Tool tests on the fast track

Tool Tips

Article from Issue 187/2016

Briefly tested: Dxirc 1.20.0, XS-httpd 3.7, Nmap 7.0, MegaFont NEXT, Isync 1.2.1, Zeal 0.2.1.

Dxirc 1.20.0

Lean IRC client


License: GPLv3

Alternatives: WeeChat, Irssi

Dxirc is a lightweight client for Internet Relay Chat (IRC). In addition to a version for Linux, the developers also offer versions for Windows and OS X. The current dxirc version lets you include your own Lua scripts and can finally speak IPv6.

Unlike other clients, dxirc comes without a predefined server list. Users enter the list of servers and their credentials manually. You can also determine which channel you want to enter after establishing a connection and whether or not you want to use SSL. If you are in a hurry, use the Quick Connect option that does not store its connection parameters.

The configuration dialog is clear and offers many ways to customize the appearance or the keyboard layout of the IRC client. Unfortunately, dxirc does not support all the common IRC commands. For example, the command /leave for leaving a channel is missing. Users can close the tab in the program interface instead.

(3 stars) Although dxirc looks good, we were not quite convinced during testing. Besides the lack of some known IRC commands, the main complaint is the lack of a list with major IRC standard networks – a drawback for users who use chat servers.

XS-httpd 3.7

Lean web server


License: BSM

Alternatives: Lighttpd, Nginx

If you are looking for a resource-saving and fast web server for private or semi-professional settings, XS-httpd is perhaps the right choice for you. Although the server is lean, users do not have to do without important functions such as server-side includes or CGI, and there is also support for PHP, Perl, or other scripting languages. XS-httpd is IPv4 and IPv6 compatible.

The setup is quickly done. The source archive contains a sample configuration that is suitable as a template for your own server. The XS-httpd archive also includes some management tools that help users with admin tasks. The httpdc program, for example, which interactively controls the web server; admins can use it to make status inquiries and start and stop the server. The xsindex tool creates an index.html file from the contents of a directory, and xspasswd or xschpass help users manage passwords. The manpages are required reading.

(3 stars) XS-httpd is a great small web server for older computers and impresses with a quick and clear configuration.

Nmap 7.0

Powerful Port Scanner


License: GPLv2

Alternatives: Dos scan, Pnscan

The Nmap tool is the de facto standard when it comes to detecting open ports and listening services. Nmap has been around for 18 years – but three and a half years have passed since the last release. Version 7, which appeared recently, is impressive and features many interesting improvements.

For example, the developers extended the Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE). New additions include oracle-brute-stealth and ssl-heartbleed, which users pass in with -script just like the other scripts. To help you search for configuration errors, there is also the firewall-bypass tool. Even kernel functions such as dns-ip6-arpa-scan, ike-version, snmp-info, or rpc-grind are implemented as scripts in the new version.

Nmap 7 includes enhanced IPv6 support. The scanner offers Idle Scan and CIDR Style Range scanning, plus revised OS fingerprinting. The latest version also impresses with a revamped version detection for services and a Lua interpreter.

(5 stars) An update to the new Nmap is definitely worthwhile. It has many new helper scripts to detect known vulnerabilities and important improvements in the IPv6 area.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to our Linux Newsletters
Find Linux and Open Source Jobs
Subscribe to our ADMIN Newsletters

Support Our Work

Linux Magazine content is made possible with support from readers like you. Please consider contributing when you’ve found an article to be beneficial.

Learn More