Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

31 Jan 2006

Dynamic DNS (Done)

After a long while I finally relased my Dynamic DNS article on Debian Admin. It was quite a few months ago that I actually got it working Dynamic DNS, turing it into an article has just taken a lot longer than it should.

30 Jan 2006

GNU Solaris Anyone?

In his recent, and by now very well read blog, Jonathan Schwartz a senior bod a Sun Microsystems talks about really opening Solaris with the new GNU GPL version 3. It's not a given yet, but it would infuse Solaris with a lot of more modern GNU code, and at the same time allow some really cool but isolated stuff from Sun to cross-fertilise the Linux universe. It would certainly make Debian GNU/Solaris a lot easier from a legal standpoint!

25 Jan 2006

Antique Software

Like many manufacturing companies we use German company SAP AG's R/3 ERP suite of software at work. This week we have been configuring up an application server for it on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux box.

To say that is interesting is an understatement. To make it work you have to install and enable all the nasty insecure thinks that gave Unix such a bad security reputation back in the 90's, so out is SSH in are the r* tools... Having only used Unix/Linux using secure tools it not only freaks me out to be sending passwords across the network in clear text and trusting machines just because of a hostname, but I just don't know how to use these tools...

22 Jan 2006

A Schecker's Lanwmower

This morning I listened to a radio interview with local land owner Jody Scheckter. In it he complained about slow flying small aircraft annoying his tranquility, describing them as "lawnmowers".

20 Jan 2006

Security Sweep for Open Source

The US Department For Homeland Security is paying security specialist firm Coverity to check a wide range of popular open source software for possible security flaws. The project, an extension of similar work, will take in key open source projects: Apache, BIND, Firefox, FreeBSD/OpenBSD, Linux, OpenSSL/SSH along with many more.

It's a shame that open source projects can't do this kind of work on their own, or their rich backers such as IBM, HP or Intel. However the US government is for once taking a sensible public stand and it is in everyone interest that bugs are detected and resolved before they can be exploited.

Save Money with Linux

ZDnet is reporting yet another story about a public sector body making considerable saving by switching to open source software instead of proprietary software: UK school showcases Linux suite. While open source and Linux may not be right for everyone, anyone who does not even consider open source faces a potentially expensive and insecure future...

Firefox Over 20% of EU Market Share

According to XiTi Mozilla's Firefox browser now has on average over 20% of the browser market share in Europe, ranging from 9.5% for the Ukraine to 38% for Finland. As usual the UK is languishing near the bottom of the table with only 11% - but even so the future is looking better for web browsing.

15 Jan 2006

IE 98% Insecure

In a recent study reported here, Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser when kept fully patched, was known to be insecure for 98% of 2004. In the same study Mozilla Firefox was known to be insecure for 15% of 2004 and Opera's Browser was insecure 17%. Thus in the year 2004 there were only seven days in 2004 that IE was known to be secure...

Microsoft is a multi billion dollar corporation, Opera is a tiny company and Mozilla is just a bunch of hackers. It's frightening to think that one of the biggest software companies in the world couldn't keep IE free of known defects for more than one week in a whole year... In the same year two tiny groups managed to keep their browser safe for over 80% of time.

13 Jan 2006


Today I got an actual bug report and fix for XML::RSS::Tools. I was going to update it anyway, so I've now added the fix and and upgraded it all in one go. It'll be on it's way up to CPAN this weekend.

AIX Training (Day 5)

Today was the last day on the training course. It was also the day with the worst rail journey - which wasn't that bad really. I now feel more prepared to deal with IBM's somewhat unique take on Unix/POSIX.

12 Jan 2006

AIX Training (Day 4)

Today was the last full day of training. Finally I had a less than ideal commute- with delays on the way home - but in the scheme of things not too bad.

I think IBM's LVM technology is starting to sink in. I still think some of the commands are oddly named - bit I am getting the hang of them now. As long as you install all the right (GNU) extra bits, AIX is actually a nice if unique Unix. Like my Red Hat training a year ago - familiarity with a product does make it more likable.

I even helped to fix a bug in my instructor's web site: Tuxaco. If you view the site with a modern standard compliant browser you'll see the footer navigation isn't in the correct place. Only with a broken antique like IE6 does the site look correct. It's tiny fix and by now it could have even been implemented.

11 Jan 2006

AIX Training (Day 3)

Another decent commute - though it did rain on me on my way to the station this morning.

Today was the IBM AIX LVM and AIX file-systems (jfs & jfs2). I have no problem understanding how the LVM model works - it's a very sensible and powerful way of managing storage - my problem is the somewhat haphazard nature of the commands. I'm sure if I use the LVM suite more I'll get the hang of it, but until I learn it, it's still a bit weird.

10 Jan 2006

AIX Training (Day 2)

Another surprisingly good commute down to Surrey. Another interesting and useful day. Tomorrow is LVM stuff, which I understand from my Red Hat Training last year but always find confusing on AIX.

09 Jan 2006

AIX Training (Day 1)

Today went very well, the trains connected well, I arrived in time and the course was lots of new stuff at a well balance rate of delivery. Unlike my previous course - at SAP last year - I don't think anyone is drowning.

IBM's AIX is really interesting, it's quite different from other Unix and Linux systems, it's really all on it's own in many respects. The course has so far concentrated on the things that make AIX different from Unix - which is really useful.

08 Jan 2006

AIX Training (Day 0)

Tomorrow I'm off on an IBM AIX Unix training course. It's a while since my last training course and I'm looking forward to this one more than the SAP one.

We use an antique version of AIX at work and I'm hoping to learn what a newer version is capable off. I'm not expecting the sophisticated user interface available to modern Linux systems - which are on the whole far more advanced - rather the sophisticated enterprise features of a mature product on highly specialised hardware.


Yesterday I picked up this months Linux User & Developer. The cover disk had DSL on - already obsolete, but more interestingly 9 albums from Linux friendly record label Magnatune. In the magazine was an interesting interview with the owner of Magnatune and an explanation of his "no evil" business philosophy.

Given the recent fiasco of the DRM disks issued by SonyBMG that contained both a destructive root-kit and stolen open source code - which SonyBMG fought so hard to ban, it is nice to read an interview from someone in the music business that does have a clue.

06 Jan 2006


There is a very funny but sad parody of the Cold Play DRM terms and conditions on Groklaw: ColdPizza, a parody by Scott Lazar.

I don't support software theft, but some people are taking liberties and when their customers are not happy, blaming them for not being happy.

01 Jan 2006

Happy New Year!

Another year has come and gone.

Wishing everyone a safe and productive new year.