I have been working with iTerm 2 on a Macbook Pro a lot to connect to my server. While I am in the Midnight Commander interface, often I need to do multiple selections to move files, change their permissions or sometimes delete them. Since I originally used Putty for my SSH Client way back when I was running Windows, I grew accustomed to using the INSERT key on the PC keyboard to add files to a selection in Midnight Commander. On the Macbook Pro, there is no such key. However the good news is you can perform the same type of selection using the CONTROL and T keys, thanks Wesley R Elsberry of Austringer. Have fun!
Yesterday, Canonical, the people behind the development of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution for desktop and laptops made an announcement that they would be putting Ubuntu on phones later this year or early next year. This will mark a significant change in the development of Ubuntu Linux specifically and Linux in general.
While this is not as revolutionary as when the first iPhones hit the market, it is important to note that the release of Ubuntu for smartphones will be an interesting development in the market segment. Provided the user interface is of as high quality as that on iOS and Android, it can provide a significant alternative to not only iOS and Android devices, but also the range of Windows Phone devices that are fighting for market and mind share in this segment.
This may sound like a wild imagination, but a smartphone that would support multiple user accounts could be an interesting change from what is currently available. This could facilitate several spaces in which a user could run applications. For example, one space could be dedicated to running experimental software, another for running day to day smartphone tasks and yet another could be for running corporate applications for work.
What could also appeal to the developer community could be the mention of some sort of control of device configurations so that the market becomes more addressable. I am not sure how this might translate into reality, but I can see that the benefit of developing for iOS and Windows Phone is the limited number of screen resolutions and device configurations that a developer has to address.
This year will prove to be an interesting one for developers as the Mozilla Foundation is also readying their own Gecko-based phone.
The end of the netbook is already here. The Guardian has posted a nice piece here about the stats and the numbers pointing to the fact that the end for the computer format is already here. This question has been much discussed ever since the explosion of the market for consumer tablets, heralded by the birth of the first iPad.
When the first iPad was born in the marketplace, my main tool for working on the go was actually a netbook. I still own this netbook, an HP Mini Note 2133 with the VIA C7M ULV processor and its accompanying chipset. It was quite interesting that HP decided to use the VIA processor when everyone else was going the Atom route. This resulted in some interesting experience trying to install Linux over the shipped Windows Vista Business OS.
Overall, I found it quite frustrating to work on the small screen, cramped keyboard and the 3-cell battery (lucky to last more than two hours). Taking it to a cafe to browse on their wifi connection was quite painful at best, but luckily, or unluckily, the woefully inadequate battery life makes the experience quite short. I hardly ever tried to write articles or code on it as it did not give me enough working time away from the power point. This problem was somewhat alleviated by my splurging on an extra large battery (6-cell model).
I decided to replace this woeful machine with two different devices. One was a Macbook Air, which took care of all my writing and coding needs, while for other things, I got an Acer Iconia Tab Android Tablet. The tablet is an excellent tool for browsing, writing short emails or comments on blogs, updating facebook, and many other light tasks. It is quite easy to operate for short periods of time, but it also has the stamina to sustain a five to six hour browing or movie session.
I am not sure if I should have gone for an iPad to accompany my Macbook Air, but I definitely see a place for a tablet in my gadget bag. I did not choose the iPad at that time because I had an Android phone and I thought giving up Android’s configurability was not an option (maybe it is now?). I chose the Acer tablet because it had a MicroSD card slot, full-size USB slot (yes, I can plug in a portable HDD into it) and it was running Android.
So from a personal standpoint, the netbook certainly has had its day. I have not used my HP Mini Note 2133 since I got the Acer tablet and Macbook Air last year. Do you still use your netbook?
This morning while logged on inside the webmin interface, I saw that there were 10 packages to update. Without much thought, I just hit the “update packages” button and it went on its merry way. Unfortunately, the consequence was not very merry for me and my server, as when the updates were completed Apache would not start, complaining of a problem with mod-apache2-lib-php5.
After much searching and talking to my friend Google, I found that the problem was caused by what is probably a bug with the way Webmin applies the updates. For some reason, the update process removed mod-apache2-lib-php5 so that it became disabled. If you enable the module, you will encounter the same error that I did. The way to fix this module is to reinstall it using aptitude install command such as outlined here
Next time, I will just fire up the shell and do it the old fashioned way.
In 1997, I purchased a computer system with a Pentium II 300 processor. At that time, I remember that this computer ate all my savings and I was a poor university student. Inside the box, was 64MB of RAM and a 4.3GB HDD made by Seagate. Thinking about it now, I thought that a 4.3GB hard drive was quite large. Also, with the computer, I bought an Iomega ZIP drive which connected through the printer port.
When I had moved up to a better machine later, I turned the PII 300 machine into a server. I installed Mandrake 8.0 on it and it became my internet gateway/mail server/web server in one box. It served me faithfully for quite a few years without complaint from the machine or me.
Eventually, the motherboard died and I decided to throw the whole lot out, except for the Hard Drive. I was then given a PII 450 from a friend who had just purchased a new machine (it’s funny how people will give you computers once you own one, but not if you have no computers). I installed Mandrake 9.0, Qmail and Shorewall on this machine and it ran on the old Seagate HDD.
The same server configuration ran for many years up until last month when I decided to get a new greener box, which resulted in an Atom box running a flavor of Debian. So the same Seagate 4.3 HDD has been with me since 1997 and still working perfectly well.
According to a revelation from Theo de Raadt, the IPSEC stack in OpenBSD has a backdoor built in. The code was puportedly inserted by contractors who were also paid by the FBI. This revelation should not come as a big surprise to anyone, as this has been a possibility that has been discussed in relation to a lot of software either open-source or otherwise.
The backdoor (if the report is true), apparently allows FBI access to encrypted sessions (such as VPN) and other sofware that rely on the IPSEC stack in OpenBSD. This will mean that the FBI will have the ability to capture packets from an encrypted session and decrypt them to reveal the contents. While this may not sound like a great deal to most people, for the security conscious, this is a real threat. After all, if the FBI is able to carry out a surveillance of encrypted traffic, who says that criminal elements or other government agencies will not do the same.
It should be noted, though, that other implementations of IPSEC such as FreeSwan and OpenSwan are not affected by this development.
What seems like a perfect (from attackers’ point of view) remote exploit has been discovered in the mail server software called Exim. In the exploit, an attacker can compromise an entire system remotely and gain access to not only the mail server user privilege, but even root according to an article here. If that is not serious enough, the problem with the mail server agent has been around for at least two years. This vulnerability affects only version 4.69 and earlier versions, but since the upgrade to 4.7 did not mention the existence of any sort of vulnerability, many sysadmins did not upgrade. After all, if it ain’t broke…
If you are running Exim for your MTA, it is recommended to upgrade to 4.7 immediately.
After nearly eight years of near constant running, the server on which the agit8.org website has been hosted, is now officially retiring. The website has been running on an old and outdated (!) hardware that was Pentium II 400Mhz with 256MB of RAM. It happily ran for years without complaint, except for a dead power supply fan and it also handled mail for about four other domains.
The old server was happily serving pages running Mandrake 9.0 and Apache 1.3. The new server hardware is based on the Intel Atom architecture and is quite a bit snappier at 1.6Ghz with 4GB of RAM. Page views should be a little snappier from now on.
I have jumped the bandwagon with the updates this time and downloaded and installed Linux Mint 9 (Isadora) on my old HP Mini Note 2133 which has been a testing bed for all sorts of OS and software. Upon completion, however I have noticed a couple of important issues:
- The K3520 Vodafone dongle does not get recognised by the network manager anymore. When I plug it in, it shows up as a CDROM drive, but does not get unmounted an then used as a modem like it was with Linux Mint 8 (Helena).
- The Interface seems to be really slow as to make it nearly unusable. The delay between clicking on a program to launch it and the actual launch is around 3-5 seconds. This is unacceptable.
To keep myself sane, I think I will just go back to Helena for now and be happy that everything works well enough to use the netbook on the move.
I have not used my HP 2133 for a few months now. I used to use it a lot for writing documents and stuff on the bus or train during commutes, but that was only after I got a larger battery for the laptop. The original battery was for all intents and purposes useless. For a laptop that was designed to be used as a “netbook”, being connected to the internet when away from home, (the marketing deparment? at) HP decided it was a great idea to put a 3 cell battery in the unit.
So in a little over an hour you go from full charge to nothing just by using the laptop the way it was intended to be used. So despite its small size, the 2133 was never really designed to be too far away from a charger for too long. It is almost like having a car like a Honda Jazz with a petrol tank the size of a coffee cup. “Yes it is frugal, sir, but it will only go for a half a kilometre no matter how you drive it.”
Recently I discovered the wonderful Linux Mint 8 (Helena), while searching for a desktop linux distro to install as a virtual machine on my MacBook Pro. Despite all the misgivings that I have had in the past for the various Linux distros, I must say that they have been improving all the time. The last time I tried to install Linux on the 2133 was when Ubuntu 9.10 came out. What a disaster that was. Wifi did not want to work, then I went back to 9.04 but found that I could just not get my Vodafone Prepaid Mobile Broadband stick to work (K3520). In the end, out of frustration and spite I decided to whack XP back on and because I needed a little mobile word processor.
Linux Mint seems to run with a little bit of lag sometimes, but overall the experience has made my faith in Linux desktop distro strong again. Using Helena I could use my Vodafone Prepaid Broadband to connect to the net and wifi worked right out of the box.
If you need a decent desktop distro that looks half decent (who like brown anyway?) and works well out of the box for your 2133, then I can recommend Linux Mint 8 (Helena).