Posts Tagged ‘time consuming’

Quick way to access remotely your GNU / Linux Desktop – Access Linux Desktop from Mac and Windows 7

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

For M$ Windows users its always handy to have remote access to your home PC or notebook via Remote Desktop (RDP) protocol.

However in GNU / Linux, there is no native implementation of RDP protocol. So if you're using Linux as your Desktop like me you will probably want to be able to access the Linux system remotely not only via terminal with SSH using (Putty) or MobaXTerm all in one tabbed Windows terminal program but also be able to use your Linux GNOME / KDE Graphical environment from anywhere on the Internet.

This will make you ponder – Is it possible to access Linux Desktop via proprietary RDP protocol and if not how you can achieve remote GUI access to Linux?

1. Using Linux Xorg and Xming Xserver for Windows

Most people should already know of Linux ability to start multiple Xserver sessions remotely which is the native way to access between two Linux hosts or access remotely Linux from other Linux UNIX like OS. It is also possible to use xinit / startx / xhost commands to establish remotely connection to new or running Linux (Xorg) Xserver by using them in combination with XMing – XServer for Windows running on the Windows host and Debian package (x11-xserver-utils) – providing xhost cmd, however this method is a bit complicated and not so convenient.

I used to be using this method XMing (whose mirror is here), earlier in my university years to use remotely my Debian Linux from  Windows 98 and this works perfectly fine.

2. Using RDP emulation with XRDP server

in order to be able to access your desk from any friend or computer club in the world using standard available in MS Windows Remote Desktop client (mstsc.exe).
There is also another alternative way by using Windows Desktop sharing RDP experimental server xrdp:

apt-cache show xrdp |grep -i descr -A 3
Description: Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) server
 Based on research work by the rdesktop project, xrdp uses the Remote
 Desktop Protocol to present a graphical login to a remote client.
 xrdp can connect to a VNC server or another RDP server.

To make your Linux host accessible via RDP:

On Debian / Ubuntu etc. deb based Linux:


apt-get update
apt-get install xrdp

$ /etc/init.d/xrdp status
Checking status of Remote Desktop Protocol server xrdp                                             [ OK ]
Checking status of RDP Session Manager sesman

/etc/init.d/xrdp start

On  Fedora Linux:

yum -y install xrdp
systemctl enable xrdp.service
systemctl start xrdp.service
systemctl enable xrdp-sesman.service
systemctl start xrdp-sesman.service

It is possible to access remote Linux host using xrdp RDP server, but this will only work in older releases of mstsc.exe (Windows XP / Vista / 2003) and will not work on Windows 7 / 8, because in MS Windows 7 and onwards RDP proto version has changed and the client no longer has compatability with older mstsc releases. There is a work around for this for anyone who stubbornly want to use RDP protocol to access Linux host. If you want to connect to xrdp from Windows 7 you have to copy the old RDP client (mstsc.exe and mstscax.dll) from a WinXP install to the Windows 7 box and run it independently, from the default installed ones, anyways this method is time consuming and not really worthy …

3. Using the VNC withTightVNC server / client


Taking above in consideration, for me personally best way to access Linux host from Windows and Mac is to use simply the good old VNC protocol with TightVNC.

TightVNC is cross-platform free and open source remote Desktop client it uses RFB protocol to control another computer screen remotely.

To use tightvnc to access remote Debian / Ubuntu – deb based Linux screen, tightvncserver package has to be installed:

apt-cache show tightvncserver|grep -i desc -A 7
Description-en: virtual network computing server software
 VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing. It is, in essence, a remote
 display system which allows you to view a computing `desktop' environment
 not only on the machine where it is running, but from anywhere on the
 Internet and from a wide variety of machine architectures.

 This package provides a server to which X clients can connect and the
 server generates a display that can be viewed with a vncviewer.


apt-get –yes install tightvncserver

TightVNCserver package is also available in default repositories of Fedora / CentOS / RHEL and most other RPM based distros, to install there:

yum -y install tightvnc-server

Once it is installed to make tightvncserver running you have to start it (preferrably with non-root user), usually this is the user with which you're using the system:


You will require a password to access your desktops.

Would you like to enter a view-only password (y/n)? n

New 'X' desktop is rublev:4

Creating default startup script /home/hipo/.vnc/xstartup
Starting applications specified in /home/hipo/.vnc/xstartup
Log file is /home/hipo/.vnc/rublev:4.log



To access now TightVncserver on the Linux host Download and Install TightVNC Viewer client

note that you need to download TightVNC Java Viewer JAR in ZIP archive – don't install 32 / 64 bit installer for Windows, as this will install and setup TightVNCServer on your Windows – and you probably don't want that (and – yes you will need to have Oracle Java VM installed) …


Once unzipped run tightvnc-jviewer.jar and type in the IP address of remote Linux host and screen, where TightVNC is listening, as you can see in prior screenshot my screen is :4, because I run tightvnc to listen for connections in multiple X sessions. once you're connected you will be prompted for password, asker earlier when you run  tightvncserver cmd on Linux host.

If you happen to be on a Windows PC without Java installed or Java use is prohibited you can use TightVNC Viewer Portable Binary (mirrored here)


If you have troubles with connection, on Linux host check the exact port on which TightVncServer is running:

ps ax |grep -i Tightvnc

 8630 pts/8    S      0:02 Xtightvnc :4 -desktop X -auth /var/run/gdm3/auth-for-hipo-7dpscj/database -geometry 1024×768 -depth 24 -rfbwait 120000 -rfbauth /home/hipo/.vnc/passwd -rfbport 5904 -fp /usr/share/fonts/X11/misc/,/usr/share/fonts/X11/Type1/,/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi/,/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi/ -co /etc/X11/rgb

Then to check, whether the machine you're trying to connect from doesn't have firewall rules preventing the connection use (telnet) – if installed on the Windows host:

telnet 5904
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
RFB 003.008

telnet> quit
Connection closed.


Linux: how to show all users crontab – List all cronjobs

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

I'm doing another server services decomissioning and part of decomissioning plan is: Removing application and all related scripts from related machines (FTP, RSYNC, …). In project documentation I found a list with Cron enabled shell scripts:

#Cron tab excerpt:
1,11,21,31,41,51 * * * */webservices/tools/scripts/

that has to be deleted, however there was nowhere mentioned under what kind of credentials (with what kind of user) are the cron scripts running? Hence I had to look up all users that has cronjobs and find inside each user's cronjobs whether respective script is set to run. Herein I will explain shortly how I did that.

Cronjobs by default has few locations from where cronjobs are setupped depending on their run time schedule. First place I checked for the scripts is

/etc/crontabs # cat /etc/crontabs SHELL=/bin/sh
# check scripts in cron.hourly, cron.daily, cron.weekly, and cron.monthly
-*/15 * * * * root test -x /usr/lib/cron/run-crons && /usr/lib/cron/run-crons >/dev/null 2>&1
59 * * * * root rm -f /var/spool/cron/lastrun/cron.hourly
14 4 * * * root rm -f /var/spool/cron/lastrun/cron.daily
29 4 * * 6 root rm -f /var/spool/cron/lastrun/cron.weekly
44 4 1 * * root rm -f /var/spool/cron/lastrun/cron.monthly

I was not really user via what user is shell script run, therefore I looked first if someone doesn't set the script to run via crontab's standard locations for Daily, Hourly,Weekly and Monthly cronjobs:

a) Daily set cron jobs are in:


b) Hourly set cron jobs:


c) Weekly cron jobs are in:


d) Monthly cron jobs:


There is also a location read by crontab for all Software (package distribution) specific cronjobs – all run under root user privileges.:

e) Software specific script cron jobs are in:

As the system has about 327 users in /etc/passwd, checking each user's cronjob manually with:

# crontab -u UserName -l

was too much time consuming thus it is a good practice to list


directory and to see which users has cron jobs defined


# ls -al /var/spool/cron/*
-rw——- 1 root root 11 2007-07-09 17:08 /var/spool/cron/deny

total 0
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 80 2014-05-22 11:15 .
drwx—— 4 root root 120 2008-02-25 15:45 ..
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 0 2014-05-22 04:15 cron.daily

total 8
drwx—— 2 root root 72 2014-04-03 03:43 .
drwx—— 4 root root 120 2008-02-25 15:45 ..
-rw——- 1 root root 4901 2014-04-03 03:43 root

/var/spool/cron – is crond (/usr/bin/cron/)'s spool directory.

# ls -al /var/spool/cron/tabs/ total 8
drwx------ 2 root root 72 2014-04-03 03:43 .
drwx------ 4 root root 120 2008-02-25 15:45 ..
-rw------- 1 root root 4901 2014-04-03 03:43 root

Above output shows only root superuser has defined crons.

Alternative way to check all user crontabs is via quick Linux one liner shell script show all user cron jobs

for i in $(cat /etc/passwd | sed -e "s#:# #g" | awk '{ print $1 }'); do
echo "user $i --- crontab ---";
crontab -u $i -l 2>&1 >/dev/null;
echo '----------';

Note that above short script has to run with root user. Enjoy 🙂

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 😉

Installing XMMS on Debian Squeeze from a Package / Installing XMMS on Debian – the debian way

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

installing xmms on debian squeeze linux playing free software song green skin screenshot

I use Debian Linux for my desktop for quite some time; Even though there are plenty of MP3 / CD players around in Debian, I’m used to the good old XMMS, hence I often prefer to use XMMS to play my music instead of newer players like RhythmBox or audacious.
Actually audacious is not bad substitute for XMMS and is by default part of Debian but to me it seems more buggy and tends to crash during playing some music formats more than xmms ….

As most people might know, XMMS is no longer supported in almost all modern Linux distributions, so anyone using Debian, Ubuntu or other deb derivative Linux would have to normally compile it from source.
Compiling from source is time consuming and I think often it doesn’t pay back the effort. Thanksfully, though not officially supported by Debian crew XMMS still can be installed using a deb xmms prebuilt package repository kindly provided by a hacker fellow knuta.

Using the pre-build deb packages, installing xmms on new Debian installs comes to:

debian:~# echo 'deb ./' >> /etc/apt/sources.list
debian:~# echo 'deb-src ./' >> /etc/apt/sources.list
debian:~# apt-get update && apt-get -y install xmms

There are also deb xmms built for Ubuntu, so Ubuntu users could install xmms using repositories:

deb ./
deb-src ./
That’s all now xmms is ready to use. Enjoy 🙂

How to search text strings only in hidden files dot (.) files within a directory on Linux and FreeBSD

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

If there is necessity to look for a string in all hidden files with all sub-level subdirectories (be aware this will be time consuming and CPU stressing) use:

hipo@noah:~$ grep -rli 'PATH' .*


Sometimes its necessery to only grep for variables within the first-level directories (lets say you would like to grep a 'PATH' variable set, string within the $HOME directory, the command is:

hipo@noah:~$ grep PATH .[!.]*

.profile:export PATH
.profile:# set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists
.profile: PATH="$HOME/bin:$PATH"
.profile.language-env-bak:# set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists
.profile.language-env-bak: PATH="$HOME/bin:$PATH"
.viminfo:?/PATH.xcyrillic: XNLSPATH=/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/nls
.xcyrillic: export XNLSPATH

The regular expression .[!.]*, means exclude any file or directory name starting with '..', e.g. match only .* files

Note that to use the grep PATH .[!.]* on FreeBSD you will have to use this regular expression in bash shell, the default BSD csh or tsch shells will not recognize the regular expression, e.g.:

grep PATH '.[!.]*'
grep: .[!.]*: No such file or directory

Hence on BSD, if you need to look up for a string within the home directory, hidden files: .profile .bashrc .bash_profile .cshrc run it under bash shell:

freebsd# /usr/local/bin/bash
[root@freebsd:/home/hipo]# grep PATH .[!.]*

.bash_profile:# set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists
.bash_profile:# PATH=~/bin:"${PATH}"
.bash_profile:# do the same with …

Another easier to remember, alternative grep cmd is:

hipo@noah:~$ grep PATH .*
.profile:export PATH
.profile:# set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists
.profile: PATH="$HOME/bin:$PATH"

Note that grep 'string' .* is a bit different in meaning, as it will not prevent grep to match filenames with names ..filename1, ..filename2 etc.
Though grep 'string' .* will work note that it will sometimes output some unwanted matches if filenames with double dot in the beginning of file name are there …
That's all folks 🙂

How to change MySQL server root password

Friday, July 29th, 2011

MySQL pass dialog Debian

I had to change my mysql root password for one of the servers since during the install I mispasted the password in the MySQL password prompt I needed the pwd to be changed.

Here is how I changed it to my desired one:

linux:~# /usr/bin/mysqladmin -u root -p'OLD_PASSWORD_STRING' password NEW_PASSWORD_STRING

The password gets changed immediately 😉

If a new password has to be set to a passwordless mysql server, the command to be issued is:

linux:~# /usr/bin/mysqladmin -u root password PASSWORD_STRING

Changing the MySQL password is also possible with mysql cli, after connecting to the sql server, though this method is a bit more time consuming. Here is how to do it from mysql console:

linux:~# mysql -u root -p
Server version: 5.1.49-3 (Debian)

Copyright (c) 2000, 2010, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
This software comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY. This is free software,
and you are welcome to modify and redistribute it under the GPL v2 license

Type ‘help;’ or ‘h’ for help. Type ‘c’ to clear the current input statement.
mysql> use mysql;
mysql> update user set password=PASSWORD(“NEW_PASSWORD”) where User=’root’;mysql> flush privileges;

Of course it’s possible to do change the root pass via phpmyadmin
Cheers 😉

How to add (.srt , .sub) subtitles to .flv flash movie video on Linux

Friday, April 15th, 2011

If you're on Linux the questions like, how can I convert between video and audio formats, how to do photo editing etc. etc. have always been a taugh question as with it's diversity Linux often allows too many ways to do the same things.

In the spirit of questioning I have been recently curious, how can a subtitles be added to a flash video (.flv) video?

After some research online I've come up with the below suggested solution which uses mplayer to do the flash inclusion of the subtitles file.

mplayer your_flash_movie.flv -fs -subfont-text-scale 3

While including the subtitles to the .flv file, it's best to close up all the active browsers and if running something else on the desktop close it up.
Note that above's mplayer example for (.srt and .sub) subtitle files example is only appropriate for a .flv movie files which already has a third party published subtitle files.

What is interesting is that often if you want to make custom subtitles to let's say a video downloaded from Youtube on Linux the mplayer way pointed above will be useless. Why?

Well the Linux programs that allows a user to add custom subtitles to a movie does not support the flv (flash video) file format.

My idea on how to create custom subtitles and embed them into a flv movie file is very simple and it goes like this:

1. Convert the .flv file format to let's say .avi or .mpeg
2. Use gnome-subitles or subtitleeditor to create the subtitles for the .avi or .mpeg file
3. Convert back the .avi/.mpeg file with included subtitles to .flv (flash video format)

This methodology is really long and time consuming, but pitily as far as my understanding goes it's the only way to do that on your Linux until now.

To make the conversations between .flv and .avi format you will need to use the ffmpeg – (FFMpeg command line tool video converter), here is how:

– Convert .flv to .avi

debian:~# /usr/bin/ffmpeg -i input_flvfilename.flv output_avifilename.avi

– Convert .avi file to .flv

debian:~# /usr/bin/ffmpeg -y -i /path/to/your/avi/input_avifilename.avi -acodec mp3 -ar 22050 -f flv

The required overall tools which you will have to have installed on your Debian or Ubuntu Linux are:

1. ffmpeg
2. gnome-subtitles
3. subtitleeditor
4. mplayer

You will also have to spend some time to get to know gnome-subtitles or subtitleeditor, but it won't be that long until you get the idea on how to use them.