Posts Tagged ‘Debian’

My Software Stack 2011 edition

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I realize that I haven’t written my customary “software stack” post for this year yet. But hey, from where I’m sitting, I still have … 36 minutes to spare ;)

I’ll be using the same categories as last year; system, communications, web, development, office suite, server, organization, and entertainment.


The OS of choice is still Archlinux, my window manager is still wmii, my terminal emulator is rxvt-unicode, upgraded by also installing urxvt-tabbedex.

My shell is still bash, my cron daemon is still fcron, and my network manager is wicd.

To this configuration I’ve added the terminal multiplexer tmux, and have lately found out just how useful mc can be. Oh, and qmv from the renameutils package is now a given part of the stack.


Not much change here, Thunderbird for email, Pidgin for instant messaging, irssi for IRC.

Heybuddy has been replaced by identicurse as my micro-blogging ( client. Heybuddy is very nice, but I can use identicurse from the commandline, and it has vim-like bindings.

For Pidgin I use OTR to encrypt conversations. For Thunderbird I use the enigmail addon along with GnuPG.

This means that Thunderbird still hasn’t been replaced by the “mutt-stack” (mutt, msmtp, offlineimap and mairix) and this is mostly due to me not having the energy to learn how to configure mutt.

I also considered trying to replace Pidgin with irssi and bitlbee but Pidgin + OTR works so well, and I have no idea about how well OTR works with bitlbee/irssi (well, actually, I’ve found irssi + OTR to be flaky at best.


Not much changed here either, Firefox dominates, and I haven’t looked further into uzbl although that is still on the TODO list, for some day.

I do some times also use w3m, elinks, wget, curl and perl-libwww.

My Firefox is customized with NoScript, RequestPolicy, some other stuff, and Pentadactyl.

Privoxy is nowadays also part of the loadout, to filter out ads and other undesirable web “resources”.


In this category there has actually been some changes:

  • gvim has been completely dropped
  • eclipse has been dropped, using vim instead
  • mercurial has been replaced by git

Thanks in no small part to my job, I have gotten more intimate knowledge of awk and expect, as well as beginning to learn Perl.

I still do some Python hacking, a whole lot of shell scripting, and for many of these hacks, SQLite is a faithful companion.

Doh! I completely forgot that I’ve been dabbling around with Erlang as well, and that mscgen has been immensely helpful in helping me visualize communication paths between various modules.

“Office suite”

I still use LaTeX for PDF creation (sorry hook, still haven’t gotten around to checking out ConTeXt), I haven’t really used sc at all, it was just too hard to learn the controls, and I had too few spreadsheets in need of creating. I use qalculate almost on a weekly basis, but for shell scripts I’ve started using bc instead.

A potential replacement for sc could be teapot, but again, I usually don’t create spreadsheets…


Since I’ve dropped mercurial, and since the mercurial-server package suddenly stopped working after a system update, I couldn’t be bothered to fix it, and it is now dropped.

screen and irssi is of course always a winning combination.

nginx and uwsgi has not been used to any extent, I haven’t tried setting up a VPN service, but I have a couple of ideas for the coming year (mumble, some VPN service, some nginx + Python/Perl thingies, bitlbee) and maybe replace the Ubuntu installation with Debian.


I still use both vimwiki and vim outliner, and my Important Dates Notifier script.

Still no TaskJuggler, and I haven’t gotten much use out of abook.

remind has completely replaced when, while I haven’t gotten any use what so ever out of wyrd.


For consuming stuff I use evince (PDF), mplayer (video), while for music, moc has had to step down from the throne, to leave place for mpd and ncmpcpp.

eog along with gthumb (replacing geeqie) handles viewing images.

For manipulation/creation needs I use LaTeX, or possibly Scribus, ffmpeg, audacity, imagemagick, inkscape, and gimp.

Bonus: Security

I thought I’d add another category, security, since I finally have something worthwhile to report here.

I’ve begun encrypting selected parts of my hard drive (mostly my email directory) using EncFS, and I use my passtore script for password management.

And sometimes (this was mostly relevant for when debugging passtore after having begun actively using it) when I have a sensitive file which I for a session need to store on the hard drive, in clear text, I use quixand to create an encrypted directory with a session key only stored in RAM. So once the session has ended, there is little chance of retrieving the key and decrypting the encrypted directory.

Ending notes

That’s about it. Some new stuff, mostly old stuff, only a few things getting kicked off the list. My stack is pretty stable for now. I wonder what cool stuff I will find in 2012 :D



Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

I’ve been going through my bookmarks and trying to organize them (that stumbleupon fed the firefox bookmarks every time I upvoted something hasn’t helped), and among the bookmarks I found this little gem, about how you can thwart forkbombs before they are able to do any serious damage.

In /etc/security/ there is a file called limits.conf, which can be made to control a whole host of different settings. With the hardware of today I find a hard kill limit of 150 processes to be on the cheap side (on the other hand, executing ps aux | wc -l on my system reveals that right now, 117 processes are running, 32 of which are owned by “me”, 71 by root and 16 by various other system users (cupsys, ntp, mysql etc).

On a side note, I love pipes and grep.

$ ps aux | grep root | wc -l
$ ps aux | grep patrik | wc -l
$ ps aux | grep -v patrik | grep -v root | wc -l

It might not be necessary to allow more than 150 processes, but on the other hand I would find it irritating hitting this limit (although hitting it would probably indicate that I have to much crap running at the same time) and the real use for this limit on a single-user system would most likely be to ward off the effects of unwittingly doing something stupid (executing a forkbomb is stupid), so one can probably afford to raise this limit a bit higher, to 200-300 processes.


After having forwarded tuss’ brilliant idea of having hesa incorporate this little tip in his C class (preferably before teaching about the fork(); function), hesa shot it down *mumble*platform specific solution*mumble*. This is of course true, and should serve as just another good reason to switch from Windows ;D

In any case, it got me thinking. Ubuntu, which inherits from Debian, seem to be identical in the important things. /etc/security/limits.conf does indeed seem to exist in Debian as well. And Red Hat, so presumably in Fedora as well.

Slackware however, seem to store this data in the file “limits” directly under /etc/ (i.e. /etc/limits). It is by no means an exhaustive search, but Googling for “[your_favorite_distro]” and “limits.conf” or “limits” or “limiting processes” should hopefully reward you.


I spell like a douche…