How To: Create Custom Welcome Message In Your Terminal

In today’s article, we’ll teach you how to create a custom welcome message in your terminal. This could be useful or playful. What you do with this power is entirely up to you. After all, that’s the whole point of ‘custom’!

It’s not terribly difficult and there’s some fun to be had with this exercise. Basically, we’ll be making it so that you get a custom message (including action) that is output whenever you open up a new terminal.

You can make the terminal do all sorts of things by editing your ~/.bashrc file. That’s how we’ll create a custom welcome message in your terminal. It’s not dreadfully difficult but it will help make your system feel like your own and, to some people, that’s one of the greatest things about Linux.

So, how about I show you how I customized my welcome message in the terminal? You can use my example as a brief template to use yourself, when you create your own custom welcome message. It’s something even a new Linux user can do!

Create Custom Welcome Message

The file we’re going to be using for this is .bashrc, located in your home directory. So, the path to that file will be ~/.bashrc. If you don’t know, dot files (those starting with a period) are considered hidden. Unless you’ve opted to do so, these files will not show up in your file manager. We can still access ’em just fine in the terminal, when we use their path.

The tool we’re going to use is ‘nano‘. It’s an acceptable tool for this, and many other things, but you could just as easily substitute a GUI text editor. In this case (so long as you can see the hidden files) you don’t need to edit in the terminal – and you don’t even need to use ‘sudo’ for anything, because the files you’re editing belong to you in the first place!

Let’s get to editing – as it’s easy and I need to show only a couple of commands in order to demonstrate the feature. We’ll do it in nano, of course. That requires an open terminal, so just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

With your terminal open, enter the following command:

Once that’s open, add the following lines:

Then you’ll save that with nano – which is done by pressing CTRL + X, then Y, and then ENTER. That’ll save the file – but you still need to tell the system how to use it. You need to tell bash to look for the new source and that’s done with:

That reloads the changed file. Close your terminal and open it again to see the new custom welcome message. In this case, it’d look a bit like this:

custom welcome message
See? You now have a custom welcome message in the terminal! Tada!

Obviously, you can customize those two commands, add more commands, and generally craft the custom welcome message you want to see when you open the terminal.

Just remember… You have to save the changes and then you need to reload the changes with source ~/.bashrc in order to make sure they work. You have to save the changes and reload the source with every change. You’ll see the changes when you next open the terminal. The two commands I chose should be self-explanatory, you can use them as an example for the commands you want to use to make your custom welcome message.

Closure:

There you have it, another article said and done! This one shows you how to make a custom welcome message in your terminal. Is this a useful skill? Well, not necessarily – but it is a way to make Linux a little more your own. It’s an easy way to customize Linux. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Review: MetaClean (Clean Exif/meta Data From Email Attachments Automatically)

Today’s article is about MetaClean, a Thunderbird plugin that you can use to automatically clean Exif (and other meta data) from email attachments. This is not the type of article I usually write, but it’s a very interesting extension for the Thunderbird email client. It’s good enough to help make folks aware of it.

Just the other day, I updated this article:

How To: Sanitize Exif Data From Your Digital Images For Privacy Sake

The update was largely a link that went to a study regarding the privacy implications of Exif data. If you’re unfamiliar with Exif data and its importance, I would strongly encourage you to read the article. I’d also strongly encourage you to read the linked article. If you’re concerned with your privacy, or are regulated to be concerned with the privacy of others, this might just be one of the best extensions you’ve ever used.

See, Exif data is just one type of meta data. Lots of files, from pictures to text documents, contain meta data. For example, a file generated by a rich text editor (such as LibreOffice) will contain your username, may contain a record of edits, and may contain a list of usernames that have also edited it. Meta data contains all that and more.

Enter MetaClean…

Note: MetaClean is a proprietary product with an enterprise/business solution that offer their services free for personal use. It’s a closed source product and using it means you trust them to perform the services claimed and adhere to their claims.

The file remains on the server for the time necessary for its processing, depending on the size of the file the processing time varies from 10 milliseconds to 600 milliseconds, after this time the file is removed and it will be impossible to restore it (GDPR compliant).

Read on to learn more about using MetaClean.

MetaClean Automatically Removes Meta Data:

It’s easy enough to add MetaClean to Thunderbird. Just click on Add-Ons and Themes, and then in the search box put “MetaClean.” The search result should contain the extension and you can install it with a single click. It’s remarkably easy.

MetaClean basically uploads all of your attachments to their own server, strips out the meta data (but will leave their own branding in the field, for free users) and then returns the sanitized file to your computer before the email actually sends. I tested this with a number of files and it’s amazingly fast.

Again, it requires that you trust them – and not care that they leave a comment in your meta data. The comment is harmless and won’t lead to you in any way. Your privacy will not be compromised.

Here’s the amazing thing, it not only does all that – but it even works on compressed files – though it only currently supports 7Zip and .zip formats. With them supporting Thunderbird (and it working fine on Linux), we can hope that they’ll expand that to .gz and some folks may like it if it could also work with .rar files. For now, it works just fine with the compressed files I tested.

Meta data is in all sorts of things that you create or touch, though it’s not always a bad thing. It’s sometimes useful to have meta data. I, for one, like to include the ID3 tags with my music files. But, you don’t always want to share the meta data. In fact, in some industries you have to not share it – to be compliant with privacy laws. However, if that’s you, you might be interested in their professional options – where the server that strips the meta data is actually owned and run by you.

Basically, once you’ve added it as an extension, it will automatically sanitize your files – removing any personal meta data from the file. It does this all without any user intervention (once you tell it to automatically do so). If you want to send a file while including the meta information you can also tell the plugin to let that email through with the personal information attached.

Closure:

It’s really that simple. Just install MetaClean and forget it. You won’t have to wonder if you remembered to sanitize your meta data before you sent it. You can be pretty confident that it was sent without that private data still attached. It’s definitely one of the most beneficial and easiest Thunderbird extensions that I’ve worked with lately.

I realize that I forgot to give it a number rating! In this case, it does what it says on the tin. I wish their privacy policy (while excellent) spelled it out a bit better. The tools could be a bit more fine-grained. They could see about adding support for more compression formats. As for the rest, they do great. I’m going to award them a solid 8 out of 10.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Last Updated on January 28, 2022 by KGIII

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How Do I Install Linux (A General Guide)

Today, I will try to answer one of the most common questions asked by the newcomer to Linux; “How do I install Linux” To answer this I have prepared a step-by-step guide of how to install Linux with the minimum of technobabble. So, I hope you will find it simple enough to follow.

This is a guest article by one Brickwizard, who describes himself as thus:

I am Brian the Brickwizard. My interest in modern computers goes back to the days of the 8-bit IBM compatible. As a hobby, I have been repairing, upgrading, and building from-scratch computers for friends and family. I have done so since the late 80s/ early 90s. I have been a Linux user for over 20 years! Brickwizard is an upstanding member of Linux.org. This is my first contribution to Linux Tips.

This is a guide to most distros, a generic guide that’s useful for the most popular distros that have handy GUI installers. This isn’t a guide to things like Arch, Slackware, or Gentoo! It will work for Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, MX-Linux, and many more!

This also serves as a place people can link to, rather than clutter the forum up with long posts that really don’t get much formatting options. This is meant to be a time-saver, among other things. As a living document, it is also subject to change.

How Do I Install Linux:

What do I need?

Depending on the age of your machine you will need an installation medium, this is usually a clean pen-drive of 4 GB minimum (try not to exceed 16 GB), make sure it is of good quality and formatted to FAT32 or exFAT.

On older machines that are not USB boot-able, you will need a clean new DVD-R. You will also need courage, patience, and time. This is just the start of your journey, the step where you learn how to install Linux.

Make your ISO installation medium [pen-drive or DVD-r]

  • Choose your distribution and go to the official download page.

     

  • On the download page you will find an SHA sum, make a note of it.

     

  • Download your chosen distribution.

     

  • Burn a bootable installation medium.

For a USB pen-drive to do this, we recommend Balena Etcher.
Or for optical disc, select “burn as ISO image” in your burning software.

  • Whichever you use, now is the time to check the SHA sum (if you are unsure how, then see this article). 

To Install:

For best results, ensure your computer is either hard-wired to your router, or has a Wi-Fi card installed.

  • Connect the computer to mains power.

     

  • Insert USB into drive (or optical disc into drive).

     

  • Switch the device on and open the temporary boot menu (method will depend on the make and model of your computer).

Look down the list and find USB (or Optical Drive) click on it and enter, after a few seconds (depending on your choice of distribution) it will load a “live” session to RAM.

NOTE: You actually do not need a hard-drive installed at this stage if you only wish to check to see if Linux will work on your machine

NOTE: If you are making a dual boot system with Windows 8, 10 or 11, disable the windows quick-start (in the BIOS) and re-boot before continuing.

For best results, ensure your computer is either hard-wired to your router, or has a Wi-Fi card installed.​

  • Connect the computer to mains power.

  • Insert USB into drive (or optical disc into drive).
  • When the live instance of your chosen distro has loaded, your desktop will appear. Now is the time to ensure everything works okay, such as Wi-Fi, sound, and graphics. The easiest way to do this is click on the wireless icon find your router and enter the password. When you’re connected, go to your favorite music video site and pick something you are familiar with. If the video plays okay, the picture looks good, and the sound works, you can then decide if you wish to continue the installation.

     

  • To start full installation, double-click the installation button on the desktop (this may vary based on the distribution). The installer will then check the components of your machine. This may take several seconds or a couple of minutes, depending on how fast your computer is. If all goes well, the installation will begin shortly, asking you to input certain information – such as your username and password. Watch it install. When it asks about partitioning, this is your final chance to decide if you want to dual boot with your existing system (select installation alongside) or wipe the system and just install Linux.

     

  • During install, most distributions will ask if you wish to install non-free/proprietary drivers, tick the box for yes and enter. Non-free does not mean it will cost money to use. It just means that it’s supplied by the manufacturer and not FOSS (Free Open-Source Software). You can choose to not install proprietary drivers, but that will make your life more difficult and is beyond the scope of this article.

     

  • You may need to continually enter information as it installs, so keep an eye on it. A typical Linux installation can take from 10 to 20 minutes.

     

  • When it has installed you will get a message do you wish to re-start now, accept and enter. When prompted, be sure to remove the installation media.

Sit back whilst it reboots, then it will take a couple more minutes to clean up the installation and get rid of the installation files. Then if all goes well we will have a working Linux box

When your system has rebooted to your new Linux system, open the update manager and run a full update.

NOTE: When you have successfully installed your Linux distribution, we strongly recommend you install and activate some backup software, such as Timeshift

Being new to Linux, there will be learning curve. As I often say, “Relax, kick off your shoes, grab a beer, and enjoy the ride.”

Closure:

There you have it, it’s another article – and this time it’s a great article from Brickwizard. This one will tell you how to install Linux. It’s a basic guide, which is fine, because it can always be more complex and this is just to get you started. If you have any questions, you can ask below or head over to the Linux.org forum and ask questions there. Even better, it stands as a static page that can be linked to, saving time, effort, and space.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Last Updated on March 18, 2022 by KGIII

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Use ‘apt-cache’ To Find An Application’s Homepage

It can come in pretty handy to know an application’s homepage. You can find an applications’s homepage with ‘apt-cache’. I’ll show you how. This is a pretty easy article to follow and just another tool to add to your toolbox.

NOTE: This is only valid for systems that use apt. As the title indicates, it requires ‘apt-cache’. Without apt-cache, this page will do you no good. None good! That’s how much it will do you. None!

Why would you want to know the homepage – and, more so, the preferred homepage? For starters, in the days of GitHub and everyone forking, and awkward application names that aren’t easily searched for, it’s hard to know which site is the correct one.

Maybe you want to report a bug? Maybe you want to request a feature? Perhaps you want to make a donation? Maybe you just want to thank the author for writing such awesome software? Maybe you want to know where the homepage is because you need support and you’re not sure where to turn to?

There are all sorts of reasons why you might want to know the homepage of a piece of software. It’s actually something that’s important. It’s also something your system already knows and will happily show you if you know the proper magical incantation.

Find Application’s Homepage: 

Like many other articles, you’re gonna want the terminal for this. Let’s go ahead and get that opened by using your keyboard and pressing CTRL + ALT + T

Got your terminal emulator open? Good! Let’s start with the command.

If you do not have ‘inxi’ installed, feel free to use a different application. Note that you do not need to use sudo for this. Not all apt commands require sudo. You only need sudo when you’re actually doing administrative tasks. See? I saved you some typing!

Anyhow, in the text output from the above command you’ll see a line that starts with “Homepage:”. If you hadn’t already guessed it, that’s the line that tells you the authors homepage. You’ll also sometimes find the URL where they want you to report bugs, but that’s a topic for another day.

So, let’s go ahead and make the command a little more precise. We’ll pipe the output through grep and get rid of the cruft we don’t actually need. In that same terminal, go ahead and enter:

NOTE: The command contains a capitalized letter H because Linux is often case-sensitive and is certainly case-sensitive in this case. If you don’t believe me, try it with a lowercase h!

But wait, there’s more!

Not only is there homepage information in there, there’s sometimes some useful nuggets of information in there. If you have LibreOffice installed, go ahead and check (skip the pipe and grepping) to see what the output is. Inside, it has a ton of additional information, including listing ways that you can extend LibreOffice by installing more software.

Closure:

And there you have it. You can now easily find the application’s homepage for the applications you have installed or want to install. Should you need to contact the author, check for information, or just see if they did anything else, you now know how to do that. It’s a little hidden nugget that most folks don’t seem to know. Well, now they do…

Yay! You made it all the way to the bottom. You deserve a treat. Seeing as you’ve already got the terminal open, and seeing as we’re dealing with apt-cache, let’s just get some pretty neat stats with:

A careful reader would remember that from a previous article, but no matter. Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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How To: Show All Environment Variables

Today’s article is going to show you how to show all your environment variables in Linux. There are quite a few and some of them can be quite useful. If you don’t know what an environment variable is, we’ll cover that briefly as well.

So, what is an environment variable? It’s a static name for a dynamic value. In other words the system has information that varies, but using an environment variable will point to the dynamic information as though it was static.

As an example, we can use ‘echo $PWD‘ in the terminal and it will output the present working directory. If you change the directory and run that command again, it will output the new present working directory. You can do things like ‘echo $SHELL’ and it will tell you the shell you’re using, even if you’ve changed from the default shell. Things like that are the point of having environment variables.

These things really shine when used for things like scripting. They’re useful when you’re not certain of the architecture they’ll be used on and still want the script to work predictably wherever it is used. You’ll also see environment variables put to work in programming. They’re pretty handy, as I said!

If you’d like to see an example, read my article about clearing EXIF data for privacy’s sake. Scroll down to find the alias example I included and you’ll see the $PWD environment variable at work. See? It’s pretty easy and effective. So, let’s see a few ways to show all environment variables.

Show All Environment Variables:

Like most articles, you’re gonna need an open terminal. You can do that with your keyboard, by pressing CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Now that you have your terminal open, we’ll start with the first way to show all the environment variables:

You can also use:

You can also use the following command, but I don’t recommend doing so. It’s here for the sake of completeness and the command will output a lot of gibberish that’s really of no value to the average user.

Now that you know how to show them, here are a few handy examples that further demonstrate what an environment variable does.

Show home with:

Find the system language with:

Or find the desktop environment in use with:

Those are just a few of the environment variables available to you as a Linux user. If you make use of these on a regular basis, please leave a comment explaining how you use them.

Closure:

Yup… Another article. Another step closer to the anniversary of this site. I still have some content to move over from the original site, but writing completely new stuff is pretty fun. Seriously, it’s pretty fun. Please feel encouraged to write an article or two, considering I normally take the whole month of January off!

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

 

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