Tool tests on the fast track

Tool Tips

Article from Issue 185/2016

We test Yuck, Uftpd, Guncat, Kiwix, Miller, and Debian Package Search.

Yuck 0.2.1

Function: Command-line parser for C


License: BSD

Alternatives: Docopt, Gengetopt

Software developers who want to add parameter descriptions to the --help output of their C programs should take a look at Your Umbrella Command Kit (yuck). Unlike solutions such as gengetopt, it doesn't have any library dependencies. Just a C compiler and the M4 macro processor need to be installed on the system.

Users can get an idea of this from the examples on the project website. To integrate new options into help, you first need to create a configuration file with the .yuck suffix. This contains the formatted output as you want it to appear on Stdout. Calling yuck gen <file>.yuck generates the corresponding C code, which users write in their source code. Alternatively, you can redirect the yuck output to a file, which you can incorporate using #include.

Yuck also contains a command that converts the .yuck file into a man page. This removes the need to detour via the external help2man helper. Instead, users can call up yuck genman <file>.yuck. The tool then writes a Unix man page in troff format on the shell's default output.

(4 Stars) Using Yuck, programmers can easily enhance the help functions in their C programs and create man pages without delay.

Uftpd 1.9.1

Function: (T)FTP server for the home network


License: ISC

Alternatives: atftp, vsftpd

Uftpd is a manageable (T)FTP server that does fine without configuration files. If you call it without any parameters, it runs in FTP mode – this means it listens on port 21 (TCP) as configured in /etc/services. The -t parameter activates TFTP mode (port 69). If you want to run the server on other ports, you need to specify that at launch time, either after -f (for FTP mode) or -t (for TFTP mode).

By default, uftpd shares data from the FTP user's home directory. This is the /srv/ftp folder, unless defined otherwise. To share other directories via the services, you need to enter the path after -h. Uftpd follows symbolic links that take you out of the FTP directory, and it does not have a problem with defined write permissions for the group in the FTP home. The developers indicate that this is critical to security if the server is run outside the home network.

(3 Stars) The tool's focus is convenience; it is thus geared toward users who want to be able to set up a (T)FTP server easily on the local network. The missing security options thus should not pose a problem.

Guncat 1.01.01

Function: Cat for GPG-encrypted text


License: GPLv3

Alternatives: gpgcat

Users who want to merge text files on the shell or to send them to standard output usually rely on cat, but if either the whole text or parts of it are encrypted with GPG or PGP, several steps are required: Users need to encrypt the file with gpg and can only then process it with cat. Guncat can be useful here because it cleverly combines the two tools.

Guncat does not attempt to decrypt the entire file but restricts this to the area between BEGIN PGP MESSAGE and END PGP MESSAGE. If you do not use a GPG agent, you can instruct the tool to prompt you for the passphrase using the -p parameter. By default, guncat does not send output to the terminal, but you can enable this with --gpg-no-batch.

The tool becomes even more chatty if you enable --show-gpg; it then shows you the complete gpg command line, but without running it. Users can then use --gpg-option=<option> to add more gpg parameters.

(5 Stars) Guncat is perfect for displaying (partially) encrypted messages and other text files in the shell. The tool also performs well with mail clients, such as Mutt, or in your own scripts that search encrypted content for exploits.

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