Posts Tagged ‘Ascii’

How to move transfer binary files encoded with base64 on Linux with Copy Paste of text ASCII encoded string

Monday, October 25th, 2021


If you have to work on servers in a protected environments that are accessed via multiple VPNs, Jump hosts or Web Citrix and you have no mean to copy binary files to your computer or from your computer because you have all kind of FTP / SFTP or whatever Data Copy clients disabled on remote jump host side or CITRIX server and you still are looking for a way to copy files between your PC and the Remote server Side.
Or for example if you have 2 or more servers that are in a special Demilitarized Network Zones ( DMZ ) and the machines does not have SFTP / FTP / WebServer or other kind of copy protocol service that can be used to copy files between the hosts and you still need to copy some files between the 2 or more machines in a slow but still functional way, then you might not know of one old school hackers trick you can employee to complete the copy of files between DMZ-ed Server Host A lets say with IP address ( -> Server Host B ( The way to complete the binary file copy is to Encode the binary on Server Host A and then, use cat  command to display the encoded string and copy whole encoded cat command output  to your (local PC buffer from where you access the remote side via SSH via the CITRIX or Jump host.). Then decode the encoded file with an encoding tool such as base64 or uuencode. In this article, I'll show how this is done with base64 and uuencode. Base64 binary is pretty standard in most Linux / Unix OS-es today on most Linux distributions it is part of the coreutils package.
The main use of base64 encoding to encode non-text Attachment files to Electronic Mail, but for our case it fits perfectly.
Keep in mind, that this hack to copy the binary from Machine A to Machine B of course depends on the Copy / Paste buffer being enabled both on remote Jump host or Citrix from where you reach the servers as well as your own PC laptop from where you access the remote side.


Base64 Encoding and Decoding text strings legend

The file copy process to the highly secured PCI host goes like this:

1. On Server Host A encode with md5sum command

[root@serverA ~]:# md5sum -b /tmp/inputbinfile-to-encode
66c4d7b03ed6df9df5305ae535e40b7d *inputbinfile-to-encode


As you see one good location to encode the file would be /tmp as this is a temporary home or you can use alternatively your HOME dir

but you have to be quite careful to not run out of space if you produce it anywhere 🙂


2. Encode the binary file with base64 encoding

 [root@serverB ~]:# base64 -w0 inputbinfile-to-encode > outputbin-file.base64

The -w0 option is given to disable line wrapping. Line wrapping is perhaps not needed if you will copy paste the data.


Base64 Encoded string chunk with line wrapping

For a complete list of possible accepted arguments check here.

3. Cat the inputbinfile-to-encode just generated to display the text encoded file in your SecureCRT / Putty / SuperPutty etc. remote ssh access client

[root@serverA ~]:# cat /tmp/inputbinfile-to-encode
EAAOAALAEAAHQAcAAYAAAAEAAA ……………………………………………………………… cTD6lC+ViQfUCPn9bs


4. Select the cat-ted string and copy it to your PC Copy / Paste buffer

If the bin file is not few kilobytes, but few megabytes copying the file might be tricky as the string produced from cat command would be really long, so make sure the SSH client you're using is configured to have a large buffer to scroll up enough and be able to select the whole encoded string until the end of the cat command and copy it to Copy / Paste buffer.


5. On Server Host B paste the bas64 encoded binary inside a newly created file

Open with a text editor vim / mc or whatever is available

[root@serverB ~]:# vi inputbinfile-to-encode

Some very paranoid Linux / UNIX systems might not have even a normal text editor like 'vi' if you happen to need to copy files on such one a useful thing is to use a simple cat on the remote side to open a new File Descriptor buffer, like this:

[root@server2 ~]:# cat >> inputbinfile-to-encode <<'EOF'
Paste the string here


6. Decode the encoded binary with base64 cmd again

[root@serverB ~]:# base64 –decode outputbin-file.base64 > inputbinfile-to-encode


7. Set proper file permissions (the same as on Host A)

[root@serverB ~]:#  chmod +x inputbinfile-to-encode


8. Check again the binary file checksum on Host B is identical as on Host A

[root@serverB ~]:# md5sum -b inputbinfile-to-encode
66c4d7b03ed6df9df5305ae535e40b7d *inputbinfile-to-encode

As you can md5sum match on both sides so file should be OK.


9. Encoding and decoding files with uuencode

If you are lucky and you have uuencode installed (sharutils) package is present on remote machine to encode lets say an archived set of binary files in .tar.gz format do:

Prepare the archive of all the files you want to copy with tar on Host A:

[root@Machine1 ~]:#  tar -czvf /bin/whatever /usr/local/bin/htop /usr/local/bin/samhain /etc/hosts archived-binaries-and-configs.tar.gz

[root@Machine1 ~]:# uuencode archived-binaries-and-configs.tar.gz archived-binaries-and-configs.uu

Cat / Copy / paste the encoded content as usual to a file on Host B:

Then on Machine 2 decode:

[root@Machine2 ~]:# uuencode -c < archived-binaries-and-configs.tar.gz.uu



In this short method I've shown you a hack that is used often by script kiddies to copy over files between pwn3d machines, a method which however is very precious and useful for sysadmins like me who has to admin a paranoid secured servers that are placed in a very hard to access environments.

With the same method you can encode or decode not only binary file but also any standard input/output file content. base64 encoding is quite useful stuff to use also in bash scripts or perl where you want to have the script copy file in a plain text format . Datas are encoded and decoded to make the data transmission and storing process easier. You have to keep in mind always that Encoding and Decoding are not similar to encryption and decryption as encr. deprytion gives a special security layers to the encoded that. Encoded data can be easily revealed by decoding, so if you need to copy between the servers very sensitive data like SSL certificates Private RSA / DSA key, this command line utility tool better to be not used for sesitive data copying.



ASCII Art studio – A powerful ASCII art editor for Windows / Playscii a cool looking text editor for Linux

Monday, June 28th, 2021

This post is just informative for Text Geeks who are in love with ASCII Art, it is a bit of rant as I will say nothing new, but I thought it might be of interest to some console maniac out there 🙂

ascii art studio aas program windows xp professional drawing program screenshot

While checking stuff on Internet I've stumbled on interesting ASCII arts freak software – >ASCII Art Studio. ASCII Art Studio is unfortunately needs licensing is not Free Software. But anyways, for anyone willing to draw pro ASCII art pictures it is a must see. Check it out;

Isn't it like a Plain Text pro Photoshop ? 🙂 Its a pity we don't have a Linux / BSD Release of this wonderful piece of software. I've tried with WINE (Windows Emulator) on Linux to make the Ascii Art Studio work but that was a fail. It seems only way to make it work is have Windows as a worst case install a Virtual Machine with VirtualBox / Vmware and run it inside if you don't have a Windows PC at hand.

Of course there are stuff on Linux to ascii art edit you can use if you want to have a native software to edit ASCIIs such as Playscii. Unfortunately Playscii is not an easy one to install and the software doesn't have a prepared rpm or deb binary you can easily roll on the OS and you have to manually build all required python modules and have a working version of python3 to be able to make it work.

I did not have much time to test to install it and since I faced issues with plascii install I just abandoned it. If some geek has some more time anyways I guess it is worse to give it a try below is 2 screenshots from PLAYSCII official download page. 


As you see authors of the open source playscii whose source is available via github choose to have an amazing looking ascii art text menus, though for daily ASCII art editing it is perhaps much more complicated to use than the simlistic ASCII Art Studio


There is other stuff for Linux to do ASCII Art files text edit like:
JaVE (this one I don't personally like because it is Java Based),  Ascii Art Maker or Pablow Draw Linux (unfortunately this 2 ones are proprietary).

Linux show largest sized packages / Which Deb, RPM Linux installed package use most disk space and How to Free Space for critical system updates

Sunday, January 12th, 2020


A very common problem that happens on both Linux installed servers and Desktop Linux is a starting to fill / (root partition). This problem could happen due to several reasons just to point few of them out of my experience low disk space (ending free space) could be due to:

– Improper initial partitioning / bad space planning / or OS install made in a hurry (due to time constrains)
– Linux installed on old laptop machine with low Hard Disk Drive capacity (e.g. 80 Giga / 160 GB)
– Custom user partitioning on install time aiming for a small root partition originally and changing space requirements in time
– Due to increasing space taken by Linux updates / user stored files etc / distribution OS Level upgrades dist-upgrades.
– Improperly assigned install time partitions cause of lack of knowledge to understand how partitioning is managed.
– Due to install being made in a hurry

– Linux OS installed on a Cloud based VPN (e.g. running) in a Cloud Instance that is hosted in Amazon EC2, Linode, Digital Ocean, Hostgator etc.

So here is a real time situation that happened me many times, you're launching an apt-get upgrade / apt-get dist-upgrade or yum upgrade the packages are about to start downloading or downloaded and suddenly you get a message of not enough disk space to apply OS package updates …
That's nasty stuff mostly irritating and here there are few approaches to take.

a. perhaps easiest you can ofcourse extend the partition (with a free spaced other Primary or Extended partition) with something like:

parted (the disk partitioning manipulator for Linux), gparted (in case if Desktop with GUI / XOrg server running)

b. if not enough space on the Hard Disk Drive or SSD (Solid State Drive) and you have a budget to buy and free laptop / PC slot to place another physical HDD to clone it to a larger sized HDD and use some kind of partition clone tool, such as:

or any of the other multiple clone tools available in Linux.

But what if you don't have the option for some reason to extend the paritiotn, how can you apply the Critical Security Errata Updates issued to patch security vulnerabilities reported by well known CVEs?
Well you can start with the obvious easy you can start removing unnecessery stuff from the system (if home is also stored on the / – root partiiton) to delete something from there, even delete the /usr/local/man pages if you don't plan to read it free some logs by archiving purging logs from /var/log/* …

But if this is not possible, a better approach is simply try to remove / purge any .deb / .rpm whatever distro package manager packages that are not necessery used and just hanging around, that is often the case especially on Linux installed on Notebooks for a personal home use, where with years you have installed a growing number of packages which you don't actively use but installed just to take a look, while hunting for Cool Linux games and you wanted to give a try to Battle of Wesnoth  / FreeCIV / AlienArena / SuperTux Kart / TuxRacer etc.  or some GUI heavy programs like Krita / Inskape / Audacity etc.

To select which package might be not needed and just takes space hence you need to to list all installed packages on the system ordered by their size this is different in Debian based Linuces e.g. – Debian GNU / Linux / Ubuntu / Mint etc. and RPM based ones Fedora / CentOS / OpenSuSE


1. List all RPM installed packages by Size on CentOS / SuSE

Finding how much space each of the installed rpm packages take on the HDD and displaying them in a sorted order is done with:

rpm -qa –queryformat '%10{size} – %-25{name} \t %{version}\n' | sort -n

From the command above,  the '%10{size}' option aligns the size of the package to the right with a padding of 10 characters. The '%-25{name} aligns the name of the package to the left, padded to 25 characters. The '%{version} indicates the version and 'sort -n' flag sorts the packages according to size from the smallest to the largest in bytes.


2. List all installed RPM packages sorted by size on Fedora

Fedora has introduced the dnf package manager instead of yum, to get how much size individual rpm package occupies on system:

dnf info samba
Available Packages
Name        : samba
Arch        : x86_64
Epoch       : 2
Version     : 4.1.20
Release     : 1.fc21
Size        : 558 k
Repo        : updates
Summary     : Server and Client software to interoperate with Windows machines
URL         :
License     : GPLv3+ and LGPLv3+
Description : Samba is the standard Windows interoperability suite of programs
            : for Linux and Unix.


To get a list of all packages on system with their size

dnf info * | grep -i "Installed size" |sort -n


3. List all installed DEB packages on Debian / Ubuntu / Mint etc. with dpkg / aptitude / apt-get and wajig


The most simple way to get a list of largest packages is through dpkg


# dpkg-query -Wf '${Installed-Size}\t${Package}\n' | sort -n
6       default-jre
6       libpython-all-dev
6       libtinfo-dev
6       python-all
6       python-all-dev
6       task-cinnamon-desktop
6       task-cyrillic
6       task-desktop
6       task-english
6       task-gnome-desktop
6       task-laptop
6       task-lxde-desktop
6       task-mate-desktop
6       task-print-server
6       task-ssh-server
6       task-xfce-desktop
8       mysql-client
8       printer-driver-all

207766    libwine
215625    google-chrome-stable
221908    libwine
249401    frogatto-data
260717    linux-image-4.19.0-5-amd64
262512    linux-image-4.19.0-6-amd64
264899    mame
270589    fonts-noto-extra
278903    skypeforlinux
480126    metasploit-framework

above cmd displays packages in size order, largest package last, but the output will include also size of packages, that used to exist,
have been removed but was not purged. Thus if you find  a package that is shown as very large by size but further dpkg -l |grep -i package-name shows package as purged e.g. package state is not 'ii' but 'rc', the quickest work around is to purge all removed packages, that are still not purged and have some configuration remains and other chunks of data that just take space for nothing with:

# dpkg –list |grep "^rc" | cut -d " " -f 3 | xargs sudo dpkg –purge

Be cautious when you execute above command, because if for some reason you uninstalled a package with the idea to keep old configuration files only and in case if you decide to use it some time in future to reuse already custom made configs but do run above purge commands all such package saved kept configs will disappear.
For people who don't want to mess up with, uninstalled but present packages use this to filter out ready to be purged state packages.

# dpkg-query -Wf '${db:Status-Status} ${Installed-Size}\t${Package}\n' | sed -ne 's/^installed //p'|sort -n

aptitude – (high level ncurses interface like to package management) can also be easily used to list largest size packages eating up your hard drive in both interactive or cli mode, like so:


# aptitude search –sort '~installsize' –display-format '%p %I' '~i' | head
metasploit-framework 492 MB
skypeforlinux 286 MB
fonts-noto-extra 277 MB
mame 271 MB
linux-image-4.19.0-6-amd64 269 MB
linux-image-4.19.0-5-amd64 267 MB
frogatto-data 255 MB
libwine 227 MB
google-chrome-stable 221 MB
libwine:i386 213 MB


  • –sort is package sort order, and ~installsize specifies a package sort policy.
  • installsize means 'sort on (estimated) installed size', and the preceding ~ means sort descending (since default for all sort policies is ascending).
  • –display-format changes the <you guessed :->. The format string '%p %I' tells aptitude to output package name, then installed size.
  • '~i' tells aptitude to search only installed packages.

How much a certain .deb package removal will free up on the disk can be seen with apt-get as well to do so for the famous 3D acceleration Graphic Card (enabled) or not  test game extremetuxracer

apt-get –assume-no –purge remove "texlive*" | grep "be freed" | 
   awk '{print $4, $5}'

Perhaps,  the easiest to remember and more human readable output biggest packages occupied space on disk is to install and use a little proggie called wajig to do so


# apt install –yes wajig


Here is how to pick up 10 biggest size packages.

root@jeremiah:/home/hipo# wajig large|tail -n 10
fonts-noto-cjk-extra               204,486      installed
google-chrome-stable               215,625      installed
libwine                            221,908      installed
frogatto-data                      249,401      installed
linux-image-4.19.0-5-amd64         260,717      installed
linux-image-4.19.0-6-amd64         262,512      installed
mame                               264,899      installed
fonts-noto-extra                   270,589      installed
skypeforlinux                      278,903      installed
metasploit-framework               480,126      installed

As above example lists a short package name and no description for those who want get more in depth knowledge on what exactly is the package bundle used for use:

# aptitude search –sort '~installsize' –display-format '%30p %I %r %60d' '~i' |head

%30p %I %r %60d display more information in your format string, or change field widths, enhanced format string

Meaning of parameters is:

  • %30p : package name in field width=30 char
  • %I : estimated install size
  • %r : 'reverse depends count': approximate number of other installed packages which depend upon this package
  • %60d : package's short description in field width=60 char

wajig is capable is a python written and idea is to easify Debian console package management (so you don't have to all time remember when and with which arguments to use apt-get / apt-cache etc.), below is list of commands it accepts.


root@jeremiah:/home/hipo## wajig commands
addcdrom           Add a Debian CD/DVD to APT's list of available sources
addrepo            Add a Launchpad PPA (Personal Package Archive) repository
aptlog             Display APT log file
autoalts           Mark the Alternative to be auto-set (using set priorities)
autoclean          Remove no-longer-downloadable .deb files from the download cache
autodownload       Do an update followed by a download of all updated packages
autoremove         Remove unused dependency packages
build              Get source packages, unpack them, and build binary packages from them.
builddeps          Install build-dependencies for given packages
changelog          Display Debian changelog of a package
clean              Remove all deb files from the download cache
contents           List the contents of a package file (.deb)
dailyupgrade       Perform an update then a dist-upgrade
dependents         Display packages which have some form of dependency on the given package
describe           Display one-line descriptions for the given packages
describenew        Display one-line descriptions of newly-available packages
distupgrade        Comprehensive system upgrade
download           Download one or more packages without installing them
editsources        Edit list of Debian repository locations for packages
extract            Extract the files from a package file to a directory
fixconfigure       Fix an interrupted install
fixinstall         Fix an install interrupted by broken dependencies
fixmissing         Fix and install even though there are missing dependencies
force              Install packages and ignore file overwrites and depends
hold               Place packages on hold (so they will not be upgraded)
info               List the information contained in a package file
init               Initialise or reset wajig archive files
install            Package installer
installsuggested   Install a package and its Suggests dependencies
integrity          Check the integrity of installed packages (through checksums)
large              List size of all large (>10MB) installed packages
lastupdate         Identify when an update was last performed
listall            List one line descriptions for all packages
listalternatives   List the objects that can have alternatives configured
listcache          List the contents of the download cache
listcommands       Display all wajig commands
listdaemons        List the daemons that wajig can start, stop, restart, or reload
listfiles          List the files that are supplied by the named package
listhold           List packages that are on hold (i.e. those that won't be upgraded)
listinstalled      List installed packages
listlog            Display wajig log file
listnames          List all known packages; optionally filter the list with a pattern
listpackages       List the status, version, and description of installed packages
listscripts        List the control scripts of the package of deb file
listsection        List packages that belong to a specific section
listsections       List all available sections
liststatus         Same as list but only prints first two columns, not truncated
localupgrade       Upgrade using only packages that are already downloaded
madison            Runs the madison command of apt-cache
move               Move packages in the download cache to a local Debian mirror
new                Display newly-available packages
newdetail          Display detailed descriptions of newly-available packages
news               Display the NEWS file of a given package
nonfree            List packages that don't meet the Debian Free Software Guidelines
orphans            List libraries not required by any installed package 
policy             From preferences file show priorities/policy (available)
purge              Remove one or more packages and their configuration files
purgeorphans       Purge orphaned libraries (not required by installed packages)
purgeremoved       Purge all packages marked as deinstall
rbuilddeps         Display the packages which build-depend on the given package
readme             Display the README file(s) of a given package
recdownload        Download a package and all its dependencies
recommended        Display packages installed as Recommends and have no dependents
reconfigure        Reconfigure package
reinstall          Reinstall the given packages
reload             Reload system daemons (see LIST-DAEMONS for available daemons)
remove             Remove packages (see also PURGE command)
removeorphans      Remove orphaned libraries
repackage          Generate a .deb file from an installed package
reportbug          Report a bug in a package using Debian BTS (Bug Tracking System)
restart            Restart system daemons (see LIST-DAEMONS for available daemons)
rpm2deb            Convert an .rpm file to a Debian .deb file
rpminstall         Install an .rpm package file
search             Search for package names containing the given pattern
searchapt          Find nearby Debian package repositories
show               Provide a detailed description of package
sizes              Display installed sizes of given packages
snapshot           Generates a list of package=version for all installed packages
source             Retrieve and unpack sources for the named packages
start              Start system daemons (see LIST-DAEMONS for available daemons)
status             Show the version and available versions of packages
statusmatch        Show the version and available versions of matching packages
stop               Stop system daemons (see LISTDAEMONS for available daemons)
tasksel            Run the task selector to install groups of packages
todo               Display the TODO file of a given package
toupgrade          List versions of upgradable packages
tutorial           Display wajig tutorial
unhold             Remove listed packages from hold so they are again upgradeable
unofficial         Search for an unofficial Debian package at
update             Update the list of new and updated packages
updatealternatives Update default alternative for things like x-window-manager
updatepciids       Updates the local list of PCI ids from the internet master list
updateusbids       Updates the local list of USB ids from the internet master list
upgrade            Conservative system upgrade
upgradesecurity    Do a security upgrade
verify             Check package's md5sum
versions           List version and distribution of given packages
whichpackage       Search for files matching a given pattern within packages


4. List installed packages order by size in Arch Linux

ArchLinux is using the funny named package manager – pacman (a nice prank for the good old arcade game).
What is distinctive of pacman uses libalpm (Arch Linux Package Management (ALPM) library) as a back-end to perform all the actions.


# pacman -Qi | awk '/^Name/{name=$3} /^Installed Size/{print $4$5, name}' | sort -hr | head -25
296.64MiB linux-firmware
144.20MiB python
105.43MiB gcc-libs
72.90MiB python2
66.91MiB linux
57.47MiB perl
45.49MiB glibc
35.33MiB icu
34.68MiB git
30.96MiB binutils
29.95MiB grub
18.96MiB systemd
13.94MiB glib2
13.79MiB coreutils
13.41MiB python2-boto
10.65MiB util-linux
9.50MiB gnupg
8.09MiB groff
8.05MiB gettext
7.99MiB texinfo
7.93MiB sqlite
7.15MiB bash
6.50MiB lvm2
6.43MiB openssl
6.33MiB db

There is another mean to list packages by size using a ArchLinux tool called pacgraph


# pacgraph -c | head -25

Autodetected Arch.
Loading package info
Total size: 1221MB
367MB linux
144MB pacgraph
98MB cloud-init
37MB grub
35MB icu
34MB git
31698kB binutils
19337kB pacman
11029kB man-db
8186kB texinfo
8073kB lvm2
7632kB nano
7131kB openssh
5735kB man-pages
3815kB xfsprogs
3110kB sudo
3022kB wget
2676kB tar
2626kB netctl
1924kB parted
1300kB procps-ng
1248kB diffutils




4. Debian Goodies



Most debian users perhaps never hear of debian-goodies package, but I thought it is worthy to mention it as sooner or later as a sysadmin or .deb based Desktop user it might help you somewhere.

Debian-goodies is sall toolbox-style utilities for Debian systems
 These programs are designed to integrate with standard shell tools,
 extending them to operate on the Debian packaging system.

  dglob  – Generate a list of package names which match a pattern
           [dctrl-tools, apt*, apt-file*, perl*]
  dgrep  – Search all files in specified packages for a regex
           [dctrl-tools, apt-file (both via dglob)]
 These are also included, because they are useful and don't justify
 their own packages:
           – find packages which enhance installed packages [apt,
           – Help to find and restart processes which are using old versions
               of upgraded files (such as libraries) [python3, procps, lsof*]
  debget     – Fetch a .deb for a package in APT's database [apt]
  debman     – Easily view man pages from a binary .deb without extracting
               [man, apt* (via debget)]
  debmany    – Select manpages of installed or uninstalled packages [man |
               sensible-utils, whiptail | dialog | zenity, apt*, konqueror*,
               libgnome2-bin*, xdg-utils*]
  dhomepage  – Open homepage of a package in a web browser [dctrl-tools,
               sensible-utils*, www-browser* | x-www-browser*]
  dman       – Fetch manpages from online service [curl,
               man, lsb-release*]
  dpigs      – Show which installed packages occupy the most space
             – Get list of dbgsym packages from core dump or PID [dctrl-tools,
               elfutils, libfile-which-perl, libipc-system-simple-perl]
  popbugs    – Display a customized release-critical bug list based on
               packages you use (using popularity-contest data) [python3,
             – find which package might have broken another [python3, apt]
             – find which package might have broken the build of another
               [python3 (via which-pkg-broke), apt]

Even simpler by that is to use dpigs shell script part of the debian-goodies package which will automatically print out the largest packages.

dpigs command output is exactly the same as 'dpkg-query -Wf '${Installed-Size}\t${Package}\n' | sort -nr | head', but is useful cause you don't have to remember that complex syntax.


5. Checking where your space is gone in a Spacesniffer like GUI manner with Baobab

In my prior article Must have software on a new installed Windows 2 of the  of the precious tools to set are Spacesniffer and WinDirStat.
Windows users will be highly delighted to know that SpaceSniffer equivallent is already present on Linux – say hello baobab.
is simple but useful Graphic disk usage overview program for those who don't want to mess to much with the console / terminal to find out which might be the possible directory candidate for removal. It is very simplistic but it does well what it is aimed for, to install it on a Debian or .deb based OS.

# apt install –yes baobab


baobab Linux Hard Disk Usage Analyzer for GNOME. – It can easily scan either the whole filesystem or a specific user-requested branch (Iocal or remote)



Baobab / (root) directory statistics Rings Chart pie



baobab – Treemap Chart for directory usage sorted by size on disk 

!!! Note that before removing any files found as taking up too much space with baobab – make sure this files are not essential parts of a .deb package first, otherwise you might break up your system !!!

KDE (Plasma) QT library users could use Qdirstat instead of baobab 

qdirstat-on-gnu-linur checking what is the disk space bottleneck qdirstat KDE

6. Use ncdu or duper perl script tool to generate directory disk usage in ASCII chart bar

ncdu and duper are basicly the same except one is using ncurses and is interactive in a very simplistic interface with midnight commander.

# apt install –yes ncdu
# ncdu /root



# apt-get install –yes durep
# durep -td 1 /usr

[ /usr    14.4G (0 files, 11 dirs) ]
   6.6G [#############                 ]  45.54% lib/
   5.5G [###########                   ]  38.23% share/
   1.1G [##                            ]   7.94% bin/
 552.0M [#                             ]   3.74% local/
 269.2M [                              ]   1.83% games/
 210.4M [                              ]   1.43% src/
  88.9M [                              ]   0.60% libexec/
  51.3M [                              ]   0.35% sbin/
  41.2M [                              ]   0.28% include/
   8.3M [                              ]   0.06% lib32/
 193.8K [                              ]   0.00% lib64/




In this article, I've shortly explained the few approach you can take to handle low disk space preventing you to update a regular security updates on Linux.
The easiest one is to clone your drive to a bigger (larger) sized SATA HDD or SDD Drive or using a free space left on a hard drive to exnted the current filling up the root partition. 

Further, I looked through the common reasons for endind with a disk being low spaced and a quick work around to free disk space through listing and purging larges sized package, this is made differently in different Linux distributions, because different Linux has different package managers. As I'm primary using Debian, I explained thoroughfully on how this is achieved with apt-get / dpkg-query / dpkg / aptitude and the little known debian-goodies .deb package manager helper pack. For GUI Desktop users there is baobab / qdirstat. ASCII lovers could enjoy durep and ncdu.

That's all folks hope you enjoyed and learned something new. If you know of other cool tools or things this article is missing please share.

Ditaa convert ASCII diagrams into bitmap graphic (pictures)

Monday, May 12th, 2014

As part of my passion for ASCII art, I've found another interesting tool useful to ASCII art maniacs like me, the tool is called ditta and is able to convert manually drawn ASCII art diagrams to graphics, below is tool description from my debian apt-cache as well as a screenshot:

 apt-cache show ditaa|grep -i ditaa -A 4

Package: ditaa
Priority: optional
Section: graphics
Installed-Size: 164
Maintainer: David Paleino <>

Filename: pool/main/d/ditaa/ditaa_0.9+ds1-2_all.deb
Size: 107270
MD5sum: 05ec52d9274b954b053f1835ca5d7a7f
SHA1: 792d91d05fff2a2a19c0ebce317351d138436c18
SHA256: c4319d32e7918aab782e2f38cdad745bc9023f9f09a999033d983095ee4f70d5

 DiTAA is a small command-line utility that can convert diagrams drawn using
 ASCII art ("drawings" that contain characters that resemble lines, like | /
 and -), into proper bitmap graphics.
 DiTAA also uses special markup syntax to increase the possibilities of shapes
 and symbols that can be rendered.


To install ditaa on Debian and Ubuntu Linux:

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

Ditaa text diagram to Graphics converter is also available in Fedora Linux and in Source RPMs to be used on Redhat Based RPM distributions.
To install in most of RPM based Linuxes:

[root@fedora:~]# yum install -y ditaa

For most people probably Ditta will not be of any value except as a PoC and of a Hack value just like Ditaa's home page suggests. Nomatter that Ditta is cool but has just 2 drawback it doesn't understand non-latin characters i.e. Cyrillic and requires Java Virtual Machine .. but if you're a real geek you will do  the sacrifice to install a whole bunch of the heavy java for the sake of some oldschool fun 🙂 Being written in Java makes Ditta multi-platform, but you will need a Java VM version of at least 1.6 (it doesn't work with Java 1.5).

The format Ditta understands is close to HTML

<ditaa [optional parameters]>
... (some ditaa-code) ...

There are also special tags understood by Ditta which are automatically turned into shaped graphical buttons and forms.

Possible tags

Not all shape selector tags are documented on the ditaa site. A quick source scan revealed:

tag Description
{c} decision(Choice)
{d} document
{io} input/output, parallelogram
{mo} manual operation
{o} ellipse, circle
{s} storage
{tr} trapezoid (looks like an inverted {mo} )

Here is an example Ditta code

<ditaa round noedgesep right>
+--------+   +-------+    +-------+
|        | --+ ditaa +--> |       |
|  Text  |   +-------+    |diagram|
|Document|   |!magic!|    |       |
|     {d}|   |  c478 |    |       |
+---+----+   +-------+    +-------+
:                         ^
|       Lots of work      :

This Ditta code will generate following picture:


To learn more on ditta please check Ditaa's Project homepage on Sourceforge
Many thanks to Cybercity's 30 Cool Open Source Software of 2013 for inspiring this post.

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

Friday, May 4th, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Installing speedometer on Debian / Ubuntu and Debian derivatives

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

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

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

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


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

a) Download & Install python urwid library

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

b) Download and install python-setuptools

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

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

c) Download and install Speedometer

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

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

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

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

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

To update python 2.4 to python 2.6:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

debian:~# speedometer -tx eth0

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

debian:~# speedometer -rx eth0

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

debian:~# speedometer -tx eth0 -rx eth0

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

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

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

The speedometer manual suggests few examples one of which is:

How fast is this LAN?

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

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

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

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

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

First on the Ubuntu PC I issued

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

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

apt-get –yes install netcat

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

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

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

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

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

hipo@noah:~$ speedometer -rx wlan0

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

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

Desktop PC -> to my Thinkpad R61 laptop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A copy paster from the manual text is as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Estimating approximate time for file transfer

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

The (man speedometer) provided example text is:

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

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


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

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

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

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


SL Animated console train for your Linux – useless commans to cheer you up when you mistype ls

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014


Some time ago I blogged about how to make your sysadmin more enjoyable with figlet and toilet console ASCII art text generators
Besides toilet and figlet another cool entertainment proggie is cowsay. On my home Linux router I use cowsay together with a tiny shell script to generate me a random Cow Ascii Art fun picture each time I login to my Linux. cowrand is set to run for my user through ~/.bashrc.

cowsay print cheerful pictures on your linux console / terminal login how to

In the spirit of ascii art fun arts today I've stumbled on another cool  and uselesss few kilobytes program called "SL". SL is very simple all it does is it cheers up you by displaying a an animated train going through the screen once you type by mistake "sl" instead of ls (list command).
To enjoy it on debian based distributions install it with apt:

# apt-get install --yes sl

SL 's name is a playful joke itself as well it stands for Steam Locomotive.

To get some more ASCII art fun, try telnetting to – There is a synthesised ASCII Art text version video of Star Wars – Episode IV

# telnet

watch all star_wars episode 1 in ascii art video

If you know other cool ASCII art animation scripts / ASCII art games or anything related to ASCII art for Linux / Windows, please drop me a comment.

How to count how many files are in a directory with find on Linux

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

how to count how many directories are on your linux server

Did you ever needed to count, how many files in a directory are there?
Having the concrete number of files in a directory is not a seldom task but still very useful especially for scripts or simply for the sake of learning

The quickest and maybe the easiest way to count all files in a directory in Linux is with a combination of find and wc commands:

Here is how;

linux:~# cd ascii
linux:~/ascii# find . -type f -iname '*' -print |wc -l

This will find and list all matched files in any directory and subdirectories, print them out and count them with wc command.
The -type f argument instructs find to look only for files.

Other helpful variance of finding and listing all files in a directory and subdirectories is to list and count all the files with a certain file extension under a directory. For example, lets list all text files (.txt) contained in a directory and all level sub-directories:

linux:~/ascii# find . -type f -iname '*.txt' -print |wc -l

If you need to check the number of files in a directory for multiple directories on a server and you're aiming at doing it efficienly, issung above find .. | wc code will definitely be not a good choice. If used it will generate heavy load for the system and along with that will complete the execution in ages if issued on a large number of files containing dirs.

Thanksfully if efficiency is targetted, there is a command written in C called tree which is more efficient than find.
To count the number of files in dir but using tree :

linux:~# cd ascii
linux:/ascii# tree | tail -n 1
32 directories, 407 files

By default tree prints info for both the number of found files and directories.
To print out only the files matched, awk comes handy, e.g.:

linux:/ascii# tree |tail -n 1| awk '{ print $3 }'407

To list only the number of files in a directory without its existing sub-directories ls + wc use is also possible:

linux:~/ascii# ls -l | grep ^- | wc -l68

This result the above command would produce is +1 more than the real number of files, as it counts the directory ".." as one file (in UNIX / LINUX everything is file).

A short one liner script that can calculate all files correctly by substracting 1 is and hence present correct result on number of files is like so:

linux:~/ascii# var=$(ls -l | grep ^- | wc -l); var=$(($var - 1)); echo $var

ls can be used to calculate the number of 1-st level sub-directories under certain directory for instance:

linux:~/ascii# ls -l |grep ^d|wc -l

You see the ascii directory has 25 subdirectories in its 1st level.

To check symlinks under a directory with ls the command would be:

linux:~/ascii# ls -l | grep ^l | wc -l

Note above 3 ls | grep … examples, will not work properly if the directory contains files with SUID or some special properties set.
Hence to get the same 3 results for active files, directories and symbolic links, a one liner similar to the one below can be used instead:

linux:~/ascii# for t in files links directories; do echo `find . -type ${t:0:1} | wc -l` $t; done 2> /dev/null
407 files
0 links
33 directories

This will show statistics about all files, links and directories for all directory sub-levels.
Just in case if there is need to only count files, links and directories without directory recursion enabled, use:

linux:~/ascii# for t in files links directories; do echo `find . -maxdepth 1 -type ${t:0:1} | wc -l` $t; done 2> /dev/null
68 files
0 links
26 directories

Anyways the above bash loop will be slow, for directories containing thousands of files. For better performance the equivallent of above bash loop rewritten in perl would be:

linux:~/ascii# ls -l |perl -e 'while(<>){$h{substr($_,0,1)}+=1;} END {foreach(keys %h) {print "$_ $h{$_}\n";}}'
- 68
d 25
t 1
In any case the most preferrable and efficient way to count files en directories is by using tree command.
In my view using always tree command instead of code "hacks" is smart idea.

In Slackware tree command is part of the base install, on Debian and CentOS Linux, tree cmd is not part of the base system and requires install via apt / yum e.g.:

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

[root@centos:~ ]# yum --yes install tree

Happy counting 😉

Watch Star Wars in Ascii via a telnet connection! :)

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

By accident, I’ve come across! You might be wondering what is so special with it? 😉 Well some crazy guy seems to have recreated a whole Star Wars movie in ascii art!!! 😉

To kill some time and enjoy some great ascii telnet to with a telnet client (movie shows great also even using a regular Windows telnet client).

As I’m a great ascii fan I enjoy a lot, hope more people will take the time to watch the re-created Star Wars Movie in ASCII !. I’m eager to see if someone knows of any similar kind of movies, demos or all kind of stuff streamed via telnet 🙂

To give you an idea on what you will see by telnetting to, here is a short chop video:


Cool Ascii Games for Linux and BSD

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

I myself am a big gamer since my youth. Being a Linux evangelist for quite some time as well as a BSD geek I had my period of interest into how developed are the available games for Unix based operating systems. In that manner of thoughts I got interested into the ascii games available for Linux and BSD. It’s really fun to play a bunch of games every now and then via SSH or simply to play on your TTY. Currently I have installed the following list of Ascii games on my FreeBSD box:

adventure battlestar cfscores hack nethack primes snake wtfalienwave bb cribbage hangman number quiz snscore wumparithmetic bcd dosbox larn phantasia random strfile xrickarkanoid.sed bs factor mille piano robots teachgammonascii_invaders bsdtris fish moon-buggy pig rogue trekatc caesar fortune morse pom rot13 unstrbackgammon canfield grdc nInvaders ppt sail worm
Install them and have a lot of fun :)
Also if you'd like to play cool ascii games I have enabled all of the above mentioned games plus some extra more to be played directly via SSH or Telnet login to my node.
Play Ascii Games on Pc-freak

To play the ascii games:

telnet or ssh to:
login with user: play
password: playnow


Convert Picture to ASCII

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

A friend of mine has recently recommended me a web service which is able to convert a normal picture in JPG or PNG to an ASCII equivalent.You might try it out on .
The converted picture of mine face.jpg can be seen in ascii here .END—–