View Some Logs In The Terminal

Today we’ll have a relatively simple set of commands that will show you how to view some system logs in the terminal. We’re only going to cover a few of them that are similar in operation. There are far more things that get logged.

You generate logs as you use your computer. These will vary and there are quite a few logs kept. Logs aren’t just kept by the system. Some third-party applications create logs. We’ll only be covering a few system logs. I just want to keep things simple.

The tool we’re using for this exercise is the cat command. The cat application is one tool that lets you read text files in the terminal. It’s a frequently used tool at my house. Hopefully, you too will get comfortable using this command at your house.

It seems like that should be enough of an intro. If you have any questions, you can always leave a comment. Those get seen and addressed more quickly than when you try to contact me elsewhere. (Comments almost instantly send a notification to whatever computer I’m using. They’ll even ping my phone if I turn the notification sound on.)

Anyhow… Ask away, should you have any questions…

View Some System Logs In The Terminal:

We’ll be viewing a few different types of logs. As mentioned above and in the heading, this is something we do in the terminal. You can usually open a terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T. If that doesn’t work, you’ll almost certainly find a terminal in your application menu.

First, we’ll view the kernel log.

The kernel is the actual “Linux” in your Linux. The kernel deals with task scheduling, and running processes as needed. It’s an abstraction between you and the hardware.

If you want to view the current kernel log, use this command:

If you want to view the previous session’s kernel logs, use this command:

Both of those commands will flood your terminal. That’s okay, you can use the pipe operator and the less command like so:

Next, we’ll view the boot log.

When you boot your computer, the computer keeps track of what happens during that process. This is known as the boot log. It can be exceptionally handy when you have a problem booting. 

If you want to check the current boot log, use this command:

If you want to check the previous boot log, check it with this command:

Again, you can use a pipe and the less command to manage the flow of data.

Next, we’ll view the system log.

The system logs all sorts of additional information. If you’re not finding the information you want in the previous two logs, checking the system log is prudent. The system logs all sorts of things that are useful for resolving problems.

If you want to check the current system log, use this command:

If you want to check the previous system log, run this command:

Don’t forget that you can use a pipe and less in this command. This will give you a slower output you can manage with your arrow keys.

And that will show you your system log.

That’s all it takes to view the major system logs. There are other logs and we’ll have to cover them at some point.

Closure:

Well, this didn’t take too many words or too much time… That’s nice. If you want to start troubleshooting your own problems, learn to read the system logs. If you don’t want to ask for help, learn to read the system logs. Well, that and learn to read the man pages, but that last bit is outside the scope of this article.

I do hope you enjoyed this article. They’re fun to write but it does sometimes feel like work. I never wanted this to feel like it was work, but here we are. It probably would have been wiser to not set such a schedule and to allow some vacation time in there. This whole project started when I had far more time due to the pandemic.

We do have a special day coming up… You’ll see!

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Short: Move A File To Multiple Directories

Today’s article should be a fairly short article, where I take the chance to show you how to move a file to multiple directories – at the same time. It’s a pretty simple process, albeit a bit weird. If you want to move files to multiple directories, this is the article for you!

I’ve done a lot of articles about file management. This is another one. We usually manage files in the terminal here on Linux Tips. We’ll be doing that again this time around. We’ll be managing files in the terminal!

The tool we’ll be using is the tee command. I covered that recently.

The task we’ll be doing is showing you how to move a file to multiple directories – at the same time and in the Linux terminal. It’s a pretty handy skill to have, though there’s some tee weirdness along the way.

Move A File To Multiple Directories:

You’ll need an open terminal for this, as the intro suggested. You can find a terminal application in your GUI file manager. You can often open your default terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T on your keyboard.

With your terminal open, let’s just run through some exercises to ensure we’re all on the same page and ready to move a file. 

First, let’s make a directory:

Next, let’s move to that directory:

Next, let’s make that file that we’ll copy to multiple directories:

I suppose we’ll need a few folders next, so let’s create them:

Now, let’s move the file foo to multiple directories:

The syntax is:

We throw the & in so that the tee command doesn’t hang, awaiting further input. You’ll get an extra message or two, but that’s fine and can be ignored.

Now, we can verify them:

The following command will show you that the file exists:

That should show the file, like so:

Now, you can check the other folders. 

And, of course:

Each of those should show you that the foo file exists in each directory.

Now, we can clean up after ourselves with this command:

Tada! Now there shouldn’t be any remains left behind and we’ve covered how to move a file to multiple directories at the same time and in the Linux terminal.

Pretty easy and pretty short!

Closure:

You never know when you’ll want to move a file to multiple directories but now you know how to do so. It isn’t a very difficult exercise, warranting only a short article. This seemed like good fodder for a short article and a handy tip to share with my readers.

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 site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Another Way To Show Mounted Filesystems

We’ve covered this topic before, but I want to show you another way that you can show mounted filesystems. As previously covered, you have multiple filesystems mounted at any one time. So, let’s examine them, shall we?

If you use Linux, you use multiple filesystems. There are real and virtual filesystems created and used by the operating system. A real filesystem would be something like a partition on your storage device (one filesystem per partition, of course). A virtual filesystem would be things like your temporary files or cached files, among other filesystems used by the system.

We’ve covered this before and this is just another way to show your mounted filesystems. This is good information to have, as it’s handy to know the path for those things so that you don’t do something silly like misfire a dd command and hosing your OS partition. (Ask me how easy that is.)

Show Your Filesystem In The Linux Terminal
Another Way To View Attached Storage Devices
Another Way To View Attached Storage Devices

(And there are more! This is an oft-covered subject on Linux-Tips!)

So, what will we be using?

findmnt:

You shouldn’t need to install anything for this article. The findmnt tool should be installed by default. You can verify that findmnt is installed by running the following command:

The output of that command should probably match this one:

You check the man page with this command:

There’s additional information available in this application. Run this command:

But, if you check the man page, you’ll see that this is indeed one of the correct tools for the job. This being a basic task, there are many ways to show mounted filesystems. It’s up to you to pick a favorite – or find the most useful of commands for your particular situation.

Anyhow, the man page describes it as:

findmnt – find a filesystem

That’s what we want to do. That means that this is the correct tool for the job.

Show Mounted Filesystems:

You’ve been here long enough to know that we’re likely to use the terminal. If your hunch was that we would be using the terminal, your hunch was correct. You’ll find that findmnt is a terminal-based application so open your default terminal emulator by finding it in your application menu or pressing CTRL + ALT + T on your keyboard.

With your terminal open, you can show mounted filesystems with this command:

You’ll see that it even has a nice tree output. You’ll find things like Snaps have their own filesystem if you’re using a system that uses Snaps. Other jailed applications may also use their own filesystem as a way to keep things separate from the system as a whole. 

Here’s an example truncated output from Lubuntu:

That’s not nearly as complicated as it looks, once you get used to it.

Now, you can trim all that down. You can opt to show only the ‘real’ filesystems. That’s done with the --real flag.

This is an example of that command on that same Lubuntu system used above (Snap applications are seen as ‘real’ filesystems as a part of their separation from the system):

Here’s an example output from a Linux Mint system that does not use Snaps:

You can do more with the findmnt command, such as select the columns you want in your output, so be sure to check the man page. This is just a quick overview because the vast majority of you will never need more than just the basic command.

As I said, it’s a useful command for when you want to verify the path to a filesystem. Beyond that, the usage is up to you. That’s what I use it for when I don’t bother with any one of several other commands.

Closure:

You might see no reason to add this to your list of commands, but it is useful when you want to see all the mounted filesystems on your system. If you need the path for a filesystem, this is a good command. It’s also useful for finding out some attributes of your mounted filesystems.

This is one of those commands you really could keep in your back pocket. You might first lean on a command like lsblk but that only lists block devices – that is, storage devices, and doesn’t include the many other mounted filesystems. If you don’t need this command today, that’s fine. You might need this command in the future, and now you know it exists.

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Turn A JPG Into A PDF

Today’s article is an article that few folks are going to need, but those folks who do need to turn a JPG into a PDF will be happy with it. If you want to do that, this article will help you with that task.

There are times when you want to need to share an image but the people you’re working with expect a PDF. This happens if you’re sending stuff off to be printed and things like that. They only accept PDFs and all you’ve got is a JPG. 

Well, it’s easy to turn a JPG into a PDF.

JPG, or JPEG, stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and has been a standard since 1992. Obviously, it is an image format. According to Wikipedia, JPG “… was largely responsible for the proliferation of digital images.” That sounds reasonable to me.

I’ve covered a lot of PDF stuff lately. Can you tell where I am in my notes? PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is useful when you want to print something exactly as you see it. That’s why print houses use PDFs a great deal.

I’m sure this isn’t something everyone is going to need to do. That’s fine. Not all of my articles need to apply to everyone. I’m also hoping to use this opportunity to expose you to one of the more powerful Linux applications.

ImageMagick:

The tool we’re using is a complicated tool known as ImageMagick. Once installed, you should check the man page. We’ll be limiting those options to just a couple, but manipulating images in the Linux terminal is usually done with ImageMagick. It’s a versatile application.

If you do check the man page, you’ll learn that ImageMagick is described like so:

ImageMagick – is a free software suite for the creation, modification and display of bitmap images.

That’s not a very good description, because ImageMagick does a lot more than they describe, including formats other than the BMP format. It’s a potent tool that manipulates images directly in the Linux terminal. You’ll also find that ImageMagick is a great asset when dealing with large numbers of files.

Once you’ve installed ImageMagick, you have access to the convert command. You can’t have one without the other and you only need to install ImageMagick to have access to both. If you check the man page for convert, you’ll see that it’s the correct tool for the job.

convert – convert between image formats as well as resize an image, blur, crop, despeckle, dither, draw on, flip, join, re-sample, and much more.

If you’re observant:

The convert-im6.q16 program is a member of the ImageMagick-ims6.q16(1) suite of tools.

That’s why we have to install ImageMagick to get access to the convert command. There’s a lot to ImageMagick.

So, teach you one way to turn a JPG into a PDF…

Turn A JPG Into A PDF:

As mentioned above, you need a terminal to use ImageMagick. You don’t need a terminal to install ImageMagick, you can do that in a GUI. However, I’ll share how to install ImageMagick from the terminal. You can usually open a terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T on your keyboard.

With your terminal open, let’s get started:

Installing ImageMagick:

ImageMagick is not only a massively capable application, it is also widely available. You should find ImageMagick available in your default repositories. If it’s not in your default repositories, you can always compile it from the source. I’ll share how to install ImageMagick in the most popular distros:

Debian/Ubuntu/etc:

Arch/Manjaro/etc:

RHEL/CentOS/etc:

You can also install ImageMagick from source:

Turning A JPG Into a PDF:

Keep your terminal open and navigate to the folder where you’ve stored the image files. Specifically, use cd to navigate to the directory that contains those images you want to turn into PDF files.

With that done, you’re only really interested in the convert flag. You won’t be invoking the imagemagick command itself. You’ll be using the convert aspect of ImageMagick.

If you want to turn a JPG into a PDF, the syntax is quite simple:

DO NOT TRY THIS YET!

An example of that command would be:

I mean, you could try it – but it’s not going to necessarily work.

If you try the above command, you’ll likely get this error:

convert-im6.q16: attempt to perform an operation not allowed by the security policy `PDF’ @ error/constitute.c/IsCoderAuthorized/421

So, we need to edit the ImageMagic’s policy.xml file. It’s a simple edit and will only take you a few minutes. I’m going to assume that you have access to Nano, but you can use any terminal text editor you want.

First, open policy.xml for editing:

Find this line:

And edit it to match this line:

Now you need to save it. To save the new policy.xml with Nano, press CTRL + X, then Y, and then ENTER. That should save the file with the same filename and extension.

That’s all you need to edit. Now you can try this command!

Now you can turn a JPG to PDF easily in the Linux terminal with the convert command as provided by ImageMagick. Pretty complicated? I suppose so, but you only need to make that edit once and you’re good to go. 

Now that you’re done with that and are happily converting JPGs to PDFs in your spare time…

Well, it gets a little more complicated.

You might find that this command produces sideways images. If that’s the case, you’ll want to use the -auto-orient flag.

I swear, that’s the last thing you should have to tweak. In my experience, you don’t need the -auto-orient flag but it’s good to know that it exists. You might consider using it by default, just to ensure things go smoothly.

Oh, one more thing…

Let’s say you have a bunch of images in a directory and you want to turn all of those .jpg images into a .pdf en masse, you can do that! The convert command supports an asterisk (wildcard). That looks like this:

That’ll happily convert all the files ending with .jpg into a single .pdf file for you to store or share with others (such as a printing company). It’s pretty easy once you know the tricks and have edited the correct file.

BONUS:

While I only say ‘JPG’ in this article, you can also use this same command with  PNG files. The command is almost the same, you just need to specify a .png file instead of operating on a .jpg file. Like so:

That will happily perform the same operation on the .png file, just like it did with the .jpg file. The only reason it’s not mentioned previously is because it would have made the titles and headings look awkward.

So, if you need to turn a PNG into a PDF, you now know how. If you wanted to turn a JPG into a PDF, you now know how. Congratulations! You’ve learned a little about ImageMagick.

Closure:

I’ve been meaning to write this article for some time. It was just too long and I didn’t quite know how to make it simple. I finally bit the bullet and wrote it. If all goes well, this will be simple enough for anyone to follow. There are a few challenges along the way that may make this difficult for a novice, but the directions are hopefully clear enough for anyone to follow.

I know that I’ve needed to turn a JPG into a PDF. I’ve had to do so specifically for the reason mentioned above. If you ship something off to a professional printer, they may want the format to be PDF.

They do that for good reason. What you see in a PDF should be exactly what you see when you print the file. It’s a pretty handy file format and the standard is open source.

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Let’s Learn About The htop System Monitor

There are any number of tools out there to monitor your system and today we’ll cover the ‘htop’ system monitor. This htop application is a pretty solid application and one that you might want to be familiar with. So, let’s learn about htop…

First, your Linux desktop comes with a system monitor called ‘top‘. This is true for so many distros that we might as well accept it as fact. The top application has been around 40 years at the time of this writing and it stands for ‘Table Of Processes’.

The top application is a task manager and system monitor, allowing you to manage processes while also monitoring system resources. You can learn a lot from top, such as uptime, RAM use, CPU use, the number of running processes, and so much more…

top:

If you want,  you can open top with the following command:

(You can just press Q to exit top.)

The output should look a little like this:

An example of top running in the terminal.
This is the top application, which you may already be familiar with…

The man page describes the top application as:

top – display Linux processes

The man page for the top command will also explain that you can do the following with it, which you may find interesting.

As you can see, top is pretty versatile. 

So then, what is htop?

htop:

The name is htop simply because the author’s name is Hisham. It is otherwise similar to the top application but comes with some great benefits. Another great benefit is that htop is going to almost certainly be available for your distro. Some distros have started installing htop by default.

Why htop instead of top?

Well, for starters the layout is much nicer. You can also use your mouse to control htop. This includes scrolling, making it easy to navigate. You can kill processes like this, change their nice value, and more. Additionally, you can even kill multiple processes at the same time.

You can filter and search easily with htop, meaning you can narrow down the results and keep it easier to read. On top of that, htop has a cascading tree layout for the processes. 

I’m told that htop is quicker due in part to how it gathers the information but I have no way to verify this. Both applications seem reasonably quick to me, but that’s what they tell me. I believe this has something to do with being ncurses-based. 

You’ll also click the setup option and configure htop to your needs. It has a nice colorful layout that is quite intuitive. Filtering is also easy, as is searching. Those both come in handy when you want to kill some processes all at once.

If you’re curious, htop looks like this:

running htop in the Linux terminal
It’s more colorful and easier to navigate with a mouse – but you don’t need a mouse to control it.

There are times when you can’t access your GUI system monitor to clear out frozen processes or things like that. So, you should get used to either top or htop. I think you’ll find htop is more featureful and useful in modern times. Even if you can’t use a mouse at the time (say you’re in a TTY), htop is still easy to operate, which is nice.

Install htop:

As I mentioned above, some distros (like Ubuntu) now include htop by default. There are older versions of Ubuntu out there that are still supported, so I’ll include htop installation instructions for them. Then again, they’d be the same instructions used by Debian, so it wouldn’t be that hard to figure out.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s install htop with the terminal. That’s a fairly universal thing. Most of the time, you can open your terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T. Otherwise, you’ll find a terminal option in your application menu.

With your terminal open, use the correct command for your package manager:

Debian/Ubuntu/etc:

SUSE/OpenSUSE/etc:

Fedora/etc:

Rocky/Alma/etc:

Arch/Manjaro/etc:

One of those should work for you.

The syntax to use htop is just this:

There aren’t a bunch of flags to worry about, but it’s worth checking the man page:

If you’re going to learn anything from the man page, you might want to learn the keyboard shortcuts for when you do need to use htop without a mouse. There are many, but learning the basics will take you ten minutes. I’d call that ten minutes that were properly invested because htop is a great application.

There you have it.

You should now have htop installed and know how to run the application. I think you’ll like it more than you liked top. I know I do. It’s definitely what I prefer of the two – but it’s not the only option.

Closure:

I’ve wanted to write this article for a while but just didn’t want the hassle of writing it. I finally had both time and motivation, so I wrote the article. There’s some chance that a major storm is going to take out my internet, so I might as well leave you with a good article to keep you going. Now you know about htop, a top replacement. That’s a good thing.

Seriously, I prefer htop over top. It’s just much nicer and easier to work with. Be sure to check the setup options because you can configure htop to your liking. That’s a handy feature to have.

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 site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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