Posts Tagged ‘desktop environment’

Saving multiple passwords in Linux with Revelation and Keepass2 – Keeping track of multiple passwords

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Reading Time: 3minutes

System Administrators who use MS Windows to access multiple hosts in big companies like HP or IBM certainly use some kind of multiple password manager like PasswordSafe.

Keep multiple passwords safe in Microsoft Windows 7 passwordsafe with masterpassword

When number of passwords you have to keep in mind grows significantly using something like PasswordSafe becomes mandatory. Same is valid also for valid for system administrators who use GNU / Linux as a Desktop environment to administer thousands or hundreds of servers. I'm one of those admins who for years use Linux and until recently I kept logging all my passwords in separate directory full with text files created with vim (text editor). As the number of passwords and accesses to servers and web interfaces grow up dramatically as well as my requirement for security raised up I wanted to have my passwords secured being kept encrypted on my hard drive. For those who never use PasswordSafe the idea of program is to store all passwords you have in encrypted database which can be only opened through PasswordSafe by providing a master password.

passwordsafe on microsoft windows keep in order multiple passwords manager

Of course having one master password imposes other security risks as someone who knows the MasterPass can easily access all your passwords anyways for now such level of security perfectly fits my needs.

PasswordSafe is since recently Open Source so there is a Linux port, but the port is still in beta and though I tried hard to install it using provided .deb binaries as well as compile from source, I finally give it up. And decided to review what kind of password managers are available in Debian Wheezy's ports.

Here are those I found with;

apt-cache search password|grep -i manager

cpm – Curses based password manager using PGP-encryption
fpm2 – password manager with GTK+ 2.x GUI
gringotts – secure password and data storage manager
kedpm – KED Password Manager
kedpm-gtk – KED Password Manager
keepass2 – Password manager
keepassx – Cross Platform Password Manager
kwalletmanager – secure password wallet manager
password-gorilla – cross-platform password manager
revelation – GNOME2 Password manager

I didn't have the time to test each one of them, so I installed and checked only those which seemed more reliable, i.e.:
keepass2 and revelation

# apt-get install –yes fpm2 keepass2 revelation

Below is screenshot of each one of managers:

Revelation Linux Gnome graphic password manager program

Revelation – GNOME Password Manager

keepass2 Linux gui password manager screenshot Debian - graphic manager for storing passwords

kde password safe gui program Linux Debian screenshot

KDE QT Interface Linux GUI Password Manager (KeePass2)

With one of this tools admin's life is much easier as you don't have to get crazy and remember thousands of passwords.
Hope this helps some admin out there! Enjoy ! 🙂
 

Remove password prompt on GNOME Shutdown / Restart on Debian and Ubuntu Linux

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Reading Time: < 1minute

It is ultra annoying, that in newest Debian and Ubuntu releases with GNOME 3 Desktop environment on every shutdown or restart you need to type in Super User (root) password, to authorize shutdown / restart.

Generally prompting for root password on GNOME restart is obviously a good think from security point of view, but from usability one – especially on notebooks it is useless annoyance…

So after changing this behavior I came up with this tiny article on how to get rid of GNOME Shutdown / Restart password prompt.

There is a click button (on left of Auth prompt on Shutdown showing URL to XML policy rule from where this behavior is controlled. A really good hint to where to look for to change those annoying behavior…

 Here is how to change this new annoying behavior to old GNOME 2 default restart with no root password prompt .
linux:~# gedit /usr/share/polkit-1/actions/org.freedesktop.consolekit.policy
 

Find in XML source sections:
 

Restart the system when multiple users are logged inSystem policy prevents restarting the system when other users are logged innoauth_admin_keep
Stop the system when multiple users are logged inSystem policy prevents stopping the system when other users are logged innoauth_admin_keep

To change Restart and Shutdown GUI behavior to not prompt for password, you need to modify in above code:

auth_admin_keep
To:

yes

After changes both sections should look like so:

<action id="org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.restart">
<description>Restart the system</description>
<message>System policy prevents restarting the system</message>
<defaults>
<allow_inactive>no</allow_inactive>
<allow_active>yes</allow_active>
</defaults>
</action>

<action id="org.freedesktop.consolekit.system.restart-multiple-users">
<description>Restart the system when multiple users are logged in</description>
<message>System policy prevents restarting the system when other users are logged in</message>
<defaults>
<allow_inactive>no</allow_inactive>
<allow_active>yes</allow_active>
</defaults>
</action>
 

That's all you finally get rid of the annoying prompt for root password. Enjoy 🙂

Improve default picture viewing on Slackware Linux with XFCE as Desktop environment

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes

Default XFce picture viewer on Slackware Linux is GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). Though GIMP is great for picture editting, it is rather strange why Patrick Volkerding compiled XFCE to use GIMP as a default picture viewer? The downsides of GIMP being default picture viewing program for Slackware's XFCE are the same like Xubuntu's XFCE risterroro, you can't switch easily pictures back and forward with some keyboard keys (left, right arrow keys, backspace or space etc.). Besides that another disadvantage of using GIMP are;
a) picture opening time in GIMP loading is significantly higher if compared to a simple picture viewer program like Gnome's default, eye of the gnomeeog.

b) GIMP is more CPU intensive and puts high load on each picture opening

A default Slackware install comes with two good picture viewing programs substitute for GIMP:
 

  • Gwenview

    Gwenview on Slackware Linux picture screenshot XFCE

  •  
  • Geeqie
  • Geeqie Slackware Linux Screenshot XFCE

    Both of the programs support picture changing, so if you open a picture you can switch to the other ones in the same directory as the first opened one.
    I personally liked more Gwenview because it has more intutive picture switching controls. With it you can switch with keyboard keys space and backspace

    To change GIMP's default PNG, JPEG opening I had with mouse right button over a pic and in properties change, Open With: program.

    XFCE4 Slackware Linux picture file properties window

    If you're curious about the picture on on all screenshots, this is Church – Saint George (situated in the city center of Dobrich, Bulgaria).
    St. Georgi / St. George Church is built in 1842 and is the oldest Orthodox Church in Dobrich.
    In the Crimean War (1853-1856) the church was burned down and was restored to its present form in 1864.

    gpicview is another cool picture viewing program, I like. Unfortunately on Slackware, there is no prebuild package and the only option is either to convert it with alien from deb package or to download source and compile as usual with ./configure && make && make install .
    Downloading and compiling from source went just fine on Slackware Linux 13.37gpicview has more modern looking interface, than gwenview and geeqie. and is great for people who want to be in pace with desktop fashion 🙂

How to take a screenshot of a game or Full Screen running program inside GNOME or KDE desktop environment on GNU / Linux and FreeBSD

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Reading Time: 2minutes

Image Magick logo take screenshot of fullscreen running program with import on Linux / FreeBSD

I’m writting some game reviews and movie reviews, every now and then and therefore being able to capture a fullscreen running program like let’s say mplayer or vlc or some full screen running game is something I really need.

The usual PrtScr button which normally works to prepare screenshots in GNOME or KDE, however is not working if the root window handler is being passed to a different program than the Window Manager and pressing it while inside of many older programs or applicationsdoes not produce a print screen of the current screen.

Anyways I found a hack to this using the good old ImageMagickimport command line screenshotting program.

To take a screenshot of a certain program run from gnome-terminal or konsole using import cmd its possible to use a quick one liner which will take a snapshot of the root Window the started program will use.

Let’s say you want to make a screenshot of the entry screen of the FreeDOOM (DooM 3d shooter classical game arcade free Software Alternative).

Launch gnome-terminal or konsole , xterm , depending on the GUI environment you use and issue the commands:

debian:~$ ( sleep 15; import -window root my_desired_screenshot_name.png ) &
debian:~$ freedoom

The first command will launch import after a sleep of 15 secs and therefore will screenshot the active window which will be at focus after 15 seconds, where the & sign will background it and the second one will launch FreeDooM . You will have to wait for a certain secs and switch to the exact screen you will want to screenshot.
If you want to screenshot some game scene that will appear in 20 minutes change above sleep 15 cmd to be to something like sleep 180
That method can be used for screenshotting any other program running on fullscreen, the method is a bit inflexible as you will have to adjust a timing but it works fine 😉

Best software available today for Linux video Desktop capturing on Debian

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Reading Time: 4minutes
I’ve been experimenting since some time in order to understand better what is the current situation with Video Desktop Capturing Software available today for Linux and FreeBSD.

My previous investigations has led me to write an article about xvidcap calledHow to make Video from your Linux Desktop with xvidcap

Though xvidcap works pretty well, it is currently uncapable of capturing the audio stream of a Linux Desktop env and hence part of the interactivity of the videos is missing when used.

A bit of further investigation on the topic has pointed me to 3 free software programs which are capable to record Desktop environment on Linux with sound embedded

The interesting screen video capturing Desktop tools I’ve found are:

1. recordMyDesktop
2. Istanbul
and
3. vnc2swf

Installing them on a Debian based distribution is pleasable, as there are installable debian packages of each one which I installed easily with apt:

debian:~# apt-get install istanbul recordmydesktop gtk-recordmydesktop vnc2swf

RecordMyDesktop‘s package contains a command line little tool which when started directly starts capturing video and audio of the Linux Desktop. After a Ctrl+C is pressed the program quits, saves and encodes the video in ogg-encapsulated theora-vorbis file format.

Here is the output I got in saving a sample file by launching recordmydesktop without any arguments:

hipo@debian:~/Desktop$ recordmydesktop
Initial recording window is set to:
X:0 Y:0 Width:1024 Height:768
Adjusted recording window is set to:
X:0 Y:0 Width:1024 Height:768
Your window manager appears to be Metacity

Initializing…
Buffer size adjusted to 4096 from 4096 frames.
Opened PCM device hw:0,0
Recording on device hw:0,0 is set to:
2 channels at 22050Hz
Capturing!
Broken pipe: Overrun occurred.
Broken pipe: Overrun occurred.
Broken pipe: Overrun occurred.
^C
*********************************************

Cached 5 MB, from 207 MB that were received.
Average cache compression ratio: 97.3 %

*********************************************
Saved 69 frames in a total of 69 requests
Shutting down..Broken pipe: Overrun occurred.

STATE:ENCODING
Encoding started!
This may take several minutes.
Pressing Ctrl-C will cancel the procedure (resuming will not be possible, but
any portion of the video, which is already encoded won’t be deleted).
Please wait…
Output file: out.ogv
[100%]
Encoding finished!
Wait a moment please…

Done.
Written 692529 bytes
(635547 of which were video data and 56982 audio data)

Cleanning up cache…
Done!!!
Goodbye!

The captured file as I you see in the above output is saved in file out.ogv

RecordMyDesktop has also a GUI interface (written in Python) called gtk-recordmydesktop

Below you see a screenshot of the GUI gtk-recordmydesktop:

RecordMyDesktop GTK interface entry screen

gtk-recordmydesktop is a super-easy to use as you already see in the picture, you can either configure it with Advanced button or use Save As button to select where you want the Desktop captured video and audio to be stored.

In Debian Squeeze 6.0, the Advanced GUI button interface button is not working but that’s not such an issue, as the rest of the buttons works fine.
After the recordmydesktop‘s Record button is pressed it will start capturing from your Desktop and the window seen in the above screenshot will disappear/hide in the system tray:

recordmydesktop recording minimized in system tray
When you press over the white little square in the system tray the screen capturing will be interrupted and a window will pop-up informing you that the captured video and audio is being encoded, here is another screenshot of recordmydesktop encoding a saved Desktop video stream:

recordmydesktop saving captured desktop video

After the final .ogv file is encoded and saved to further transfer it into (.flv) I used ffmpeg;

debian:~# ffmpeg -i test.ogv test.flv
...

Now let’s evaluate a bit on the the final results, the produced test.ogv‘s synchronization between sound and video was not good as the sound was starting earlier than the video and therefore even though recordmydesktop used to be highly praised on the net, the proggie developers still needs to do some bug fixing
Further on, I continued and (gave the other Desktop screen capturer) Istanbul a try hoping that at least with it the video and audio of my Linux desktop will be properly captured. But guess what, the results with Istanbul was even more unsatisfactory as the produced videos and sounds, were slow and a lot of frames from the screens were missing completely.
Moreover the sound which was supposed to accompany the video was completely 🙁

Thus I will skip on talking about Istanbul as in my view, this piece of software is far away from being production ready.

I also tested vnc2swf , launched it by: pressing alt+f2 and typing in vnc2swf in GNOME’s run application prompt, just to be surprised by an error …:

vnc2swf error no 111 Connection refused

The reason for this error is caused by the xserver (Xorg) port 5900 is being closed by default on Debian

However this error is easily solvable, by making the Xserver to listen to a the port 5900, to make the Xorg server on Debian to listen on this port you need to edit the file:

/etc/X11/xinit/xserverrc

and change inside it:

exec /usr/bin/X -nolisten tcp "$@"

with:

exec /usr/bin/X "$@"

and either reboot your Linux or restart only the Xorg server by pressing Ctrl+Alt+BackSpace

Now let me conclude, the results from my desktop video screen capturing experiments prooved that vnc2swf is superior (as it is capable of properly saving a movie with sound and video from a Linux Desktop). It appears this soft is actually the best one you can use to make a video of your Linux desktop.

Sadly my testing has proven that Linux is still lacking behind Windows and Mac in even doing the most simple tasks …
Let’s hope that situation will get better soon and Gnome or KDE developers will soon provide us with better software capable to save properly a video and audio captured from the Linux Desktop.