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My sysadmin toolbox

My working day includes a variety of tasks, and most of them take place on the command line, because that approach enables me to do things in the most efficient way. But you can also waste a lot of time on the command line if you don't know what utilities will give you what you need quickly. Here's an introduction to the most important tools I use every day.

World's first prisoners to write OpenICDL

Thirteen female inmates at the Pollsmoor and Malmesbury correctional centres yesterday wrote their OpenICDL examinations. A first ever, this was part of a programme to provide inmates with marketable skills that will help them integrate into society.

Immature software leads Ubuntu eschew built-in video bling

The Ubuntu technical board has decided to forgo the inclusion of a compositing window manager and proprietary video drivers in the default installation of the upcoming Ubuntu release. Instead, the technical board plans to incorporate new system configuration components that will allow users to trivially install, enable, and configure compositing support and the requisite video drivers. The board's decision was largely made based on the compositing software's lack of maturity, not criticism of proprietary driver inclusion. Compositing window managers like Beryl and Compiz, which leverage the 3D hardware acceleration features provided by proprietary graphics drivers, bring rich visual interfaces to the Linux desktop and provide users with sumptuous eye-candy.

Firefox's new add-on site delayed, set to launch tonight

Mozilla Corp., which postponed the expected Monday launch of its revamped Firefox add-on Web site, said it now plans to fire up the redesign tonight. The new add-on site will sport enhanced user-to-user discussion tools and will be available in multiple languages, a Mozilla executive said last week. Most important, however, is that the site will cull the number of supported browser extensions from more than 2,000 to a couple of hundred.

Novell vows to keep fighting Microsoft 'juggernaut'

Despite an alliance with Microsoft, Novell's chief says he's "excited by the muted reaction to Vista."

FOSDEM interviews: software patents, security, JBoss jBPM and Firebug

As FOSDEM is about to start next week, a new set of interviews has been released. This time the project leaders of FSFE, FFII JBoss jBPM and Firebug talk about their projects in anticipation of their talk.
Joe Hewitt of Firebug won't be able to present at FOSDEM, and ,will be replaced by Drupal creator Dries Buytaert. Who is, ironically enough, an avid Firebug user himself.

EBS implements Novell SUSE Linux as foundation for major server consolidation project

In an effort to decrease IT costs and provide centralised management, EBS Building Society in Ireland has deployed Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) within the company's mainframe environment to host IBM's WebSphere applications. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server will support more than 1,000 users within EBS in 2007.

uBuntu security distro Protech beta released

Protech has just been released in its beta form. Based on uBuntu, it has been designed to be a very light weight security distribution for professional security technicians and programmers

Microsoft's Love Letter to IBM and the Shape of Things to Come

Perhaps the most significant news this week in the battle between OOXML and ODF was Micorosoft's decision to escalate the air wars by sending IBM an open letter "valentine" yesterday, posted at the Microsoft Interoperability Web page.

Has open-source lost its halo?

Is open-source still a grassroots social movement made up of idealistic underdogs trying to revolutionize an amoral industry? Or has it become a cloak used by IT vendors large and small to disguise ruthless and self-serving behavior?

Flash for Linux -- It's Not for Designers.

Adobe has made great strides in making Flash available on Linux lately, but it still has some work to do. In a well attended session at the LinuxWorld Open Solutions Summit currently underway in New York, Emmy Huang, flash product manager for Linux and James Ward technical evangelist at Adobe, described in great detail the efforts that Adobe is making with Flash for Linux.

Volunteers make Vancouver PHP Conference work

More than 225 developers attended the second Vancouver PHP Conference at the University of British Columbia's Downtown Campus in Vancouver Canada this week. Organized by the Vancouver PHP Users Group, the conference attracted many of the best-known names in the PHP world, including Rasmus Lerdorf, Andrei Zmievski, Damien Seguy, and Zak Greant. The result was a well-rounded conference that shows what an experienced group of volunteer organizers can accomplish.

Open Source University: Getting Students Involved

  •; By Matt H. (Posted by gsh on Feb 15, 2007 11:31 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial; Groups: Linux
Theory versus practice - I don't think there’s a better solution in making sure that software developers are ready for the challenges of tomorrow than catching them while they are still in school, and then plugging them into an open source software project.

Fight Image Spam With FuzzyOCR And SpamAssassin On Debian/Ubuntu

This tutorial describes how to scan emails for image spam with FuzzyOCR. FuzzyOCR is a plugin for SpamAssassin which is aimed at unsolicited bulk mail containing images as the main content carrier. Using different methods, it analyzes the content and properties of images to distinguish between normal mails (ham) and spam mails. FuzzyOCR tries to keep the system load low by scanning only mails that have not already been categorized as spam by SpamAssassin, thus avoiding unnecessary work.

Install CentOS 4.4 on ASUS P5B Deluxe

  •; By Boris Derzhavets (Posted by dba477 on Feb 15, 2007 10:49 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Tutorial; Groups: Red Hat
It's well known that Jmicron JMB 363 SATA PATA controller is not currently supported by RHEL AS 4 U4 , what causes failure to intstall RHEL 4.4 from IDE CDROM on the box built up on ASUS P5B Deluxe MB. Work around for this issue follows bellow.

Opera-rific add-ons

To most people, Opera may be known as that "other" web browser out there besides Firefox and Internet Explorer. Still, it has a great user interface and offers plenty of customisable options to suit your every need. While Opera does not possess as many plug-ins as Firefox, it does come with many useful built-in functions that Internet Explorer and Firefox lack. Users of these browsers would have to install additional plug-ins to get the features which Opera users take for granted.

OpenEMR forked?

Apparently PossiblityForge has decided to borrow the OpenEMR name. PossiblityForge now owns At the recent SCALE Open Source HealthCare Summit Matthew Excell, CEO of PossibilityForge announced that, amoung other things, OpenEMR was moving to Java. This surprised me as uncharacteristic of the OpenEMR community and the previous OpenEMR direction.

Idc: Linux Ecosystem Worth $40 Billion by 2010

Sizing the Linux market ecosystem is no easy task. Downloads of Linux operating systems and applications are not an accurate measure. Analyst firm IDC, however, has a handle on the market and its size, and it's large. At the Linuxworld Open Solutions Summit, which kicked off today in New York, IDC analysts detailed where they see the Linux ecosystem today and where it is headed by 2010.

Archos Releases 604, 604 Wi-Fi Firmware Into to Open Source

Thanks to the fact that Archos used GPL and LGPL code in constructing their firmware for the Archos 604 and 604 Wi-Fi devices, they're forced to release just about the source code for said firmware into the public domain. What does this mean to the average Archos 604 user? Not a whole lot, at least right now. The code is pretty much complete, but lacks a few things like signatures, and some non-GPL utilities Archos used to build, link, and generate the final firmware files.

Jim Kent, Hero of Open source

  • Free Software Magazine; By Gary Richmond (Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Feb 15, 2007 7:55 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story
Percy Shelly averred that poets were the unacknowledged legislators of the world. That was a hope rather than a fact. It might have been true in earlier centuries but the inexorable rise of scientific methodology relegated it as a source of power and influence. Inevitably, the baton passed to science.

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