AIX Tip of the Week: AIX Freeware Web Sites
Audience: AIX Users and Administrators
Date: September 10, 1999
One of the many benefits of Unix is the wide choice of
freeware applications and utilities. The following freeware
web sites are dedicated to AIX:
At the bottom of this page is a partial list describing some of the tools.
As a starting point, I would suggest the following packages:
- monitor - Performance monitoring tool. Provides a full screen update important system performance metrics (CPU, disk, memory, network).
- perl - Text extraction and manipulation tool. I use Perl as a replacement for shell scripts. It's more powerful, and easier to use.
- apache - Web server. I use web technology to create systems administration scripts, and communicate with end users.
- zip - Creates PKZIP compatible archives. I use zip to package files for exchange between AIX and Windows.
- samba - File and print serving for Windows.
Overview of downloadable utilities
This collection contains over 130 Freeware
or Shareware LPPs, each representing a different utility, written by a
different person or group and that is supposed to solve a different problem.
Obviously not all utilities apply to all systems. The basic
minimum is probably freeware.monitor.rte and
however knowledgeable users would probably insist that
are frequently equally useful.
This page tries to list the most useful utilities, and show what
sort of users would be most lightly to need them.
The packages on the CD-Rom that would typically be useful
on a large proportion of client sites have been split up into
different categories. Please remember that this division is
to help give a clear description of the environment where a particular
package may be useful, but does not imply any restriction and the
different categories are not visible during the installation of the
Workgroup Server Packages
software packages that would typically be used to provide services
to a group of users or to implement a small application.
Tools that would usually be of direct use to system administrators.
Obviously system administrators are allowed to use all the tools
appropriate to end-users too.
Tools that would be directly useful to real live users with
shell access to the system.
Packages that would typically only be used for software development
Workgroup Server Packages
SAMBA v2.0.0, SMB client and server for Unix
Samba is a freeware utility that allows PC users to access
Unix Disk and printer resources without having to install NFS on the PC.
Commercial equivalent: AS/U, Advanced Server for Unix,
implements the complete Networking interface of WindowsNT v4.0
Apache v1.3.4, Apache HTTP server
Apache is a freeware Web server, well supported in the Freeware world.
It can integrate very closely with perl (see later) to provide
stable high-performance applications.
MySQL v3.22.14, MySQL SQL database server
MySQL is a multi-thread SQL Database. It can be directly accessed from
perl (see later) through the perl Data-Base Interface (DBI) driver.
perl v5.5.2, PERL scripting language
The Perl scripting language is widely used to write CGI
programs for Web servers. It is also used to perform other administrative
tasks. Perl is rapidly becoming the preferred scripting language for all
applications, since it is available on a wide range of platforms (Unix,
Squid v1.1.20, Squid Web Proxy Server
Squid is a high-performance caching web-proxy server
ftpweblog v1.0.2, Web and FTP server statistics package
Ftpweblog generates graphical statistics of web server
usage. It is easy to use and gives good, intelligent analysis of who is
accessing what on the web server.
wget v1.5.3, Wget, retrieve files from the World Wide
wget is a powerful tool that can download pages (or entire
servers) from the Web. It is typically used to "mirror" a server or part
of a server. Wget understands both http and ftp URLs, and can work through
"Web" or "SOCKS" proxy servers.
weblint v1.20, Lint program for HTML
weblint can be used to check HTML documents for syntax
errors. It should be used when HTML documents are modified manually.
lsof v4.38, List Open Files
LSOF is an absolute essential utility on
any modern Unix. Lsof has two "life-saving" uses since it can answer two
who is using a filesystem? To unmount a filesystem under
Unix, all the users must stop using it. However it is often difficult to
identify the user who has left a process running in that filesystem. Lsof
allows the process still using any disk resource to be immediately identified.
What processes are using the TCP-IP stack? When debugging
a network problem it is often vital to be able to analyze what processes
are actively using the TCP-IP stack. Lsof can identify them quickly and
monitor v2.1.5, Performance Monitor Program
Monitor is another "life-saving" utility.
It allows all the major performance indicators to be displayed simultaneously
on a simple ASCII screen (or xterm). Monitor combines the information available
from many standard tools (vmstat, iostat, netstat, and more) to provide
an immediate view of system performance. Monitor can also be executed by
tidysys v2.2.1, system maintenance tool
On a normal Unix system, there are files that accumulate
under /tmp, log files must occasionly be reduced in size, etc.. Tidysys
allows all the standard AIX files that need to be maintained in this way
to be kept to a reasonable size. In addition log files from add-on products
can also be maintained using tidysys.
AIX Tools v1.5.1, Collection of simple command-line tools
the LPP freeware.aix.tools.rte contains a range of
small utilities from different sources
- whichlpp Shows which LPP delivered a file
- pstree displays processes in a tree format
- ll equivalent to ls -l
- ldd lists the shared library dependencies of a
program, better than dump -H
- xd hexadecimal dump utility, better than
- chpass "Batch" password modification program
- ... and more, look in /usr/local/lib/tools
Satan v2.0.1, Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing
Satan allows Unix machines on a network or subnetwork
to be "probed" for externally visible security problems. It is a powerful
and easy-to-use tool, recently updated to conform with ITCS201 recommendations.
All externally-visible Unix
machines should be tested with Satan several times a year.
Commercial equivalent: Internet Security Scanner, see
COPS v1.0.4, Security Checker
COPS looks for security problems on the machine where
it is installed and executed. It allows an administrator to verify that
no configuration errors have been made that could allow a local user to
become super-user. All externally-visible Unix machines should be tested
with COPS once a month.
TIGER v188.8.131.52, Unix security checker
tiger performs essentially the same job as COPS. Both
can be installed and used to double-check results.
Crack v5.0, or Jonn v1.5, Password Cracking tools
Crack verifies that the passwords for user logins (including
root) are "difficult" to guess. Crack is mostly used on machines that host
many user accounts, to verify that the users always choose passwords that
do not contain their name, etc..
John the Ripper is similar to Crack, but uses more recent and powerful
gzip v1.2.4, GZIP compression and decompression tools
Gzip has become the default compression tool on the internet.
screen v3.7.4, ASCII Multi-Screen Utility
Screen is a miracle-tool if you use "dumb" ASCII
terminals. Screen allows you to have several applications running
on the same terminal, each thinking it controls a real terminal completely.
The user can switch from one application to the other. Thus it is possible
to use "vi" in one screen, perform a backup in another, be telneted to
another machine in a third, etc..
mtools v3.9.1, Utilities to access DOS disks in Unix
Mtools is an absolute necessity if you exchange diskettes
with PC users. Mtools provide commands with the same names and syntax
as standard DOS commands, however the names of the mtools commands are
preceded with an "m" (mcopy instead of copy, mdir instead of dir, etc..).
xpdf v0.8, PDF Display utility for X11
(smaller and faster than acrobat_reader)
pine v4.05, Pine user-friendly email utility
pine is a powerful email utility, that is nevertheless
easy-to use. Pine is an ASCII application, it is quick, and it used a special
(easy) text editor to prepare mail messages. Pine is fully MIME-compliant,
and text attachements can be displayed directly.
unzip v5.32, Unzip, archiving and compression tool
zip v2.2.0, Zip - Compression and file packing utility
zip and unzip allow "zipfiles" (widely used on PCs) to
be created and unziped under Unix. The zipfiles created by zip are compatible
with the PKZIP utility on a PC.
xpaint v2.5.5, Image editing tool
Xpaint is a good tool for generating and editing imaged
(although "PaintShopPro" on a PC is better). Xpaint also allows images
to be converted from one format to another (so does "xv", see later).
xv v3.10.1, XV image viewer
XView is a shareware utility, that provides powerful
image viewing tools. Xview can be used to capture images on the screen,
which can then be edited and saved to disk in several formats.
EGCS v1.1.1, GNU C Compiler
GCC, the GNU C and C++ freeware compilers are probably
the most widely-used compilers in the world, and are a real reference for
"portability". The GNU C compiler is a fully ANSI-C compliant compiler.
Every Unix machine traditionally has a C compiler, but not everybody needs
a "commercial" product. The GNU C compiler gives the basic functionality
for users who are not producing important software applications.
Commercial Equivalent: IBM's XLC compiler produces smaller
and faster binaries than GNU C, and also follows the evolutions of the
operating system and the hardware more closely.
TCL/TK v8.0, TCL Scripting language tools
mklpp v1.2.3, Light-LPP generation tool
MKLPP is the tool used to generate all the freeware LPPs
on the CDROM. Mklpp can be used to quickly and easily generate professional
installation images for any AIX 4 machine. It can be used for the in-house
deployment of an application or to package a commercial application for
easy installation by your customers.