bbana - The Big Brother Analysis Tool


 

bbana is a menu-driven interface based on PerlMenu for analysing the information collected in the Big Brother database. It allows for several possible options in studying the data available but is by no means exhaustive. It is only an example of what can be written to examine the data collected by bbd. As Big Brother is built using a client-server model, bbana can be run on any machine subject to certain system requirements. bbana needs to be told to which machine it needs to connect and on which port it should attempt to connect to bbrd (i.e. on which port for the machine in question is its bbrd listening). Each of these pieces of information can be specified via command line options when the program is started.

 

How bbana works

You are initially presented with the following menu:

Top Menu

Each of these choices has a sub-menu with additional choices for narrowing the focus of the analysis. We'll look at a specific example as all other choices follow the same pattern.

Suppose we wished to study the number of times a given command was run each hour for a series of dates. The choice of analysis always begins with the top level menu:

Top Menu - Choice 3 We start by choosing option 3 on the start-up menu (choices are made either by moving the cursor with the arrow keys or by entering the number of the corresponding choice and the hitting the Enter or Return key).

 

We are then presented with the following sub-menu:

Instances Menu From this menu we choose option 1

 

We are then presented with a menu which is the same no matter set of data we have chosen to study in the previous menus:

Output Menu Clicking on a given menu item in the picture (or on one of the links below) will give you a more detailed description of what the choice will do.

| Generate Output | Fields to Output | Type of Output | Type of Sort |
| Range of Dates | New host and/or port | Set amount of Output |
| Search for a string | New log file | Peruse log file |
| New graph file | Display graph file |
| Show current global parameter settings | Restore global defaults |

Most of these menu options allow you to set parameters which will control the output produced by bbana. Some of the parameters are global, in the sense that they apply to all of the analyses you may conduct in bbana. Other parameters you may set depend on the type of analysis you are conducting.

 

Command Line Options

bbana takes the following command line options ( all of which can be set within the program and all of which have defaults )