Today’s article is only going to be useful if you are a new user and don’t yet know how to list files in a directory. This is, of course, something you do in a terminal. I do believe this will be a quick and easy article, so read on if you don’t yet know how to list files in a directory.
If you’ve used Linux for more than a month, you can safely ignore this article.
Yes, this has been covered all over the web. This isn’t anything remotely new, nor is it anything all that complicated. However, this is a holiday weekend and I figure it’s a good article for new users who happen to be just browsing around. I’ve also covered some ‘ls’ commands before.
On the other hand, it should be a short article! So, there’s that!
List The Files In A Directory:
Of course, this article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. Should you not know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard. Press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.
With that terminal now open, let’s try a simple command:
That will list all the files in the directory. If you’d like to see the output in columns, you can always try this command which lists the output in a denser manner.
That command doesn’t list dot (hidden) files. Seeing as you’re in the home directory, you should have some hidden files. If you want to use the ‘ls’ command to show files, you need the -a flag. You can combine it with the above and use this command:
That’s the command I use more often than not. This being Linux, you get to decide which how to use the command. I think I type the ‘ls -la‘ command out of habit.
Well, you got an article. Sure, it’s a simple article but someone may find this important information. Of course, they could just use the man page – but what’s the fun in that?
Today’s article is one that I used to scratch my own itch because I really like to disable the caps lock key. Of all the keys on the keyboard, that’s the only one that makes me want to disable it. The rest of the keys are fine, but I have no use for a caps lock key.
NOTE: This is probably not going to work if you use Wayland. I don’t know, I haven’t tested it. If you’re wanting to test it so that you can write paragraphs about how wrong I am, please do. I’m a little curious! I need to learn more about Wayland.
Sure, we could use the destructive (or at least awkward) method and physically rip the key off the keyboard. Some fancy keyboards have easily removed caps, meaning you can just remove them with a little caps-puller tool. Pretty much every time I’ve needed to remove keys, it has been a permanently destructive process, but I know it can be done.
By the way… This is why I’m a wasteful jerk sometimes and I just chuck that keyboard in the trash when I’m done with it. To be fair, I wear the letters off a cheap keyboard. Where my thumb hits the space bar it wears down the plastic from repeated use. I’m not a ‘hard typer’, I’m a prolific typer. So, here we are…
Those of you with a keen memory may recall this article:
That was fine for Mint (Cinnamon)… It’s not a universal thing. I meant to write a more universal thing, so I guess this counts as that…
Disable The Caps Lock Key:
You’re gonna want a terminal window open for this. So, press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open. Tada!
Now, the tool we’ll be using is called ‘xmodmap’. See that ‘x’ in there? Yeah, that’s what (along with the description) makes me unsure if this is going to work for Wayland users. If you’re using a major distro, especially one using X, you’ve got this tool installed by default.
When xmodmap is not installed, the package name should be ‘x11-xserver-utils’ in Ubuntu and it’s fairly safe for other distros to assume the appropriate package will show up if you search your repositories for it. If you need to install it, say with a distro that uses apt (and you shouldn’t), then the incantation would look like this:
sudo apt install x11-xserver-utils
Got it? Is it installed? You can check if it’s installed with this command:
Now that you know you have xmodmap installed, you can just use the following command to disable the caps lock key:
xmodmap-e"remove lock = Caps_Lock"
Should you change your mind, which you shouldn’t because caps lock is evil and gets in the way of perfectly good typing technique, then you can undo this. Try this command, it should work:
xmodmap-e"add lock = Caps_Lock"
That right there should get rid of your caps lock key’s functionality. You should be able to press the key and have exactly nothing happen, which is a good thing.
Try as I might, I can’t think of a legitimate (for me) reason to use caps lock. I never use it on purpose. If I need a few capital letters, the regular shift key works just fine. I have two hands, after all.
So, if you’re like me and don’t want to be cool (and have fewer hassles) go right ahead and disable that caps lock key. I sometimes press it by accident while typing and not looking. It just makes a mess of things. While I type like a demon on fire, I don’t hold my hands in the correct position and don’t use the right fingers for the right keys. I press that ****ing caps lock key way too often, so disabling it makes my life easier.
Today you’re just going to get a quick meta article, where I go over the state of Linux-Tips (this site, obviously). It has been a while since I did the last one, so it’s time to do another one. I’m thinking I’ll keep this one brief. I’ve had an adventure today, dealing with some medical stuff, so a low-energy article is a good idea.
I try to do a meta article every month. I haven’t always managed to do so, but it’s a sorta goal. It’ll be fun to share what’s going on. It’s not all that informative, but I try to make it as interesting as this kind of article can be.
So, if you want a day off you can just skip this article. If you’re interested in what’s going on, read on and enjoy the meta article.
The State Of Linux-Tips #17
So, traffic really hasn’t grown or changed much. This month we’re going to do better than last month, but not drastically so. Google appears a little annoyed with the site again, but I don’t worry any more. Frankly, the site gets plenty of traffic as it is.
Someone did donate recently. I’m grateful for that. The funds went to pay for hosting, though I suppose they more specifically went straight to my CDN provider. Why is it worth the money to pay for a CDN?
The site loads quickly no matter where you are on the planet. On top of that, you’ve never seen a minute of real downtime. You might have seen a temporary screen while updates happened, but the server has pretty much 100% uptime. I decided to add a monitor fairly recently – but in that time the server hosting the site has gone down.
This site did no such thing. The CDN still presented you with static content, which is what this site mostly is. If you attempted to interact with the site during the outage, the CDN (it’s both WordPress and LiteSpeed specific) will cache your request and process it when the site is back online. So, you’ve almost certainly never seen the site go down.
Now that I said that, watch there be some big outage that takes the site offline for a few hours! Ah well… I’ll risk it. If you whois the domain, you’ll see the nameservers which will clue you in as to which CDN I use. They’re very specialized and likely won’t work for many of you. I think it’s worth it, but it’s an annoying monthly fee. (Even if I have to fund it entirely by myself, I will continue doing so. Donations are nice, but the site will survive without them.)
Anyhow, thanks for the donation! (I have to find the motivation to wrap the site up as a PDF to give away to people who donate, something planned for the future, but I’ll make sure it’s available for them. That seems like a good idea.
So, like always, the VAST MAJORITY of my traffic comes from Google. I suppose the state of Linux-Tips depends heavily on the traffic.
Well, this might not seem like much, but last month we went through more than 35 GB of bandwidth. I’m having some issues with backups, so the site was also using almost 20 GB of disk space. That disk space consumption has since been reduced significantly!
Roughly 92% of my traffic is from Linux users. Just about 80% of my traffic is from Chrome/Chromium-based browsers. Roughly 80% of my traffic originates in the United States.
The site is attacked about 400 times on an average day. Most of the attacks appear to come from compromised servers. Only about 70 people have signed up for the newsletter. AWStats claims I’ve displayed > 600,000 pages in May. There are about 50 articles that show up in Google’s top ten listings. As I learn more, I realize I have no business being a WordPress admin. This changed! In May people spent an average of 171 seconds on the site. One visitor was using Symbian OS. Four visits were from someone using Sun Solaris. We’re now over 280,000 words on the site. It’d take you 19+ hours to read all of that.
And there you have it… You have another meta article, an article about the state of Linux-Tips. You probably didn’t learn anything important, but now you know what’s going on here and what you can expect in the future. I expect to continue to write these articles for the foreseeable future. Don’t forget that I accept on-topic guest articles. (I get so many requests for stuff that’s not on-topic. I’ve stopped responding to the people too lazy to read the site and understand what’s going on here.)
Today is going to be a fun article, mostly good for lazy people, where we discuss a way to check if your network devices are connected. There are far easier ways to do this, assuming you’re local to the device. If you’re not local to the device, the fact that you’re connecting to it likely means that the network is at least somehow connected!
But, in the spirit of being lazy, let’s head into the world of sheer, unadulterated laziness. I mean, if you want to know if your wireless is connected there’s an icon. Of course, you can see if your ethernet is connected. To check that ethernet connection all you probably have to do is look at the back of the computer and maybe wiggle the cable a little bit.
This, of course, presumes that said network adapters are in working condition. If they’re broken, this tool might give you a bit of debugging information. But, still, this is a command that calls itself a “beat connector”. It’s mostly used to check to see if your network devices are connected – as in physically connected to your computer.
The tool we’ll be using will be ifplugstatus and it defines itself as this:
ifplugstatus – A link beat detection tool
At least as far as I use it and the man page indicates, it checks to see if your network devices are connected. Seeing as that’s what the title suggests, it means we’re probably off to a good start!
Check If Your Network Devices Are Connected:
First things first… You’ll almost certainly find that ifplugstatus is not installed by default. You’ll need to install ifplugstatus if you want to use it. To do that, you’ll need an open terminal – which you’ll need for the rest of the article. To open your terminal, press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.
Now, I’ve only ever used this command with Lubuntu and similar. Because of this, I don’t know if it’s the same on other distros. (Feel free to leave a comment.) But, at least in Lubuntu, not only is ifplugstatus not installed by default, that’s not the name of the package you need to install. No, that’s a different name and to install ifplugstatus you will want to run the following command:
sudo apt install ifplugd
You’ll need to adjust that command to match the distro you’re using.
Anyhow, with ifplugstatus installed, you can check if your network devices are connected with just the following command:
But wait! There’s more! You can get a lot more information about your network devices by adding the -v (verbose) flag to the command. That flag automatically assumes the -a (all) flag, so it’s just:
There you have it… Instead of just looking in the status bar section to see if wireless is connected, or even looking around the back to see if the cable is connected, you can just check all that right there in the terminal – without having to move much more than your hands! You’re welcome!
Heh… There you have it! You have another article. If you ever want to check for a beat, that is to check if your network devices are connected, you now know how to do so. You can even SSH into another device and check to see which of its network devices are connected (beyond the obvious one you’re connecting with). You don’t even have to leave your seat.
Today’s article will be a bit of a weird one, as I share with you one way to find local network devices using the Linux terminal. I suppose network device discovery is typically seen as a dark art, something a malicious hacker might do, but it’s completely harmless (in and of itself). So, if you want to find local network devices, this article just might be for you!
What we’ll actually be doing is scanning a block of IP addresses to see what responds to our prodding. This is sometimes called IP Scanning or IP Sweeping. It’s also sometimes called Port Scanning, but we won’t be doing any real port scanning. I assure you, I am not secretly trying to turn you into a big bad hacker – but this is a pretty neat ‘hack’ (in the traditional sense of the word).
We will be learning just a single command (with a bit of explanation) with a single flag. It’s a very complicated tool and trying to cover it all would take a giant article or many smaller articles. You can guess which one we’re going to do!
The tool we’re going to use for this is called ‘nmap’. This is available in every major distro. It might be installed by default. It’s just the tool for the task at hand, so you need to install it before you can use it as this article will suggest. (I trust you to know how to do so at this point.)
Did you install nmap? If so, please continue. If not, read the last paragraph.
With nmap installed, you can check the man page to see that it’s described as:
nmap – Network exploration tool and security / port scanner
Now you’re ready…
Find Local Network Devices:
So, for some reason, one of my laptops has stopped answering on the .local domain when I want to connect to it with SSH. I have choices at this point. I could fire up Team Viewer and then connect to the laptop to find the IP address belonging to the said laptop. Another choice would be to get off my lazy butt and walk to the device, but that defeats the point of remotely controlling the device.
I suppose the best choice would be to just figure out why it’s stopped responding on the .local domain. Wouldn’t that be novel?
But, I have another tool! I have a tool that’s reasonably fast, very easy, and likely effective! That tool is, as suggested earlier, nmap.
The first thing I do is crack open a terminal to find my local IP address. That’s easy enough and the link will show you how to find your private (or local) IP address. Though it needn’t be private. Security by obscurity is not security – and it’s trivial to learn. But, that’s an article for another day.
I was able to quickly learn that my local IP address is 192.168.215.88. From this, I realize that the most common configuration will be for everyone to be on the same subnet and so my laptop likely falls within the 192.168.215.1 to 192.168.215.255 range.
We can use the asterisk to represent any of those numbers, as it’s a wildcard. This means the next command is obvious and will be simply:
The -sn flag would mean ‘do not do a port scan’, so it’s checking only for devices that return a ping. Make sense? (It’s a pretty speedy command when not also scanning ports.)
A Picture Of nmap:
I think that this is one of those instances where my text isn’t quite clear enough. So, what I’m going to do is show you a picture.
The nmap command I ran showed me a list of local network devices. As I already know the IP address of the device I’m using, I can exclude that from the list. The device I’m looking for (my laptop) is then a different IP address.
The process looks something like this (trimmed down to just have one device for simplicity’s sake):
As you can see, I first tried to connect with the .local domain and found that it did not work. So, I ran the nmap command and used a wildcard to scan the entire IP address range (1 to 255).
Sure enough, the IP sweep with nmap found another device and showed the IP address. It showed the gateway, which I could also exclude. The process of elimination meant there was one IP address to try (it could have contained more devices). I tried to use SSH with that IP address and, sure enough, that’s my laptop!
See? I saved a trip across the room! I saved opening up a bulky application and waiting for it to do its thing before I could even try using it to connect to the laptop. In fact, I suppose I also saved the effort I could have spent just randomly guessing IP addresses and hoping I got the right one for my laptop eventually!
I figure there’s a lesson in nmap in there somewhere. You never know when you’re going to need to find local network devices! Now, when you do need to do so you will know how.
I figured I’d try writing this one in a way that showed you how I benefit from knowing how to do this. I figured that it’d be interesting to show you how the command solves a real problem. There have been a few articles similar to this and they’re fun articles to write. They are articles that come from the real me, the me that is actively using and appreciating Linux (often in the terminal) in my day-to-day life.