Applications


I recently had someone ask me about converting from Outlook Express (I nearly fainted, it’s been so long since someone admitted to using OE in front of me) to something more open source (great way to keep from getting a bunch of spam and viruses), and in my research I found a great couple of articles about converting to Open Source mail packages.

The first deals directly with converting from Outlook Express to either Thunderbird or Evolution (which worked great, they told me) and the next is for those converting from that beast from the land of insufficient light, Microsoft Outlook, Converting All Your MS Outlook PST Files To Maildir Format.

Personally, it’s been over 10 years since I was based on Windows email programs, and that only for work. Here’s to all of us who “survived” all those many years on pine and mutt.

Enjoy,

RossB

SUSE Linux Enterprise is designed for the enterprise. Part of what it means to be “Enterprise-ready” is to have “rock solid” components in the distribution which have been fully tested and can be supported. Unstable and unsupportable components/packages just won’t do. BUT… Every now and then, it’s necessary to run “the latest” version of a component of the distribution. Perhaps you have a new application which requires the latest java, or a new development library, etc. So you don’t want to have to wait until that “latest version” of the package gets fully tested and “officially supported”. You’ve got to have that new version now!

You could go to the source and compile your own package for SUSE Linux Enterprise – and while not difficult, it is still kind of a pain – and certainly a turn-off for many a new Linux user. A much better option is to simply visit the openSUSE Build Service and see if your desired package is already being built for SUSE Linux Enterprise. You’ll find builds for SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, -plus- several other Linux distributions as well… Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, … So save some time, and check to see if the package you need has already been built by looking here.

Want more info on the openSUSE Build Service, check out this good overview article and this blog entry. and of course the project site which includes other great info.

From the article:

Exchanging business cards is a rudimentary form of networking (the people, not the server kind). However, to get the most out of the exchange, you need a card that attracts attention and reflects the image or values you want to project.

More here.

It’s been a whole year since the ground-breaking Novell-Microsoft Collaboration Agreement was signed and announced. The one-stop shop for official info is here: http://www.moreinterop.com So far, despite the noise in the press, MANY customers have decided to take advantage of the many benefits that the agreement brings to the table. Here’s a list of all 46 of the customers who are allowing us to mention them publicly. They include some of the largest and most recognizable organizations in the world – Wal-Mart, BMW, Costco, HSBC, Nationwide, Siemens and Southwest Airlines just to name a few…

  • 1blu
  • Abraxas Informatik AG
  • ADIF
  • AFG IT Consulting
  • Arsys
  • Arsys Internet S.L.
  • Baker Hughes
  • BATS Trading Inc.
  • BMW AG
  • State of California, Department of Fish and Game
  • State of California Department of Technology Services
  • Cash Converters International Ltd.
  • CHRISTUS Health
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • City of Los Angeles
  • CompuCom Systems Inc.
  • Conductor Tecnologia S.A.
  • Costco Wholesale Corp.
  • Flagstar Bank
  • Fujitsu Services Oy
  • Gordon Food Service
  • Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
  • hi5 Networks Inc.
  • Host Europe
  • HSBC
  • iLoop Mobile Inc.
  • Leicester City Council
  • Kent County, Mich.
  • Mercury Insurance
  • Nationwide
  • Pioneer Corp.
  • PRISACOM SA
  • Reed Elsevier
  • Riverside County, Calif.
  • Save Mart Supermarkets
  • Siemens Corp.
  • South Carolina Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole Services
  • Southwest Airlines Co.
  • Swiss Post
  • Synovus Financial Corp.
  • TDC Hosting
  • T-Systems Enterprise Services GmbH
  • Wal-Mart
  • Washington State Department of Information Services
  • Westmont College
  • Zabka Polska S.A.
  • Links here, here and here

On top of all these customers, several other developments in the relationship have occurred during the first year. Novell and Microsoft have completed building out and are now doing real engineering work and interoperability testing in the Microsoft and Novell Interoperability Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. More info on the lab is in the recent press release. Dell signed on as a partner for the agreement as well, working to help Linux customers with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

And most recently, Novell and Microsoft extended the agreement by agreeing to work together to make it easier for all software developers to develop applications for users with disabilities, such as blindness. From the press release:

Microsoft will make available its User Interface Automation (UIA) specification, an advanced accessibility framework that simplifies the development of assistive technology products for people with one or more disabilities, and pledge not to assert any Microsoft patents necessary to implement the specification against anyone, regardless of platform, in the open source and proprietary software communities. In concert, to promote interoperability between leading accessibility frameworks in the market, Novell will develop and deliver an adapter that allows the UIA framework to work well with existing Linux accessibility projects and complement the investments made by IBM Corp. and others. Novell’s work will be open source and will make the UIA framework cross-platform while enabling UIA to interoperate with the Linux Accessibility Toolkit (ATK), which ships with SUSE Linux Enterprise, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu Linux. The UIA solution will ensure interoperability of nonvisual access to the next generation of software applications.

“Microsoft’s commitment to make the specification for UIA freely available to others to implement, coupled with Novell’s plans to develop and deliver an adapter that allows Linux accessibility projects to work well with the UIA framework, are tremendous examples of how industry can come together to tackle interoperability problems for blind persons,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. “The NFB challenges the entire IT industry to continue to look for creative opportunities such as this to solve longstanding interoperability challenges and reduce development barriers to accessibility.”

While Intel and Atheros are doing a great job writing wireless drivers for linux, there are still other wireless cards, specifically Broadcom, who do not have linux drivers or who do not have good linux drivers.

The purpose of this article is to explain how to configure ndiswrapper in SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 SP1. On my end I am using an old dell c640 (with the embedded wireless card turned off in BIOS) and a Linksys wusb54gc usb wireless device.

1: Go into Yast and install ndiswrapper and the appropriate ndiswrapper kernel module.
- hit alt+f2 enter yast2.
- open the software management module.
- search for ndiswrapper
- determine which version of the kernel you are running(bigsmp, default, smp) by opening a terminal and entering uname -r
- check off the “ndiswrapper” package as well as “ndiswrapper-kmp-<kernel version>” in yast and click accept to install.

2. Setup ndiswrapper
-Determine which chipset your wireless device is using. To do this enter:
hwinfo
or
lspci
or
lsusb
You can grep the results for wireless ex. hwinfo | grep -i wireless or just manually scroll through the output and search for something that looks like your wireless device.

In the case of my Linksys device it uses a Ralink chipset. I found the windows driver (rt73.inf) on the cd that came with the device. Find the .inf file for your card on your manufacturer’s website and download it. (Often times you will have to unzip the .exe driver installer to find the .inf).

-enter the following commands:
ndiswrapper -i /path/to/driver.inf #to install the driver
modprobe ndiswrapper #to load the module
ndiswrapper -m #To ensure that ndiswrapper will always use the same network interface name

3. Configure the wireless device in yast
- You should already have yast open from when you installed the ndiswrapper packages
- This time go into the “network card” module
- Verify that “NetworkManager” is selected and click next
- Click “Add”
- For Device Type choose “wireless”
- Configuration Name “0″
- Moduel Name “ndiswrapper”
- Click next then finish etc. to finish.

I have based this article off of the documentation that can be found in /usr/share/doc/packages/ndiswrapper/README.SUSE after installing ndiswraper

From the article:

OpenOffice.org Base is undoubtedly a powerful database application, but when it comes to its built-in reporting engine, words like “underpowered” and “outdated” come to mind. Fortunately, you don’t have to put up with this situation any longer: with the Sun Report Builder (SRB) extension, you can add nifty reporting features based on Pentaho reporting engine — assuming you can figure out how to use it without any help.

More here.

RossB

From the article:

Exchanging business cards is a rudimentary form of networking (the people, not the server kind). However, to get the most out of the exchange, you need a card that attracts attention and reflects the image or values you want to project.

Unfortunately, OpenOffice.org Writer’s tool for producing business cards does such a poor job of realizing both these goals that it is better avoided. However, if you know where to look, Writer also includes other tools that make designing business cards as easy as possible.

More here.

RossB

Ok, so my title is a little misleading, there’s not any rivalry between the different areas of Novell and SUSE, other than the usual desire to see your business unit succeed just a little more “betterly” than the other units do. It’s all about friendly competition.

What’s Red vs. Green?

What I’m referring to (with Red vs. Green) is the necessary dividing line between the traditional Novell business units like Workgroup (Netware, Open Enterprise Server, Groupwise etc.) which I think of as “Red”, and the newer and Open Source-centric business unit called Open Platform Solutions (SLES, SLED, SLERT, SLEPOS etc.), which I think of as “Green”. (Get it? SUSE Green, like the Gecko?)

I have come up with the analogy and strategy of Red vs. Green as a way of helping partners, customers and the casual passerby understand that depending on which Novell/SUSE products they have, they will likely benefit most from a particular set of products and growth options.

“I See Red”

My experience has been that if a customer is “Red”, they’re almost always firmly ensconced in and using the Novell services throughout the enterprise, with some confusion as to how and why they might make use of Linux. The first order of business is to determine how much they know about Linux in general, and in particular Novell’s use of SUSE Linux Enterprise in it’s product lines. After hundreds of these discussions, we can get everyone on the same page with a little discussion, some Q&A and a handy whiteboard in short order.

How Does This Work?

For example, in a conversation with faux customer Air America, I find they have a long-standing Netware infrastructure for File and Print, do a little clustering for Groupwise and use iPrint for printing with all account management taking place through an Identity management setup and eDirectory. They have Windows workstations that make full use of the Netware Client and it’s services. I’d already lean toward “Red” strategy with them, but they might be toying with the idea of going “over to Linux”, so I go a little further.

The questions I ask them are very simple and straightforward:

  • Do you have any data on NSS volumes?
  • Do you use any of the advanced features of NSS?
  • Do you have Novell Clustering Services or Business Continuity Clustering set up?
  • Do you have a very large number of printers?
  • Do your people have Novell Client software on their computers for access to the network?

A “yes” answer to any of these questions points to the Open Enterprise Server (with Version 2, OES = Linux base, Novell’s standard services converted to run great on Linux layered on top). Novell has spent a lot of time and effort to make it as effortless as possible to have this type of organization migrate up to OES, there is a very complete and clear path for this customer to begin to use Linux-based Novell services with the least disruption possible and often at a considerable cost-savings.

I will try if possible to help them see where “Green” might fit in, either for hosting Groupwise or other services, such as Mono (Dot Net compatible server), Virtualization (Xen) or any of a host of other possibilities. Usually this type of customer will stay “Red” and for good reason.

“It’s Easy Being Green”

On the other side of this equation, I will find customers who don’t have a lick of “Red” in their environment, and these are usually standard UNIX shops on the server side, usually either a Solaris or AIX flavor, some HP-UX, but they’ll be using mostly Windows on the client side. Usually if they say “No” to my “Got any Novell products or Netware around?”, they will go “Green” easily.

The discussion with this client is much easier, they’re a classic “Green” customer, all the services and tools they are used to using have an analog (equivalent) in the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server/Desktop product line. Once I determine they have no Netware products in the organization, we don’t even talk about “Red vs. Green”, it’s not relevant, they can even run eDirectory and Zenworks Linux Management on SLES, no “Red” needed.

I additionally will probe to see if they have any Terminal Server or Citrix/Ericom deployed for application security and updateability, if they do, it makes the Linux Desktop play much more likely, especially if they make use of TS/Citrix as a desktop solution. How compelling is $50 or less a seat for the presentation OS on the desktop versus $239 or so for the oddly-shaped box o’ Vista?

Got any changes or suggestions to this whole Red vs. Green thing? I’m constantly getting feedback and changing it, let me know and I’ll credit you and update it.

Enjoy,

RossB

From the “About” page for VirtualBox:

innotek VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.

Some of the features of VirtualBox are:

  • Modularity. VirtualBox has an extremely modular design with well-defined internal programming interfaces and a client/server design. This makes it easy to control it from several interfaces at once: for example, you can start a virtual machine in a typical virtual machine GUI and then control that machine from the command line, or possibly remotely. VirtualBox also comes with a full Software Development Kit: even though it is Open Source Software, you don’t have to hack the source to write a new interface for VirtualBox.
  • Virtual machine descriptions in XML. The configuration settings of virtual machines are stored entirely in XML and are independent of the local machines. Virtual machine definitions can therefore easily be ported to other computers.
  • Guest Additions for Windows and Linux. VirtualBox has special software that can be installed inside Windows and Linux virtual machines to improve performance and make integration much more seamless. Among the features provided by these Guest Additions are mouse pointer integration and arbitrary screen solutions (e.g. by resizing the guest window).
  • Shared folders. Like many other virtualization solutions, for easy data exchange between hosts and guests, VirtualBox allows for declaring certain host directories as “shared folders”, which can then be accessed from within virtual machines.

VirtualBox is now included as a virtualization option in the openSUSE 10.3 release, available here. If you’re on another version of Linux, you can get more information about VirtualBox here, and download the binary and source versions here.

Enjoy,

RossB

What is DOS? I don’t know; I’ve never used it before… until today!

Recently I’ve been working on getting SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop working on a really really old piece of hardware. As one of the troubleshooting steps I had to update the BIOS to the latest version. In order to do this the vendor told me that I had to boot into DOS and run an executable that would update the BIOS.

As I said, I’ve never used DOS before, so I had to reach out to Peter Bowen for help. Here are the steps he walked me through to create a Virtual FreeDOS Floppy disk image on your hard drive that you can boot from.

Make sure the following are installed: dosbootdisk, syslinux. Dosbootdisk is a program that lets you create a FreeDOS boot disk. Syslinux is a boot loader for Linux which operates off an MS-DOS or Windows FAT file system.

Follow these steps to boot into a DOS partition:

  • zcat /usr/share/dosbootdisk/floppy.gz /boot/floppy.img
  • mount -o loop /boot/floppy.img /mnt
  • Copy the appropriate files needed for updating the BIOS into /mnt(remember this is DOS so make sure that the file names are no larger than 8 characters and the file extension is no more than 3 characters
  • I had to remove the the following line from my config.sys file in order for the system to boot DOS=UMB,HIGH
  • umount /mnt (remember that you can’t unmount if have have if it is your current working directory ie. if you have cd’ed into it)
  • cp /usr/share/syslinux/memdisk /boot
  • Next we need to setup Grub so that you can boot into your virtual floppy disk.
  • Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst so that it looks something like this:
  • ###DOS Floppy###
    title DOS
    root (hd0,0) #you may need to change this depending on what partition /boot is installed on. Because this system is so old it requires that /boot have it's own partition that is the first partition.

    kernel /memdisk
    initrd /floppy.img

    At this point you should be able to reboot your machine, choose the DOS option and flash your BIOS.

Want to investigate moving to OpenOffice.org? Have a massive load of Word and other documents that are holding you back?

Take heart, there are various options that you can pursue, not the least of which is setting your OpenOffice.org defaults to read and write the appropriate format of Microsoft file types.

While in OpenOffice.org, just click on the Tools menu -> Options, click on the + sign next to Load/Save and choose the General item. On the General dialogue, the lower third is where you find the Default file format configuration selections. Here you can choose the default type of document to open (slideshow, spreadsheet, etc.) and all importantly the Always save as option, where you can choose from various formats, including:

  • Microsoft Word 2003 XML
  • Microsoft Word 6.0
  • Microsoft Word 95
  • Microsoft 97/2000/XP

By choosing a mutually compatible load/save file format that reflects the majority of your documents, you can save a lot of time and energy and not have to convert all of your documents just to try out or move over to OpenOffice.org.

I also recommend reading a posting by Serdar Yegulalp over at SearchEnterpriseLinux.com about mass-migrating Word documents, some good advice and linkage in it.

Enjoy,

RossB

Yes!  NetWare can be virtualized using Xen on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1.  It’s part of the feature set of Open Enterprise Server 2 — more info:  product home page, audio podcast, Novell CTO blog, press release, workgroup blog

A couple of related news articles

One great thing about the way that OES 2 was designed is that it is simply an add-on to SLES 10.  That means, all the hardware that is officially certified for SLES 10, is now officially certified to run virtualized NetWare (OES 2).  Get a list of the certified hardware on the Novell site here, and don’t forget to check your favorite hardware vendor’s own website for the latest info.

Many small businesses and the IT consultants who support them have deployed Linux in some way — hey, it can save a ton of cash! But typically Linux is doing a specific task — maybe a file/print server, web server, firewall, database, etc. The solutions have been done fairly piece-wise, and that can lead to a lack of integration – making things a bit more difficult to manage over time. Alternatively, one might have chosen the Microsoft Small Business product – but we all know where that can lead (security problems, constant patching, IT headaches, excessive software costs, etc.). There really hasn’t been a nicely integrated workgroup suite for small business based combining the best of open source and proprietary enterprise software… until now.

Novell Open Workgroup Suite Small Business Edition has arrived. It works with either Windows or Linux desktops and includes “less expensive” (and arguably EASIER-to-LEARN) alternatives to Windows Vista and MS Office 2007. In addition to a nicely integrated installation, it has a ton of value for a very small price. It includes:

  • File/Print sharing and security – Open Enterprise Server for Linux
  • Laptop backup/file collaboration – iFolder
  • Email/Calendaring – GroupWise
  • End-user general purpose desktop – SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
  • MS Office-compatible office suite – OpenOffice.org, Novell Edition
  • Backup software – Amanda
  • Network faxing – HylaFAX
  • Anti-spam – MailScanner
  • Anti-virus for email – ClamAV
  • Firewall – iptables
  • VPN – OpenVPN
  • Remote control – TightVNC

… and all this stuff runs on Linux!  Yeah, but how does it compare to the Microsoft Small Business Suite? Look here.

All this for a retail cost of $350 for every 5-users!! Want more info? Check these out… product home page, audio podcast, press release, workgroup team blog

Why Worry About It?

Backups are essential, and so is the reducing the time needed to perform those backups. Many’s the time I have sat waiting for a backup to complete only to remember that I had a link to a large set of files, or a bunch of ISO files in the ./download directory, and had to migrate those over to somewhere else and restart the backup.

If you are like me, data = “files that contain data of original or irreplaceable content”. I don’t want to backup ISO files, large sets of files that can be gotten from an install DVD or things that are easy to download from a site somewhere.

I use a simple (yeah, it really is), script before every backup to find all the files over a particular size, which I then can so anything I want with. If I find anything that’s too large and expendable, I either use an -exclude statement (usually in the case of all ISO’s) or even move the files elsewhere quickly by re-running the script and tacking on a -exec statement.

The Script

Here is the script I use, it’s from a bunch of different sources, and uses a couple of useful tools to do it’s work:

#!/bin/bash

echo "Enter the fully-qualified start path"
read start_path
echo "Enter the lower size limit in Megabytes"
read lower_size
find $start_path \( -size +"$lower_size"M -fprintf ~/Desktop/bigfiles.txt '%kk %p\n' \)

Fables of the Deconstruction

#!/bin/bash

The first line is where you declare what shell you want to run this script with. This string is known as the “shebang”, not absolutely necessary since it defaults to the bash shell anyway, but it’s certainly good form.

echo "Enter the fully-qualified start path"
read start_path

Lines 3 and 4 work together, prompting you to enter the fully-qualified start path and then storing what you enter in the newly-created variable named start_path. This is expanded in Line 7 by referring to it’s name $start_path.

echo "Enter the lower size limit in Megabytes"
read lower_size

The same arrangement occurs with lines 5 and 6, you’re prompted to enter the smallest size in Megabytes you want to report on, which stores that in the newly-created variable named lower_size. This too is expanded in Line 7 with the name $lower_size.

All Together Now

Line 7 is where all the fun stuff happens. First you are using the find command, not the easiest thing for newcomers, but well worth, ahem, “finding” out more about. Find requires several things, shown below:

find (path) (-option) (expression)

We’re using the start_path variable as the (path), then we include a function (sort of a macro) that looks for files of a size that is at least the value of the lower_size variable we set and populated earlier. Then when it finds each file over that size, it will print out the file size in 1K blocks, followed by the LETTER k, so it’s obvious, and then the full path and name of the file that has been found. This will all then be output to a file named bigfiles.txt in the current user’s Desktop folder.

Note: The use of the tilde (technical name: squiggle 8-> ) character in a command means to expand the current user’s $HOME variable from the executing shell, so the full path of the bigfiles.txt file if rossb is running the script is:

/home/rossb/Desktop/bigfiles.txt

Running the Script

Executing scripts that aren’t in your path (the variable, not the physical directory) is different on Linux/Unix, either you’ll use this script as a parameter to the bash shell:

# /bin/bash findbigfiles.sh

Or you’ll use the following command to set the script to be executable:

# chmod +x findbigfiles.sh

Then when it’s set to executable, you’ll either need to put it in your path, (try /usr/local/bin) or execute it by preceding it with the characters “./”, which is necessary to execute something in the local directory if it’s not in the path:

# ./findbigfiles.sh

Summary

There are so many other things you can do with find, such as tack on a -exec statement and execute a command on each and every file found, or find and act on files that meet a particular permission set, the possibilities are nearly endless.

Of particular help in my work over the years with the find command has been the find man page, with it’s useful examples and Chapter 14 “Finding Files with Find” of the Unix Power Tools 2nd Edition from O’Reilly and Associates. (I know the 2nd Edition is out of print, but I don’t care much for the 3rd Edition’s updates).

Let us know in the comments what cool find scripts you have come up with, the randomly drawn winner will get a very cool Novell-Candy-Apple-Red 9 LED flashlight. (Sorry, Continental U.S. only).

Enjoy,

RossB

Laura over at the awesome VirtualHosting.com blog has 12 great tips for pre-hacking your own machine.

Your wifi is encrypted and a trial version of McAfee came with that new HP the kid at Best Buy sold you, so no need to worry about computer security, right? Unfortunately, security is a whole lot more complex than your average computer user might imagine.

There are literally hundreds of ways that malware and hackers can compromise your system security, most of which you’ve never heard of. Thankfully, however, there are a number of online tools available which will help you identify (and sometimes fix) the vulnerabilities in your system. In this article we’ve selected 12 basic tests you can run on your machine to identify its weaknesses.

More from the article.

The excellent Wine Review blog has an article about Photoshop running on Linux using WINE (WIne is NOT an Emulator), recommended read for the graphics artists in the audience.

From the article:

Mixed-media professionals such as photographers, Web designers, and graphic designers will not be disappointed in Adobe’s latest incarnation of Photoshop. In this release, Adobe aims hard at addressing the issues of file management, easy photo retouching, and smarter output for the Web. While Adobe manages to successfully address these issues, it also remains true to its photo editing roots.

More from the article.

RossB

P.S.  Skip, don’t even think about using Photoshop on SLED, it’s the GIMP for you…

In my palatial estate in scenic Waltham, Massachusetts, aka my apartment, I have several computers. My two favorite computers to use are my Lenovo X60 (running SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 SP1) and my Apple Macbook Pro running OS X (10.4.10). I also have a whitebox machine from Intel that I use as my server running SLES 10 SP1.

The thought came across my mind the other day that I would like a central way to store and access my music. This way I can save room on my laptop hard drive for “business” items and utilize the larger disk on my server to store higher bit rate songs. (true audiophiles will really appreciate this)

To achieve this I scp’d all of my music files from my my Mac over to my SLES server using OS X’s terminal application located in /Applications/Utilities/terminal. In this example the ip address of my server is 192.168.2.5.

scp -r /Users/username/music 192.168.2.5:/music
The ‘-r’ stands for recursive and allows me to copy over a directory.

Next I setup a NFS server on my SLES machine. NFS is a network file system protocol that allows a user on a client computer to access files over a network as easily as if the network devices were attached to its local disks. This is perfect for our purposes.

To setup a NFS server:

  • Open up YaST: Alt+f2, enter yast2
  • Filter for “nfs server”
  • Check off “Start” under the NFS server section
  • Check off “open port in firewall” if you have a local firewall enabled
  • Hit next
  • Go to “Add directory”
  • Enter the path to your music folder.

Next you need to mount the NFS volume on your local machine

  • On Linux enter (in a terminal as root): mount 192.168.5:/Music /music
  • On OS X enter (in a terminal): sudo /sbin/mount_nfs -P linux:/install /music
  • I had to use the ‘-P’ option to get around an error that said something to the effect of “mount_nfs: Operation not permitted”

At this point you need to configure your desired music players to point to the appropriate directories.

On SLED 10 if you are using Banshee:

  • Open up Banshee
  • Go to Edit>Preferences
  • Make sure that “copy files to music folder when importing” is unchecked
  • Go to Music>Import Music
  • Choose Local folder and navigate to where you mounted the NFS share. (in this example in /music)

On OS X, if you are using iTunes:

  • Open up iTunes
  • Go to iTunes>Preferences
  • Go to the “Advanced” tab.
  • Make sure that the “Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library” option is unchecked
  • Go to File>Import and browse to the location of your NFS mount (in this example /music).

In this example I do not set the machines to automatically mount the NFS share. Each time you reboot you will have to remount the NFS volume, but you shouldn’t have to re-import the music.

Most IT shops would agree… stolen laptops are a security risk. To combat this problem, many organizations are turning to hard disk encryption as a way to prevent loss of sensitive information. Apparently the US Federal government has even mandated that disk encryption be used on laptops with sensitive data.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 includes some support for disk encryption natively – look here for more info. But if that does not fit your needs; or perhaps you’re looking for a cross-platform solution; or something that does “whole disk encryption”….

At least one commercial offering is also available: WinMagic, purveyor of hard disk encryption, recently announced that their product SecureDoc will be supporting hard disk encryption on Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop – their first official support of Linux (traditionally, they’ve been a Windows only vendor). The product is expected to be generally available by September 2007.

According to their press announcement

“In recognition of the increased demand for Linux, WinMagic has developed an end-point encryption solution which will make it simple for Linux users to protect data at rest no matter where it may reside,” said Thi Nguyen-Huu, CEO of WinMagic Inc. “In developing and testing SecureDoc for the Linux environment, WinMagic’s main focus was to provide the marketplace with an encryption product that will not yield on performance, functionality, or ease of use,” Nguyen-Huu continued. “Our support for Linux is yet another sign of WinMagic’s dedication to open system standards and to furthering those standards for the data encryption market place.”

(Updated) Found another commercial offering for Linux hard disk encryption… CheckPoint’s Pointsec Hard Drive Encryption. Supports SUSE and Red Hat.

(Updated, Oct 9) Here’s a non-commercial “free” product for entire hard disk encryption… TrueCrypt. Although it does not do “whole disk encryption” it does do partition-level encryption. According to the website it supports openSUSE and Ubuntu.

What’s been your experience with hard drive encryption thus far?? Any other vendors in this space you might be aware of?

openSUSE 10.3 is now officially released and available. Here are some of the highlighted improvements and links to more info:

  • Beautiful green artwork
  • KDE 3.5.7
  • KDE 4
  • Gnome 2.20
  • GTK YaST
  • 1-Click Install
  • Multimedia (MP3 support out of the box)
  • New/Redesigned YaST Modules
  • Compiz and Compiz Fusion
  • Virtualization (Xen 3.1, VirtualBox, KVM,…)
  • OpenOffice 2.3
  • New package management
  • Faster boot times
  • and more…!

openSUSE 10.3 GM announcement

Novell press release

ZDnet blog mention

Download openSUSE

Adobe Flex is a platform for creating rich internet applications – and an alpha version of Adobe Flex Builder for Linux is now available to the public and runs on SUSE Linux Enterprise. Adobe has traditionally been staunch supporters of Windows and Mac – with a much more limited amount of attention paid to Linux.  Adobe PhotoShop was even named as one of the most requested applications for Linux in a customer survey Novell held last year.  Perhaps Adobe is starting to change their attitude towards Linux — perhaps…

Thanks to this ZDnet blog entry, which points to this Adobe Flex developer’s blog, which points to the official Adobe page.

If you’re starting to look at Adobe Flex, and starting to build some applications, check out this alpha code and be sure to give Adobe your feedback!

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