Bainbridge Circle Christmas Lights

Best Christmas light shows of 2013

Although I didn’t get my own holiday lights display (automated and dancing to music) up this year for Christmas – I understand what is behind these shows and what it TAKES to make these shows happen!

Being one of the developers for VixenLights software (well, a very very small developer/contributor) I know it takes hours and months to setup a display like these guys have.   Each time you see the lights turn on and off, well someone had to tell a computer to do that!  It takes countless hours to prep, wire, program these shows.

Hats off to you guys!  Awesome!  Job Well done!

Probably the best one I have seen so far is Bainbridge Circle in CA. These guys have 24 houses hooked up through a network of computers synchronizing them all.

Here is their facebook page.

Look behind what it takes to run this show.
Next question they get is what software does Bainbridge Circle use?   You guessed it.  Vixen.

The Wizards of Bainbridge Circle in CA

 2013 Light Show – Christmas At The Western Mall

 Christmas Light Show 2013 – Amazing Grace (Nashville, TN)

 Uploaded on Dec 3, 2011 (yeah I know it isn’t 2013 but still…)
2012 Christmas Lights- Thank You Troops and Veterans

Title Photo credit John Moya Photography

Ubuntu Cleanup: How to Remove All Unused Linux Kernel Headers, Images and Modules

20130820Unless you have a totally fresh install of Ubuntu, you have probably noticed that each time you boot up, the GRUB boot menu lists a bunch of previous Linux kernels which you can boot into. While this can occasionally come in handy – like if you can’t boot into the new kernel after an upgrade – those previous kernels, images and modules are usually just wasting space.

While you can go into Synaptic, search for all the bits and pieces of previous kernels, and mark them for removal, here is a much easier method. In a terminal, simply paste the following command, and it will remove all but the current kernel (if you’ve upgraded your system, or had an update with a new kernel, please reboot your machine before running this):

dpkg -l 'linux-*' | sed '/^ii/!d;/'"$(uname -r | sed "s/\(.*\)-\([^0-9]\+\)/\1/")"'/d;s/^[^ ]* [^ ]* \([^ ]*\).*/\1/;/[0-9]/!d' | xargs sudo apt-get -y purge

You will see some info about what is going on:

The following packages will be REMOVED:

 linux-headers-2.6.35-22* linux-headers-2.6.35-22-generic*
 linux-headers-2.6.35-23* linux-headers-2.6.35-23-generic*
 linux-image-2.6.32-25-generic* linux-image-2.6.35-22-generic*
 0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 7 to remove and 13 not upgraded.
 After this operation, 586MB disk space will be freed.
 (Reading database … 261863 files and directories currently installed.)
 Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-22-generic …
 Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-22 …
 Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-23-generic …
 Removing linux-headers-2.6.35-23 …
 Removing linux-image-2.6.32-25-generic …

It will then go on to generate a new GRUB menu, and when you reboot, you’ll see only the current kernel is listed.

Force Active Directory replication on a domain controller

In order to force Active Directory replication, issue the command ‘repadmin /syncall /AeD’ on the domain controller.  Run this command on the domain controller in which you wish to update the Active Directory database for.

A = All Partitions
e = Enterprise (Cross Site)
D = Identify servers by distinguished name in messages.
P = Push

By default this does a pull replication – which is how AD works by default.  If you want to do a push replication use the following command:
repadmin /syncall /APeD
For all repadmin syntax please see:


What would you do with Google Glass?

If you haven’t followed it, or even heard of it, Google has come up with yet another innovation.  Glass.


If you haven’t seen the Google Glass project yet, check out this video to see the potentially revolutionary product at work…


so what would you do with Glass?

Monitoring your ReadyNAS using Opsview

Monitoring a ReadyNAS with OpsView is just a matter of creating the right service checks using SNMP.


Ensure you have the following:

  • 1 x Opsview Master (This example we are using the Opsview Core 3.2 on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS vm from Opsview)
  • ReadyNAS MIB from here

Step 1

Setup the ReadyNAS for read only SNMP traffic.

Login to the ReadyNAS administrator screen and enable SNMP under System -> Alerts, and choose the SNMP Tab.

Step 2

Install the ReadyNAS MIB on the Opsserver, drop the MIB in the following directories:

sudo su
cd /usr/local/nagios/snmp/load
chown nagios:nagios READYNAS-MIB.txt
cd /usr/local/nagios/snmp/load/

Step 3

On the Opsserver verify that the mib is working correctly by running snmpwalk:

snmpwalk -v 2c -c public IPoftheReadyNA READYNAS-MIB::temperatureValue.1

It should return something like:

READYNAS-MIB::temperatureValue.1 = INTEGER: 116

Step 4

Create Service checks.  You may need to tweak the warning parameters.  The thresholds I put in seem to work OK for my environment.

IE:  check_snmp -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -o READYNAS-MIB::temperatureValue.1 -C public -P 2c -w 0:119

Change the -w 0:119 (0 deg F -> 119 deg F) to like -w 0:130  (0 deg F to 130 deg F) normal operating ranges.
The Western Digital drives have operating ranges are from 0-140 deg F.

Step 5

Create the Host Template, and enable the ReadyNAS Service checks.  We called ours just ReadyNAS

Step 6

Create the host and point it at the ReadyNAS, include the Host Template ReadyNAS.


Monitoring your ESXi hosts using Opsview

As most of you know that with ESX 4.x SNMP monitoring has been crippled.

An alternative is to monitor ESX/i hosts via the Web API that ESX/i has provided.

This post summarizes the work involved to successfully monitor your ESX/i environment using Opsview and the vSphere SDK for Perl.


Ensure you have the following:

Step 1

Navigate and download the SDK Libraries that correspond to your OS Architecture from

Step 2

On the Opsview master run the following commands after getting the vsphere Perl SDK:

opsview@ops:~$ sudo tar -zxvf VMware-vSphere-Perl-SDK-;.tar.gz
opsview@ops:~$ sudo vmware-vsphere-cli-distrib/

Creating a new vSphere CLI installer database using the tar4 format.
Installing vSphere CLI.
Installing version 254719 of vSphere CLI
You must read and accept the vSphere CLI End User License Agreement to continue.
Press enter to display it.

Accept the license agreement and the default location to install the executable files [/usr/bin]

Step 3

Download nagios plugin from:

This will ultimately end up in the /usr/local/nagios/libexec/ directory on your Opsview server.

On the Opsview master as user nagios run the following commands (assumed downloaded to /tmp):

opsview@ops:/tmp$ sudo chown nagios:nagios /tmp/
opsview@ops:/tmp$ cp /tmp/ /usr/local/nagios/lib
opsview@ops:/tmp$ sudo cp /tmp/ /usr/local/nagios/libexec/

On the Opsview master as the nagios user run the following tests for the VM server, replacing the user and pass with a valid read only ESX/i account. Run this from the /usr/local/nagios/libexec/ directory as the user nagios.

sudo -u nagios
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ –u user –p pass -l cpu
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l runtime -s list
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l io
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l mem -s usage
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l net
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l runtime -s issues
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l runtime -s status
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l service
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l storage -s path
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l mem -s swap
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l vmfs

On the Opsview master as the nagios user run the following tests for any Guest VM on the server, again replace the user and pass with valid user account.

./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ –u user –p pass -l cpu
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l runtime -s list
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l io
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l mem -s usage
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l net
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l runtime -s issues
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l runtime -s status
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l service
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l storage -s path
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l mem -s swap
./ -H $HOSTADDRESS$ -u user -p pass -l vmfs

Step 5

In the Opsview admin interface, create the Service checks for ESX/I for each of the above tests you performed.

11-16-2012 1-09-38 PM

Next create a new Host Template (we called ours ESX Host):

11-16-2012 1-12-42 PM

And assign the checks to the host template:

11-16-2012 1-13-05 PM

Assign the Host template to the esx host:

11-16-2012 1-16-21 PM


– Create the same type of templates for the guest VM’s


All done, force some checks or just wait and your host should be responding with:

11-16-2012 1-18-14 PM

25 performance monitoring and debugging tools for unix

I’ve compiled 25 performance monitoring and debugging tools that will be helpful when you are working on Linux environment. This list is not comprehensive or authoritative by any means.

However this list has enough tools for you to play around and pick the one that is suitable your specific debugging and monitoring scenario.

1. SAR

Using sar utility you can do two things: 1) Monitor system real time performance (CPU, Memory, I/O, etc) 2) Collect performance data in the background on an on-going basis and do analysis on the historical data to identify bottlenecks.

Sar is part of the sysstat package. The following are some of the things you can do using sar utility.

  • Collective CPU usage
  • Individual CPU statistics
  • Memory used and available
  • Swap space used and available
  • Overall I/O activities of the system
  • Individual device I/O activities
  • Context switch statistics
  • Run queue and load average data
  • Network statistics
  • Report sar data from a specific time
  • and lot more..

The following sar command will display the system CPU statistics 3 times (with 1 second interval).

The following “sar -b” command reports I/O statistics. “1 3? indicates that the sar -b will be executed for every 1 second for a total of 3 times.

$ sar -b 1 3
Linux 2.6.18-194.el5PAE (dev-db)        03/26/2011      _i686_  (8 CPU)

01:56:28 PM       tps      rtps      wtps   bread/s   bwrtn/s
01:56:29 PM    346.00    264.00     82.00   2208.00    768.00
01:56:30 PM    100.00     36.00     64.00    304.00    816.00
01:56:31 PM    282.83     32.32    250.51    258.59   2537.37
Average:       242.81    111.04    131.77    925.75   1369.90

2. Tcpdump

tcpdump is a network packet analyzer. Using tcpdump you can capture the packets and analyze it for any performance bottlenecks.

The following tcpdump command example displays captured packets in ASCII.

$ tcpdump -A -i eth0
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on eth0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 96 bytes
14:34:50.913995 IP > P 1457239478:1457239594(116) ack 1561461262 win 63652
14:34:51.423640 IP > P 116:232(116) ack 1 win 63652

Using tcpdump you can capture packets based on several custom conditions. For example, capture packets that flow through a particular port, capture tcp communication between two specific hosts, capture packets that belongs to a specific protocol type, etc.

3. Nagios

Nagios is an open source monitoring solution that can monitor pretty much anything in your IT infrastructure. For example, when a server goes down it can send a notification to your sysadmin team, when a database goes down it can page your DBA team, when the a web server goes down it can notify the appropriate team.

You can also set warning and critical threshold level for various services to help you proactively address the issue. For example, it can notify sysadmin team when a disk partition becomes 80% full, which will give enough time for the sysadmin team to work on adding more space before the issue becomes critical.

Nagios also has a very good user interface from where you can monitor the health of your overall IT infrastructure.

The following are some of the things you can monitor using Nagios:

  • Any hardware (servers, switches, routers, etc)
  • Linux servers and Windows servers
  • Databases (Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc)
  • Various services running on your OS (sendmail, nis, nfs, ldap, etc)
  • Web servers
  • Your custom application
  • etc.

4. Iostat

iostat reports CPU, disk I/O, and NFS statistics. The following are some of iostat command examples.

Iostat without any argument displays information about the CPU usage, and I/O statistics about all the partitions on the system as shown below.

$ iostat
Linux 2.6.32-100.28.5.el6.x86_64 (dev-db)       07/09/2011

avg-cpu:  %user   %nice %system %iowait  %steal   %idle
           5.68    0.00    0.52    2.03    0.00   91.76

Device:            tps   Blk_read/s   Blk_wrtn/s   Blk_read   Blk_wrtn
sda             194.72      1096.66      1598.70 2719068704 3963827344
sda1            178.20       773.45      1329.09 1917686794 3295354888
sda2             16.51       323.19       269.61  801326686  668472456
sdb             371.31       945.97      1073.33 2345452365 2661206408
sdb1            371.31       945.95      1073.33 2345396901 2661206408
sdc             408.03       207.05       972.42  513364213 2411023092
sdc1            408.03       207.03       972.42  513308749 2411023092

By default iostat displays I/O data for all the disks available in the system. To view statistics for a specific device (For example, /dev/sda), use the option -p as shown below.

$ iostat -p sda
Linux 2.6.32-100.28.5.el6.x86_64 (dev-db)       07/09/2011

avg-cpu:  %user   %nice %system %iowait  %steal   %idle
           5.68    0.00    0.52    2.03    0.00   91.76

Device:            tps   Blk_read/s   Blk_wrtn/s   Blk_read   Blk_wrtn
sda             194.69      1096.51      1598.48 2719069928 3963829584
sda2            336.38        27.17        54.00   67365064  133905080
sda1            821.89         0.69       243.53    1720833  603892838

5. Mpstat

mpstat reports processors statistics. The following are some of mpstat command examples.

Option -A, displays all the information that can be displayed by the mpstat command as shown below. This is really equivalent to “mpstat -I ALL -u -P ALL” command.

$ mpstat -A
Linux 2.6.32-100.28.5.el6.x86_64 (dev-db)       07/09/2011      _x86_64_        (4 CPU)

10:26:34 PM  CPU    %usr   %nice    %sys %iowait    %irq   %soft  %steal  %guest   %idle
10:26:34 PM  all    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00   99.99
10:26:34 PM    0    0.01    0.00    0.01    0.01    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00   99.98
10:26:34 PM    1    0.00    0.00    0.01    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00   99.98
10:26:34 PM    2    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00  100.00
10:26:34 PM    3    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00  100.00

10:26:34 PM  CPU    intr/s
10:26:34 PM  all     36.51
10:26:34 PM    0      0.00
10:26:34 PM    1      0.00
10:26:34 PM    2      0.04
10:26:34 PM    3      0.00

10:26:34 PM  CPU     0/s     1/s     8/s     9/s    12/s    14/s    15/s    16/s    19/s    20/s    21/s    33/s   NMI/s   LOC/s   SPU/s   PMI/s   PND/s   RES/s   CAL/s   TLB/s   TRM/s   THR/s   MCE/s   MCP/s   ERR/s   MIS/s
10:26:34 PM    0    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    7.47    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.02    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00
10:26:34 PM    1    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    4.90    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.03    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00
10:26:34 PM    2    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.04    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    3.32    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00
10:26:34 PM    3    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.

mpstat Option -P ALL, displays all the individual CPUs (or Cores) along with its statistics as shown below.

$ mpstat -P ALL
Linux 2.6.32-100.28.5.el6.x86_64 (dev-db)       07/09/2011      _x86_64_        (4 CPU)

10:28:04 PM  CPU    %usr   %nice    %sys %iowait    %irq   %soft  %steal  %guest   %idle
10:28:04 PM  all    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00   99.99
10:28:04 PM    0    0.01    0.00    0.01    0.01    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00   99.98
10:28:04 PM    1    0.00    0.00    0.01    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00   99.98
10:28:04 PM    2    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00  100.00
10:28:04 PM    3    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00  100.00

6. Vmstat

vmstat reports virtual memory statistics. The following are some of vmstat command examples.

vmstat by default will display the memory usage (including swap) as shown below.

$ vmstat
procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system-- -----cpu------
 r  b   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa st
 0  0 305416 260688  29160 2356920    2    2     4     1    0    0  6  1 92  2  0

To execute vmstat every 2 seconds for 10 times, do the following. After executing 10 times, it will stop automatically.
$ vmstat 2 10
procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system-- -----cpu-----
 r  b   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa st
 1  0      0 537144 182736 6789320    0    0     0     0    1    1  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0 537004 182736 6789320    0    0     0     0   50   32  0  0 100  0  0

iostat and vmstat are part of the sar utility. You should install sysstat package to get iostat and vmstat working.

7. PS Command

Process is a running instance of a program. Linux is a multitasking operating system, which means that more than one process can be active at once. Use ps command to find out what processes are running on your system.

ps command also give you lot of additional information about the running process which will help you identify any performance bottlenecks on your system.

The following are few ps command examples.

Use -u option to display the process that belongs to a specific username. When you have multiple username, separate them using a comma. The example below displays all the process that are owned by user wwwrun, or postfix.

$ ps -f -u wwwrun,postfix
postfix   7457  7435  0 Mar09 ?        00:00:00 qmgr -l -t fifo -u
wwwrun    7495  7491  0 Mar09 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/httpd2-prefork -f /etc/apache2/httpd.conf
wwwrun    7496  7491  0 Mar09 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/httpd2-prefork -f /etc/apache2/httpd.conf
wwwrun    7497  7491  0 Mar09 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/httpd2-prefork -f /etc/apache2/httpd.conf
wwwrun    7498  7491  0 Mar09 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/httpd2-prefork -f /etc/apache2/httpd.conf
wwwrun    7499  7491  0 Mar09 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/httpd2-prefork -f /etc/apache2/httpd.conf
wwwrun   10078  7491  0 Mar09 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/httpd2-prefork -f /etc/apache2/httpd.conf
wwwrun   10082  7491  0 Mar09 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/httpd2-prefork -f /etc/apache2/httpd.conf
postfix  15677  7435  0 22:23 ?        00:00:00 pickup -l -t fifo -u

The example below display the process Id and commands in a hierarchy. –forest is an argument to ps command which displays ASCII art of process tree. From this tree, we can identify which is the parent process and the child processes it forked in a recursive manner.

$ ps -e -o pid,args --forest
  468  \_ sshd: root@pts/7
  514  |   \_ -bash
17484  \_ sshd: root@pts/11
17513  |   \_ -bash
24004  |       \_ vi ./790310__11117/journal
15513  \_ sshd: root@pts/1
15522  |   \_ -bash
 4280  \_ sshd: root@pts/5
 4302  |   \_ -bash

8. Free

Free command displays information about the physical (RAM) and swap memory of your system.

In the example below, the total physical memory on this system is 1GB. The values displayed below are in KB.

# free
       total   used    free   shared  buffers  cached
Mem: 1034624   1006696 27928  0       174136   615892
-/+ buffers/cache:     216668      817956
Swap:    2031608       0    2031608

The following example will display the total memory on your system including RAM and Swap.

In the following command:

  • option m displays the values in MB
  • option t displays the “Total” line, which is sum of physical and swap memory values
  • option o is to hide the buffers/cache line from the above example.
# free -mto
                  total       used      free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          1010        983         27              0         170           601
Swap:          1983            0    1983
Total:          2994        983     2011

9. TOP

Top command displays all the running process in the system ordered by certain columns. This displays the information real-time.

You can kill a process without existing from top. Once you’ve located a process that needs to be killed, press “k” which will ask for the process id, and signal to send. If you have the privilege to kill that particular PID, it will get killed successfully.

PID to kill: 1309
Kill PID 1309 with signal [15]:
 1309 geek   23   0 2483m 1.7g  27m S    0 21.8  45:31.32 gagent
 1882 geek   25   0 2485m 1.7g  26m S    0 21.7  22:38.97 gagent
 5136 root    16   0 38040  14m 9836 S    0  0.2   0:00.39 nautilus

Use top -u to display a specific user processes only in the top command output.

$ top -u geek

While unix top command is running, press u which will ask for username as shown below.

Which user (blank for all): geek
 1309 geek   23   0 2483m 1.7g  27m S    0 21.8  45:31.32 gagent
 1882 geek   25   0 2485m 1.7g  26m S    0 21.7  22:38.97 gagent

10. Pmap

pmap command displays the memory map of a given process. You need to pass the pid as an argument to the pmap command.

The following example displays the memory map of the current bash shell. In this example, 5732 is the PID of the bash shell.

$ pmap 5732
5732:   -bash
00393000    104K r-x--  /lib/
003b1000   1272K r-x--  /lib/
00520000      8K r-x--  /lib/
0053f000     12K r-x--  /lib/
0084d000     76K r-x--  /lib/
00c57000     32K r-x--  /lib/
00c8d000     36K r-x--  /lib/
b7d6c000   2048K r----  /usr/lib/locale/locale-archive
bfd10000     84K rw---    [ stack ]
 total     4796K

pmap -x gives some additional information about the memory maps.

$  pmap -x 5732
5732:   -bash
Address   Kbytes     RSS    Anon  Locked Mode   Mapping
00393000     104       -       -       - r-x--
003b1000    1272       -       -       - r-x--
00520000       8       -       -       - r-x--
0053f000      12       -       -       - r-x--
0084d000      76       -       -       - r-x--
00c57000      32       -       -       - r-x--
00c8d000      36       -       -       - r-x--
b7d6c000    2048       -       -       - r----  locale-archive
bfd10000      84       -       -       - rw---    [ stack ]
-------- ------- ------- ------- -------
total kB    4796       -       -       -

To display the device information of the process maps use ‘pamp -d pid’.

11. Netstat

Netstat command displays various network related information such as network connections, routing tables, interface statistics, masquerade connections, multicast memberships etc.,

The following are some netstat command examples.

List all ports (both listening and non listening) using netstat -a as shown below.

# netstat -a | more
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
tcp        0      0 localhost:30037         *:*                     LISTEN
udp        0      0 *:bootpc                *:*                                

Active UNIX domain sockets (servers and established)
Proto RefCnt Flags       Type       State         I-Node   Path
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     6135     /tmp/.X11-unix/X0
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     5140     /var/run/acpid.socket

Use the following netstat command to find out on which port a program is running.

# netstat -ap | grep ssh
(Not all processes could be identified, non-owned process info
 will not be shown, you would have to be root to see it all.)
tcp        1      0 dev-db:ssh         CLOSE_WAIT  -
tcp        1      0 dev-db:ssh         CLOSE_WAIT  -

Use the following netstat command to find out which process is using a particular port.

# netstat -an | grep ':80'

12. IPTraf

IPTraf is a IP Network Monitoring Software. The following are some of the main features of IPTraf:

  • It is a console based (text-based) utility.
  • This displays IP traffic crossing over your network. This displays TCP flag, packet and byte counts, ICMP, OSPF packet types, etc.
  • Displays extended interface statistics (including IP, TCP, UDP, ICMP, packet size and count, checksum errors, etc.)
  • LAN module discovers hosts automatically and displays their activities
  • Protocol display filters to view selective protocol traffic
  • Advanced Logging features
  • Apart from ethernet interface it also supports FDDI, ISDN, SLIP, PPP, and loopback
  • You can also run the utility in full screen mode. This also has a text-based menu.

13. Strace

Strace is used for debugging and troubleshooting the execution of an executable on Linux environment. It displays the system calls used by the process, and the signals received by the process.

Strace monitors the system calls and signals of a specific program. It is helpful when you do not have the source code and would like to debug the execution of a program. strace provides you the execution sequence of a binary from start to end.

Trace a Specific System Calls in an Executable Using Option -e

Be default, strace displays all system calls for the given executable. The following example shows the output of strace for the Linux ls command.

$ strace ls
execve("/bin/ls", ["ls"], [/* 21 vars */]) = 0
brk(0)                                  = 0x8c31000
access("/etc/", F_OK)      = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
mmap2(NULL, 8192, PROT_READ, MAP_PRIVATE|MAP_ANONYMOUS, -1, 0) = 0xb78c7000
access("/etc/", R_OK)      = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)
open("/etc/", O_RDONLY)      = 3
fstat64(3, {st_mode=S_IFREG|0644, st_size=65354, ...}) = 0

To display only a specific system call, use the strace -e option as shown below.

$ strace -e open ls
open("/etc/", O_RDONLY)      = 3
open("/lib/", O_RDONLY)  = 3
open("/lib/", O_RDONLY)       = 3
open("/lib/", O_RDONLY)      = 3
open("/lib/", O_RDONLY)        = 3
open("/lib/", O_RDONLY)       = 3
open("/lib/", O_RDONLY)  = 3
open("/lib/", O_RDONLY)     = 3
open("/proc/filesystems", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = 3
open("/usr/lib/locale/locale-archive", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = 3

14. Lsof

Lsof stands for ls open files, which will list all the open files in the system. The open files include network connection, devices and directories. The output of the lsof command will have the following columns:

  • COMMAND process name.
  • PID process ID
  • USER Username
  • FD file descriptor
  • TYPE node type of the file
  • DEVICE device number
  • SIZE file size
  • NODE node number
  • NAME full path of the file name.

To view all open files of the system, execute the lsof command without any parameter as shown below.

# lsof | more
COMMAND     PID       USER   FD      TYPE     DEVICE      SIZE       NODE NAME
init          1       root  cwd       DIR        8,1      4096          2 /
init          1       root  rtd       DIR        8,1      4096          2 /
init          1       root  txt       REG        8,1     32684     983101 /sbin/init
init          1       root  mem       REG        8,1    106397     166798 /lib/
init          1       root  mem       REG        8,1   1454802     166799 /lib/tls/
init          1       root  mem       REG        8,1     53736     163964 /lib/
init          1       root  mem       REG        8,1     56328     166811 /lib/
init          1       root   10u     FIFO       0,13                  972 /dev/initctl
migration     2       root  cwd       DIR        8,1      4096          2 /

To view open files by a specific user, use lsof -u option to display all the files opened by a specific user.

# lsof -u ramesh
vi      7190 ramesh  txt    REG        8,1   474608   475196 /bin/vi
sshd    7163 ramesh    3u  IPv6   15088263               TCP dev-db:ssh->abc-12-12-12-12.

To list users of a particular file, use lsof as shown below. In this example, it displays all users who are currently using vi.

# lsof /bin/vi
vi      7258  root   txt    REG    8,1 474608 475196 /bin/vi
vi      7300  ramesh txt    REG    8,1 474608 475196 /bin/vi

15. Ntop

Ntop is just like top, but for network traffic. ntop is a network traffic monitor that displays the network usage.

You can also access ntop from browser to get the traffic information and network status.

The following are some the key features of ntop:

  • Display network traffic broken down by protocols
  • Sort the network traffic output based on several criteria
  • Display network traffic statistics
  • Ability to store the network traffic statistics using RRD
  • Identify the identify of the users, and host os
  • Ability to analyze and display IT traffic
  • Ability to work as NetFlow/sFlow collector for routers and switches
  • Displays network traffic statistics similar to RMON
  • Works on Linux, MacOS and Windows

16. GkrellM

GKrellM stands for GNU Krell Monitors, or GTK Krell Meters. It is GTK+ toolkit based monitoring program, that monitors various sytem resources. The UI is stakable. i.e you can add as many monitoring objects you want one on top of another. Just like any other desktop UI based monitoring tools, it can monitor CPU, memory, file system, network usage, etc. But using plugins you can monitoring external applications.

17. w and uptime

While monitoring system performance, w command will hlep to know who is logged on to the system.

$ w
09:35:06 up 21 days, 23:28,  2 users,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
USER     TTY      FROM          LOGIN@   IDLE   JCPU   PCPU WHAT
root     tty1     :0            24Oct11  21days 1:05   1:05 /usr/bin/Xorg :0 -nr -verbose
ramesh   pts/0  Mon14    0.00s  15.55s 0.26s sshd: localuser [priv]
john     pts/0  Mon07    0.00s  19.05s 0.20s sshd: localuser [priv]
jason    pts/0  Mon07    0.00s  21.15s 0.16s sshd: localuser [priv]

For each and every user who is logged on, it displays the following info:

  • Username
  • tty info
  • Remote host ip-address
  • Login time of the user
  • How long the user has been idle
  • JCPU and PCUP
  • The command of the current process the user is executing

Line 1 of the w command output is similar to the uptime command output. It displays the following:

  • Current time
  • How long the system has been up and running
  • Total number of users who are currently logged on the system
  • Load average for the last 1, 5 and 15 minutes

If you want only the uptime information, use the uptime command.

$ uptime
 09:35:02 up 106 days, 28 min,  2 users,  load average: 0.08, 0.11, 0.05

Please note that both w and uptime command gets the information from the /var/run/utmp data file.

18. /proc

/proc is a virtual file system. For example, if you do ls -l /proc/stat, you’ll notice that it has a size of 0 bytes, but if you do “cat /proc/stat”, you’ll see some content inside the file.

Do a ls -l /proc, and you’ll see lot of directories with just numbers. These numbers represents the process ids, the files inside this numbered directory corresponds to the process with that particular PID.

The following are the important files located under each numbered directory (for each process):

  • cmdline – command line of the command.
  • environ – environment variables.
  • fd – Contains the file descriptors which is linked to the appropriate files.
  • limits – Contains the information about the specific limits to the process.
  • mounts – mount related information

The following are the important links under each numbered directory (for each process):

  • cwd – Link to current working directory of the process.
  • exe – Link to executable of the process.
  • root – Link to the root directory of the process.

19. KDE System Guard

This is also called as KSysGuard. On Linux desktops that run KDE, you can use this tool to monitor system resources. Apart from monitoring the local system, this can also monitor remote systems.

If you are running KDE desktop, go to Applications -> System -> System Monitor, which will launch the KSysGuard. You can also type ksysguard from the command line to launch it.

This tool displays the following two tabs:

  • Process Table – Displays all active processes. You can sort, kill, or change priority of the processes from here
  • System Load – Displays graphs for CPU, Memory, and Network usages. These graphs can be customized by right cliking on any of these graphs.

To connect to a remote host and monitor it, click on File menu -> Monitor Remote Machine -> specify the ip-address of the host, the connection method (for example, ssh). This will ask you for the username/password on the remote machine. Once connected, this will display the system usage of the remote machine in the Process Table and System Load tabs.

20. GNOME System Monitor

On Linux desktops that run GNOME, you can use the this tool to monitor processes, system resources, and file systems from a graphical interface. Apart from monitoring, you can also use this UI tool to kill a process, change the priority of a process.

If you are running GNOME desktop, go to System -> Administration -> System Monitor, which will launch the GNOME System Monitor. You can also type gnome-system-monitor from the command line to launch it.

This tool has the following four tabs:

  • System – Displays the system information including Linux distribution version, system resources, and hardware information.
  • Processes – Displays all active processes that can be sorted based on various fields
  • Resources – Displays CPU, memory and network usages
  • File Systems – Displays information about currently mounted file systems

21. Conky

Conky is a system monitor or X. Conky displays information in the UI using what it calls objects. By default there are more than 250 objects that are bundled with conky, which displays various monitoring information (CPU, memory, network, disk, etc.). It supports IMAP, POP3, several audio players.

You can monitor and display any external application by craeting your own objects using scripting. The monitoring information can be displays in various format: Text, graphs, progress bars, etc. This utility is extremly configurable.

More info: Conky screenshots

22. Cacti

Cacti is a PHP based UI frontend for the RRDTool. Cacti stores the data required to generate the graph in a MySQL database.

The following are some high-level features of Cacti:

  • Ability to perform the data gathering and store it in MySQL database (or round robin archives)
  • Several advanced graphing featurs are available (grouping of GPRINT graph items, auto-padding for graphs, manipulate graph data using CDEF math function, all RRDTool graph items are supported)
  • The data source can gather local or remote data for the graph
  • Ability to fully customize Round robin archive (RRA) settings
  • User can define custom scripts to gather data
  • SNMP support (php-snmp, ucd-snmp, or net-snmp) for data gathering
  • Built-in poller helps to execute custom scripts, get SNMP data, update RRD files, etc.
  • Highly flexible graph template features
  • User friendly and customizable graph display options
  • Create different users with various permission sets to access the cacti frontend
  • Granular permission levels can be set for the individual user
  • and lot more..

More info: Cacti home page

23. Vnstat

vnstat is a command line utility that displays and logs network traffic of the interfaces on your systems. This depends on the network statistics provided by the kernel. So, vnstat doesn’t add any additional load to your system for monitoring and logging the network traffic.

vnstat without any argument will give you a quick summary with the following info:

  • The last time when the vnStat datbase located under /var/lib/vnstat/ was updated
  • From when it started collecting the statistics for a specific interface
  • The network statistic data (bytes transmitted, bytes received) for the last two months, and last two days.
# vnstat
Database updated: Sat Oct 15 11:54:00 2011

   eth0 since 10/01/11

          rx:  12.89 MiB      tx:  6.94 MiB      total:  19.82 MiB

                     rx      |     tx      |    total    |   avg. rate
       Sep '11     12.90 MiB |    6.90 MiB |   19.81 MiB |    0.14 kbit/s
       Oct '11     12.89 MiB |    6.94 MiB |   19.82 MiB |    0.15 kbit/s
     estimated        29 MiB |      14 MiB |      43 MiB |

                     rx      |     tx      |    total    |   avg. rate
     yesterday      4.30 MiB |    2.42 MiB |    6.72 MiB |    0.64 kbit/s
         today      2.03 MiB |    1.07 MiB |    3.10 MiB |    0.59 kbit/s
     estimated         4 MiB |       2 MiB |       6 MiB |

Use “vnstat -t” or “vnstat –top10? to display all time top 10 traffic days.

$ vnstat --top10

 eth0  /  top 10

    #      day          rx      |     tx      |    total    |   avg. rate
    1   10/12/11       4.30 MiB |    2.42 MiB |    6.72 MiB |    0.64 kbit/s
    2   10/11/11       4.07 MiB |    2.17 MiB |    6.24 MiB |    0.59 kbit/s
    3   10/10/11       2.48 MiB |    1.28 MiB |    3.76 MiB |    0.36 kbit/s

24. Htop

htop is a ncurses-based process viewer. This is similar to top, but is more flexible and user friendly. You can interact with the htop using mouse. You can scroll vertically to view the full process list, and scroll horizontally to view the full command line of the process.

htop output consists of three sections 1) header 2) body and 3) footer.

Header displays the following three bars, and few vital system information. You can change any of these from the htop setup menu.

  • CPU Usage: Displays the %used in text at the end of the bar. The bar itself will show different colors. Low-priority in blue, normal in green, kernel in red.
  • Memory Usage
  • Swap Usage

Body displays the list of processes sorted by %CPU usage. Use arrow keys, page up, page down key to scoll the processes.

Footer displays htop menu commands.

25. Socket Statistics – SS

ss stands for socket statistics. This displays information that are similar to netstat command.

To display all listening sockets, do ss -l as shown below.

$ ss -l
Recv-Q Send-Q   Local Address:Port     Peer Address:Port
0      100      :::8009                :::*
0      128      :::sunrpc              :::*
0      100      :::webcache            :::*
0      128      :::ssh                 :::*
0      64       :::nrpe                :::*

The following displays only the established connection.

$ ss -o state established
Recv-Q Send-Q   Local Address:Port   Peer Address:Port
0      52    timer:(on,414ms,0)

The following displays socket summary statistics. This displays the total number of sockets broken down by the type.

$ ss -s
Total: 688 (kernel 721)
TCP:   16 (estab 1, closed 0, orphaned 0, synrecv 0, timewait 0/0), ports 11

Transport Total     IP        IPv6
*         721       -         -
RAW       0         0         0
UDP       13        10        3
TCP       16        7         9
INET      29        17        12
FRAG      0         0         0

What tool do you use to monitor performance on your Linux environment? Did I miss any of your favorite performance monitoring tool?


How to Set Up Windows 7 Homegroups for Seamless, Instant Sharing Between PCs In Your Home

You may have heard of Windows 7’s Homegroup feature before, but never really understood what it did. It’s actually the simplest way to share files between two Windows machines, and it takes seconds to set up. If you have more than one computer in your home (or a friend who comes over and likes to borrow your music), here’s how to set it up.

Sharing files in Windows used to be a painful process, and while that system still exists, homegroup is dead simple to use. All you need is a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium or above (which most people should have) to start the homegroup. Any computer running Windows 7 can join the homegroup. To set it up:

  1. Open up the Control Panel, go to Network and Internet, and click on HomeGroup. You can also type “homegroup” in the Start menu’s search box.
  2. Click Create a Homegroup if one isn’t already set up. When you first join your home network, it may have already created one for you, in which case you should already see most of the following options on the main Control Panel page—no need to go through the wizard.
  3. First, the wizard will ask you what you want to share with the other computers in your house. You can share your Pictures library, your Music library, your Videos library, your Documents library, and any printers hooked up to your machine. You can’t choose specific folders on your machine to share with Homegroup, but you can add them to one of those libraries to get it sharing.
  4. Next, it will give you a password to write down. For now, you can ignore this, since we’re going to set the password ourselves. Click Finish.
  5. Under “Other homegroup actions” on the Control Panel page, click “Change the password”. Now you can just enter any password you want.
  6. Now, on your other computers, head to the same Homegroup window in the Control Panel. It should tell you that it’s detected a homegroup on your network. Click “Join Now”, select the files you want that computer to share, and type in the password you just set.
  7. You should see Homegroup pop up in Explorer’s sidebar, from which you can access all the shared libraries from other Windows 7 computers in the homegroup. That’s it!

After typing in that password on all your Windows 7 machines, you’ll be able to access any files on those machines right from Windows Explorer. If you have a friend that comes over and wants a file, you can just give them the password to your homegroup (though they’ll need to mark your Wi-Fi network as a “Home” network, which is fine).

To print a document on a shared printer—that is, a printer connected to one of the other homegroup computers—all you need to do is go to the print dialog as normal. You should see that the shared printer pops up under the “Select Printer” list (in fact, if you don’t have a printer hooked up, it’ll already be set to the default). Just hit Print and it’ll send it to that shared printer without so much as a blink.

You can also turn on Media Streaming from the main Control Panel page, which lets you send your music, pictures, and videos to other devices via Windows Media Player. I’ve never found a need for this feature since I can access the videos just fine via Windows Explorer and open them up with PotPlayer, our favorite video player for Windows.

The only real downside is that it only works on Windows 7. If you have Mac or Linux computers in the house, you can’t join the homegroup, per se, but you can still access shared homegroup files using this method. In an all-Windows household, though, it doesn’t get any easier than this.

Would you use this weather app?

Wthr is the latest meteorological app to hit the iPhone and has had the internets going nuts because it was conceived around Dieter Rams’ 10 principles of good design. But personally, I think the look and overall function of the app is just OK. I’d much rather have an apps that look or behaves along the lines of Clear, or Agenda or Buzz, and not something that is trying to visually mimic a piece of hardware from the 1960s. Am I crazy?

weather app


Let’s All Be Happy Lego Didn’t Have Patent Trolls to Deal With in 1958

For the most part, the innerworkings of a Lego brick aren’t all that complex. It’s just a matter of good Geometry, really. But looking at these patent sketches submitted in 1958 (and granted in 1961), make me happy that Lego didn’t have to live in an era where their efforts might be thwarted by a patent troll. Our childhoods would have been lesser because of it, even if we never realized it.

lego patent

lego patent