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Tag Archives: computer tricks

samba server on tinycore linux – howto

Simple setup for samba server on Tinycore linux server. Many tutorials are available on internet but mine is tested and it working as I want.

First install samba package on Tinycore linux.

from “tc” user start tce-ab

Then edit the smb.conf file from /usr/local/etc/samba/smb.conf.
Inside add something like this:

workgroup = WORKGROUP
netbios name = box
security = user

comment = Data
path = /mnt/sda1
read only = no
guest ok = no


security = user
this will create a share that is based on user/password

netbios name = box
this will be the name of your server ( alias to avoid tiping the IP address)

read only = no
to have write access

guest ok = no
no allow of guest users ( no anonymous connections)
Then as root you run this command

 smbpasswd -a <tinycore user>

then type the samba password for that user. You will use this password from the client machine when you will connect to the samba share
then save the samba config files to make the changes persistent after reboot.

add in /opt/.filetool.lst

usr/local/etc/samba/smb.conf            <-- this contain samba setup
usr/local/etc/samba/private/passdb.tdb  <-- this contain your password

then backup with “backup”
and then restart the server

Next go at the client machine and in filemanager type:
and you should get a popup window asking for user and password. Put the user and that password you set on samba.

easy backup system with rsync – like Time Machine

Backup systems are good for recovering in case of accidental  lost data. But a more useful feature is the incremental backup where you have access to various snapshots in time like the Time Machine on Apple is doing. To do this in Linux (or any Unix  or alike ) systems is actually very easy.

For example we make a backup every day ( or every internal you want) . We need that  the amount of data transferred is small and not big. Imagine transferring few TB every day ! in case our important data is changing a little bit then we will backup only the modified parts. For this Rsync is the best tool. Everybody knows that. But there is a problem. How can we keep daily snapshots of the data without filling the disk ? For this we will use softlinks,  hardlinks and Rsync options.

So we have to create a script file like this:

date=`date "+%Y-%m-%dT%H-%M-%S"`
rsync -aP --delete --log-file=/tmp/log_backup.log --exclude=lost+found --link-dest=/mnt/sdb2/Backups/current /mnt/sda1/ /mnt/sdb2/Backups/back-$date
rm -f /mnt/sdb2/Backups/current
ln -s /mnt/sdb2/Backups/back-$date /mnt/sdb2/Backups/current

So here I make first a “date” variable that will be used in the name of the backup folder to easily know when that backup/snapshot was made.

Then use the rsync with some parameters (see man rsync for more details):

-a = archive mode ( to send only changed parts)

-P = to give a progress info – (optional)

–delete = to delete the deleted files from backup in case they are removed from source

–log-file = to save the log into a file (optional)

–exclude = to exclude some folders/files from backup . This are relative to source path !!! do not use absolute path here !

–link-dest = link to the latest backup snapshot

/mnt/sda1 = source path (here I backup a whole drive)

/mnt/sdb2/Backups/back-$date  = destination folder , it will contain all the content from the source.

Then by using rm I remove the old link to the old backup ( the “current” link) and then I replace it with a new soft link to the newly created snapshot.

So now whenever I click on “current” I go in fact to the latest backup .

And because every time I make the backup the date is different the old snapshots will be kept. So for every day I will have a snapshot.

To automate this you have to create a cron job to execute the above script at the convenient time.

Example to run at 4:01AM every day:

1  4 * * * /path/to/script

Please notice that only the first time the full backup will take a long time since it will copy the full data. The second time you will run the script it will transfer only the changed files/bits.

Now on the destination folder you will see a “back-xxx” folder for every time you run the script. You can open/read the files from all this folders as it if they are completely independent files. In fact if you run df and du you will see something interesting.

For example if the backup is 600GB and the script is run every day you will see that the df will show the same 600GB used from disk space. But if you run “du -sh /* ”  you will see that each “back-xxx” folder is 600GB each. This is possible because there are only hardlinks to the same data copied. Do not worry, the disk is not full and you should trust the df results and not the du results.

user@box:/mnt/sdb2/Backups$ du  -sh ./*
623.8G    ./back-2014-02-24T17:47:12
623.8G    ./back-2014-02-24T21-46-41
623.8G    ./back-2014-02-25T17-05-02
623.8G    ./back-2014-02-25T18-45-34
0    ./current
user@box:/mnt/sdb2/Backups$ df /mnt/sdb2
Filesystem                Size      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sdb2                 2.7T    623.9G      1.9T  24% /mnt/sdb2

So the Time Machine is in fact only 3 lines of code in a script plus a cron job ! Easy and everybody can do it !

Adapt the script to your needs. Run it when you want with cron jobs.

At any point in time you can delete old backups ( for example backups older than few weeks). This can also be made with cron plus some scripts.

Tiny core linux no autologin

on Tiny core Linux distribution the tc user is automatically login at boot time.

If you want this not to happen then you have to change /opt/ file and to add this line :

echo “booting” > /etc/sysconfig/noautologin

and then backup with backup command. Of course all this must be run from root account.

FTP backup with BASH script ( FTP scripting)

FTP protocol is used to transfer data between computers. The user has also a possibility to combine bash scripts with FTP to automate the backups of the files. This concept can be used for example to backup some files from a local machine to a remote server.
The way to do this is by making an executable script that is run from time to time by a cron job task. In this way the backup is made automatically in the background and do not require user intervention. But there is a problem. if you use FTP in command line then you have to type user name and password in clear text. So how to do it ?
The solution I suggest is like in the example below:

First step is to determine if the backup is needed . We check if the file was changed since last backup. For this we use a compare between the size of the file in this moment with the size of the file at the previous backup time. The previous size was saved in a file. To check this we use the “if compare” structure from BASH:

### check if the file was changed, and if YES then make FTP transfer, if not exit
 if [ `cat ~/.size_myfile.txt` -ne `du -s /path/to/file | cut -f1` ] ; then
 echo 'File changed !'

Then we define some parameters for FTP command. This definition can be made in a different ( hidden) file. For not critical situations ( home users) I recommend keeping the user details in the same file ( in the script) but to remove all the permissions for the other users ( use chmod command ). So the backup script should look like this:

-rwx------ myuser mygroup 32 june 12 14:52 backupFTP.script

Notice that only the “myuser” user has the right to read/write/execute the file

So for FTP command you need:

 FILE='/path/to/filesource filedestination'
 quote USER $USER
 cd /path/to/destination
 put $FILE

Since the source path and the destination path may be different you can use “cd /path/to/destination” for the file. The copied file can be also renamed as shown above ( see “filedestination“)

Notice that the commands between “END_SCRIPT” tags are executed inside FTP terminal. This are FTP commands and not BASH/Linux commands. You can put here whatever FTP commands you want based on your needs. For a full list of the FTP commands type “help” in the FTP terminal.

The 3rd step is to recalculate and save the new size of the file so that next time when backup script is run the size file is updated. For this we do:

 ## recalculate the new size of the file, for next backup
 du -s /path/to/file | cut -f1 > ~/.size_myfile.txt
 env DISPLAY=:0 notify-send 'FTP backup done !' 'File : /path/to/file'

Optionally you can show a desktop notification that the backup was made. If you do not have a GUI then do not use it.

Next I show the full script in only one file:

 ### check if the file was changed, and if YES then make FTP transfer, if not exit
 if [ `cat ~/.size_myfile.txt` -ne `du -s /path/to/file | cut -f1` ] ; then
#    echo 'File changed !'
 sleep 1
 FILE='/path/to/filesource filedestination'
 ftp -n $HOST <<END_SCRIPT
 quote USER $USER
 cd /path/to/destination
 put $FILE
 sleep 1
 ## recalculate the new size of the file, for next backup
 du -s /path/to/file | cut -f1 > ~/.size_myfile.txt
 env DISPLAY=:0 notify-send 'FTP backup done !' 'File : /path/to/file'

live USB linux with dd command

I use linux most of the time and from time to time I want to test a new distro. The easy way to try a new distro is to use the USB stick. The CD is outdated and the DVD is expensive.

There are many ways to make a live bootable USB but I want to show the easiest one. All you need is the ISO file and any linux machine. Any Unix OS should be fine but I did not tested.

So no special software is required.

First you have to download the ISO for the distro you want to try. For example Mint, Debian , Ubuntu, etc…etc…

Then open a terminal and use dd command to transfer the ISO image to the USB stick.

For this you need the root privileges. You can become root with su or you can use sudo in front of the command.

So in terminal type (first read this post till end !):

sudo dd if=/path/to/linuxdistro.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4M ; sync

That’s it ! Now the ISO image is copied on the USB stick and you can boot from it.

Details about the command:

sudo = to get super user privileges, if not then you have to become root first with su command

dd = command to copy to disk

if=/path/file  = select the input file, in this case the ISO file.

of = the destination of the copy

/dev/sdb = your USB device. First check what is the name of your USB stick. You can plug the stick and check it with df command. Do not use any number after sdx since the dd must transfer the ISO file to the disk and not to the partition !

bs=4M = it means to copy up to 4MB at a time – it is optional but it optimize the transfer

sync = optional for the linux OS to flash the buffers

For more info about dd or sync commands please use man from terminal:

man dd

and / or:

man sync

Add right-click Samba share in Thunar/XFCE file manager

Since I use XFCE4 I was searching a easy way to temporarily share a folder to another PC over the network.

Gnome have a nice and easy way of doing this with a right-click on a selected folder.

But for XFCE there is no such option available. But to fix this you have to create a “custom action”.

Note 1: Samba must be installed for this method to work !

Note 2: I tested this solution on Mint 13/XFCE 64bit. It should work also on Ubuntu 12.04 and higher or similar Linux distros.

Step 1:

In Thunar go to Edit–>Configure custom actions…


Then add a new custom action:


The command is :

net usershare add %n %f “” Everyone:R guest_ok=y

Notice: copy the above command as it is. The shared folder will have the same icon (not like in Gnome with the special “share” folder icon).

Go on “Appearance conditions” tab and there click only on Directory and remove all the others. The main idea is to see this “share” option only if you selected a folder.


Step 2:

Create another custom action for removing the folder from Samba share. The steps are similar but the command is :

net usershare delete %n


On the “appearance condition” tab select Directory only.

So at the end you should have two custom actions like in the below example:


Step 3: test the new created menu.

Select a folder and right-click and select the share menu you just created. In few seconds you should see that folder on your Samba share. Like this:


If you are not sure how to access your Samba shares then you have to type “smb://computername/folder/” like in the above image (in to the address bar). If for some reasons it is not working you can try with the IP address of that PC like : smb://

The samba shares can be accessed from any Windows/Linux/Mac computer from any file manager like : Explorer, Dolphin, Nautilus, Thunar, Midnight Commander, total Commander, any web browser…etc

To unshare (not share publicly the folder) you have to make right-click on the same folder but choose the second menu with “unshare”. In few seconds the shared folder will not be publicly available.

Tricks :

  • If you need to write from another computer on to the shared folder then you have to give permision to write (chmod) on that shared folder. You can do this directly inside the custom action command like this :

net usershare add %n %f “” Everyone:F guest_ok=y && chmod 777 %f

It is preferable to use for this a empty folder since it may be dangerous to give 777 permission to everyone.

  • The commands described above can also be run in terminal but you have to replace the %n, %f with the correct values. See above pictures for details.

Screencast with FFMPEG with sound (Ubuntu 12.04 / Mint 13)

This is how to make a high quality screencast with sound from the soundcard.
Great if you want to record for example screencast tutorial or  a webpage that contains sound.
system: Ubuntu 12.04/ Mint 13

  • Record without sound, image size relative to dimensions of your screen (my case is 1600×900):

ffmpeg -f x11grab -s 1600×900 -r 25 -i :0.0 -sameq output.mkv

  • Record with sound, from your microphone:

ffmpeg -f alsa -i pulse -ab 192 -acodec pcm_s16le -f x11grab -s 1600×900 -r 25 -i :0.0 -sameq output.mkv

To record with sound, from your microphone you have to do also the following steps ( only first time):

* Install Pulse Audio Volume Control. (through synaptic package manager)
* Repeat the second command, recording starts.
* Go to Pulse Audio; go to the tab ‘Recording’, it shows ffmpeg recording the sound. Change the pull down menu to Monitor from Built in Analog Stereo.
Now it records the sound stream in stead of your micro. Set your microphone sound level to the desired values.
That is basically it.

After you save the file you will need to cut first few seconds and last few seconds to remove the parts where you start/stop the ffmpeg command.

This can be done with the below command.

Basically in the below example I extract from “output.mkv” the video starting from second 10 . The length of the output file (clip-output-file.mkv) is set to 120seconds.

ffmpeg -ss 10 -t 120 -i output.mkv -acodec copy -vcodec copy clip-output-file.mkv

print some columns from CSV file

If you have a CSV ( comma separated values file) and you need to print only some columns then you can use sed, awk or cut. Today I will show the “cut” command. Do not confuse it with “cat” !!

CUT is quite easy to use and is more simple than AWK or SED. For example if you have a file like this

$ cat datafile.csv

device1 device2 device2a device4b device5a device8 device9

1 56 8 99 5 41 36 8

22 5 99 89 56 56 2

1 0 2 5 9 63 5

As you can see the delimiter is not comma but space. If you want to print only columns 2,3 and 5 then “cut” is the best tool.

$ cut -d” ”  -f2,3,5 datafile.csv

device2 device2a device5a

56 8 5

5 99  56

0 2 9

-d” ” = means to use ” ” (space) as delimiter in the input file

-f2,3,5 = means to print only the fields 2, 3 and 5

So by default the output delimiter is space. If you want a specific delimiter, like tab, you can use this :

$ cut -d” ”  -f2,3,5 –output-delimiter=$’\t’  datafile.csv

device2         device2a        device5a

56                 8                       5

5                   99                     56

0                  2                        9

The syntax $’\t’ is special because cut do not accept TAB as “\t”

For another delimiter you can use the option like : –output-delimiter=”.:.”

$ cut -d” ”  -f2,3,5 –output-delimiter=$’\t’  datafile.csv





Of course for all this there is a AWK or SED command but I think that for simple column selection a CUT command is easier.

More than that. The CUT command give also the possibility to select only some bytes or characters from the file. For example to print only the characters from 2 to 5 you have to use :

$ cut -c2-5 datafile.csv



2 5


not very useful in my case but nice to have in case the input file format do not have a delimiter.

see more info with “man cut”

Automatic numbering of the equations in LibreOffice

Sometime I have to write a article that contain various formulas. Previously I was using Microsoft Word, but now I do not wave aces to it. To use Latex/Tex or one of the derivatives was too complex for me. So I started looking at Libre Office.  Everything was fine except a annoying issue with a numbering of the formulas.

What I wanted is a number on the right side of each formula. More than that, I want that when I refer to a certain formula in the text, to correspond with the correct formula. Even if I update the article later and add or remove some formulas.

Let me show what is the format that I wanted:


So as you can see now my article looks professional , like in any book.

But how to do that in Libre Office ?

Actually is easier that I expected.

So you type some text and then you want to add a formula

Type “fn” (of course without “” !! ) and then press F3. A formula will appear and a number on the right side.

Then you can double-click that formula and edit it with your values.

Now if you want to make a reference in the text to a certain formula, then you have to :

1: from menu Insert –> Cross Reference

2: Select from the pop-up window :

  • Type–> text
  • Insert reference to –> Reference
  • Selection –> choose the formula number that you want , in my case number 2.
  • Click Insert and then Close


At the end you will obtain something like this :

libreoffice2As you can see the references are highlighted with gray color to avoid confusion with ordinary text.

Now if you want to insert a new formula between 1 and 2, then the new formula will become (2) and the old (2) will become (3). Of course the reference from the text will be automatically undated.

Thats it. Nice end simple.

More detailed explanation here:

WD30EZRX Caviar Green 3TB, correct disk size and how to partition in Linux/Unix

I have a new HDD from Western Digital. It is a WD30EZRX Caviar Green. It has 3TB and the price is almost ok. The disk works fine for now so I will detail the way the partition can be done in Linux/Unix.

Why do we care about this ? Well.. because this 3TB is bigger than normal HDD on the market. The forums are full with people asking why do not see the full 3TB size . Well there are some issues with the way the data is addressed. It is nothing wrong with the disk but with the software used to see the partitions or to access the partitions.

In my case I used a old external HDD enclosure to test the drive. It was out of the box, so I was thinking to partition it and then to be screwed in the final rack.

Wrong ! Since my HDD enclosure ( cheap and old case with JMicron SATA-to-USB interface) is accessing the data in 32bit format (hex) the max visible disk size was 746MB. I searched the web and I found many guys complaining that they see the same 746MB size in the 3TB disk. But other people were saying that they see 2.1-2.1TB !?!

Well… after aprox 1 hour of reading the web, I discovered that the problem is do to software and not do to hardware.

Those of you that are using fdisk to see ( and/or partition) this disk will run in the same issue. So I used “parted” in command line. I did not tested with Gparted ( from live Ubuntu distro) but I assume that will work also. So I used the last Parted version and the disk size was ok 3.001TB.

WARNING  !!! : Parted writes the changes directly on the disk !!! (no undo option , and no cancel !! )

So in order to partition with parted ( command line version) you have to do the following steps: (assuming the disk is sdb , if not please change it to your proper value)

1: you have to change the partition table from msdos to gpt.

# parted /dev/sdb
GNU Parted 3.1
Using /dev/sdb
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type ‘help’ to view a list of commands.

(parted) print
Error: /dev/sdb: unrecognized disk label

(parted) mklabel gpt

(parted) print
Model: Unknown (unknown)
Disk /dev/sdb: 3001GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: gpt

Number  Start  End  Size  File system  Name  Flags

2: partition the disk

# parted /dev/sdb

(parted) mkpart primary 0GB 3001GB

(parted) print
Model: Unknown (unknown)
Disk /dev/sdb: 3001GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: gpt

Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name     Flags
 1      1049kB  3001GB  3001GB               primary

3: then you must format the new partition to the ext2, ext3, ext4 or whatever you want. This step may take few minutes. Wait….

# mkfs.ext2 /dev/sdb1

4: mount the new created partition

# sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/somefolder

Probably there are other ( more easy or cleaver ) methods but this was working for me.

BTW: in my case I format it as ext2 and at the end I have approx 2.88TB and from this I can use max 2.7TB…

So it appears that this >100GB are lost in filesystem stuff. So please have this in mind for big HDD since it may create disappointment ..(“Look I have a 3TB disk …but I can use only 2.5TB !!”)


For more information on this issues please read :