Posts Tagged ‘terminal’

Monitoring Disk use, CPU Load, Memory use and Network in one console ncurses interface – Glance

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

If you're Linux / UNIX / BSD system administrator you already have experience with basic admin's system monitoring:

  •     CPU load
  •     OS Name/Kernel version
  •     System load avarage and Uptime
  •     Disk and Network Input/Output I/O operations by interface
  •     Process statistics / Top loading processes etc.
  •     Memory / SWAP usage and free memory
  •     Mounted partitions

Such info is provided by command line tools such as:

top, df, free, sensors, ifconfig, iotop, hddtemp, mount, nfsstat, nfsiostat, dstat, uptime, nethogs iptraf


There are plenty of others advanced tools also Web based server monitoring visualization  tools, such as Monit, Icanga, PHPSysInfo, Cacti which provide you statistics on computer hardware and network utilization

So far so good, if you already are used to convenience of web *NIX based monitoring but you don't want to put load on the servers with such and you're lazy to write custom scripts that show most important monitoring information – necessery for daily system administration monitoring and prevention from downtimes and tracking bottlenecks you will be glad to hear about Glances

Glances is a free (LGPL) cross-platform curses-based monitoring tool which aims to present a maximum of information in a minimum of space, ideally to fit in a classical 80×24 terminal or higher to have additionnal information. Glances can adapt dynamically the displayed information depending on the terminal size. It can also work in a client/server mode for remote monitoring.

1. Installing Glances curses-based monitoring tool on Debian 7 / Ubuntu 13+ / Mint  Linux

We have to install python-pip (python package installer tool) to later install Glances

apt-get install –yes 'python-dev' 'python-jinja2' 'python-psutil'
                        'python-setuptools' 'hddtemp' 'python-pip' 'lm-sensors'

Before proceeding to install Glances to make Thermal sensors working (if supported by hardware) run:



Glances is written in Python and uses psutil library to obtain monitoring statistic values, thus it is necessery to install few more Python libraries:

pip install 'batinfo' 'pysensors'

If you're about to use pip – Python package installer tool, behind a proxy server use instead:

pip install –proxy= 'batinfo' 'pysensors'

Then install Glances script itself again using pip

pip install 'Glances'

Downloading/unpacking Glances
  Downloading Glances-2.0.1.tar.gz (3.3Mb): 3.3Mb downloaded
  Running egg_info for package Glances
Downloading/unpacking psutil>=2.0.0 (from Glances)
  Downloading psutil-2.1.1.tar.gz (216Kb): 216Kb downloaded
  Running egg_info for package psutil

Successfully installed Glances psutil


Then run glances from terminal

glances -t 3

-t 3 option tells glances to refresh collected statistics every 3 seconds



2. Installing Glances monitoring console tool on CentOS / RHEL / Fedora / Scientific Linux

Installing glances on CentOS 7 / Fedora and rest of RPM based distributions can be done by adding external RPM repositories, cause glances is not available in default yum repositories.

To enable Extra-packages repositories:

rpm -ivh

Then update yum to include new repository's packages into package list and install python-pip and python-devel rpms

yum update
yum install python-pip python-devel


There is also FreeBSD port to install Glances on FreeBSD:

cd /usr/sysutils/py-glances
make install

Enjoy 🙂 !



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luckyBackup Linux GUI back-up and synchronization tool

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

If you're a using GNU / Linux  for Desktop and you're already tired of creating backups by your own hacks using terminal and you want to make your life a little bit more easier and easily automate your important files back up through GUI program take a look at luckyBackup.

Luckibackup is a GUI frontend to the infamous rsync command line backup  tool. Luckibackup is available as a package in almost all modern Linux distributions its very easy to setup and can save you a lot of time especially if you have to manage a number of your Workplace Desktop Office Linux based computers.
Luckibackup is an absolute must have program for Linux Desktop start-up users. If you're migrating from Microsoft Windows realm and you're used to BackupPC, Luckibackup is probably the defacto Linux BackupPC substitute.

The sad news for Linux GNOME Desktop users is luckibackup is written in QT and it using it will load up a bit your notebook.
It is not installed by default so once a new Linux Desktop is installed you will have to install it manually on Debian and Ubuntu based Linux-es to install Luckibackup apt-get it.

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

On Fedora and CentOS Linux install LuckiBackup via yum rpm package manager

[root@centos :~]# yum -y install luckibackup

Luckibackup is also ported for OpenSuSE Slackware, Gentoo, Mandriva and ArchLinux. In 2009 Luckibackup won the prize of Sourceforge Community Choice Awards for "best new project".

luckyBackup copies over only the changes you've made to the source directory and nothing more.
You will be surprised when your huge source is backed up in seconds (after the first backup).

Whatever changes you make to the source including adding, moving, deleting, modifying files / directories etc, will have the same effect to the destination.
Owner, group, time stamps, links and permissions of files are preserved (unless stated otherwise).

Luckibackup creates different multiple backup "snapshots".Each snapshot is an image of the source data that refers to a specific date-time.
Easy rollback to any of the snapshots is possible. Besides that luckibackup support Sync (just like rsync) od any directories keeping the files that were most recently modified on both of them.

Useful if you modify files on more than one PCs (using a flash-drive and don't want to bother remembering what did you use last. Luckibackup is capable of excluding certain files or directories from backupsExclude any file, folder or pattern from backup transfer.

After each operation a logfile is created in your home folder. You can have a look at it any time you want.

luckyBackup can run in command line if you wish not to use the gui, but you have to first create the profile that is going to be executed.
Type "luckybackup –help" at a terminal to see usage and supported options.
There is also TrayNotification – Visual feedback at the tray area informs you about what is going on.



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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 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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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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BB – A must see ASCII Art Audio / Video portable demo for Linux, FreeBSD, UNIX and DOS

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

bb Audio Visual ASCII art Linux FreeBSD demonstration old school demo logo

I know and I have enjoyed BB – Portable Demo for already a decade.
I'm sure many newbies to the Free And Open Source (FOSS) realm don't know or heard of bb's existence as nowdays ASCII art is not so well known among youngsters. Hence this short post aims to raise some awareness of the existence of this already OLD but GOLD – awesome! text console / terminal demonstation BB 🙂

bb is pretty much in the spirit of Oldschool Assembly DOS demo scene dominating the geeks dome in the late 80's and yearly 90's.

Historically bb used to be one of the main stunning things one could show to a fellow GNU / Linux new comer.

For the year 2000, seeing all this awesome ASCII video demo running on free Operating System like GNU / Linux was a big think.
The fact that such an advanced ASCII art was distributed freely for an OS which used to exist since only (6 / 7 years) was really outstanding of its time.

BB text ascii art Linux demo entry screen characters matrix

I still remember how much I was amazed seeing a plain ascii video stream was possible only Linux. Moreover the minimal requirements of bb were quite low for its time – it worked on mostly all PCs one can find at the time.

BB's minimum requirements to work with no chops is just an old 486/66 DX2 CPU Mhz with few megas of memory (32MB of memory was more than enough to run it)

BB text sacii art Linux demo entry screen char matrix

A very unique feature of bb was it was the first Linux demo that succesfully run simultaneously playing on two monitor screens as one can read on the project website.
Unfortunately I didn't owned two monitors back in the day so never ever had the opportunity to see it running on two screens.
Anyhow I've seen it runnign somewhere on some of the Linux install fests visited some years ago…

The demo was developed by 4 man group ppl – the AA group the same digital artists are also the guys behind the AA Project.

AA Lib mascot logo :)

The main aim of AA-lib was to make possible (Doom, Second Reality, X windows) to run rendered in plain ASCII art text.

The project succeeded in a lot of his goals already as there is already existent such an ascii art ports of large games like QUAKE! Be sure to check this awesome project too AAquake ascii quake page is here
, as well as video and pictures could be viewed under a plain console Linux tty or in terminal (via SSH 🙂 )

Thanks to AA-Lib even text mode doom exists.

bb as well as aa-lib has ports for most modern Linux distros in that number one can easily get rpm or deb packages for most of distros.
On Slackware Linux you should compile it from source. Though compilation should be a straightfoward process, not that i tried it myself but I remember a close friend of mine (a great Slackware devotee) who was the one to show me the demo for a first time on his Slackware box.

1. Installing bb on Debian Linux

Debian Linux users like me are privileged as for already many years a Debian package of bb is maintaned thanks to Uwe Herman

Hence for anyone willing to enjoy bb install it by running:

debian:~# apt-get --yes install bb
ho@debian:~$ bb

If you're running a X server the aa-lib will immediately run with its X server compiled support:

Running BB Music Screesnhot

2. Installing BB demo on FreeBSD

On FreeBSD, bb demo has a port to install it run:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/misc/bb freebsd# make install clean ...

Here is good time to say that even though in most of the machines, I've tested the demo I had on some of the hosts problems with sound due to buggy sound drivers.
As of time of writting hopefully on most machines there will be no troubles as most of the Linux sb drivers are better supported by ALSA.

Everyone interested in both Free Software and ASCII art knows well how big in significance is the AA-lib project for the historical development and attraction for new hackers to the Linux dome.
In that sense AAlib head developer Jan HubickaBy the way Jan Hubicka is also the author of another Linux tool called xaos. Xaos is a tool to deal with some kind of advanced higher mathematics stuff called fractals.

XAOS Screenshot Debian Squeeze Linux

Unfortunately I don't know a bit for fractal maths and what the purpose of the tool is but as you can see on the shot it looks nice running 🙂

Here are also, lot of the major BB parts in shots:

Running bb music screen screenshot Linux Debian 6 Squeeze

BB AScii fire Linux shot

bb demo ascii art fractals

BB demo ascii art back head and description of the dev

bb demo ascii zebra Linux screenshot

bb demo cannon gun shot

BB demo ring screenshot

BB demo spots Debian shot

BB developer head shot 2

BB developer profile shot

bb game ascii invaders demo

Linux extremist BB demo

BB demo zoomed text ascii art text

BB Demo thanks for watching screen

For those on MS-Windows OS platform, here is the demo 🙂

BB ASCII Demo standard size running in Linux (With sound)

Enjoy ! 🙂

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AEWAN – a nice advanced GNU / Linux console ASCII art text editor

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

I'm a guy fascinated by ASCII art, since the very early days I saw a piece of this awesome digital art.

As time passed and computers went to be used mostly  graphics resolution, ASCII art loose its huge popularity from the early DOS and BBS (internet primordial days).

However, this kind  of art is still higly valued by true computer geeks.
In that manner of thoughts, lately I'm researching widely on ASCII art tools and ASCII art open source tools available for Linux.
Last time I check what is available for 'ASCII job' was before 5 years time. Recently I decided to review once again and see if there are new software for doing ascii manipulations on Linux and this is how this article got born.

My attention was caught by aewan (ASCII-art Editor Without A Name), while searching for ASCII keyword description packages with:

apt-cache search ascii

Aewan project official website is on sourceforge check it out here

Here is the complete description of the Debian package:

hipo@noah:~$ apt-cache show aewan|grep -i description -A 5
Description: ASCII-art Editor Without A Name
aewan is an ASCII art editor with support for multiple layers that can be
edited individually, colors, rectangular copy and paste, and intelligent
horizontal and vertical flipping (converts '\' to '/', etc). It produces
both stand-alone art files and an easy-to-parse format for integration
into your terminal applications.

I installed it to give it a try:

noah:~# apt-get --yes install aewan
Selecting previously deselected package aewan.
(Reading database ... 388522 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking aewan (from .../aewan_1.0.01-3_amd64.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up aewan (1.0.01-3) ...

aewan package provides three executable binaries:

noah:~# dpkg -L aewan|grep -i /bin/ /usr/bin/aecat

1. aewan binary is the ascii-art editor itself

2. aecat is utility to display an aewan documents (aewan format saved files)3. aemakeflictool to produce an animation from an aewan document

Next I ran it in plain console tty  to check how it is like:

hipo@noah:~$ aewan

Below are screenshots to give you an idea how powerful aewan ASCII art editor is:

AEWAN ASCII art editor entry information screen Debian GNU / Linux shot

Aewan immediate entry screen after start up

Aewan ASCII art editor Linux showing the major functionality of aewan on Debian GNU / Linux Squeeze

Aewan ASCII art editor – all of the supported tool functions

As you can see from the shot the editor is very feature rich. I was stunned to find out it even supports layers (in ASCII!!) (w0w!). 
It even has a Layers Manager (like GIMP) 🙂

To create my first ASCII art I used the:



This however didn't immediately show the prompt, where I can type  the ascii characters to draw my picture. In order to be able to draw inside the editor, its necessary to open at least one layer, through using the menu:

Add Layer (defaults)

then the interactive ASCII art editor appeared.

While an ASCII art is created with the editor you can select the color of the input characters by using Drawing Color menu seen in the above screenshot.

aewan drawing color choose color Linux shot

I've played few minutes and created a sample ascii art, just to test the color and editor "look & feel", my conclusions are the editor chars drawing is awesome.

Aewan ascii art produced on my Debian GNU / Linux host

All the commands available via menus are also accessible via a shortcut key combinations:

Aewan Linux Ascii art editor quick key shortcut commands

aewan controls are just great and definitely over-shadows every other text editor I used to draw an ASCII art so far.
Once saved the ASCII art, are by default saved in a plain gzipped ascii text. You can therefore simply zcat the the saves;
Don't expect zcat to show you the ascii as they're displayed in aewan, zcat-ing it will instead  display just the stored meta data; the meta data is interpreted and displayed properly only with aecat command.

aewan aecat displaying properly previously saved ascii art picture

I've checked online for rpm builds too and such are available, so installing on Fedora, CentOS, SuSE etc. is up to downloading the right distro / hardware architecture rpm package and running:

# rpm -ivh aewan*.rpm

On the official website, there are also instructions to compile from source, Slackware users and users of other distros which doesn't have a package build should compile manually with the usual:

$ tar -zxf aewan-1.0.01.tar.gz
$ cd aewan-1.0.01
$ ./configure
$ make
$ su -c "make install"

For those inrested to make animations with aemakeflic you need to first save a multiple layers of pictures. The idea of creating ASCII art video is pretty much like the old school way to make animation "draw every scene" and movie it. Once all different scene layers of the ASCII art animation are prepared one could use  aemakeflic to export all the ASCII layers as common video.

aemakeflic has the ability to export the ASCII animation in a runnable shell script to display the animation. The other way aemakeflic can be used is to produce a picture in kind of text format showing the video whether seen with  less cmd.
Making ASCII animation takes a lot of time and effort. Since i'm too lazy and I lack the time I haven't tested this functionality. Anyways I've seen some ascii videos on telnet  to remote hosts (some past time); therefore I guess they were made using aewan and later animated with aemakeflic.

I will close this post with a nice colorful ASCII art, made with aewan (picture is taken from the project page):

Aewan Flipping Selection Screenshot

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Viewing JPEG,GIF and PNG in ASCII with cacaview on GNU / Linux – Review on caca-utils text mode graphics utilities

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Stitch 80x45 libcaca mascot cacaview viewing JPG, PNG, GIF images as ASCII on Linux libcaca

Probably, many don't know that it is possible to view normal graphical pictures (JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP) etc. in plain console tty.

Being able to view pictures in ASCII is something really nice especially for console geeks like me.
The images produced sometimes are a bit unreadable, if compared to the original graphics, but anyways most of the pictures looks pretty decent 🙂

Viewing in console / terminal images on GNU / Linux is possible thanks to a library called libcaca, caca labs libcaca project official website here.
Below is a shot description of libcaca:
hipo@noah:~$ apt-cache show libcaca0|grep 'Description' -A 4
Description: colour ASCII art library
libcaca is the Colour AsCii Art library. It provides high level functions
for colour text drawing, simple primitives for line, polygon and ellipse
drawing, as well as powerful image to text conversion routines.

In Debian, Ubuntu and other deb Linux distros viewing GUI images with no need for Xserver or any kind of window manager in plain ASCII is possible with cacaview.

cacaview is part of a package called caca-utils. caca-utils is providing few other great utilities for ASCII freaks 🙂 along with cacaview console ascii viewer prog.
The package> is available for Debian distributins since many years, so even on a very old Debians like Debian – (Potato, Woody, Sarge) the package is available in default free package repositories ready to install via apt

To install apt-get it as usual:

noah:~# apt-get --yes install caca-utils

Here is a list of the binaries the package provides:

hipo@noah:~$ dpkg -L caca-utils|grep -i /usr/bin/

1. cacaserver a tiny program allowing network streaming of applications written in caca

Belkow is a chop, from man cacaserver

cacaserver reads libcaca animation files in its standard input and
serves them as ANSI art on network port 51914. These animations can be
created by any libcaca program by setting the CACA_DRIVER environment
variable to raw and piping the program's standard output to cacaserver.

Clients can then connect to port 51914 using telnet or netcat to see
the output.

The example section of the manual points 1 example use of cacaserver to stream the console output from cacademo.
cacademo binary is a short presentation ASCII DEMO in the spirit of the old school assembly demos (demoscene) .
To run it to bind on port 51914 one has to type in bash shell:
hipo@noah:~$ CACA_DRIVER=raw cacademo | cacaserver
initialised network, listening on port 51914

Then to check out how the demo looks, open telnet connection to the cacaserver host; In my case the cacaserver is binded and streamed over IP

hipo@debian:~$ telnet 51914

Immediately you got the demo shining; Below are two screenshots of the demo played after succesful telnet connection:

Cacaserver - caca for the network screenshot Matrix cacademo

cacademo running over telnet network connection – Matrix

cacaserver running on Debian GNU / Linux drug addict like spots streamed via telnet

Blur spots cacademo shot of cacademo streamed via network

You see the demo looks quite awesome 🙂

2. Running cacafire to stream over network

Another possible example use of cacaserver is in conjunction with cacafire libcaca test application:

noah:~# CACA_DRIVER=raw cacafire | cacaserver
initialised network, listening on port 51914
cacafire is a short application written to render ASCII via libcaca and is just displaying a screen with ASCII (moving) burning fire.
It is quite spectacular if you, ask an unexpecting friend to connect to your host to 51914 🙂

Cacafire Screenshot Debian GNU / Linux cacaserver streaming ASCII demo via network port 51914

Besides that bored sys admins, could run cacafire in console to hypnotize themselves watching dumb the burning fire screen for few hoursor just use it as a screensaver 😉

3. cacaview a program to display a graphic images in console using ASCII art

cacaview takes just one argument – the picture to be displayed.

Below is a screenshot of cacaview ran from my gnome-terminal displaying a ASCII text version of the MySQL server logo

hipo@noah:~$ cd /disk/pictures
hipo@noah:/disk/pictures$ cacaview mysql_logo.png


cacaview displaying MySQL database logo in ASCII using caca for X

Whether cacaview is invoked in GUI, the libcaca X support is used, so the text image is visualized in new window with graphics, if however it is invoked in plain let's say tty1 libcaca displays the graphics pictures drawing it with only text characters.

Here is also a screenshot, I've made while viewing a GIF website logo in ASCII in plain tty console:

hipo@noah:~$ cacaview /disk/pictures/logo.gif

cacaview plain tty console screenshot of a website logo graphics pictures 17-05-2012

The logo is in cyrillic, so for latin speaking people some of the characters in the two words seen will be unreadable 🙂

cacaview even supports viewing, the next and previous picture in line, like in any modern graphics image viewer program.
To view a bunch of graphic pictures in ASCII with cacaview pass it *.*:

hipo@noah:~$ cacaview /disk/pictures/*.*

For simplicity the common unix * is also supported, so I find it quicker to do:

hipo@noah:~$ cacaview /disk/pictures/*

Showing pictures forward and backward (Previous / Next) picture is done with n and p kbd keys, whether;
n - next;
p - previous

cacaview doesn't crash or stop but skip unknown file formats – if for instance encounters filenames which are not images; lets say you have *.rar archive files along with other pictures.

The complete list of keys cacaview supports are:
br />

? show the help screen

n, p switch to next image, previous image

Left, Right, Up, Down or h, l, k, j
scroll the image around

+, – zoom in and out

z reset the zoom level to normal

f switch fullscreen mode (hide/show menu and status bars)

d toggle the dithering mode (no dithering, 4×4 ordered dithering, 8×8 ordered dithering and random dithering)

q exit the program

4. Converting graphics images to ASCII art like (plain text pictures)

The tool that does "the trick" is img2txt. img2txt has a bit more options while compared to the rest of the aforementioned tools.The following list of arguments are recognized:

  • the size (font, height)
  • brightness
  • contrast
  • gamma and dither
  • format type of out the output pic

Anyways I found that the basic just in / out arguments passed are enough to produce pretty good results:

hipo@noah:~$ img2txt hipo_avatar.gif >hipo_avatar_pic.txt

The original hipo_avatar.gif file looks like so:

hipo avatar gif picture before img2txt convertion to text

After above img2txt command is run and hipo_avatar_pic.txt to see the colorful output ASCII art img2txt produces, cat it:

hipo@noah:~$ cat hipo_avatar_pic.txt

The image result if screenshot looks quite beautiful and even, can be considered or used as an ART effect image (filter) 🙂

Console Screenshot hipo avatar pic ASCII img2txt output picture

The picture colors are plain ANSI color, so in order to display properly the picture with colors on another computers or Operating System you will need at least basic support for ANSI colors.

Plenty of output file formats are supported by img2txt

Here is the complete list of supported output formats:

ansi : coloured ANSI
caca : internal libcaca format
utf8 : UTF8 with CR
utf8 : UTF8 with CRLF (MS Windows)
html : HTML with CSS and DIV support
html3 : Pure HTML3 with tables
irc : IRC with ctrl-k codes
bbfr : BBCode (French)
ps : Postscript
svg : Scalable Vector Graphics
tga : Targa Image

libcaca is available for FreeBSD too, but the caca-utils is not available as a port yet, though probably the deb or rpm packages can easily be ported to BSD.

Well that's all, Enjoy.

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How to disable PC Spaker on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

Sunday, May 13th, 2012


How to disable pc-speaker on Linux / PC-Speaker Old Desktop Computer picture

A PC Speaker is helpful as it could be used as a tool for diagnosing system hardware failures (different systems produce different beep sequences depending on the machine BIOS type).
Using the instructions for the respective BIOS vendor and version one could determine the type of problem experienced by a machine based on the sequence and frequency of sounds produced by the SPEAKER.
Lets say a hardware component on a server is down with no need for a monitor or screen to be attached you can say precisely if it is the hard drive, memory or fan malfunctioning…

Generally speaking historically embedded PC Speaker was inseparatable part of the Personal Computers, preceding the soundblasters, now this is changing but for compitability sake many comp equipment vendors still produce machines with pc-speaker in.
Some newer machines (mostly laptops) are factory produced with no PC-SPEAKER component anymore.
For those who don't know what is PC SPEAKER, it is a hardware device capable of emitting very simple short beep sounds at certain system occasions.

Talking about PC-Speaker, it reminds me of the old computer days, where we used pc-speakers to play music in DOS quite frequently.
It was wide practice across my friends and myself to use the pc-speaker to play Axel Folly and other mod files because we couldn't afford to pay 150$ for a sound cards. Playing a song over pc-speaker is quite a nice thing and it will be a nice thing if someone writes a program to be able to play songs on Linux via the pc-speaker for the sake of experiment.

As of time of writting, I don't know of any application capable of playing music files via the pc-speaker if one knows of something like this please, drop me a comment..

As long as it is used for hardware failure diagnosis the speaker is useful, however there are too many occasions where its just creating useless annoying sounds.
For instance whether one uses a GUI terminal or console typing commands and hits multiple times backspace to delete a mistyped command. The result is just irritating beeps, which could be quite disturbing for other people in the room (for example if you use Linux as Desktop in heterogeneous OS office).
When this "unplanned" glitchering beeps are experienced 100+ times a day you really want to break the computer, as well as your collegues are starting to get mad (if not using their headphones) 🙂

Hence you need sometimes to turn off the pc-speaker to save some nerves.

Here is how this is done on major Linux distros.

On Debian and most other distros, the PC SPEAKER is controlled by a kernel module, so to disable communication with the speaker you have to remove the kernel module.

On Debian and Fedora disabling pcspeaker is done with:

# modprobe -r pcspkr

Then to permanently disable load of the pcspkr module on system boot:

debian:~# echo 'blacklist pcspkr' >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

On Ubuntu to disable load on boot /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist, file should be used:

ubuntu:~# echo 'blacklist pcspkr' >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
Well that's all folks …

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How to check the IP address of Skype (user / Contacts) on GNU / Linux with netstat and whois

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

netstat check skype contact IP info with netstat Linux xterm Debian Linux

Before I explain how netstat and whois commands can be used to check information about a remote skype user – e.g. (skype msg is send or receved) in Skype. I will say in a a few words ( abstract level ), how skype P2P protocol is designed.
Many hard core hackers, certainly know how skype operates, so if this is the case just skip the boring few lines of explanation on how skype proto works.

In short skype transfers its message data as most people know in Peer-to-Peer "mode" (P2P)  – p2p is unique with this that it doesn't require a a server to transfer data from one peer to another. Most classical use of p2p networks in the free software realm are the bittorrents.

Skype way of connecting to peer client to other peer client is done via a so called "transport points". To make a P-to-P connection skype wents through a number of middle point destinations. This transport points (peers) are actually other users logged in Skype and the data between point A and point B is transferred via this other logged users in encrypted form. If a skype messages has to be transferred  from Peer A (point A) to Peer B (Point B) or (the other way around), the data flows in a way similar to:

 A -> D -> F -> B


B -> F -> D -> A

(where D and F are simply other people running skype on their PCs).
The communication from a person A to person B chat in Skype hence, always passes by at least few other IP addresses which are owned by some skype users who happen to be located in the middle geographically between the real geographic location of A (the skype peer sender) and B (The skype peer receiver)..

The exact way skypes communicate is way more complex, this basics however should be enough to grasp the basic skype proto concept for most ppl …

In order to find the IP address to a certain skype contact – one needs to check all ESTABLISHED connections of type skype protocol with netsat within the kernel network stack (connection) queue.

netstat displays few IPs, when skype proto established connections are grepped:

noah:~# netstat -tupan|grep -i skype | grep -i established| grep -v ''
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype

Now, as few IPs are displayed, one needs to find out which exactly from the list of the ESTABLISHED IPs is the the Skype Contact from whom are received or to whom are sent the messages in question.

The blue colored IP address:port is the local IP address of my host running the Skype client. The red one is the IP address of the remote skype host (Skype Name) to which messages are transferred (in the the exact time the netstat command was ran.

The easiest way to find exactly which, from all the listed IP is the IP address of the remote person is to send multiple messages in a low time interval (let's say 10 secs / 10 messages to the remote Skype contact).

It is a hard task to write 10 msgs for 10 seconds and run 10 times a netstat in separate terminal (simultaneously). Therefore it is a good practice instead of trying your reflex, to run a tiny loop to delay 1 sec its execution and run the prior netstat cmd.

To do so open a new terminal window and type:

noah:~# for i in $(seq 1 10); do \
sleep 1; echo '-------'; \
netstat -tupan|grep -i skype | grep -i established| grep -v ''; \

tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype

You see on the first netstat (sequence) exec, there is only 1 IP address to which a skype connection is established, once I sent some new messages to my remote skype friend, another IP immediatelly appeared. This other IP is actually the IP of the person to whom, I'm sending the "probe" skype messages.
Hence, its most likely the skype chat at hand is with a person who has an IP address of the newly appeared

Later to get exact information on who owns and administrative contact info as well as address of the ISP or person owning the IP, do a RIPE  whois

noah:~# whois
% This is the RIPE Database query service.
% The objects are in RPSL format.
% The RIPE Database is subject to Terms and Conditions.
% See

% Note: this output has been filtered.
% To receive output for a database update, use the "-B" flag.
% Information related to ' -'
inetnum: -
descr: BTC Broadband Service
country: BG
admin-c: LG700-RIPE
tech-c: LG700-RIPE
tech-c: SS4127-RIPE
mnt-by: BT95-ADM
mnt-domains: BT95-ADM
mnt-lower: BT95-ADM
source: RIPE # Filteredperson: Lyubomir Georgiev

Note that this method of finding out the remote Skype Name IP to whom a skype chat is running is not always precise.

If for instance you tend to chat to many people simultaneously in skype, finding the exact IPs of each of the multiple Skype contacts will be a very hard not to say impossible task.
Often also by using netstat to capture a Skype Name you're in chat with, there might be plenty of "false positive" IPs..
For instance, Skype might show a remote Skype contact IP correct but still this might not be the IP from which the remote skype user is chatting, as the remote skype side might not have a unique assigned internet IP address but might use his NET connection over a NAT or DMZ.

The remote skype user might be hard or impossible to track also if skype client is run over skype tor proxy for the sake of anonymity
Though it can't be taken as granted that the IP address obtained would be 100% correct with the netstat + whois method, in most cases it is enough to give (at least approximate) info on a Country and City origin of the person you're skyping with.

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