Posts Tagged ‘png’

Check weather forecast from console (terminal) on GNU / Linux and FreeBSD howto

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

Reading Time: 9minutes

how to get weather forecast prognosis from command line text terminal / console on Linux and FreeBSD

Doing everything in Linux console / terminal is a question perhaps every Linux / BSD hacker wants to do as Graphical user interface and using web search or using Graphical Environment plugins is an unneded complexity + googling or duckduckgoing for weather to check your next vacation destination city has been more and more of a terrible experience (for me) as I'm not a big fan of using the OS in a GUI.
In that manner of thoughts, as a Linux console geek and hard core ASCII art fan. I was recently happy to find that  possible to check weather forecast in tty console or Linux terminal in a beautiful ascii art way easily through a Web service – a web application weather forecast service that supports displaying the current and few days in future, weather forecast either in browser as a plain text or from the command line by simply accessing it with your favourite web access / transfer tool such as;
wget / curl or any of your favourite text browser elinks / lynx / w3m or if on *BSDs use fetch command.


Install Curl data transfer tool if it is not already

Wget is installed by default across most Linux distributions and fetch is present by default on BSDs, displaying it in text browser would perhaps be never used but if you decide to give it a try maybe try with elinks (to get colorful output), w3m and lynx will display a black and white results.

In case if you miss curl, install it:

On Debian distro


aptitude install -y curl

or Fedora

yum install -y curl

Of course to use as it is Internet based Weather Forecast service the minimum you need to have is to have Internet connection to your Linux / BSD desktop computer.

Text based Weather Forecast Web App currently supports:

display the current weather as well as a 3-day weather forecast, split into morning, noon, evening and night

  • Temperature is displayed for morning, noon, evening and night (includes temperature range, wind speed and direction, viewing distance, precipitation amount and probability)
  • Provide results for Weather based on City / town / village location
  • Supports display of Moon Phases Forecast in calendar days
  • Supports multilingual names (Bulgarian Phonetic cyrillic / Russian and other exotic UTF-8 encodings such as Chineese and Japanese),  50+ languages are currently supported
  • Has ability for prognosis for hostname (domain) location based on an its IP GeoIP location on the Globe
  • Geographical locations / landmarks such as Lakes / Mountains etc. can be easily queried
  • Query results metrics could be configured, e.g. USCS units or EU and rest of world accepted ones (SI) metric
  • Displayed result could be either in ANSI (if from terminal / console / HTML if queried from browser or in PNG – if needed)


Where could be useful ?

The best applications use, I can think of are for server (shell) / perl scripting automation purposes, it could be useful especially in TOO HOT, TOO, COLD, TOO WET location in Small and Middle sized Data Centers Green Energy (Sun Panel) Parks / Wind Energy situated Linux monitoring hosts to track possible problems of overheats or overcolding of servers due to abnormal excessive temperatures such as the ones we experienced this summer here All across in Europe or in too Cold DC locations such as heat locations Deserts in African Countries, Saudi Arabia or Chukotka or Siberia in Russia.
Other application is as a backup option to other normal Weather report services by PHP or Python scripts that fetch data, from multiple places.
Of course since this is a third party controlled service, the downtime is due to excessive connection requests, the service could get flooded and stopped working, but I guess for any Commercial use, creator Igor Chubin would be happy to sell a specific crafted service for any end user candidates.

Here is few examples of the beautiful returned ASCII art formatted output of

1. Getting a three days Weather Forecast prognosis for city / town location

To get what is current weather in my current city of Living, Sofia Bulgaria just pass the city to the URL address






Default links (Linux) www text browser produces ugly black and white

2. Displaying Weather forecast with wget


wget -O- -q


If you're lazy you can even omit the http:// as wget will look for HyperText Transmission Protocol by itself


wget -O- -q


3. Getting Forecast results for a Tourist Destination

Lets get the weather forecast for the popular tourist Bulgarian destination of the Seven Rila Lakes (near Rila Monastery), situated in the Rila Mountain BG.







4. Display Forecast for a specific server IP

Displaying information on specific server IP address current situated in GeoIP database, of course could be not really true, as the IP could be just a Load Balancer a router that does NAT to some internal DMZ-ed location server, but anyways it is a cool feature.

Lets get information on what is the weather on Google Global's Public DNS server IP so commonly used to guarantee a Windows and Linux Desktop client machines Internet connectivity.

curl Google Public DNS location weather forecast

5. Download PNG image picture from service


Lets say you want to get a 3 days standard Weather forecast for the popular Black Sea Resort town in Bulgaria Pomorie (a beautiful sea city which has even a functioning 5 Monks Monastery Pomorie Monastery situated near sea coast)




–2019-08-22 20:15:51–
Resolving (…
Connecting to (||:80… connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 200 OK
Length: 42617 (42K) [image/png]
Saving to: ‘Pomorie.png’

Pomorie.png                                     100%[=======================================================================================================>]  41.62K  –.-KB/s    in 0.07s   

2019-08-22 20:15:52 (586 KB/s) – ‘Pomorie.png’ saved [42617/42617]


Note: The generated .png is again the ASCII art produced by a direct text fetch bug in pic format


6. Displaying Current Moon Phase

If you want to enjoy a text based Moon phase picture through 🙂

wget -O- -q

You can also get a Moon Phase prognosis for a current future date or get a previous date phase



Full Moon Madness !! – Vampires are out beaware and Enjoy the ultra kewl ASCII Colorful Art 🙂

7. Getting help for terminal Waether Forecast results



$ curl


    $ curl          # current location
    $ curl      # weather in the Munich airport

Supported location types:

    /paris                  # city name
    /~Eiffel+tower          # any location
    /Москва                 # Unicode name of any location in any language
    /muc                    # airport code (3 letters)
    /     # domain name
    /94107                  # area codes
    /-78.46,106.79          # GPS coordinates

Special locations:

    /moon                   # Moon phase (add ,+US or ,+France for these cities)
    /moon@2016-10-25        # Moon phase for the date (@2016-10-25)


    m                       # metric (SI) (used by default everywhere except US)
    u                       # USCS (used by default in US)
    M                       # show wind speed in m/s

View options:

    0                       # only current weather
    1                       # current weather + 1 day
    2                       # current weather + 2 days
    A                       # ignore User-Agent and force ANSI output format (terminal)
    F                       # do not show the "Follow" line
    n                       # narrow version (only day and night)
    q                       # quiet version (no "Weather report" text)
    Q                       # superquiet version (no "Weather report", no city name)
    T                       # switch terminal sequences off (no colors)

PNG options:

    /paris.png              # generate a PNG file
    p                       # add frame around the output
    t                       # transparency 150
    transparency=…        # transparency from 0 to 255 (255 = not transparent)

Options can be combined:

    /Paris_0pq.png          # in PNG the file mode are specified after _
    /Rome_0pq_lang=it.png   # long options are separated with underscore


    $ curl
    $ curl
    $ curl -H "Accept-Language: fr"

Supported languages:

    af da de el et fr fa hu id it nb nl pl pt-br ro ru tr uk vi (supported)
    az be bg bs ca cy cs eo es fi ga hi hr hy is ja jv ka kk ko ky lt lv mk ml nl fy nn pt pt-br sk sl sr sr-lat sv sw th te uz zh zu he (in progress)

Special URLs:

    /:help                  # show this page
    /:bash.function         # show recommended bash function wttr()
    /:translation           # show the information about the translators




8. Comparing two cities weather from command line


One useful use of if you plan to travel from Location city A to Location city B is to compare the temperatures with a simple bash one liner script:




diff -Naur <(curl -s ) <(curl -s )



9. Using ansiweather command to get Weather Temperature / Wind / Humidity in one line beuatiful text


If you go and install answeather Linux package


apt-get install –yes ansiweather

You will get a shell script wrapper with ANSI colors and Unicode symbols support. Weather data comes from OpenWeatherMap, this is useful if is not working due to some URL malfunction (due to service is DoS-ed) etc.


ansiweather -l Atina



Lets use ansiweather to print the weather prognosis for upcoming 5 days for near port of Burgas, BG

ansiweather -F -l Burgas



10. Get all Weather current forecast for each Capital in the world

You can download and use this simple plain text file list of All Country Capitals in the World (country-capitals-all-world.txt) with ansiweather and a bash loop to get displayed each and every current day Weather Forecast in the World, here is how:


while read line; do ansiweather -l $line; sleep 3; done < country-capitals-all-world.txt


As you can see some of the very exotic third world capitals does not return data so 'ERROR: Cannot fetch weather data' is returned.

You can also substitute ansiweather with curl$line to do get the beautiful ASCII art 3 days weather forecast via


while read line; do curl$line; sleep 3; done < country-capitals-all-world.txt

I'll be happy to know other nice ASCII Art supporting Web service to enjoy from text terminal on Linux (nomatter useful or) just funny joyful prank maniacal pranks such as Watching text ASCII version remake of Star Wars Classic Movie by simply telnetting to (if you haven't so just telnet and enjoy the streamed ASCIIs ! 🙂






Talking about fun and ASCII, its worthy to mention hollywood Linux package

hipo@jeremiah:~/Desktop$ apt-cache show hollywood|grep -i desc -A 3
Description-en: fill your console with Hollywood melodrama technobabble
 This utility will split your console into a multiple panes of genuine
 technobabble, perfectly suitable for any Hollywood geek melodrama.
 It is particularly suitable on any number of computer consoles in the

Description-md5: 768f44c76220ea2b35f855ea34c8bc35
Section: games
Priority: optional

Once installed on Debian with:

aptitude install -y hollywood

You can get in a rapid manner plenty of tmux (screen like – virtual console emulator) split screen statistics about your notebook / workstation / server CPU usage, mlocate.db status, info about plugged in machine voltage, Speedometer (statistics about Network bandwidth usage), System load avarage (CPU Count, Memory Utilization) and some other random info coming out of dmesg kernel log and more. The information displayed in splitted windows changes rapidly and (assuming you run it at home Desktop with a soundblaster) and not remotely, a james bond Agent 007 soundtrack is played on the back, that brings up one's adrenaline and makes it look even cooler.


To give you an idea what to expect, here is shot of /usr/games/hollywood (the program start binary location) on Debian GNU / Linux running, Enjoy! 🙂

How to take multiple screenshots with scrot and ImageMagick import commands in terminal on GNU / Linux and FreeBSD

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Reading Time: 3minutes

scrot and import are two commands, which can be used to take screenshot in terminal on Linux and FreeBSD:

To use scrot cmd to take screenshots on Ubuntu and Debian the scrot package has to be installed:

noah:~# apt-get install scrot

scrot should also be available on most other Linux distributions in the main repositories, I'll be glad to hear if someone has used it on Fedora, SUSE etc.

On FreeBSD, there is a port called scrot , to install on FreeBSD:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/graphics/scrot
freebsd# make install clean

Scrot has plenty of nice arguments one can use to make a screenshot. Maybe the most handy one in my view is after a preliminary set delay before screenshot is taken.

To take screenshot with it after lets say 5 seconds delay before the screenshot:

hipo@noah:~/Desktop$ scrot -t 20 -d 5

Screenshot scrot my debian Linux gnome-termina

To put an year, month and day and year followed by screen resolution with scrot :

hipo@noah:~$ scrot '%Y-%m-%d_$wx$h.png'

Another way to take a screenshot of screen with command is by using ImageMagick'simport image manipulation package.
To take screenshot of the current screen via terminal using import , type in xterm, gnome-termina or Gnome's Run Application (ALT+F2)

hipo@noah:~$ import -window root ScreenShot.png

To make import command to save the taken screenshot in a format (minute:hour:day:month:year)i :

hipo@noah:~$ import -window root $screenshot_dir/screenshot-$(date +%M_%k_%d_%m_%Y|sed -e 's/^ *//').png

Taking a delayed screenshot is also possible via The GIMP via menus File -> Create -> Screenshot

GIMP Screenshot 15 seconds delay GIMP window screenshot

Now here is an interesting question, what if I would like to take periodic screenshots of what I do on my Desktop to take random movie scenes from a movie I watch with totem or vlc??

This task is quite easily achiavable with a little bash shell script, I wrote:

if [ ! -d "$screenshot_dir" ]; then
mkdir $screenshot_dir;
while [ 1 ]; do
sleep $seconds;
(import -window root $screenshot_dir/screenshot-$(date +%M_%k_%d_%m_%Y|sed -e 's/^ *//').png) &

This script will take screenshot automatically to Screenshots/ directory every (1 min – 60 seconds)
You can also my downloads here

To use just issue the script inside xterm or gnome-terminal, after that simply use your computer as you normally would.
The script will take snapshots every minute and store all taken screenshots in Screenshots dir.

If you prefer to use scrot to take automatically the screenshots every lets say 5 minutes, you can use a script like:

# 300 secs (5 mins)seconds='300';
if [ ! -d "$screenshot_dir" ]; then
mkdir $screenshot_dir;
while [ 1 ]; do
sleep $seconds;
(scrot $screenshot_dir/'%Y-%m-%d_$wx$h.png') &

You can fetch here

The script using scrot is better in terms of efficiency, the system load scrot will put on your machine will be less.
Using some of this scripts will be handy if you need screenshots to Movies, Programs and favourite Free Software games.
Hope this is educative to someone 😉

Improve Websites SEO: Optimize images to Increase website loading performance on Linux server – Image Compress tools

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Reading Time: 4minutes

Part of our daily life as Web hosting system adminstrators is to constantly strive to better utilize our Linux / Windows hosting servers hardware.
Therefore it is our constant task to look for new better ways to optimize our Apache Sites and Webservers in order to return served application content light fastto keep the Boss and customers happy 🙂

There are things to tune up for better server performance and better CPU / memory utilization on both server Application server side as well as the website programming code backend, html and pictures / images

Thus it is critically important to not onlykeep the Webserver / PHP engine optimized but keep hosted sites  stored images and source code clean and efficient.

We as admins usually couldn't directly interfere with clearning the source code and often we have to host a crappy written sites withpicture upload forms with un-optimized Image files that was  produced on old Photo Cameras, "Ancient" Mobile Mobiles, Win XP MS Paint, various versions Photoshop, Gimp etc.).

It is a well known fact that a big part from a Website User Experience is how fast the user loads a page, thus if HTML / CSS loaded images loads slow has a negative impact on user look & feel about website

Therefore by optimizing the size of hosted sites Images, you Save Network bandwidth and in some cases when Large Gallery sites HDD disk space.

On Linux, there are already a many command line tools to inspect and optimize (compress) the size of PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNM, Tiff Images, most famous ones are:

  • optipng – PNG optimizer that recompresses image files to a smaller size, without losing any information.
  • jpegoptim –   lossless JPEG optimization (based on optimizing the Huffman tables) and "lossy" optimization based on setting a maximum quality factor.
  • pngcrush – Recommended tool to use by Stoyan Stefanov (Yahoo Yslow Developer)
  • jpegtran – Recommended to use by Google 
  • gifsicle –  command-line tool for creating, editing, and getting information about GIF images and animations. 

It is hence useful to first run manually availale Linux image optimization tools (to get an idea what they do) and later automate them to run as scripts to optimize server stored images size and make pictures load faster on websites and thus improve End Users Experience and speed up Image content delivery to GoogleBot / YahooBot / Bing Crawlers which will make Search Engines to position server hosted sites better (more SEO Friendly).


  • How much percents of  space (Mega / Gigabytes ) Pictures compress can save you?

If you run it on 500MB image directory, you can probably save about 20 to 50MB of size, so don't expect extraordinary file reduce, however 5% to 10% reduce in size is not bad too. If you host 100 sites each with half gigas of data this would mean saving of 5GB of data and some 5GB from backups 🙂 At extraordinary cases you can expect 20% to 30% of storage reduce. For even better image compression you can try out GIMP's – Save for Web option.

  • Installing jpegtran, optpng, jpegoptim, pngcrush gifsicle on Debian / Ubuntu (deb based) Linux

apt-get install –yes libjpeg-progs optipng jpegoptim pngcrush gifsicle


  • Installing  jpegtran, optpng, jpegoptim, pngcrush, gifsicle on Fedora / CentOS / RHEL (RPM based distros)

yum -y install pngcrush libjpeg-turbo-utils opt-jpg opt-png opt-gif

gifsicle is not availale by default on Redhacks 🙂 but there is a RPM package for fedora from


Some examples of running image compression on GNU / Linux

  • optipngandjpegoptim optimize for all files in directory

cd /home/sites/

find . -iname '*.png' -print0 | xargs -0 optipng -o7 -preserve
find . -iname '*.jpg' -print0 |
 xargs -0 jpegoptim –max=90 –strip-all –preserve –totals

In jpegoptim command, the option –strip-all will strip any metadata including Exif data from images. For websites JPEG metadata is usually not needed, so usually its ok to strip them.

Above jpegoptim example will decrease slightly JPEG image quality to 90%. quality level of 90 is still high enough and website visitors are unlikely to spot any visible quality reduction / defects in the image.


  • pngcrush all files in a directory example

cd /home/sites/

for png in `find $IMG_DIR -iname "*.png"`; do
    echo "crushing $png …"
        pngcrush -rem alla -reduce -brute "$png" temp.png


    # preserve original on error
    if [ $? = 0 ]; then
        mv -f temp.png $png
        rm temp.png

  • Run jpegtran on sites directory

find /home/sites -name "*.jpg" -type f -exec jpegtran -copy none -optimize -outfile {} {} ;


  • Set a script to compress / reduce size of Sites Images

Here is a basic which I used earlier before and was reducing the overall images size just 5 to 10%, then I found the much improved version of optimize images shell script  (useful to  clear up EXIF picture data / And Comments from JPG / PNG files). The script execution could take very long time on large image directories and thus could cause a high HDD disk I/O, however if ran once a week at night time its not such a big deal. 

To set it to run on your server as a cronjob:

cd /usr/sbin/
wget -q
crontab -u root -e 

Sample cron job to run once a month on 10th and 27th in 3 o'clock AM:

 00 3 10,27 * * /usr/sbin/ 2>&1 >/dev/null

Also if you need to further optimize million of tiny sized PNG files Yahoo service could be helpful. For compression maniacs its worthy to check out also TinyPNG Service (however be awre that this service compresses files with significant quality loss) making picture quality visibly deteriorated.

Besides optimizing server stored Pictures, here are some other stuff that helps in increasing server utilization / lower webpages loading time.

Starting up with the installation (when site is to use Apache + PHP) for its backend, the first thing to on the freshlyinstalled Linux server is to implement the following list of Apache common Timeout variables that help better scale the webserver for the CMS-es hosted, enable Webserver caching with (mod_deflate), enable eAccelerator tune PHP common php variable etc.

Other thing  I sometimes use to speed-up performance of Apache child responce time up to 20-30  is to Include into Virtualhost / httpd.conf Apache configuration any htacces mod_rewrite rules.

On too heavily loaded sites On-line stores / Large Company website portals with more than 60 000 – 100 000 unique IP visitors a day it is useful tip to disable completely Apache logging in access.log / error.log.

Often when old architecture websites are moved from older Linux OS version to a newer one with newer versions of Apache / PHP often sites are working without major code rework, but use many functions which are already obsolete and thus many WARNING messages crap is logged into php_error.log / error.log. Thus to save disk space and decrease hard disk I/O operations it is good to Disable PHP Notices and Warnings messages

Optimize WordPress Pictures with EWWW Image Optimizer, Async JS and CSS and Autoptimize for better Search Engine Ranking

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Reading Time: 3minutes



Whileoptimizing picture performance with console tools optipng, jpegoptin, jpegtran, pngcrush (could save you a lot of server space and make pictures downloads faster (and hence increase your website responsiveness and SEO – check out), still for Blogs and WebSites based on WordPress its not worthy to loose time with console acrobatics but simply use EWWW Image Optimizer to Optimize all old or new uploaded Images.

To work EWWW Image Optimizer needs jpegtran, optipng, pngout and gifsicle to be installed on the Linux / BSD server. EWWW Image Optimizer can load the command line tools also from a Cloud, if a cloud service is running on the server. Once installed the plugin does scan all the imported WordPress Media files and can be run to optimize picture files on present blog psot / pages.

EWWW Image Opitimizer plugin does a good job in reducing file size on  NextGEN, GRAND FlAGallery galleries.


Here is how EWWW Image Optimizer works taken from plugin's website:
How are JPGs optimized?

Lossless optimization is done with the command jpegtran -copy all -optimize -progressive -outfile optimized-file original-file. Optionally, the -copy switch gets the 'none' parameter if you choose to strip metadata from your JPGs on the options page. Lossy optimization is done using the outstanding JPEGmini utility.
It is better if the server has not the jpegtran, pngout, gifsicle utilities installed as the plugin provides an uptodate static compiled Linux binaries.

How are PNGs optimized?

There are three parts (and all are optional). First, using the command pngquant original-file, then using the commands pngout-static -s2 original-file and optipng -o2 original-file. You can adjust the optimization levels for both tools on the settings page. Optipng is an automated derivative of pngcrush, which is another widely used png optimization utility.

How are GIFs optimized?

Using the command gifsicle -b -O3 –careful original file. This is particularly useful for animated GIFs, and can also streamline your color palette. That said, if your GIF is not animated, you should strongly consider converting it to a PNG. PNG files are almost always smaller, they just don't do animations. The following command would do this for you on a Linux system with imagemagickconvert somefile.gifsomefile.png


Some othe plugins that could strenghten your WordPress Search Engine Optimization ranking worthy to check are:

  • Async JS and CSS

Most importantly plugin solves "Render-blocking JavaScript and CSS" warning shown during site audit with  Google Developers PageSpeed InsightBy the way Google PageSpeed Insight is a precious tool so I recommend you check if you already haven't, Google's suggestions could often double or triple daily site visitors 

What Async JS and CSS does is:

Converts render-blocking CSS and JS files into NON-render-blocking, improving performance of web page


The plugin makes ALL scripts loaded by other plugins to be loaded in asynchronous. All CSS files will be inserted inline into the document code or moved from the document beginning to the end, just before closing BODY tag (or just where you placed wp_foot() function). There are various methods to do that via plugin configuration page.

  • Autoptimize





Autoptimize speeds up your website and helps you save bandwidth by aggregating and minimizing JS, CSS and HTML.

What does the plugin do to help speed up site?

It concatenates all scripts and styles, minifies and compresses them, adds expires headers, caches them, and moves styles to the page head, and scripts to the footer. It also minifies the HTML code itself, making your page really lightweight. Autoptimize is very much like WP Mnify (CSS / JS) minifaction WP plugin. The only difference and reason why you might want to use WP Mnify is it does HTML minification – something that WP Minify does not. Both plugins play nice together the only thing to be careful is not to configure CSS / JS minification in both Autoptimize and WP Minifyas this might slower instead of fasten the WP site.

A great bunch of other useful WP plugins to make a WordPress Blog friendly to Search Engines is here.

Convert png files to ico on Linux – Create “icon” files from pictures

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Reading Time: < 1minute
You will need png2ico

First you will have to download the png2ico source

Now you will have to download compile and install the program by issuing:

debian:~# wget
debian:~# tar -zxvf png2ico-src-2002-12-08.tar.gz...
debian:~# cd png2ico/
debian:/root/png2ico# make
debian:/root/png2ico# cp -rpf png2ico /usr/local/bin/

Convertion is pretty easy and it comes to executing simply:

debian:/home/hipo$ png2ico favicon.ico png_picture_to_convert.png

Note that your png_picture_to_convert.png has to be in a graphic dimensions of 16×16
That’s all now you should have your favicon.ico on your Linux created.

Linux: Rename all files extension from upper to lower cases

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Reading Time: < 1minute

Lets say you're an admin involved in webhosting and due to a programmer's mistake, you end up with directory full with files with extension in upper cases but for actual version of website (all pictures are red only in lower cases), hence would like to transform these to lower cases.
To give an example, to illustrate what I mean, lets say you have in a directory files like;

filename.JPG, picture.PNG, new-picture.GIF

and you would like all files to be renamed to lower extension characters, i.e.:

filename.jpg, picture.png, new-picture.gif.

# find . -name '*.*' -exec sh -c 'a=$(echo {} | sed -r "s/([^.]*)\$/\L\1/"); [ "$a" != "{}" ] && mv "{}" "$a" ' \;

That's all enjoy 🙂

Converting JPEG Images to ASCII Art text (picture) in Microsoft Windows (2000 / XP / Vista / 7)

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Reading Time: 4minutes

A friend of mine, just mentioned about a program ASCIIPic – capable of converting graphic images in JPEG to plain text ASCII in Microsoft Windows OSes.
Yesterday I blogged about caca-utils (img2txt) – console tool to convert picture graphics to plain text ASCII , so knowing of the Windows freeware ASCIIPic existence catched my attention and I decided to give it a try to get idea what is situation with Images to ASCII text convertion in Windows? 🙂.

1. Generating ASCII from JPEG images with ASCII Pic

As I don't have a Microsoft Windows OS at hand, I downloaded it and run it on my Debian notebook with WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) MS-Windows emulator.

For my surprise the program run succesfuly its GUI interface and worked pretty smooth even emulated on Linux.

ASCII Pic 2.0 JPG PNG GIF to ASCII text MS Windows Convertor screenshot

As of time of writting, the latest version of the freeware program available is 2.0. You see in above screenshot the program is pretty intutive to use. You select an Input file, an Output file and you're ready to Process the image to TXT.
One small note to make here is the program couldn't recognize as Input files images in PNG or GIF formats, it seems the only image formats the program recognizes as input are JPEG and BMP.

ASCII Pic Windows image to ASCII program picture shot

The converted images to ASCII results are quite unsatisfactory, I tried converting few pictures originally in size 1024×768 but the produced ASCII was messy huge (the program didn't automatically set height / width dimensions to 60×80 and therefore, when I revied the produced pictures, they were very ugly and hardly readable. It could be the same image looks better if reviewed in MS-Windows Notepad but I seriously doubt that …

I thought some improvement to the produced ASCII image might be possible from the app options so I played around with the Zoom, Negation, Brightness and Monochrome options, none of them had a drastic change on the output. Using any of the program options didn't make the output TXT "image" to look closer riginal JPEGs..

ASCII Pic 2.0 Windows picture to ASCII Program options screenshot

ASCII Pic official website contains a number of other tiny tools, like WinKill and RemoteShut, however most of the tools are already too obslete and useless just like ASCII Pic

If I have to compare ASCIIPic produced ASCII Images to libcaca's Linux img2txt, asciipic's ASCII images are a piece of crap.

2. jp2a command line tool image to ASCII generator

As of time of writting a good alternative program I found for Windows is jp2a
jp2a is a free GPL-ed software available for all major operating system architectures Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, Windows.
jp2a is a command line tool and lacks any GUI interface but if compared to ASCII Pic the output ASCII image is awesome.

jp2a Windows binary can be downloaded from here , also I've made a mirror of windows jp2a bin in case if it disappears here

3. ASCII Generator 2 (asc2gen) – Windows GUI Images to ASCII generator

ASC 2 Gen is actually the best I can find program to convert images to ascii in Win as of time of writting.
Just like img2txt it generates pretty decent looking text images.

ASC2Gen failed to run emulated on my Linux host with wine version 1.0.1, hence to test it I used a a Windows host via teamviewer.

Below are few screenshots illustrating most of the options ASCII2GEN provides:

asc2gen Microsoft Windows image to ascii generator inverted penguins screenshot

asc2gen penguins in inverted color set (black color text background)

ASC2Gen backhead penguins ascii picture screenshot

ASC2GEN flipped backhed generated image to ASCII

ascii2gen generate images to ascii in colors Microsoft Windows shot

Picture to ASCII text converted with ASCII colors

Dithering Windows image to ascii text generated picture ASCII

ascii2gen dithering level option shot

asc2gen jpeg, png, gif to plain text ascii brightness contrast screenshot pic

asc2gen contrast / brigthness atune shot

ascii2gen penguins converted images to plain text inverted with capital letters for picture

asc2gen save as options shot

Something else nice is it supports a lot of image file formats as input including (BMP and GIF) images.
I've also made a mirror of asc2gen v. 2.0.0 here

While researching online, I found plenty of other Image to ASCII geneartors, however as I didn't tested them I can't say if they are  better ones.
Anyways I will be happy to hear if anyone knows other good ASCII generator alternative progs for Winblows?

Viewing JPEG,GIF and PNG in ASCII with cacaview on GNU / Linux – Review on caca-utils text mode graphics utilities

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Reading Time: 6minutes

Stitch 80x45 libcaca mascot cacaview viewing JPG, PNG, GIF images as ASCII on Linux libcaca

Probably, many don't know that it is possible to view normal graphical pictures (JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP) etc. in plain console tty.

Being able to view pictures in ASCII is something really nice especially for console geeks like me.
The images produced sometimes are a bit unreadable, if compared to the original graphics, but anyways most of the pictures looks pretty decent 🙂

Viewing in console / terminal images on GNU / Linux is possible thanks to a library called libcaca, caca labs libcaca project official website here.
Below is a shot description of libcaca:
hipo@noah:~$ apt-cache show libcaca0|grep 'Description' -A 4
Description: colour ASCII art library
libcaca is the Colour AsCii Art library. It provides high level functions
for colour text drawing, simple primitives for line, polygon and ellipse
drawing, as well as powerful image to text conversion routines.

In Debian, Ubuntu and other deb Linux distros viewing GUI images with no need for Xserver or any kind of window manager in plain ASCII is possible with cacaview.

cacaview is part of a package called caca-utils. caca-utils is providing few other great utilities for ASCII freaks 🙂 along with cacaview console ascii viewer prog.
The package> is available for Debian distributins since many years, so even on a very old Debians like Debian – (Potato, Woody, Sarge) the package is available in default free package repositories ready to install via apt

To install apt-get it as usual:

noah:~# apt-get --yes install caca-utils

Here is a list of the binaries the package provides:

hipo@noah:~$ dpkg -L caca-utils|grep -i /usr/bin/

1. cacaserver a tiny program allowing network streaming of applications written in caca

Belkow is a chop, from man cacaserver

cacaserver reads libcaca animation files in its standard input and
serves them as ANSI art on network port 51914. These animations can be
created by any libcaca program by setting the CACA_DRIVER environment
variable to raw and piping the program's standard output to cacaserver.

Clients can then connect to port 51914 using telnet or netcat to see
the output.

The example section of the manual points 1 example use of cacaserver to stream the console output from cacademo.
cacademo binary is a short presentation ASCII DEMO in the spirit of the old school assembly demos (demoscene) .
To run it to bind on port 51914 one has to type in bash shell:
hipo@noah:~$ CACA_DRIVER=raw cacademo | cacaserver
initialised network, listening on port 51914

Then to check out how the demo looks, open telnet connection to the cacaserver host; In my case the cacaserver is binded and streamed over IP

hipo@debian:~$ telnet 51914

Immediately you got the demo shining; Below are two screenshots of the demo played after succesful telnet connection:

Cacaserver - caca for the network screenshot Matrix cacademo

cacademo running over telnet network connection – Matrix

cacaserver running on Debian GNU / Linux drug addict like spots streamed via telnet

Blur spots cacademo shot of cacademo streamed via network

You see the demo looks quite awesome 🙂

2. Running cacafire to stream over network

Another possible example use of cacaserver is in conjunction with cacafire libcaca test application:

noah:~# CACA_DRIVER=raw cacafire | cacaserver
initialised network, listening on port 51914
cacafire is a short application written to render ASCII via libcaca and is just displaying a screen with ASCII (moving) burning fire.
It is quite spectacular if you, ask an unexpecting friend to connect to your host to 51914 🙂

Cacafire Screenshot Debian GNU / Linux cacaserver streaming ASCII demo via network port 51914

Besides that bored sys admins, could run cacafire in console to hypnotize themselves watching dumb the burning fire screen for few hoursor just use it as a screensaver 😉

3. cacaview a program to display a graphic images in console using ASCII art

cacaview takes just one argument – the picture to be displayed.

Below is a screenshot of cacaview ran from my gnome-terminaldisplaying a ASCII text version of the MySQL server logo

hipo@noah:~$ cd /disk/pictures
hipo@noah:/disk/pictures$ cacaview mysql_logo.png


cacaview displaying MySQL database logo in ASCII using caca for X

Whether cacaview is invoked in GUI, the libcaca X support is used, so the text image is visualized in new window with graphics, if however it is invoked in plain let's say tty1 libcaca displays the graphics pictures drawing it with only text characters.

Here is also a screenshot, I've made while viewing a GIF website logo in ASCII in plain tty console:

hipo@noah:~$ cacaview /disk/pictures/logo.gif

cacaview plain tty console screenshot of a website logo graphics pictures 17-05-2012

The logo is in cyrillic, so for latin speaking people some of the characters in the two words seen will be unreadable 🙂

cacaview even supports viewing, the next and previous picture in line, like in any modern graphics image viewer program.
To view a bunch of graphic pictures in ASCII with cacaview pass it *.*:

hipo@noah:~$ cacaview /disk/pictures/*.*

For simplicity the common unix * is also supported, so I find it quicker to do:

hipo@noah:~$ cacaview /disk/pictures/*

Showing pictures forward and backward (Previous / Next) picture is done with n and p kbd keys, whether;
n - next;
p - previous

cacaview doesn't crash or stop but skip unknown file formats – if for instance encounters filenames which are not images; lets say you have *.rar archive files along with other pictures.

The complete list of keys cacaview supports are:
br />

? show the help screen

n, p switch to next image, previous image

Left, Right, Up, Down or h, l, k, j
scroll the image around

+, – zoom in and out

z reset the zoom level to normal

f switch fullscreen mode (hide/show menu and status bars)

d toggle the dithering mode (no dithering, 4×4 ordered dithering, 8×8 ordered dithering and random dithering)

q exit the program

4. Converting graphics images to ASCII art like (plain text pictures)

The tool that does "the trick" is img2txt. img2txt has a bit more options while compared to the rest of the aforementioned tools.The following list of arguments are recognized:

  • the size (font, height)
  • brightness
  • contrast
  • gamma and dither
  • format type of out the output pic

Anyways I found that the basic just in / out arguments passed are enough to produce pretty good results:

hipo@noah:~$ img2txt hipo_avatar.gif >hipo_avatar_pic.txt

The original hipo_avatar.gif file looks like so:

hipo avatar gif picture before img2txt convertion to text

After above img2txt command is run and hipo_avatar_pic.txt to see the colorful output ASCII art img2txt produces, cat it:

hipo@noah:~$ cat hipo_avatar_pic.txt

The image result if screenshot looks quite beautiful and even, can be considered or used as an ART effect image (filter) 🙂

Console Screenshot hipo avatar pic ASCII img2txt output picture

The picture colors are plain ANSI color, so in order to display properly the picture with colors on another computers or Operating System you will need at least basic support for ANSI colors.

Plenty of output file formats are supported by img2txt

Here is the complete list of supported output formats:

ansi : coloured ANSI
caca : internal libcaca format
utf8 : UTF8 with CR
utf8 : UTF8 with CRLF (MS Windows)
html : HTML with CSS and DIV support
html3 : Pure HTML3 with tables
irc : IRC with ctrl-k codes
bbfr : BBCode (French)
ps : Postscript
svg : Scalable Vector Graphics
tga : Targa Image

libcaca is available for FreeBSD too, but the caca-utils is not available as a port yet, though probably the deb or rpm packages can easily be ported to BSD.

Well that's all, Enjoy.

How to make screenshot in /dev/tty console on GNU / Linux – Taking picture JPEG / PNG snapshot of text console in systems without graphical environment

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Reading Time: 5minutes

I'm used to making picture screenshots in GNOME desktop environment. As I've said in my prior posts, I'm starting to return to my old habits of using console ttys for regular daily jobs in order to increase my work efficiency. In that manner of thoughts sometimes I need to take a screenshot of what I'm seeing in my physical (TTY consoles) to be able to later reuse this. I did some experimenting and this is how this article got born.

In this post, I will shortly explain how a picture of a command running in console or terminal in GNU / Linux can be made

Before proceeding to the core of the article, I will say few words on ttys as I believe they might be helpful someone.
The abbreviation of tty comes after TeleTYpewritter phrase and is dating back somewhere near the 1960s. The TTY was invented to help people with impaired eyesight or hearing to use a telephone like typing interface.

In Unix / Linux / BSD ttys are the physical consoles, where one logs in (typing in his user/password). There are physical ttys and virtual vtys in today *nixes. Today ttys, are used everywhere in a modern Unixes or Unix like operating system with or without graphical environments.
Various Linux distributions have different number of physical consoles (TTYs) (terminals connected to standard output) and this depends mostly on the distro major contributors, developers or surrounding OS community philosophy.
Most modern Linux distributions have at least 5 to 7 physical ttys. Some Linux distributions like Debian for instance as of time of writting this, had 7 active by default physical consoles.
Adding 3 more ttys in Debian / Ubuntu Linux is done by adding the following lines in /etc/inittab:

7:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty7
8:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty8
9:23:respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty9

On some Linux distributions like Fedora version 9 and newer ones, new ttys can no longer be added via /etc/inittab,as the RedHat guys changed it for some weird reason, but I guess this is too broad issue to discuss ….

In graphical environments ttys are called methaphorically "virtual". For instance in gnome-terminal or while connecting to a remote SSH server, a common tty naming would be /dev/pts/8 etc.

tty command in Linux and BSDs can be used to learn which tty, one is operating in.

Here is output from my tty command, issued on 3rd TTY (ALT+F3) on my notebook:

noah:~# tty

A tty cmd output from mlterm GUI terminal is like so:

hipo@noah:~$ tty/dev/pts/9

Now as mentioned few basic things on ttys I will proceed further to explain how I managed to:

a) Take screenshot of a plain text tty screen into .txt file format
b) take a (picture) JPG / PNG screenshot of my Linux TTY consoles content

1. Take screenshot of plain text tty screen into a plain (ASCII) .txt file:

To take a screenshot of tty1, tty2 and tty3 text consoles in a txt plain text format, cat + a standard UNIX redirect is all necessery:

noah:~# cat /dev/vcs1 > /home/hipo/tty1_text_screenshot.txt
noah:~# cat /dev/vcs2 > /home/hipo/tty2_text_screenshot.txt
noah:~# cat /dev/vcs3 > /home/hipo/tty3_text_screenshot.txt

This will dump the text content of the console into the respective files, if however you try to dump an ncurses library like text interactive interfaces you will end up with a bunch of unreadable mess.
In order to read the produced text 'shots' onwards less command can be used …

noah:~# less /home/hipo/tty1_text_screenshot.txt
noah:~# less /home/hipo/tty2_text_screenshot.txt
noah:~# less /home/hipo/tty3_text_screenshot.txt

2. Take picture JPG / PNG snapshot of Linux TTY console content

To take a screenshot of my notebook tty consoles I had to first install a "third party program" snapscreenshot . There is no deb / rpm package available as of time of writting this post for the 4 major desktop linux distributions Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and Slackware.
Hence to install snapscreenshot,I had to manually download the latest program tar ball source and compile e.g.:

noah:~# cd /usr/local/src
noah:/usr/local/src# wget -q
noah:/usr/local/src# tar -jxvvvf snapscreenshot-

noah:/usr/local/src# cd snapscreenshot-
noah:/usr/local/src/snapscreenshot-1.0.14# ./configure && make && make install
Fine. Done. make.
make: Nothing to be done for `all'.
if [ ! "/usr/local/bin" = "" ]; then mkdir –parents /usr/local/bin 2>/dev/null; mkdir /usr/local/bin 2>/dev/null; \
for s in snapscreenshot ""; do if [ ! "$s" = "" ]; then \
install -c -s -o bin -g bin -m 755 "$s" /usr/local/bin/"$s";fi;\
done; \
fi; \
if [ ! "/usr/local/man" = "" ]; then mkdir –parents /usr/local/man 2>/dev/null; mkdir /usr/local/man 2>/dev/null; \
for s in snapscreenshot.1 ""; do if [ ! "$s" = "" ]; then \
install -m 644 "$s" /usr/local/man/man"`echo "$s"|sed 's/.*\.//'`"/"$s";fi;\
done; \

By default snapscreenshot command is made to take screenshot in a tga image format, this format is readable by most picture viewing programs available today, however it is not too common and not so standartized for the web as the JPEG and PNG.
Therefore to make the text console tty snapshot taken in PNG or JPEG one needs to use ImageMagick's convert tool. The convert example is also shown in snapscreenshot manual page Example section.

To take a .png image format screenshot of lets say Midnight Commander interactive console file manager running in console tty1, I used the command:

noah:/home/hipo# snapscreenshot -c1 -x1 > ~/console-screenshot.tga && convert ~/console-screenshot.tga console-screenshot.png

Linux text console tty mc screenshot with snapscreenshot terminal / console snapshotting program

Note that you need to have read/write permissions to the /dev/vcs* otherwise the snapscreenshot will be unable to read the tty and produce an error:

hipo@noah:~/Desktop$ snapscreenshot -c2 -x1 > snap.tga && convert snap.tga snap.pngGeometry will be: 1x2Reading font…/dev/console: Permission denied

To take simultaneous picture screenshot of everything contained in all text consoles, ranging from tty1 to tty5, issue:

noah:/home/hipo# snapscreenshot -c5 -x1 > ~/console-screenshot.tga && convert ~/console-screenshot.tga console-screenshot.png

Here is a resized 480×320 pixels version of the original screenshot the command produces:

All text Consoles tty1 to tty5 merged screenshot png image with snapscreenshot taken on Debian GNU / Linux

Storing a picture shot of the text (console) screen in JPEG (JPG) format is done analogously just the convert command output extension has to be changed to jpeg i.e.:

noah:/home/hipo# snapscreenshot -c5 -x1 > ~/console-screenshot.tga && convert ~/console-screenshot.tga console-screenshot.jpeg

I've also written a tiny wrapper shell script, to facilitate myself picture picture taking as I didn't like to type each time I want to take a screenshot of a tty the above long line.

Here is the wrapper script I wrote:

### Config
# .tga produced file name
# gets current date
cur_date=$(date +%d_%m_%Y|sed -e 's/^ *//');
# png output f name
### END Config
snapscreenshot -c$arg1 -x1 > $output_f_name && convert $output_f_name $png_f_name;
echo "Output png screenshot from tty1 console produced in";
echo "$PWD/$png_f_name";
/bin/rm -f $output_f_name;

You can also download my snapscreenshot wrapper script here

The script is quite simplistic to use, it takes just one argument which is the number of the tty you would like to screenshot.
To use my script download it in /usr/local/bin and set it executable flag:

noah:~# cd /usr/local/bin
noah:/usr/local/bin# wget -q
noah:/usr/local/bin# chmod +x

Onwards to use the script to snapshot console terminal (tty1) type:


I've made also mirror of latest version of snapscreenshot- here just in case this nice little program disappears from the net in future times.