Dear Unknown Hun in Hungary: Thank You!

The internet is a strange place. And *Nix can be an odd duck at times too.

I had, some months (years?) ago tried to run a torrent download of Privatix. Privatix is the grandaddy of Tails. For God Only Knows what reason, nobody was serving it. Time passes, and I’d moved the Torrent Services onto the Raspberry Pi B+ and more or less forgotten about it all.

Then today I was “cleaning up” and in the process launched the Transmission Torrent client / server on a box that had not been doing much in a while. Needless to say, I was a bit surprised when Privatix began to download. From ONE site.

So now I have a download of Privatix 11.04.11.en ( the .en meaning English) from ONE IP. So I start to wonder just who is this? I’ve obscured the actual IP just in case for some reason this is a thing they might not want published.

root@RaPiM2:/WD/home# whois 188.36.xx.xx
bash: whois: command not found

Doh! What kind of brain dead Linux / Unix / *Nix does not have the “whois” command installed by default?!

But it is an easy fix on the Raspberry Pi:

root@RaPiM2:/WD/home# apt-get install whois
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 33 not upgraded.
Need to get 58.8 kB of archives.
After this operation, 345 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 wheezy/main whois armhf 5.1.1~deb7u1 [58.8 kB]
Fetched 58.8 kB in 3s (17.2 kB/s)
Selecting previously unselected package whois.
(Reading database ... 90393 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking whois (from .../whois_5.1.1~deb7u1_armhf.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up whois (5.1.1~deb7u1) ...

Now, a good two minutes later, where was I… (The ! symbol says “do the last thing you did that starts with these characters, so “!who” says “do the last ‘who’ you did. The “history” command shows you the pick list…

root@RaPiM2:/WD/home# !who
whois 188.36.xx.xx
% This is the RIPE Database query service.
% The objects are in RPSL format.
% The RIPE Database is subject to Terms and Conditions.
% See

% Note: this output has been filtered.
%       To receive output for a database update, use the "-B" flag.

% Information related to '188.36.xx.0 -'

% Abuse contact for '188.36.xx.0 -' is ''

inetnum:        188.36.xx.0 -
descr:          Magyar Telekom customers using dynamic IP
descr:          DSL access
country:        HU
admin-c:        MTRA-RIPE
tech-c:         MTNA-RIPE
status:         ASSIGNED PA
mnt-by:         TCOM-MNT
created:        2014-05-07T09:24:49Z
last-modified:  2014-05-07T09:24:49Z
source:         RIPE # Filtered

role:           Magyar Telekom Network Administrator
address:        Budapest, Hungary
tech-c:         BAT3-RIPE
nic-hdl:        MTNA-RIPE
mnt-by:         TCOM-MNT
created:        2013-10-13T20:08:36Z
last-modified:  2013-10-13T20:08:36Z
source:         RIPE # Filtered

role:           Magyar Telekom RIPE administrator
address:        Budapest, Hungary
admin-c:        DB2380-RIPE
nic-hdl:        MTRA-RIPE
mnt-by:         TCOM-MNT
created:        2013-10-13T19:58:47Z
last-modified:  2015-09-01T09:21:21Z
source:         RIPE # Filtered

% Information related to ''

descr:          Hungarian Telekom
origin:         as5483
mnt-by:         tcom-mnt
created:        2009-03-27T10:35:13Z
last-modified:  2009-03-27T10:35:13Z
source:         ripe # Filtered

% This query was served by the RIPE Database Query Service version 1.80.1 (DB-2)


So somewhere in Budapest, Hungary, there is some customer of Hungarian Telekom who has just THAT copy of Privatix and is making it available via Bittorrent. To me. Now.

Mostly I wanted it for my archives as Privatix has decided to fold tent and stop. This is common in the *Nix world as fads come and go. I happen to have liked Privatix a fair amount, so want to have an archive of it and be able to ‘restart it’ if need be. And now some unknown kind soul in Hungary with similar leanings has made that possible. Such is the *Nix world… Even if I’d forgotten about it for a few months and “moved on”, the machine had not…

So at this point I’m about 1 hour away from a newer copy of Privatix. Along the way I’ve downloaded 2 copies of Crunchbang ++ that was what I’d set out to do. I have several copies of Crunchbang (a Live-CD version of Linux that is rather nice and ‘light weight’) but didn’t have the Plus Plus version that is for installation to disk. Sadly, Crunchbang is also being left to founder by the originator. On my “maybe someday” list is to remake Privatix and Crunchbang and offer them myself. The tech is basically the same as what goes into making a Tails or other Live-CD linux, and I’m doing that anyway, so adding in just those package lists that make those two distributions ought not be THAT hard… as long as you have the model to work from… which I now do.

Can it make enough money to pay for the effort? Likely not or the creators would still be making new releases. Will it be ever more of a PITA (Pain In The A..) now that Red Hat and SystemD (D for Demolish?) are breaking the Unix Way? Likely. Will that stop me? No Effing Way. (Referring, of course, to the Eiffel Tower, or something French ;-) But it will wait for the right time. Likely a ways in the future, and hoping someone else beats me to that load of work…

But for now, and until that day, I have gratitude for some unknown kindred soul in Hungary…

Such is the way of the net…

Subscribe to feed


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Human Interest, Tech Bits and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Dear Unknown Hun in Hungary: Thank You!

  1. Verity Jones says:

    Only that I like the sentiment even if the content goes over my head :-)

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    I try to “speak generically” but sometimes when I’m in the middle of a ‘coding frenzy’ or similar tech immersion, I get a little sloppy. Sorry about that. The tech bits are not very complicated, so I’ll try to provide some of the jargon dictionary and / or translate.

    The ‘whois’ command is a wonderful tool for digging around in the internet records of who has what IP number (that number address the machines use to talk). So I wanted to find out who was feeding me this stuff and the client that does the work tells me their number, so I wanted to “look them up”. That’s when I found out it was not installed.

    The Linux distributions derived from the Debian family use a application installer called “apt” (for Application Package… or some such) and it is what did the installation with an “apt-get install”.

    Privatix is a flavor of Linux (also based on Debian Linux) that is tuned up some for privacy. I used it some a few years back; but the guy who made it and spread it around has stopped keeping it up. It is the ancestor of Tails (that’s the most effective security and privacy release) but I still have a soft spot for Privatix and had wanted to download a copy while I still could “for that day” should I ever want to try to ‘roll my own’. It is like most “Live-CD” versions that run, live, from a CD, and they are not THAT hard to make… IF you have the model in hand… which I do now.

    I’m using the “Transmission” bittorrent client. Bittorrent is a “peer to peer” file sharing system, and while it started with the client named “Bittorrent”, there are now many different clients. They exchange a ‘torrent file’ that is basically a handle or name with ID of the thing you want to get. Your “torrent client” checks in with a “tracker” who connects you to other peers (or with ‘magnet links’ it can just happen without the tracker – this was implemented after various legal agencies went after trackers…) and then you and the other folks just about anywhere in the world can ‘share’.

    Everyone has some things they want, and some things they have, and the whole world is full of folks looking for some things and offering others. For example, right now I’m offering a couple of old copies of Knoppix, a CentOS 5.x release that’s hard to find, a whole series of Debian 6.0x that once was ‘hot’ and now is rarely sought, some arcane Raspberry Pi operating system releases, and a few other odd bits. ( I also have the “blue”, “gold”, and “green” climate gate mail wads that were linked on WUWT but have them on hold – nobody much looks for them anymore and in this way I’m able to offer them if, God Forbid, someone managed to nuke the folks presently offering them). Oh, and I’m also now offering the two Privatix releases that I had been asking for. Once you get a new download, it is ‘polite’ to offer it back to the world until at least one more copy has been been given. In this way things never need to fully die. Often, though, many more folks download than offer.

    Bittorrent started as a way to offer music, and many folks (read law agencies and internet service providers) don’t like it as they think it is only for copyright busting. While those music downloading folks DID do a lot of the best programming that lets it get around all sorts of attempts to stop it; in reality a whole lot of us Geeks use it just to share public domain software like Linux releases.

    Then that big wad at the bottom is just the output of the “whois” command that looked into the official internet records of who owns what IP numbers ( that RIPE database) and reported what it found. A Telco in Hungary. It’s DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) offered, so almost certainly some private party in some home in Hungary running a torrent server (much as I am).

    BTW, they can also see my IP as someone who did the download. So they can look me up, too, and find that I’m an Telco customer somewhere in the western USA. So even if they are unlikely to find this posting (but might, if they search on that info in the RIPE listing for themselves!) they are still likely to know someone took a copy, and was grateful… (It will have shown up as “1 of 1 peers” so they will know they WERE the only one, but now will see 2 peers offering it ;-)

    So that’s what all the tech bits are about, in less Linux Jargon Obscurity…

    FWIW, there are a bunch of other P2P or Peer to Peer sharing systems. Many with an even stronger emphasis on privacy and anonymity. Part of the foolishness of anyone thinking they can shut down sharing… the folks who care the most have already run way out ahead and are “ready to go” “for that day”. I2P is just one example:

    I saw on the news (CSPAN IIRC) some Stupid Suit from some law enforcement agency complaining in testimony to a committee of congress that the congress had not mandated that ISPs hand over decrypts of emails and communications that had “gone dark” via encryption. Asserting that it was not a technical issue for them to do so. Completely lost on him was that “end to end encryption” exists EXACTLY to prevent that, and with AES or Blowfish encryptors, it is not possible for the ISP to just decrypt and hand it over.


    Oh Well.

    So at any rate, the ‘war’ between media companies and the music downloaders has built all the infrastructure needed to have essentially complete privacy and anonymity. Just because most people don’t bother to use it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

    But I’m starting to wander off topic…

  3. Verity Jones says:

    Thanks for the extra terminology – I will review for increased understanding.
    Just ought to point out though – you might want to amend your title to “Dear unknown Magyar in Hungary”:

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    Golly, citing Wiki as a source for what’s offensive is about as useful as asking a socialist if taxes ought to be higher ;-)

    But… in keeping:

    “The Hungarian writers of the 12th century wished to portray the Huns in a positive light as their glorious ancestors, and so repressed certain historical elements and added their own legends.”

    Hungarians are generally positive about their Hun ancestry… even if the British did misapply the term to Germans. (Though in fairness, Gothic was the language of court of Atilla and there is a line of argument that he was some Germanic ethnicity; but I suspect he just conquered the Germanics and used the local language in that area for proceedings of court. But in any case there was very old German being used by the chief Huns in the area…)

    In any case, I’m just reaching back a bit further in time to before the Hungarians “settled” in Hungary and using a term that they do not find offensive, but may find a reminder of glory days…

Comments are closed.