Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Things to install on newly installed GNU / Linux (My favourite must have Linux text and GUI programs missing in fresh Linux installs)

Thursday, September 7th, 2017


On every next computer I use as a Desktop or Laptop, I install with Debian GNU / Linux I install the following bunch of extra packages in order to turn the computer into a powerful Multimedia, User, Sys Admin army knife tools, A Programmer desktop and Hacker / Penetration Testing security auditting station.

The packages names might vary less or more across various Debian releases and should be similar or the same in Ubuntu / Linux Mint and the rest of Deb based distribtuions.

Also some of the package names might given in the article might change from time of writting this article just like some  already changed in time from a release to release, nomatter that the general list is a collection of packages I have enjoyed for the last 8 years. And I believe anyone who is new to GNU / Linux and  or even some experienced free software users in need of  full featured computer system for remote system administration purposes or general software development and even small entertainment such as Movie Watching or Playing some unsophisticated basic games to kill some time might benefit from the list of programs collected from my experience as a Free Software GNU / Linux users over the last 12 years or so.

So here we go as you might know, once you have a Debian GNU / Linux, first thing to do is to add some extra repositories in /etc/apt/sources.list

For example my debian 9 Stretch sources.list looks like this:

cp -rpf /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list-bak

vim /etc/apt/sources.list

And delete / substitute everything within with something as following:

deb stretch main non-free
deb-src stretch main

deb stretch-updates main
deb-src stretch-updates main

deb stretch/updates main
deb-src stretch/updates main

deb stretch/updates main contrib
deb-src stretch/updates main contrib

deb stretch contrib

If you're using an older Debian release for example debian 7 or 8, the sources.list codename stretch word should be changed to wheezy for legacy debian 7 or jessie for debian 8, do it respectively for any future or older Deb releases.

Then proceed and update all current installed packages to their latest release with:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

If you're running on a very old Debian GNU / Linux release , you might encounter errors from above cmds, if that's your case just follow the online guides and update to a newer still supported Deb release.

Once all this is done assuming you have connected to the internet via LAN network or if on a laptop via Wireless, here are some useful stuff to install especially if you're planning to use your computer effectively in both console and graphics environment.


1. Install some basic packages necessery if you're planning to be using compilers on the freshly installed GNU / linux

apt-get install –yes gcc autoconf build-essential fakeroot devscripts equivs libncurses5-dev g++ make libc6-dev fontconfig gdc

The most notable package here is build-essential it provides the following collection of C / C++ programs on Deb package based distributions Debian / Ubuntu / Mint etc.

  1. libc6-dev – C standard library.
  2. gcc – C compiler.
  3. g++ – C++ compiler.
  4. make – GNU make utility to maintain groups of programs.
  5. dpkg-dev – Debian package development tools.

2. Install w3m lynx elinks text browsers

apt-get install –yes lynx elinks w3m-img w3m

3. Install wireless and networking tools

apt-get install  –yes tcpdump vnstat wpasupplicant wpagui dnsutils

4. Install Network sniffing, penetration testing and network evaluation tools

apt-get install  –yes wireshark nmap zenmap sniffit iptraf iptraf-ng tshark dsniff netsniff-ng netwox netwag sslsniff darkstat kismet netcat ngrep hashcat hydra hydra-gtk ophcrack ophcrack-cli


wiresharkGUI network traffic analyzer

nmapnmap port mapper and security audit tool

zenmapGUI frontend to nmap

sniffitconsole text based basic packet sniffer and monitoring tool very used tool to sniff servers authenticatoins in the past

iptraf-ngNext Generation interactive colorful IP Lan mointor

tsharkanother network traffic analyzer console version

dsniffVarious tools to sniff network traffic for cleartext insecurities

netsniff-ngLinux network packet sniffer toolkit

netwoxProvides more than 200 tools to solve network problems with DNS, FTP, HTTP, IRC, NNTP, SMTP, SNMP, SYSLOG, TELNET, TFTP

netwaggraphical frontend to netwox

sslsniff SSL/TLS man-in-the-middle attack tool

darkstatnetwork traffic analyzer

kismetwireless sniffer and monitor (very useful in the past for sniffing passwords on a Wi-Fi network)

netcatTCP / IP swiss army knife (good tool to listen and connect to local and remote ports)

ngrepgrep like tool for network traffic

hashcatClaims to be world's fastest and most advanced password recovery utility, capable of attacking more than 160 highly optimized hashing algorithms, supports CPU and GPU (using the video card CPU to enhance password cracking speed), also could be used for distributed password cracking

hydra Very fast network logon cracker, supports webforms works with dictionary attacks etc.

hydra-gtkGTK GUI version of Hydra

ophcrackMicrosoft Windows password cracker using rainbow tables GUI

ophcrack-cli Console version of Microsoft Windows password cracker using rainbow tables for speed



5. Install multimedia, entertainment few useful tools and other useful stuff

apt-get install –yes workrave xscreensaver xscreensaver-data xulrunner xutils zenity yelp zgv   tracker-utils alltray ant apt-utils bsdutils  aumix bwidget ca-certificates pulseaudio-module-jack aumix audacious ffmpeg bluefish bluefish-plugins blender blueman bluez cabextract bluez-firmware bsdmainutils dcraw dmidecode evtest file fonts-liberation fonts-stix fonts-uralic fonts-opensymbol fonts-lyx fonts-cantarell fuse gimp gimp-data-extras gimp-plugin-registry git gnupg gnupg2 imagemagick imwheel inkscape iw less 

bsdutils – Provides some nice old school programs such as :


wall – a program to write to every logged in user console, used in old times on time sharing servers to notify all users about sys admin planning for a reboot or for some other update activity

renice – allows to renice priority over already prioritized process with (nice command)

script – Allows you to do a recorder like saves of user activity on a console / terminal

logger – send logging output from programs to syslog 


alltray – A small program that allows you to bring to dock any program useful to make Thunderbird appear in Gnome / Mate / KDE Dock in a similar manner as Outlook does in m$ Windows

zgv – SVGAlib graphical (picture viewer) useful to view pictures from tty consoles

zenity – allows to display graphical dialog boxes by using shell scripts

aumix – Simple text based mixer control, useful to tune up sound values and mic recording volume from console

WorkRave – is a useful program to periodically remind you to stand out of the computer on a specified interval and shows you graphically some exercies to do to prevent your physical health to not deteriorate by standing all day immobilized

Bluefish – Is Advanced GTK+ HTML Editor useful if you're about to edit HTML / CSS and other Web files

dcraw – Decode raw digital images

dmidecode – Text program that reports your computer hardware

blueman, bluez – Programs to enable USB support on your Linux

evtest – evtest is a utility to monitor Linux input devices

file – little tool to determine file type based on "magic numbes"

fontsliberation – Fonts with same metrics as Times, Arial and Courier

6. Install Text based console Multimedia Mp3 / Mod / S3m players

apt-get install –yes mpg321 mpg123 cmus mp3blaster mplayer sox  ogg123 mikmod cplay cdcd cdck eject


mpg321, mpg123 Mp3 and Ogg Vorbis console player historically one of the earliest I used to play my music

cmus Another awesome ncurses menu based small music player

mp3blaster Full Screen ncurses text console mp3 and Ogg vorbis music player

mplayer An awesome old school (the defacto standard) and still one of the best Music and Video player for GNU / Linux

sox Swiss army knife of sound processing, contains (sox, play, rec and soxi commands), which could be used to play, rec and add effects to WAV and other popular old sound formats

ogg123 Play Ogg Vorbis .OGG Free encoding file format in console

mikmodThe most famous Tracker (S3M, MOD, IT) music player for *NIX, play the old soundtracker formats on your GNU / Linux

cplay – A really nice text front end to music players, the cool thing about it it shows how much is left for the song to over using ASCII

cdcd – play Audio CDs from console

eject – eject your CD Drive from console

cdck – tool to verify the quality of written CDs/DVDs


7. Install Games

apt-get install –yes xpenguins frozen-bubble alex4 bsdgames bb ninvaders blobwars btanks chromium-bsu criticalmass figlet freetennis njam swell-foop dreamchess extremetuxracer gltron gnuchess wesnoth njam wing nikwi dreamchess gltron gnome-games swell-foop aisleriot prboom


xpenguins – little penguins walk on your screen great to use as a screensaver

frozen-bubble – cool game with bubbles you have to pop out

blobwars – platform shooting game

njam – pacman like game with multiplayer support

extremetuxracer – 3D racing game featuring Tux the Linux penguin mascot

gltron – 3D remake of the good well known Tron Game

gnuchess – GNU remake of classic Chess game

wing – arcade Galaga like game for GNU / Linux

wesnoth – Fantasy turne based strategy game

dremachess – 3D chess game

swell-fool – Colored ball puzzle game

gnome-games – A collection of Games for the GNOME Desktop

nikwi – platform game with a goal to collect candies

aisleriot – GNOME solitaire card game 

prboom – PrBoom, a remake of the Doom 3d shooter classic game using SDL (supports OpenGL), to play it you will need WAD files if you don't have it install (doom-wad-shareware) package

figlet – Make large character ASCII banners out of ordinary provided text (just provide any text and get a nice ASCII picture out of it)


8. Install basic archivers such as rar, zip, arj etc.

apt-get install –yes zip unrar arj cpio p7zip unzip bzip2 file-roller


cpioGNU cpio, a program to manager archive files

bzip2BunZip2 block compressor decompressor utility (necessery to untar the .tar.bz2 tar balls)

unzipDe-archiver for .zip files console version

rar, unrarArchiver Unarchiver for .rar files in terminal / console (unfortunately non-free software)

file-rollerArchive manager for gnome

gpg – gnu privacy guard to be able to generate gpg keys


If you're looking for an advanced file archive, dearchive software GUI that be a substitute for Windows WinRar,  WinZip there is also the proprietary software PeaZip for Linux, as I stay as much as possible away from non-free software I don't use PeaZip though. For me file-roller's default GNOME archiver / unarchiver does a pretty good job and if it fails someties I use the console versions of above programs

9. Install text and speech synthesizer festival freetts

apt-get install –yes festival festival-cmu festvox-kallpc16k festvox-ru mbrola-en1 speech-dispatcher-festival freetts flite yasr gnupg2


FestivalIs the general multi-lingual speech synthesis system

yasris a basic console screen reader program

flitea small run time speech synthesis engine alternative to festival, another free software synthesis tool based built using FestVox


Festival is great if you want to listen to text files and can easily be used to convert basic PDFs or DOC files to listen them if you're lazy to read I've explained on how you can use festival to read speak for you PDFs and DOCs, ODF (Open Document Format) here

10. Install linux-header files for latest installed Debian kernel

apt-get install –yes linux-headers-$(uname -r)

You will need that package if you need to compile external usually DRM (Digital Rights Management)  external modules that could be loaded to current Debian precompiled kernel, I recommend you abstain from it since most of the modules are DRMed and doesn't respect your freedom.

11. Install GUI programs and browsers

apt-get install –yes gnome-themes-standard gnome-themes-standard-data epiphany-browser dconf-tools gnome-tweak-tool

epiphany-browserIntuitive GNOME web browser (I love this browser, though sometimes Crashing I prefer to use it as it is really fast and lightweight I think Mac OS's Safari has been partially based on its programming code)

dconf-tools Dconf is a low-level key / value database designed for storing desktop environment variables (provides dconf-editor – which allows you to tune tons of gnome settings tunable only through this database it is something like Windows regedit registry editor tool but for GNOME)

gnome-themes-standard / gnome-themes-standard-data The name says it all it provides beautiful gnome standard themes

gnome-tweak-tool Graphic tool to adjust many advanced configuration settings in GNOME in GNOME 3.2, many of the old GNOME 3.0 and 2.X capabilities such as Desktop icons or Computer on the Desktop and many more useful gnome capabilities you might be used for historically can be enabled through that handy tool, it is a must for the GNOME user

12. Install text and GUI mail clients

apt-get install –yes mutt fetchmail bsd-mailx mailutils thunderbird aspell-bg aspell-en aspell-ru

I use primary 3 languages Russian, Bulgarian and English, so by installing the 3 packages aspell-bg, aspell-en, aspell-ru, that would add a possiility for Thunderbird and LibreOffice to have ability to spell check your mails and ODF documents, if your native language is different or you speak different languages do run:

apt-cache search aspell 

And install whatever languages spell check support you need


13. Install filesystem mount, check and repair tools

apt-get install –yes ntfs-3g sshfs dosfstools ext3grep  e2fsprogs e2fsck-static growisofs  e2undel extundelete recover bleachbit


ntfs-3g – read / write NTFS driver support for FUSE (Filesystem in UserSpace) or in other words install these to be able to mount in read/write mode NTFS filesystems

sshfs – filesystem client based on SSH File Transfer Protocol, that little nitty tool enables you to mount remotely SSH Filesystems to your local Linux Desktop, it is also useful to install across servers if you need to remotely mount SSH Filesystems

e2fsprogs ext2 / ext3 / ext4 filesystem utilities to check, fix, tune, defragment resize and create etc. new filesystems  (provides crucial commands such as fsck.ext2, fsck.ext3, fsck.ext4, e2label, lsattr, chattr, resize2fs, mkfs.ext2, mkfs.ext3, mkfs.ext4 …)

dosfstoolstool giving you ability to check, create and diagnose DOS and Windows FAT 32 Filesystems provides commands such as dosfsck, mkdosfs, dosfslabel, fsck.msdos, fsck.vfat, mkfs.msdos

growisofs DVD+ RW / Read Only Recorder

ext3greptool to help recover deleted files on ext3 filesystems

e2undel Undelete utility for ext2 filesystems

14. Install emulators for PC OS Emuation (Qemu), DOS and Wine to run native Windows programs on GNU / Linux

apt-get install –yes qemu qemu-utils aqemu dosbox mame mame-extra os8 simh wine nestopia dgen


QemuVirtual Machine emulator with support UEFI firmware

Aqemu – Qemu QT VM GUI Frotend

Dosbox – Dos Emulator, great to have to play the good old DOS games on your GNU / Linux

Mame – Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, great if you want to play the old arcade games of your youth such as The Punisher, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Captain America, Robocop, Captain Commando, Wonderboy and so on the list goes on and on …

simh – PDP-1 PDP-4 PDP-7, PDP-9, PDP-10, PDP-11, PDP-15 HP 2100, IBM System 3, IBM 1620, Interdata, SDS, LGP-21, LGP-30, DEC VaX emulator

nestopia Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom Emulator

dgen – Sega MegaDrive GNU / Linux Emulator


15. Install Network Time protocol daemon and ntpdate (time synchronizing text client)

apt-get install –yes ntpdate ntp

16. Install Djview and CHM books reader

apt-get install –yes djview djview4 djvulibre-bin xchm kchmviewer chm2pdf

Install this packages to be able read DjView and CHM book formats

17. Install other text stuff

# Install text calculator I always prefer and use this console tool instead of the GUI gnome-calculator

apt-get install –yes bc

18. Install printing CUPs and printing utilities

apt-get install –yes cups-client cups-daemon cups-server-common hplip hplip-data printer-driver-hpcups printer-driver-hpijs ghostscript 

A bunch of packages for your Linux Deskto po properly support printing, you might need to install some extra packages depending on the type of printer you need to use, perhaps you will have to take few minutes probably to configure CUPs.

19. Install text monitoring tools

apt-get install –yes htop atop  dnstop  iftop iotop  jnettop ntopng  pktstat  powertop  sntop mariadb-client  iotop  itop jnettop kerneltop logtop
pgtop powertop


htop – More interactive colorful process viewer similar to top

atop – Monitor for system resources and process activity

dnstop – Console tool for analyze DNS traffic

iftop displays bandwidth usage information on a chosen network interface

iotopsimple top-like I/O (I / O) information output by the Linux kernel

jnettopView hosts / ports taking up the most network traffic

ntopng High-Speed Web-based Traffic analysis and Flow Collection tool

pktstat top like utility for network connections usage

powertop tool to diagnose issues with power consumption and management (useful for Linux running laptops)

sntop A ncurses-based utility that polls hosts to determine connectivity

mariadb-clientthis is the new name for the old mytop / mtop MySQL top package

kerneltop shows Linux kernel usage in a style like top

pgtop Show PostgreSQL queries in a top like style

lograte real time log line rate analyzer


20. Install text command line tools for transferring data from Web sites and FTP

apt-get install –yes curl wget lftp filezilla gftp transmission linuxdcpp

curl command line tool for transferring data with URL syntax

wget tool to retrvie files and html from the web

lftp sophisticated command-line FTP/HTTP/BitTorrent client program

filezilla Full-featured graphical FTP/FTPS/SFTP client

gftp X/GTK+ and console FTP client

transmission lightweight Bittorrent client

linuxdcpp – Port of the Windows file-sharing program DC++


21. Install text based communication programs

apt-get install –yes irssi freetalk centerim finch


Irssi Great console IRC chat client with support for encryption

FreeTalk console based jabber client

centerim Console based ICQ client

finch – Multi protocol Text console client for AIM/ICQ, Yahoo!, MSN, IRC, Jabber / XMPP / Google Talk Sametime, MySpaceIM, Napster, Zephyr, Gadu-Gadu, Bonjour, GroupWise


22. Install Apache Webserver and MySQL

This two are necessery if you're about to use your computer as a PHP / MySQL develment station

apt-get install –yes mysql-server phpmyadmin apache2 libapache2-mod-php php-pear php php-mysql  ant ant-contrib apache2-dev apache2-ssl-dev


mysql-server MySQL community edition

ant Java based build tool like make (necessery for building many third party apache modules and code)

libapache2-mod-php5the php module loaded into apache

phpmyadminWebtool admin to manage your MySQL database


23. Install mouse support for consoles

apt-get install –yes gpm


gpm is the general purpose mouse interface, if you want to have support for your mouse in TTY consoles (the ones you go to with CTRL + ALT + F2, CTRL + ALT + F3 and so on install it).


24. Install various formats converter tools

apt-get install –yes html2text pdf2djvu unoconv oggconvert webkit2pdf img2pdf gsscan2pdf netpbm dir2ogg soundconverter


gsscan2pdfGUI program to produce PDF or DJVU from scanned documents

img2pdfLossless conversion of raster images to PDF

webkit2pdfexport web pages to PDF files or printer

html2textAdvanced HTML to text converter

oggcconvert – convert media files to free format 

netpbmGraphics conversion tools between image formats

dir2ogg – converts MP3, M4A, WMA, FLAC, WAV files and Audio CDs to the open-source OGG format.

soundconverter – GNOME application to convert audio files into other formats


There are probably a lot of more handy packages that other Free Software users like to install to make the GNU / Linux desktop notebook even more entertaining and fulfillful for daily work. If you can think of other useful packages not mentioned here you tend to use on a daily basis no matter where Debian based or other distro, please share that would help me too to learn a new thing and I'll be greateful.

Enjoy !

UPDATE: If you get errors with missing packages, just delete them out of the apt-get lines. The reason is some packages are beying removed from .deb repositories or the software package name has changed due to some reason.

Install Microsoft Office 2007 on Debian Linux 7.0 Wheezy

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Install Microsoft Office 2007 on Debian GNU / Linux Wheezy / Debian and Microsoft Office logo

Here is few steps I followed to install succesfully on my recently installed Debian stable Wheezy Linux.

1. Install Wine and Winetricks

linux:~# apt-get install --yes winetricks wine

2. Download Microsoft XML support – msxml3.msi

Download URL for MS XML from CNET is here

For simplicity I've mirrored msxml3.msi .
linux:~$ cd ~/.cache/winetricks/msxml3/
linux:~/.cache/winetricks/msxml3$ wget -q
linux:~/cache/winetricks/msxml3$ winetricks msxml3

3. Insert Microsoft Office 2007 CD or  ISO

To Mount it you need to go in root shell:

To mount CD;

linux:~# mount -t iso9660 -o unhide /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom

To mount MS Office 2007 from ISO file:

linux:~# mkdir /mnt/ISO
linux:~# mount -t iso9660 -o loop /mnt/ISO/

4. Launch MS Office installation with WINE emulator

linux:~# wine /mnt/ISO/

microsoft office 2007 on debian linux installation in progress

Follow normal installations steps Install and Enjoy.

To start Microsoft Office further follow menus:

Applications -> Wine -> Programs -> Microsoft Office

Install latest WINE – Win Emulator unstable version on Debian stable Linux

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

wine emulator logo install wine on Debian GNU / Linux

Installing latest stable version of wine is only possible and safe via deb repository on 32 bit Debian archtecture.

Whether not sure about your Debian architecture run:

linux:~# dpkg --add-architecture i386 To install latest unstable version of wine which though unstable is often much useful to its stable predecessors add wine-unstable repository linux:~# wget -q -O- | apt-key add -

Finally install / update (whether installed) with:

linux:~# apt-get update
linux:~# apt-get --yes install wine-unstable:i386

Enjoy ! 🙂

How to Enable Open files with Microsoft Office Word 2003 in GNOME nautilus on Linux

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

how to addmicrosoft office to linux gui ms word logo with linux tux mascot in GNOME desktop nautiilus

Do you work with Linux and need communicate via e-mail with people sending you Microsoft Doc files created with Microsoft Office Word?

Do you end up with crappy (not identicaly looking) .doc files, after editing with Open Office and mailing back to Windows users, using Microsoft Office (Word)?

I experienced this many time and though it is not completely Open Office fault it is hard to explain or convince others to simply switch to Libre Office and distribute text in .ODT. Also pitily,  most computer users are much below the avarege level and too used to MS Office, so it is hardly possible  to change their bad habits (I try that with my co-students in Anrhem Business School) and I tell you from experience it is not possible …

I use GNU / Linux  as main Desktop operating system for  10 years now and for my work and studying, it is common the colleagues send me files in MS Word .DOC format. Usually I use OpenOffice to read and edit them and send back. However, not all formatted .doc files looks later nice in MS Word 2003 / 2007. Thus I have also a Native Microsoft Office 2003 installed on my Debian Linux running through – WINE Windows emulator.

Often, when I want to be sure a received MS .DOC file should be displaying exactly the same on MS Windows OS – to (avoid collegues criticism). I open the document using wine emulated Microsoft Office 2003.

Most of the MS .doc files are received over e-mail (I use as pop3 client Icedove- Mozilla Thunderbird), so I save them further on my hard disk and need to read / modifythem.
It is rather inconvenient and time inefficient to start Microsoft Office from gnome-terminal and type in below long command in order to edit .docs:

wine ~/.wine/drive_c/"Program Files"/"Microsoft Office"/OFFICE11/WINWORD.EXE

Thus I wanted a more convenient, easy way to be able to directly open .doc files with emulated Microsoft Word from GUI on my Debian Linux notebook.
This is possible using a nautilus plugin tool called nautilus-scripts-manager. Earlier I blogged about how to make extracting PDF to images possible with nautilus-scripts-manager, in the exactly same manner of logic is possible to add as many processing scripts to be available for invokement via the Scriptsnautilus scripts Properties menu.

Here is how to add MS Word to nautilus GNOME menus:

1. Install nautilus-scripts-manager (if not already installed)

debian:~# apt-get install --yes nautilus-scripts-manager

2. Create ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/ directory

(~/ is shortcut for /home/yourusername/) – To add it globally for all users, one has to create the same .gnome2/nautilus-scripts/ directory with respective scripts for all existing users on host.

mkdir ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/

3. Create ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/ MS Word launcher script

  Edit ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/ and add  like following 2 liners script: (note the paths to WINWORD.EXE might vary depending on exact Microsoft Office installed version:

wine ~/.wine/drive_c/"Program Files"/"Microsoft Office"/OFFICE11/WINWORD.EXE "$1"

You can also download nautilus script here

Further on once placed, make script executable:

noah:~$ chmod +x ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/

Onwards it is possible to open .doc files from Nautilus Scripts Manager menu press on the .doc file with last mouse button and choose Scripts :

open doc files with Microsoft Word 2003 nautilus script manager on GNU Linux and FreeBSD My GNOME env is configured in Bulgarian language so on below script you see the bulgarian translated word for Scripts (Скриптове).

screenshot of random  open doc file with microsoft word 2003 nautilus script manager on my Debian GNU / Linux

Right now I don't have at hand FreeBSD, and I'm not sure if nautilus-scripts-manager is available with FreeBSD gnome so, if someone has tested this and can confirm this works on FreeBSD drop a comment please.

Well that's all enjoy easily opening your .doc files with Microsoft Office on Linux.

Converting JPEG Images to ASCII Art text (picture) in Microsoft Windows (2000 / XP / Vista / 7)

Friday, May 18th, 2012

A friend of mine, just mentioned about a program ASCIIPic – capable of converting graphic images in JPEG to plain text ASCII in Microsoft Windows OSes.
Yesterday I blogged about caca-utils (img2txt) – console tool to convert picture graphics to plain text ASCII , so knowing of the Windows freeware ASCIIPic existence catched my attention and I decided to give it a try to get idea what is situation with Images to ASCII text convertion in Windows? 🙂.

1. Generating ASCII from JPEG images with ASCII Pic

As I don't have a Microsoft Windows OS at hand, I downloaded it and run it on my Debian notebook with WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) MS-Windows emulator.

For my surprise the program run succesfuly its GUI interface and worked pretty smooth even emulated on Linux.

ASCII Pic 2.0 JPG PNG GIF to ASCII text MS Windows Convertor screenshot

As of time of writting, the latest version of the freeware program available is 2.0. You see in above screenshot the program is pretty intutive to use. You select an Input file, an Output file and you're ready to Process the image to TXT.
One small note to make here is the program couldn't recognize as Input files images in PNG or GIF formats, it seems the only image formats the program recognizes as input are JPEG and BMP.

ASCII Pic Windows image to ASCII program picture shot

The converted images to ASCII results are quite unsatisfactory, I tried converting few pictures originally in size 1024×768 but the produced ASCII was messy huge (the program didn't automatically set height / width dimensions to 60×80 and therefore, when I revied the produced pictures, they were very ugly and hardly readable. It could be the same image looks better if reviewed in MS-Windows Notepad but I seriously doubt that …

I thought some improvement to the produced ASCII image might be possible from the app options so I played around with the Zoom, Negation, Brightness and Monochrome options, none of them had a drastic change on the output. Using any of the program options didn't make the output TXT "image" to look closer riginal JPEGs..

ASCII Pic 2.0 Windows picture to ASCII Program options screenshot

ASCII Pic official website contains a number of other tiny tools, like WinKill and RemoteShut, however most of the tools are already too obslete and useless just like ASCII Pic

If I have to compare ASCIIPic produced ASCII Images to libcaca's Linux img2txt, asciipic's ASCII images are a piece of crap.

2. jp2a command line tool image to ASCII generator

As of time of writting a good alternative program I found for Windows is jp2a
jp2a is a free GPL-ed software available for all major operating system architectures Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, Windows.
jp2a is a command line tool and lacks any GUI interface but if compared to ASCII Pic the output ASCII image is awesome.

jp2a Windows binary can be downloaded from here , also I've made a mirror of windows jp2a bin in case if it disappears here

3. ASCII Generator 2 (asc2gen) – Windows GUI Images to ASCII generator

ASC 2 Gen is actually the best I can find program to convert images to ascii in Win as of time of writting.
Just like img2txt it generates pretty decent looking text images.

ASC2Gen failed to run emulated on my Linux host with wine version 1.0.1, hence to test it I used a a Windows host via teamviewer.

Below are few screenshots illustrating most of the options ASCII2GEN provides:

asc2gen Microsoft Windows image to ascii generator inverted penguins screenshot

asc2gen penguins in inverted color set (black color text background)

ASC2Gen backhead penguins ascii picture screenshot

ASC2GEN flipped backhed generated image to ASCII

ascii2gen generate images to ascii in colors Microsoft Windows shot

Picture to ASCII text converted with ASCII colors

Dithering Windows image to ascii text generated picture ASCII

ascii2gen dithering level option shot

asc2gen jpeg, png, gif to plain text ascii brightness contrast screenshot pic

asc2gen contrast / brigthness atune shot

ascii2gen penguins converted images to plain text inverted with capital letters for picture

asc2gen save as options shot

Something else nice is it supports a lot of image file formats as input including (BMP and GIF) images.
I've also made a mirror of asc2gen v. 2.0.0 here

While researching online, I found plenty of other Image to ASCII geneartors, however as I didn't tested them I can't say if they are  better ones.
Anyways I will be happy to hear if anyone knows other good ASCII generator alternative progs for Winblows?

Finally TeamViewer 7 release for GNU / Linux is available

Thursday, March 29th, 2012


TeamViewer 7 Debian GNU / Linux released, my desktop screenshot

After a long time of inavailability, finally TeamViewer 7 for GNU / Linux is out!

Here is the short TeamViewer 7 Linux release note :

In our TeamViewer download area you will now find TeamViewer 7 for Linux.
The final version includes a selection of new features for Linux, e. g. an integrated screenshot feature and the possibility of saving individual connection settings per computer.
You can now establish cross platform connections with other computers running version 7 and hold online meetings and presentations with up to 25 participants.

We wish you best continued success with TeamViewer!

Well, guys it was about time, even later than that… Until now I've so many times experienced troubles with Windows machines which I had to administrate remotely and they only had a TeamViewer 7 installed (a real, real pain in the ass).

The issue comes cause TeamViewer 6 is incompatible with 7 and just until very recently only TV 6 for Linux was available, so trying to access a 7 install directly from Linux was impossible.
Hence to access TeamViewer 7 Windows install, I had to use either a fresh Windows copy with TeamViewer 7 installed or a Virtual Machine like (Qemu, VirtualBox) with Windows version installed in it.
Often back then, when I had to fix remotely a Windows machine behind a firewall, I had to instruct the machine owners to replace the TeamViewer 7 with TeamViewer 6 in order to be able to easily access the remote host from my Debian Linux.

I still remember, it was quite a stuggle to find a link to a Windows .exe install file for TeamViewer 6.

Now thanksfully, TeamViewer guys are starting to make it easier for the user who would for some reason want to stick to older TV version.
I've noticed on TeamViewer's website there is already a new TeamViewer download page offering for download all the old teamviewer version – 1.x, 2.x, 3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x

One example, where old teamviewer release is useful is if you want to run teamviewer on older hardware or old OS (MS Windows 98 or old Linux distro).

I've made a mirror of teamviewer 6 for Debian / Ubuntu amd 32 and 64 bit versions along with all the OS available TeamViewer version 6 and 7, for the sake of preserving it if one day link to old versions of Teamviewer disappear from their website.

Here are the TeamViewer mirrored files:

Below you see a screenshot of teamviewer 7 running on my Debian Squeeze 🙂

TeamViewer 7 Debian GNU / Linux released, my desktop screenshot

It is great teamviewer produced a Linux working application, however if you run it you realize just like the previous releases TeamViewer is not natively supposed (compiled) to run on GNU / Linux OS but uses wine (windows emulator) to launch through…
Instead of porting the application to be natively for the Linux distros once again with this new release, teamviewer developers just "hacked" it to run on top of windows emulation. Though this is working its performance, is probably a bit degraded and it depends on having install on the Linux host a bunch of useless packages which wine depends on.
Besides that even if it "works" on Linux , TeamViewer has still non-free software essense. I still use it because unfortunately, I don't know of a better remote access program capable to connect to servers behind NAT / machines located behind a tight firewalled routers.
If only (I knew of?) a TeamViewer free software / open source equivalent
I will be glad to hear if someone know a (free software / open source) TeamViewer like program able to access remote hosts with no a real (public inet) IP address?P.S.: By similar TV program I don't mean VNC, UltraVNC and this kind of other VNC derivative programs but mean close TeamViewer alternative.

How to install VirtualBox Virtual Machine to run Windows XP on Ubuntu Linux (11.10)

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

My beloved sister was complaining games were failing to properly be played with wine emulator , therefore I decided to be kind and help her by installing a Windows XP to run inside a Virtual Machine.My previous install experiments with running MS Windows XP on Linux was on Debian using QEMU virtualmachine emulator.
However as Qemu is a bit less interactive and slower virtualmachine for running Windows (though I prefer it for being completely free software), this time I decided to install the Windows OS with Virtualbox.

My hope was using VirtualBox would be a way easier but I was wrong… I've faced few troubles and I thought many people who initially try to install Virtualbox VM to run Windows on Ubuntu and other Debian based Linux distros will probably experience the same problems as mine, so here is how this article was born.

Here is what I did to have a VirtualBox OS emulator to run Windows XP SP2 on Ubuntu 11.10 Linux

1. Install Virtualbox required packages with apt

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install virtualbox virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-guest-dkms root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install virtualbox-ose-dkms virtualbox-guest-utils virtualbox-guest-x11

If you prefer more GUI or lazy to type commands, the Software Package Manager can also be used to straight install the same packages.
virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-guest-dkms packages are the two which are absolutely necessery in order to enable VirtualBox to support installing Microsoft Windows XP. DKMS modules are also necessery to be able to emulate some other proprietary (non-free) operating systems.
The DKMS packages provide a source for building Vbox guest (OS) additional kernel modules. They also require the kernel source to be install otherwise they fail to compile.

Failing to build the DKMS modules will give you error every time you try to create new VirtualMachine container for installing a fresh Windows XP.
The error happens if the two packages do not properly build the vboxdrv extra Vbox kernel module while the Windows XP installer is loaded from a CD or ISO. The error to pop up is:

Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)

The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver (vboxdrv) is either not loaded or there is a permission problem with /dev/vboxdrv. Please reinstall the kernel module by executing

VirtualBox vboxdrv not loaded error Ubuntu Screen

To fix the error:

2. Install latest Kernel source that corresponds to your current kernel version

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`

Next its necessery to rebuild the DKMS modules using dpkg-reconfigure:

3. Rebuild VirtualBox DKMS deb packages

root@ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-dkms
root@ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-guest-dkms
root@ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-ose-dkms

Hopefully the copilation of vboxdrv kernel module should complete succesfully.
To test if all is fine just load the module:

4. Load vboxdrv virtualbox kernel module

root@ubuntu:~# modprobe vboxdrv

If you get some error during loading, this means vboxdrv failed to properly compile, try read thoroughfully what the error is and fix it) ;).

As a next step the vboxdrv has to be set to load on every system boot.

5. Set vboxdrv to load on every Ubuntu boot

root@ubuntu:~# echo 'vboxdrv' >> /etc/modules

I am not sure if this step is required, it could be /etc/init.d/virtualbox init script automatically loads the module, anyways putting it to load on boot would do no harm, so better do it.

That's all now, you can launch VirtualBox and use the New button to initiate a new Virtual Machine, I will skip explaining how to do the configurations for a Windows XP as most of the configurations offered by default would simply work without any tampering.

After booting the Windows XP installer I simply followed the usual steps to install Windows and all went smoothly.
Below you see a screenshot showing the installed Windows XP Virtualbox saved VM session. The screenshot letters are in Bulgarian as my sisters default lanaguage for Ubuntu is bulgarian 😉

VirtualBox installed MS Windows VM screenshot

I hope this article helps someone out there. Please drop me a comment if you experience any troubles with it. Cya 🙂

How to solve ALSA sound problems with old Linux programs and games depending on (OSS)’s /dev/dsp / fix wine games and pulseaudio problems – My few thoughts on OSS and ALSA

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012


ALSA OSS Pulseaudio ESD Some fixes workaround to gnu linux audio messI remember GNU / Linux, 11 years from now, times when ALSA was not standardly shipped with Linux.
Back then ALSA still lacked good support for many SoundCards and was still a "baby project".
In that time what we used to have sound on Linux was OSSOpen Sound System. OSS emerged right after the first ever Linux sound system VoxWare (formerly known as the Linux Sound Driver).

Back in those days OSS was used for multimedia support on both GNU / Linux and BSD based free OSes. It was few years later when I heard and used ALSA for a fist time and it wasn't really a love from first sigth.

One can easily find out by the name ALSA it is a system especially built for the Linux kernel and that's one of the reasosn why *BSD systems has their custom separate sound system.
There is plenty of reasons why OSS was substituted with ALSA. Main reason was its commercial like license, OSS wasn't completely "open source" GPLed (free software), there was resctions on use of OSS for commercial goals.

With its emerge ALSA started to push away OSS slowly. Somewhere in 2003, alsa has officially entered the Linux kernel source and until 2005 it was the default standard for all GNU / Linux operating systems.

As of time of writting ALSA has become the only sound system to have support for multiple sound card devices for Linux.
My experiences with ALSA, however ain't so nice if I take a look in my past experiences.
Since the very beginning of using ALSA, I had plenty of troubles with configuring properly my sound card not to mention, even after configuring it the MIDI support was not there.
Besides all the troubles main problems were stemming from the many applications still written to use OSS as sound system and hence with those sound was impossible with ALSA.The most problematic thing about apps written with OSS in mind was all of them tried to stream sound via /dev/dsp (OSS Digital Sound Processor), since alsa did not used /dev/dsp those programs was soundless.

On the other hand OSS was creating issues as well, one severe problem with OSS was the inability to stream multiple sounds simultaneously, because each sound stream required to pass voice through /dev/dsp and usually there was only one /dev/dsp.

The message;

/dev/dsp: Device or resource busy
and the proceeding irritation that used to annoy us in the early GNU / Linux days had of course some raw workarounds hacks but generally the workaround did not fix problems always.

Introduction of alsa free us from /dev/dsp issues but on the other handy has created a whole ocean of new BIG problems …
ALSA has modular structure and this imposes a great problem nowdays. The modular architecture is generally a good idea, however the way this was implemented within ALSA is far away from clear and easy to understand by the end user and therefore makes it very unintuitive and obscure.
Alsa misses simplicity which somehow was partially in the days of OSS. Thinking over the general situation with Linux multimedia nowdays, I believe it was exactly ALSA Project responsible for the so delayed mass Desktop Linux adoption.

Many long year standing Linux users had certainly had the alsa troubles during new system installs (correct me if I'm wrong).
The only fix to multiple soundcard initialization problems was to download alsa source and compile from source and hence made it hard and discouraging for people giving Linux a try.
This kind of ALSA "brokenness" pattern continues even to this very day (in Debian) Linux and probably building the alsa system from source is among the good practices to have a functional Linux sound system…

With all said the historic reason why ALSA was not quickly adopted and still is not a preferred default system for many applications ported to Free Software OSes by commercial company vendors is clear. Its simply not working out of the box …

Hope some ALSA developers will read this post work on changing the crazy structure of ALSA over complexity. ALSA needs automate way to solve issues with itself, the configuration should be more trivial and unified if Linux has to become more attractive for Desktop adoption.

Anyways, after the few words of history and indicating my pesonal observations on ALSA. I will proceed and explain few things on how ALSA can be configured to support and play nice with OSS dependant programs as well some basic explanations on common incompatibility between esd and pulseaudio and how this can be fixed;.

To assure nowdays OSS API built programs and games would work with Alsa its necessery to have installed;

ALSA wrapper for OSS applications

On Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and most Linux distributions the Alsa OSS compatability layer comes under a (deb / rpm) package named alsa-oss

To install OSS compatability on Debian, Ubuntu and the like Debian based distributions issue:

debian:~# apt-get install alsa-oss alsaplayer-oss

On Fedora and other rpm based distributions install is with:

[root@fedora ~]# yum install alsa-oss alsaplayer-oss

alsa-oss provides with a command called aoss that should be used to work around some issues with old applications still depending on OSS:

hipo@debian:~$ aoss programName

Using aoss is helpful especially in situations if you have to run programs which deal with MIDI and others which somehow want to use /dev/dsp

There is also alternative way to enable alsa native support for MIDI and OSS by loading 3 kernel modules:

debian:~# modprobe snd-seq-oss
debian:~# modprobe snd-pcm-oss
debian:~# modprobe snd-mixer-oss

Note! The three modules has to be separately build using kernel source at most cases and does not come with most Linux distributions, so on many installations (including my current), they will be missing. If for you they load properly or you have customly build them add them also to load on system boot, like so:

echo 'snd-seq-oss' >> /etc/modules
echo 'snd-pcm-oss' >> /etc/modules
echo 'snd-mixer-oss' >> /etc/modules

The Linux sound situation becomes even more messy when ESD enters the scene. Many of the novice new Linux users certainly don't remember (Enlightened Sound Daemon) . ESD historically preceded PulseAudio . Hence it will be good to mention ESD was used for few years in GNOME and in around 2006-2007 it was substituted by PulseAudio.
Many applications, however who was ported or written for Linux especially (the proprietary ported ones) was already built to work with ESD and even though newer GNOME releases was fully using pulseaudio, this (non free software apps and games) were still depending on ESD.

The situation was partially fixed by creation of module for pulseaudio which added emulation support for esd . This was done by a module library for pulseaudio called
The package for almost all Linux distributions which does the esd emulation via pulse is pulseaudio-esound-compat . In latest Fedora Linux pulseaudio-esound-compat is installed by default.
In Debian and other Linux distributions it might need to be installed via apt with;

debian:~# apt-get install pulseaudio-esound-compat

pulseaudio-esound-compat solves some of the ESD app incompability but not always …
Handy tool also worthy to mention in solving PulseAudio, OSS incompatibility issues is padsp

padsp is helpful in solving obsolete issues with OSS applications (trying to access /dev/dsp) and therefore unable to communicate with Pulseaudio
padsp – is a PulseAudio OSS Wrapper.

An example where padsp is helpful is in case of /dev/dsp errors like:

/dev/dsp: Device or resource busy
Could not open /dev/dsp

Another common problem with sound on Linux is when running windows applications (running windows games with wine).
Quite often sound fails to work since wine tries to directly communicate with alsa and fails because alsa sound channel is taken by pulseaudio.

To workaround wine issues with pulseaudio, one of the solutions is to temporary stop pulseaudio, before running the wine emulated application:

hipo@debian:~$ pulseaudio --kill

Later on when the windows wine emulation is completed, pulseaudio has to be started once again in order to make Pulseaudio applications produce sound again, e.g. one has to issue:

hipo@debian:~$ pulseaudio --start
Alternative way to workaround wine sound issues is by using a script to kill pulseaudio every second. Here is script

This script was reported by many people as fix to problems with wine games failing to play sounds and music, anyhow I personally prefer using the stop / start pulseaudio method.

The picture below is taken from Wikipedia and illustrates, clearly the intergalactical complexity of sound systems on Gnu / Linux and BSD

I just hope one day this (OSS, ALSA, esd, Pulseaudio) mess will be over! In the mean time I hope my suggested work arounds helps someone. If someone has a better more unified script or solution please share in comments

How to add repository manually from command line in Ubuntu Linux

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

I'm on a way trying to install Free Mega Games Pack and I'm facing troubles in following the instructions to add a the latest development wine version described on
The guys from WineHQ has to update the wine install instructions, since the instructions are targetting older versions of Ubuntu which are not compatible with newer Ubuntus which comes natively with Unity
In order to complete the step in adding the WineHQ Ubuntu PPA development repository my only way was to add it using command line.
Here is how:

root@ubuntu:~# apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
You are about to add the following PPA to your system:
Latest official WineHQ releases
Welcome to the Wine Team PPA. Here you can get the latest available Wine betas for every supported version of Ubuntu. This PPA is managed by Scott Ritchie, and is a replacement for the WineHQ repository used for Jaunty and earlier.
More info:
Press [ENTER] to continue or ctrl-c to cancel adding it
Executing: gpg --ignore-time-conflict --no-options --no-default-keyring --secret-keyring /tmp/tmp.bvo21sFWKG --trustdb-name /etc/apt/trustdb.gpg --keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg --primary-keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg --keyserver hkp:// --recv 883E8688397576B6C509DF495A9A06AEF9CB8DB0
gpg: requesting key F9CB8DB0 from hkp server
gpg: key F9CB8DB0: public key "Launchpad PPA for Ubuntu Wine Team" imported
gpg: no ultimately trusted keys found
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg: imported: 1 (RSA: 1)

Similarly adding a PPA repository on Debian is also possible by using a little shell script . simulates what ubuntu's apt-add-repositry python script does.

It is educative to mention PPA stands for (Personal package Archive) and the difference between normal repository and PPA is mainly in the fact that PPA repositories makes a package distributed by the repository like the native Ubuntu packages issued by Canonical.
Once for example a new version of a file is placed in PPA deb package repository, the newer package will be automatically installed to the system using it.