Groesbeek, view of the 'National Liberation Museum 1944-1945' in Groesbeek. © Ton Kersten
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CDE is Open Source

2012-08-06 (125) by Ton Kersten, tagged as code, linux, news

Today the classic, and old, Common Desktop Environment (a.k.a. CDE) was released into the Open Source world.

You can get the very alpha version at SourceForge.

I haven't been able to get a running version by now, but I keep trying.

Good job, guys.

git status in the prompt

2012-07-23 (124) by Ton Kersten, tagged as code, git, linux, sysadm

Working with git a lot I decided I needed some git status in my prompt.

I searched the web and some solutions where almost what I wanted and this one by Sebastian Celis came very close.

But it didn't work with my version of zsh, because that didn't seem to understand the =~ operator.

I also think Sebastian makes things over complicated and so I changed some things aroud.

This is what I came up with:

First make sure this code is included in your ~/.zshenv file

    unset __GIT_BRANCH
    unset __GIT_BRANCH_DIRTY

    local st="$(git status 2>/dev/null)"
    if [[ -n "$st" ]]; then
        local -a arr

        if [[ $arr[1] = *Not\ currently\ on\ any\ branch.* ]]

        if [[ $arr[2] = *Your\ branch\ is* ]]
            if [[ $arr[2] = *ahead* ]]
            elif [[ $arr[2] = *diverged* ]]

        if [[ $st = *nothing\ to\ commit* ]]

    if [[ -n "$__GIT_BRANCH" ]]
        local s="("
        case "$__GIT_BRANCH_STATUS"
            ahead)      s+="↑"  ;;
            diverged)   s+="↕"  ;;
            behind)     s+="↓"  ;;
        if [[ "$__GIT_BRANCH_DIRTY" = "1" ]]

        printf " %s%s" "%{${fg[yellow]}%}" $s

and set your prompt to something like this

PS1=$'$C_CYAN%n@%m$(prompt_git_info) $C_WHITE%2~$ $C_OFF'

When I now switch to a directory that is under control of git I get gt status messages in my prompt, like

tonk@mach (master) ~/dir$ git commit -a
[master fca5ac3] Nice, new stuff.
 6 files changed, 88 insertions(+), 12 deletions(-)
tonk@mach (master) ~/.dir$ git status
# On branch master
# Your branch is ahead of 'origin/master' by 1 commit.
nothing to commit (working directory clean)
tonk@mach (master) ~/.dir$

No network on CentOS 6

2012-07-17 (123) by Ton Kersten, tagged as linux, sysadm

When installing a minimal CentOS 6 system, minimal really, really means minimal. After a reboot the network interfaces do not start, so network connectivity is non existing.

Looking into that I noticed that the file /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 contained


The lines that mess things up are NM_CONTROLLED=yes meaning the interfaces are managed with NetworkManager, which isn’t actually installed as part of a minimal install. You want a minimal install, you get a minimal install. And ONBOOT=no, meaning "do not start the interface on boot". How stupid is that!

The trick is to run something like system-config-network-tui to set the IP addresses manually, but as you might imagine, that's not installed either.

So you best edit /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 by hand and set it to:


The USERCTL=... line is optional: If set to yes it lets non-root users control the interface.

After setting this a service network restart will do the trick.

New version of We-Blog

2012-07-10 (122) by Ton Kersten, tagged as blog, code

Today I released version 0.8 of We-Blog.

I created a Google project and a Google discussion group.

Version 0.8 is now the stable branch and 0.9 the development branch.

What's new?

Well, to be really honest, not that much. I fixed some minor bugs and did a lot of code cleanup. Although the original code of Jaromir was very nice, there was some room for improvement. I removed a lot of double functions and variables and put them all together in a Perl module. Saves a lot of work with an update.

Finding key codes on Linux

2012-07-04 (121) by Ton Kersten, tagged as code, linux, sysadm

It often happens that I get into a situation where I need to know key codes of pressed keys. On my Mac that's simple. Just use the Key Codes by Many Tricks.

But on Linux I constantly was trying to find out which key produced what.

So I ended up writing a program for that. I started of in the shell, but that ended up being rather tricky and unnecessary complicated. So I redid the whole thing in C.

This is the result

 * Program     : code.c
 * Author      : Ton Kersten

#include <stdio.h>
#include <curses.h>

#define DONE    'q'
#define ESC     0x1b
#define SPC     0x20

char ch;

    printf("Press '%c' to quit!\n\n", DONE);

     * Put the terminal in raw mode, with no echo
    system("stty raw -echo");

     * Print the header
    printf("%4s\t%4s\t%4s\t%4s\r\n", "Char", " Hex", " Oct", " Dec");
    printf("%4s\t%4s\t%4s\t%4s\r\n", "----", "----", "----", "----");

     * Set the initial loop value to something odd
    ch = DONE-1;
    while ( ch != DONE )
    {   ch = getchar();

         * Character read. Display it. Look out for < 0x20
        if ( ch < SPC )
        {   if ( ch == ESC )
            {   /*
                 * Esc. Just say 'Esc'
                        "Esc", ch, ch, ch);
            {   /*
                 * < ' '. Print Control character
                        ch-1+'A', ch, ch, ch);
        {   /*
             * Normal character. Display it normally
                        ch, ch, ch, ch);

     * Put the terminal back to something usefull
    system("stty sane echo");

And this is an example of the output

Press 'q' to quit!

Char     Hex     Oct     Dec
----    ----    ----    ----
Esc     0x1b    0033    0027
O       0x4f    0117    0079
P       0x50    0120    0080
Esc     0x1b    0033    0027
[       0x5b    0133    0091
2       0x32    0062    0050
4       0x34    0064    0052
~       0x7e    0176    0126
q       0x71    0161    0113

Shell tip

2012-07-04 (120) by Ton Kersten, tagged as code, linux, sysadm

During one of my teaching sessions a student asked me if it was possible to find the number of spaces in a variable.

As with all questions in Linux and UNIX the answer is a simple

Of course that's possible. In UNIX and Linux everything is possible.

With some sed or awk this can be done within seconds. But I wanted it done completely within the shell, in this case bash.

This is what I came up with

P="John and Paul and Ringo and George where the Beatles"
R=${P//[! ]/}       # Remove everything that is NOT a space
echo ${#R}          # Show the number of characters (spaces) that are left

And this also works in the Korn shell (ksh) and the Z-shell (zsh).

Burning VIDEO_TS on OSX

2012-07-01 (119) by Ton Kersten, tagged as mac os x

I was trying to burn a folder with a VIDEO_TS directory onto a DVD. But in a way that it will start in a normal DVD player as well as starting automagically. And this all had to be done on Apple's OSX.

I googled a little and tried some things and this is what I can up with:

hdiutil makehybrid -udf         \
    -udf-volume-name DVD_NAME   \
    -o MY_DVD.iso               \

Make sure that /path/to/VIDEO_TS/parent/folder is the path to the folder containing the VIDEO_TS folder, not the VIDEO_TS folder itself.`

After that, the resulting MY_DVD.iso can easily be burned with burn

What the *F*

2012-06-29 (118) by Ton Kersten, tagged as blog, spam

I'm registered as a Computable expert and as required I do have a profile page on their website.

And now I get this (partially in Dutch):

Beste Ton Kersten,

Via je profielpagina op stuurt gift d evals je onderstaand bericht.

Met vriendelijke groet, Redactie Computable

Contact me with this email

Hello am Gift i am 23 years old single. After seen your profile i became interested in you,so i decide to write you for us to build a good relationship if you don't mind,you can email me but (

They are sending me spam!!!!

Maybe it's about time I do a mail server hardening consultancy job smiley

New header

2012-06-28 (117) by Ton Kersten, tagged as code, linux

Today I've posted a new version of the header program.

Nothing really fancy happened, just added support for zonefiles, in this case the Bind ones.

It's available at the usual places.

sed tips and tricks

2012-06-22 (116) by Ton Kersten, tagged as code, linux, sysadm

I'm creating a Puppet Starter Kit with some standard manifests included and a complete set of documentation. All documentation should be written in Markdown and will be served by Markdoc. But I want to generate all Markdown files from the Puppet manifests, so I only need to document the manifest file. Generating the Markdown is not that difficult, except that I kept ending up with empty lines at the top of the manifest code and I wanted to get rid of those. Of course this should be done with sed, because the whole generation process is written in bash. When playing around with sed I found

sed '/./,$!d' filename

which, I think, is genius in it's simplicity. After you find something, do not remove. Life in UNIX and Linux is nice!

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