not written to run as it own service but in order to run it is is necessery to enable it via inetd

Enabling it is done by;;;

1 — Editting /etc/inetd.conf

Inside the conf the line::

#ntalk dgram udp wait tty:tty /usr/libexec/ntalkd ntalkd

should be uncommented e.g, become ;;;

ntalk dgram udp wait tty:tty /usr/libexec/ntalkd ntalkd

2 — Restart inetd

freebsd# /etc/rc.d/inetd restart
Stopping inetd.
Starting inetd.

talk is planned to be used for peer to peer conversations over SSH so in a way it is the GRANDFATHER 🙂 of IRC, ICQ and Skype;;;

Here is an example on how talk is used ,, Let's say there are three logged in users

pcfreak# w
12:39PM up 3 days, 16:25, 3 users, load averages: 1.12, 0.91, 0.71
testuser p0 10:50AM - bash
hipo p3 12:23PM - w
root p4 :ttyp2:S.0 12:24PM - vim /usr/local/www/dat

I'm logged in with my username hipo and I would like to talk to testuser ;;;;

pcfreak% tty

You see I'm logged in on /dev/ttyp3 (this is the specific naming on BSDs) on Linux equivalent is /dev/tty3So to talk the other user testuser;;;;;-

$ talk testuser ttyp0
[No connection yet]
[Waiting for your party to respond]

The testuser logged in via SSH will then get a message ||;

Message from Talk_Daemon@pcfreak at 12:44 on 2012/06/10 ...
talk: connection requested by hipo@localhost
talk: respond with: talk hipo@localhost

To enter a talk session then the logged in testuser has to type:

$ talk hipo@localhost


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Text Monitoring of connection server (traffic RX / TX) business in ASCII graphs with speedometer / Easy Monitor network traffic performance

Friday, May 4th, 2012

While reading some posts online related to MS-Windows TcpViewnetwork traffic analyzing tool. I've came across very nice tool for tracking connection speed for Linux (Speedometer). If I have to compare it, speedometer is somehow similar to nethogs and iftop bandwidth network measuring utilities .

What differentiates speedometer from iftop / nethogs / iptraf is it is more suitable for visualizing a network file or data transfers.
The graphs speedometer draws are way easier to understand, than iftop graphs.

Even complete newbies can understand it with no need for extraordinary knowledge in networking. This makes Speedometer, a top tool to visually see the amount of traffic flowing through server network interface (eth0) … (eth1) etc.

What speedometer shows is similar to the Midnight Commander's (mc) file transfer status bar, except the statistics are not only for a certain file transfer but can show overall statistics over server passing network traffic amount (though according to its manual it can be used to also track individual file transfers).

The simplicity for basic use makes speedometer nice tool to track for network congestion issues on Linux. Therefore it is a  must have outfit for every server admin. Below you see a screenshot of my terminal running speedometer on a remote server.

Speedometer ascii traffic track server network business screenshot in byobu screen like virtual terminal emulator

1. Installing speedometer on Debian / Ubuntu and Debian derivatives

For Debian and Ubuntu server administrators speedometer is already packaged as a deb so its installation is as simple as:

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

2. Installing speedometer from source for other Linux distributions CentOS, Fedora, SuSE etc.

Speedometer is written in python programming language, so in order to install and use on other OS Linux platforms, it is necessery to have installed (preferably) an up2date python programming language interpreter (python ver. 2.6 or higher)..
Besides that it is necessary to have installed the urwid -( console user interface library for Python) available for download via


Hence to install speedometer on RedHat based Linux distributions one has to follow these steps:

a) Download & Install python urwid library

[root@centos ~]# cd /usr/local/src
[root@centos src]# wget -q
[root@centos src]# tar -zxvvf urwid-1.0.1.tar.gz
[root@centos src]# cd urwid-1.0.1
[root@centos urwid-1.0.1]# python install
running install
running build
running build_py
creating build
creating build/lib.linux-i686-2.4
creating build/lib.linux-i686-2.4/urwid
copying urwid/ -> build/lib.linux-i686-2.4/urwid
copying urwid/ -> build/lib.linux-i686-2.4/urwid
copying urwid/ -> build/lib.linux-i686-2.4/urwid
copying urwid/ -> build/lib.linux-i686-2.4/urwid
copying urwid/ -> build/lib.linux-i686-2.4/urwid
copying urwid/ -> build/lib.linux-i686-2.4/urwid

b) Download and install python-setuptools

python-setuptools is one other requirement of speedometer, happily on CentOS and Fedora the rpm package is already there and installable with yum:

[root@centos ~]# yum -y install python-setuptools

c) Download and install Speedometer

[root@centos urwid-1.0.1]# cd /usr/local/src/
[root@centos src]# wget -q
[root@centos src]# tar -zxvvf speedometer-2.8.tar.gz
[root@centos src]# cd speedometer-2.8
[root@centos speedometer-2.8]# python install
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "", line 26, in ?
import speedometer
File "/usr/local/src/speedometer-2.8/", line 112
n = n * granularity + (granularity if r else 0)

While running the CentOS 5.6 installation of speedometer-2.8, I hit the
"n = n * granularity + (granularity if r else 0)

After consultation with some people in #python (, I've figured out this error is caused due the outdated version of python interpreter installed by default on CentOS Linux 5.6. On CentOS 5.6 the python version is:

[root@centos ~]# python -V
Python 2.4.3

As I priorly said speedometer 2.8's minimum requirement for a python to be at v. 2.6. Happily there is quick way to update python 2.4 to python 2.6 on CentOS 5.6, as there is an RPM repository maintained by Chris Lea which contains RPM binary of python 2.6.

To update python 2.4 to python 2.6:

[root@centos speedometer-2.8]# rpm -Uvh[root@centos speedometer-2.8]# rpm --import /etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-CHL[root@centos speedometer-2.8]# yum install python26

Now the newly installed python 2.6 is executable under the binary name python26, hence to install speedometer:

[root@centos speedometer-2.8]# python26 install
[root@centos speedometer-2.8]# chown root:root /usr/local/bin/speedometer
[root@centos speedometer-2.8]# chmod +x /usr/local/bin/speedometer

[root@centos speedometer-2.8]# python26 speedometer -i 1 -tx eth0

The -i will instruct speedometer to refresh the screen graphs once a second.

3. Using speedometer to keep an eye on send / received traffic network congestion

To observe, the amount of only sent traffic via a network interface eth0 with speedometer use:

debian:~# speedometer -tx eth0

To only keep an eye on received traffic through eth0 use:

debian:~# speedometer -rx eth0

To watch over both TX and RX (Transmitted and Received) network traffic:

debian:~# speedometer -tx eth0 -rx eth0

If you want to watch in separate windows TX and RX traffic while  running speedometer you can run in separate xterm windows speedometer -tx eth0 and speedometer -rx eth0, like in below screenshot:

Monitor Received and Transmitted server Network traffic in two separate xterm windows with speedometer ascii graphs

4. Using speedometer to test network maximum possible transfer speed between server (host A) and server (host B)

The speedometer manual suggests few examples one of which is:

How fast is this LAN?

host-a$ cat /dev/zero | nc -l -p 12345
host-b$ nc host-a 12345 > /dev/null
host-b$ speedometer -rx eth0

When I red this example in speedometer's manual, it wasn't completely clear to me what the author really meant, but a bit after when I thought over the example I got his point.

The idea behind this example is that a constant stream of zeros taken from /dev/zero will be streamed over via a pipe (|) to nc which will bind a port number 12345, anyone connecting from another host machine, lets say a server with host host-b to port 12345 on machine host-a will start receiving the /dev/zero streamed content.

Then to finally measure the streamed traffic between host-a and host-b machines a speedometer is started to visualize the received traffic on network interface eth0, thus measuring the amount of traffic flowing from host-a to host-b

I give a try to the exmpls, using for 2 test nodes my home Desktop PC, Linux running  arcane version of Ubuntu and my Debian Linux notebook.

First on the Ubuntu PC I issued

hipo@hip0-desktop:~$ cat /dev/zero | nc -l -p 12345

Note that I have previously had installed the netcat, as nc is not installed by default on Ubuntu and Debian. If you, don't have nc installed yet, install it with:

apt-get –yes install netcat

"cat /dev/zero | nc -l -p 12345" will not produce any output, but will display just a blank line.

Then on my notebook I ran the second command example, given in the speedometer manual:

hipo@noah:~$ nc 12345 > /dev/null

Here the is actually the local network IP address of my Desktop PC. My Desktop PC is connected via a normal 100Mbit switch to my routing machine and receives its internet via  NAT. The second test machine (my laptop), gets its internet through a WI-FI connection received by a Wireless Router connected via a UTP cable to the same switch to which my Desktop PC is connected.

Finally to test / get my network maximum thoroughput I had to use:

hipo@noah:~$ speedometer -rx wlan0

Here, I  monitor my wlan0 interface, as this is my (laptop) wireless card interface over which I have connectivity to my local network and via which through the the WI-FI router I get connected to the internet.

Below is a snapshot captured showing approximately what is the max network thoroughput from:

Desktop PC -> to my Thinkpad R61 laptop

Using Speedometer to test network thorougput between two network server hosts screenshot Debian Squeeze Linux

As you can see in the shot approximately the maximum network thoroughput is in between:
2.55MB/s min and 2.59MB/S max, the speed is quite low for a 100 MBit local network, but this is normal as most laptop wireless adapters hardly transfer traffic in more than 10 to 20 MBits per sec.

If the same nework thoroughput test is conducted between two machines both connected to a same 100 M/bit switch, the traffic should be at least a 8 MB/sec.

There is something, else to take in consideration that probably makes the provided example network thoroughput measuring a bit inaccurate. The fact that the /dev/zero content is stremed over is slowing down the zeroes sent over network because of the  pipe ( | ) use slows down the stream.

5. Using speedometer to visualize maximum writting speed to a local hard drive on Linux

In the speedometer manual, I've noticed another interesting application of this nifty tool.

speedometer can be used to track and visualize the maximum writing speed a hard disk drive or hard drive partition can support on Linux OS:

A copy paster from the manual text is as follows:

How fast can I write data to my filesystem? (with at least 1GB free)
dd bs=1000000 count=1000 if=/dev/zero of=bigfile &
speedometer bigfile

However, when I tried copy/pasting the example in terminal, to test the maximum writing speed to an external USB hard drive, only dd command was started and speedometer failed to initialize and display graphs of the file creation speed.

I've found a little "hack" that makes the man example work by adding a 3 secs sleep like so:

debian:/media/Expansion Drive# dd bs=1000000 count=1000 if=/dev/zero of=bigfile & sleep 3; speedometer bigfile

Here is a screenshot of the bigfile created by dd and tracked "in real time" by speedometer:

How fast is writting data to local USB expandable hard disk Debian Linux speedometer screenshot

Actually the returned results from this external USB drive are, quite high, the possible reason for that is it is connected to my laptop over an USB protocol verion 3.

6. Using Speedometer to keep an eye on file download in progress

This application of speedometer is mostly useless especially on Linux where it is used as a Desktop.

However in some occasions if files are transferred over ssh or in non interactive FTP / Samba file transfers between Linux servers it can come handy.

To visualize the download and writing speed of lets say FTP transferred .AVI movie (during the actual file transfer) on the download host issue:

# speedometer Download-Folder/What-goes-around-comes-around.avi

7. Estimating approximate time for file transfer

There is another section in the speedometer manual pointing of the program use to calculate the time remaining for a file transfer.

The (man speedometer) provided example text is:

How long it will take for my 38MB transfer to finish?
speedometer favorite_episode.rm $((38*1024*1024))

At first glimpse it hard to understand (like the other manual example). A bit of reasoning and I comprehend what the man author meant by the obscure calculation:


This is a formula used in which 38 has to be substituted with the exact file size amount of the transferred file. The author manual used a 38MB file so this is why he put $((38* … in the formula.

I give it a try – (just for the sake to see how it works) with a file with a size of 2500MB, in below two screenshot pictures I show my preparation to copy the file and the actual copying / "real time" transfer tracking with speedometer's status percentage completion bar.

xterm terminal copy file and estimate file copying operation speed on linux with speedometer preparation

Two xterm terminals one is copying a file the other one uses speedometer to estimate the time remaining to complete the file transfer from expansion USB hard drive to my laptop harddrive


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