Tag Archives: ping

httping: Lots of flash and dash

When I first read the description for httping I took it to be a ping tool intended specifically for HTTP addresses. I couldn’t really see how that would be terribly different from plain old ping, since I’m in the habit of just feeding URLs to ping anyway.


Oh, but this is something even better than that. :mrgreen: httping has a lovely ncurses mode that shows all kinds of flashy, splashy, dashy color and metrics. And manages to cram it all into one small display.


I have a lot of the fancier effects turned on there; if you install the FFTW libraries from your distro (fftw in Arch; probably something from here in Debian) you can play with the phase meter and traffic history bars too.

Or turn all that off and get just the plain ncurses display. Or just feed it an address with no flags, and get something a lot like straight ping. But where’s the fun in that? 😉

You could make the argument that pressing the phase display and the history graphs directly over the displayed text makes things hard to read, and I’d probably have to agree for the most part. However, I don’t remember too many other ping tools — or other network monitors, for that matter — that tried that, except perhaps for the venerable iftop, or its offshoot iftopcolor.

But personally, I like it. I think it works, and you have the option to remove it. httping is different, it’s colorful, it approaches a specific case and handles it completely but adroitly.

An easy decision: One gold star for httping: ⭐ Don’t spend it all in one place. 😉

prettyping.sh: An irrefutably prettier ping

prettyping.sh is a very straightforward tool: It’s a shell script that gives a little more pizazz to the traditional ping tool.


And seeing that screenshot gives you 90 percent of what you can accomplish with prettyping.sh. By default, all of prettyping.sh’s flair is turned on, and with the few hard-wired options that have to be set for the translation to ping. It’s colorful, clean, nicely arranged and a breeze to use.

But as always, I must offer a few points that stick out. In the hope of course, that they will be smoothed over in the future.

First, the legend is visible by default, and as luck would have it, it’s intended for about 150 or 160 columns (I didn’t count it out exactly; please forgive me). That’s all fine and dandy, but I honestly am not sure how often I run a terminal of that width, especially for a ping tool. So I find myself omitting the legend, which is pretty, but a little skewed.

Second, prettyping.sh’s output is very much like spark, with gradated characters of set color arrangements representing ranges of values returned from ping. Fair enough, and I see a general logic to the legend.

The problem is probably obvious though: In a virtual console, you might not get that same effect. I tried it on a random machine in my collection, and what I got was a blotchy mess of unprintable boxes, in varying colors, both in the output and in the legend.

So you’re more or less trapped in an emulator if you decide to make regular use of prettyping.sh, which might mean you’re also trapped in a graphical environment. Which might defeat the purpose of this entire escapade. (Let me know if you try prettyping.sh in a framebuffer terminal emulator, and whether or not you get the correct effect. You might.)

Another caveat: The link above may or may not be the original prettyping.sh. Shell scripts, in my observation, get traded around like spare pencils, and sometimes contort without earning a new name. I know the link for prettyping-hg out of AUR points to a dead MyOpera page, so it might be that there are three or four variants around.

The link I gave at the start was one I found on my own, that led to a posted source. I see that it’s also the source link for the prettyping package in AUR.

I also wish someone had renamed it to pretty-ping.sh, because I see the word “typing” in there, every time I read it. How’s that for a shallow and pointless criticism? 🙄

If you can overlook these faults or eccentricities, prettyping.sh is a very nice text-based interface for watching pings over long periods of time. There are a lot of ping tools out there (we’ve seen plenty, even in recent weeks), so if it doesn’t suit you, there are options available. 🙂

sonar.py: Sounds from the deep

I got sonar.py from a regular contributor who doesn’t like to be named, along with a note mentioning that it only does one small thing, and probably wouldn’t be too interesting on the whole.


Au contraire … I think it’s quite interesting, even if the best parts of sonar.py are lost in this medium. As you might have guessed, sonar.py mimics the Hollywood sonar-sound trope, playing a specific tone for both the ping and pong.

But the tipster was right on the other point — aside from that one audio pattern, sonar.py doesn’t show much information. Or rather, there are other ping utilities that show much more.

On the other hand, if you just want an audible for a server status, and don’t care so much about statistical analysis, sonar.py might be a good choice.

Now we just need a ping tool that plays The Bloop, and maybe a few more creepy noises. 😐

ping: Everybody wants to be the ping

Writing out anything about ping is either going to be a giant waste of time or a catalog of the obvious. I don’t doubt for a second that you know about ping, and probably use it on a regular basis.

But we’ve mentioned hping and oping and noping and fping and dhcping and ekgping and echoping and … anyways, it wouldn’t do to only look over the competition, and not give the original tool a chance.

kmandla@lv-r1fz6: ~$ ping -c 3 www.google.com
PING www.google.com ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=1 ttl=51 time=98.7 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=2 ttl=51 time=88.4 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=3 ttl=51 time=87.8 ms

--- www.google.com ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 2002ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 87.889/91.704/98.764/5.003 ms

There it is in its purest form. The -c flag runs through three pings, and stops. Some other interesting flags include -a, for an audible ping; -l for preloaded pings, which sends a burst without waiting for replies; and -n for a numeric display only.

I feel obligated to mention that the data summary includes a standard deviation. I suppose with a high enough count and a little bit of console kung-fu, you might be able to work out z-scores, which personally I would find more useful for comparing networked machines.

Oh, and I should mention that ping is part of iputils.

But that’s about all I can suggest for ping. It’s a primitive tool that everyone does (or at least should) know about.

Still, given that so many applications hope to dethrone it, due diligence is important. 😉

oping: And even better, noping

In strictest terms, oping is satisfactory as a tool to replace the standard ping command found most everywhere else.

That’s all fine and dandy, but the real catch is noping, which is bundled along with it.


Just to be clear, oping is useful in its own right, and seems to do the job of ping quite well.

noping, on the other hand, was obviously designed for people like me.

A fullscreen ping monitor, with scrolling results, color highlighting and a small text box at the bottom showing cumulative statistics. Very neatly, very nicely done.

I don’t know that I’ve seen much in the way of an actual ping monitor, if you don’t count ekgping. I suppose netselect might count too, in its own way.

And while ping tools as a whole are probably taken for granted, it’s nice to see the principle carried out to a logical end, and with such panache.

I can find no faults here either. A coveted K.Mandla gold smilie for noping: 😀

P.S.: oping is in the repositories for Wheezy; in Arch it appears as liboping.

fping: Same idea but with many targets

This will be another quick one. You know ping, of course. It’s a standby for double-checking your network.

fping does much the same thing, but allows you to list two, three or even more targets, and splice the results together.


Nifty, huh? Rather than looping through ping or rigging it to bounce between targets, fping just combines it all into one nifty bundle.

fping lets you timestamp pings, collect data into tables, ping an entire range of addresses (or a netmask) and even read targets out of a file.

The world probably doesn’t need too many more ping tools, but this one I think I’ll keep around. It’s got the right stuff. 😉

ekgping: Fun, with practical application

You’ll enjoy this one: Imagine a ping tool that doesn’t output relay times or network statistics … but instead delivers a small animated graph showing a regular response, timed to a single audio tone.

Kind of like an EKG meter. What would you call a text-based masterpiece like this? pingbeat? beeping? Electrocardiograping? How about just ekgping?


I like this, for being a simple idea that is well executed. (You don’t need that silly loop I typed in; I only did that so the output would be in the center of the screen and not cluttered.)

You give it an address, it behaves exactly like you would expect ping to. But the output is a smooth motion graph meter, one line deep, with the option to play a specific audio file as a tone.

Or the regular beep effect, which isn’t available in gif form. Yet. As far as I know. 😯

Or you can shut it up. Which is what I ended up doing.

I can see where this would be helpful if you need to keep an eye on a flaky machine, and don’t want to keep watching numbers spin by. That regular beep would be enough to catch your attention … when it stopped.

Or if you want something clever to push into a tmux frame, or use as a kind of screensaver.

The only downside I could think of, is that it pulls in some oddball perl dependencies. There’s a chance these won’t be included in your distro (technically speaking, a lot of them came out of AUR for the Arch version), so you might have to do some work to get this going.

But it’s fun when you do. :mrgreen: