And there I found htop…

So I had been looking for something to give me system stats about memory being used and CPU usage.  I have usedthe program ‘top’ over the years, and then today I tested out the program hTop (htop).

Htop is an interactive system-monitor process-viewer written for Linux. It is designed to replace the Unix program top. It shows a frequently updated list of the processes running on a computer, normally ordered by the amount of CPU usage. Unlike ‘top’, Htop provides a full list of processes running, instead of the top resource-consuming processes. Htop uses color and gives visual information about processor, swap and memory status.

To install this  in Ubuntu you simply open the command shell and install by typing ‘sudo apt-get install htop’ and then run the program by simply typing ‘htop’. and that does it.  Its rich with many options and I am sure you will find some good use by having such a tool

Official Web Site: http://htop.sourceforge.net/

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Monitor your Ubuntu System with saidar

saidar is a curses-based application to display system statistics. Statistics include CPU, processes, load, memory,swap, network I/O and disks I/O along with their free space.

saidar utilizes libstatgrab library. libstatgrab is a library that provides cross platform access to statistics about the system on which it’s run. It’s written in C and presents a selection of useful interfaces which can be used to access key system statistics. The current list of statistics includes CPU usage, memory utilisation, disk usage, process counts, network traffic, disk I/O, and more.

How to Install Saidar in ubuntu

sudo apt-get install saidar

This will complete the installation

saidar syntax

saidar [-d delay] [-v] [-h]

If you want to use this application you can just type the following command


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Ubuntu Saves the Day via iSCSI

There is a time when many of us will need to know how to do this. Today was I and my co/workers day…http://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/ubuntu-linux-set-iscsi-initiator/

When Microsoft’s NTFS goes bad and doesn’t permit you to delete files located on iSCSI storage, we say “OH YEAH!!! Let’s see what *Linux has to say about that.”

I’ll do my own write up for this soon, but I just had to share this link.

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PS3 Media Server – Remix

For several weeks now I have been running PS3 Media Server (http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/) hosted on Ubuntu 10 Desktop (http://www.ubuntu.com/), when I decided to fine tune my environment by making the system headless as I had no need to interact with a desktop environment.


PS3 Media Server is a DLNA compliant UPNP Media Server which can stream movies to a large majority of DLNA clients such as the PS3.   It’s written in Java, with the purpose of streaming or transcoding all kinds of media files, with minimum configuration needs.  The PS3 Media Server also runs on Windows Platforms running the latest versions of Java.

Ubuntu is a … let’s stop here, if you don’t know what Ubuntu is then perhaps you should stop reading now.

Mini How-To:

Starting off with a fresh clean install of Ubuntu Server (Linux flavor of choice) I step though the installation choosing to only install the OpenSSH Server.  Once logged into the system I issue a quick sudo passwd to change the root password and activate root account. For the remainder of the install process I will use ssh to work in the CLI (command line interface) of my server install.

Step 1:   Install Base OS of Ubuntu 10 Server

Install base Ubuntu Server OS, enabling SSH access, changed root password activating it.

Step 2: Install the prerequisites on the server along with updates to get that out of the way

While in the local terminal or via ssh run the following command(s) (if your logged in via root, no need for sudo)

~# apt-get install mplayer mencoder ffmpeg

~# apt-get install openjdk-6-jre-headless

~# apt-get install vlc vlc-nox

Step 3: Download Install and unpack PMS (PlayStation media server)

Now I download the latest Linux release of PMS from http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/downloads/list and extract it.

~# cd /home/<your directory of choice> *note if you are root, you can place this where ever you wish*

~# wget http://ps3mediaserver.googlecode.com/files/pms-linux-1.10.5.tgz

~# tar xzf pms-linux-1.10.5.tgz *this will extract the packaged*

Step 4: Move the PMS to a new folder location. I choose the /opt/ folder, you can also choose your own, and it’s entirely up to you.

~# mkdir /opt *if this does not exists on your system.  It should in Ubuntu by default

~# mv ~/pms-linux-x.xx.x/ /opt/pms

~# cd /opt/pms

~# chmod +x PMS.sh

~# chmod +x linux/tsmuxer

Step 5: Now we create and modify the base PMS configuration file

This file hold general options used by PMS, you can change the configuration as mine are tailored for how I run PMS, these options are subject to change.  *note it’s a good idea to tweak your settings for the optimal performance

~# nano PMS.conf

If the file does not exist you will have a blank page to work in.
The following are the options in my configuration file:

thumbnails = false

mencoder_ass = true

hidevideosettings = true

hide_extensions = true

hide_enginenames = true

audiochannels = 2

folders = /media/video

Step 6: Testing that PMS is working correctly.

~# ./opt/pms/PMS.sh

When this is run you will see test output from the application staring up and logging of status events.

Step 7: PMS start-up script

~# cd /etc/init.d

~# nano startpms *this will create a new file to start the server*

Inside the file contains the following information:


cd /opt/pms

nohup ./PMS.sh &


Save the file and make it executable by typing: chmod +x startpms

This can all be added to the system startup configuration; however I have no done this yet.

And now you have a running DLNA / UPNP Media Server running on a Linux box.

System Specifications:

Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS – 2.6.32-24-generic-pae
512 MB RAM
Intel 2 GHz P4

8GB (no need for this much space as media is remotely hosted on network storage). Media is hosted on remote systems and mounted to the Linux installation which uses local directory paths.

This system is hosted in a virtual machine guest under VMware ESXi, 4.0.0, 261974

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Have you cleaned you package

As much as I would like to discuss the importance of cleaning ones package for good health reasons.  I choose to refrain this time around.  I will talk about something which is just as worthwhile as cleaning one’s own package.    When you install / uninstall new apps you may have packages left over which take up space.  Just as you are used to running commands such as app-get update or upgrade, apt-get install <package name here>, apt-get remove <packager name here> there is another command which is useful.  By running the command apt-get autoremove you can remove packages that wee automatically install and that are no longer required. 

When you run the above command you will notice the system checks what packages will be REMOVED and also informs you of the disk space that will be freed during this cleanup.  Choose the option [Y] and you are all set.  Clean as a whistle.   Remember to always have backup of your system, just in case something goes wrong.

When run it looks something like this:

root@mediaserver:~# apt-get autoremove
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  linux-headers-2.6.32-21 linux-headers-2.6.32-21-generic
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 2 to remove and 17 not upgraded.
After this operation, 85.2MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? Y
(Reading database … 149643 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing linux-headers-2.6.32-21-generic …
Removing linux-headers-2.6.32-21 …

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There are times where I run a command that I needed to only need it again at a later time.  Most of the time I document my steps, but there are those time where I just do things in the heat of the moment to get what I need done.  So what can one do?  Well when you’re in your command shell and looking for that command you once knew, all you need to do is simply type:  history

History will return a log of all the commands you have typed.  So when in doubt, look back at your history and bring back those lost memories.  Good luck

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Mounting a remote file system using ssh (sshfs)

For some time I have always used tools such as scp sftp to copy files between Linux based systems. Until the growing need to have this process simplified.  I recently fell in love with Linux all over again with the new release of Ubuntu.  I always had known it was possible but never had the direct need to mount ssh file systems remotely.  This is where some Google searching and SSHFS and FUSE came into play on my home systems.

So what are some things I found out?  Well for one; as long as I have SSH access to a remote system I can use SSHGS to mount and use the remote directories as if they were on my local system.  SSHGS require no special software on the remote host so this is good in a hosted situation where you have no control over what gets installed.

This is where I give you the * filler * info on SSHFS.

SSHFS is built upon the FUSE user-space file-system framework project.  FUSE allows user-space software; in my case SSH to present a file-system that is virtually interfaced to the end use.  SSHFS connect to the remote system and does all the necessary operations to provide the look and feel of a regular file-system.

So now what?

First we need to start off by installing sshfs if not already installed.  I am using Ubuntu like I had mentioned above so by typing sudo apt-get install sshfs that installs all I need and supporting requirement.

The fun part.

Create a local directory where you want the files mounted.  This process is similar to mount smb shares from another system.  In my example I will be mounting the directory /home on the remote server to a local path on my system:

sudo mkdir /media/video”

sudo sshfs jermsmit.com:/home /media/video

You can also change the owner of the new directory by typing chown ‘yourusername’ /mnt/remotehome1

Please note that the /media/video directory must exist and be owned by you, so keep in mind when you make (for example) /media/video you should assign permissions to your user so that you may access it.

To unmounts the directory, you can use the command fusermount –u.  Example fusermount –u /media/video.  If you get a message about the path being in use make sure that you have change directory out of this path and try again.

That’s about it.  Very clean and simple, and next time I hope to write about setting this up in such a way its auto mounted on startup (aka persistent), but for now this gets the job done.

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HowTo: VMware Tools in Ubuntu 10

Again I am working on my server; a virtual machine powered by VMware.  I recalled that I did not have the tools installed; also the virtual server console gave me an additional reminder.  So I decided to install.

There are a few things to do before installing.  First we need to make sure our server (Ubuntu) has compiler tools installed.  Then we must mount the virtual cd containing the VMware drivers and software tools for Linux.  From the command line terminal (I recommend doing this from the local console) as the network tools will drop you from the SSH connection.


sudo aptitude install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)
cp -a /media/cdrom/VMwareTools* /tmp/
cd /tmp/
tar -vxzf VMwareTools*.gz
cd vmware-tools-distrib/
sudo ./vmware-install.pl

You will be asked a bunch of questions; I personal just accept the defaults and (press ENTER) to each one of them.  When completed, I reboot my server and that is it.  Tools are installed.

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