Posts Tagged ‘Supports’

How to redirect TCP port traffic from Internet Public IP host to remote local LAN server, Redirect traffic for Apache Webserver, MySQL, or other TCP service to remote host

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021






1. Use the good old times rinetd – internet “redirection server” service

Perhaps, many people who are younger wouldn't remember rinetd's use was pretty common on old Linuxes in the age where iptables was not on the scene and its predecessor ipchains was so common.
In the raise of mass internet rinetd started loosing its popularity because the service was exposed to the outer world and due to security holes and many exploits circulating the script kiddie communities
many servers get hacked "pwned" in the jargon of the script kiddies.

rinetd is still available even in modern Linuxes and over the last years I did not heard any severe security concerns regarding it, but the old paranoia perhaps and the set to oblivion makes it still unpopular soluttion for port redirect today in year 2021.
However for a local secured DMZ lans I can tell you that its use is mostly useful and I chooes to use it myself, everynow and then due to its simplicity to configure and use.
rinetd is pretty standard among unixes and is also available in old Sun OS / Solaris and BSD-es and pretty much everything on the Unix scene.

Below is excerpt from 'man rinetd':


     rinetd redirects TCP connections from one IP address and port to another. rinetd is a single-process server which handles any number of connections to the address/port pairs
     specified in the file /etc/rinetd.conf.  Since rinetd runs as a single process using nonblocking I/O, it is able to redirect a large number of connections without a severe im‐
     pact on the machine. This makes it practical to run TCP services on machines inside an IP masquerading firewall. rinetd does not redirect FTP, because FTP requires more than
     one socket.
     rinetd is typically launched at boot time, using the following syntax:      /usr/sbin/rinetd      The configuration file is found in the file /etc/rinetd.conf, unless another file is specified using the -c command line option.

To use rinetd on any LInux distro you have to install and enable it with apt or yum as usual. For example on my Debian GNU / Linux home machine to use it I had to install .deb package, enable and start it it via systemd :


server:~# apt install –yes rinetd

server:~#  systemctl enable rinetd

server:~#  systemctl start rinetd

server:~#  systemctl status rinetd
● rinetd.service
   Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/rinetd; generated)
   Active: active (running) since Tue 2021-09-21 10:48:20 EEST; 2 days ago
     Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8)
    Tasks: 1 (limit: 4915)
   Memory: 892.0K
   CGroup: /system.slice/rinetd.service
           └─1364 /usr/sbin/rinetd

rinetd is doing the traffic redirect via a separate process daemon, in order for it to function once you have service up check daemon is up as well.

root@server:/home/hipo# ps -ef|grep -i rinet
root       359     1  0 16:10 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/rinetd
root       824 26430  0 16:10 pts/0    00:00:00 grep -i rinet

+ Configuring a new port redirect with rinetd


Is pretty straight forward everything is handled via one single configuration – /etc/rinetd.conf

The format (syntax) of a forwarding rule is as follows:

     [bindaddress] [bindport] [connectaddress] [connectport]

Besides that rinetd , could be used as a primitive firewall substitute to iptables, general syntax of allow deny an IP address is done with (allow, deny) keywords:

allow 192.168.2.*

To enable logging to external file ,you'll have to include in the configuration:

# logging information
logfile /var/log/rinetd.log

Here is an example rinetd.conf configuration, redirecting tcp mysql 3306, nginx on port 80 and a second web service frontend for ILO to server reachable via port 8888 and a redirect from External IP to local IP SMTP server.


# this is the configuration file for rinetd, the internet redirection server
# you may specify global allow and deny rules here
# only ip addresses are matched, hostnames cannot be specified here
# the wildcards you may use are * and ?
# allow 192.168.2.*
# deny

# forwarding rules come here
# you may specify allow and deny rules after a specific forwarding rule
# to apply to only that forwarding rule
# bindadress    bindport  connectaddress  connectport

# logging information
logfile /var/log/rinetd.log        80         80        3306          3306        443         443
# enable for access to ILO        8888   443    25    25 is my external ( Public )  IP internet address where,, (are the DMZ-ed Lan internal IPs) with various services.

To identify the services for which rinetd is properly configured to redirect / forward traffic you can see it with netstat or the newer ss command

root@server:/home/hipo# netstat -tap|grep -i rinet
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      13511/rinetd      
tcp        0      0 www.pc-freak.n:http-alt*               LISTEN      21176/rinetd        
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      21176/rinetd      


+ Using rinetd to redirect External interface IP to loopback's port (


If you have the need to redirect an External connectable living service be it apache mysql / privoxy / squid or whatever rinetd is perhaps the tool of choice (especially since there is no way to do it with iptables.

If you want to redirect all traffic which is accessed via Linux's loopback interface (localhost) to be reaching a remote host on TCP port 1083 and 1888, use below config

# bindadress    bindport  connectaddress  connectport        1083         1083        1888         1888


For a quick and dirty solution to redirect traffic rinetd is very useful, however you'll have to keep in mind that if you want to redirect traffic for tens of thousands of connections constantly originating from the internet you might end up with some disconnects as well as notice a increased use of rinetd CPU use with the incrased number of forwarded connections.


2. Redirect TCP / IP port using DNAT iptables firewall rules


Lets say you have some proxy, webservice or whatever service running on port 5900 to be redirected with iptables.
The easeiest legacy way is to simply add the redirection rules to /etc/rc.local​. In newer Linuxes rc.local so if you decide to use,
you'll have to enable rc.local , I've written earlier a short article on how to enable rc.local on newer Debian, Fedora, CentOS


# redirect 5900 TCP service 
sysctl -w net.ipv4.conf.all.route_localnet=1
iptables -t nat -I PREROUTING -p tcp –dport 5900 -j REDIRECT –to-ports 5900
iptables -t nat -I OUTPUT -p tcp -o lo –dport 5900 -j REDIRECT –to-ports 5900
iptables -t nat -A OUTPUT -o lo -d -p tcp –dport 5900 -j DNAT  –to-destination
iptables -t nat -I OUTPUT –source 0/0 –destination 0/0 -p tcp –dport 5900 -j REDIRECT –to-ports 5900


Here is another two example which redirects port 2208 (which has configured a bind listener for SSH on Internal host from External Internet IP address (XXX.YYY.ZZZ.XYZ) 

# Port redirect for SSH to VM on openxen internal Local lan server 
-A PREROUTING  -p tcp –dport 2208 -j DNAT –to-destination
-A POSTROUTING -p tcp –dst –dport 2208 -j SNAT –to-source


3. Redirect TCP traffic connections with redir tool


If you look for an easy straight forward way to redirect TCP traffic, installing and using redir (ready compiled program) might be a good idea.

root@server:~# apt-cache show redir|grep -i desc -A5 -B5
Version: 3.2-1
Installed-Size: 60
Maintainer: Lucas Kanashiro <>
Architecture: amd64
Depends: libc6 (>= 2.15)
Description-en: Redirect TCP connections
 It can run under inetd or stand alone (in which case it handles multiple
 connections).  It is 8 bit clean, not limited to line mode, is small and
 light. Supports transparency, FTP redirects, http proxying, NAT and bandwidth
 redir is all you need to redirect traffic across firewalls that authenticate
 based on an IP address etc. No need for the firewall toolkit. The
 functionality of inetd/tcpd and "redir" will allow you to do everything you
 need without screwy telnet/ftp etc gateways. (I assume you are running IP
 Masquerading of course.)

Description-md5: 2089a3403d126a5a0bcf29b22b68406d
Tag: interface::daemon, network::server, network::service, role::program,
Section: net
Priority: optional



server:~# apt-get install –yes redir

Here is a short description taken from its man page 'man redir'


     redir redirects TCP connections coming in on a local port, [SRC]:PORT, to a specified address/port combination, [DST]:PORT.  Both the SRC and DST arguments can be left out,
     redir will then use

     redir can be run either from inetd or as a standalone daemon.  In –inetd mode the listening SRC:PORT combo is handled by another process, usually inetd, and a connected
     socket is handed over to redir via stdin.  Hence only [DST]:PORT is required in –inetd mode.  In standalone mode redir can run either in the foreground, -n, or in the back‐
     ground, detached like a proper UNIX daemon.  This is the default.  When running in the foreground log messages are also printed to stderr, unless the -s flag is given.

     Depending on how redir was compiled, not all options may be available.


+ Use redir to redirect TCP traffic one time


Lets say you have a MySQL running on remote machine on some internal or external IP address, lets say and you want to redirect all traffic from remote host to the machine (, where you run your Apache Webserver, which you want to configure to use
as MySQL localhost TCP port 3306.

Assuming there are no irewall restrictions between Host A ( and Host B ( is already permitting connectivity on TCP/IP port 3306 between the two machines.

To open redirection from localhost on ->


server:~# redir –laddr= –lport=3306 –caddr= –cport=3306


If you need other third party hosts to be additionally reaching via TCP 3306.

root@server:~# redir –laddr= –lport=3306 –caddr= –cport=3306

Of course once you close, the /dev/tty or /dev/vty console the connection redirect will be cancelled.


+ Making TCP port forwarding from Host A to Host B permanent

One solution to make the redir setup rules permanent is to use –rinetd option or simply background the process, nevertheless I prefer to use instead GNU Screen.
If you don't know screen is a vVrtual Console Emulation manager with VT100/ANSI terminal emulation to so, if you don't have screen present on the host install it with whatever Linux OS package manager is present and run:


root@server:~#screen -dm bash -c 'redir –laddr= –lport=3306 –caddr= –cport=3306'


That would run it into screen session and detach so you can later connect, if you want you can make redir to also log connections via syslog with ( -s) option.

I found also useful to be able to track real time what's going on currently with the opened redirect socket by changing redir log level.

Accepted log level is:


  -l, –loglevel=LEVEL
             Set log level: none, err, notice, info, debug.  Default is notice.


root@server:/ # screen -dm bash -c 'redir –laddr= –lport=3308 –caddr= –cport=3306 -l debug'


To test connectivity works as expected use telnet:

root@server:/ # telnet localhost 3308
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.

6#HY000Proxy header is not accepted from Connection closed by foreign host.

once you attach to screen session with


root@server:/home #  screen -r


You will get connectivity attempt from localhost logged : .

redir[10640]: listening on
redir[10640]: target is
redir[10640]: Waiting for client to connect on server socket …
redir[10640]: target is
redir[10640]: Waiting for client to connect on server socket …
redir[10793]: peer IP is
redir[10793]: peer socket is 25592
redir[10793]: target IP address is
redir[10793]: target port is 3306
redir[10793]: Connecting to
redir[10793]: Entering copyloop() – timeout is 0
redir[10793]: Disconnect after 1 sec, 165 bytes in, 4 bytes out

The downsides of using redir is redirection is handled by the separate process which is all time hanging in the process list, as well as the connection redirection speed of incoming connections might be about at least 30% slower to if you simply use a software (firewall ) redirect such as iptables. If you use something like kernel IP set ( ipsets ). If you hear of ipset for a first time and you wander whta it is below is short package description.


root@server:/root# apt-cache show ipset|grep -i description -A13 -B5
Maintainer: Debian Netfilter Packaging Team <>
Architecture: amd64
Provides: ipset-6.38
Depends: iptables, libc6 (>= 2.4), libipset11 (>= 6.38-1~)
Breaks: xtables-addons-common (<< 1.41~)
Description-en: administration tool for kernel IP sets
 IP sets are a framework inside the Linux 2.4.x and 2.6.x kernel which can be
 administered by the ipset(8) utility. Depending on the type, currently an
 IP set may store IP addresses, (TCP/UDP) port numbers or IP addresses with
 MAC addresses in a  way which ensures lightning speed when matching an
 entry against a set.
 If you want to
  * store multiple IP addresses or port numbers and match against the
    entire collection using a single iptables rule.
  * dynamically update iptables rules against IP addresses or ports without
    performance penalty.
  * express complex IP address and ports based rulesets with a single
    iptables rule and benefit from the speed of IP sets.

 then IP sets may be the proper tool for you.
Description-md5: d87e199641d9d6fbb0e52a65cf412bde
Tag: implemented-in::c, role::program
Section: net
Priority: optional
Filename: pool/main/i/ipset/ipset_6.38-1.2_amd64.deb
Size: 50684
MD5sum: 095760c5db23552a9ae180bd58bc8efb
SHA256: 2e2d1c3d494fe32755324bf040ffcb614cf180327736c22168b4ddf51d462522

How to create SD Card DATA dump image to .ISO with dd and mount it with imdisk from command line on Windows CygWin with MobaXterm

Saturday, September 18th, 2021

I'm forced to use Windows every now and then and do some ordinary things which I do usually on Linux such as dumping the content of my Android phone SD Card SanDisk, Kingston etc. to .ISO image etc.

On Linux creating and mounting a data copy of a whole SD Card is a relatively simple thing and there are plenty of ways to do it such as using the dd ( command-line utility for Unix and Unix-like operating systems whose primary purpose is to convert and copy files as said in the command manual .- e.g. ''man dd'. ). On Microsoft Windows environment perhaps one of easiest ways is to use WinCDEmu (which is relatively free under LGPL License).
WinCDEmu is capable of doing plenty of things such as:

  • One-click mounting of ISO, CUE, NRG, MDS/MDF, CCD, IMG images.

  • Supports unlimited amount of virtual drives.

  • Runs on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions from XP to Windows 10.

  • Allows creating ISO images through a context menu in Explorer.

  • Small installer size – less than 2MB!

  • Have a portable version

WinCDEmu is a nice piece of software that perhaps every Win poweruser can enjoy, plus it has a nice Graphical frontend:


But what if you're a console geek, like me and you end up forced to be using Windows on your Work PC and you still need to create .iso dump of your Mobile SD Card or external attached Hard Drive, without the graphical mambo jumbo in the old fashioned way with dd?

Luckily Windows advanced command lined users could massively benefit from Cygwin + Mobaxterm (if you don't know or used MobaXterm and you still use things like Putty / SuperPutty or SecureCRT – perhaps you can reconsider and make your sysadmin life easier with MobaXerm gnome-terminal like SSH tabbed Windows alternative.

Once having mobaxterm + cygwin you have dd installed on the Windows host as it is part of the busybox minimal environment and you can use it in the same manner as your used in Linux environment.


1. Using dd to copy files on Linux / UNIX OS with a dialog status bar

To use dd the usual syntax on Linux / BSD / Unix is:

dd if=/dev/dev-name_ID of=/path/to/directory/dump/location.iso bs=2048


As 2048 BS (Bytes) per second is quite a low value usually on Modern operating systems, this bytesize is usually increased to some MBs  ( Megabytes).

For example if the reading from carrier  is Solid State Drive Disk (SSD) supporting 100 MBs per second and the output SD Card is a 32 Bit Kingston Plus+ drive with whose write speed is up to 50 ~ 100 MBs, you can use cmd as:

dd if=/dev/dev-name_ID of=/path/to/directory/dump/location.iso bs=100M

If you need to have a progress on the dd copy (in case if you copy some large SD Card 128 GB or 256GB or a full copy of a hard drive partition that is really big lets say 8 Terabytes of data, dialog and pv comes quite handy.

To use them install them first:

# apt-get install –yes pv dialog

Next to have a beautiful ncurses dialog box with the status (very useful if you're shell scripting), use:

(pv -n /dev/sda | dd of=/dev/sdb bs=128M conv=notrunc,noerror) 2>&1 | dialog –gauge "Running dd command (cloning), please wait…" 10 70 0


2. Listing the avaialble copy drives /dev/sda /dev/sdb1 … etc. disk locations on Windows 7 / 10 / 11 OS

[User.T420-89] ➤ for F in /dev/s* ; do echo "$F    $(cygpath -w $F)" ; done

check-drives-loop-on-cygwin-to-be-used-later-with-dd-copy-iso-creating-imageCheck drives device naming on WIndows PC – Screenshot extract from Mobaxterm

As you can see the drive location we've seen in Windows Explorer is located at drive E: above bash for loop reveals us this is located and readable from CygWin / MobaxTerm at /dev/sdb1

3. Create .iso image file on WIndows OS with dd command

To create a full data copy dump of to .iso (image file) with dd on Windows , I had to run:

[User.T420-89] ➤ dd if=/dev/sdb1 of=sdcard-blu-r1-hd-sdcard-backup_10092021a.img bs=100M

75+1 records in
75+1 records out
7944011776 bytes (7.4GB) copied, 391.794316 seconds, 19.3MB/s


4. Mount the newly create dd Image with imdisk

In order to test the image is properly created, you can attempt to mount it from command line on Linux, mounting it is quite easy and is up to mounting the just created .img file as a loopback (loop) device, like so: 

# mount -o loop file.iso /mnt/dir

Unfortunately cygwin and mobaxterm's embedded mount command on Win OS does not support the loopback device so to have it you have to install and use some additional program  such as the upmentioned WinCDEmu or if you prefer to do it fully from command line and further on automate the process of creating a dump of images of attached drives out of a multiple computers (lets say belonging to a Windows Active Directory domain). You might install and use something like:



imdisk handy tool is  created by Olof Lagerkvist. It is free and open-source software, which  will let you mount image files of hard drive, cd-rom or floppy, and create one or several ramdisks with various parameters either from a command line or via its Graphical interface.

To use imdisk download it from its home page on sourceforge extract and install it, pretty much as any other software it has both 32 bit version as a legacy for old computers as well as 64 bit exe installer.
The general command line use of it follows a cmd syntax like:

  • Mounting .iso image files from command line on WIndows host with imdisk

[User.T420-89] ➤ ImDisk.exe -a -f "sdcard-blu-r1-hd-sdcard-backup_10092021.img" -m #:


  • #: – is the actual drive you would like to mount to.
  • -a option stands for attach to, it will configure and attach a virtual disk with the parameters specified and attach it to the system.
  • -f – is self explanatory, provides the iso image file naming 

If you want to attach the newly created image to lets say  L:\ windows new mapped drive

ImDisk.exe -a -f "sdcard-blu-r1-hd-sdcard-backup_10092021.img" -m l:

  • Unmount mounted .img image with imdisk from cmd line

[User.T420-89] ➤ imdisk.exe -l

[User.T420-89] ➤ imdisk.exe -D -m l:
Notifying applications…
Flushing file buffers…
Locking volume…
Failed, forcing dismount…
Removing device…
Removing mountpoint…



What we learned ?

What we have learned in this article is how to use Mobaxterm embedded dd Data Convert and Copy command to prepare full image backups of SD card or external drives on Windows OS. Also few alternative ways were entions such as using WinCDEmu free  open source alternative to DaemonTools program to create / mount or convert the image for the GUI lovers. Also for hard core sysadmins as me was shown how to list drives devices attached to the Win PC {/dev/sda,/dev/sdb} etc. and how to copy partition data with dd just like one would do on Linux OS. Finally to test the created image, I've shown you how to use the imdisk free software tool to attach and detach image to a mapped local Windows drive.

Hope this article learned you something new.

Best Windows tools to Test (Benchmark) Hard Drives, SSD Drives and RAID Storage Controllers

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Disk Benchmarking is very useful for people involved in Graphic Design, 3D modelling, system admins  and anyone willing to squeeze maximum of his PC hardware.

If you want to do some benchmarking on newly built Windows server targetting Hard Disk performance, just bought a new hard SSD (Solid State Drives) and you want to test how well Hard Drive I/O operations behave or you want to see a regular HDD benchmarking of group of MS Windows PCs and plan hardware optiomization, check out ATTO Disk Benchmark.

So why exactly ATTO Benchmark? – Cause it is one of the best Windows Free Benchmark tools on the internet.

ATTO is a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware utility to help measure storage system performance. ATTO though being freeware is among top tools utilized in industry. It is very useful in comparing different Hard Disk vendors speed, measure Windows storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes.

ATTO Disk Benchmark is used by manufacturers of Hardware RAID controllers, its precious tool to test Windows storage controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs).

Here is ATTO Benchmark tool specifications (quote from their webstie):

  • Transfer sizes from 512KB to 8MB
  • Transfer lengths from 64KB to 2GB
  • Support for overlapped I/O
  • Supports a variety of queue depths
  • I/O comparisons with various test patterns
  • Timed mode allows continuous testing
  • Non-destructive performance measurement on formatted drives
  • Transfer sizes from 512KB to 8MB
  • Transfer lengths from 64KB to 2GB
  • Support for overlapped I/O
  • Supports a variety of queue depths
  • I/O comparisons with various test patterns
  • Timed mode allows continuous testing
  • Non-destructive performance measurement on formatted drives
  • – See more at:

Here is mirrored latest version of ATTO Disk for Download. Once you get your HDD statistics you will probably want to compare to other people results. On  TomsHardware's world famous Hardware geek site there are plenty of Hard Drives performance Charts

Of course there are other GUI alternatives to ATTO Benchmark one historically famous is NBench



Nbench is nice little benchmarking program for Windows NT. Nbench reports the following components of performance:

CPU speed: integer and floating operations/sec
L1 and L2 cache speeds: MB/sec
main memory speed: MB/sec
disk read and write speeds: MB/sec

SMP systems and multi-tasking OS efficiency can be tested using up to 20 separate threads of execution.

For Console Geeks or Windows server admins there are also some ports of famous *NIX Hard Disk Benchmarking tools:


NTiogen benchmark was written by Symbios Logic, It's Windows NT port of their popular UNIX benchmark IOGEN. NTIOGEN is the parent processes that spawns the specified number of IOGEN processes that actually do the I/O.
The program will display as output the number of processes, the average response time, the number of I/O operations per second, and the number of KBytes per second. You can download mirror copy of Ntiogen here

There are plenty of other GUI and Console HDD Benchmarking Win Tools, i.e.:

IOMeter (ex-developed by Intel and now abandoned available as open source available on SourceForge)


Bench32 – Comprehensive benchmark that measures overall system performance under Windows NT or Windows 95, now obsolete not developed anymore abandoned by producer company.

ThreadMark32 – capable of bench (ex developed and supported by ADAPTEC) but also already unsupported

IOZone – filesystem benchmark tool. The benchmark generates and measures a variety of file operations. Iozone has been ported to many machines and runs under many operating systems.

N! B! Important note to make here is above suggested tools will provide you more realistic results than the proprietary vendor tools shipped by your hardware vendor. Using proprietary software produced by a single vendor makes it impossible to analyze and compare different hardwares, above HDD benchmarking tools are for "open systems", e.g. nomatter what the hardware producer is produced results can be checked against each other.
Another thing to consider is even though if you use any of above tools to test and compare two storage devices still results will be partially imaginary, its always best to conduct tests in Real Working Application Environments. If you're planning to launch a new services structure always test it first and don't rely on preliminary returned soft benchmarks.

if you know some other useful benchmarking software i'm missing please share.

Text mode (console) browsing with tabs with Elinks / Text browsers – (lynx, elinks, links and w3m) useful HTTP debugging tools for Linux and FreeBSD servers

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The last days, I'm starting to think the GUI use is making me brainless so I'm getting back to my old habits of using console.
I still remember with a grain of nostalgy how much more efficient I used to be when the way to interact with my computer was primary in text mode console.
Actually, I'm starting to get this idea the more new a software is the more inefficient it makes your use of computer, not to mention the hardware resources required by newer software is constantly increasing.

With this said, I started occasionally browsing again like in the old days by using links text browser.
In the old days I mostly used lynx and its more advanced "brother" text browser links.
The main difference between lynx and links is that lynx does not have any support for the terrible "javascript", whether links supports most of the Javascript ver 2.
Also links and has a midnight commander like pull down menus on the screen top, – handy for people who prefer some more interactivity.

In the past I remember I used also to browse graphically in normal consoles (ttys) with a hacked version of links calledTThere is also a variation of linksxlinks suitable for people who would like to have graphical browser in console (ttys).

I used xlinks quite heavily in the past, when I have slower computer P166Mhz with 64MB of memory 2.5 GB HDD (What a times boy what a times) .
Maybe when I have time I will install it on my PC and start using it again like in the old days to boost my computer use efficiency…
I remember the only major xlinks downside was it doesn't included support for Adobe flash (though this is due to the bad non-free software nature of Adobe lack of proper support for free software and not a failure of xlinks developers. Anyways for me this wasn't a big trouble since, ex Macromedia (Adobe) Flash support is not something essential for most of my work…

links2 is actually the naming of links version 2. elinks emerged later (if I remember correctly, as fork project of links).
elinks difference with links constitutes in this it supports tabbed browsing as well as colors (links browser displays results monochrome).

Having a tabbed browsing support in tty console is a great thing…
I personally belive text browsing if properly used can in many ways outbeat, graphic browsing in terms of performance and time spend to obtain data. I'm convinced text browsing is superior for two reasons:
1. with text there is way less elements to obstruct your attention.
– No graphical annoying flash banners, no annoying taking the attention pictures

2. Navigating in web pages using the keyboard is more efficient than mouse
– Using keyboard shorcuts is always quicker than mouse, generally keboard has always been a quicker way to access computer commands.

Another reason to use text browsing is, it is mostly the text part of a page that matters, most of the pages that provide images to better explain a topic are bloated (this is my personal view though, i'm sure designer guys will argue me :D).
Here is a screenshot of a my links text browser in action, I'm sorry the image is a bit unreadable, but after taking a screenshot of the console and resizing it with GIMP this is what I got …

Links text console browser screenshot with 2 tabs opened Debian GNU / Linux

For all those new to Linux who didn't tried text browsing yet and for those interested in computer history, I suggest you install and give a try to following text browsers:

  • lynx
  • (Supports colorful text console text browsing)
    lynx text console browser Debian Squeeze GNU / Linux Screenshot

  • links
  • Links www text console browser screenshot on Debian Linux

  • elinks
  • (Supports colors filled text browsing and tabs)
    elinks opened google alternative search engine in mlterm terminal Debian Linux

  • w3m
  • w3m one of the oldest text console browsers screenshot Debian Linux Squeeze 6.2

By the way having the 4 text browsers is very useful for debugging purposes for system administrators too, so in any case I think this 4 web browsers are absoutely required software for newly installed GNU / Linux or BSD* based servers.

For Debian and the derivatives Linux distributions, the 4 browsers are available as deb packages, so install them with following apt 1 liner:

debian:~# apt-get –yes install w3m elinks links lynx

FreeBSD users can install the browsers using, cmd:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/www/w3mfreebsd# make install clean
freebsd# cd /usr/ports/www/elinksfreebsd# make install clean
freebsd# cd /usr/ports/www/linksfreebsd# make install clean
freebsd# cd /usr/ports/www/lynxfreebsd# make install clean

In links using the tabs functionality appeared, somewhere near the 2001 or 2000 (at least that was the first time I saw links with tabbed browsing enabled). My first time to saw links support opening multiple pages within the same screen under tabs was on Redhat Linux 9

Opening multiple pages in tabs in the text browser is done by pressing the t key and typing in the desired URL to open isnide.
For more than 2 tabs, again t has to be pressed and same procedure goes on and on.
It was pretty hard for me to figure out how I can do a text browsing with tabs, though I found a way to open new tabs it took me some 10 minutes in pondering how to switch between the new opened links browser tabs.

Hence, I thought it would be helpful to mention here how tabs can be switched in links text browser. Actually it turned it is pretty easy to Switch tabs tabs back and foward.

1 tab to move backwards is done with < (key), wheter switching one tab forward is done with the > key.

On UK and US qwerty keyboards alignment the movement a tab backward and forward is done with holding shift and pressing < onwards holding both keys simultaneously and analogously with pressing shift + >