Category: Open Source

  • SUSE Linux 9.1

    Via Slashdot, it looks like Novell/SUSE are cooking up a great release.  Planned features include the obligatory 2.6 kernel, Gnome 2.4.2 and KDE 3.2.1, and Samba 3.  SUSE has more information on their web site.  Early May is the targeted release date.

    I’m currently running SUSE 9 on my laptop, and I’m quite happy with it.  You’ve got to watch out though, because SUSE tends to get bogged down on older hardware.  I’ll probably upgrade my laptop to 9.1, though most of my other hardware tends to be much slower.  I’ve been amazed at how fast recent KDE and Gnome releases have been running under Debian (unstable) on a PIII 600.


    In related news, Novell plans to release YaST, the rocking SUSE installer, as open source under the GPL.  Great move!

  • Mandrake 10: Impressive!

    In catching up on Slashdot, I found this story about the relase of Mandrake 10 Community.  Your best bet for downloading right now is via this BitTorrent link.  I’m extremely impressed with what Mandrake 10 bundles: Kernel 2.6.3 (2.6 is ready for prime time!), Xfree 4.3, GCC 3.3.2, Apache 2.0.48, Samba 3.0.2, MySQL 4.0.18, KDE 3.2, Gnome 2.4.2, OOo 1.1, and I think there’s a partridge in there somewhere.  The full package list is exhaustive.

    My most recent experience with El Drake was with 9.1, and I was extremely impressed.  I’m going to download this latest release and check it out tonight.  Mandrake would have been my distro of choice on my laptop, except for the pesky PCMCIA issue.  I’m currently dual-booting XP and SuSE 9 on my laptop.

    I look forward to playing around with it.  The screenshots that I’ve seen so far look good, and there’s quite a bit of good stuff going on under the hood.

  • My Subversion DUH Moment

    So I’ve been wanting to play with Subversion for awhile now.  It looks great, I’ve skimmed the Subversion book, and I’m ready to rock.  Getting and installing the subversion client has been no problem.  There are binaries available and I’m pretty sure that I installed the subversion client from source.  The major pain has been getting a local subversion server and repository set up.

    I’ve never managed to make it past the complex (but well written) installation instructions.  It involves some bleeding edge stuff that depends on some bleeding edge stuff.  This installation from source complaint is probably one of the most common among newb Subversion users.  I remember reading that there is a Debian meta-package under unstable called subversion-server.  Installing a Subversion server should be as simple as apt-get install subversion-server, but I’ve not had a disposable Debian box kicking around nor enough free time to do a quick network install on something.

    On to my Subversion DUH moment.  I’ve got SUSE 9 installed on my laptop, which is with me pretty much all the time.  I was vaguely familiar that there were binary packages available somewhere (linked directly from the Subversion site of course), but had kind of written them off as being client binaries only.

    They’re so not.  This directory at has freaking everything I need to get started including an RPM for Subversion server.

    The binaries currenlty lag behind the 1.0 source release, but should be up to speed real soon now.  I’ll probably wait until the binaries reflect the 1.0 release, but once they do, *BAM* I’m going to start mucking around with Subversion, no painful install from source neccesary.

    Mad props to Olaf Hering at SUSE for maintaining a binary release for SUSE Linux.  By the way, there are packages for 9, 8.2, 8.1, 8 PPC, and UnitedLinux x86-64.

  • KDevelop 3.0

    Linux Today links to the announcement at

    February 03, 2004 (The INTERNET). The KDevelop Team is proud to ship KDevelop 3.0, the first major release of the completely rewritten, award-winning Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

    Take a look at this full sized screenshot to get a feel for it.  I’m impressed.

  • MonoDevelop

    Miguel posted a Mono update today.  One of the bigger bits of news is that the team is currently working on a version of SharpDevelop using GTK#.

  • openMosix Summit 2004


    Brussels (January 5, 2004) – The openMosix Summit for 2004 will take place within the FOSDEM conference. FOSDEM, the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting is an event organized by volunteers to promote the widespread use of Free and Open Source software.

    openMosix is probably the coolest clustering technology that I’ve seen in recent years.  I’m glad to hear that there is still interest and development in the project.  I was able to set up an openMosix test environment in under an hour or so at home, using older commodity hardware and my local network.

    Hopefully someone will attend the openMosix Summit and report back so that us common folk can hear about it.

  • Smoothwall 2.0 Released


    Despite some earlier server problems, SmoothWall 2.0 has been released this evening – there are also release notes available.

    I installed Smoothwall on some older hardware before the 1.0 release, but I have never used it in a “production” kind of way.  The hardware requirements are quite low.  It allows for some more advanced firewalling, DMZs, and other great stuff.  (I found my post about the 1.0 release via google)

    At some point a little over a year ago, a nasty fork resulted in a new project called IPCop.  At this point both projects look like a good homebrew firewall option.  Of course, you might also consider a tweaked OpenBSD box or a commercial solution like Sonicwall.

  • New NDISWrapper Supports 2.4 Kernel

    There is a new release of NDISwrapper, a GPL’d wrapper for NDIS devices (such as Broadcom Wi-Fi cards) under Linux.  It now supports the 2.4 kernel, which means that I’ll be checking it out as soon as possible.  The first release only worked with the 2.6 kernel.

    Other new features include WEP support, scanning for access points, and lots of bug squashing.

    Pontus Fuchs is my hero.

  • UserLinux White Paper

    UserLinux: Repairing the Economic Paradigm of Enterprise Linux is a whitepaper by Bruce Perens.  It outlines both philosophical and technical approaches.  It’s really amazing how the Linux landscape has changed so much in so little time.

  • Jabber Journal #15

    Jabber Journal #15 is out.  It covers recent IETF info, PubSub, In-Band Bytestreams, encrypted chat sessions and more.  Ejabberd as well as jabberd2 (the rewrite of the original jabberd) are two open source servers worth keeping an eye on.

    A few months ago a new version of Smack (a client-side library for Java) was released.  I would suggest it to anyone who needs client-side functionality in Java. has tons of resources including jabber libraries, client software, server software, and a list of public servers.

    XMPP on!

  • GPL’d NDIS Wrapper (Broadcom 802.11g in Linux)

    Via Slashdot, NdisWrapper provider a free beer/free speech way of using Windows drivers for Broadcom chipsets under Linux, similar to the Linuxant wrapper.

    File this under w00t, with a caveat.

    It’s great that I can now get the Wi-Fi built in to my laptop to work.  The bad news is that NDIS isn’t going to allow me to do some of the cooler things that you can do with Wi-Fi under linux.  The motivation for someone to write Linux-native drivers just went down the tube.

    This is great, but it’s bad.

    Update: NdisWrapper requires kernel 2.6.0-test8 or higher, so it is not for the weak of heart.

  • theKompany GPLs Rekall

    theKompany announced today that they were releasing Rekall under the GPLRekall is an Access-like database system that sits atop many standard SQL servers, including MySQL and PostgreSQL.  Rekall allows users to do pretty much what Access can do: create forms and reports in a simple and easy way.

    Lately theKompany has been focusing on the embedded market, and having a GPL’d version of Rekall is definitely a win for Linux users.

    There is a community site called Rekall Revealed has all of the information including download and installation information.  There is an rss feed for the site.

  • Eclipse Visual Editor Project


    The Eclipse consortium tomorrow will announce the establishment of the Visual Editor Project, a new effort to create and deliver an open visual GUI construction and editing platform. The project is designed to generically work with any user interface framework and programming language Eclipse supports; ultimately, it will implement a reference GUI builder for the Java Swing/JFC and SWT graphical user interface frameworks.

    It’s good to see competition for Project Rave even before its release.  The VEP looks like more of a simplification of GUI design than anything else.  Of course creating GUIs in Swing or SWT is one of the more common grumbles about Java development.  Every bit helps.

  • White Box Enterprise Linux

    Via PCLinuxOnline, White Box Enterprise Linux is derived from the open source SRPMs from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.

    What would motivate someone to undertake a project such as this?

    White Box Linux’s initial creation has been sponsored by the Beauregard Parish Public Library in DeRidder, LA USA out of self interest. We have several servers and over fifty workstations running Red Hat Linux and were left high and dry by their recent shift in business plan. Our choices were a difficult migration to another distribution or paying RedHat an annual fee greater than the amortized value of our hardware. So we chose a third path, made possible by the power of Open Source…. White Box Linux.

    Check out the notes section of the site for some interesting quirks between the SRPMs and RHEL.  Be considerate, download over BitTorrent, and keep it to yourself, mmkay?  At the very least don’t tell Slashdot! 🙂

  • User Linux Announced at the Desktop Linux Consortium Conference

    Wired News:

    The new version of Linux, called UserLinux, is being proposed by open-source sage Bruce Perens, who claims to have the backing of some of the world’s largest companies, across a number of business sectors. UserLinux, which will be paid for with multimillion-dollar donations from Perens’ corporate backers, will be free for unlimited use, and will be certified by large computer makers.

    More coverage can be found at NewsForge and Slashdot.  General coverage of the Desktop Linux Consortium Conference can be found at El Reg, ONLamp, NYTimes, CRN and others.

  • CodeCon 2004 CFP

    Bram has released a call for paper for CodeCon 2004.

  • Snonews: Text-based RSS Aggregation

    Snonews is a GPL’d text-based aggregator that uses libxml2 and ncurses.  It can handle RSS 1.0 as well as 0.9x and 2.0.  Of course there’s also the Ruby-based Raggle for those you you seeking a 3-paned experience.

    Sometimes low-tech just rocks.

  • Freevo 1.4rc2

    Freevo 1.4rc2 is out. A few features, more translations, bugfixes, and more are in this release.

  • khtml2png: Create Thumbnails of Webpages Under Linux

    khtml2png is an excellent little program for Linux that allows you to create a thumbnail image from a specified website.  The program itself is pretty lightweight, but requires X, Qt, and kdelibs.  It needs both the libraries and the headers, which required me to install qt3-dev, kdebase-dev, and their various dependencies under SuSE 9.

    It’s quite easy to use once you do the ./configure && make && make install dance.  Here is the command that produced the thumbnail on the right:

    ./khtml2png --width 800 --height 1000 --scaled-width 160 --scaled-height 200 postneoss_tn.png

    You could easily call out to khtml2png from inside your scripting environment, but it is probably not very well suited for a server environment.  In addition to requiring the desktop libraries, it needs to connect to an X server.  The workaround discussed in the README is to use Xvnc.  I think you’re best off running khtml2png on a desktop machine and then moving the thumbs to a server via your transport protocol of choice.

    There is a similar program out there called html2jpg which uses Opera, Perl, and ImageMagick to do its work.

    This is a fantastic hack with a GPL licence.  Rock on, Simon.

  • Halo for PC Uses Ogg Vorbis!

    Click on the image above for a full file listing of my Halo install directory.

    In order to get Halo to run correctly on my laptop, I had to first run Halo with the -safemode option in order to tweak the video settings.  I navigated to the install directory with my good old standby the dos command prompt.  While I was there, I noticed xiph_license.txt as well as ogg.dll and vorbis.dll.  Could Halo (distributed by Microsoft Games) be using cool and subversive open source technology?

    The answer is “Hell yes” aparently.

    The use of Ogg Vorbis in such a mainstream game from such a big company totally rocks.  It’s not suprising really, just cool.  The Xiph license is BSD-like, so there should be no licensing problems, and MS should not have any issues using it.  That’s what the BSD license is for.  No politics, just get it out there and use it.  Of course Microsoft’s use of GPL software in Windows Services for Unix is more amusing from an open source at Microsoft point of view.

    I’d love to know who decided to use Ogg Vorbis in Halo.  I wonder if Bungie used it in the original Xbox title or if Gearbox added it in during the porting process.  Was it similar to geeks deploying Linux boxes in the enterprise without telling their managers, or was it planned all along?

    Regardless, my hat goes off to whomever decided to go ahead and use it.