Weechat- nice alternative for Irssi

Irssi is perhaps the most popular irc client in the Linux world. However the default settings of Irssi are way too simple and complicated to new users. If you like the features of Irssi but need something that is more newbie-friendly, Weechat should be the first option for you to consider. Although written from scratch and its source code is shorter than that of Irssi, Weechat looks nearly identical to Irssi, it is also very light and fast, highly customizable and configurable with plugins and everything can be done with only the keyboard just like Irssi. The main difference and perhaps the real advantage that Weechat has over Irssi is that the default layout of Weechat is much better than that of Irssi. Here is how the default layout of Weechat looks like:

To install weechat in ArchLinux, the command will be
 sudo pacman -S weechat  

In Ubuntu or other Debian-based distros, the installing command will be:
 sudo apt-get install weechat  

To run weechat, just open the terminal and run the following command:

If you need to customize weechat, the easiest way is to edit the .conf files in the folder ~/.weechat. If you are used to Irssi, you wont face any issue with Weechat since they use the same way of commands and settings.

4 new beautiful conky configs on Gnome look

I've been writing 2 articles listing some nice conky configs that I found on gnome look and devianart and got a lot of visitors for these two articles so I guess linux users are always interested in conky. Today I just checked gnome look again and found 4 new beautiful conky configs that just have been submitted in January and February this year. If you are a fan of conky, you should take a look at these conky configs.

Conky Cronograph Station

beautiful conky config

This conky is really amazing, it displays all the info you need to check,ie. date, info about cpu, memory, hard drive and weather forecast. No doubt it got a very high score on gnome-look. To make this conky display the weather forecast of your location, just change the location code in the weather script. Click here to download Conky Cronograph Station.

Conky Blue

nice conky config

If you are one of the people who love to check horoscopes everyday, you will absolutely love conky blue. This conky config is perhaps the first (that I know) to display horoscopes, and it looks really cool. Click here to download Conky Blue

Conky Analog Clock

beautiful conky configs

Since londonali1010 first published her lua ring metters, many conky artists have used her initial idea to create a lot of amazingly elegant conky clocks. And this conky config is one of them. Click here to download Conky Analog clock.

Conky Box

awesome conky config

The idea of this conky is not new but the style is really innovative. Click here to download Conky Box

How to replace SLIM with LXDM in Archbang

SLIM is used in Archbang as the defaul login manager. SLIM is light weight and nice but unfortunately, its development has ceased so the future of SLIM is uncertain. If you are using Archbang and want to replace SLIM with LXDM (which is recommended by the Arch Wiki), this article will show you how to do it.

lxdm archbang

First, you need to install LXDM, the command will be:
 sudo pacman -S lxdm  

The next step is to edit the file /etc/inittab. You can use either vi, nano or leafpad to edit this file in Archbang. To edit it using leafpad, run this command:
 sudo leafpad /etc/inittab  

In this file, find this line:
 x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/slim >& /dev/null  

And replace it with:
 x:5:respawn:/usr/sbin/lxdm >& /dev/null  

Save the file and you will use LXDM instead of SLIM in the next boot time. To configure and customize LXDM, you can edit 2 files, /etc/lxdm/lxdm.conf and /etc/lxdm/Xsession. The comments in these 2 files are really self-explained so you can easily edit them as you prefer.

How to transform Archbang into Arch Linux with Xmonad

Archbang is a linux distro based on Arch Linux. Archbang helps users to enjoy a full experience of Arch Linux without the cumbersome installing process. The default window manager of Archbang is Openbox, it is really light weight, highly customizable and easy to use. However it is very easy to replace Openbox in Archbang with other window managers. Today I will show you how to replace Openbox with Xmonad in Archbang.

transform archbang into arch linux with Xmonad

To install Xmonad in Archbang, the command will be:
 sudo pacman -S xmonad xmonad-contrib  

Next, you need to edit the start up file (~/.xinitrc) to start Xmonad after you login as a normal user. Here are some things you need to add into this file:

First, Xmonad does not set an X cursor by default, therefore you will see a "cross" cursor instead of a normal cursor, which can be confusing for some people. To set usual cursor, add the following line in to ~/.xinitrc:
 xsetroot -cursor_name left_ptr  
Next, since Xmonad set the US keyboard as default, you need to add the following line into ~/.xinitrc if you are using a non-US keyboard. For example, suppose you're using a French keyboard:
 setxkbmap -layout fr  

The next line you need in ~/.xinitrc is to launch Xmonad. In Archbang, this line is originally like this:
 exec ck-launch-session dbus-launch openbox-session  

You just need to replace the "openbox-session" with "xmonad" and everything is done. A working ~/.xinitrc will look like that:
  xsetroot -cursor_name left_ptr   
  exec ck-launch-session dbus-launch xmonad   

That's all you need to do to replace Openbox with Xmonad in Archbang. If you want to know more about how to configure and customize xmonad, please check my xmonad tutorial

Besides, when you start Xmonad in Archbang, you wont see anything but the background of the SLim login manager. To restore the wallpaper, since nitrogen is used in Archbang, consider adding the following line into the start up file ~/.xinitrc:
 nitrogen --restore &  

If you like my xmonad tutorial and want to use xmobar and trayer, you need to add the command to start trayer in ~/.xinitrc. Also, to get network manager showing up with trayer, what you need to add into ~/.xinitrc will be like this:
 trayer --edge top --align right --SetDockType true --SetPartialStrut true --expand true --width 6 --transparent true --alpha 0 --tint 0x000000 --height 16 &  
 nm-applet &  

Overall, your ~/.xinitrc should be like this to replace Openbox xith Xmonad in Archbang:
 nitrogen --restore & 
 trayer --edge top --align right --SetDockType true --SetPartialStrut true --expand true --width 6 --transparent true --alpha 0 --tint 0x000000 --height 16 &  
 nm-applet &  
 xsetroot -cursor_name left_ptr   
 exec ck-launch-session dbus-launch xmonad  

Note: I dont tell you to totally remove Openbox in Archbang here. If you follow this guide, you will use xmonad when you login as a normal user. If you log in as root in Archbang, the window manager will still be Openbox. To go back to Openbox, just restore the start up file ~/.xinitrc to the original one.

New problem of Arch Linux - cannot open firefox, chromium and many other apps

If you use Arch Linux and just ran a system update, you will probably have a problem that make you unable to run firefox, chromium and many other applications. If you run the command to open firefox or chromium in the terminal, you will have the error saying:
 libpng14.so.14: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory  

The reason of this problem, according to the Arch Linux main page, is because "recent releases of libpng and libtiff have required a rebuild of all packages that depend on them; these have just been moved from [testing] to the main repos."

To fix that problem, you need to check and rebuild the unofficial packages (mostly those that came from the AUR) that depend on libpng, especially those with a cairo prefix. To know which package that need to be rebuilt, you can run this command:
 pacman -Qm  

How to play videos in the terminal

The terminal is indisputably the most used application for Linux users. You can do almost everything with just a terminal: from chatting, browsing the internet to playing music ... and of course, you can also play videos in the Linux terminal. To play video in the terminal, you need the mplayer package. I believe mplayer is in the respiratory of all the Linux distro so installing it is a piece of cake. If you use Arch Linux, the installing command will be:
 sudo pacman -S mplayer  

If you use Ubuntu or other Debian-based distro, the command to install mplayer will be:
 sudo apt-get install mplayer  

Now, to watch videos in the terminal, you just need to open the terminal and run this command:
 mplayer -vo caca /path/to/the/video  

If you just need to watch in black and white mode, then the command will be:
 mplayer -vo aa /path/to/the/video  

Note: unfortunately, the video quality is not really good, you will only see the video being played in ASII mode. However, the coolness value is undeniable. Here is the screenshot of a vid being played in the terminal

play videos in linux terminal

And here is a captured video of the song "I like the way you move " by Body Rocker that I played in the terminal. ( link to the original video)

Note: This vid was recorded with recordmydesktop. To know how to use this application, please visit this link

Pear OS Linux looking for beta testers

The team of Pear OS Linux have been working hard for the upcoming release of Pear OS - codename Comice OS and they are looking for beta testers to test the beta version of Comice OS.

pear OS linux

Pear OS is a new French Linux distro ( just a few months old) which is based on Ubuntu ( probably Debian in the near future) and inspired by the look of MacOS. The aim of Pear OS, according to the creators, is to create a new Linux distro that is user-friendly, will work out-of-the-box with a simple but also beautiful and powerful interface. If you have time and want to help or test Pear OS, please visit this link and check the info about the upcoming release of Pear OS.

Here are some screenshot of the newest version of Pear OS - codename Comice OS:

pear OS linux software center
Pear OS software center
pear OS shell
Comice Shell
pear OS shell

Below is a video about Pear OS Linux in action

How to install Screenfetch and Archey in Ubuntu

Archey is a script that displays system info in the terminal with a logo of this the Linux distro in ASCII art. Archey is really nice and light-weight and can be a cool tool to display on the terminal. Archey was originally written for Arch Linux but the current version of archey supports many other popular linux distros like Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, Archbang... as well. However archey is not in the official respiratory of Ubuntu so not many Ubuntu users know about it. If you're using Ubuntu and want to use archey, you just need to run the following commands to install archey in Ubuntu (and other Debian-based distros like Linux Mint and Crunchbang)
 sudo apt-get install lsb-release scrot  
 wget http://github.com/downloads/djmelik/archey/archey-0.2.8.deb  
 sudo dpkg -i archey-0.2.8.deb  

After that, you just need to type "archey" in the terminal to start archey. Here is what archey looks like in my Arch Linux machine.

archey arch linux ubuntu

And here how it looks with Linux Mint

archey linux mint ubuntu

Another tool similar to archey is screenfetch, the main difference between screenfetch and archey is that screenfetch is written in Bash instead of Perl or Python. Just like archey, screenfetch is not in the official respiratory of Ubuntu so if you want to install screenfetch in your Ubuntu box (or other Debian-based distros), you can use the following command
 wget http://served.kittykatt.us/projects/screenfetch/screenfetch-2.4.0.deb  
 sudo dpkg -i screenfetch-2.4.0.deb  

Here is how screenfetch looks in my Arch Linux machine:

screenfetch arch linux

And in Linux Mint

screenfetch linux mint

To automatically start Archey or Screenfetch whenever you open the terminal, you just need to add "archey" or "screenfetch" into the bashrc file (/home/username/.bashrc for local user).

And here is how screenfetch looks in other popular distros like Ubuntu, Fedora...

screenfetch ubuntu fedora debian

How to automount partitions in Ubuntu / Linux

Normally, you need to manually mount the extra partitions in your Linux system in order to use it. This is a simple process but it can be annoying sometimes, such as when your conky doesnt display the partition info because you forgot to mount it or you will have an error if you are torrenting a file and store it in the partition that requires to mount. Fortunately, there are many methods to auto-mount partitions upon booting-up. The official help page of Ubuntu has a nice and thorough article about how to do so, but methinks it seems too much of reading for a simple problem. If you're lazy and dont want to edit any system file and just need the extra partitions to be automounted right after booting up in Ubuntu and other Linux distros, you can use pysdm - a tool with nice graphic interface.

If you are using Ubuntu or other Debian-based distros, you can download it from the software center or use this command:
 sudo apt-get install pysdm  

If you're using Arch Linux, the aur package of pysdm can be found here.

To use pysdm, just open the terminal and enter this command (you need to run pysdm as root)
 sudo pysdm  

Enter the password then the pysdm window will be open, as you can see, the list of the partitions is on the left side. You just need to click on the names of each partition to configure it. The screenshots here were taken in my Linux Mint box but it works the same to automount partitions in Ubuntu

automount Ubuntu

Next, you click on the assistant button (see the image above) and a new window will appear.

how to automount ubuntu

As you can see, you have many options other than just automounting the partitions. Just check or uncheck the options you prefer. Click OK then Apply and the next time you boot your Ubuntu/Linux system, the partitions will be automatically mounted

Tips to use Linux servers

Linux is very wide used today for dedicated servers because of its cost efficiency and security. Linux is really secure to use, both for desktop and servers, however most Linux servers generally come without any protection pre-configured by default and sometimes it can come with many services installed that are not required, including Web Servters, FTP Servers, Mail Servers and SSH Remote Access. Here are some useful tips and techniques you can use to strengthen the security of your Linux servers

linux dedicated server

1 – Use strong Passwords

This is obvious. If someone finds out your root password, he can control your whole system easily. Therefore you should always create long and complicated passwords that contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and non alpha-numeric characters. Also remember to enforce password ageing so users need to change their passwords regularly. Lock user accounts after a certain number of failed login attempts.

2 - Use Centralized Password Server

Consider implementing either a LDAP or Kerebos server to perform password authentication. This allows for a central database to maintain user’s passwords between multiple servers for easy management. This prevents user account and password data from becoming inconsistent and out of date, and prevents user accounts that should have been deleted on all servers being left behind on one server.

3 – Use Public/Private Keys

Make use of Public/Private SSH keys for login of remote users instead of passwords, this provides the benefit of turning off password authentication in SSH so that your server can’t be Brute-Force cracked. However this does introduce a new problem whereby a malicious person could compromise a user’s computer or steal their laptop and then have access to the server. This can be overcome by using a password on the client certificate which must be entered before connecting, a kind of two factor authentication.

4 – Minimize software

For server usage, you should try to use as least softwares as possible. Only install those packages that are really mandatory, some distros come preconfigured with many software packages that you may never need or use. When installing always choose the Minimal Installation or Manual Installation option if they exist. Then simply install the software that you actually need.

5 - Update software often

It is always recommended to keep your software packages up to date, such as ensuring the latest version of Apache, MySQL and PHP on a standard LAMP setup will protect you against any vulnerabilities that have been discovered in previous versions. However, also make sure that the new packages work properly.

6 - Remove X Windows

Everything that you can do with the GUI can be done using the command line. So removing X Windows will not only improve security but also performance because you will save the system resources that are used for displaying the GUI.

7 - Keep tracks of all Logs

Setup logging and auditing software to track errors and changes to your servers, such as Auditd and Logwatch/Logcheck. Consider configuring a remote logging server that is updated regularly to protect against an intruder compromising your log files without your knowledge.

Nice dark GTK themes by CrazyT

As you may already know, I am such an aficionado of dark gtk themes that Im always searching for new gtk themes every month. Today after a brief checking on gnome-look, I just found several amazingly beautiful dark themes created by CrazyT. The themes are actually the derivatives of one original gtk theme but the colors and styles of all the themes are really nice. If you are fond of dark GTK themes like me, you should take a look at these themes. Here are the screenshot of them. (doubleclick on the image to see the bigger images)

nice dark gtk themes
Black n black

gtk theme
Black n Blue

nice dark gtk theme
Black n Green

nice dark gtk themes

 dark gtk themes

nice gtk theme
Think Correctly

beautiful gtk theme
Yellow n Black attack
To download all these themes, just visit the artwork page of CrazyT and select the one you like. After downloading these themes, extract them to /usr/share/themes or ~/.themes to use them.