Tool tests on the fast track

UniversalCodeGrep 0.2.1

Function: Fast grep for long source code


License GPLv3

Alternatives: grep, ack

Working through large amounts of source code by keywords or regular expressions can take some time. The UniversalCodeGrep (ucg) tool shortens the wait. The developers implemented the program in the C++11 programming language and leveraged its support for parallel operations. UniversalCodeGrep also relies on the PCRE libraries and their just-in-time compilation for regular expressions, which also contributes performance gains.

For a simple search, you just feed ucg a search pattern and the target directory or individual file. By default, the tool takes upper- and lowercase into account, but you can prevent this with --ignore-case. If you want to avoid interpreting numbers numerically in a search pattern, enabling --literal will help. The --word-regexp parameter ensures that a regular expression only accepts whole words as hits, which reduces the result set.

By default, ucg also looks at files in subdirectories, which you can stop by stipulating --no-recurse. Individual folders can be skipped with --ignore-dir. To leverage the benefits of parallelization, mentioned previously, set -j with the number of processes you want UniversalCodeGrep to launch for the search.

(3 Stars) If you believe the measurements published on the project website, the speed benefits are minor – on our lab system, grep even had its nose in front. Nevertheless, ucg is worth looking at because of its interesting options.

hping 3.0.0

Function: Analyze network traffic


License: GPLv2

Alternatives: Nmap

The name suggests close kinship with ping – but hping goes well beyond the functionality of the legacy tool (i.e., sending ICMP packets). In addition to TCP and UDP, hping can send RAWIP. It also has a traceroute mode and is therefore useful to search for bugs in networks and analyze or discover security vulnerabilities. The tool works on Linux, various BSD variants, Solaris, Windows, and OS X.

Users control hping in the shell. Parameters nest between the hping3 command and the hostname of the target system. If you want to stress the target, you can increase the number of packets per second to 10 with --fast; or even to 100 packets per second with --faster. If this is not sufficient, fire --flood at the target to rev up to maximum speed. For each protocol, you can adapt the packets sent. In addition to flags such as SYN, ACK, or RST, users can set the TCP sequence number or adjust the size of the TCP window. The --scan switch expects one or more ports as parameters; --traceroute switches to traceroute mode.

The new version 3 is compatible with the previous hping2. New features include the built-in TCL interpreter. Users call hping3 with no other information and are taken to an interactive shell. Simple application examples can be found in the wiki.

(5 Stars) Hping is a powerful analysis tool that should be part of any admin toolbox. The current version 3 extends the performance to include practical scripting functions.

NitroShare 0.3.1

Function: Exchanging files on a LAN


License: MIT

Alternatives: Transfer on LAN, Dukto

If you are worried about setting up Samba or NFS on a home network, you will probably resort to USB sticks or cloud services to exchange data between several computers. This also works across platforms and does not require any lengthy server configuration.

NitroShare provides another option for this purpose. The P2P solution for exchanging data on a LAN is implemented in C++; it relies on Qt and works on Linux, Windows, and OS X. On all systems, the installation is manual. After launching, a NitroShare icon nests into the toolbar of the graphical interface.

Pressing the right mouse button pops up the context menu for users to initiate the data transfer. You can then select individual files or entire directories; the program finds other active NitroShare clients on the local network. A dialog box displays the names and operating system. After selecting the desired target system, the data migrates across the network. A status window informs you of the progress. By default, the incoming data ends up in the user's download directory.

Mutual authentication takes place between the NitroShare clients; communication on the network is unencrypted. NitroShare relies on TCP. The broadcast search for clients uses port 40816, and the transfer takes place on 40818.

(4 Stars) NitroShare should only be used on trusted networks, but if this sounds like your home network, then the tool offers a convenient way of moving data from point A to point B – regardless of the operating system.

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