October 31, 2002

Welcome to XulPlanet
Your number one source for everything XUL.

101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that IE cannot

The following lists 101 things that one can do with the Mozilla browser component that one cannot do with IE. The list only includes things that don't require manually changing the registry or some other obscure thing. I used the Windows version of IE 6.0; the list will vary slightly for the Mac version.

XML Transformations with CSS and DOM

XML in the browser has been the subject of many spirited discussions about bleeding-edge Web development. Some feel that XML in place of HTML isn't ready for prime time due to the lack of user agents that can properly parse and render it. Others feel that XML really belongs on the server or used solely as a descriptive framework for data and has no place in the visual world of the Web, which is already adequately served by HTML.

Despite this, the newest generation of browsers possess powerful XML capabilities. The recent releases of Mozilla offer a parser and a rendering engine that support XML technologies such as XML stylesheets, XML namespaces, XLink, SVG, and MathML. Along with its native support for SOAP and forthcoming implementations of WSDL and XSLT, Mozilla is poised to become a power player among XML client software.

October 30, 2002
Buy Bush a PlayStation 2

Dear Mr. President:

I represent a small consortium of voters who are deeply concerned over your proposed military action in Iraq. Given the amount of public speech and political rhetoric you have devoted to this issue in past months, it seems to us as though you are more interested in playing commando than in fighting an actual war with actual human casualties.

Enclosed with this letter, we have sent you some small gifts: one PlayStation 2 game console, one copy each of SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs and Conflict: Desert Storm, a memory card and an extra controller for Mr. Cheney's use. We ask that you accept these gifts and use them, rather than the lives of Iraqi civilians and our U.S. servicemen, to fulfill any militaristic fantasies.


Mikel Reparaz
Buy Bush a PlayStation 2 Campaign

Getting to Grips with Style Sheets

Basic misconceptions of what style sheets are about, as well as these browser shortcomings are the most common causes of frustration when working with style sheets, and the reasons why many developers give up on getting to grips with style sheets. I hope this article will give you strategies for dealing with these issues, and helps you master style sheets.

Tuning the tables

There’s a lot of repetitive HTML markup you can avoid by using CSS for your tables. If you’re not ready to go the whole hog with CSS-based layouts of DIVs and positioning, at least consider using the power of stylesheets to remove font tags and reduce the number of nested tables in your layout. The NYPL Guide is a good place to start for ideas. A single table laying out the main areas of the page, and everything else styled in a stylesheet will be sufficient for many layouts, and give good results in a wide array of browsers.

TCPA / Palladium FAQ

There is one respect, though, in which you can't turn Fritz off. You can't make him ignore pirated software. Even if he's been informed that the PC is booting in untrusted mode, he still checks that the operating system isn't on the serial number revocation list. This has implications for national sovereignty. If Saddam is stupid enough to upgrade his PCs to use TCPA, then the American government will be able to hot-list his Windows licences, and thus shut down his PCs, next time there's a war. Booting in untrusted mode won't help. He'd have to dig out old copies of Windows 2000, change to GNU/linux, or find a way to isolate the Fritz chips from his motherboards without breaking them.

There you go folks... the reason no country on the planet should use this software.

Oh... by the way... a hacker could use this feature to dis-able our computers too.

Like I said NO country, especially ours!

Anti-porn law back in court

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the plurality opinion, saw no problems with the idea. "If a publisher chooses to send its material into a particular community, this Court's jurisprudence teaches that it is the publisher's responsibility to abide by that community's standards. The publisher's burden does not change simply because it decides to distribute its material to every community in the nation," he wrote.

I don't want to come off as defending porn... but I do wish to defend the first ammendment.

The problem with the court's reasoning, is that the internet is not a magazine... and publishing a web page does not "send" it anywhere. This is a huge difference.

Nothing is being put into a community... it is being requested by the members of the community!

Defending the use of open source

A new report reveals just how much the U.S. Department of Defense depends on open-source software and recommends steps to ensure that open source is recognized and accepted.

October 29, 2002
Microsoft, Others Oppose Kmart Bluelight.com Sale

"The licenses that debtors (Kmart) have of Microsoft's products are licenses of copyrighted materials and, therefore, may not be assumed or assigned with Microsoft's consent," Microsoft said in its objection, filed last week.

about it... You are a business, and you try to buy another business or sell
part of your own business... and MS objects because the sale involves MS
software. Are you really going to put up with this?

October 28, 2002
GNU make

A Program for Directing Recompilation

Opensecrets.org--Money in politics data

Your Guide to the Money in U.S. Elections

October 25, 2002
Top Ten Mac OS X Tips for Unix Geeks

I recently got a copy of my new book, Mac OS X for Unix Geeks, and as I anxiously await its arrival in bookstores, I have a little time to reflect. So, I'm offering the top ten tips that I gathered while working on the book. These tips will show you the differences between Mac OS X and other flavors of Unix; help you find the bits that resemble the Unix you are used to; and even feather your nest with XFree86 and ports of popular open source applications.

Snort IDS with Mandrake 8.2

If you have a system or network connected to the Internet, you become a target. Your network is being scanned for vulnerabilities. This may happen only once a month or twice a day, regardless, there are people out there probing your network and systems for weaknesses. This documentation will show how you can protect yourself by installing an Intrusion Detection System with free available Software called Snort on a Linux (Mandrake) System.

Cultured Perl: One-liners 101

Those who use Perl as a programming language frequently forget that it is just as useful as a quick and dirty scripting engine for command-line operations. From the command line Perl can accomplish, in just a single line, tasks that require pages of code in most other languages. Join Teodor as he takes you through some useful examples.

October 24, 2002
Building Online Communities

The Internet exists to improve communication. Communities can grow anywhere communication occurs.

Truisms or not, those statements have tremendous implications. Their adherents see a commercial Web site less as a brochure and more as an opportunity to communicate with customers. They consider those who run a television fan site not as copyright infringers but as a community of fans. They think in terms of conversations and relationships. Cultivate a community, and you'll attract eyeballs and ears willing to read and to listen to your message. Encourage discussion, and you'll attract people willing to share their own messages.

Before you can start focusing your community-building actions, you must understand the dynamics of online communities. Having participated in several, as an observer, a newbie, an author, an employee, and a developer, I've been surprised by the way people act and react. Writing the Slash book made me think about what goes on in a community. I've learned even more since then. I'm not a professionally-trained sociologist, nor is this formal research. I do find my conclusions accurate, though.

October 23, 2002
DocBookTutorials - DocBook Wiki

These are mostly getting-started guides for beginners. More documentation links are on the DocBookDocumentation page. If you're looking for help or technical support, see the DocBookHelp page. There's also a separate page for DocBookArticlesAndPresentations.

Note that the easiest way to get a working DocBook authoring and publishing environment set up is to install DocBook and related tools in the form of packages; seee the DocBookPackages page for details.

DocBook Demystification HOWTO

This HOWTO attempts to clear the fog and mystery surrounding the DocBook markup system and the tools that go with it. It is aimed at authors of technical documentation for open-source projects hosted on Linux, but should be useful for people composing other kinds on other Unixes as well.

How to run both stable & development versions of KDE with Debian

I don't want to give up using Debian to run the bleeding edge versions of KDE and GNOME. I recently discovered how to have your Debian and eat recent versions of KDE and GNOME, too. You don't necessarily have to download and compile the source code to get them, either.

I'm hoping this will work with Mandrake also... I need the bleeding edge KDE libs to compile the latest Quanta.

Top Five Open Source Packages for System Administrators

This is the second installment of a five-part series in which I introduce my current list of the most useful and widely applicable open source administrative tools. These tools can make your job easier no matter what Unix operating system your computers run.

Number 4: LDAP

Treacherous Computing - Can you trust your computer?

Who should your computer take its orders from? Most people think their computers should obey them, not obey someone else. With a plan they call "trusted computing," large media corporations (including the movie companies and record companies), together with computer companies such as Microsoft and Intel, are planning to make your computer obey them instead of you. Proprietary programs have included malicious features before, but this plan would make it universal.

Proprietary software means, fundamentally, that you don't control what it does; you can't study the source code, or change it. It's not surprising that clever businessmen find ways to use their control to put you at a disadvantage. Microsoft has done this several times: one version of Windows was designed to report to Microsoft all the software on your hard disk; a recent "security" upgrade in Windows Media Player required users to agree to new restrictions. But Microsoft is not alone: the KaZaa music-sharing software is designed so that KaZaa's business partner can rent out the use of your computer to their clients. These malicious features are often secret, but even once you know about them it is hard to remove them, since you don't have the source code.


Cisco and Appletalk

Configuring AppleTalk

This chapter describes how to configure AppleTalk and provides configuration examples. For a complete description of the AppleTalk commands mentioned in this chapter, refer to the "AppleTalk Commands" chapter in the Network Protocols Command Reference, Part 2. To locate documentation of other commands that appear in this chapter, use the command reference master index or search online.

October 22, 2002

The Fink project wants to bring the full world of Unix Open Source software to Darwin and Mac OS X. We modify Unix software so that it compiles and runs on Mac OS X ("port" it) and make it available for download as a coherent distribution. Fink uses Debian tools like dpkg and apt-get to provide powerful binary package management. You can choose whether you want to download precompiled binary packages or build everything from source.

Free Books: A Sneaky Success

At the height of the dot-com bubble, twenty-somethings with goatees were telling us that e-books were the wave of the future. Those e-books they had in mind were like proprietary software: they weren't free (-as-in-anything), they only worked on proprietary hardware, and they came with shrinkwrap licenses and digital rights management. They failed. The successful model that's sneaking under the radar is the copylefted book.

October 21, 2002
Linux Professional Institute

Professional Certification for the Linux Community


OpenThought is a powerful and flexible web application environment. OpenThought applications are different from other web applications in that all communication between the browser and the server is performed in the background. This gives a browser the ability to receive data from the server without ever reloading the currently loaded document. Data received can be displayed automatically on the existing page, can access JavaScript functions and variables, and can load new pages. Additionally, OpenThought completely manages all of your session data for you. These features give the look and feel of a full-blown application instead of just an ordinary Web page.

NeoLinux: Thin client distro can save enterprises money, headaches

One of the burning questions among enterprise customers interested in Linux has long been: How do I run the Open Source operating system and Windows applications at the same time? While the Wine project and companies like Codeweavers and VMware have attacked the problem from one angle, a company called Neoware has long been offering a different solution, by offering Linux thin clients that can run Windows programs from a terminal server.

Can you trust your computer?

Who should your computer take its orders from? Most people think their computers should obey them, not obey someone else. With a plan they call "trusted computing," large media corporations (including the movie companies and record companies), together with computer companies such as Microsoft and Intel, are planning to make your computer obey them instead of you. Proprietary programs have included malicious features before, but this plan would make it universal.

How To Build a Silent PC

I know this isn't the first time you've seen a 'Build a Silent PC' article, but I want to go a step further here. In the tradition of 'extreme overclocking' articles, I am going to take you through the steps on building a completely silent PC (or as close as we can get). I'm not talking about a Pentium 3 with a Voodoo2 video card either... Here's what we're going to build our silent PC with:

CPU: Pentium 4 2.80 GHz
Mobo: Intel D850EMV2
RAM: 512MB Samsung PC800 RDRAM
Video Card: GeForce 4 Ti4200 (overclocked, of course)

That's right, not only are we taking the fastest CPU available right now, but we're pairing it up with one of the hottest video chipsets around, overclocked to the max.

Colocating Servers and Managing them Remotely

The deal has been inked, your client is going to colocate servers at a datacenter featuring a fat 100Mbps pipe, and you're the guy who is going to make it happen. Luckily, there are only ten thousand questions you need answered. One of them probably is how you'd control all of these machines remotely if they became inaccessible via the network for some reason. Come on; if you're anything like me, you too have found yourself locked out of your system because of a boneheaded misplaced firewall rule.

Paranoid Penguin: The 101 Uses of OpenSSH: Part II

Most people who use SSH never get past its simplest two functions: encrypted remote shells and encrypted file transfers (which is as far as we got last month in this column). That's fine; there's no point in learning features you don't need. But many of you highly self-motivated readers doubtlessly stand to benefit from at least some of SSH's other 99 uses. So let's get down to the really cool features of SSH, specifically those of OpenSSH.

Paranoid Penguin: The 101 Uses of OpenSSH

This month we'll cover ssh's background and architecture, how to build and/or install OpenSSH, how to use ssh as an encrypted replacement for Telnet, how to set some basic ssh configuration options and how to use scp for encrypted file transfers.

Getting started with SSH

The following sections hope to provide enough information to setup a user new to ssh with the appropriate files necessary for accessing remote hosts in a secure manner. Improvements to and comments about this document are welcome.

October 19, 2002
The pros and cons of business-app implemention via open-source software

As envisaged, our solution will require XML-publishing capabilities, so this first article will look at the Windows versus Linux option in terms of the core hardware and licensed software needed for XML publishing. Specifically, we'll look at the choice between Apache/Cocoon and Microsoft's proprietary tools.

October 18, 2002
Authentication on Linux Using Open LDAP, Part Two

This is the second part of a two-part series devoted to discussing LDAP authentication on Linux. The first installment offered an overview of LDAP including: installing and configuring OpenLDAP, migrating to OpenLDAP, and setting up LDAP queries. This installment will look at setting up PAM and NSS for LDAP, securing the root account, some LDAP tools, securing OpenLDAP, OpenLDAP and SSL, and some concerns about OpenLDAP.

Linux Authentication Using OpenLDAP

This is the first of two articles that will discuss a number of issues with LDAP authentication on Linux. In this installment, I will discuss an overview of LDAP, installing and configuring OpenLDAP, migrating to OpenLDAP and setting up LDAP queries.

Linux Mandrake 9.0-Dolphin: The Review

Overall, Mandrake 9.0 is an interesting distribution. But it is not the best out there, neither trouble-free. While Mandrake includes some GUI tools to help you with configuration, as a whole, I was more satisfied by the fresh offer and looks of Red Hat 8 and SuSE 8.1 than those of Mandrake 9.0. This is mostly because of Mandrake's dated UI, problematic (for me) Control Center, while at times it just feels amateurish (e.g. when the control center's modules are loading and you momentarily put another window on top of your module's window, they don't refresh their windows).

I truly hope that Mandrake 9.1 has all these issues fixed and bring a new, stronger Mandrake to compete with SuSE and Red Hat's offerings. Mandrake has a strong community and some great developers behind it. I used Mandrake for years, on and off on this very machine, but for me, this hasn't been the best release ever. In fact, not a lot have changed to Mandrake except the Control Center (which is nothing more but a "placeholder" for the GTK modules to "mount" under a common window. Most of these GTK modules exist from previous versions of Mandrake).

Times are changing, and Mandrake hasn't changed much. Having an installer than is better than Slackware's doesn't automatically make you the killer distribution anymore. Heck, having a Control Center doesn't make you the best either these days. It is the overall experience you get when you put all the pieces together. And this is what Mandrake 9.0 lacks today.

October 16, 2002
If I tell you that I'll have to kill you

Red Hat has struck a small blow against the DMCA, by publishing a security patch which can only be explained fully to people who are not within US jurisdiction. The company's position here seems to be not altogether voluntary - according to a spokesman "it is bizarre, and unfortunately something Red Hat cannot easily do much about," but like it or not Red Hat has been recruited to the campaign to make the DMCA look ridiculous.

The patch itself is on the Red Hat site, on this page, and the oddity here can be seen if you go down to the bottom. Under the heading "references" there is a link to http://www.thefreeworld.net/non-US/. At this point, those of you reading this while within US jurisdiction should have a care. We will endeavour to unfold the tale to you without exposing ourselves to action under the DMCA, but we stress now that we are not encouraging you to do so, nor is it our intention to provide you with the tools to do so.

Web-Based Application Interfaces

A number of well-developed Web usability guidelines (e.g., Lynch & Horton, 1999; Nielsen, 2000) work well when applied to traditional browsing-oriented web sites. Numerous well-researched GUI guidelines also exist (e.g., Apple Computer, 1992; Galitz, 1996). However, neither set of principles alone is applicable to weblication interface design, since weblications could be thought of as half web site and half client-application. Existing web usability guidelines could hinder weblication usability by restricting interactions to those found in the browsing model. Interface design guidelines for client applications, on the other hand, do not address the WWW, which is at the same time the most gripping and the most limiting factor of weblications

Creating Applications with Mozilla

The contents of this book are being made available under the terms of the Open Publication License. The following HTML files contain all of the content for each chapter but do not currently contain the figures in-line. All screenshots and images in the book are available seperately on the Figures page.

The Free World's Information and Software repository

New laws in the USA not only make it illegal for US citizens to use or produce many kinds of useful software or inform/publishing research about such software (that's ok, after all it's their law), but also seek to prevent citizens of other countries from making such software or information available to the US.

Unless special measures are taken, this will make it hard for people in other parts of the world to exercise the rights defended and protected by their respective laws. One obvious special measure would be setting up a hosting service for these kinds of resources with the added extra of access control to make sure US residents and citizens won't be able to download the software or information. This way these resources will stay available for the rest of the world and only those countries who chose to be excluded (by Law) will be deprived of the software or information in question.

UK Bans News of MI Assassination Plots

On October 7, UK government ministers signed Public Interest Immunity certificates ('D-notices') that ban the British media from reporting evidence currently being presented at the Old Bailey by David Shayler, and also ban them from reporting the fact of the gag order itself.

Following are texts of two newspaper articles. The first is coverage of the gag order, published yesterday in The Age, a Melbourne-based newspaper. The second was published on the front page of the Guardian on Monday, and subsequently removed from their website without comment (apparently other UK newspapers have done the same with their coverage).

October 15, 2002
Open Letter to Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer Microsoft Corp


Last week you did an interview with analysts Tom Austin and Dave Smith at the Gartner Symposium at which you talked about Lindows.com and had some strong comments about our $199 computer. While we appreciate the exposure, I did want to challenge some of your answers because I thought they were misleading. Below I've taken quotes from your talk that I watched from News.com (video) and from the Gartner website (video). After each quote, I've added some of my own thoughts. Feel free to email me with any response you might have.

Microsoft Pulls Ad After Web Flap

Red-faced executives at Microsoft Corp. on Monday pulled a breezy advertisement purportedly by a free-lance writer who switched to using Windows software from the rival Macintosh (news - web sites), amid questions about whether the woman actually exists.

An employee at a public relations company hired by Microsoft, Valerie G. Mallinson of Shoreline, Wash., later acknowledged she was Microsoft's mysterious convert. The Associated Press tracked Mallinson by examining personal data hidden within documents that Microsoft had published with its controversial ad.

Think about this.

They wanted the person to remain anonymous... but, since they used MS products... personal data was hidden inside the documents.

Ready for anyone else to read!

Think about it.

Getting Started with Netscape JavaScript Debugger

This document gives a brief introduction to Netscape JavaScript Debugger 1.1. JavaScript is a cross-platform, object-based scripting language. This version of Netscape JavaScript Debugger allows you to debug client-side JavaScript code. The debugger cannot be used to debug server-side JavaScript, Java, or HTML.

XHTML 1.0: Where XML and HTML meet - exploring XML

The XHTML family is a reformulation of HTML 4 in XML. It represents the next step in the evolution of the Internet. It lets you enter the XML world, creating content that is both backward and future compatible. XHTML became an official W3C recommendation on January 26, so when you read this you are on the cutting edge of it all.

October 14, 2002
Adding a URPMI source for contribs (Mandrake Linux)

It seems from many questions on various mailing lists and posts here, that many people don't know that you can add contribs as a urpmi source, and there are no explicit instructions (as there are for PLF, Texstar, Ranger and other urpmi repositories). Additionally, you can also access all the free RPMS that have been completed for the Mandrake Club. Adding a contrib source

Chroot Jails Made Easy

There are always difficult jobs to do as a GNU/Linux system administrator. Sometimes the difficulty lies in finding out how to do a particular job, not neccessarily the job itself. This can be particularly true in the open source world where documentation can often take a back seat to implementation. But once in a while, you can stumble on a real gem that simplifies even the most difficult administration tasks. One such gem is the Jail Chroot Project.

We the people ...

But here you have hit on something important. You covered a broad range of related topics and only grazed some of the issues. But [those who] attempt to broaden, deepen, and strengthen intellectual property rights -- particularly the political, civil, and criminal changes we are looking at -- are not only evil and wrong, but they fail to learn from history. Organized crime in this country was created by Prohibition. Our drug laws have already cost us most of the Fourth Amendment and done little but criminalize large segments of our population. We are about to pass laws to protect greedy, monopolistic, price-fixing cartels from their own customers. Our industry in particular and way too much of business in general seems to be devolving towards trying to use the law as a way of regulating the behavior of consumers.

October 11, 2002
Microsoft Outlook Express Patch Flawed

Microsoft Corp. on Friday said that a patch it released Thursday for an Outlook Express vulnerability erroneously tells users they need a different version of Internet Explorer in order to install the fix. In fact, the patch requires IE 6, but users who have installed Service Pack 1 for the browser are already protected against the new flaw. Thus when these users try to install the new patch, they receive an error message.

However, the error message is misleading, in that it tells users they need to install IE 6, and not that they're already protected. A Microsoft spokesman said the company has updated its advisory on the Outlook Express flaw to reflect the SP 1 issue.


Microsoft warns of yet another critical flaw

Microsoft's announcement of the most recent Outlook Express vulnerability is the 58th security alert the company has posted since the beginning of the year.

October 10, 2002
Linux on Laptops

This is an index of information and documentation of interest to those who now use or are considering using the Linux operating system on a notebook or laptop computer. This resource is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.linux-on-laptops.com/.

Building a Linux-Based Appliance

Have you ever solved the same system administration problem for many clients and wished you didn't have to reinvent the wheel every time? Or had the desire to build your own appliance but not known how? A recent consulting project gave us the incentive we needed to build our own appliance. By sharing the technical and business challenges we encountered and the solutions we implemented, we hope to offer some insight that will help you bring your own Linux-based appliance to market.

Microsoft losing on the desktop

A growing trend of ultra-cheap computers is threatening to damage Microsoft's hold on the desktop software market by attacking the core market to which Windows and Microsoft Office actually sell: PC bundles. Microsoft sells the majority of its Windows and Office licenses preinstalled with new PCs, but as PC prices fall--to as low as US$200 a box this year--the cost of Windows and Office licenses, as a percentage of the total system cost--is rising dramatically. That's causing PC makers to look at alternatives in ever increasing numbers, to both of Microsoft's core products.

Dive Into Accessibility

This book answers two questions. The first question is "Why should I make my web site more accessible?" If you do not have a web site, this book is not for you. The second question is "How can I make my web site more accessible?" If you are not convinced by the first answer, you will not be interested in the second.

Watching DVDs in Mandrake Linux 9.0

Due to patent and copyright issues, Linux distributions cannot include all the software that is needed to view most Hollywood DVDs. Thanks to the good folks at the Penguin Liberation Front, Mandrake users can enjoy many types of videos, including DVDs, by installing some pre-compiled software packages.

The following pages describe how I installed the following applications on a new Mandrake 9.0 system:

Build It: Home Linux Server

It's been some time coming. Your home network, a hodge-podge of peer-to-peer machines is finally crying out for a nerve center where files live, and services are at the ready -- a machine that will dutifully keep it all going 24/7 with minimal fuss, and grow with you as your needs get more sophisticated. Linux continues to gain ground in the enterprise server space, with champions in IBM, Sun and HP. It has proven its mettle driving big iron, but is equally well-suited and versatile enough to power your home server.

For less than $1,200, you can build a very capable server with gobs of storage and enough processing horsepower to pull multiple duties serving up a printer queue, web pages, FTP, DHCP, and SAMBA, and more. And, if you've got some old parts to scavenge, and are working within a tight budget, you can still put together a solid server for under $600. So here's how to build out the heart and soul of your home network, the home server. Or, if you've got an old box you're looking to put out to pasture, it can be turned into a serviceable home server with a few spot upgrades.

October 08, 2002
Microsoft networking gear disconnects

"You always expect everybody to test everything to the nth degree," NPDTechworld analyst Stephen Baker said. "But that doesn't always happen, nor is it always possible. So stuff slips through. On the other hand, if you're going to enter a new category and you have the kind of reputation Microsoft does

I saw these things in the newspaper the other day... I couldn't believe it.

Come on people!

This stuff requires ROCK SOLID software to work... Microsoft has NEVER produced code that didn't need fixing!!

What are you thinking!?!

Introduction to netfilter/iptables

The netfilter/iptables is the IP packet filtering system that is integrated with the latest 2.4.x versions of the Linux kernel. This system facilitates greater control over IP packet filtering and firewall configuration on Linux systems, be they systems connected to the Internet or a LAN, servers, or proxy servers interfacing between a LAN and the Internet. Mugdha Vairagade provides an introduction to the netfilter/iptables system, how it works, its advantages, installing and configuring, and how to use it to configure firewalls on Linux systems to filter IP packets.

October 06, 2002
Linux vs. Windows installation, part 2: Shoot-out at the XP Corral

To reduce the "home-field" advantage, I've asked my friend Susan to do the actual installs. I play the part of a sysadmin, someone she could turn to if she ran into trouble. But she does both the Windows and the Linux installs without interference from me. I'll assist only when necessary. Susan is an experienced programmer, but she has never before installed an operating system. She has much more experience using Windows than Linux or any flavor Unix.

October 05, 2002
Outreach Project Tool

The Outreach Project Tool was developed by CSO Lanifex GmbH to support communication with customers during project implementation. It has rapidly evolved into a highly effective Web-based collaboration system, which improves interaction between consultants and their clients, as well as a wide range of other applications.

GNU Autoconf, Automake and Libtool

Aside from the subject matter, the book is also interesting because it was written in collaboration over the internet, even though we have mostly never met each other in person, and we are physically spread across the entire globe. I (Gary) live in Britain, Ben lives in Australia, and Tom & Ian live in the U.S. We were brought together by our mutual support of Free Software, and our respective involvements in various of the Autotools.

October 04, 2002
Give a GUI to your Perl

This document describes the principles of PerlQt programming. It assumes you have some basic Perl Object Oriented programming knowledge.

Trouble Installing TTF Fonts

Hello, i've been trying for days to install new true type fonts in my mandrake 8.2 system, and still, although i did all what is to do to install them, they still don't appear in my applications.

Windows usable, not fixable; Linux fixable, not usable

I'm a Network/Systems Administrator and I to support in a medium size company. My problem with what your letter writer is saying is that he chooses MS Bugs over other bugs.... "It's really just a matter of choosing whose bugs you prefer. I think Microsoft fixes more bugs faster because they have more resources to do it, so I choose Microsoft's bugs."...

This is fine to say if you’re someone who only uses machines and not someone who fixes them. My biggest problem is that Windows is not fixable once the registry has gotten corrupt, even if the files are not corrupt the registry is Windows achilles heel.

Stop, in the Name of 'Bots

Nowadays, it seems as if more and more law enforcement is being done by machines. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be up to the job. And the humans don't want to take responsibility, either.

Apache 1.3.27 Released

The Apache Software Foundation and The Apache Server Project are pleased to announce the release of version 1.3.27 of the Apache HTTP Server. This Announcement notes the significant changes in 1.3.27 as compared to 1.3.26.

This version of Apache is principally a security and bug fix release. A summary of the bug fixes is given at the end of this document. Of particular note is that 1.3.27 addresses and fixes 3 security vulnerabilities.

October 03, 2002
Pentagon Prohibits Wireless, Cites Security

The Office of the Secretary of Defense has issued a memorandum that prohibits the use of many types of wireless technology in the Pentagon and in much of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force until the military has developed a wireless security strategy, which it expects to do with assistance from the National Security Agency.

John Stenbit, assistant secretary of Defense for Command Control and Communications and the Defense Department's chief information officer, signed the memorandum along with the OSD's acting director of administration and management, Howard Becker. Attached to the memo, which pertains to use of wireless in the military's IT networks, is a document entitled "Pentagon Area Common Information Technology Wireless Security Policy." The document elaborates on the dangers of wireless-to-network security and the steps the Pentagon and its service branches are taking to deal with it. The decision on wireless had been expected for several months.

SANS / FBI The Twenty Most Critical Internet Security Vulnerabilities

This updated SANS/FBI Top Twenty is actually two Top Ten lists: the ten most commonly exploited vulnerable services in Windows, and the ten most commonly exploited vulnerable services in Unix. Although there are thousands of security incidents each year affecting these operating systems, the overwhelming majority of successful attacks target one or more of these twenty services.

Setting Up Your Own Diskless Workstations with LTSP

It is no news flash that local computer networks are very prevalent and widely used nowdays. The most common solution, is the ubiquitous PC-as-workstations model. But once you start adding in the costs for servers plus all of the headaches of the client-server model into the mix, some organizations may be wondering if this is truly the best solution.

One alternative, particularly for companies where employees work in few sessions, could be diskless workstations (X-terminals).

The Case for Linux in Universities

I work at a company which designs and manufactures networking test equipment based on Linux. Every term, I hire a Los Angeles college student or grad for a programming internship, and am often dismayed to find they lack adequate exposure to Linux. This causes me to spend precious weeks bringing them up to speed. Recently, out of frustration, I wrote the CS department of one large Los Angeles university, asking why their graduates generally knew so little about Linux. The response was roughly
The overwhelming demand both by industry and students (as related to me by faculty) at the undergrad level is for the use of PCs with Windows. We know Linux is coming, but our CS department does not (yet) plan to base a lab on it. If you can make a case for Linux, please do so, we'd like to hear it. Fair enough; here goes...


The community for Linux on mini-ITX

Netstation Linux

Netstation is a Linux distribution that enables you to convert standard PCs into full-featured diskless thin clients supporting all major connectivity protocols. It can be booted from the network using Etherboot/PXE or from standard media like floppy/CD/hd/flash-disk etc. The configuration is centralized to simplify terminal management.

What is mini-itx?

Mini-ITX is a motherboard form factor created by VIA. Motherboards are available from VIA, and other manufacturers such as Lucky Star.

Mini-ITX motherboards have a processor soldered to the board and a rich supporting chipset providing networking, graphics and sound. This means that by adding just some memory, a hard drive and a power supply, you have a full computer. You might want to add a case, but this is optional ;)

Mini-ITX motherboards are very cheap. But they are powerful enough to play back full screen video through their monitor or TV output.

Mini-ITX motherboards are very small. The specification requires that the boards are 170mm x 170mm (6.75" x 6.75")

October 01, 2002
Bugbear virus targets Internet Explorer

"It is so hard to stay up with all the patches," said John Harrington, U.S. marketing director for MessageLabs. Harrington said most home users don't even realize they're missing a needed security fix.

Linux Network Install Using ISO9660 Images

At work I wanted to keep copies of ISO9660 images for people who wanted to burn them. I also wanted to be able to do network installs. It seemed like a lot of waisted disk space to have a copy of both. Using loop devices and lndir(1) I only use disk space for the ISO9660 images.

This works find with Mandrake 7.2 and 8.0, and Red Hat 7.1. These distributions each have two ISO9660 images, if your installation only had one ISO9660 image you don't need to use lndir(1) and just do the install directly from the mounted image.

I have installed many Mandrake 7.2 and 8.0 systems using this method, including an Acer TravelMate 602TER, and an Acer TravelMate 602TXVi notebook. The Red Hat 7.1 install has only be tested on a Sony Vaio PCG­FX170K notebook system. Be warned, I have only done FTP installs, some have reported issues doing NFS installs; if your system only has less then32MB of memory you can't do an FTP install.