Tool Tips

Tool Tips

Article from Issue 178/2015

Tool tests on the fast track

DevicesInLAN 0.4

Network scanner


License: GPLv3

Alternatives: Nmap

DevicesInLAN 0.4 checks which computers are online on the local network. Root privileges are required for access, and the Python tool writes the results to standard output. The list displays the MAC addresses, the current IPs, and the network card manufacturer. DevicesInLAN sorts the entries by IP address by default. If you use the tool on a gateway computer with several interfaces, you can specify the -i parameter to define which NICs to use for the search. Otherwise, the tool uses all that are available.

You can assign computers an alias name with the --add option to help better identify known computers in the output. This mapping is based on the MAC address and is unique. In the next scan, the tool highlights the systems selected in this way in green and thus differentiates them from the unknown computers. The -l parameter gives you an overview of all the aliases; users can remove the names again using --remove.

3 Stars DevicesInLAN quickly gives users an overview of computers on the network. The tool is ready for use immediately after unpacking and requires no configuration. The documentation is currently quite sparse because the project is at an early stage.

gxmessage 3.4.3

Graphical output for console tools


License: GPLv3

Alternatives: Xmessage, Zenity

The Gtk xmessage clone gxmessage presents information or messages from your own scripts in a pop-up window on the desktop, accepts user input, and returns it to the program as exit code.

The dialogs are configured when called. Gxmessage supports most xmessage parameters. Users can, for example, customize the foreground and background colors and set the font, the font size, the title, the size, and the position of the window. Further parameters keep the window in the foreground or place it centrally, near the mouse pointer, or even across all virtual desktops. Users can define one or more buttons for interaction. Each button has a unique identifier and a return value.

Anyone wanting to use the same properties in all of their gxmessage dialogs can set the parameters in the configuration file, ~/.gtkrc. The man page provides sample applications and detailed explanations.

5 Stars Gxmessage is a practical tool for integrating the output of your own scripts in Gtk interfaces. Because the tool is familiar with common xmessage parameters, users can customize existing scripts in just a few steps.

Site Monitoring 2.1.6

Web page monitor


License: BSD

Alternatives: Monit, RelMon

Site Monitoring monitors web pages. The Java program checks general availability, HTTP codes, and the content based on samples provided by the user. It will detect all broken links at this point. The tool summarizes the results in visually appealing statistics.

Configuration and access to the evaluation occur through a web interface, where users can define new checks and edit or remove existing ones. You can determine what Site Monitoring looks for and when during each check. The tool will notify you about problems by email, if desired. User management is missing; unfortunately, there is only an admin account.

The developer Jirka Pinkas offers two commercial versions as well as the free version. The Professional version for around EUR140 per year integrates MySQL, PostgreSQL, Tomcat, and Jetty; the Enterprise issue also provides support for MS SQL, Oracle, and JBoss, as well as GlassFish, WebLogic, and WebSphere for around EUR285 per year.

4 Stars Site Monitoring is a useful Java tool that monitors websites and their content. Points were deducted for the lack of user accounts.

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