Network monitoring tools

Sometimes I am in the need to watch the network traffic and for these occasions I fit to console based tools.

The first application I found – years ago – was iftop. It does a nice job, printing the average bandwidth upwards and downwards transferred for the past 2, 10 and 40 seconds for each connections.

Recently I found out two other tools like iftop, and both of them have their intrinsic advantages:
  • nethogs displays the bandwidth per process. Very nice when you want to monitor applications that doesn't provide this information in their interface. Quick note: press 'm' to switch between the display modes.
  • iptraf is the most complete tool than the above mentioned ones. It is also NCurses based however fully interactive with colors and menus. The tool states itself as a "Statistics Utility", which it is, as it allows to visualize the network traffic based on a dozen possibilities.

I also found out a very complete – for nowadays – web-based application which is ntop. It can be run as a daemon and will gather all information inside databases. You can connect to http://localhost:3000 to display graphics (rrdtool based) and zillion of information. I'm giving a try to this tool with at least a per month review.


Prospective work on Xfce

As Xfce 4.6 is coming it might be good to throw updates for the panel plugins I maintain at the same time.

The panel plugins I maintain are:
  • The notes plugin
  • The FS guard plugin
  • The clipman plugin (this one is prolly the most wanted)

For the notes plugin I got already most features I was thinking of in, except formatting (which I doubt that I will work on), so the release going on here will be minor.

For the FS guard plugin I was asked to reverse the progress bar so that it shows the capacity remaining and not the free space... well something like that :-) Now I'm confused and don't remember what it really displays.

The clipman plugin needs a rewrite. To my taste it features too many options, and I will split most none-obvious options to an "Advanced..." tab. The first release will most probably be the rewrite, than will follow another release for a long asked feature that is action on pattern matching — open a web page automatically, display a menu, and so forth.

Other than plugins I maintain applications.

The applications I maintain are:
  • Xfmpc
  • Eatmonkey

Sadly for Xfmpc — a client for MPD — I no longer run MPD to listen to my music, so this hacking is freezed at the moment. My current favorite player is Audacious.

Eatmonkey is a small application where I learn to use new frameworks. There won't be an official release before very long.

Hopefully I will get the clipman plugin out before end of December!


All my day from Sept. 22

Morning, 9 o'clock, I get up and turn on the computer, work starts.

11 o'clock, I finish my work stuff from the morning to jump into another priority, getting at the office, which is 110+KM far away. I was a bit doubtful if I had everything, looking and re-looking, my pants are on, my data is in my USB key which is in my carry-all.

Still, that day I learned a lesson: never ever pretend to have your wallet in your usual pants! Never. Never.

I drove around 50-60KM before it took my attention that I forget my wallet. No credit card, no licence, no money, that means a lot of trouble at the toll… I had a coin of 1€ in my pants, which means I was missing 6€40!

I stopped by at a filling station and asked random people for a coin and it took me 20 minutes :-) I love you people out there. You saved my day.

2 o'clock in the afternoon, I was at the office.


Mount remote file systems (Tape #2)

I once wrote about sshfs.sh, a shell script to mount a remote file system with sshfs. This is now deprecated!

Now I'm giving a try to gvfs-mount. Currently I can mount a volume and list it with gvfs-mount --list, but I cannot browse inside it because it isn't mounted. I played with the --mountable argument, but it must be a joke. I think I need a something fuse daemon from gvfs... I'll keep this up to date.

Update: Everything is alright now. The output of ps ax | grep gvfs shows the following process: /usr/lib/gvfs/gvfs-fuse-daemon. All your mount operations will be available at $HOME/.gvfs.

The recent GTK+2.14 release introduces a widget to ask a password thats called GtkMountOperation (have a look at the GTK+ blog). It might be interesting to start a Thunar plugin, and release it officially with Xfce 4.8.

Update 2: And on a fresh Debian install (or in general anyway) don't forget to install the fuse-utils package (/usr/bin/fusermount)!


Google Chrome

Is O.K.. I just tried Google Chrome, and it kicks the ass! I can already dump it against I.E. Firefox or what else there is out there.

Its design is brilliant ;-) I like using the browser as the GUI to do everything, having a simple toolbar and tabs, displaying the messages of the status bar by fading it in and out, and there is not even a heavy preferences dialog. Everything is fine.

You did a browser that is gonna rock, you three people on that comic ;-) I guess there were more than just you, isn't it?

And you, you have to try it out. I hate using Internet Explorer or Firefox when I'm on a friends machine, so now I can use Chrome that just takes a minute to be downloaded and installed and ... ready!


... and moving on

Hum, yeah well my server is crap. That I already knew. But with a storm hitting the power supply (+ I fired my UPS because of that) it is really crap.

Massonnet.info is off, massonnet.org is sold, my laptop is no more (there is a post in my local git about my crappy laptop, and I guess it will take me a month or two to get it online)... And that was already too much about something related to crap.

I don't know exactly what is wrong with my server but I already found a replacement of the motherboard+RAM+CPU for a total of 149€. I'm not yet sure I want this replacement!

I still need to refer to crap. So I was looking into the Google apps a little more recently, and I tried Picasaweb. When I saw a completely unrelated album in it I dropped it... I was wrong doing that, it was the images from this blog. Sigh!

So long for the last post.


Moving on

Things are moving on. I'm dumping my homepage and this blog against a new personal website powered by ikiwiki. It is already online at mmassonnet.info.

I really like the ikiwiki way, it is what I was used to do with my old homepage. I wrote to files inside directories, tho they were PHP files which gave me full power to dynamic the different pages, and I was able to use common modules inside the pages (to not reinvent the weel).

Now with ikiwiki I just wite text files with the Markdown syntax and it compiles them to HTML.