Debian Linux How to find out if installed package is from stable or testing environment

Posted on in Categories Debian Linux, Howto, Linux, Linux distribution, Tips, Ubuntu Linux last updated March 1, 2006

I install many packages for Debian / Ubuntu Linux from both stable/testing environment but some time I need to find out installed package is from stable or testing environment. I can use dpkg status file to get this information. But Debian comes with perl script called apt-show-versions which lists available package versions with distribution.

apt-show-versions parses the dpkg status file and the APT lists for the installed and available package versions and distribution and shows upgrade options within the specific distribution of the selected package. apt-show-versions uses caching for the status information of installed and available packages. If you run apt-show-versions as root the cache is updated as needed. If you run as non-root uses the newest available information, but can’t update the cache. If you run as root with the option -i the cache is initialized or updated only.

This is really useful if you have a mixed stable/testing environment and want to list all packages which are from testing and can be upgraded in testing.

Install apt-show-versions

Type the following command at shell prompt:
$ sudo apt-get install apt-show-versions
Just type command apt-show-versions:
$ apt-show-versions

java-common/testing uptodate 0.23
libperl5.8/testing upgradeable from 5.8.7-10 to 5.8.8-2
sysutils/testing upgradeable from 2.0.0-1 to 2.0.1
autoconf/unstable uptodate 2.59a-8

To upgrade all packages in testing you can type command:

# apt-get install $(apt-show-versions -u -b | fgrep testing)

Find out a list of all available versions of postgresql database server:

$ apt-show-versions -a -p postgresql

HowTo: Recovering Linux Grub Boot Loader Password

Posted on in Categories CentOS, Debian Linux, Howto, Linux, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Suse Linux, Sys admin, Tips, Troubleshooting, Ubuntu Linux last updated February 20, 2006

If you have, a password protected grub boot loader and you forgot both root and grub password, then you can recover grub-boot loader password using the following method/procedure:

* Use Knoppix cd
* Remove the password from Grub configuration file
* Reboot the system
* Change the root password
* Setup new Grub password if required (optional)

Logging to a centralized loghost from Router or other hosts

Posted on in Categories Backup, CentOS, Debian Linux, Howto, Linux, UNIX, Windows server last updated February 16, 2006

It is really a good idea to have one central logging host for security and performance reason. For example monitoring log files will help you to detect:
* Security risks (you can see failed login attempt, port scan etc) analysis
* Troubleshoot user login problem
* Save disk space
* If hard disk crashed on other hosts old logs will be available from centralized loghost

Linux (and other UNIX like systems) use sysklogd (or syslogd) utility. It is system logging facility. It support of both internet and unix domain sockets enables this utility package to support both local and remote logging from DSL/ADSL router or other hosts in your network.

Prepare syslogd to accept remote logging message

Open file /etc/init.d/sysklogd under Debian Linux to configure syslogd to accept remote message.
# vi /etc/init.d/sysklogd
Locate line SYSLOGD and edit it as follows:
The option (-r) will enable the facility to receive message from the network using an internet domain socket with the syslog service. The default is to not receive any messages from the network.

Save file and exit to shell prompt. Restart the sysklogd:
# /etc/init.d/sysklogd restart

A note about RHEL / CentOS / Fedora Linux User

If you are using Red Hat or Fedora Linux, edit file /etc/sysconfig/syslog:
# vi /etc/sysconfig/syslog
Make changes:
Restart syslogd:
# service syslog restart

Open UDP port 514

If you are, using iptables based firewall, insert following rule to your iptables script to accept connection from your network:


iptables -A INPUT -p udp -s $MYNET --sport 1024:65535 -d $SLSERVER --dport 514 -m state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT

iptables -A OUTPUT -p udp -s $SLSERVER --sport 514 -d $MYNET --dport 1024:65535 -m state --state ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT is IP address of syslogd server. You need to restrict access to syslogd within your network ( only.

Configure the Router to logging message to a centralized loghost

You can open web configuration interface and type IP address of centralized loghost ( and port 514. Save configuration and reboot router.

Configure Linux or Unix host to logging message to a centralized loghost

You need to open syslog configuration file /etc/syslog.conf:
# vi /etc/syslog.conf
Setup syslogd to send all important message related to auth to loghost IP (or use FQDN if configured)

*.*;auth,authpriv.none          @



Restart sysklogd (Debian Linux):
# /etc/init.d/sysklogd restart
Restart syslogd under Red Hat/Fedora / CentOS Linux
# service syslog restart
If required open outgoing UDP 514 port from other hosts:

# SYSLOG outgoing client request
iptables -A OUTPUT -p udp -s --sport 1024:65535 -d --dport 514 -m state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT

iptables -A INPUT -p udp -s --sport 514 -d --dport 1024:65535 -m state --state ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT

Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista Desktop system

You can force your Windows NT/2000/XP desktop to log all messages to a centralized loghost. However, Windows do not have in build system to log message to remote Unix syslogd server. You can use NTsyslog program, which runs as a service under Windows NT based operating systems. It formats all System, Security, and Application events into a single line and sends them to a syslogd host.

Verify that message are logged in to your /var/log/messages# tail -f /var/log/messages

Feb 16 02:08:01 router  kernel: klogd started: BusyBox v1.00 (2005.09.22-19:11+0000)
Feb 16 02:08:01 router  kernel: Linux version ([email protected]) (gcc version 3.4.2) #1 Thu Sep 22 15:07:47 EDT 2005
Feb 16 02:08:01 router  kernel: Total Flash size: 2048K with 39 sectors
Feb 16 02:08:01 router  kernel: 96338L-2M-8M prom init
Feb 16 02:08:01 router  kernel: CPU revision is: 00029010
Feb 16 02:08:01 router  kernel: Determined physical RAM map:
Feb 16 02:08:01 router  kernel:  memory: 007a0000 @ 0000000
Feb 16 02:08:01 router  kernel: AdslCoreHwReset: AdslOemDataAddr = 0xA07E504C
Feb 16 02:08:01 router  kernel: ip_tables: (C) 2000-2002 Netfilter core team
Feb 16 02:08:01 router  kernel: ip_conntrack version 2.1 (61 buckets, 0 max) - 368 bytes
Feb 16 02:08:06 router  pppd[224]: pppd 2.4.1 started by admin, uid 0
Feb 16 02:08:07 router  pppd[224]: PPP: Start to connect ...
Feb 16 02:08:10 router  dnsprobe[272]: dnsprobe started!

How do I Use Multiple Screens on One Terminal over ssh session?

Posted on in Categories CentOS, Debian Linux, Gentoo Linux, GNU/Open source, Linux, Linux desktop, Networking, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Shell scripting, Sys admin, Tips, Ubuntu Linux, UNIX last updated December 7, 2005

Most of the time GUI is not available on remote Linux system, you login over ssh and start to work, if you need to run two or three task at a time, you login over ssh two or three times. However, with screen windows manager utility you can run multiple terminals at the same time from single console login over ssh session (UNIX guru uses the term called multiplexing for this concept). Any seasoned Linux admin should be aware of this nifty tool 🙂

How To Verify Integrity of The Tar Balls With md5sum Command

Posted on in Categories Howto, Linux, Security, Tips, Troubleshooting, UNIX last updated December 2, 2005

md5sum command is use to check or print MD5 (128-bit) checksums. For example purpose download your favorite Linux distribution from Linux distribution web site / project site. Now you will need to to check md5sum on a Linux ISO file.

1) Download Debian linux # 1 ISO please note down md5sum listed next to each ISO file with the help of wget command:
$ wget

2) Verify integrity of a Linux iso:
$ md5sum isofile.iso

a0b162e26281ef097ee8b39b8690a8c2 isofile.iso

Compare output (a0b162e26281ef097ee8b39b8690a8c2) with key listed online at’s site.

You can read MD5 sums from the FILEs and check them:
$ md5sum -c xcache-1.2.2.tar.gz.md5.txt
Sample output:

xcache-1.2.2.tar.gz: OK

Online References:

Linux > Command line BitTorrent client

Posted on in Categories Linux, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Shell scripting, Suse Linux, Tip of the day, Tips, Ubuntu Linux, UNIX last updated March 14, 2005

BitTorrent is the name of a peer-to-peer (P2P) file distribution protocol, and of a free software implementation of that protocol.

The BitTorrent client is a computer program developed by BitTorrent, Inc. used to download and upload files via the BitTorrent protocol. You can download python based command line BitTorrent client download for Linux/BSD/Mac OS X/UNIX link oses. This is quite useful, if you would like to download file remotely over SSH session. offers bittorrent client in .deb (Debian Linux) or rpm (RedHat/Fedora Core/CentOS Linux) file formats.

To use the bittorrent in command line one you need to use command bittorrent-console or bittorrent-curses (see below for examples).

Step # 1: Find Python version

Make sure you download file according to your python version. Type following command to find out python version:
$ python -V

Python 2.4.2

Step # 2: Download bittorrent client

Use wget to download bittorrent client

Download bittorrent client for Debian Linux:

$ wget

Download bittorrent clientFor Red Hat / Fedora Core / Cent OS Linux

$ wget

Step # 3: Linux Install BitTorrent client

First login as a root user (use su or sudo command). If you are using Debian Linux, use dpkg command install bittorrent client
# dpkg -i bittorrent_5.0.3_python2.4.deb
If you are using Red Hat / Fedora Core /Cent OS Linux, use rpm command install bittorrent client:
# rpm -ivh BitTorrent-5.0.3-1-Python2.4.noarch.rpm

Step # 4: Start using or downloading files

Use bittorrent client as follows:
$ /usr/bin/bittorrent-curses ''
$ bittorrent-curses ''
$ /usr/bin/bittorrent-curses '/path/to/file.torrent'
You can try out pure console based client bittorrent-console instead of curses based client:
$ bittorrent-console '/path/to/file.torrent'
$ /usr/bin/bittorrent-console ''

Tips about using and Troubleshooting BitTorrent client

(A) If you get [Errno 2] No such file or directory, you need to use wget or lynx command to download .torrent file to local hard drive first. For example
$ bittorrent-curses '[222].torrent'
First download download .torrent file using any one of the following method:
$ lynx '[222].torrent'
When prompted save .torrent file to a hard-disk. Another option is use wget to download .torrent file:
$ wget '[222].torrent'
Now start the downloading as follows:
$ bittorrent-curses 'some_file[222].torrent'

(B) If you get error ‘This seems to be an old Python version which does not support detecting the filesystem encoding. Assuming ‘ascii’, then upgrade your python version to 2.4.xx:

Debian user upgrade python version using apt-get command:
# apt-get update
# apt-get install python2.4

Red Hat Linux user try out:
# up2date python2.4
Fedora Linux user try out:
# yum install python2.4

Remember if you have both versions (python v2.3 and v2.4) installed, you need to run bittorent client as follows:
$ python2.4 /usr/bin/bittorrent-curses '/path/to/file.torrent'
Command line BitTorrent client should work with other UNIX like operating systems such as FreeBSD/OpenBSD/Solaris etc (as long as you have Python it should work).

The current client enables a range of features including multiple parallel downloads. It also intermediates peering between itself, source file servers (read as trackers) and other clients, thereby yielding great distribution efficiencies. The client also enables users to create and share torrent files. See help files for more information.

See also: