Posts Tagged ‘apt-get’

Install certbot on Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora Linux 10 / Generate and use Apache / Nginx SSL Letsencrypt certificates

Monday, December 21st, 2020

letsencrypt certbot install on any linux distribution with apache or nginx webserver howto</a>
Let's Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority brought to you by the nonprofit <a  data-cke-saved-href=
Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). ISRG group gave initiative with the goal to "encrypt the internet", i.e. offer free alternative to the overpriced domani registrer sold certificates with the goal to make more people offer SSL / TSL Free secured connection line on their websites. 
ISRG group supported Letsencrypt non-profit certificate authority actrively by Internet industry standard giants such as Mozilla, Cisco, EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation),  Facebook, Google Chrome, Amazon AWS, OVH Cloud, Redhat, VMWare, Github and many many of the leading companies in IT.

Letsencrpyt is aimed at automating the process designed to overcome manual creation, validation, signing, installation, and renewal of certificates for secure websites. I.e. you don't have to manually write on console complicated openssl command lines with passing on Certificate CSR /  KEY / PEM files etc and generate Self-Signed Untrusted Authority Certificates (noted in my previous article How to generate Self-Signed SSL Certificates with openssl or use similar process to pay money generate secret key and submit the key to third party authority through a their website webadmin  interface in order to Generate SSL brought by Godaddy or Other Certificate Authority.

But of course as you can guess there are downsides as you submit your private key automatically via letsencrypt set of SSL certificate automation domain scripts to a third party Certificate Authority which is at A security intrusion in their private key store servers might mean a catastrophy for your data as malicious stealer might be able to decrypt your data with some additional effort and see in plain text what is talking to your Apache / Nginx or Mail Server nevertheless the cert. Hence for a high standards such as PCI environments Letsencrypt as well as for the paranoid security freak admins,  who don't trust the mainstream letsencrypt is definitely not a choice. Anyways for most small and midsized businesses who doesn't hold too much of a top secret data and want a moderate level of security Letsencrypt is a great opportunity to try. But enough talk, lets get down to business.

How to install and use certbot on Debian GNU / Linux 10 Buster?
Certbot is not available from the Debian software repositories by default, but it’s possible to configure the buster-backports repository in your /etc/apt/sources.list file to allow you to install a backport of the Certbot software with APT tool.

1. Install certbot on Debian / Ubuntu Linux


root@webserver:/etc/apt# tail -n 1 /etc/apt/sources.list
deb buster-backports main

If not there append the repositories to file:


  • Install certbot-nginx certbot-apache deb packages

root@webserver:/ # echo 'deb buster-backports main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list


  • Install certbot-nginx certbot-apache deb packages

root@webserver:/ # apt update
root@webserver:/ # apt install certbot python-certbot-nginx python3-certbot-apache python-certbot-nginx-doc

This will install the /usr/bin/certbot python executable script which is used to register / renew / revoke / delete your domains certificates.

2. Install letsencrypt certbot client on CentOS / RHEL / Fedora and other Linux Distributions


For RPM based distributions and other Linux distributions you will have to install snap package (if not already installed) and use snap command :



[root@centos ~ :] # yum install snapd
systemctl enable –now snapd.socket

To enable classic snap support, enter the following to create a symbolic link between

[root@centos ~ :] # ln -s /var/lib/snapd/snap /snap

snap command lets you install, configure, refresh and remove snaps.  Snaps are packages that work across many different Linux distributions, enabling secure delivery and operation of the latest apps and utilities.

[root@centos ~ :] # snap install core; sudo snap refresh core

Logout from console or Xsession to make the snap update its $PATH definitions.

Then use snap universal distro certbot classic package

 [root@centos ~ :] # snap install –classic certbot
[root@centos ~ :] # ln -s /snap/bin/certbot /usr/bin/certbot


If you're having an XOrg server access on the RHEL / CentOS via Xming or other type of Xemulator you might check out also the snap-store as it contains a multitude of packages installable which are not usually available in RPM distros.

 [root@centos ~ :] # snap install snap-store


snap-store is a powerful and via it you can install many non easily installable stuff on Linux such as eclipse famous development IDE, notepad++ , Discord, the so favourite for the Quality Assurance guy Protocol tester Postman etc.

  • Installing certbot to any distribution via script

Another often preferred solution to Universally deploy  and upgrade an existing LetsEncrypt program to any Linux distribution (e.g. RHEL / CentOS / Fedora etc.) is the script. To install acme you have to clone the repository and run the script with –install

P.S. If you don't have git installed yet do

root@webserver:/ # apt-get install –yes git

and then the usual git clone to fetch it at your side

# cd /root
# git clone
Cloning into ''…
remote: Enumerating objects: 71, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (71/71), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (53/53), done.
remote: Total 12475 (delta 39), reused 38 (delta 18), pack-reused 12404
Receiving objects: 100% (12475/12475), 4.79 MiB | 6.66 MiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (7444/7444), done.

# sh –install

To later upgrade to latest you can do

# sh –upgrade

In order to renew a concrete existing letsencrypt certificiate

# sh –renew

To renew all certificates using script

# ./ –renew-all


3. Generate Apache or NGINX Free SSL / TLS Certificate with certbot tool

Now lets generate a certificate for a domain running on Apache Webserver with a Website WebRoot directory /home/phpdev/public/www


root@webserver:/ # certbot –apache –webroot -w /home/phpdev/public/www/ -d -d

root@webserver:/ # certbot certonly –webroot -w /home/phpdev/public/www/ -d -d

As you see all the domains for which you will need to generate are passed on with -d option.

Once certificates are properly generated you can test it in a browser and once you're sure they work as expected usually you can sleep safe for the next 3 months ( 90 days) which is the default for TSL / SSL Letsencrypt certificates the reason behind of course is security.


4. Enable freshly generated letsencrypt SSL certificate in Nginx VirtualHost config

Go to your nginx VirtualHost configuration (i.e. /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/ ) and inside chunk of config add after location { … } – 443 TCP Port SSL listener (as in shown in bolded configuration)

server {

   location ~ \.php$ {
      include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
##      fastcgi_pass;
      fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php7.3-fpm.sock;
      fastcgi_index index.php;
      fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME /usr/share/phpmyadmin$fastcgi_script_name;



    listen 443 ssl; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/; # managed by Certbot
    include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-nginx.conf; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_dhparam /etc/letsencrypt/ssl-dhparams.pem; # managed by Certbot


5. Enable new generated letsencrypt SSL certificate in Apache VirtualHost

In /etc/apache2/{sites-available,sites-enabled}/ you should have as a minimum a configuration setup like below:


NameVirtualHost *:443 <VirtualHost>
    HostnameLookups off
    DocumentRoot /var/www
    DirectoryIndex index.html index.htm index.php index.html.var



CheckSpelling on
SSLEngine on

    <Directory />
        Options FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride All
        ##Order allow,deny
        ##allow from all
        Require all granted
    <Directory /var/www>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        AllowOverride All
##      Order allow,deny
##      allow from all
Require all granted

Include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-apache.conf
SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/


6. Simulate a certificate regenerate with –dry-run

Soon before the 90 days period expiry approaches, it is a good idea to test how all installed Nginx webserver certficiates will be renewed and whether any issues are expected this can be done with the –dry-run option.

root@webserver:/ # certbot renew –dry-run


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
** DRY RUN: simulating 'certbot renew' close to cert expiry
**          (The test certificates below have not been saved.)

Congratulations, all renewals succeeded. The following certs have been renewed:
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ (success)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ (success)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ (success)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ (success)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ (success)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ (success)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ (success)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ (success)
** DRY RUN: simulating 'certbot renew' close to cert expiry
**          (The test certificates above have not been saved.)
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


7. Renew a certificate from a multiple installed certificate list

In some time when you need to renew letsencrypt domain certificates you can list them and choose manually which one you want to renew.

root@webserver:/ # certbot –force-renewal
Saving debug log to /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log

How would you like to authenticate and install certificates?
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
1: Apache Web Server plugin (apache)
2: Nginx Web Server plugin (nginx)
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press 'c' to cancel): 2
Plugins selected: Authenticator nginx, Installer nginx

Which names would you like to activate HTTPS for?
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Select the appropriate numbers separated by commas and/or spaces, or leave input
blank to select all options shown (Enter 'c' to cancel): 3
Renewing an existing certificate
Deploying Certificate to VirtualHost /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Please choose whether or not to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS, removing HTTP access.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
1: No redirect – Make no further changes to the webserver configuration.
2: Redirect – Make all requests redirect to secure HTTPS access. Choose this for
new sites, or if you're confident your site works on HTTPS. You can undo this
change by editing your web server's configuration.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press 'c' to cancel): 2
Redirecting all traffic on port 80 to ssl in /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Your existing certificate has been successfully renewed, and the new certificate
has been installed.

The new certificate covers the following domains:

You should test your configuration at:
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 – Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at:

   Your key file has been saved at:
   Your cert will expire on 2021-03-21. To obtain a new or tweaked
   version of this certificate in the future, simply run certbot again
   with the "certonly" option. To non-interactively renew *all* of
   your certificates, run "certbot renew"
 – If you like Certbot, please consider supporting our work by:

   Donating to ISRG / Let's Encrypt:
   Donating to EFF:          


8. Renew all present SSL certificates

root@webserver:/ # certbot renew

Processing /etc/letsencrypt/renewal/
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Cert not yet due for renewal


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The following certs are not due for renewal yet:
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ expires on 2021-03-01 (skipped)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ expires on 2021-02-28 (skipped)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ expires on 2021-02-28 (skipped)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ expires on 2021-03-01 (skipped)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ expires on 2021-02-25 (skipped)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ expires on 2021-03-21 (skipped)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ expires on 2021-02-28 (skipped)
  /etc/letsencrypt/live/ expires on 2021-03-01 (skipped)
No renewals were attempted.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –



9. Renew all existing server certificates from a cron job

The certbot package will install a script under /etc/cron.d/certbot to be run that will attempt every 12 hours however from my experience
often this script is not going to work, the script looks similar to below:

# Upgrade all existing SSL certbot machine certificates


0 */12 * * * root test -x /usr/bin/certbot -a \! -d /run/systemd/system && perl -e 'sleep int(rand(43200))' && certbot -q renew

Another approach to renew all installed certificates if you want to have a specific options and keep log of what happened is using a tiny shell script like this:


10. Auto renew installed SSL / TSL Certbot certificates with a bash loop over all present certificates

# update SSL certificates
# prints from 1 to 104 (according to each certbot generated certificate and triggers rewew and logs what happened to log file
# an ugly hack for certbot certificate renew
for i in $(seq 1 104); do echo "Updating $i SSL Cert" | tee -a /root/certificate-update.log; yes "$i" | certbot –force-renewal | tee -a /root/certificate-update.log 2>&1; sleep 5; done

Note: The seq 1 104 is the range depends on the count of installed SSL certificates you have installed on the machine, that can be seen and set the proper value according to your case when you run one time certbot –force-renewal.

Reinstall all Debian packages with a copy of apt deb package list from another working Debian Linux installation

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020


Few days ago, in the hurry in the small hours of the night, I've done something extremely stupid. Wanting to move out a .tar.gz binary copy of qmail installation to /var/lib/qmail with all the dependent qmail items instead of extracting to admin user /root directory (/root), I've extracted it to the main Operating system root / directrory.
Not noticing this, I've quickly executed rm -rf var with the idea to delete all directory tree under /root/var just 3 seconds later, I've realized I'm issuing the rm -rf var with the wrong location WITH a root user !!!! Being scared on what I've done, I've quickly pressed CTRL+C to immedately cancel the deletion operation of my /var.


But as you can guess, since the machine has an Slid State Drive drive and SSD memory drive are much more faster in I/O operations than the classical ATA / SATA disks. I was not quick enough to cancel the operation and I've noticed already some part of my /var have been R.I.P-pped in the heaven of directories.

This was ofcourse upsetting so for a while I rethinked the situation to get some ideas on what I can do to recover my system ASAP!!! and I had the idea of course to try to reinstall All my installed .deb debian packages to restore system closest to the normal, before my stupid mistake.

Guess my unpleasent suprise when I have realized dpkg and respectively apt-get apt and aptitude package management tools cannot anymore handle packages as Debian Linux's package dependency database has been damaged due to missing dpkg directory 




Oh man that was unpleasent, especially since I've installed plenty of stuff that is custom on my Mate based desktop and, generally reinstalling it updating the sytem to the latest Debian security updates etc. will be time consuming and painful process I wanted to omit.

So of course the logical thing to do here was to try to somehow recover somehow a database copy of /var/lib/dpkg  if that was possible, that of course led me to the idea to lookup for a way to recover my /var/lib/dpkg from backup but since I did not maintained any backup copy of my OS anywhere that was not really possible, so anyways I wondered whether dpkg does not keep some kind of database backups somewhere in case if something goes wrong with its database.
This led me to this nice Ubuntu thred which has pointed me to the part of my root rm -rf dpkg db disaster recovery solution.
Luckily .deb package management creators has thought about situation similar to mine and to give the user a restore point for /var/lib/dpkg damaged database

/var/lib/dpkg is periodically backed up in /var/backups

A typical /var/lib/dpkg on Ubuntu and Debian Linux looks like so:

hipo@jeremiah:/var/backups$ ls -l /var/lib/dpkg
total 12572
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Jul 26 03:22 alternatives
-rw-r–r– 1 root root      11 Oct 14  2017 arch
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 2199402 Jul 25 20:04 available
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 2199402 Oct 19  2017 available-old
-rw-r–r– 1 root root       8 Sep  6  2012 cmethopt
-rw-r–r– 1 root root    1337 Jul 26 01:39 diversions
-rw-r–r– 1 root root    1223 Jul 26 01:39 diversions-old
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root  679936 Jul 28 14:17 info
-rw-r—– 1 root root       0 Jul 28 14:17 lock
-rw-r—– 1 root root       0 Jul 26 03:00 lock-frontend
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Sep 17  2012 parts
-rw-r–r– 1 root root    1011 Jul 25 23:59 statoverride
-rw-r–r– 1 root root     965 Jul 25 23:59 statoverride-old
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 3873710 Jul 28 14:17 status
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 3873712 Jul 28 14:17 status-old
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Jul 26 03:22 triggers
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Jul 28 14:17 updates

Before proceeding with this radical stuff to move out /var/lib/dpkg/info from another machine to /var mistakenyl removed oned. I have tried to recover with the well known:

  • extundelete
  • foremost
  • recover
  • ext4magic
  • ext3grep
  • gddrescue
  • ddrescue
  • myrescue
  • testdisk
  • photorec

Linux file deletion recovery tools from a USB stick loaded with a Number of LiveCD distributions, i.e. tested recovery with:

  • Debian LiveCD
  • Ubuntu LiveCD
  • SystemRescueCD
  • Trinity Rescue Kit
  • Ultimate Boot CD

but unfortunately none of them couldn't recover the deleted files … 

The reason why the standard file recovery tools could not recover ?

My assumptions is after I've done by rm -rf var; from sysroot,  issued the sync (- if you haven't used it check out man sync) command – that synchronizes cached writes to persistent storage and did a restart from the poweroff PC button, this should have worked, as I've recovered like that in the past) in a normal Sys V System with a normal old fashioned blocks filesystem as EXT2 . or any other of the filesystems without a journal, however as the machine run a EXT4 filesystem with a journald and journald, this did not work perhaps because something was not updated properly in /lib/systemd/systemd-journal, that led to the situation all recently deleted files were totally unrecoverable.

1. First step was to restore the directory skele of /var/lib/dpkg

# mkdir -p /var/lib/dpkg/{alternatives,info,parts,triggers,updates}


2. Recover missing /var/lib/dpkg/status  file

The main file that gives information to dpkg of the existing packages and their statuses on a Debian based systems is /var/lib/dpkg/status

# cp /var/backups/dpkg.status.0 /var/lib/dpkg/status


3. Reinstall dpkg package manager to make package management working again

Say a warm prayer to the Merciful God ! and do:

# apt-get download dpkg
# dpkg -i dpkg*.deb


4. Reinstall base-files .deb package which provides basis of a Debian system

Hopefully everything will be okay and your dpkg / apt pair will be in normal working state, next step is to:

# apt-get download base-files
# dpkg -i base-files*.deb


5. Do a package sanity and consistency check and try to update OS package list

Check whether packages have been installed only partially on your system or that have missing, wrong or obsolete control  data  or  files.  dpkg  should suggest what to do with them to get them fixed.

# dpkg –audit

Then resynchronize (fetch) the package index files from their sources described in /etc/apt/sources.list

# apt-get update

Do apt db constistency check:

#  apt-get check

check is a diagnostic tool; it updates the package cache and checks for broken dependencies.

Take a deep breath ! …

Do :

ls -l /var/lib/dpkg
and compare with the above list. If some -old file is not present don't worry it will be there tomorrow.

Next time don't forget to do a regular backup with simple rsync backup script or something like Bacula / Amanda / Time Vault or Clonezilla.

6. Copy dpkg database from another Linux system that has a working dpkg / apt Database

Well this was however not the end of the story … There were still many things missing from my /var/ and luckily I had another Debian 10 Buster install on another properly working machine with a similar set of .deb packages installed. Therefore to make most of my programs still working again I have copied over /var from the other similar set of package installed machine to my messed up machine with the missing deleted /var.

To do so …
On Functioning Debian 10 Machine (Working Host in a local network with IP, I've archived content of /var:

linux:~# tar -czvf var_backup_debian10.tar.gz /var

Then sftped from Working Host towards the /var deleted broken one in my case this machine's hostname is jericho and luckily still had SSHD and SFTP running processes loaded in memory:

jericho:~# sftp root@
sftp> get var_backup_debian10.tar.gz

Now Before extracting the archive it is a good idea to make backup of old /var remains somewhere for example somewhere in /root 
just in case if we need to have a copy of the dpkg backup dir /var/backups

jericho:~# cp -rpfv /var /root/var_backup_damaged

jericho:~# tar -zxvf /root/var_backup_debian10.tar.gz 
jericho:/# mv /root/var/ /

Then to make my /var/lib/dpkg contain the list of packages from my my broken Linux install I have ovewritten /var/lib/dpkg with the files earlier backupped before  .tar.gz was extracted.

jericho:~# cp -rpfv /var /root/var_backup_damaged/lib/dpkg/ /var/lib/


7. Reinstall All Debian  Packages completely scripts


I then tried to reinstall each and every package first using aptitude with aptitude this is done with

# aptitude reinstall '~i'

However as this failed, tried using a simple shell loop like below:

for i in $(dpkg -l |awk '{ print $2 }'); do echo apt-get install –reinstall –yes $i; done

Alternatively, all .deb package reninstall is also possible with dpkg –get-selections and with awk with below cmds:

dpkg –get-selections | grep -v deinstall | awk '{print $1}' > list.log;
awk '$1=$1' ORS=' ' list.log > newlist.log
apt-get install –reinstall $(cat newlist.log)

It can also be run as one liner for simplicity:

dpkg –get-selections | grep -v deinstall | awk '{print $1}' > list.log; awk '$1=$1' ORS=' ' list.log > newlist.log; apt-get install –reinstall $(cat newlist.log)

This produced a lot of warning messages, reporting "package has no files currently installed" (virtually for all installed packages), indicating a severe packages problem below is sample output produced after each and every package reinstall … :

dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'iproute' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'brscan-skey' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libapache2-mod-php7.4' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libexpat1:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libexpat1:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'php5.6-readline' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'linux-headers-4.19.0-5-amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libgraphite2-3:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libgraphite2-3:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libbonoboui2-0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libxcb-dri3-0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libxcb-dri3-0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'liblcms2-2:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'liblcms2-2:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libpixman-1-0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libpixman-1-0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'gksu' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'liblogging-stdlog0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'mesa-vdpau-drivers:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'mesa-vdpau-drivers:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libzvbi0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libzvbi0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libcdparanoia0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libcdparanoia0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'python-gconf' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'php5.6-cli' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libpaper1:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package '' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed

After some attempts I found a way to be able to work around the warning message, for each package by simply reinstalling the package reporting the issue with

apt –reinstall $package_name

Though reinstallation started well and many packages got reinstalled, unfortunately some packages such as apache2-mod-php5.6 and other php related ones  started failing during reinstall ending up in unfixable states right after installation of binaries from packages was successfully placed in its expected locations on disk. The failures occured during the package setup stage ( dpkg –configure $packagename) …

The logical thing to do is a recovery attempt with something like the usual well known by any Debian admin:

apt-get install –fix-missing

As well as Manual requesting to reconfigure (issue re-setup) of all installed packages also did not produced a positive result

dpkg –configure -a

But many packages were still failing due to dpkg inability to execute some post installation scripts from respective .deb files.
To work around that and continue installing the rest of packages I had to manually delete all files related to the failing package located under directory 


For example to omit the post installation failure of libapache2-mod-php5.6 and have a succesful install of the package next time I tried reinstall, I had to delete all /var/lib/dpkg/info/libapache2-mod-php5.6.postrm, /var/lib/dpkg/info/libapache2-mod-php5.6.postinst scripts and even sometimes everything like libapache2-mod-php5.6* that were present in /var/lib/dpkg/info dir.

The problem with this solution, however was the package reporting to install properly, but the post install script hooks were still not in placed and important things as setting permissions of binaries after install or applying some configuration changes right after install was missing leading to programs failing to  fully behave properly or even breaking up even though showing as finely installed …

The final solution to this problem was radical.
I've used /var/lib/dpkg database (directory) from ther other working Linux machine with dpkg DB OK found in var_backup_debian10.tar.gz (linux:~# host with a working dpkg database) and then based on the dpkg package list correct database responding on jericho:~# to reinstall each and every package on the system using Debian System Reinstaller script taken from the internet.
Debian System Reinstaller works but to reinstall many packages, I've been prompted again and again whether to overwrite configuration or keep the present one of packages.
To Omit the annoying [Y / N ] text prompts I had made a slight modification to the script so it finally looked like this:

# Debian System Reinstaller
# Copyright (C) 2015 Albert Huang
# Copyright (C) 2018 Andreas Fendt

# This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
# the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
# (at your option) any later version.

# This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
# but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# GNU General Public License for more details.

# You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
# along with this program.  If not, see <>.

# —
# This script assumes you are using a Debian based system
# (Debian, Mint, Ubuntu, #!), and have sudo installed. If you don't
# have sudo installed, replace "sudo" with "su -c" instead.

pkgs=`dpkg –get-selections | grep -w 'install$' | cut -f 1 |  egrep -v '(dpkg|apt)'`

for pkg in $pkgs; do
    echo -e "\033[1m   * Reinstalling:\033[0m $pkg"    

    apt-get –reinstall -o Dpkg::Options::="–force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="–force-confold" -y install $pkg || {
        echo "ERROR: Reinstallation failed. See reinstall.log for details."
        exit 1
done working modified version of Albert Huang and Andreas Fendt script  can be also downloaded here.

Note ! Omitting the text confirmation prompts to install newest config or keep maintainer configuration is handled by the argument:


-o Dpkg::Options::="–force-confold

I however still got few NCurses Console selection prompts during the reinstall of about 3200+ .deb packages, so even with this mod the reinstall was not completely automatic.

Note !  During the reinstall few of the packages from the list failed due to being some old unsupported packages this was ejabberd, ircd-hybrid and a 2 / 3 more.
This failure was easily solved by completely purging those packages with the usual

# dpkg –purge $packagename

and reruninng on each of the failing packages.

Note ! The failing packages were just old ones left over from Debian 8 and Debian 9 before the apt-get dist-upgrade towards 10 Duster.
Eventually I got a success by God's grance, after few hours of pains and trials, ending up in a working state package database and a complete set of freshly reinstalled packages.

The only thing I had to do finally is 2 hours of tampering why GNOME did not automatically booted after the system reboot due to failing gdm
until I fixed that I've temprary used ligthdm (x-display-manager), to do I've

dpkg –reconfigure gdm3


 to work around this I had to also reinstall few libraries, reinstall the xorg-server, reinstall gdm and reinstall the meta package for GNOME, using below set of commands:

apt-get install –reinstall libglw1-mesa libglx-mesa0
apt-get install –reinstall libglu1-mesa-dev
apt install –reinstallgsettings-desktop-schemas
apt-get install –reinstall xserver-xorg-video-intel
apt-get install –reinstall xserver-xorg
apt-get install –reinstall xserver-xorg-core
apt-get install –reinstall task-desktop
apt-get install –reinstall task-gnome-desktop


As some packages did not ended re-instaled on system because on the original host from where /var/lib/dpkg db was copied did not have it I had to eventually manually trigger reinstall for those too:


apt-get install –reinstall –yes vlc
apt-get install –reinstall –yes thunderbird
apt-get install –reinstall –yes audacity
apt-get install –reinstall –yes gajim
apt-get install –reinstall –yes slack remmina
apt-get install –yes k3b
pt-get install –yes gbgoffice
pt-get install –reinstall –yes skypeforlinux
apt-get install –reinstall –yes vlc
apt-get install –reinstall –yes libcurl3-gnutls libcurl3-nss
apt-get install –yes virtualbox-5.2
apt-get install –reinstall –yes vlc
apt-get install –reinstall –yes alsa-tools-gui
apt-get install –reinstall –yes gftp
apt install ./teamviewer_15.3.2682_amd64.deb –yes


Note that some of above packages requires a properly configured third party repositories, other people might have other packages that are missing from the dpkg list and needs to be reinstalled so just decide according to your own case of left aside working system present binaries that doesn't belong to any dpkg installed package.

After a bit of struggle everything is back to normal Thanks God! 🙂 !


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.

Howto create Linux Music Audio CD from MP3 files / Create playable WAV format Audio CD Albums from MP3s

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019


Recently my Mother asked me to prepare a Music Audio CD for her from a popular musician accordionist Stefan Georgiev from Dobrudja who has a unique folklore Bulgarian music.

As some of older people who still remember the age of the CD and who had most likely been into the CD burning Copy / Piracy business so popular in the countries of the ex-USSR so popular in the years 1995-2000 audio ,  Old CD Player Devices were not able to play the MP3 file format due to missing codecs (as MP3 was a proprietary compression that can't be installed on every device without paying the patent to the MP3 compression rights holder.

The revolutionary MP3 compression used to be booming standard for transferring Music data due to its high compression which made an ordinary MP3 of 5 minutes of 5MB (10+ times more compression than an ordinary classic WAV Audio the CPU intensiveness of MP3 files that puts on the reading device, requiring the CD Player to have a more powerful CPU.

Hence  due to high licensing cost and requirement for more powerful CPU enabled Audio Player many procuders of Audio Players never introduced MP3 to their devices and MP3 Neve become a standard for the Audio CD that was the standard for music listening inside almost every car out there.

Nowdays it is very rare need to create a Audio CD as audio CDs seems to be almost dead (As I heard from a Richard Stallman lecture In USA nowadays there is only 1 shop in the country where you can still buy CD or DVD drives) and only in third world as Africa Audio CDs perhaps are still in circulation.

Nomatter that as we have an old Stereo CD player on my village and perhaps many others, still have some old retired CD reading devices being able to burn out a CD is a useful thing.

Thus to make mother happy and as a learning excercise, I decided to prepare the CD for her on my Linux notebook.
Here I'll shortly describe the takes I took to make it happen which hopefully will be useful for other people that need to Convert and burn Audio CD from MP3 Album.


1. First I downloaded the Album in Mp3 format from Torrent tracker

My homeland Bulgaria and specific birth place place the city of Dobrich has been famous its folklore:  Galina Durmushlijska and Stefan Georgiev are just 2 of the many names along with Оркестър Кристал (Orchestra Crystal) and the multitude of gifted singers. My mother has a santiment for Stefan Georgiev, as she listened to this gifted accordinist on her Uncle's marriage.

Thus In my case this was (Стефан Георгиев Хора и ръченици от Добруджа) the album full song list here If you're interested to listen the Album and Enjoy unique Folklore from Dobrudja (Dobrich) my home city, Stefan Georgiev's album Hora and Rachenica Dances is available here


I've downloaded them from Bulgarian famous torrent tracker in MP3 format.
Of course you need to have a CD / DVD readed and write device on the PC which nowdays is not present on most modern notebooks and PCs but as a last resort you can buy some cheap External Optical CD / DVD drive for 25 to 30$ from Amazon / Ebay etc.


2. You will need to install a couple of programs on Linux host (if you don't have it already)

To be able to convert from command line from MP3 to WAV you will need as minimum ffmpeg and normalize-audio packages as well as some kind of command line burning tool like cdrskin  wodim which is
the fork of old good known cdrecord, so in case if you you're wondering what happened with it just
use instead wodim.

Below is a good list of tools (assuming you have enough HDD space) to install:


root@jeremiah:/ # apt-get install –yes dvd+rw-tools cdw cdrdao audiotools growisofs cdlabelgen dvd+rw-tools k3b brasero wodim ffmpeg lame normalize-audio libavcodec58


Note that some of above packages I've installed just for other Write / Read operations for DVD drives and you might not need that but it is good to have it as some day in future you will perhaps need to write out a DVD or something.
Also the k3b here is specific to KDE and if you're a GNOME user you could use Native GNOME Desktop app such brasero or if you're in a more minimalistic Linux desktop due to hardware contrains use XFCE's native xfburn program.

If you're a console / terminal geek like me you will definitely enjoy to use cdw

root@jeremiah:/ # apt-cache show cdw|grep -i description -A 1
Description-en: Tool for burning CD's – console version
 Ncurses-based frontend for wodim and genisoimage. It can handle audio and

Description-md5: 77dacb1e6c00dada63762b78b9a605d5


3. Selecting preferred CD / DVD / BD program to use to write out the CD from Linux console

cdw uses wodim (which is a successor of good old known console cdrecord command most of use used on Linux in the past to burn out new Redhat / Debian / different Linux OS distro versions for upgrade purposes on Desktop and Server machines.

To check whether your CD / DVD drive is detected and ready to burn on your old PC issue:


root@jeremiah:/# wodim -checkdrive
Device was not specified. Trying to find an appropriate drive…
Detected CD-R drive: /dev/cdrw
Using /dev/cdrom of unknown capabilities
Device type    : Removable CD-ROM
Version        : 5
Response Format: 2
Capabilities   :
Vendor_info    : 'HL-DT-ST'
Identification : 'DVDRAM GT50N    '
Revision       : 'LT20'
Device seems to be: Generic mmc2 DVD-R/DVD-RW.
Using generic SCSI-3/mmc   CD-R/CD-RW driver (mmc_cdr).
Supported modes: TAO PACKET SAO SAO/R96P SAO/R96R RAW/R16 RAW/R96P RAW/R96R

You can also use xorriso (whose added value compared to other console burn cd tools is is not using external program for ISO9660 formatting neither it use an external or an external burn program for CD, DVD or BD (Blue Ray) drive but it has its own libraries incorporated from libs.

Below output is from my Thinkpad T420 notebook. If the old computer CD drive is there and still functional in most cases you should not get issues to detect it.

cdw ncurses text based CD burner tool's interface is super intuitive as you can see from below screenshot:


CDW has many advanced abilities such as “blanking” a disk or ripping an audio CD on a selected folder. To overcome the possible problem of CDW not automatically detecting the disk you have inserted you can go to the “Configuration” menu, press F5 to enter the Hardware options and then on the first entry press enter and choose your device (by pressing enter again). Save the setting with F9.

4. Convert MP3 / MP4 Files or whatever format to .WAV to be ready to burn to CD

Collect all the files you want to have collected from the CD album in .MP3 a certain directory and use a small one liner loop to convert files to WAV with ffmpeg:

cd /disk/Music/Mp3s/Singer-Album-directory-with-MP3/

for i in $( ls *.mp3); do ffmpeg -i $i $i.wav; done

If you don't have ffmpeg installed and have mpg123 you can also do the Mp3 to WAV conversion with mpg123 cmd like so:


for i in $( ls ); do mpg123 -w $i.wav $i.mp3; done

Another alternative for conversion is to use good old lame (used to create Mp3 audio files but abling to also) decode
mp3 to wav.


lame –decode somefile.mp3 somefile.wav

In the past there was a burn command tool that was able to easily convert MP3s to WAV but in up2date Linux modern releases it is no longer available most likely due to licensing issues, for those on older Debian Linux 7 / 8 / 9 / Ubuntu 8 to 12.XX / old Fedoras etc. if you have the command you can install burn and use it (and not bother with shell loops):

apt-get install burn


yum install burn

Once you have it to convert


$ burn -A -a *.mp3


5. Fix file naming to remove empty spaces such as " " and substitute to underscores as some Old CD Players are
unable to understand spaces in file naming with another short loop.


for f in *; do mv "$f" `echo $f | tr ' ' '_'`; done


6. Normalize audio produced .WAV files (set the music volume to a certain level)

In case if wondering why normalize audio is needed here is short extract from normalize-audio man page command description to shed some light.

"normalize-audio  is  used  to  adjust  the volume of WAV or MP3 audio files to a standard volume level.  This is useful for things like creating mp3 mixes, where different recording levels on different albums can cause the volume to  vary  greatly from song to song."

cd /disk/Music/Mp3s/Singer-Album-directory-with-MP3/

normalize-audio -m *.wav


7. Burn the produced normalized Audio WAV files to the the CD


wodim -v -fix -eject dev='/dev/sr0' -audio -pad *.wav

Alternatively you can conver all your MP3 files to .WAV with anything be it audacity
or another program or even use 
GNOME's CDBurn tool brasero (if gnome user) or KDE's CDBurn which in my opinion is
the best CD / DVD burning application for Linux K3B.

Burning Audio CD with K3b is up to few clicks and super easy and even k3b is going to handle the MP3 to WAV file Conversion itself. To burn audio with K3B just run it and click over 'New Audio CD Project'.


For those who want to learn a bit more on CD / DVD / Blue-Ray burning on GNU / Linux good readings are:
Linux CD Burning Mini Howto, is Linux's CD Writing Howto on ibiblio (though a bit obsolete) or Debian's official documentation on BurnCD.

8. What we learned here

Though the accent of this tutorial was how to Create Audio Music CD from MP3 on GNU / Linux, the same commands are available in most FreeBSD / NetBSD / OpenBSD ports tree so you can use the same method to build prepare Audio Music CD on *BSDs.

In this article, we went through few basic ways on how to prepare WAV files from MP3 normalize the new created WAV files on Linux, to prepare files for creation of Audio Music CD for the old mom or grandma's player or even just for fun to rewind some memories. For GUI users this is easily done with  k3b,  brasero or xfburn.

I've pointed you to cdw a super useful text ncurses tool that makes CD Burninng from plain text console (on servers) without a Xorg / WayLand  GUI installed super easy. It was shortly reviewed what has changed over the last few years and why and why cdrecord was substituted for wodim. A few examples were given on how to handle conversion through bash shell loops and you were pointed to some extra reading resources to learn a bit more on the topic.
There are plenty of custom scripts around for doing the same CD Burn / Covnersion tasks, so pointing me to any external / Shell / Perl scripts is mostly welcome.

Hope this learned you something new, Enjoy ! 🙂

Preparing your Linux to work with the Cloud providers – Installing aws , gcloud, az, oc, cf CLI Cloud access command interfaces

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

howto Install-Cloud-access-tools-for-google-aws-azure-openshift-cloud-foundryCloud_computing-explained-on-linux.svg

If you're a sysadmin / developer whose boss requires a migration of Stored Data, Database structures or Web Objects to Amazon Web Services / Google Clourd or you happen to be a DevOps Engineer you will certainly need to have installed as a minimumum amazon AWS and Google Clouds clients to do daily routines and script stuff in managing cloud resources without tampering to use the Web GUI interface.

Here is how to install the aws, gcloud, oc, az and cf next to your kubernetes client (kubectl) on your Linux Desktop.

1. Install Google Cloud  gcloud (to manage Google Cloud platform resources and developer workflow


Here is few cmds to run to install  gcloud, gcloud alpha, gcloud beta, gsutil, and bq commands to manage your Google Cloud from CLI

a.) On Debian / Ubuntu / Mint or any other deb based distro

# Create environment variable for correct distribution
export CLOUD_SDK_REPO="cloud-sdk-$(lsb_release -c -s)"


# Add the Cloud SDK distribution URI as a package source
# echo "deb $CLOUD_SDK_REPO main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-cloud-sdk.list


# Import the Google Cloud Platform public key
$ sudo curl | sudo apt-key add –


# Update the package list and install the Cloud SDK
$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install google-cloud-sdk

b) On CentOS, RHEL, Fedora Linux and other rpm based ones

$ sudo tee -a /etc/yum.repos.d/google-cloud-sdk.repo << EOM
name=Google Cloud SDK

# yum install google-cloud-sdk


That's all now the text client to talk to Google Cloud's API gcloud is installed under

Latest install instructions of Google Cloud SDK are here.

2. Install AWS Cloud command line interface tool for managing AWS (Amazon Web Services)


AWS client is dependent on Python PIP so before you proceed you will have to install python-pip deb package if on Debian / Ubuntu Linux use apt:


# apt-get install –yes python-pip


It is also possible to install newest version of PIP a tiny shell script provided by Amazon


# curl -O
# python –user


# pip install awscli –upgrade –user


3. Install Azure Cloud Console access CLI command interface


On Debian / Ubuntu or any other deb based distro:

# AZ_REPO=$(lsb_release -cs)
# echo "deb [arch=amd64] $AZ_REPO main" | \
$ sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/azure-cli.list

# curl -L | sudo apt-key add –
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https azure-cli


Finaly to check that Azure CLI is properly installed run simple login with:


$ az login


$ sudo rpm –import
$ sudo sh -c 'echo -e "[azure-cli]\nname=Azure CLI\nbaseurl=\nenabled=1\ngpgcheck=1\ngpgkey=" > /etc/yum.repos.d/azure-cli.repo'
$ sudo yum install azure-cli

$ az login

For Latest install instructions check Amazon's documentation here

4. Install OpenShift OC CLI tool to access OpenShift Open Source Cloud



Even thought OpenShift has its original Redhat produced package binaries, if you're not on RPM distro it is probably
best to install using official latest version from openshift github repo.

As of time of writting this article this is done with:


# wget
tar –xvf openshift-origin-client-tools-v1.5.1-7b451fc-linux-64bit.tar.gz


# # mv openshift-origin-client-tools-v1.5.1-7b451fc-linux-64bit oc-tool


# cd oc-tool
# echo'export PATH=$HOME/oc-tool:$PATH' >> ~/.bashrc


To test openshift, try to login to OpenShift cloud:


$ oc login
Server [https://localhost:8443]: https://128.XX.XX.XX:8443

Latest install instructions on OC here

5. Install Cloud Foundry cf CLI Cloud access tool


a) On Debian / Ubuntu Linux based distributions, do run:


$ wget -q -O – | sudo apt-key add –
$ echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/cloudfoundry-cli.list
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install cf-cli


b) On RHEL Enterprise Linux / CentOS and Fedoras


$ sudo wget -O /etc/yum.repos.d/cloudfoundry-cli.repo
$ sudo yum install cf-cli

For latest install insructions on cf cli check Cloud Foundry's install site

There plenty of other Cloud providers with the number exponentially growing and most have their own custom cli tools to access but as there use is not so common as the 5 ones mentioned below, I've omited 'em. If you're interested to know the complete list of Cloud Providers providing Cloud Services check here.

6. Install Ruby GEMs RHC tools collection

If you have to work with Redhat Cloud Storage / OpenShift you will perhaps want to install also (RHC) Redhat Collection Tools.

Assuming that the Linux system is running an up2date version of ruby programming language do run:



root@jeremiah:~# gem install rhc
Fetching: net-ssh-5.0.2.gem (100%)
Successfully installed net-ssh-5.0.2
Fetching: net-ssh-gateway-2.0.0.gem (100%)
Successfully installed net-ssh-gateway-2.0.0
Fetching: net-ssh-multi-1.2.1.gem (100%)
Successfully installed net-ssh-multi-1.2.1
Fetching: minitar-0.7.gem (100%)
The `minitar` executable is no longer bundled with `minitar`. If you are
expecting this executable, make sure you also install `minitar-cli`.
Successfully installed minitar-0.7
Fetching: hashie-3.6.0.gem (100%)
Successfully installed hashie-3.6.0
Fetching: powerbar-1.0.18.gem (100%)
Successfully installed powerbar-1.0.18
Fetching: minitar-cli-0.7.gem (100%)
Successfully installed minitar-cli-0.7
Fetching: archive-tar-minitar-0.6.1.gem (100%)
'archive-tar-minitar' has been deprecated; just install 'minitar'.
Successfully installed archive-tar-minitar-0.6.1
Fetching: highline-1.6.21.gem (100%)
Successfully installed highline-1.6.21
Fetching: commander-4.2.1.gem (100%)
Successfully installed commander-4.2.1
Fetching: httpclient- (100%)
Successfully installed httpclient-
Fetching: open4-1.3.4.gem (100%)
Successfully installed open4-1.3.4
Fetching: rhc-1.38.7.gem (100%)


If this is your first time installing the RHC tools, please run 'rhc setup'

Successfully installed rhc-1.38.7
Parsing documentation for net-ssh-5.0.2
Installing ri documentation for net-ssh-5.0.2
Parsing documentation for net-ssh-gateway-2.0.0
Installing ri documentation for net-ssh-gateway-2.0.0
Parsing documentation for net-ssh-multi-1.2.1
Installing ri documentation for net-ssh-multi-1.2.1
Parsing documentation for minitar-0.7
Installing ri documentation for minitar-0.7
Parsing documentation for hashie-3.6.0
Installing ri documentation for hashie-3.6.0
Parsing documentation for powerbar-1.0.18
Installing ri documentation for powerbar-1.0.18
Parsing documentation for minitar-cli-0.7
Installing ri documentation for minitar-cli-0.7
Parsing documentation for archive-tar-minitar-0.6.1
Installing ri documentation for archive-tar-minitar-0.6.1
Parsing documentation for highline-1.6.21
Installing ri documentation for highline-1.6.21
Parsing documentation for commander-4.2.1
Installing ri documentation for commander-4.2.1
Parsing documentation for httpclient-
Installing ri documentation for httpclient-
Parsing documentation for open4-1.3.4
Installing ri documentation for open4-1.3.4
Parsing documentation for rhc-1.38.7
Installing ri documentation for rhc-1.38.7
Done installing documentation for net-ssh, net-ssh-gateway, net-ssh-multi, minitar, hashie, powerbar, minitar-cli, archive-tar-minitar, highline, commander, httpclient, open4, rhc after 10 seconds
13 gems installed

To start with rhc next do:

rhc setup
rhc app create my-app diy-0.1

and play with it to install software create services on the Redhat cloud.




This are just of the few of the numerous tools available and I definitely understand there is much more to be said on the topic.
If you can remember other tools tor interesting cloud starting up tips about stuff to do on a fresh installed Linux PC to make life easier with Cloud / PaaS / SaaS / DevOps engineer please drop a comment.

Virtual Keyboard for Linux and other Freedom respecting operating Systems

Monday, July 30th, 2018

How to install and Use Linux Virtual Keyboard and other freedom respecting Operating Systems

  •  Looking for a quick way to use VIRTUAL KEYBOARD ON LINUX COMPUTER OPERATING SYSTEM, you can do it just this 1 task in 3 simple steps  ???
    – Logical question emerges, WHY ??? would you need a virtual keyboard on Free Software OS such as Linux?
    Well, just because sometimes it is much more secure to use a Virtual Keyboard, especially if you have doubt that your keyboard has been tapped or a Key Logger (Sniffer), intercepting the Keyboard IN / OUT jacks, is installed on the computer or you might have sit on a computer of ,a friend running Linux, and you want to make sure he did not install sniffer to intercept your ,SSH login passwords and ,later hack into your Servers, after stealing, the password


  • Assuming you're on : – Debian / Ubuntu Linux, or other of the numerous IT systems such as ,FreeBSD / OpeBSD etc. out there, you can run simply this commands:


  •  apt-get install –yes florence
    * A. To make it, easily invokable for laters, create a small bash, shell script in directory; – location /usr/bin/virtual-keyboard like, the one below:

    vim /usr/bin/virtual-keyboard

    * B.. INside the file Place following 1 liner code



    * C… To later invoke it any time:
    Press ALT + F2 (or use Run Command Dialog in GNOME / KDE / Windomaker / IceWM whatever or any other crazy graphic environment of your choice and run:



How to downgrade package with apt-get on Debian / Ubuntu / Mint Linux

Thursday, October 19th, 2017



How can I downgrade a debian package to an older version with apt-get?

Downgrading a package in Debian is not frequently required but sometimes it is a must lets say a package you just upgraded fails to communicate properly to an application, in my case that's Ejabberd server which was working pretty well with Yaxim, Bruno or Xabber Mobile android application clients, unfortunately right after periodic apt-get upgrades I do with apt due to security upgrade of deb package ejabberd=2.1.10-4+deb7u1 to ejabberd=2.1.10-4+deb7u2 it messed up and even though it worked fine with Desktop clients such as Gajim and Pidgin, there was no Android application on my Phone with Android 4.4 which was able to communicate properly with the TLS encrypted Jabber server so my only option was to downgrade back to ejabberd=2.1.10-4+deb7u1.

I looked through a short URL is ( but I couldn't find the old deb file to downgrade so I was in a situation …

 Then I duckduck goed (I've recently stopped using Google as Google is collecting too much data and sharing with NSA) and I found following instructions on downgrade


If you have the version number, or the target release, apt-get supports choosing a particular version or target release. More details can be found on manual page of apt-get. It can also be accessed from terminal by typing man apt-get

sudo apt-get install <package-name>=<package-version-number> OR

sudo apt-get -t=<target release> install <package-name>

is the command to be run. This can be used to down-grade a package to a specific version.

It has been helpfully pointed out in the comments that

    apt-cache showpkg <package-name> – lists all available versions. (h/t Sparhawk)
    apt-mark hold <package-name> "holds" – the package at the current version, preventing automatic upgrades. (h/t Luís de Sousa )

In other words All I had to do is as root superuser is:

apt-get install «pkg»=«version»


aptitude install «pkg»=«version»

Where «pkg» is the name of the package, and «version» is the version number.

So I just issued following cmd:

root@pcfreak:~# apt-get install ejabberd=2.1.10-4+deb7u1
Четене на списъците с пакети… Готово
Изграждане на дървото със зависимости       
Четене на информацията за състоянието… Готово
Предложени пакети:
Следните НОВИ пакети ще бъдат инсталирани:
0 актуализирани, 1 нови инсталирани, 0 за премахване и 3 без промяна.
Необходимо е да се изтеглят 1795 kB архиви.
След тази операция ще бъде използвано 3699 kB допълнително дисково пространство.
Изт:1 wheezy/main ejabberd amd64 2.1.10-4+deb7u1 [1795 kB]

P.S. Sorry for the cyrillic for those who can't read it but it is standard messages that Debian does in package install time.

Analogously you can do it for any other newer package that upgraded, later on to prevent further security updates of the package you will have to put the package on hold, that's as easy as running:

root@pcfreak:~# aptitude hold ejabberd
No packages will be installed, upgraded, or removed.
0 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 4 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B of archives. After unpacking 0 B will be used.