Posts Tagged ‘keyboard’

How to turn keyboard backlight on GNU / Linux, keyboard no backlight solution

Friday, October 20th, 2017

how-to-make-CM_Storm_Devastator-keyboard_backlight-work-on-linux-enabled-disable-keyboard-glowing-gnu-linux

If you're a GNU / Linux user and you happen to buy a backlighted keyboard, some nice new laptop whose keyboard supports the more and more modern keyboard growing or if you happen to install a GNU / Linux for a Gamer friend no matter the Linux distribution, you might encounter sometimes  problem even in major Linux distributions Debian / Ubuntu / Mint / Fedora with keyboard backlight not working.

Lets say you buy a Devastator II backlighted keyboard or any other modern keyboard you plug it into the Linux machine and there is no nice blinking light coming out of the keyboard, all the joy is gone yes I know. The free software coolness would have been even more grandiose if your keyboard was shiny and glowing in color / colors 🙂

But wait, there is hope for your joy to be made complete.

To make the keyboard backlight switch on Just issue commands:

 

xmodmap -e 'add mod3 = Screen_Lock'

 

# Turn on the keyboard bright lamps
xset led on

# Turns off the keyboard bright lamps
xset led off


If you want to make the keyboard backlight be enabled permanent the easiest solution is to

– add the 3 command lines to /etc/rc.local

E.g. to do so open /etc/rc.local and before exit 0 command just add the lines:

 

vim /etc/rc.local

 

xmodmap -e 'add mod3 = Screen_Lock'

# Turn on the keyboard bright lamps
xset led on

# Turns off the keyboard bright lamps
xset led off


If you prefer to have the keyboard colorful backlight enable and disabled from X environment on lets say GNOME , here is how to make yourself an icon that enabled and disables the colors.

That's handy because at day time it is a kind of meaningless for the keyboard to glow.

Here is the shell script:

#!/bin/bash
sleep 1
xset led 3
xmodmap -e 'add mod3 = Scroll_Lock'


I saved it as /home/hipo/scripts/backlight.sh

(don't forget to make it executable!, to do so run):

 

chmod +x /home/hipo/scripts/backlight.sh


Then create  the .desktop file at /etc/xdg/autostart/backlight.desktop so that it runs the new shell script, like so:

[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Name=Devastator Backlight
Exec=/home/hipo/scripts/backlight.sh
Icon=system-run
X-GNOME-Autostart-enabled=true

How to enable Control Alt Backspace to Kill X server on Debian / Ubuntu Linux

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

kill-X-server-switch-revert-back-to-ctrl-alt-backspace-howto
Being a long time GNU / Linux user, I've been quite dissatisfied for the fact that in latest Debian and Ubuntu Linux, the default Key combination to Kill X (CTRL + ALT + BACKSPACE) is no longer working.

Though nowdays Xorg (XServer) is pretty stable it still happens from time to time for some application to overload the PC badly and make Gnome or KDE environment little or no responsive at all and here comes the goody CTRL + ALT + BACKSPACE it is pretty much  like  (CTRL + ALT + DEL) did restarted the computer in DOS and earlier Windows OS-es once the environment became unusable with the only difference that just Xorg server is restarted and the other using programs that are in background work just like they used to. 

CTRL + ALT + Backspace is a great thing to use especially if you're running some homebrew server and you use it both as a Server with some few little websites and as a Desktop environment to browse the net and do basic stuff.

So here comes the question how to make the CTRL + ALT + BACKSPACE keyboard combination be killing Xserver like in the good old days?

The easiest way to do it interactively in ncurses interface is by  running:

 

root@noah:~# dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

 

If somehow on the machine you don't have dpkg-reconfigure or you prefer to do set CTRL + ALT + BACKSPACE Kill Switch manually edit /etc/default/keyboard 

inside change value of

 

XKBOPTIONS="terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp" 

 

like shown below file:

root@noah:/home/hipo# cat  /etc/default/keyboard

# KEYBOARD CONFIGURATION FILE

# Consult the keyboard(5) manual page.

XKBMODEL="pc105"
XKBLAYOUT="us"
XKBVARIANT=""
XKBOPTIONS="terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp"

BACKSPACE="guess"

The configuration should be working across Debian 7, 8, 9 as well as Ubuntu 12 ..14 .. 16 and hopefully in future releases too, just as many other Linux distributions like Mint etc. the Xserver Kill Switch setting should be located in same file.

Finally if even after that change the Control Alt BackSpace Kill Switch sequence refuses to work in GNOME Desktop environment, it might be due to a local setting typical for GNOME and this should be fixed via the good known gnome-tweak-tool

So GNOME users should run it from command line and check the setting there, e.g.:

 

$ gnome-tweak-tool


You should check:


 

Typing -> Kill Sequence to Kill the X Server

 


it should look like shown in below screenshot:

how-to-set-X-server-kill-switch-in-GNOME-gnak-tool-screenshot-debian-stretch

 

 

 

 

Check how webpage looks with Internet Explorer on Linux and FreeBSD with Mozilla Firefox (Netrenderer Firefox plugin)

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Simulate Internet Explorer in screenshots on GNU / Linux and FreeBSD using Netrenderer in Firefox - Internet Explorer testing tool for web developers on Linux and FreeBSD

I'm not full time web developer. But sometimes, I develop websites too or just had to do some website testing.
I'm using GNU / Linux and BSD as main server and desktop platforms for many years already and hence I don't have regular access to Windows OS and respectively Internet Explorer. In that manner of thoughts it is very useful to have a way to check if a certain website I create displays fine on Internet Explorer 6,7,8 too.

Usually whether I need to test if website displays properly its elements in Internet Explorer I do use the infamous  http://ipinfo.info/netrenderer/index.php – I guess it is almost impossible anyone is developing websites on Linux and don't know it :). Fortunately while I was googling to remind myself about the exact link location to netrenderer, I've stumbled upon Mozilla Firefox add-on extension which does precisely what ipinfo.info/netrenderer/ website does – i.e. renders a website with HTML Web Engine compatible   to most Internet Explorer versions and creating screenshots on how a website would look under Internet Explorer. Of course the plugin is not a panace and since it only makes screenshots whether there are problems with interactivity (Javascript AJAX) of a website on IE will the plugin will be of zero use. However in general it is good to know if at least the website elements are ordered fine.
After the plugin is added in the usual way as any other plugin in FF, you can start using it with keyboard shortcuts:

Ctrl+Shift+F5/F6/F7/F8 – respectively renders the page in IE5.5, IE 6, IE 7 / IE 8 Beta 2

Pressing CTRL + Shift + FX, makes the IE screenshot of site using http://ipinfo.info/netrenderer/

I'm currently running latest Firefox version 16.0.2 and here plugin works, fine I guess on most FF releases not older than few years it should work fine too.

Below is description of the plugin, as taken from plugin website:

IE NetRendered Add-on Description

Adds buttons, tools menu and contextual menu entries to get a screenshot of the current page with IE NetRenderer.

Keyboard shortcuts are also available: Ctrl+Shift+F5/F6/F7/F8 to render the page in IE5.5/6/7/8 Beta 2 (Cmd+Shift+F* on Mac).

Really useful for webmasters which are not using Windows!

You can also access the IE NetRenderer service here: http://ipinfo.info/netrenderer/index.php

Please note that the extension developper is not affiliated with GEOTEK, providing the IE NetRenderer service. You can visit his website here: http://nicopensource.free.fr/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Howto add Bulgarian Phonetic keyboard set to Windows XP

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

There is a nice site in Bulgarian explaining quite extensively how to add Bulgarian phonetic key set on Injinera’s Website. Another way to solve the problem is to use bgphon_xp program.

How to View Mail (Full Headers) in Outlook 97 / 98 / 2003 / 2007 / 2010 and Outlook 2013 Mail client on Windows and Mac OS

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

View-Full-Mail-headers-in-Outlook-97-98-2003-2007-2010-2013-on-Windows-Mac-OSX

Being able to see the headers is very important if you have to administer Microsoft Exchange mail server / Windows Active directory in case whether mails have some issues not being received within a Corporate Outlook MS Clients because of being mistakenly flagged as spam, or just to track the route of the mail. By default Outlook displays only few fields of the headers: From, Sent (date and time), To, and CCs. This gives too little info and is often irritating, as you can't really see important info such as:

  • Mail Carriers (Mail SMTPs) through which Mail has been passed
  • Mail MIME Header / Type (specifics)
  • Any extra written by mail server Anvirus
  • Anti-Malware check headers etc
  • Pyzor / Razor / Blacklisting check pass / fail headers etc.


1. How to view Mail headers in Outlook 2010 / 2013
 

In Outlook 2010 / 2013  when you use the default settings, you need to OPEN the message (Double Click on some random Mail) and either go to the Tags section of the ribbon or go to File, Properties.

message-property-tag-microsoft-outlook-2010-2013-screenshot 

Click on the Expand button (highlighted in yellow) in the lower right corner to show the Message options dialog. Voila You will have the Properties dialog with the (Mail) Internet headers in the bottom (see screenshot)

 

One thing to mention is when you have a Mail Message Headers visible through the Properties dialog in Outlook, it is very unpleasent there is no way to search inside Visualized Mail headers ..
 

2. How to access Outlook Full Mail Headers using a shortcut

For those who had to regularly check Mail headers, it is very useful to make Outlook View Headers accessible through a key shortcut.

Here is how:

a) Go to File > Options > Quick Access Toolbar.
b) In Choose Commands From, select
Commands Not in the Ribbon

commands-not-in-the-ribbon-screenshot-ms-outlook-2010-2013

c) Click in the list of commands and press M on the keyboard

d) Scroll to find Message Options

e) Click Add > (button) to add it to the QAT.

Outlook-Options-Quick_Access_Toolbar_screenshot-ms-windows-add-QAT-shortcut-to-message-options
 

To Quickly Access New added "Message Options" / View headers QAT, the shortcut to use is something like ALT + 3, or ALT + number (depending on the number of QATs already existing in the mailbox, the position of the Message Options on the QAT bar determines the exact nr. to be used.)

On older versions of Microsoft Outlook Mail Clients 97 / 98 / 2003 / 2007 to View Mail Headers

Right-click on Mail message in the folder view, then choose Options.

Or

In an Opened Mail Message, choose View -> Options.
 

3. Viewing Mail Headers on MS Outlook running on Mac OS 

If you happen to need use MS Outlook on Mac OS X (hope you'll not 🙂 ) to View Complete Mail Headers

Select the message whose headers you want to view.
Right-click (or Control-click) on the message and choose View Source.
Message headers appear at the top of the text document that opens.

How to manually disable Windows Genuine Advantage on Windows XP SP2

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

WGA Notification message popup message

I have a pirate version of Windows XP Pro 2 installer CD which does automatically turn on Windows Genuine Advantage

This is kind of annoying as the computer gets really slow and the hard disk drive activite gets intensive as well as an annoying popup message that the Windows XP copy is not genuine does appear periodically

In order to get rid of the message I had to do the following steps:

1. Get into Windows Safe Mode without Networking

As most of the people knows this is achieved by pressing F8 keyboard key right before the Windows bootup screen appears.

After in Safe mode it’s necessery to,

2. Run Windows Command Line (cmd.exe)

To do so follow, the menus:

Windows (Start Menu) -> Run -> cmd.exe

3. In the command prompt window issue the commands:

C:Documents and SettingsUser> cd WindowsSystem32
C:WindowsSystem32> taskkill -IM wgatray.exe
C:WindowsSystem32> del wgatray.exe
C:WindowsSystem32> move wgalogon.dll wgalogon.dll.old
C:WindowsSystem32> del wgalogon.dll.old

Something to mention is you have to be really quick, with deleting wgalogon.dll, cause wgatray.exe is scheduled to run every 1 / 2 seconds 🙂 It is a bit of situation of type “be quick or be dead” as Maiden used to sing 🙂
A Windows system restart and Hooray the Windows Genuine message is gone 🙂

New version of Teamviewer 8 beta for GNU / Linux is out

Monday, January 28th, 2013

I had to login to a Windows host, after a friend handed in his Teamviewer ID and pass. I tried connecting few times and connection failed every time. It was not very likely it is a network problem as I have pretty good internet bandwidth here. I ask him what is his teamviewer, release and it turned out he is using TeamViewer 8. Just few months ago I've updated my teamviewer from TV 6 to TV 7 after finally Teamviewer 7 was launched for Linux. I check immediately TeamViewer website, but this time (TeamViewer GmbH – the vendor company of TV) has launched TV 8 for Linux in parallel with launching TV 8  for Windows.

Of course like often in Linux it is not all perfect TeamViewer 8 version is still in beta testing stage. I've downloaded and updated my (64 bit) teamviewer 7 to teamviewer 8 using the Deb binary, i.e.:

# wget http://www.teamviewer.com/download/version_8x/teamviewer_linux_x64.deb
.....
# dpkg -i teamviewer_linux_x64.deb
...
....

Just like previous TeamViewer, releases, the program launches via wine, so teamviewer_linux_x64.deb depends on working wine Windows emulator.
There are minor difference in graphic interface but no so significant changes from previous release.

TeamViewer beta 8 ver on Debian GNU linux screenshot

I used it to connect to remote Windows 8 host and experienced random issues with typing some characters from keyboard remotely, though I'm not sure if this was due to some bug of the TV 8 beta release or it is due to fact the Win host was infested with viruses.
Just for some convenience if I further need it, I've also made mirror of 32 bit TeamViewer 8 beta here and 64 bit TeamViewer 8 beta mirror here.

 

Linux webcam take pictures from tty console or terminal / How to make pictures of yourself using plain console and web-camera

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

how to take webCAM console / terminal pictures on gnu linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora)

I'm a great command line enthusiast, I share the believe of many other command line geeks thinking keyboard is the quickest way to access a computer. Historically keys were first and mouse second and I think there is definitely a good reason for that. Thus today I was curious if it is possible to take pictures from my external web-camera on my Debian GNU / Linux? I did a quick research and this little article springed out as result.

The answer is YES! It is possible and besides that there are many ways to take a webcamera picture using the console; Lastly it is very easy to achieve even for novice Linux buddies 😉 My little research on the topic show me there are 4 straightforward ways one can use to use his extended or embedded WebCam to take pictuers – using (vlc, mplayer, camshot, fswebcam and ffmpeg).

1. Taking a webcam picture using vlc

Invoke vlc with following arguments:

# vlc -I dummy v4l2:///dev/video0 --video-filter scene --no-audio --scene-path /home/hipo --scene-prefix webcam-taken-picture-prefix --scene-format png vlc://quit --run-time=1

I've prepared a little wrapper script, for the sake of simplifying the long and hard to remember vlc options. Below is the script;

#!/bin/sh
# This little script will take picture whilst in gnome-terminal / mlterm or any console tty
# As program uses vlc you need to have vlc properly configured and installed
# as well as the webcam video be properly working (detected by Linux kernel)
# licensed under GPLv2 script modified by hip0 14.12.2012
# Path where to store taken snapshots
STORE_PATH=/home/hipo
# Device locatation of webcam many webcams have default device in /dev/video0
WEBCAM_DEV=/dev/video0
# Stored grabbed picture filename prefix
FILE_NAME_PREF=image_prefix
# gets the current date and adds to set filename prefix
date_cur=$(date +%k_%d_%m_%Y|sed -e 's/^ *//');
vlc -I dummy v4l2://$WEBCAM_DEV --video-filter scene --no-audio --scene-path $STORE_PATH --scene-prefix $FILE_NAME_PREF.$date_cur --scene-format png vlc://quit --run-time=1
echo "WebCam picture taken and stored in $STORE_PATH/$FILE_NAME_PREF.$date_cur*.png";
echo '';
echo "To view picture in Gnome with Eye of GNOME type: eog $STORE_PATH/$FILE_NAME_PREF.$date_cur*.png";

You can also download copy of the webcam_take_picture_from_console.sh script here.

As you see the script uses, vlc's (dummy interface), and –video-filter-scene option to make the snapshot. The script can be stored in let's say /usr/local/bin/webcam_take_picture.sh and aliased through ~/.bashrc with some short alias, i.e.:

alias console-picture='/usr/local/bin/webcam_take_picture.sh'

Then at any time, when you run console-picture you will have a short way to make pictures of your room, your friends or whatever needed. One good application of script is whether you're in coffee with friends and you want to take a snapshot of them without them realizing (assuming, the webcam is embedded) 🙂

Another great application is whether you want to take a snapshot of the WebCam, from another shell script or little application using dialog ncurses interfaces etc.

Even just for the sake of fun it is so nice to take a picture from webcam, whether in plain tty console bash shell 🙂

One small note to make here is webcam_take_picture_from_console.sh should be run as non-root user (for security reasons vlc developers made smartly VLC this way), running it as root drops an err:

>VLC is not supposed to be run as root. Sorry.
If you need to use real-time priorities and/or privileged TCP ports
you can use /usr/bin/vlc-wrapper (make sure it is Set-UID root and
cannot be run by non-trusted users first).
 

By default, vlc resolution used is the automatically set to the maximum supported to the camera, with mine this is 640×480 SRGB
The quality of pictures taken is a bit low but my camera is a cheap one and even with some GUI program snapshot taking programs like GNOME's cheese, taken pictures are with low quality (though I think the brightnes of the ones taken with vlc is a bit poorer than the ones done with cheese).

Happily it is possible to correct picture brightness and lightning with v42l-ctl (v42l-ctl is not installed by default and on Debian you will have to install deb pack v4l-utils), e.g.:

apt-get install --yes v4l-utils
....

Further, check out the possible options available with:

v4l2-ctl -L - (list all possible options)

and to set a concrete option do:

v4l2-ctl -c <options>=<value> (set an option)
 

I don't have a BSD (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD) at hand, but with a working supported Webcam, correct location to the webcam /dev/  and installed VLC from ports :

vlc -I dummy v4l2:///dev/video0--video-filter scene --no-audio --scene-path $STORE_PATH --scene-prefix $FILE_NAME_PREF.$date_cur --scene-format png vlc://quit --run-time=1

should be working fine as well.
If someone has access to a BSD with a working installed webcam, please test it and drop a comment to confirm if working …

2. Creating pictures from WebCamera using mplayer cmd

Theoretically mplayer, should be able to take snapshots from the Cam with:

mplayer -vo png -frames 1 tv://

There is possibility to pass output webcam picture (resolution) dimensions too:

mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l:device=/dev/video0:width=320:height=240:outfmt=rgb24 -frames 1 -vo jpeg

 

With my "NoName" (Eltron Technology) webcam the produced images were filled up with solid green color  (maybe due to bug of my webcam used driver). Normally it should be working; I've seen many posts around claiming using both of above cmd lines to produce pictures normally, but not for me.

3. Making pictures with WebCamera (camshot) console tool

I've seen around also another tiny tool (camshot) especially written to take pictures from webcam. The tool is available only to be compiled from source (whether source is fetched through Subversion repo (SVN)). I took a minute to test it as well, e.g.:

 

hipo@noah:~Desktop$ svn checkout http://camshot.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ camshot-read-only

hipo@noah:~/Desktop/camshot-read-only$ make
....
hipo@noah:~/Desktop/camshot-read-only$ ls
arguments.c  arguments.o  camera.h  camshot  image.h  main.c  Makefile  shmem.h  shmem_test.c
arguments.h  camera.c     camera.o  image.c  image.o  main.o  shmem.c   shmem.o

hipo@noah:~Desktop/camshot-read-only$ ./camshot
Letting the camera automaticaly adjust the picture:..........Done.
Command (h for help): h

Commands:
    x    Capture a picture from camera.
    h    Prints this help.
    q    Quits the program.

Command (h for help): x
Command (h for help): q

 

Don't know why, but for me camshot did not produce, any output picture from webcam. Maybe my Webcam which is a cheap (all OS) compatible one is not detected fine by the tool? As you see from above help output there are not many options so it is definitely something with webcam detection or just it needs some kind of little "hack" in the source to make it working, I was lazy to further investigate so I leave it.

4. Making pictures from terminal using fswebcam

fswebcam is not so popular as vlc and mplayer, but is existent from default repostiries on both Debian and Ubuntu Linuces. Here is it how it is described when pkg info requested with apt-cache:

apt-cache show fswebcam | grep -i descrip -A 8
Description: Tiny and flexible webcam program
 Fswebcam is a tiny and flexible webcam command-line program for capturing
 images from a V4L1/V4L2 device. It accepts a number of formats, can skip
 the first (possibly bad) frames before performing the actual capture, and
 can perform simple manipulation on the captured image, such as resizing,
 averaging multiple frames or overlaying a caption or an image.
Homepage: http://www.firestorm.cx/fswebcam/
Tag: implemented-in::c, role::program

To use it first install it with apt-get or yum (yes it is available also for RedHat based Linux distros via yum).
Depending whether on Debian or Fedora etc. do:

apt-get install --yes fswebcam
.....

or

yum -y install fswebcam
....

fswebcam's syntax is much easier than all of rest cmd tools available around; to create picture from webcam;

# fswebcam -r 640x480 --jpeg 85 -D 1 web-cam-shot.jpg
--- Opening /dev/video0...
Trying source module v4l2...
/dev/video0 opened.
No input was specified, using the first.
Delaying 1 seconds.
--- Capturing frame...
Captured frame in 0.00 seconds.
--- Processing captured image...
Setting output format to JPEG, quality 85
Unable to load font 'luxisr': Could not find/open font
Disabling the the banner.
Writing JPEG image to 'web-cam-shot.jpg'.

I liked supports, saving in multiple formats, can set resolution and is probably the number 1 choice for anyone looking for high level of customization of cam taken picture.. Saying this I think fswebcam is definitely the tool of choice as it is written with the one and only aim to take webcam pictures from console.

5. Capturing picture from Webcam using ffmpeg

With ffmpeg, there are plenty of things possible;
Just to mention few interesting ones, I've written about earlier, ffmeg is capable of;

convert .OGG vorbis to MP3 
convert .FLV to .AVI and .AVI to .FLV
convert .AVI .MP4 and .FLV to OGG Vorbis (Free Format)
convert .OGG video to .FLV Video
extract sounds / music from .FLV to a MP3 / MP4
Add .SRT and .SUB files subtitles to Flash Videos

Along with all this, interestingly ffmpeg can get content using command line from WebCamera (nomatter if it's a VIDEO stream or just a Picture snapshot).

The syntax to take a picture with it is:

ffmpeg -f video4linux2 -i /dev/v4l/by-id/usb-Etron_Technology__Inc._USB2.0_Camera-video-index0 -vframes 1 output-picture.jpeg

The precise /dev/(v4l – video 4 linux) assigned to different cameras will differ so in order to find what kind of /dev, to use ls it:

# ls -al /dev/v4l/by-id/*

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 12 Dec 14 22:40 /dev/v4l/by-id/usb-Etron_Technology__Inc._USB2.0_Camera-video-index0 -> ../../video0

The picture resolution taken on my Eltron Technology Webcam is same like with vlc – the cam optimum 640×480, the quality and brightness gamma is also identical to pics taken using VLC.
 
Therefore if you're wondering if one tool, might make a better pictures from command line than the other the answer, according to my tests is they produce identical quality and all can be customized easily for different set of resolution. It is possible thought, this is not so with other Web Cam models, if you happen to read this post and take the time to try taking pictures with 5 methods and some of the 5 progs is making superior pictures, please drop a comment with the tool you used and the WebCam exact version as detected in dmesg or lsusb

As a sort of Outtro, from purely functional / usability point of view I think fswebcam is probably be the tool of choice for mostly all as it is most simple, easily customizable and especially crafted for creating webcam console shots. That's all Enjoy, taking pics from GUI terminal or console 🙂 

P.S. – I know there are plenty of people who have written on the topic, so this article is nothing new under the sun, but as I couldn't find a post synthesizing in one all of the 5 methods I've come up with this little article. Feedback is mostly welcome
Happy picturing 😉

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

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

links2 (links console graphics) www browser logo picture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

debian:~# links2 -g

Google Images links2 graphics in GNOME desktop env screenshot

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

If you want to add this xlinks shell alias  exec:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wish you a Happy Browsing 😉

How to make Print SysRQ keyboard key working on Slackware Linux’s XFCE

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

By default Slackware's XFCE, does not allow screenshot taking by simply pressing PrintScreen SysRQ, like is in most of the "more advanced" graphical environments (GNOME, KDE), MS-Windows 🙂 etc.

To have a key binding assinged to PrintScreen SysRQ key in XFCE, you will first need to have xfce4-screenshooter

I've earlier blogged on how to take screenshots on Slackware's XFCE by installing and using xfce4-screenshooter program , so I suggest you take a look at it.

After xfce4-screenshooter is installed start:

bash-4.1$ xfce4-keyboard-settings

XFCE4 keyboard settings window Slackware Linux screenshot

Further on go to:

Application Shortcuts (tab) -> Add

Type in the command prompt to appear xfce4-screenshooter and press the PrintScreen SysRQ keyboard button.
From now onwards pressing it will allow you to take screenshot like with GNOME's gnome-screenshot -i command.
Happy Screenshoting 😉