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Of canaries and coal mines

It’s been about 18 months since Slashdot linked to Tim O’Reilly for linking to Jason Kottke for linking to Cory Doctorow for linking to me for switching from Mac to Linux. (Best comment: “this is just another A-list blogger circle-jerk.” As if that was my fault!) At the time, Jason said, “Nerds are a small demographic, but they can also be the canary in the coal mine with stuff like this.”

While you’re waiting, don’t save in OOXML format

While all the drama is unfolding before the OOXML Ballot Resolution Meeting in Geneva at the end of February and the subsequent 30 day period while countries can still change their vote, I thought I would point out something that I assume is fairly obvious to most people: Saving your documents in OOXML format right now is probably about the riskiest thing you can do if you are concerned with long term interoperability. The “official” ECMA OOXML that was submitted to ISO is not what Microsoft implements in Office 2007. So unless your application reverse-engineered Office 2007’s support, you’ve got interoperability problems right there.

Embedded Linux as Dependable for Developers as RTOSes, says Embedded Market Forecasters

A market research study released in December finds embedded Linux has become as dependable for developers as real time operating systems. The Embedded Market Forecasters (EMF) study compares the outcomes of hundreds of design projects that used embedded Linux to those that used commercial RTOSes, and further compares outcomes with non-commercial "roll your own" embedded Linux.

Retrieve WAN IP from LAN or Remotely

  •; By xiao_haozi (Posted by xiaohaozi on Jan 23, 2008 8:07 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Tutorial; Groups: Linux
So most of us with a LAN setup have run into this situation. We wish to connect to our LAN remotely while at work or at the coffee shop. Our firewall is setup and ready for NAT on our desired ports and our internal computers/servers on the LAN have the appropriate services running. But our ISP gives us our IP dynamically so it may stay the same for a month or maybe a couple, or maybe it will only stay at the current address for another day. Well let's figure out how we can find our IP in the sea of addresses when far from the comforts of the LAN.

OpenSuSE 11.0 Installer Gets A Face-Lift

  • Phoronix; By Michael Larabel (Posted by phoronix on Jan 23, 2008 7:35 AM EDT)
  • Groups: KDE; Story Type: News Story
Last week OpenSuSE 11.0 Alpha 1 was released, and in addition to including KDE 4.0, PulseAudio integration, and various package updates, Alpha 1 features improvements to the OpenSuSE installer. This installer uses Qt4 and is much improved, which warranted us taking a closer look.

Wikipedia, Ubuntu founders back 'open education'

Linux and other open-source software should provide the model for development and distribution of educational materials, according to Ubuntu. The backers of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, announced on Tuesday, said the initiative is designed to echo the disruptive effect that open source had on the proprietary software world by opening up the development and distribution of educational materials.

Keys to the Slackware kingdom

While Slackware isn't as hard to use as some would lead you to thing, it is different enough from Ubuntu, Debian and Red Hat that a how-to is in no way a bad thing. In fact, a lot of things are easier in Slackware than in other distros because Slack's command-line tools do more of the work for you than many Slackware users would have you believe. (I love xwmconfig, netconfig and pkgtool and wonder why Debian doesn't have similar utilities ... although apt probably makes up for all other omissions.) Still, if there were any up-to-date books on running Slackware, I'd be the first in line to buy one or all of them. Alas, there's nothing out there.

Setting up a linux dialup connection

  •; By xiao_haozi (Posted by xiaohaozi on Jan 23, 2008 5:23 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Tutorial; Groups: Linux
My dirty walk-through to setting up an external modem in Linux using wvdial to dial into an ISP connection. I had some trouble finding a single place with a good write-up for doing such a task when I was setting up a Linux box for someone that had previously been using Windows and a little OS X. Finding dialing info, modem configuration, or slight troubleshooting, alone wasn't too difficult, but finding them in one place in a concise manner was. So I have attempted to compile what I have found, my tweaks and adjustments, and other hints that enabled me to setup a Linux box to use a dial up connection via external modem.

What open code developers can teach PR

Is the real challenge for PR just "influence"? Or is it something bigger than that? If so, are there ways we can help PR move past its history of spinnage and into a future of usefulness? Those are the questions raised for me by "Distributed influence: quantifying the impact of social media", an Edelman paper posted several days ago by Jonny Bentwood on his blog. It's a worthy effort, with good people involved. It is also a work in progress.

Debian Lenny doesn't fix my Nautilus problem, but a look at the bug report tells me why the issue is "resolved"

I half-expected today's massive Debian Lenny update to solve my Nautilus-crashes-when-I-try-to-get-the-properties-of-a-file bug. It did not, but I'm not disappointed. I went back to the original bug report, which was filed with GNOME, not Debian, but is clearly a Debian-only bug. I saw the "solution," but didn't understand it until now. I still don't know how to actually "do" the solution, and for now I'm content to let it ride and see if Debian Testing catches up.

Build Your Own Jabber Server for Private Communication

XMPP is an open technology for instant messaging and presence information. It provides the opportunity to build an open source and free messaging server to handle many applications in varied environments. We are going to setup a XMPP server on a LAN to handle communications between LAN and WAN contacts. By running our own server we can gain some insight into how XMPP and Jabber work, create an efficient and easy to use internal communications setup, connect our server to other servers and services including WAN communications, and last, but not least, we can have our own private communications using SSL. Read on for more on XMPP and how we actually set it all up.

Zend Studio weds Eclipse

With today's release of Zend Studio for Eclipse, Zend has made Zend Studio, which we reviewed last year, even better. This release of Zend Studio introduces a number of terrific features and as a whole provides you with the most feature-rich release of Zend Studio to date. One of the notable features is Zend's use of the Eclipse as the base platform. Eclipse is by default a Java IDE, but should be looked at more like a platform or framework.

Review: Status Report: Chandler Desktop and Server

Earlier this month, the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF) announced a major staff reorganization, which included the departure of founder Mitch Kapor as head of the OSAF's flagship project, Chandler. After almost seven years of effort there is finally a release remotely resembling something a casual user might consider giving a try.

Ext4 2.6.25 Merge Plans

"The following patches have been in the -mm tree for a while, and I plan to push them to Linus when the 2.6.25 merge window opens," began Theodore Ts'o, offering the patches for review before they are merged. "With this patch series, it is expected that [the] ext4 format should be settling down. We still have delayed allocation and online defrag which aren't quite ready to merge, but those shouldn't affect the on-disk format.

Using The Bazaar Version Control System (VCS) On Debian Etch

  • HowtoForge; By Falko Timme (Posted by falko on Jan 22, 2008 10:42 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: Tutorial; Groups: Debian
Bazaar is a distributed version control system (VCS) available under the GPL; it is similar to Subversion (svn). Bazaar is sponsored by Canonical, Ltd., the company that develops the Ubuntu Linux distribution, and therefore the Ubuntu project is the most prominent user of Bazaar. This article explains how to set up and use Bazaar on a Debian Etch system, and how to configure an SFTP-/HTTP server to host your Bazaar repository.

Tips from an RHCE: Visualizing audit logs with mkbar

The 2.6 Linux kernel comes with a very flexible and powerful auditing subsystem called auditd. auditd is composed of two parts. The main work is done in kernel-space. In user-land, auditd is listening for generated audit events. auditd is able to log file-watches as well as syscalls. All LSM-based subsystems–for example, SELinux–are logging via auditd as well.

OLPC looks ahead with optimism

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has been in the news a lot in recent months. Reports last fall that Uruguay purchased 100,000 XO laptops and soon US consumers could do the same via a special campaign soon gave way to news items about a patent lawsuit and Intel's abrupt departure from OLPC's board. Walter Bender, OLPC's president of software/content and COO, says those developments are nothing more than a bump in the road.

Review: VMware ESX Server in the Enterprise

Skip the table of contents unless you want to go blind. Sorry, it's just the formatting of the TOC seems to run all the chapters and topics together and at least in my case, makes me work extra hard to get my visual markers and make sense of the content. I had a much better time in the "How is this Book Organized" section, though it didn't let me take in the different topics in the book at a glance. This is how I first approach a book to try and understand in brief, what's inside and if I'm interested. So far, if I'd come across this book in a bookstore or library, I might have passed it by. That would have been a mistake on my part.

CLI Magic: Use ANSI escape sequences to display a clock in your terminal

When I'm in a Linux terminal, I often find myself typing date just to see the time. To make life a bit easier, I wrote a script to always display a clock in the top right corner of the screen. The script saves the current cursor position with an ANSI escape sequence instruction. Then, using the tput command, the cursor is sent to row 0 (the top of the screen) and the last column minus 19 characters (19 is the length of HH:MM:SS YYYY-MM-DD). The formatted date command is displayed in green inverted color. The cursor is then sent back to its original position with another ANSI sequence that restores the original saved position.

Linux security guru joins Microsoft

Crispin Cowan, the Linux security expert behind StackGard, the Immunix Linux distro and AppArmor, has joined the Windows security team. Howard adds that Crispin will join the team that worked on User Account Control. Given the criticism that UAC has received hopefully Crispin can inject a little more pragmatism into the effort.

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