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Backing up Your Desktop Settings with Ubuntu-Tweak

There is no shortage of backup software in GNU/Linux. From full clones of hard drives to browser bookmarks there's something for everyone. However, sometimes you just need to be more selective about what you backup.

If you want to backup your precious desktop settings, you should try Ubuntu Tweak: it is bundled with a host of really useful features, it's been around for a while and it's up to version seven. You might find a version in your distro's repositories but if you're out of luck, download it from the official site.

Book Review: Beginning Ubuntu LTS Server Administration: From Novice to Professional, Second Edition by Sander van Vugt

Ubuntu Server Edition, built on Debian GNU/Linux, has established itself as one of the most popular and well documented GNU/Linux server distributions. The Long Term Support (LTS) version of Ubuntu Server is provided with security updates for five years from the release date. This long term commitment ensures a stable base for deployment. Beginning Ubuntu LTS Server Administration From Novice to Professional aims to teach all you need to know to begin administering Ubuntu Server. The book covers installing, configuring and the systems administration tasks for Ubuntu Server Edition.

The Falcon Programming Language: a brief tutorial

The Falcon Programming Language is a typeless language born for rapid development, prototyping, and ready-made integration. We may also describe Falcon as a "scripting" language with features that enable the programmer to create even complex multi-threaded applications. It mixes several different programming paradigms into an unique blend of constructs, overcoming the limitations and partialities of other languages.

Book review: SQL Hacks by Andrew Cumming and Gordon Russell

SQL is the de facto method of accessing relational data within databases. Databases have been around for many years, and consequentially many many books have been written about them. However, SQL Hacks: Tips & Tools for Digging into Your Data by Andrew Cumming and Gordon Russell sets itself apart through format, easy-going style, and ability to cover lots of tips, tricks, and hacks with Structured Query Language. The O'Reilly Press Hacks Series book covers SQL for MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and Microsoft Access. It covers 100 hacks which will definitely add to your SQL toolkit, and it will help give you ideas of how to solve related issues in writing queries.

Home automation in GNU/Linux

Home Automation is anything that your home does for you automatically to make living there more enjoyable or productive. It covers many areas, including remote and timed control of lights and electrical home appliances, distributed media services, and communication. Over the last 10 years, many hardware manufacturers have presented their own proprietary solutions to these problems. Unbeknownst to them, a groundswell of developers from around the world has been providing similar solutions to the free and open source community.

Protect your server with Deny Hosts

Requiring system accessibility via the Internet poses several problems for system administrators. One problem is allowing access by authorized users with the least amount of complexity on the client computer while keeping the system and its services safe from intruders. Common services that may be provided include web server, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server, and Secure Shell (SSH) server. Each of these services can require different methods of security to ensure only authorized users have access.

UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) installation and configuration

An inexpensive way to prevent unscheduled downtime or data loss due to power problems is with a UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply. However, a UPS by itself is not enough for proper operation. Hardware, software, and configuration together make up a UPS system that will recover from unexpected power loss or power fluctuations that can damage systems and peripherals.

Introduction

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

Firewall Builder

Have you ever wanted to configure a personal firewall for your GNU/Linux box, but were scared of the complexity of iptables? Well, I might not be able to make you a security expert, but I can show you a tool that will help you to configure your personal firewall the easy way. The secret? Firewall Builder (also known as fwbuilder for short).

Backup your workstation with Backup Manager

Backing up is one of those tedious jobs that has to be done but is usually relegated to the end of the To Do list. Enter Backup Manager, which is a set of Bash and Perl scripts that alleviate the tediousness of performing backups. Taking away some of the complexity of backup tools and combining others, Backup Manager is similar to other backup programs like my pc backup in that it brings simplicity to backing up. Obtaining a higher level view of backups also allows easier management of archives including retention. What follows is a method of backing up a single workstation daily and managing those backups.

Managing your iPod without iTunes

While iTunes is a powerful application, it does have its limitations, mostly stemming from both Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions and the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) interest in preventing unauthorized copying of music, regardless of fair use and personal flexibility. The free software community believes that the ability to freely copy content you own between your iPod and a computer is a right, not a privilege. In this article, I’ll discuss how to fully manage the content on your iPod using completely free software.

Stitching seamless panoramas with Hugin

We can’t all afford four-figure priced twelve megapixel digital cameras with wide angle lenses. We can, however, all use free software to embellish the photographs taken by our modest equipment and belie their resolution and viewing angle. Set the GIMP aside for a moment and launch Hugin, a powerful cross-platform GTK frontend that will help you quickly and easily stitch individual photographs into one, large, seamless panorama.

Panoramas from start to finish

Book review: Nagios: System and Network Monitoring by Wolfgang Barth

There was a commercial on US television a while back that showed a man in an office building, and the man sticks his head into a coworker’s office, and says, “The network’s down, want to go grab a bagel?” The following scenes show each of those coworkers asking other coworkers to step out for a bagel. The final scene of the commercial shows the entire office, several hundred people, all crossing the street down below to grab a bagel, since they couldn’t do their jobs without a computer network. While Nagios can’t prevent network or application outages, it can actively monitor conditions and alert the appropriate people to ensure the network or application functionality can be restored quickly. Nagios: System and Network Monitoring by Wolfgang Barth is an excellent book which addresses installation, basic configuration, and provides an in-depth look into how to configure service checking for multiple platforms for Nagios 2.0.

Wengophone: VoIP done right

A new, full-featured free software application pops its head into the VoIP world, and it nominates itself as the most serious competitor of Skype. Its name is Wengophone.

What is Wengophone?

Figure 1: Wengophone “NG” 2.0 beta running on a Debian testingFigure 1: Wengophone “NG” 2.0 beta running on a Debian testing

In short: Wengophone is a communication-over-IP application. With Wengophone you can:

  • place voice calls to other Wengophone users
  • create audio conferences with up to three users
  • place video calls to other Wengophone users

Book review: User Mode Linux by Jeff Dike

“User Mode Linux” by Jeff Dike discusses a specific form of virtualization. UML is a Linux virtual machine contained within the GNU/Linux operating environment. The technique allows you to run multiple sandboxed virtual instances of Linux from one machine under a master Linux operating system. This is always good for server consolidation, security and development. In this book, a potentially complex subject area has been tamed and discussed with well grounded commonsense and practical examples by the original creator and current maintainer of the software. Virtualization is a hot topic.

Book review: Write Great Code by Randall Hyde

In our era of more powerful personal computers, applications that were once quick and simple have become larger, slower, and full of bloat. Any one of these application’s developers would have done well to have picked up a copy of Randall Hyde’s Write Great Code Volume 2: Thinking Low-level, writing high-level, published by No Starch Press. Write Great Code Volume 2 exceeds its goal of helping developers pay more attention to application performance when writing applications in high-level languages.

Simple package management with Synaptic

If you don’t like using the command line, and you want to manage your program installations without typing a command, then read on: this article is for you!

Ladies and Gentlemen: Synaptic!

Synaptic is a graphical user interface (GUI) for managing software packages on Debian-based distributions. If you are using Debian or Ubuntu you will easily find Synaptic in the System Tools menu or in the Administration menu. Synaptic uses the GTK graphic libraries (GNOME’s ones) . So, if you are using GNOME on your debian-based distro you will probably have Synaptic installed as well.

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