Monthly Archives: June 2017

NTFS Support on CentOS 7


sudo yum --enablerepo=extras install epel-release;
sudo yum install ntfs-3g -y;

Background – Explanation of commands

By default, CentOS does not have installed the necessary drivers to mount ntfs drives.

sudo yum --enablerepo=extras install epel-release;

To install them, you need to enable the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL).

Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (or EPEL) is a Fedora Special Interest Group that creates, maintains, and manages a high quality set of additional packages for Enterprise Linux, including, but not limited to, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS and Scientific Linux (SL), Oracle Linux (OL).

EPEL packages are usually based on their Fedora counterparts and will never conflict with or replace packages in the base Enterprise Linux distributions. EPEL uses much of the same infrastructure as Fedora, including buildsystem, bugzilla instance, updates manager, mirror manager and more.


You can install EPEL by running yum --enablerepo=extras install epel-release. The epel-release package is included in the CentOS Extras repository that is enabled by default. The package includes gpg keys for package signing and repository information. Installing this package for your Enterprise Linux version should allow you to use normal tools such as yum to install packages and their dependencies.

sudo yum install ntfs-3g -y;

After you’ve enabled the repository, you should be able to install the Linux NTFS userspace driver packaged in ntfs-3g. ntfs-3g is a stable, open source, GPL licensed, POSIX, read/write NTFS driver for Linux and many other operating systems. It provides safe handling of the Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 NTFS file systems. NTFS-3G can create, remove, rename, move files, directories, hard links, and streams; it can read and write normal and transparently compressed files, including streams and sparse files; it can handle special files like symbolic links, devices, and FIFOs, ACL, extended attributes; moreover it provides full file access right and ownership support.

To install it, we used the following command: yum install ntfs-3g -y.

C/C++: Change position of bytes 1 and 2 with bytes 3 and 4 in a 32bit unsigned integer

The following function will produce a new 32bit value where bytes 1 and 2 were moved in place of bytes 3 and 4 and vice versa.

reorder-bytes.c (compressed) (101 downloads)

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

const unsigned int move_bytes_1_2_after_4 (const unsigned int input) {
  //We get the two leftmost bytes and move them to the positions of the two rightmost bytes.
  const unsigned int first_two_bytes = (input >> 16) & 0x0000FFFF;
  //We get the two rightmost bytes and move them to the positions of the two leftmost bytes.
  const unsigned int last_two_bytes = (input << 16) & 0xFFFF0000;
  //We combine the two temporary values together to produce the new 32bit value where bytes 1 and 2 were moved in place of bytes 3 and 4 and vice versa.
  return (first_two_bytes | last_two_bytes);

int main(void) {
  const unsigned int value = 0xABCD0123;
  printf ("Original: 0x%08x\n", value);
  const unsigned int modified = move_bytes_1_2_after_4(value);
  printf ("Modified: 0x%08x\n", modified);
  return EXIT_SUCCESS;

Executing the above code will produce the following output:

Original: 0xabcd0123
Modified: 0x0123abcd

reorder-bytes.c (compressed) (101 downloads)

Facebook gives hints about what a picture contains on the ‘alt’ field

Just a fun fact:

Facebook posts some of the information that it automatically derives from user pictures in the alt field of the pictures.
Below we post two samples from a stream that demonstrating this feature:

In the first one we can read in the alt the following Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup.

In the second one we can read in the alt the following Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, pool, sky and outdoor.

We can see that in both cases the information is pretty much valid.

Making an animated torus in gnuplot and gimp

The gnuplot code in this article, creates several frames of a 3D torus with a visible structural grid from different viewing angles, like the one in the image below.

torus.gnuplot (compressed) (93 downloads)

In geometry, a torus (plural tori) is a surface of revolution generated by revolving a circle in three-dimensional space about an axis coplanar with the circle. If the axis of revolution does not touch the circle, the surface has a ring shape and is called a torus of revolution.

From Wikipedia

By modifying the circles and rings variables in the script you can increase and decrease the number of circles and rings that appear on your torus.
The above image was generated using 60 circles and 30 rings.

To better explain what a circle and what a ring is, please have a look at the following two examples.

The following torus has 10 circles and 30 rings.

The next one has 60 circles and 10 rings.

The last torus has 10 circles and 10 rings.

Using the script, you can also play around with the set view command and the for loop to change the number of frames that will be produced and what movement should the camera perform before printing.

torus.gnuplot (compressed) (93 downloads)

set terminal pngcairo transparent enhanced font "arial,10" fontscale 1.0 size 700, 400

unset key
unset border
unset tics

set dummy u, v


set parametric
set isosamples circles, rings
set hidden3d back offset 1 trianglepattern 3 undefined 1 altdiagonal bentover
set urange [ -pi : pi ] noreverse nowriteback
set vrange [ -pi : pi ] noreverse nowriteback

do for [i=1:360/circles] {
 set view 25, i, 1, 1
 set output sprintf('game-of-life-torus.%03.0f.png', i)
 splot cos(u)+.5*cos(u)*cos(v),sin(u)+.5*sin(u)*cos(v),.5*sin(v) with lines

torus.gnuplot (compressed) (93 downloads)

Below, you can see two examples of animation we build together using the gimp application.

Showing one frame at a time.

Accumulating all frames into one, until the loop is reset.

To create the animation we followed the next steps:

  1. Executed gnuplot torus.gnuplot to generated the frames.
  2. Then we started the gimp and from the menu File we chose the option Open as layers... (Ctrl + Alt + o).
  3. We selected all the images we wanted for our animation and pressed the Open button.
  4. The Layers - Brushes window got populated by the new frames. Please note that window you can use that to change the order of the frames (which are now the layers).
  5. Following, from the menu File we chose the option Export As... (Shift + Ctrl + E), from the pop-up window we selected the type of the file to be gif and pressed the Export button.
  6. At the final pop-up window, we enabled the As animation checkbox, then at the Frame disposal where unspecified dropdown menu we chose One frame per layer (replace) and hit the Export button which produce the first animation in this article (two images up).

This figure shows the ‘Layers – Brushes’ window that got populated by the new frames.

From the menu File we chose the option Export As… (Shift + Ctrl + E), from the pop-up window we selected the type of the file to be ‘gif’ and pressed the Export button.

At the final pop-up window, we enabled the As animation checkbox, then at the Frame disposal where unspecified dropdown menu we chose One frame per layer (replace) and hit the Export button which produce the first animation in this article (two images up).


Ubuntu: Headless wireshark (or wireshark from terminal)

Recently, we wanted to use wireshark on an Ubuntu through ssh and no X-Server forwarding enabled.
After a quick search we found tshark.

TShark is a network protocol analyzer. It lets you capture packet data from a live network, or read packets from a previously saved capture file, either printing a decoded form of those packets to the standard output or writing the packets to a file. TShark‘s native capture file format is pcap format, which is also the format used by tcpdump and various other tools.
Without any options set, TShark will work much like tcpdump. It will use the pcap library to capture traffic from the first available network interface and displays a summary line on stdout for each received packet.
TShark is able to detect, read and write the same capture files that are supported by Wireshark.

From: man tshark

Install tshark on Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install tshark -y;

Using tshark to capture all traffic on eth0 to a pcap file

sudo tshark -i eth0 -w something.pcap;

Note: If you just want to capture network traffic on a network interface and not use the additional features wireshark has to offer, you can also use tcpdumpas follows

#The following command will create a files that has in its name the current date and time using the date function.
sudo tcpdump -i eth0 -w "data.`date +%Y-%m-%d\ %H.%M`.pcap";

Bash: Remove the last character from each line

The following script, uses rev and cut to remove the last character from each line in a pipe.
rev utility reverses lines character-wise.
cut removes sections  from each of line.
It is a very simple script where we reverse the line once, remove the first character (which was the last one in the original form of the line) and finally we reverse the line back with the last character missing.

echo -e "hi\nHI" | rev | cut -c 2- | rev;

# Will produce:


Bash: Switch positions between all characters in odd positions with characters in even positions

The following awk script allowed us to switch position of all characters placed in odd numbered positions with their next neighboring even numbered position characters.
In detail what it does is to create a for loop that skips one character every time and then it prints each pair in reverse order (it will print the second character first, then the first one, then the fourth and so on).

echo "123456789" | awk -vFS= '{for (i = 1; i <= NF; i+=2) {printf $(i+1)$i""} printf "\n"}';

# Will produce 214365879

echo "1234567890" | awk -vFS= '{for (i = 1; i <= NF; i+=2) {printf $(i+1)$i""} printf "\n"}';

# Will produce 2143658709

Please note that we set the built-in variable FS (The input field separator which is a space by default) to the empty string so that each character is treated like a different field by NF (The number of fields in the current input record).


Bash: Print time stamp in front of every line in a pipe

Recently, we received a binary that collected data from a web service and it printed them on screen.
The binary did not print a time stamp in front of each line so we had to improvise of a way to add the time stamp to the logs without modifying the binary.

The solution we came to was to use awk to prepend the time stamp in front of every line using a pipe.
Specifically, our solution was the following:

server_application 2>&1 | awk '{ print strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"), $0; fflush(); }'

What we did there was to start our binary server_application, redirect stderr to stdout (using 2>&1) so that we will have only one stream and then we read the lines one by one using awk and printed the time stamp right before the line ($0) using strftime.
The strftime() function formats the broken-down time according to the format specification format.
fflushforces a write of all user-space buffered data for the given output or update stream via the stream’s underlying write function. We call it at each line to make sure that we do not cause additional delay in presenting the data due to buffering limitations caused by our prints.


$ echo -e "hi\nHI" 2>&1 | awk '{ print strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"), $0; fflush(); }'
2017-06-21 20:33:41 hi
2017-06-21 20:33:41 HI

How to execute `find` that ignores .git directories

Trying to find a source code file by its content using find and -exec grep, can some times result in getting results from the repository .git folders as well.

This behavior not only does it provide results you do not need but it also makes your search slower.
Below, we propose a couple of solutions on how to make a more efficient search.

Example 1: Ignore all .git folders no matter where they are in the search path

For find to ignore all .git folders, even if they appear on the first level of directories or any in-between until the last one, add -not -path '*/\.git*' to your command as in the example below.
This parameter will instruct find to filter out any file that has anywhere in its path the folder .git. This is very helpful in case a project has dependencies in other projects (repositories) that are part of the internal structure.

find . -type f -not -path '*/\.git/*';

Note, if you are using svn use:

find . -type f -not -path '*/\.svn/*';

Example 2: Ignore all hidden files and folders

To ignore all hidden files and folders from your find results add -not -path '*/\.*' to your command.

find . -not -path '*/\.*';

This parameter instructs find to ignore any file that has anywhere in its path the string /. which is any hidden file or folder in the search path!

Linux on life issues

Why can GNU/Linux users always have love ?

Because they can install it from the repositories!

$ love
 bash: love: command not found...
 Install package 'love' to provide command 'love'? [N/y] y

What is the opinion of your PC on love ?

That is love is not something appropriate!

#When you do not have the love package installed, you will get the following message
$ whatis love
 love: nothing appropriate.