Issue 19

Issue 19

SSH beyond the command line

If you’re an experienced administrator, you’ve probably used SSH to remotely access a troublesome box or your personal computer. For those who don’t know: SSH it’s a great way to fiddle with a computer from miles away as if you were sitting at its keyboard, but it’s also just about the simplest and most secure way to configure your computer to let you access its files from anywhere. You can use SSH on nearly every operating system to transfer files to and from your computer over the internet or a LAN.

Is SSH for more than commands?

The "alias" command

You almost certainly have speed dial set up on your home, office and mobile phone. It saves time, ensures against a failing memory and allows you to work smarter.

Devotees of the command line don’t have to be left out in the cold. One of the crown jewels of GNU/Linux is that every user, be he ne’er so base, has at his or her fingertips the kind of power of which even Caligula could not dream. Alright, I’m exaggerating—a little.

Create your online project site, start to finish, with Sakai

Sakai is an online Collaboration Learning Environment, CLE for short. Indiana University has proactively deployed it for 100,000 students, and over 120 other Universities are involved with their own local deployments or test beds. Clearly, this well received application is worth checking out and taking for a vigorous and thorough test run.

Stretching your instant messaging wings with Pidgin

Today, everyone uses a different instant messenger. Your boss may use Lotus Sametime, your colleague AIM, your friend Google Talk, and your kid Yahoo! Messenger. However, these all take up hard drive space, RAM, and CPU usage. In addition, many of these are proprietary and Windows-only (two big minuses for GNU/Linux users). Luckily, the free software world has an alternative that enables users to chat with users of all of these programs (and many more). It is called Pidgin.

SPIP: Content management for publishers and writers

Content Management System (CMS) software comes nowadays in all shapes and colours, so you can afford to be picky and choose the one that fits your needs. And if you happen to be a writer or an editor of an online magazine, SPIP might be what you are looking for. While SPIP is not as well-known as, say, Joomla, it has a huge following in France, its country of origin. Unlike other CMS applications which cater for a broad user base that needs to manage “content”, SPIP is designed for a more specific audience and purpose.

Introduction to Firestarter

Most modern GNU/Linux distributions are secure with their default minimal installs, whether desktop or server, while some distributions are designed specifically with security in mind. However, any GNU/Linux distribution that needs services available to other users or systems will need either enhanced or configurable security. There are other situations in which added security is beneficial; for example, a large environment, while secure to the outside world, would be enhanced with additional security measures in place.

Network design

Free software media players

Last year, while running Ubuntu, I decided I wanted to watch a video, so I opened it up in the built-in Totem player. What happened next took me back to the dark era of codecs and computing. The XviD video I was watching became pixelated, the video became out of sync; within a few minutes it was unwatchable. I dual booted back into Windows XP, opened up by trusty MPUI and watched the video with the free software XviD codecs without any issues. The experience had left a bad taste in my mouth.

Create your own Live CD in 7 Steps

Knoppix made live CDs popular—and with good reason too. Do you want to check whether a distribution works well with your hardware, or to show off the latest Compiz Fusion magic, or maybe you have a presentation to do and you want to make sure you have the same environment to show it in as you had to create it? A live CD can help with all of these scenarios. However, until recently you had to read through some pretty dense documentation to make any customisations. Now, Fedora 7 is out and Revisor is here to help you create any kind of live system you can imagine, in 7 easy steps.

Free as in free milk

A first draft of this article has been sitting for months in my hard disk. I decided to finish it after reading that Microsoft will offer its operating system and office suite for $3 per machine to developing countries. That made me think of the way the giant software company “helps” these countries by giving licenses of its proprietary software almost for free, and that in turn made me think of free milk. Let me tell you about it.

The Nestlé boycott

Winning the OpenDocument vs. OpenXML war

In August 2005 Peter Quinn, now retired Chief Information Officer of Massachusetts, decided that OpenDocument was the best way to store documents with the guarantee that they would be able to be opened 10, 30, 50 years from now. For a state government, this is particularly important. He led Massachusetts toward OpenDocument and OpenOffice.org. The move, which sparked controversy and ferocious lobbying, is likely to end-up in history books (and while we’re at it, I’ll mention that history books in particular ought to be accessible 50, 100, 1000 years from now!).

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