Category Archives: Script

makepkg Shortcuts Script

This one is not as important as the pacman related script but I find I use it often too. I maintain several packages in the AUR and it comes in handy to quickly refer to common tasks related to makepkg. The md5sum function still needs a bit of work (i.e. it requires the build function in the PKGBUILD be able to place the md5sums nicely). Otherwise it’s pretty ready. Here’s what it does:

 mp <option> - common makepkg building tasks
  b - build package (install dependencies if required)
  m - update md5sums
  r - remove previous build directories
  s - create source files for upload, prompts for submission to the AUR
  t - create PKGBUILD template

(ar)ch (pa)ckages – a generic package tasks script for Arch Linux

I once saw a wrapper-script for pacman in the forums that was basically a short-hand version of common pacman tasks. I thought this was a good idea and over the last couple years, I’ve expanded on it. It does just about everything I need it to. It’s real basic and I call it arpa. Here is a basic synopsis:

arpa [option] [*package] - a generic package tasks wrapper script
  -e, --explicit - install a package as explicit
  -g, --get      - get/download package upgrade(s)    : -G get pkg upgrades all
  -i, --install  - install a package                  : -I install as dependency
  -l, --list     - list package files                 : -L list pkgs installed
  -o, --owns     - owning package of a file
  -q, --query    - query for an installed package     : -Q query w/ description
  -r, --remove   - remove a pkg and its deps          : -R force, no argue orphs
  -s, --search   - search for a package               : -S search w/ description
  -u, --upgrade  - upgrade system                     : -U upgrade AUR
  -y, --sync     - sync package db

Good for me to have this around so I can remember everything :), and it is in the AUR.

Embedded Scripts in WordPress with GitHub Gist and Update Script

I asked at Stack Overflow recently if I could embed a text file into a webpage. My reason was basic: I wanted to be able to use my newly created GitHub script repository to be my source for scripts I posted on this blog. If I was able to do this, I reasoned, than my script on the blog will be up-to-date when I updated my GitHub repository. Unfortunately, there appears to be no direct way to do this that I could find so I look for an alternative and found GitHub Gist. GitHub Gist’s description:

Gist is a simple way to share snippets and pastes with others. All gists are git repositories, so they are automatically versioned, forkable and usable as a git repository.

I was hoping that there would be a way to link a script but there isn’t. Basically the standard process it to visit the GitHub Gist WebUI paste the script, config, … and then post the link on its own line into WordPress.

Because this creates git repository it means it can be updated. So I wrote a script does two functions: 1) Creates a repository for a file; 2) updates all files listed in the script with a Gist repository.

Works pretty good, there are a couple caveats though. First, Gist does not recognize the interpreter on the first line of a script and instead uses the extension. I tend not to use the .sh extension but I wanted syntax highlighting so the script on the blog now are labeled as which I guess isn’t a huge deal. Second, each script must have it’s own repository or all the scripts, configs… would be placed when put into a post. Not sure if this a breach of etiquette but I think I’m ok.

The script requires defunkts excellent gist command line upload tool.

The syntax is such:

 ghsync-gist   - Add or update gist repo(s)
  a - Add gist repo for file(s)
  u - Update all gist repos for all files

Managing Scripts and Configurations on Github with a script

This post is a follow-up to Michael Smalley’s excellent post on how to manage your dotfiles.

Use Git and Github to Manage Your Dotfiles. I wanted a way to regularly have my configurations and scripts updated on Github that didn’t require me remembering how to do it :). So I created a script that would do it for me:

Works pretty good. Then I put these in my crontab to have them updated every week.

Toggle Unity Desktop Effects

Not using desktop effects in Linux helps gaming a good deal, improving frames-per-second and smooth ability. Using Ubuntu’s Unity I’ve noticed gaming gets effected quite a bit. Here’s a script that can toggle them on and off (note that you have to login with desktop effects enabled for this to work). Thanks go to Mossroy and Scott Severance.

Power Management from the Command Line

To be able to invoke commands like suspend and hibernate from the command line not so long ago required having root privileges or using the desktop environment built-in tools. Now to invoke suspend, hibernate, shutdown, or restart, D-Bus can be invoked as Regular user. I created a script called pwrman to ease the task (requires UPower to be installed).

(I got this idea from a person from the Arch Linux forums. I forgot who you are, so sorry, but thank you.)

The ABC’s of creating MP3s

Being content with GUI ripping software was something that didn’t happen to me using Linux. I had expected my music player software to handle `the task but I can’t remember any that did (not remembering to me is the same as working poorly I’m discovering). As for stand-alone rippers I haven’t heard any that were notable. Because I’m a big fan of software being efficient and to the point (do one thing and do it well) I was a bit nonplussed when I began wondering how I was going to import my CDs to MP3s. A good number of tasks that I had regularly done through the GUI, I discovered are better done through the command line and though I haven’t tested every MP3-related application this looks like it may be true for them as well. Here’s a complete-ish guide to ripping, organizing, repairing, and volume normalizing an audio collection well, done mostly through the CLI.


RipIT is program that can do just about anything that a GUI version to do. It’s default options will be good enough for most cases (running ripit is all that is needed). Having a greater amount of control however can save time in the end. A wrapper script can be created to help with this:

The ripcd script below defines:

  • The ripping preset (extreme here because storage space isn’t an issue).
  • The directory creation template. RipIT goes online and gets the album tag information which can be used organize directories by tag (here the common "$artist/$album" is used”).
  • Looping (prompts when for new CD when ripping is done)
  • Ripping priority so RipIT plays nice with other programs.
  • Query the MusicBrainz music database instead as it is usually more accurate (editor approval required).
  • The Audio sub-directory to rip it (my Audio directory is divided as such: # ls ~/Audio/ Audiobooks Music Others Podcasts)


Normalizing audio means to adjust the volume of audio files to a standard level. This is often a good idea as average volumes levels per album usually differ to some degree. A great program called mp3gain can do this easily. I created a script for this that first normalizes by type (either Music collection, or Audiobook collection… since there are usually differing recording standards for each), then normalize relative to other albums in that catagory. Here’s the script:


Lame is used by RipIT for encoding of the audio files and does a very good job of it, occasionally though I’ve found it to make a mistake. For these MP3s, previous rips, and for MP3s that have been previously downloaded it is good idea to check them and see if they are in good shape. An excellent tool called MP3 Diags can test MP3s and fix common problems. Repairing MP3s I’ve discovered makes inter-operability between different players play nice. MP3 Diags also includes a very nice (though basic) tag editor.

Bash Script Templates

The basic and expanded templates I use to begin most of my bash scripts:



Syntax Highlighting in Blog Posts with Vim

Update: Reader Elder Marco has pointed out that does have support for syntax highlighting of source code built-in (which I had never heard of before) that might be a preferred alternative for some. An example of both is below.

Vim is a great all-around editor, it also does very good at syntax highlighting. With the plugin “TOhtml” included with Vim it’s easy to put that highlighting into a blog post. I created a blogscrpt bash script that when run on another script will produce a file defining the syntax highlighting in HTML code. From there it can be pasted into the blog post.

blogscrpt syntax highlighting:

# Create HTML code from Vim syntax highlighting (for use in coloring scripts)

scrpt=${0##*/}  # filename of script

# Display usage if no parameters given
if [[ -z "$@" ]]; then
  echo " $scrpt <filename> - create HTML code from Vim syntax highlighting"

# Syntax highlighting to HTML export
vim -f  +"syntax on"                  \
        +"set background=$background" \
        +"colorscheme $colorscheme"   \
        +"let html_use_css = 0"       \
        +"let html_no_pre = 1"        \
        +"let html_number_lines = 0"  \
        +"TOhtml"                     \
        +"x"                          \
        +"q" $filename

# Clean up HTML code
tidy -utf8 -f /dev/null --wrap -m $filename.html

# Delete the HTML meta page information.
sed -i '1,/body bgcolor=/d' $filename.html

# Remove line breaks (needed for some things like blog posts)
sed -i 's|<br>||g' $filename.html

# Remove the closing HTML tags
sed -i 's~</body[^>]*>~~g' $filename.html
sed -i 's~</html[^>]*>~~g' $filename.html

# Add preformatting tabs <pre> and </pre>
#sed -i '1 i <pre>' $filename.html
#sed -i '$ a </pre>' $filename.html

# Remove trailing blank lines
while [ "$(tail -n 1 $filename.html)" == "\n" ]; do
  sed -i '$d' $filename.html

# Delete newline of last <font> line for better formatting
sed -i ':a;N;$!ba;s/\(.*\)\n/\1/' $filename.html
sed -i ':a;N;$!ba;s/\(.*\)\n/\1/' $filename.html

# Delete final newline
perl -i -e 'local $/; $_ = <>; s/\n$//; print' $filename.html

WordPress built-in syntax highlight support example:

# Create HTML code from Vim syntax highlighting (for use in coloring scripts)

scrpt=${0##*/}  # filename of script

# Display usage if no parameters given
if [[ -z "$@" ]]; then
  echo " $scrpt <filename> - create HTML code from Vim syntax highlighting"

# Syntax highlighting to HTML export
vim -f  +"syntax on"                  \
        +"set background=$background" \
        +"colorscheme $colorscheme"   \
        +"let html_use_css = 0"       \
        +"let html_no_pre = 1"        \
        +"let html_number_lines = 0"  \
        +"TOhtml"                     \
        +"x"                          \
        +"q" $filename

# Clean up HTML code
tidy -utf8 -f /dev/null --wrap -m $filename.html

# Delete the HTML meta page information.
sed -i '1,/body bgcolor=/d' $filename.html

# Remove line breaks (needed for some things like blog posts)
sed -i 's|<br>||g' $filename.html

# Remove the closing HTML tags
sed -i 's~</body[^>]*>~~g' $filename.html
sed -i 's~</html[^>]*>~~g' $filename.html

# Add preformatting tabs <pre> and </pre>
#sed -i '1 i <pre>' $filename.html
#sed -i '$ a </pre>' $filename.html

# Remove trailing blank lines
while [ "$(tail -n 1 $filename.html)" == "\n" ]; do
  sed -i '$d' $filename.html

# Delete newline of last <font> line for better formatting
sed -i ':a;N;$!ba;s/\(.*\)\n/\1/' $filename.html
sed -i ':a;N;$!ba;s/\(.*\)\n/\1/' $filename.html

# Delete final newline
perl -i -e 'local $/; $_ = <>; s/\n$//; print' $filename.html

DisplaySize in xorg.conf… uhgg!

Update: This turns out to be done by xrandr which the server hands off to now for dynamic use of monitors. man xrandr even reports that it is trying to keepaconstant DPI. Not sure just why it is doing it, but found a good way to get it done.

I just got a new monitor to be able to use as an external monitor for my laptop. While I was setting it up I noticed that the monitors display size wasn’t correctly detected. The Xorg server does a good job auto-configuring however this caught my eye:

xdpyinfo | grep -B2 resolution
dimensions:    1920x1080 pixels (508x286 millimeters)
resolution:    96x96 dots per inch

The monitor I got is a 21.5″ monitor so I figured the DPI was off. I decided to calculate it myself (this is a square pixel monitor):

res_diag=$(echo "scale=5;sqrt($res_horz^2+$res_vert^2)" | bc)
siz_horz=$(echo "scale=5;($siz_diag/$res_diag)*$res_horz*25.4" | bc)
siz_vert=$(echo "scale=5;($siz_diag/$res_diag)*$res_vert*25.4" | bc)
echo "$siz_horz"x"$siz_vert"

Also there are online DPI Calculators conferred by doubt (1, 2,) and xrandr:

em_ds_h=$(xrandr | grep VGA-0 | rev | cut -d " " -f 3 | rev | sed 's/mm//')
em_ds_v=$(xrandr | grep VGA-0 | rev | cut -d " " -f 1 | rev | sed 's/mm//')
echo $em_ds

My discovered value and theirs are a couple millimeters off overall so I just used theirs. I created a configuration to define the display size to the the Xorg server. A basic configuration to define display size can be done like this:

cat /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/90-monitor-disp-size.conf
Section "Monitor"
  Identifier "<default monitor>"
  DisplaySize 477 268

Ubuntu uses /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/ Arch Linux and some other use /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ (better choice I think). However this won’t work on the external monitor. So I expanded on it (more than it probably needed to be) by defining both monitors and related sections:

Section "Monitor"
  Identifier    "Internal - Pavilion Laptop"
  DisplaySize    304.5 228.6

Section "Monitor"
  Identifier    "External - Samsung Syncmaster SA350"
  VendorName    "Samsung"
  ModelName     "SA300/SA350"
  DisplaySize    476 267.7

Section "Device"
  Identifier    "ATI Radeon Mobility IGP 330M"
  Option        "Monitor-VGA-0"  "External - Samsung Syncmaster SA350"
  Option        "Monitor-LVDS"   "Internal - Pavilion Laptop"

Section "Screen"
  Identifier    "Default Screen"
  Monitor       "Internal - Pavilion Laptop"

Section "ServerLayout"
  Identifier    "Default Layout"
  Screen        "Default Screen"

I added VendorName and ModelName but I’m not sure they uniquely define the monitor so that the Xorg server acknowledges them. The VendorName I believe is just for reference, ModelName can usually be discovered by doing:

grep "Monitor name" /var/log/Xorg.0.log

Monitor-VGA-0 and Monitor-LVDS define the ports and hence by reference should uniquely define the monitor (xrandr -q shows them and both are found in the Xorg log).

After a bit of research I discovered that there is a good amount of history concerning the Xorg server having a bit of trouble in not being able to correctly discover the display size. I believe this may be related to some drivers. I’ve been told the open-source ATI driver have had problems and read in some other places of other people who have had similar issues. Defining the display size in the configuration and telling the Xorg server not to use the auto-detected value can be done by adding this to the Devices section (for Nvidia drivers use: Option "UseEDID" "FALSE"):

 Option        "NoDDC"

Unfortunately, this didn’t work either and left me completely at a loss. Unsure how to go further to define display size in the the Xorg server configuration I decided to define it through xrandr.

xrandr has an option to define the display size with the --fbmm option:

xrandr --output VGA-0 --auto -fbmm 476x267.7

--auto uses the default/preferred mode of the monitor.

Storing login/password Websites in a File

I find that it is a good idea to update my Internet passwords from time to time. Previously to do so, I opened Firefox’s Preferences window and then went to the Saved Passwords window. From here, I’d toggle between Firefox and the Saved Passwords window, goto the sites that were listed, and change the password.

After doing this, I decided it would be quicker if I just had them in a text file. In the text file once I had updated the password on the website, I’d comment the line so I’d know I had done so.

For text editing, I commonly use Vim and it works great for this.

The nice thing about working in the terminal too is that once the text file is opened the webpages can be opened by Ctrl clicking on them.

I created a three of scripts to help the process: one to edit the list, one to generate the password, and one to copy the password to the clipboard.

 sitepass-ls   - list of programs/sites using common pw
  a | add   - add entry to list
  e | edit  - edit list
  s | sort  - sort list alphabetically
  u | uncom - uncomment list for new password
 sitepass-gn  - generate password for common use and other use.
  c | common - generate common password
  o | other  - generate other  password
 sitepass-cb  - copy common, other, and previous passwords to clipb.
  c  | common  - copy common
  o  | other   - copy other
  cp | comprv  - copy previous common
  op | othprv  - copy previous other
  x  | clear   - clear contents of clipboard

Here are the scripts:





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