How To: Find Your Uptime In Linux

This article will do a bit more than help you find your uptime. There are a number of other thing that’ll be covered, but they all have to do with your uptime.

So, what is uptime? Uptime is how long your system has been up and available. It’s a useful metric, especially if your system is public facing or providing some sort of service that people depend on. In fact, Wikipedia has a definition!

For example, it’s a metric that matters a great deal in web hosting

That link is a link to my small hosting offering, but scroll down to the bottom at said link and you’ll see a link to check the uptime. In fact, I’ll save you a click and you can just click here.

That link is one way of examining system uptime and availability over the internet over a period of time that’s expressed in a pretty manner. You too can find the uptime of at least the system that you’re using, but we won’t be covering pretty graphs or network availability.

In this article, you’ll find your uptime by using the terminal. We’ll cover a few different ways as well as examine the uptime command.

By the way, you can just type man uptime and see how to use the command. It’s not exactly complicated. Anyhow, uptime defines itself as:

uptime – Tell how long the system has been running.

And that’s a pretty accurate statement. So, let’s examine that first!

Find Your Uptime:

For this exercise, you’ll need an open terminal. To open the terminal, just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Once the terminal is open, let’s start with the basics:

That’ll give you a basic output, along with your load averages. If you want a more easily readable output, you can just use the -p flag.

If you want to know when it’s counting from, when your system became available, you can do that. To do so, it’s just the -s flag.

That’s pretty much everything that the uptime command can do. That’s not the only way to find your uptime, however. For example, you can open top or htop and see your uptime. If you use htop, it looks like this:

htop showing the uptime
See? It’s right there! It’s in ‘top’ as well. Now you know!

You can also use just a ‘w’ easily enough. It too will find uptime it looks like this:

You can also use ‘screenfetch‘ or ‘neofetch‘ to get your uptime. If you have one or both installed, the commands would look like one of the below:

Both of those will find your uptime and display them.

As you can see, there are many ways to find your uptime. In fact, I’m sure I missed some ways that you might use. If you use a different method, or know of another method, please feel free to leave a comment below!

Closure:

Well, this is it. It’s another article. I must be approaching the halfway point. The goal is to keep this project going for a year and to reassess at that time. If it’s something that’s popular, beneficial, and I’m not burnt out, I’ll keep going with it. Maybe by then someone else will want to take over or help write some stuff? Who knows? We’ll find out at the end of the year!

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How To: Display System Information With screenFetch

I have previously written an article about screenFetch vs. Neofetch, and it’s one of my most popular articles, but this one will tell you how to display system information with screenFetch. Why screenFetch? Why not? It’s perfectly usable and this gives me the chance to be more thorough than the previous article.

I suspect I’ll do a similar article about Neofetch, but today is not that day. No, today is about screenFetch (which is horribly stylized with just a capital in the middle) and it’s a fine tool to display system information. In fact, it describes itself as:

screenFetch – The Bash Screenshot Information Tool

screenFetch is one of the tools that displays system information in the terminal. It does so with the goal of being displayed in a screenshot so that you can brag to your friends. It really doesn’t have a whole lot of value beyond that, but that’s fine. It’s informative and handy, and suitable for purpose.

So, without further ado, let’s get into this!

Install screenFetch:

Fortunately, screenFetch can be easily installed and it’s widely available. You can install it from your default repositories easily enough. There’s some odds that it’s already installed by default and, if not, we should be able to get you squared away. 

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open. With that terminal open, let’s get screenFetch installed with one of the following commands:

Fedora:

OpenSUSE:

Debian:

Manjaro:

If none of those work, you can just try installing it as you’d install any other app from the terminal. Chances are really good that it’s in your default repos, so  you can graphically find it through your software manager. In fact, it is often installed along with the OS. Now that it’s installed, let’s move on.

Display System Information With screenFetch:

It’s pretty easy to get the basic output. You really only need to enter:

As I mentioned above, screenFetch is meant for screenshots. Sou can get screenFetch to automatically take a screenshot and drop it into your ~/ directory. Just use this command:

If you plan on sharing this information on forums and to show off to your friends, screenFetch has another neat feature. You can not only take a screenshot,  you can theoretically upload it automatically. To do so, you’d use this command:

However, that currently appears to not work. It’ll seemingly upload the screenshot, but it doesn’t give you a direct link to the screenshot. That’s not helpful – but I’m pretty sure this used to work. As screenFetch hasn’t been upgraded in a while, it may be that the image hosts have changed their API. Dunno, ‘snot my job to know. I suspect it’ll someday work again, should the devs continue with the project.

Anyhow, that’s how you use it. You can run man screenfetch to get more information, but the general usage explained here is about all you’ll really use. The point of this article was more to share how install screenFetch than how to display system information with screenFetch.

Closure:

And there you have it, another article. The goal of this one is more to tell you how to install screenFetch in various distros. Once you have it installed, it’s pretty easy to use screenFetch to display system information. If nothing else, it’s yet another article in a growing list of articles.

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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Better Network Diagnostics With MTR

This article will show you how to get better network diagnostics with MTR, a tool called “My Traceroute” that combines both traceroute and ping into a single tool. MTR is a pretty handy tool that’s likely installed by default and a tool that even regular users should have in their toolbox.

You may remember that I wrote an article about traceroute. If you don’t know what traceroute is, it’d be in your best interest to go read that article, as I will not really be duplicating the work that went into writing that article.

As of yet, I have not yet written an article about ping. Ping is a terminal-based tool, used to time how long it takes for your device to send and receive packets to and from another device. It’ll also tell you if there are packets being dropped along the way. You can use it pretty easily. Here’s a very basic ping command:

(You can use CTRL + C to stop the running process.)

The output from that command is pretty self-explanatory. The numbers you’re probably most interested in are all the way on the right, and denote how long it took for a round-trip message to complete in milliseconds. Online gamers are often interested in their ping times. This is because a higher ping may mean they may lag behind their competitors. In this case, lower is better.

Well, MTR combines the two, traceroute and ping. It’s pretty awesome. You’ll see!

Network Diagnostics With MTR:

So long as you understand both ping and traceroute, there’s not much more this article can teach you. MTR is pretty basic in its output, easily understood by all but the novice users. Anyone with any networking history will immediately grasp the importance of MTR.

MTR isn’t a new tool, having been around since 1997. I won’t be covering how to install it. MTR’s likely already installed. If not, it’ll be easy enough to install it. If anything, this article is largely just an excuse to make people aware of it.

This article requires an open terminal. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Now, with your terminal open, try:

It should look something like this:

mtr in action
I really don’t need to explain the columns, do I? I’m sure you can figure it out!

There’s some options while it is running. The H, D, R, O, and Q keys all have functions, listed right there after “Keys:”! There are a few options when starting MTR, a whole lot of options. You can find those options by running man mrt. I’ll cover a couple of interesting options here.

If you want to limit the number of pings, you use the -c flag and then add the number. In the example below, I have chosen 5.

You can also just show IP addresses, not resolving the hostname. Like so:

If you want to show both IP addresses and resolved hostnames, the flag is -b.

There’s more that you can do with it, but mostly you can use it to find where along the line the traffic stops. If it’s on your end, you get to do something about it. Otherwise, I suppose you’re at the whim of the MITM. So, give the man pages a look and let me know in a comment if you already use this tool and how you use it.

Closure:

And there’s another article. Woohoo! It’s not just another article, but it’s an article about doing network diagnostics with MTR. It’s not as hard as one might think to come up with ideas for articles. Sometimes, I just use a tool and then realize it may make for a good article. That’s what happened in this case.

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How To: Update Ubuntu From The Terminal

It’s possible, even easy, to update Ubuntu from the terminal. Personally, I almost always update from the terminal, regardless of distro. This article will tell you how to update Ubuntu from the terminal – but it’s equally valid for Debian, official Ubuntu flavors like Lubuntu or Kubuntu, and it’s also valid for distros based on Ubuntu or Debian – such as Mint.

I recently did an article about updating Fedora from the terminal. Boy howdy, I hope that link works! It’s scheduled for publication so it doesn’t show me the real URL that it’ll have when it has been published! So, I hope I typed it properly! Either way, I recently did said article and figured I might as well do one for Ubuntu.

The tool we’ll be using is known as ‘APT‘ and apt has been a staple of Linux since Debian introduced it in the late nineties. It’s known as “Advanced Package Tool” and is used to configure and install applications. Even if you’re doing it graphically, it’s usually apt under the hood when you’re using Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, etc…

There really isn’t a whole lot to this, so it should be a reasonably short article. It’s also an article that may make the terminal more approachable for people who are new to Linux. Once you see how easy it is, you might decide to try it yourself! If it goes well, you might learn more about the terminal and the many ways you can use it. We can find out!

Update Ubuntu From The Terminal:

This article requires an open terminal, like oh so many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should pop open.

Once you have your terminal open, you’re going to update your database of available software and the version numbers of said software. This database will be checked against the database of software (and versions) that you have already installed. It’s just a simple command:

That’ll let you know if there’s any software that needs to be updated and may take a few seconds to complete. If any software is available it will let you know and you can upgrade to the newest version. The notification will look something like:

You can, as stated, see which applications need to be upgraded to new versions by running that command. This upgrade process may also add or remove system software as needed. But, to upgrade, it’s just as easy:

This will spit out a list of software that will be updated, will be added, or should be removed – and you can enter “Y” to agree to the upgrades before pressing ENTER to continue. That’s it, you’re done.

However, I like to alias (an article still not written should link here) all this to a single command. My actual command looks like this:

That will update the database and make sure it completes successfully. It will then upgrade the software, effectively entering the Y for you. Finally, it will automatically remove software that’s no longer needed. Some folks might consider that command a bit risky to run automatically, but I’ve been doing it for years. Use it at your own risk!

Closure:

That’s it, actually. There’s really not that much more I can tell you about how to update Ubuntu from the terminal. Sure, there are other apt commands, but those aren’t really important for this article. Unlike the Fedora article, there’s no handy way to undo an upgrade with apt.

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: Update From The Terminal In Fedora

It may seem silly to write an article about how to update from the terminal in Fedora, but it’s not! There’s actually a reason for doing this and there’s more to it than just updating! I’ll try to keep the article brief, but we’ll just have to hope for the best.

If you don’t know what Fedora is, it’s a distro primarily sponsored by Red Hat. In 2003, RHL was nixed in favor of RHEL, a paid distro. Fedora is a community maintained distro based on RHEL and even the trademark is owned by Red Hat. 

So, it’s a pretty solid distro with a few versions. There’s a workstation, IoT, and server edition. It’s binary compatible with RHEL and is widely used, with something like 1.2 million users. Support is through the community, which is a distinction between Fedora and RHEL where support is a paid option. Fedora also has some community spins that offer things like different desktop environments.

I should probably note that, since the changes to CentOS’s direction, RHEL is pretty much free for SOHO use. You can download it and use it on your workstation right now. See this link for more information about getting and using RHEL free – it’s a lot nicer an agreement than you may think!

Anyhow, on to Fedora… 

The motivation behind this article is that there’s an ‘undo’ option for DNF that’s pretty neat. However, out of the box it doesn’t do much. There are some extra steps you’re going to want to take and none of the sites that I’ve visited ever seem to put these two together.

This article aims to address that!

Update From The Terminal In Fedora:

Obviously, you’re going to need your terminal open. To do this, you can just use your keyboard and press CTRL + ALT + T. That should open your default terminal.

Once your terminal is open, you can upgrade like so:

That should update your system to the latest and greatest. In fact, you can list your previous DNF history with the following command:

Now, here’s the neat part… When you run the history command above, the first column is an ID column and you can undo a specific update with this command:

Except that pretty much never works. Fedora isn’t in the habit of keeping archived versions in their repositories. So, this is the neat part, you need to add a repo that contains those archives. That’s the missing step!

This isn’t a perfect undo, but it’s a far sight better than it is without that repo being added. For the most part, it works. If it’s not working, it may ask you to use either (or both) the --allow-erasing or --skip-broken flags and, from my testing, that appears to make it work well enough most of the time.

So, if you want to use the undo feature offered by DNF, you should really add that archive. Doing so will make a more robust solution when you attempt to update from the terminal in Fedora.

Closure:

And there you have it. With that, you should be able to update from the terminal in Fedora with some greater confidence. With that little change, you can actually undo (some/many) updates if they go awry or if you need a little more time before you can use the newer versions of your applications. It’s not that hard and my observations tell me that it works with some regularity – if you’ve added the archive repo.

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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