Monthly Archives: August 2018

Linux look Command Tutorial for Beginners (with Examples) |

Although the Linux find command does a fabulous job for searching on the command line, there may be situations where a dedicated tool may be more convinient. One such case is to find lines in a file that start with a particular word. There exists a command – dubbed look – that does this for you.

In this tutorial, we will discuss this command using some easy to understand examples. But before we do that, it’s worth mentioning that all examples in the article have been tested on an Ubuntu 18.04 LTS machine.

Linux look command

The look command in Linux displays lines beginning with a given string. Following is its syntax:

look [-bdf] [-t termchar] string [file …]

And here’s what the man page says about the tool:

     The look utility displays any lines in file which contain string as a

     If file is not specified, the file /usr/share/dict/words is used, only
     alphanumeric characters are compared and the case of alphabetic charac?
     ters is ignored.

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Elementary OS Juno Brings Only Slight Changes to an Outstanding Platform |

Elementary OS has been my distribution of choice for some time now. I find it a perfect blend of usability, elegance, and stability. Out of the box, Elementary doesn’t include a lot of apps, but it does offer plenty of style and all the apps you could want are an AppCenter away. And with the upcoming release, the numbering scheme changes. Named Juno, the next iteration will skip the .5 number and go directly to 5.0. Why? Because Elementary OS is far from a pre-release operating system and the development teams wanted to do away with any possible confusion.

Elementary, 0.4 (aka Loki) is about as stable a Linux operating system as I have ever used. And although Elementary OS 5.0 does promise to be a very natural evolution from .4, it is still very much in beta, but ready for testing. Because Juno is based on Ubuntu 18.04, it enjoys a rock-solid base, so the foundation of the OS will already be incredibly stable.

With that in mind, I downloaded 5.0 and spun it up in VirtualBox. The results are as impressive as I assumed they’d be. Let’s get this open source operating system installed and see what it has to offer.


I’m not going to spend much time on explaining the installation of Elementary OS. Why? If you’ve installed any flavor or Linux (or any operating system at all), then you can walk through the installation of this distribution in your sleep. There’s a rumor that Elementary OS is working in conjunction with System76 on a new installer. As of the current release of Juno, however, there is no sign of such an installer, so you’ll find the same method of installation seen in previous iterations of the platform.

You can run Elementary OS live or install it immediately. Burn the ISO image onto a CD/DVD or USB flash drive and boot it on your machine (or use the ISO image to create a virtual machine). The installer will have you configure your language, keyboard, select the installation type (Figure 1), select if you want to download updates immediately and install third-party media codecs, and then create a user.

Once the installation completes, reboot the machine and log in. Shortly after logging in, you should be prompted that updates are available. I highly recommend running the updates before using the desktop (since this is still in beta, the updates will come often). Now that we’re installed and updated, let’s take a look at some of those new features.

The AppCenter

The Elementary OS AppCenter has been given a slight facelift. Although the previous version was quite serviceable, it seems the designers have taken a nod from GNOME Software (which is a good thing) and added recommendations under the featured titles (Figure 2).

Another upcoming feature to the AppCenter is the ability to pay developers “what you want” for apps. The Elementary OS developers are taking a unique approach to apps. Elementary OS first released the AppCenter in May 2017 and by February 2018 they’d processed $1,700.00 worth of payments from just over 750 charges. That means the average paid price for an app, purchased from the AppCenter was $2.30. To make things a bit more lucrative for developers (and to try an interesting experiment), Elementary OS will include a HumbleButton for paid apps that allow users to pay what they will. Another change will be that paid apps won’t automatically update (if you click the Update All button in the AppCenter). Instead, to update the app, you’ll have to donate to the app (starting with $0.00 to $10.00 or a custom amount). Hopefully, that change will translate into more developers getting paid for their work.


You won’t find too much in the way of aesthetic improvements in Juno. You’ll find no complaint here (as Elementary OS .4 Loki was already quite elegant). The designers did officially decide upon an official color palette. The full palette can be viewed here (along with all logo and font information).

Along with the new palette, Juno brings:

  • A Night Light feature (to make late night staring at the screen a bit less harsh on the eyes).

  • Latest GTK+ features (which includes some animated panel icons).

  • Very slight changes to the default theme (icons are a bit brighter and colorful).

App Changes

Because there are so few apps shipped out of the box, you won’t find much in the way of change here. The developers have rebranded the default text editor, Scratch, as Code and even rolled in some basic code editor features. Outside of that, the standard default Elementary apps remain intact:

  • Mail — for your email needs.

  • Music — to play your tunes.

  • Files — serves as your file manager.

  • Videos — plays all of your videos.

  • Calendar — schedule your day.

  • Photos — manage your photos.


At one point, I would have said having Epiphany as the default browser was a big miss. However, Epiphany has come a long way. Case in point: The version of Epiphany shipping with Juno includes the ability to log into your Firefox Account, so it can now sync and share data (Figure 3).

Another really nifty feature with newer releases of Epiphany is the ability to install a site as a Web Application. What this does is save a site as a launcher in the Elementary OS menu, such that you only need to click the launcher to open the site. When the site opens as an installed app, you will notice the browser window missing a few components (such as the bookmarks and configuration buttons, as well as the tab button/feature). It’s a handy way to gain quick access to specific sites you use frequently. 

To install a site as a web application, follow these steps:

  1. Open Epiphany.

  2. Navigate to the web site in question.

  3. Click the Epiphany menu button (gear icon in the upper right corner).

  4. Click Install Site as Web Application (Figure 4).

  5. In the resulting popup, give the application a name and click Create.

A bit of clean up and a conclusion

Outside of the above features (and a few more minor details), the rest of the change comes by way of old code cleanup and closing out issues. Thanks to that codebase cleanup, you’ll find a bit of a performance and stability increase over previous releases.

All in all, Elementary OS continues to be my top-rated distribution for new Linux users. It’s incredibly clean, elegant, and user-friendly. Thankfully, the design and development team understand they have something special on their hands and, instead of bringing about new features and radical changes, are set on offering only slight changes and improvements to an already rock solid Linux distribution. So, if you’re looking for something magical and radical in the shift from .4 to 5.0, you might be disappointed. If, however, what you want is nothing more than an improved (and very familiar) experience with Elementary OS, Juno will not disappoint.

Learn more about Linux through the free “Introduction to Linux” course from The Linux Foundation and edX.

Android Pie Is Filled with AI | Operating Systems

Artificial Intelligence plays a big role in Android 9, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, released Monday.

Called “Android Pie,” the OS is designed to learn from its users’ behavior, and apply those lessons to simplify and customize their phone experiences.

“From predicting your next task so you can jump right into the action you want to take, to prioritizing battery power for the apps you use most, to helping you disconnect from your phone at the end of the day, Android 9 adapts to your life and the ways you like to use your phone,” noted Sameer Samat, Google’s vice president of product management for Android and Google Play.

google's android 9 pie

Adaptive Brightness and Adaptive Battery are two ways Android Pie uses AI to customize and improve a phone’s performance.

Adaptive Brightness learns what brightness levels a user likes in certain conditions and automatically adjusts the display to those settings when those conditions arise.

Adaptive Battery plugs into Google’s DeepMind systems and can learn a person’s phone usage patterns and make adjustments to optimize power usage.

“Users of the Android P beta program on Google Pixel phones found a 20 percent increase in battery life,” said David McQueen, research director for consumer devices in the London offices of ABI Research, a technology advisory firm.

“Battery life has always been a major pain point for the smartphone user, so this implementation of AI will be welcome relief,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Seeing Will Be Believing

The power management feature works without adding additional hardware, McQueen pointed out.

Huawei introduced performance-enhancing AI in its Mate 10 Pro product, he said, but to do it, the company had to add a chip to the device, which it called a “neural processing unit.”

“There’s not much going on in terms of new battery technology that can lengthen battery life, so Adaptive Battery could be a good thing,” suggested William Stofega, program director for mobile phones and drones at
IDC, a market analysis company based in Framingham, Massachusetts.

The Adaptive Battery feature appears to be compelling, acknowledged Tuong Nguyen,
a senior principal analyst at Gartner, a research and advisory company
based in Stamford, Connecticut. However, he is withholding judgment on the feature until the verdict from users comes in.

“We see a lot of power optimization announcements, and I’m sure they work well enough,” Nguyen told TechNewsWorld, “but my perception as a consumer is that I can never stay sufficiently charged and am always using too much battery.”

Screen Slices

Another new addition to Android is App Actions. It makes connections between when and how you use apps and makes suggestions based on those connections. For example, it’s 5:15 p.m. on a Monday. App Action may ask if you want to open the e-book you’ve been reading on your commute to and from work for the past week.

Google also announced a feature for Android Pie called “Slices,” which won’t appear in the OS until later this fall.

Slices shows relevant information from apps depending on a user’s screen activity. So if a user started typing Lyft into Google Search, Slice would display a slice of the Lyft app with information such as prices to a destination and the ETA for a driver.

“Slices is great because it brings us a step closer to the post-app world,” Nguyen said.

“Instead of searching through a dozen of apps and individually opening them,” he continued, “the UI allows me to use them with fewer steps.”

Better Security

Android Pie also sports a new single home button for simpler navigation.

In addition, Android’s Overview feature has been redesigned to display full screen previews of recently used apps. It also now supports Smart Text Selection, providing action suggestions based on selected text.

Security has been beefed up in Android 9. It has an improved security model for biometrics. It uses a secure, dedicated chip to enable hardware security capabilities that protect sensitive data, such as credit card information.

Android 9 chooses the TLS protocol by default, as well as DNS over TLS, to help protect all Web communications and keep them private.

Multi-Camera and HEIF Support

Android’s photographic capabilities are expanded in Pie. It supports multiple cameras, which enables developers to access streams from a number of physical cameras simultaneously.

“Multi-camera support is a potentially cool feature because it impacts the trajectory of immersive augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality experiences,” Nguyen said.

“Anything that advances immersive is exciting for me, but it’s a long road, so don’t expect to see something with a super impact immediately,” he added. “It’s more of a building block for bigger things to come.”

Android Pie also supports a new image format, HEIF. The format provides better compression than the widely used JPEG format without a loss in quality. Apple has been using the format for awhile.

A common complaint among consumers is a lack of storage on phones, Nguyen noted.

“I’m not familiar with the technical details on HEIF, but I think all consumers can appreciate having more room because of better compression,” he said.

Fighting Phone Addiction

With concerns rising about how much time people spend with their phones, Google decided to add some time management features to Android Pie.

“While much of the time we spend on our phones is useful, many of us wish we could disconnect more easily and free up time for other things,” observed Google’s Samat.

“In fact, over 70 percent of people we talked to in our research said they want more help with this,” he added. “So we’ve been working to add key capabilities right into Android to help people achieve the balance with technology they’re looking for. “

The new “digital well-being” features that will be added to Android Pie this fall include the following:

  • A Dashboard that helps users understand how they’re spending time on their devices;
  • An App Timer that lets an operator set time limits on apps and grays out the icon on their home screen when the time is up;
  • A Do Not Disturb mode, which silences all the visual interruptions that pop up on a screen; and
  • Wind Down, which switches on Night Light and Do Not Disturb and fades the screen to grayscale before bedtime.

While the new digital health features may be embraced by some users, they could be annoying to others.

“I can see things like Wind Down and app timers getting in the way,” IDC’s Stofega told TechNewsWorld. “I thiink people want to use their devices whenever and however they want.”

Possible Pain Points

For many Android users, all the goodies in the latest version of the OS are likely to remain out of their hands for some time, since Pie works only on Pixel models, and a few other phones that participated in the beta program for the software.

“It will be telling how quickly Android P is able to migrate to Samsung and Huawei smartphones, and then on to those that run Android One,” McQueen said.

Even for those who are able to get their hands on the new OS, there could be challenges.

“The issue always is how quickly will people be able to recognize some of these new features,” and whether these devices are “getting too complex for their own good,” Stofega said.

“These devices are becoming Swiss Army knife-like,” he remarked. “Device makers have to figure out and adjust to what people really need versus what’s technically possible.”

John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reporter
since 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, the
Boston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and Government
Security News
. Email John.

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New LibreOffice Version Offers Fresh Take | Software

By Jack M. Germain

Aug 9, 2018 10:54 AM PT

The Document Foundation on Wednesday announced the availability of its second major release this year, LibreOffice Fresh 6.1, with enhanced editing on Desktop, Cloud and Mobile platforms.

New LibreOffice Version Offers Fresh Take

One of its most significant new features is Notebookbar, an improved experimental user interface option that resembles the ribbon interface popular with Microsoft Office users.

The developers hope to release a fully refined ribbon-style interface in the next major release, according to Italo Vignoli, spokesperson for the foundation.

The Fresh release targets both early adopters and power users. Early adopters are mostly individual users. Power users are those participating in enterprise deployment of the open source office suite.

LibreOffice Notebookbar

(Click Image to Enlarge)

The 6.1 release is the start of a new development cycle for LibreOffice. The office productivity suite has undergone a four-part development cycle starting with code cleaning in version 3.x, continuing with code refactoring in version 4.x, improving the user interface in version 5.x and enhancing ubiquitous productivity in this current release.

“LibreOffice 6.1 represents the bleeding edge in terms of features for open source office suites,” Vignoli told LinuxInsider.

It is built with document conversion libraries from
The Document Liberation Project.

The new features were developed by a large community of code contributors. Almost 72 percent of commits are from developers employed by companies sitting in the Advisory Board, including Collabora, Red Hat and CIB Software, and by other contributors, including SIL and Pardus.

LibreOffice Google Trends

What’s New

The top new features include two new icon styles and a revamped image handling system. Also, much attention has been given to aligning features for consistency among the five office modules.

“Krasa Jaga” — a new icon style that replaces a Linux font style no longer maintained — means “looking to the future” in Indonesian.

The Colibre icon style is designed to provide the look and feel of Windows 10. It is based on Microsoft’s icon design guidelines, which makes the office suite visually appealing for users coming from the Microsoft environment.

Developers extensively reworked the way LibreOffice 6.1 handles images with a completely new and much improved graphic manager, improved lifecycle handling, deprecation of accessing embedded images by URL, and on-demand loading of images from OOXML and MSO formats.

The image handling process is now more functional, according to Vignoli. It eliminates issues caused by using too many images in a document.

“The old handling methods were not entirely proficient in handling the software with images. Many LibreOffice users do not fully understand how to apply images on a page. They make a lot of mistakes,” he said.

The changes make users’ lives easier. Image handling is now more stable and easier to use. Pages with lots of images load much more quickly than before.

More Improvements

Improvements and feature upgrades extend to all LibreOffice modules in this release. Aligning the features is a major push in version 6.1, according to Vignoli.

Developers redesigned the database engine in the Base module to make it more user-friendly, he said. The changes are a work in progress and are considered experimental. They will be refined for version 6.2.

The reorganization of Draw menus comes with the addition of a new Page menu. This results in a better user experience consistency across the different modules.

LibreOffice Draw Menus and Styles

A major improvement for Base is available only in experimental mode. The old HSQLDB database engine has been deprecated, but it is still available.

The new Firebird database engine is now the default option. A migration assistant helps users migrate files from HSQLDB to Firebird. Another option is to export them to an external HSQLDB server.

An improved EPUB export filter gives better performance to link, table, image, font embedding and footnote support. More options now exist for customizing metadata.

Online Help pages have been enriched with text and example files to guide users through features. Also, they now are easier to localize.

The features are aligned in all of the modules for improved ease of use.

Almost Like (Ribbon) Heaven

The improved but still experimental Notebookbar feature is similar in style to the Windows ribbon interface, but it is not meant to be identical, said Vignoli.

“It is under development more as a transition for Microsoft Office users to give them a more familiar style UI,” he said. “We would like Office users switching to LibreOffice to have a familiar interface.”

The developers deliberately chose not to call the feature a “Windows-style ribbon” interface, Vignoli said. It has a different background. It is created to look in a way that is similar — but there are distinct differences.

For one thing, the new UI does not take the same amount of space as the Microsoft ribbon interface, he pointed out. It is limited in size. Designers are working on reducing the vertical face of the Notebookbar.

So far, the Notebookbar interface is more suitable for smaller laptop screens. Developers want it to be equally functional on desktops.

“It is still evolving, so it is introduced as experimental. We hope to make it a fully developed feature with the next major release, version 6.2,” Vignoli said.

Established Stability

The Document Foundation has been playing it coy with the way it addresses the concept of stability in LibreOffice. That is part of the rationale behind calling this latest release the “Fresh” version. It named the previous release, version 6.1, “Still.”

The Still version is more suitable for larger enterprise deployment, as it has been tested by more people, Vignoli acknowledged.

However, “after eight years, LibreOffice is quite stable with a large organization of volunteers and company-sponsored developers,” he pointed out. “After eight years of developing LibreOffice, we have shown that stability is not an issue anymore.”

Caution is in order, however, based on how enterprises deploy major software platforms, noted TDF Director Thorsten Behrens, who has been a senior developer with the project since OpenOffice, and also serves as LibreOffice Team Leader at
CIB, which provides value-added document services.

“Some companies really do not want to upgrade every half year or yearly,” Behrens told LinuxInsider.

In previous years, performance issues and feature limitations were tied to the speed of the user’s CPU. The amount of memory in the user’s machine also was a performance variant.

“Those criteria essentially no longer exist. LibreOffice just works,” Behrens said.

That said, for any enterprise class deployment, TDF recommends the more mature LibreOffice 6.0, according to Vignoli. The software should be sourced from a company that provides a Long Term Support version of the suite.

Built-In Code Corrections

The Document Foundation spent years cleaning up code using
Coverity Scan to reduce and then eliminate the number of errors that otherwise would contribute to stability issues, according to Vignoli. That has had a major impact on making LibreOffice both stable and secure.

For example, the most recent code scan on July 20 showed that for nearly 6.5 million lines of code the defect density detected was zero, he pointed out. The analysis chart shows that over the last few years LibreOffice code went from a defect density of 0.02 in 2016 to 0.0 since January of this year.

“So we are definitely a lot better. This goes to show not only the quality of LibreOffice code but also the amount of work on quality and security matters of the source code provided by our developers,” said Vignoli.

Every week there is a new scan on code development. Developers take care of whatever faults are found in the source code a long time before they get to the consumers as binary code, he added.

Online Version More Challenging

Developers have been furthering their efforts to improve all modules of LibreOffice Online, incorporating changes to the user interface to make it more appealing and consistent with the desktop version.

The online engine is exactly the same, so the features have become more aligned. The eventual goal is to offer online version users the same range of features the desktop version offers, gradually introducing them during the next two or three major releases.

Unlike Google Docs and Microsoft Office online products, LibreOffice Online is not available for everyone to use for free. LibreOffice Online is fundamentally a server service and should be installed and configured by adding cloud storage and an SSL certificate.

LibreOffice online now has more features, making it similar to the standalone version. However, the online version is available only to users with access to ISPs or enterprise servers that offer it as a feature.

No Plans for Online Catch-Up

Having a fully functional online version that equals the functionality of the desktop version is *not* in the works, Vignoli emphasized. The Document Foundation lacks the finances and infrastructure to provide an online version the likes of Google Docs and Office Online.

However, developers have been adding features to the online version and improving its look and feel. Numerous issues with using the online version have been resolved for a better user experience.

ISPs can provide the online version for a monthly fee or for free. Also, enterprises can provide it on their own servers. However, the foundation can not provide it to everyone. Some enterprise cloud-sharing services, such as NextCloud, provide access to the LibreOffice online version.

A better online option to overcome restricted access to the online version of LibreOffice would be improved mobile support on Android devices, Vignoli suggested.

The Android LibreOffice Viewer app has been getting more support. It now can provide some editing as well as file display functionality.

However, support for LibreOffice on the Chrome OS is not in the works. Vignoli suggested that using LibreOffice Viewer on a Chromebook that supports Android apps could be one possible workaround.

That approach typically would not provide access to local storage on Android devices, though. Users would need to figure out how to work around documents stored in the cloud or use a method that Android apps on Chrome OS can access.

Mixed Views on Using LibreOffice

Whether LibreOffice is a suitable free replacement for Microsoft Office depends on several factors, according to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. It might not be universally ideal for both individuals and power users.

For example, if an organization has standardized on Linux, then LibreOffice is a solid option that is bolstered by its free cost and integration with Google Cloud for backup, file sharing, and so forth.

“It should also be an adequate option for power users, especially those who are interacting with other LibreOffice users,” King told LinuxInsider.

That is mainly due to complaints about incompatibilities between LibreOffice and Word, due to Microsoft using its own version of OOXML, he explained. So users working with Word docs may be better off by purchasing a Microsoft license. For most businesses, those users are a minority of employees.

Weighing the Options

Potential LibreOffice adopters should consider possible downsides, urged king. With more than two decades into the “revolution” sparked by Linux and open source solutions, LibreOffice still constitutes a small fraction of the productivity applications and tools market.

Would that be the case if these offerings really were superior? Adopting any new platform requires retraining, and that includes LibreOffice, he said. Most employees arrive knowing at least the rudiments of Word and other Microsoft apps.

Plus, to its credit, Microsoft has addressed many user complaints and Office 365 makes it cheaper and easier to use the company’s solutions than ever before, added King.

“So companies have to sort out why they are considering LibreOffice,” he suggested, to determine “what potential benefits are actually achievable and whether leaving behind a longtime market leading solution (Office) really makes sense.”

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.
Email Jack.

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ngrep – A Network Packet Analyzer for Linux |

Ngrep (network grep) is a simple yet powerful network packet analyzer. It is a grep-like tool applied to the network layer – it matches traffic passing over a network interface. It allows you to specify an extended regular or hexadecimal expression to match against data payloads (the actual information or message in transmitted data, but not auto-generated metadata) of packets.

This tool works with various types of protocols, including IPv4/6, TCP, UDP, ICMPv4/6, IGMP as well as Raw on a number of interfaces. It operates in the same fashion as tcpdump packet sniffing tool.

The package ngrep is available to install from the default system repositories in mainstream Linux distributions using package management tool as shown.

$ sudo apt install ngrep
$ sudo yum install ngrep
$ sudo dnf install ngrep

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