Posts Tagged ‘Weekly’

How to quickly check unread Gmail emails on GNU / Linux – one liner script

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Reading Time: 3minutes

I've hit an interesting article explaining how to check unread gmail email messages in Linux terminal. The original article is here

Being able to read your latest gmail emails in terminal/console is great thing, especially for console geeks like me.
Here is the one liner script:

curl -u GMAIL-USERNAME@gmail.com:SECRET-PASSWORD \
--silent "https://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom" | tr -d '\n' \
| awk -F '' '{for (i=2; i<=NF; i++) {print $i}}' \
| sed -n "s/

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As you see this one liner uses curl to fetch the information from mail.google.com's atom feed and then uses awk and sed to parse the returned content and make it suitable for display.

If you want to use the script every now and then on a Linux server or your Linux desktop you can download the above code in a script file -quick_gmail_new_mail_check.sh here

Here is a screenshot of script's returned output:

Quick Gmail New Mail Check bash script screenshot

A good use of a modified version of the script is in conjunction with a 15 minutes cron job to launch for new gmail mails and launch your favourite desktop mail client.
This method is useful if you don't want a constant hanging Thunderbird or Evolution, pop3 / imap client on your system to just take up memory or dangle down the window list.
I've done a little modification to the script to simply, launch a predefined email reader program, if gmail atom feed returns new unread mails are available, check or download my check_gmail_unread_mail.sh here
Bear in mind, on occasions of errors with incorrect username or password, the script will not return any errors. The script is missing a properer error handling.Therefore, before you use the script make sure:

gmail_username='YOUR-USERNAME';
gmail_password='YOUR-PASSWORD';

are 100% correct.

To launch the script on 15 minutes cronjob, put it somewhere and place a cron in (non-root) user:

# crontab -u root -e
...
*/15 * * * * /path/to/check_gmail_unread_mail.sh

Once you read your new emails in lets say Thunderbird, close it and on the next delivered unread gmail mails, your mail client will pop up by itself again. Once the mail client is closed the script execution will be terminated.
Consised that if you get too frequently gmail emails, using the script might be annoying as every 15 minutes your mail client will be re-opened.

If you use any of the shell scripts, make sure there are well secured (make it owned only by you). The gmail username and pass are in plain text, so someone can steal your password, very easily. For a one user Linux desktops systems as my case, security is not such a big concern, putting my user only readable script permissions (e.g. chmod 0700)is enough.

The creator of C and UNIX Dennis Ritchie passed away R.I.P. Dennis

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Reading Time: 3minutes

Dennis Ritchie old young picture

I just read the lwn.net – Linux Weekly news ‘s website the very sad news that one of the greatest modern day computer heroes Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie after a long illness has passed away in his home.

The original notification for this grieving news are on Rob Pike’s Google Plus wall , this is the original message:

Rob Pike - 1:02 AM - Public
I just heard that, after a long illness, Dennis Ritchie (dmr) died at home this weekend. I have no more information.
I trust there are people here who will appreciate the reach of his contributions and mourn his passing appropriately.
He was a quiet and mostly private man, but he was also my friend, colleague, and collaborator, and the world has lost a truly great mind.

For all those who haven’t heard about Dennis Ritchie , he was a computer scientist who developed the C Programming language and had an immeasurable influence on all kind of Modern programming.

C Programming Language cover Dennis Ritchie

Dennis worked on the development of Unix’s predecessor Multics as well as with Ken Thompson worked together in Bell Labs and are practically the fathers of UNIX.
Unix the Seventh Edition source code has later become the basis for the early UNIX BSD distributions. Among the most important technical contributions Dennis has done is the introduction of a Streams mechanism – pipes – (as called today in GNU/Linux and BSD and other unices).
Ritchie’s C Language creation on top of Ken Thompson’s B Programming language has been standartized and become the de-facto standard for almost every modern existing OS around.
Moreover dmr has been among the co-creators of Plan 9 Operating system (which is currently open-source distributed) as well as coded a few bits for the Inferno OS which today is known under the code name Vita Nuova

Unix Live Free or die Bell labs early UNIX logo

dmr (the hacker nickname of Dennis) lines up across the most notable computer hackers of all times. He received U.S. national Medal of Technology in 1999 from president Bill Clinton for his contributions to co-inventing the UNIX operating system and the creation of C Language

Denis Ritchie receives national prize in 1999 for Technology from president Bill Clinton
To sum it up DMR is just an “icon” in the computer geek world and his memory will surely live forever in the hacker undeground and computer geek culture.

Dennis Ritche near a personal computer picture

A few quotes dmr is so famous with:

"I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party."
"Usenet is a strange place."
"UNIX is very simple, it just needs a genius to understand its simplicity."
"C is quirky, flawed, and an enormous success."
"We really didn't buy it thinking we'd have this enormous investment."

Here is also a short video telling a few words of UNIX history and showing Dennis Ritchie in his UNIX development years:

Farewell Denis! See you in Hacker’s paradise 😉