Posts Tagged ‘deb’

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

Reading Time: 16minutes


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.

GUI wep/wpa cracking through Gerix Wifi Cracker NG (GUI for cracking wireless networks)

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Reading Time: < 1minute


I found a neat program that facilitates work on cracking
a wep or wpa secured wireless network. The program is called
Gerix Wifi Cracker NG and is a part of the
backtrack penetration testinglinux distro
Gerix Wifi Cracker itself is located here , it's cool cause the author even has prepared a deb
package with the nifty GUI wireless cracker
. The slogan of the soft is also a killer,it reads:
"The software that even your grandmother knows how to use!",
a bunch of nice granda's pictures are included as well 🙂

How to extract a deb package on Debian, Ubuntu, Mint Linux and other non debian based distributions

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Reading Time: 2minutes


How to extract a deb package? 

Have you ever had a debian .deb package which contains image files you need, but the dependencies doesn't allow you to install it on your Debian / Ubuntu / Mint Linux release?
I had just recently downloaded the ultimate-edition-themes latest release v 0.0.7 a large pack of GNOME Themes and wanted to install it on my Debian Stretch Linux but I faced problems because of dependencies when trying to install with dpkg.

That is why I took another appoarch and decided to only extract the necessery themes from the archive only with dpkg.

Here is how I have extracted ultimate-edition-themes-.0.0.7_all.deb ;


dpkg -x ultimate-edition-themes-.0.0.7_all.deb /tmp/ultimate-edition-themes



So how dpkg extracts the .deb file?


Debian .deb packages are a regular more in Wikipedia – Unix archive files (ar) .

The structure of a deb file consists of another 3 files (2 tar.gzs and one binary) as follows:


debian-binary: regular text file, contains the version of the deb package format
control.tar.gz: compressed file, contains file md5sums and control directory for the deb package
data.tar.gz: compressed file, contains all the files which will be installed

Basicly if you're on a Linux distribution that lacks dpkg you can easily extract .deb binary using GNU AR  command (used to create, modify extract Unix ar files and is the GNU / Linux equivallent of the UNIX ar command).

To extract on Fedora or RPM based Linux distributions as well as BSDs with AR:

First print file conetnt with:

ar p  ultimate-edition-themes-.0.0.7_all.deb

Then extract it with:

ar x ultimate-edition-themes-.0.0.7_all.deb


Later just extract with tar (untar), the 2 other archived files contained in the .deb (ar) archive:



tar -zxvvf control.tar.gz; tar -zxxvf data.tar.gz


Get everything you need from there in my case that's the usr/share/themes folder, then enjoy life 🙂


How to enable VirtualBox Windows XP FullScreen with VboxGuestAdditions.iso on Ubuntu 11.10 Linux

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes

Right after installing Windows XP inside VirtualBox, I've found out everything works fine except the screen. Even though pressing (Right CTRL + F) was changing the Windows XP running window to FullScreen the XP screen was taking only a part of the whole screen area, where almost half of the screen was visible as simply staying blank.

A bit of research and I found the issue is caused by missing VirtualBoxGuestAdditions .

VBoxAdditions is a package which should be installed inside the VirtualBox by navigating to Devices -> Install Guest Additions

Virtualbox offers a download of a VboxGuestAdditions_4.1.2_Ubuntu.iso from url;, anyways this download fails since the URL is currently unavailable.

To fix this two ways are possible:

1. Download VBoxGuestAdditions.iso from here and put it in directory /usr/share/virtualbox , e.g.:

root@ubuntu:~# cd /usr/share/virtualbox
root@ubuntu:/usr/share/virtualbox# wget

2. Download and install virtualbox-guest-additions-iso_4.1.2-1_all.deb

root@ubuntu:~# wget
root@ubuntu:~# dpkg -i virtualbox-guest-additions-iso_4.1.2-1_all.deb

Next to enable and install guest additions once again use menus:

Devices -> Install Guest Additions

VirtualBox Install Guest Additions Ubuntu Screenshot

The screen to appear next will be similar to:

VBox guest Additions windows Ubuntu

Further on follow the few dialogs to complete the installations and integration of Guest Additions and restart the Virtual machine and hooray the Windows will appear in Full screen in VirtualBox ! 😉

Installing XMMS on Debian Squeeze from a Package / Installing XMMS on Debian – the debian way

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Reading Time: < 1minuteinstalling xmms on debian squeeze linux playing free software song green skin screenshot

I use Debian Linux for my desktop for quite some time; Even though there are plenty of MP3 / CD players around in Debian, I’m used to the good old XMMS, hence I often prefer to use XMMS to play my music instead of newer players like RhythmBox or audacious.
Actually audacious is not bad substitute for XMMS and is by default part of Debian but to me it seems more buggy and tends to crash during playing some music formats more than xmms ….

As most people might know, XMMS is no longer supported in almost all modern Linux distributions, so anyone using Debian, Ubuntu or other deb derivative Linux would have to normally compile it from source.
Compiling from source is time consuming and I think often it doesn’t pay back the effort. Thanksfully, though not officially supported by Debian crew XMMS still can be installed using a deb xmms prebuilt package repository kindly provided by a hacker fellow knuta.

Using the pre-build deb packages, installing xmms on new Debian installs comes to:

debian:~# echo 'deb ./' >> /etc/apt/sources.list
debian:~# echo 'deb-src ./' >> /etc/apt/sources.list
debian:~# apt-get update && apt-get -y install xmms

There are also deb xmms built for Ubuntu, so Ubuntu users could install xmms using repositories:

deb ./
deb-src ./
That’s all now xmms is ready to use. Enjoy 🙂

AEWAN – a nice advanced GNU / Linux console ASCII art text editor

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Reading Time: 4minutes

I'm a guy fascinated by ASCII art, since the very early days I saw a piece of this awesome digital art.

As time passed and computers went to be used mostly  graphics resolution, ASCII art loose its huge popularity from the early DOS and BBS (internet primordial days).

However, this kind  of art is still higly valued by true computer geeks.
In that manner of thoughts, lately I'm researching widely on ASCII art tools and ASCII art open source tools available for Linux.
Last time I check what is available for 'ASCII job' was before 5 years time. Recently I decided to review once again and see if there are new software for doing ascii manipulations on Linux and this is how this article got born.

My attention was caught by aewan (ASCII-art Editor Without A Name), while searching for ASCII keyword description packages with:

apt-cache search ascii

Aewan project official website is on sourceforge check it out here

Here is the complete description of the Debian package:

hipo@noah:~$ apt-cache show aewan|grep -i description -A 5
Description: ASCII-art Editor Without A Name
aewan is an ASCII art editor with support for multiple layers that can be
edited individually, colors, rectangular copy and paste, and intelligent
horizontal and vertical flipping (converts '\' to '/', etc). It produces
both stand-alone art files and an easy-to-parse format for integration
into your terminal applications.

I installed it to give it a try:

noah:~# apt-get --yes install aewan
Selecting previously deselected package aewan.
(Reading database ... 388522 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking aewan (from .../aewan_1.0.01-3_amd64.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up aewan (1.0.01-3) ...

aewan package provides three executable binaries:

noah:~# dpkg -L aewan|grep -i /bin/ /usr/bin/aecat

1. aewan binary is the ascii-art editor itself

2. aecat is utility to display an aewan documents (aewan format saved files)3. aemakeflictool to produce an animation from an aewan document

Next I ran it in plain console tty  to check how it is like:

hipo@noah:~$ aewan

Below are screenshots to give you an idea how powerful aewan ASCII art editor is:

AEWAN ASCII art editor entry information screen Debian GNU / Linux shot

Aewan immediate entry screen after start up

Aewan ASCII art editor Linux showing the major functionality of aewan on Debian GNU / Linux Squeeze

Aewan ASCII art editor – all of the supported tool functions

As you can see from the shot the editor is very feature rich. I was stunned to find out it even supports layers (in ASCII!!) (w0w!). 
It even has a Layers Manager (like GIMP) 🙂

To create my first ASCII art I used the:



This however didn't immediately show the prompt, where I can type  the ascii characters to draw my picture. In order to be able to draw inside the editor, its necessary to open at least one layer, through using the menu:

Add Layer (defaults)

then the interactive ASCII art editor appeared.

While an ASCII art is created with the editor you can select the color of the input characters by using Drawing Color menu seen in the above screenshot.

aewan drawing color choose color Linux shot

I've played few minutes and created a sample ascii art, just to test the color and editor "look & feel", my conclusions are the editor chars drawing is awesome.

Aewan ascii art produced on my Debian GNU / Linux host

All the commands available via menus are also accessible via a shortcut key combinations:

Aewan Linux Ascii art editor quick key shortcut commands

aewan controls are just great and definitely over-shadows every other text editor I used to draw an ASCII art so far.
Once saved the ASCII art, are by default saved in a plain gzipped ascii text. You can therefore simply zcat the the saves;
Don't expect zcat to show you the ascii as they're displayed in aewan, zcat-ing it will instead  display just the stored meta data; the meta data is interpreted and displayed properly only with aecat command.

aewan aecat displaying properly previously saved ascii art picture

I've checked online for rpm builds too and such are available, so installing on Fedora, CentOS, SuSE etc. is up to downloading the right distro / hardware architecture rpm package and running:

# rpm -ivh aewan*.rpm

On the official website, there are also instructions to compile from source, Slackware users and users of other distros which doesn't have a package build should compile manually with the usual:

$ tar -zxf aewan-1.0.01.tar.gz
$ cd aewan-1.0.01
$ ./configure
$ make
$ su -c "make install"

For those inrested to make animations with aemakeflic you need to first save a multiple layers of pictures. The idea of creating ASCII art video is pretty much like the old school way to make animation "draw every scene" and movie it. Once all different scene layers of the ASCII art animation are prepared one could use  aemakeflic to export all the ASCII layers as common video.

aemakeflic has the ability to export the ASCII animation in a runnable shell script to display the animation. The other way aemakeflic can be used is to produce a picture in kind of text format showing the video whether seen with  less cmd.
Making ASCII animation takes a lot of time and effort. Since i'm too lazy and I lack the time I haven't tested this functionality. Anyways I've seen some ascii videos on telnet  to remote hosts (some past time); therefore I guess they were made using aewan and later animated with aemakeflic.

I will close this post with a nice colorful ASCII art, made with aewan (picture is taken from the project page):

Aewan Flipping Selection Screenshot

How to reduce spam in PHPBB based internet forum on Debian GNU / Linux

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes

phpbb reduce spam bot registrations on Debian Linux tiny script

I had to install two PHPBB based internet forums, some long time ago. Since long time passed and I haven't checked what's happening with them I just noticed. They start filling up spam threads. The phpbb installations are done using the standard shipped deb packages in Debian Linux Lenny.

After checking online, I found one smart solution to . The idea is very simple most spam bots are written in a way that they don't have a properly set timezone. Therefore the quickest way to get rid of spam bots which try to auto register and put spam content inside the a forum category or post is to add a simple if condition in php to check the browser set timezone:

The file to add the php if condition is ucp_register.phpThe phpbb package install places default phpbb path on Debian is /usr/share/phpbb3/ and hence the file I had to modify is located in:


To make the TZ check one needs to modify ../www/includes/ucp/ucp_register.php and look for php array definition:

$data = array(
'username' => utf8_normalize_nfc(request_var('username', '', true)),
'new_password' => request_var('new_password', '', true),
'password_confirm' => request_var('password_confirm', '', true),
'email' => strtolower(request_var('email', '')),
'email_confirm' => strtolower(request_var('email_confirm', '')),
'confirm_code' => request_var('confirm_code', ''),
'lang' => basename(request_var('lang', $user->lang_name)),
'tz' => request_var('tz', (float) $timezone),

Right after this chunk of code add the if condition code which is like so:

if ($data['tz'] == '-12.00')
die('Die, bot! Die.');

From now onwards, any attempt for new user registration with an incorrect timezone of -12.00 will be immediately stopped while the forum spammer bot will be offered an empty page 🙂

Another good practice is to disable Birthday Listing from phpbb Admin Control panel (ACP). Go to menus:

ACP -> General -> Board Settings -> Enable Birthday listing: (No)

Enable birthday listing phpbb forum screenshot

I like disabling birthday listing, as when it is enabled and you have some spammer registrations, which even though didn't succeeded to contaminate your forum content has specified a birthday and therefore there profiles gets popping up each different day on the main page of the forum.
This will not eradicate all spammer bots, but at least will significantly decrease spammer bot registrations.

How to upgrade single package with their dependencies on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes

Debian GNU / Linux apt-get upgrade a package selection of a whole bunch of packages ready to upgrade apt artistic logo

Are you a Debian System Administrator and you recently run apt-get upgrade && apt-get upgrade finding out there are plenty of new packagesfor upgrade? Do you need only a pre-selected number of packages to upgrade with apt?
I run apt-get update && apt-get upgrade on one of our company Debian servers, just to see there are a number of packages to be upgraded among which there was some I didn't wanted to upgrade. Here is a little paste output from apt-get upgrade:

debian:~# apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Hit squeeze/updates Release.gpg
Hit squeeze/updates/main amd64 Packages
Fetched 128 kB in 0s (441 kB/s)
Reading package lists... Done
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following packages will be upgraded:
at imagemagick libdbd-pg-perl libfreetype6 libmagickcore3 libmagickcore3-extra libmagickwand3 libmysqlclient16 mysql-client
mysql-client-5.1 mysql-common mysql-server mysql-server-5.1 mysql-server-core-5.1
Do you want to continue [Y/n]
14 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.

From first sight it seems logical to issue apt-get upgrade packagename to upgrade only single package with its package dependencies, instead of the whole group the above packs. However doing:
apt-get upgrade imagemagick will still try to upgrade all the packages instead of just imagemagick and its dependency package deb libmagickcore3

debian:~# apt-get upgrade imagemagick
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following packages will be upgraded:
at imagemagick libdbd-pg-perl libfreetype6 libmagickcore3 libmagickcore3-extra libmagickwand3 libmysqlclient16 mysql-client
mysql-client-5.1 mysql-common mysql-server mysql-server-5.1 mysql-server-core-5.1
14 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]

Doing all package,upgrade is not a good idea in my case, since upgrading mysql-server will require a MySQL server restart (something which we cannot afford to do right now) on this production server.
MySQL server restart during upgrade is never a good idea especially on productive busy (heavy loaded) SQL servers.
A restart of the MySQL server serving thousands of requests per second could lead often to crashed tables and hence temporary server downtime etc.

Still it is a good idea to upgrade the rest of packages with their newer versions. For exmpl. to upgrade; imagemagick, at , libfreetype6 and so on.

In order to upgrade only this 3 ones and their respective package dependencies, issue:

debian:~# apt-get --yes install imagemagick at libfreetype6

Repeat the apt-get install command with passing all the single package name you want to be upgraded and voila you're done :).
Be sure the apt-get install packagename upgrade doesn't require also upgrade of myssql-server, mysql-client, mysql-common or mysql-server-core-5.1 or any of the package name you want to preserve from upgrading.