Tool Tips

Steel 1.1

Function: Password manager for the shell


License: GPLv3

Alternatives: KeePass

If you need to remember a large collection of password credentials, a password manager is the best place to keep them. In addition to various graphical variants, Linux also has something to offer command-line fans. Steel is a shell safe; the C program relies on SQLite and the Rijndael algorithm (256-bit).

You need to create a password database, and you can use the -i option to do this on first launching the program. The database contains a single table named entries. To add a new password, type steel -a. If you prefer to be helped rather than relying on your own creativity, you can type -g to generate a password automatically. Users state the password length as a number after the option.

The -l parameter lists the database content; -f lets you search for certain entries. To finish working with Steel, simply close the password database with -c. If you forget to do so, SQLite clients can read the content. You can set the master password each time you close.

Previous Steel versions showed passwords in the clear; the current version corrects this. Users now need to tell the tool to do this explicitly by specifying -p. If you want to migrate from a version before 1.0 to the new Steel, you first need to open the password database with the older version and then close with the newer version because the encryption algorithms are incompatible.

(3 Stars) Steel is fast and easy to use. The database is not permanently encrypted, which is a risk.

Ukopp 5.8

Function: Backups on USB media


License: GPLv3

Alternatives: Sysbak

Ukopp is a practical little GUI that creates backups on USB sticks and other pluggable media. A click takes you to the setup, where you can navigate the filesystem, select or exclude files, store the settings in recurring backup jobs, and more.

When launched, Ukopp comes up with a clear-cut window showing the most important functions at the top. In the main part of the window, you will see the status messages. Before creating your first backup, you need to define a job. To reduce the data volume, Ukopp only saves the changed data and directories in each run.

On the backup medium, Ukopp replaces the older versions with newer ones and keeps files that no longer exist on the source medium. In the job settings, you can define whether to keep older versions and, if so, how many on the backup medium; you can also define how long these versions are kept.

Ukopp uses the source directory structure and stores the execute and access permissions. It does not have functions for compression or encryption. If so desired, you can check the consistency of the backed up data after each run. Ukopp supports three modes here: full, increment, and compare.

(3 Stars) The backup program is clear-cut and handy. Because Ukopp does not compress the data, you need to have enough free space on the target drive.

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