Posts Tagged ‘ssh’

Check your Server Download / Upload Internet Speed from Console on Linux / BSD / Unix howto

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

tux-check-internet-network-download-upload-speed-on-linux-console-terminal-linux-bsd-unix
If you've been given a new dedicated server from a New Dedicated-Server-Provider or VPS with Linux and you were told that a certain download speed to the Server is guaranteed from the server provider, in order to be sure the server's connection to the Internet told by service provider is correct it is useful to run a simple measurement console test after logging in remotely to the server via SSH.

Testing connection from Terminal is useful because as you probably know most of Linux / UNIX servers doesn't have a GUI interface and thus it is not possible to test Internet Up / Down Bandwidth through speedtest.net.
 

1. Testing Download Internet Speed given by ISP / Dedi-Server Provider from Linux Console

For the download speed (internet) test the historical approach was to just try downloading the Linux kernel source code from www.kernel.org with some text browser such as lynx or links count the seconds for which the download is completed and then multiple the kernel source archive size on the seconds to get an approximate bandwidth per second, however as nowdays internet connection speeds are much higher, thus it is better to try to download some Linux distribution iso file, you can still use kernel tar archive but it completed too fast to give you some good (adequate) statistics on Download bandwidth.

If its a fresh installed Linux server probably you will probably not have links / elinks and lynx text internet browers  installed so install them depending on deb / rpm distro with:

If on Deb Linuz distro:

 

root@pcfreak:/root# apt-get install –yes links elinks lynx

 

On RPM Based Linuz distro:
 

 

[root@fedora ~]# yum install -y lynx elinks links

 

Conduct Internet  Download Speed with links
root@pcfreak:/root# links https://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v3.x/linux-3.19.1.tar.xz

check_your_download_speed-from-console-linux-with-links-text-browser

(Note that the kernel link is current latest stable Kernel source code archive in future that might change, so try with latest archive.)

You can also use non-interactive tool such as wget curl or lftp to measure internet download speed

To test Download Internet Speed with wget without saving anything to disk set output to go to /dev/null 

 

root@pcfreak:~# wget -O /dev/null http://pc-freak.net/~hipo/hirens-bootcd/HirensBootCD15/Hirens.BootCD.15.0.zip

 

check_bandwidth_download-internet-speed-with-wget-from-console-non-interactively-on-linux

You see the Download speed is 104 Mbit/s this is so because I'm conducting the download from my local 100Mbit network.

For the test you can use my mirrored version of Hirens BootCD

2. Testing Uplink Internet speed provided by ISP / Server Provider from Linux (SSH) Console

To test your uplink speed you will need lftp or iperf command tool.

 

root@pcfreak:~# apt-cache show lftp|grep -i descr -A 12
Description: Sophisticated command-line FTP/HTTP client programs
 Lftp is a file retrieving tool that supports FTP, HTTP, FISH, SFTP, HTTPS
 and FTPS protocols under both IPv4 and IPv6. Lftp has an amazing set of
 features, while preserving its interface as simple and easy as possible.
 .
 The main two advantages over other ftp clients are reliability and ability
 to perform tasks in background. It will reconnect and reget the file being
 transferred if the connection broke. You can start a transfer in background
 and continue browsing on the ftp site. It does this all in one process. When
 you have started background jobs and feel you are done, you can just exit
 lftp and it automatically moves to nohup mode and completes the transfers.
 It has also such nice features as reput and mirror. It can also download a
 file as soon as possible by using several connections at the same time.

 

root@pcfreak:/root# apt-cache show iperf|grep -i desc -A 2
Description: Internet Protocol bandwidth measuring tool
 Iperf is a modern alternative for measuring TCP and UDP bandwidth performance,
 allowing the tuning of various parameters and characteristics.

 

To test Upload Speed to Internet connect remotely and upload any FTP file:

 

root@pcfreak:/root# lftp -u hipo pc-freak.net -e 'put Hirens.BootCD.15.0.zip; bye'

 

uploading-file-with-lftp-screenshot-test-upload-internet-speed-linux

On Debian Linux to install iperf:

 

root@pcfreak:/root# apt-get install –yes iperf

 

On latest CentOS 7 and Fedora (and other RPM based) Linux, you will need to add RPMForge repository and install with yum

 

[root@centos ~]# rpm -ivh  rpmforge-release-0.5.3-1.el7.rf.x86_64.rpm

[root@centos ~]# yum -y install iperf

 

Once having iperf on the server the easiest way currently to test it is to use
serverius.net speedtest server –  located at the Serverius datacenters, AS50673 and is running on a 10GE connection with 5GB cap.

 

root@pcfreak:/root# iperf -c speedtest.serverius.net -P 10
————————————————————
Client connecting to speedtest.serverius.net, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
————————————————————
[ 12] local 83.228.93.76 port 54258 connected with 178.21.16.76 port 5001
[  7] local 83.228.93.76 port 54252 connected with 178.21.16.76 port 5001
[  5] local 83.228.93.76 port 54253 connected with 178.21.16.76 port 5001
[  9] local 83.228.93.76 port 54251 connected with 178.21.16.76 port 5001
[  3] local 83.228.93.76 port 54249 connected with 178.21.16.76 port 5001
[  4] local 83.228.93.76 port 54250 connected with 178.21.16.76 port 5001
[ 10] local 83.228.93.76 port 54254 connected with 178.21.16.76 port 5001
[ 11] local 83.228.93.76 port 54255 connected with 178.21.16.76 port 5001
[  6] local 83.228.93.76 port 54256 connected with 178.21.16.76 port 5001
[  8] local 83.228.93.76 port 54257 connected with 178.21.16.76 port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  9]  0.0-10.2 sec  4.05 MBytes  3.33 Mbits/sec
[ 10]  0.0-10.2 sec  3.39 MBytes  2.78 Mbits/sec
[ 11]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.75 MBytes  3.06 Mbits/sec
[  4]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.43 MBytes  2.78 Mbits/sec
[ 12]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.92 MBytes  3.18 Mbits/sec
[  3]  0.0-10.4 sec  4.45 MBytes  3.58 Mbits/sec
[  5]  0.0-10.5 sec  4.06 MBytes  3.24 Mbits/sec
[  6]  0.0-10.5 sec  4.30 MBytes  3.42 Mbits/sec
[  8]  0.0-10.8 sec  3.92 MBytes  3.03 Mbits/sec
[  7]  0.0-10.9 sec  4.03 MBytes  3.11 Mbits/sec
[SUM]  0.0-10.9 sec  39.3 MBytes  30.3 Mbits/sec

 

You see currently my home machine has an Uplink of 30.3 Mbit/s per second, that's pretty nice since I've ordered a 100Mbits from my ISP (Unguaranteed Bandwidth Connection Speed) and as you might know it is a standard practice for many Internet Proviers to give Uplink speed of 1/4 from the ISP provided overall bandwidth 1/4 would be 25Mbi/s, meaning my ISP (Bergon.NET) is doing pretty well providing me with even more than promised (ordered) bandwidth.

Iperf is probably the choice of most sysadmins who have to do regular bandwidth in local networks speed between 2 servers or test  Internet Bandwidth speed on heterogenous network with Linux / BSDs / AIX / HP-UX (UNIXes). On HP-UX and AIX and other UNIXes for which iperf doesn't have port you have to compile it yourself.

If you don't have root /admin permissions on server and there is python language enterpreter installed you can use speedtest_cli.py script to test internet throughput connectivity
speedtest_cli uses speedtest.net to test server up / down link just in case if script is lost in future I've made ownload mirror of speedtest_cli.py is here

Quickest way to test net speed with speedtest_cli.py:

 

$ lynx -dump https://raw.github.com/sivel/speedtest-cli/master/speedtest_cli.py > speedtest_cli.py
$ chmod +x speedtest_cli.py
python speedtest_cli.py

speedtest_cli_pyhon_script_screenshot-on-gnu-linux-test-internet-network-speed-on-unix

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Fun with Apache / Nginx Webserver log – Visualize webserver access log in real time

Friday, July 18th, 2014

visualize-graphically-web-server-access-log-logstalgia-nginx-apache-log-visualize-in-gnu-linux-and-windows
If you're working in a hosting company and looking for a graphical way to Visualize access to your Linux webservers – (Apache, Nginx, Lighttpd) you will be happy to learn about Logstalgia's existence. Logstalgia is very useful if you need to convince your Boss / company clients that the webservers are exceeding the CPU / Memory hardware limits physically servers can handle. Even if you don't have to convince anyone of anything logstalgia is cool to run if you want to impress a friend and show off your 1337 4Dm!N Sk!11Z 🙂 Nostalgia is much more pleasent way to keep an eye on your Webserver log files in real time better than (tail -f)

The graphical output of nostalgia is a pong-like battle game between webserver and never ending chain of web requests.

This is the official website description of Logstalgia:
 

Logstalgia is a website traffic visualization that replays web-server access logs as a pong-like battle between the web server and an never ending torrent of requests. Requests appear as colored balls (the same color as the host) which travel across the screen to arrive at the requested location. Successful requests are hit by the paddle while unsuccessful ones (eg 404 – File Not Found) are missed and pass through. The paths of requests are summarized within the available space by identifying common path prefixes. Related paths are grouped together under headings. For instance, by default paths ending in png, gif or jpg are grouped under the heading Images. Paths that don’t match any of the specified groups are lumped together under a Miscellaneous section.


To install Logstalgia on Debian / Ubuntu Linux there is a native package, so to install it run the usual:

apt-get --yes install logstalgia

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  logstalgia
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 4 not upgraded.
Need to get 161 kB of archives.
After this operation, 1,102 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://mirrors.kernel.org/debian/ stable/main logstalgia amd64 1.0.0-1+b1 [161 kB]
Fetched 161 kB in 2s (73.9 kB/s)
Selecting previously deselected package logstalgia.
(Reading database ... 338532 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking logstalgia (from .../logstalgia_1.0.0-1+b1_amd64.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up logstalgia (1.0.0-1+b1) ...


Logstalgia is easily installable from source code on non-Debian Linux distributions too, to install it on any non-debian Linux distrubution do:

cd /usr/local/src/ wget https://logstalgia.googlecode.com/files/logstalgia-1.0.5.tar.gz
 

–2014-07-18 13:53:23–  https://logstalgia.googlecode.com/files/logstalgia-1.0.3.tar.gz
Resolving logstalgia.googlecode.com… 74.125.206.82, 2a00:1450:400c:c04::52
Connecting to logstalgia.googlecode.com|74.125.206.82|:443… connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 200 OK
Length: 841822 (822K) [application/x-gzip]
Saving to: `logstalgia-1.0.3.tar.gz'

100%[=================================>] 841,822     1.25M/s   in 0.6s

2014-07-18 13:53:24 (1.25 MB/s) – `logstalgia-1.0.3.tar.gz' saved [841822/841822]

Untar the archive with:
 

tar -zxvf logstalgia-1.0.5.tar.gz

Compile and install it:

cd logstalgia
./configure
make
make install

 

How to use LogStalgia?

Syntax is pretty straight forward just pass the Nginx / Apache

Process Debian Linux Apache logs:

logstalgia /var/log/apache2/access.log


Process CentoS, Redhat etc. RPM based logs:

logstalgia /var/log/httpd/access.log
To process webserver log in real time with logstalgia:

tail -f /var/log/httpd/access_log | logstalgia -

To make logstalgia visualize log output you will need to have access to server physical console screen. As physical access is not possible on most dedicated servers – already colocated in some Datacenter. You can also use a local Linux PC / notebook installed with nostalgia to process webserver access logs remotely like so:

logstalgia-visualize-your-apache-nginx-lighttpd-logs-graphically-in-x-and-console-locally-and-remotely

ssh hipo@pc-freak.net tail -f /var/log/apache2/access.log | logstalgia --sync

Note! If you get an empty output from logstalgia, this is because of permission issues, in this example my user hipo is added in www-data Apache group – if you want to add your user to have access like me, issue on remote ssh server):
 

addgroup hipo www-data


Alterantively you can login with ssh with root, e.g. ssh root@pc-freak.net

If you're having a GNOME / KDE X environment on the Linux machine from which you're ssh-ing Logstalgia will visualize Webserver access.log requests inside a new X Window otherwise if you're on a Linux with just a console with no Xserver graphics it will visualize graphically web log statistics using console svgalib .

 

If you're planning to save output from nostalgia visualization screen for later use – lets say you have to present to your CEO statistics about all your servers  Webservers logs you can save nostalgia produced video in .ppm (netpbm) format.

Whether you have physical console access to the server:

logstalgia -1280x720 --output-ppm-stream output.ppm /var/log/httpd/access.log

Or if you just a have a PC with Linux and you want to save visualized content of access.log remotely:

ssh hipo@pc-freak.net tail -f /var/log/nginx/pc-freak-access.log | logstalgia -1280x720 --output-ppm-stream --sync output.ppm

 

ssh user@server1.cyberciti.biz tail -f /var/log/nginx/www.cyberciti.biz_access.log | logstalgia -1280x720 --output-ppm-stream --sync output.ppm

To make produced .ppm later usable you can use ffmpeg to convert to .mp4:

ffmpeg -y -r 60 -f image2pipe -vcodec ppm -i output.ppm -vcodec libx264 -preset ultrafast -pix_fmt yuv420p -crf 1 -threads 0 -bf 0 nginx.server.log.mp4

Then to play the videos use any video player, I usually use vlc and mplayer.

For complete info on Nostalgia – website access log visualizercheck home page on googlecode

If you're lazy to install Logstalgia, here is Youtube video made from its output:

Enjoy 🙂

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How to configure equivalent of Linux /etc/resolv.conf search domain.com in MS Windows – DNS Suffix

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

windows-append-dns-suffixes-on-windows-equivalent-of-linux-search-in-resolv-conf-screenshot

Linux's default file that defines what DNS servers will be used /etc/resolv.conf typically contains directives with the default search domain or domains; used for FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) completion when no domain suffix is supplied as part of the  DNS query. Lets say sub-domains under domain.com  has to be accessed (in /etc/resolv.conf) there is:

search domain.com

That is very handy whether you have to ssh or open in web browser (sites) or multiple servers each residing under a single main domain name (for example:
server1.domain.com, server2.domain.com, server3.domain.com etc.) by typing in browser or SSH by only passing the sub-domain name i.e.:
 

http://server1
http://server2

or

ssh user@server1
ssh user@server2


Here is /etc/resolv.conf from pc-freak.net

# cat /etc/resolv.conf

domain pc-freak.net
search pc-freak.net bergon.net

 

Here is example of what I mean, ascii-games is a sub-domain of pc-freak.net (ascii-games.pc-freak.net) and is resolved with no need to type full FQDN

 

# host ascii-games
ascii-games.pc-freak.net has address 83.228.93.76


The DNS server knows that all failed to resolve queries by set DNS should be searched (resolved) under the defined search domain, i.e. each DNS query for server2, serverX (would try to be resolved as a subdomain of domain.com).

Therefore, a very good question is what is Microsoft Windows (2000, 2003, 8) OS equivalent way to define search domain.com into /etc/resolv.conf?

In Windows the same /etc/resolv.conf hosts search is done using the so called "DNS Suffixes".

DNS Suffixes are used for resolv of (domain name strings with no dots).

Adding a new DNS Suffix in Windows is done from

windows-control-panel-network-connections-screeshot-add-dns-suffix-equivalent-to-linux-resolv-conf-search

 

Control Panel -> Network and Sharing Center -> Change Adapter Settings

 

Here select LAN card Adapter used to bring Internet to Win host,be it Local Area Connection or

Wireless Network Connection

 and choose:

Properties


windows-append-dns-suffixes-on-windows-equivalent-of-linux-search-in-resolv-conf-screenshot

 

 

From

Network Connection Properties

dialog select

Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)

and again click on

Properties

 


network-properties-internet-protocol-version4_tcp_ipv4-windows-settings-screenshot-advanced-tab-add-dns-suffix

On next dialog click on

 

Advanced (button) -> DNS (tab)

windows-append-dns-suffixes-on-windows-equivalent-of-linux-search-in-resolv-conf-screenshot


In field
 

DNS Suffix for this connection

fill in host which you would like to resolve with no need for FQDN and press the

Add


(exactly like adding search pc-freak.net in  /etc/resolv.conf on Linux host). Add multiple hosts DNS Suffix, if you want to access subdomains naming from multiple base domain.

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How to make SSH tunnel with PuTTY terminal client

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Create-how to make ssh tunnel with Putty on microsoft windows Vista / 7 XP / 2000
Earlier I blogged how to create SSH tunnels on Linux. Another interesting thing is how to make SSH tunnels on Windows. This can be done with multiple SSH clients but probably quickest and most standard way is to do create SSH tunnel with Putty. So why would one want to make SSH tunnel to a Windows host? Lets say your remote server has a port filtered to the Internet but available to a local network to which you don't have direct access, the only way to access the port in question then is to create SSH tunnel between your computer and remote machine on some locally binded port (lets say you need to access port 80 on remote host and you will access it through localhost tunneled through 8080). Very common scenario where tunneling comes handy if you have a Tomcat server behind firewalled DMZ| / load balancer or Reverse Proxy. Usually on well secured networks direct access to Tomcat application server will be disabled to its listen port (lets say 11444). Another important great think of SSH tunnels is all information between Remote server and local PC are transferred in strong SSH crypted form so this adds extra security level to your communication.
Once "real life" case of SSH tunnel is whether you have to deploy an application which fails after deployment with no meaningful message but error is returned by Apache Reverse Proxy. To test directly tomcat best thing is to create SSH tunnel between remote host 11444 and local host through 11444 (or any other port of choice). Other useful case would be if you have to access directly via CLI interface an SQL server lets say MySQL (remote port 3306 filtered) and inaccessible with mysql cli or Oracle DB with Db listener on port 1521 (needed to accessed via sqlplus).

In that case Putty's Tunneling capabilities comes handy especially if you don't have a Linux box at hand.
To create new SSH tunnel in putty to MySQL port 3306 on localhost (3306) – be sure MySQL is not running on localhost 😉
Open Putty Navigate in left pane config bar to:

SSH -> Tunnels

Type in

Source Port

– port on which SSH tunnel will be binded on your Windows (localhost / 127.0.0.1) in this example case 3306.

Then for

Destination
– IP address or host of remote host with number of port to which SSH tunnel will be opened.

N.B. ! in order to make tunneling possible you will need to have opened access to SSH port of remote (Destination) host

make ssh tunnel on Microsoft Windows putty to remote filtered mysql shot

make ssh tunnels on Microsoft windows putty to remote filtered mysql 2 screenshot

open ssh tunnel via WINDOWS port 22 on microsoft windows 7 screenshot

Once click Open you will be prompted for username on remote host in my case to my local router 83.228.93.76. Once you login to remote host open command prompt and try to connect Windows Command prompt Start -> Run (cmd.exe) ;

C:\Users\\hipo> telnet localhost 3306

Connection should be succesful and you from there on assuming you have the MySQL cli version for windows installed you can use to login to remote SQL via SSH tunnel with;

C:\Users\\hipo> mysql -u root -h localhost -p

To later remove existing SSH Tunnel go again to SSH -> Tunnels press on SSH tunnel and choose Remove

Further you can craete multiple SSH tunnels for all services to remote host where access is needed. Important think to remember when creating multiple SSH connections is source port on localhost to remote machine should be unique

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MobaXTerm: A good gnome-terminal like tabbed SSH client for Windows / Windows Putty Tabs Alternative

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Mobaxterm ssh client putty MS Windows alternative with tabs suitable for ex linux users

mobaxterm with tabbed ssh connections screenshot best putty windows ssh client alternative now

Last 10+ years I worked on GNU / Linux as Desktop. Last 7 years most of my SSH connections were managed from GNOME and I'm quite used to gnome-terminal ssh tabbing. In my new Employee Hewlett Packard. I'm forced to work on Microsoft Windows 7 and thus I used for a month or so Putty and Kitty fork from version 0.63 of PuTTY advertising itself as the best telnet / SSH client in the world. Both of the two lack tabbing and have interface which is pretty unfamiliar to me. As I'm so used to using native UNIX terminal. Fortunately a colleague of mine Ivelin was using an SSH client called MobaXTerm which very much did emulation similar to my favourite gnome-terminal. MobaXterm is not free software / open source app but this doesn't matter so much to me as anyways I'm running a non-free Win OS on my desktop. What makes MobaXterm so attractive is its rich functionality (cosmic years infront of Putty).

Here is website description of MobaXterm quoted from its website:

MobaXterm is an enhanced terminal for Windows with an X11 server, a tabbed SSH client and several other network tools for remote computing (VNC, RDP, telnet, rlogin). MobaXterm brings all the essential Unix commands to Windows desktop, in a single portable exe file which works out of the box.

Overall list of features MobaXterm offers are;

  •     multitab terminal with embedded Unix commands (ls, cd, cat, sed, grep, awk, rsync, wget, …)

  •     embedded X11 server for easily exporting your Unix/Linux display

  •     a session manager with several network utilities: SSH, RDP, VNC, Telnet, Rlogin, FTP, SFTP and XDMCP

  •     passwords management for SSH, RDP, VNC, SFTP (on demand password saving)

  •     easy graphical file transfer using drag and drop during SSH sessions

  •     advanced SSH tunnels creation tool (graphical port forwarding builder)

  •     tasks automation using scripts or macros

Mobaxterm is portable just like Putty so its useful to use on HOP stations to servers like used in big companies like HP. Featured embedded Unix commands (e.g., ls, cd, cat, sed, grep, awk, rsync, wget) gives a feeling like you're working on pure Linux console making people addicted to Linux / BSD quite confortable. Some other very useful terminal emulator functions are support for anti-aliasing session manager (save / remember passwords for ssh sessions in Crypted format so much missing in Putty) and it even supports basic macros.
Basic UNIX commands embedded in MobaXterm are taken and ported from Cygwin projectLinux-like environment for Windows making it possible to port software running on POSIX systems (such as Linux, BSD, and Unix systems) to Windows. A very cool think is also MobaXterm gives you a Linux like feel of console navigation in between basic files installed from Cygwin. Some downside I found is program menus which look at first glimpse a bit confusing especially for people used to simplicity of gnome-terminal. Once logged in to remote host via ssh command the program offers you to log you in also via SFTP protocol listing in parallel small window with possibility to navigate / copy / move etc. between server files in SFTP session which at times is pretty useful as it saves you time to use some external SFTP connector tools like  WinSCP.

From Tools configuration menu, there are few precious tools as well;
         – embedded text editor MobaTextEditor
         – MobaFoldersDiff (Able to show diffeernces between directories)
         – AsciiTable (Complete List of Ascii table with respective codes and characters)
         – Embedded simple Calculator
         – List open network ports – GUI Tool to list all open ports on Windows localhost
         – Network packets capture – A Gui tool showing basic info like from UNIX's tcpdump!
         – Ability to start quickly on local machine (TFTP, FTP, SFTP / SSH server, Telnet server, NFS server, VNC Server and even simple implementation of HTTP server)

Mobaxterm list of tools various stuff

         Mobaxterm run various services quickly on Windows servers management screenshot

Below are few screenshots to get you also idea about what kind of configuration MobaXterm supports
  mobaxterm terminal configuration settings screenshot

mobaxterm better putty alternative x11 configuration tab screenshot

mobaxterm windows ssh client for linux users configuration ssh tab screenshot

mobaxterm-putty-alternative-for-windows-configuration-display-screenshot
MobaXTerm Microsoft Windows ssh client configuration misc menu screenshot
To configure and use Telnet, RSH, RDP, VNC, FTP etc. Sessions use the Sessions tab on top menu.

One very handy thing is MobaXterm supports export of remote UNIX display with no requirement to install special Xserver like already a bit obsolete Xming – X server for Windows.
The X Display Manager Control Protocol (XCMCP) is a key feature of the X11 architecture. Together with XDMCP, the X network protocol allows distributed operation of the X server and X display manager. The requesting X server runs on the client (usually as an X terminal), thus providing a login service, that why the X server ported to MobaXterm from Cygwin also supports XDMCP. If, for example, you want to start a VNC session with a remote VNC server, all you have to do is enter the remote VNC server’s IP address in the VNC area; the default VNC port is already registered.

Accessing the remote Windows server via RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) is also a piece of cake. Once you establish a session to RDP or other Proto it is possible to save this session so later you just choose between session to access. The infamous (X11 Port Forwarding) or creation of SSH encrypted tunnels between hosts to transfer data securily or hide your hostname is also there.

MobaXterm is undoubtedly a very useful and versatile tool. Functionally, the software is well mannered, and Windows users who want to sniff a little Linux/Unix air can get a good idea of how Linux works. A closer look reveals that anything you can do with MobaXterm can be achieved directly with freely available tools (Cygwin) and Unix tools ported from Cygwin. However, although Cygwin provides a non-Posix environment for Windows, it doesn’t offer a decent terminal, which is one thing Moba-Xterm has going for it.

Admittedly, in pure vanilla Cygwin, you can start an X server automatically and then use xterm, but xterm lacks good-quality fonts, whereas MobaXterm conveniently lets you integrate a font server.

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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
USER TTY FROM LOGIN@ IDLE WHAT
testuser p0 192.168.0.7 10:50AM - bash
hipo p3 192.168.0.8 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
/dev/ttyp3

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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HasciiCAM supposed to stream ASCII video over the network on GNU / Linux

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Richard M. Stallman (RMS) Face portrait rendered in ASCII art from a video with hasciicam
To continue with my lately ASCII centered articles I found hasciicam
hasciicam is a program to stream ASCII video over the network on Linux and probably can be easily made working on FreeBSDtoo.

The project concept is interesting in a matter of fun (play) point of view, however not too usable as we all know ASCII character looking faces doesn't look too pretty.

Below is the Debian (Squeeze) package description:

noah:~# apt-cache show hasciicam|grep -i description -A 7
Description: (h)ascii for the masses: live video as text
Hasciicam makes it possible to have live ASCII video on the web. It
captures video from a tv card and renders it into ascii, formatting the
output into an html page with a refresh tag or in a live ASCII window or
in a simple text file as well, giving the possibility to anybody that has a
bttv card, a Linux box and a cheap modem line to show a live ASCII video
feed that can be browsable without any need for plugin, java etc.
Homepage: http://ascii.dyne.org/

On hasciicam Project webpage is it is stated as a hardware you need to have:
 

"As hardware you need to have a webcam or a videocard supported by "video 4 linux", most of the gear you can buy around should work well."

To install and test it I run:

noah:~# apt-get --yes install hasciicam

Though it is stated on the project website supposed to work display video fine with most 'linux ready' webcams, it didn't with this very standard one.

Here is the exact WebCamera model as identified to the kernel:

noah:~# dmesg|grep -i camera
[ 1.433661] usb 2-2: Product: USB2.0 Camera
[ 10.107840] uvcvideo: Found UVC 1.00 device USB2.0 Camera (1e4e:0102)
[ 10.110660] input: USB2.0 Camera as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.7/usb2/2-2/2-2:1.0/input/input11

By the way, I use the very same CAM daily on for Skype video calls as well as the Camera is working with no problems to save video or pictures inside Cheese

Here is the exact WebCamera model as identified to the kernel:

noah:~# dmesg|grep -i camera
[ 1.433661] usb 2-2: Product: USB2.0 Camera
[ 10.107840] uvcvideo: Found UVC 1.00 device USB2.0 Camera (1e4e:0102)
[ 10.110660] input: USB2.0 Camera as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1d.7/usb2/2-2/2-2:1.0/input/input11

The just installed deb has one binary file only /usr/bin/hasciicam. To test it with the camera I issued:

noah:~# hasciicam -d /dev/video0
HasciiCam 1.0 - (h)ascii 4 the masses! - http://ascii.dyne.org
(c)2000-2006 Denis Roio < jaromil @ dyne.org >
watch out for the (h)ASCII ROOTS

Device detected is /dev/video0
USB2.0 Camera
1 channels detected
max size w[640] h[480] - min size w[48] h[32]
Video capabilities:
VID_TYPE_CAPTURE can capture to memory
!! error in ioctl VIDIOCGMBUF: : Invalid argument

Unfortunately as you see from the output, it failed to detect the web camera model.
The exact camera besides its kernel detection naminf is a cheap external USB 2.0 (fake brand / nonanem) "universal" Web PC Camera (SUPER .3mega pixel)

For those who have a further interest in building and installing hasciicam on other Linux platforms than Debian and Ubuntu or whoever wants to look in the code check check Project webpage is. For those who are less of programmers (like me) the project is written in C programming language and uses aa-lib in order to render the video to ASCII.

On the site you will notice two totally schizophrenic looking pictures of presumably the project head developer …

hasciiart video streamed ASCII screenshot of some crazy looking guy smoking marijuanna or smth

As I read in man hasciicam manual page it's said to be able to generate ascii plain text and html files as well as directly to write the output to console, which later probably can be streamed via the network.
Pitily as it didn't detect my camera I couldn't make some testing of its network capabilities.

A Streaming of ASCII couuld be done through pushing the .html output to a webserver and setting a php or javascript to loop through and refresh the browser over the uploaded files every sec or so.

Also I assume the ASCII video output saved in plain console could be streamed via netcat or some tiny scripted perl or bash script and directly observed via a telnet or ssh connection.
One playful way I can think of checking a stored video without the use of FTP is to login via ssh and do:

$ ssh someuser@somehost
$ watch -n 1 "cat video-ascii.html"

🙂

Well something disturbing about hasciicam from a (purely Christian point of view) is it was developed by some kind of non profit organization called RastaSoft on the project website, some of its authors has written JAH BLESS.

As I didn't succeeded seeing it working, I'll be interested to hear if someone who red this article and give it a try can report the web camera model used.

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Browse the web graphically in text console TTYs with w3m-img and links2 on Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and CentOS Linux

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

links2 (links console graphics) www browser logo picture

Lately, I'm starting to use my tty consoles more and more. Most of the people should be probably aware of the existence of lynx, elinks and w3m text browsers enabling the console geeks to browse or debug web pages in plain text mode.

Anyhow, for people who did not used one of the aforementioned browsers to text brose the net I warmly suggest you give them a try. A good review on 'em is in one of my  previous post – Text mode console browsing with lynx, elinks, w3m and links text browsers

For people dedicated to only use console and text mode console on their Personal Computer, simply installing and using this text browsers will not allow you to view any images tags in the html.

Nowdays one of the reasons many people would decide not to use console for web is because they want to see pictures. Hence I believe by having the opportunity to have almost fully functional text browsing in Linux cosnole /  terminal many might choose not to bother with heavy resource consuming desktop browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera etc..

Another good reason why you might want to use a console browser instead of its Desktop resource monsters, would be improved efficiency of work. It is a well evident fact keyboard access to commands is always faster than mouse and GUI!

Besides that, I'm convinced there should be many hard core geeks out there, who still can happily live without Macromedia Flash ads and Videos in Web. For this group of users having support for graphical browsing in console is also a must.
Following my previous thoughts there should be many people who doesn't have a specific requirement for GUI programs but still use (mutt, ssh, vim, mpg321, zgv etc.).

I'm sure there are plenty of this people who do most of their work in text console and use the X windows server in conjunction with mimalistic graphical environment like (DropBox, XFCE …) for the one and only reason to view  pictures embedded in web pages.

I'm one of all this guys prior mentioned, keen on console tty browsing. Therefore while checking the available console browsers few days ago, I've stumbled on a text console w3m browser capable of displaying website with images in console called w3m-img.

w3m-img is displays pictures in web over a plain console tty or in X terminals (mlterm, xterm etc.).

Here is the description returned by apt-cache show w3m-img

debian:~# apt-cache show w3m-img|grep -i description -A 3
Description: inline image extension support utilities for w3m
w3m-img provides some utilities to support inline images for w3m
on terminal emulator in X Window System environments and Linux
framebuffer.

w3m-img doesn't rely on svgalib for displaying the pictures, but comes with its own written console image display & rendering library called w3mimgdisplay. – /usr/lib/w3m/w3mimgdisplay.

One w3m-img pre-requirement in order to be able to display pictures in plain text console ttys is to have the Linux kernel framebuffer enabled..

Actually, framebuffer is enabled by default on latest stable Debian and derivatives as well as on most other Linux releases as of time of writing.
Framebuffer is also active on other RPM based distros (Fedora, CentOS, SuSE) etc.

The Frambebuffer on or off is controlled via some directives added in grub or lilo configuration files – (depending on the installed boot loader).

Some people can only boot their PCs with the framebuffer kernel support switched off at boot time or the system will not boot Linux at all.
Unfortunately this unlucky ones, would not be able to use the picture rendering w3m-img capabilities but don't be desperate, there is hope 🙂

For people who can't run their Linux distro with a framebuffer kernel support enabled there is a custom hacked version of linksconsole text browser called links-graphic. links-graphic supports both console graphical text browsing using the framebuffer or alternatively svgalib as a console graphics render machine.

I used to be actively using links-graphics WWW browser quite often about 8 years ago and just remembering it brings me good memories of the good old console "hacking" years 🙂

Anyways, w3m-img packaged version is currently available for both rpm and deb based Linux distributions. Here is how to install on both.

1.Install and use w3m-img on Debian, Ubuntu, Mint Linux-es

debian:~# apt-get --yes install w3m-img
....

This should install w3m-img, if of course there is already no previous install of w3m package on the system.

In case you have the w3m deb installed, you will have to first remove the existing w3m installed version before installing the w3m-img package, otherwise you will probably end up with an installation conflict (at least I got such a dependency conflict while apt-getting). Probably the conflict would never occur if aptitude install w3m-img is used instead of apt ….

Usage of w3m-img is exactly the same as using the w3m text only browser version. Below is a screenshot example of w3m-img in action:

debian:~# w3m http://images.google.com

w3m-img text (console) browsing images.google.com screenshot

Jesus Christ Pantocrator Orthodox icon google image search screenshot Debian Squeeze Linux

As you can see in the upper screenshots w3m-img displays pictures pretty nice, whether even images.google.com search functionality works fine.

Generally IMHO a lot of pages looks cool with w3m-img.
Some elements placement during rendering, comes at odd positions but this is normal, since original w3m text browser doesn't have any support for Javascript 1 / 2.

For those people who would like to have both javascript basic support and images in a plain text console browsing you, again you will have to compile links2 WWW browser from source manually with svgalib support enabled.

2. Installing w3m-img to text-browse with images on Fedora, CentoS, RHEL, Redhat etc.

[root@centos ~]# yum -y install w3m-img
....

A very cool thing of w3m graphical console browser is it support  most major image formats including animated GIF files 🙂

The way animated GIFs are viewed is very old school, here is a notice extracted from README.img contained in the pack.
 

Notice
If you want to see GIF animation, please hit a suitable key, such
as 'h', 'l', etc., repeatedly, because a frame is rewritten
according to the re-drawing demand from w3m.
Some code in w3mimg/fb/fb.c was originally written by Mr. Yamasaki.
http://www.sainet.or.jp/~yamasaki/download/fb-sample.tar.gz

As one can read in order to see an animated GIF file with w3m you will have to keep pumping the h or l key or Enter key 😀 😀 😀 (like a nintendo game ain't it?)

Here is the also the complete list of Supported browser features mentioned in README.img
 

Support

* Display inline image (GIF,PNG,JPEG, etc.) on terminals
(xterm,rxvt, etc.) of X11 or Linux framebuffer device.
* Support inline image of img tag.
Support of attributes "width", "height", and "align".
* Direct display of image file which header is "Content-type: image/*"
* Support of

tag.
Support of attributes "shape" and "coords" of

tag.
* Support of an attribute "ismap" of img tag.
"w3m" adds coordinate of the cursor as ?, to url, and sends url.
* Support of an attribute "type=image" of img tag.
"w3m" sends coordinate of the cursor as .x=&.y=.
* Asynchronous loading of image files.
* Using cache of image file as pixmap.
* Support of GIF animation when use GdkPixbuf.

Something else which I find worthy to mention is the browser behaviour, whether a webpage has Adobe Flash .swf or .flv files embedded. If such files are contained in website source code, they will be simply ignored and the w3m keeps running stable (no strange flash crashes! hooray!).

While website with flash is opened in w3m, Adobe Flash's field on the screen shows either a blank rectangle or an empty square (depending on the site embedded flash banner dimensions and form).

W3m-Img text web browser with picture viewing support adobe flash enabled youtube.com opened screenshot

Stability of w3m in opening flash website is something really nice. I say this because I still remember how terrible the situation with links with svgalib support compiled in used to be. I remember back in the day with links2 most "flash enabled" websites lead the browser to a ugly core dump.

3. Install and use links2 on Debian and derivatives Linux to browse in console graphically with javascript support

As aforementioned, there is a hacked version of links browser called links-graphics
This hacked version is available as a package within Debian, Ubuntu and presumably most if not all of the rest deb based Linux repos.

On Fedora and the other RPM family Linuces links-graphics, should be downloaded separately as rpm and installed and is inavailable through default rpm repositories.

On Debian distros links-graphics is available by installing links2.
debian:~# apt-get install --yes links2
....

Later to start links2 in graphics mode in lets say tty1 on a machine booted its kernel with framebuffer support, type:

debian:~# links2 -driver fb http://images.google.com

Actually links2 looks, way better in console than w3m but this is quite normal, as links is way more "user friendly GUI text browser".

For those, using their console ttys without framebuffer enabled you can alternatively run links2 with its svgalib graphics support like so:

debian:~# links2 -driver svgalib -mode 320x200x16 http://images.google.com

links graphics / xlinks images in X window on Debian GNU / Linux screenshot

Note that the svgalib driver is not working on my machine, as my Linux kernel framebuffer is already enabled. Probably if I want to use links2 through  svgalib I will have to reboot and boot machine with framebuffer kernel support switched off…

links2 also supports X window graphics and is a great for Graphical environment WWW browser substitute to CPU intensive Iceweasel / Firefox or Google Chrome.

Links2 can be also used as a default browser in X windows (GUI) with any graphic manager. In my view it is   perfect web browser  for scientists and people who does not need support for Adobe Flash Player or HTML5 standards.

To use links in XFCE or GNOME Desktop env, the quickest way is to prepare new Application Launcher to run command:

debian:~# links2 -g

Google Images links2 graphics in GNOME desktop env screenshot

It is useful to use a quick alias to links -g in my ~/.bashrc in order to allow easier browsing from console by typing xlinks someurladdress.com

If you want to add this xlinks shell alias  exec:

debian:~# echo 'alias xlinks='links2 -g $1' >> ~/.bashrc

4. Install links with graphics console support on Fedora, CentOS and RHEL

[root@fedora ~]# cd /usr/local/src
[root@fedora src]# wget -q http://jakub.horky.net/rpm/links/links-2.1pre15-2/links-2.1pre15-2.i386.rpm
[root@fedora src]# rpm -ivh --nodeps links-2.1pre15-2/links-2.1pre15-2.i386.rpm
Preparing... ########################################### [100%]
Installing... ########################################### [100%]

If you get some errors with missing libraries after installing and launching links2, try to resolve them by manually linking them with ln cmd or look for the library package rpm versions and install them via yum. Another way is to fetch the links2 source from Links2 official website links.twibright.com and build from source.

Since the last time in 8 years ago I used links2,  it evolved a lot. The version now did not crash as before with flash websites are viewed.  Generally Links2 now is way more  stable.
To sum it up most people, will probably want to use Links2 for console graphical browsing as the speed and support for HTML and Javascript and web site formatting is way advanced than w3m-img

I haven't compared the speed of opening pages, but since w3m-img is html and graphics render is more simple than xlinks I suppose at some occasions w3m-img will be faster in site rendering.
However still links2 performs really light fast and its web page opening time is swift and more than good.. If xlinks opening performance is compared to most (if not all) traditional desktop browsers used nowdays Links2 will definitely beat them.

A good links2 application instead of a traditional desktop browser is also for people who aim at  improving website browsing time.

I haven't thoroughfully enough, researched on other text console grahic browser alternatives programs. If I miss something and you know amy other better ones please let me know.

Wish you a Happy Browsing 😉

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