Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

31Jul/02Off

More Vaguely Surreal News…

Wow. A reasonable position on legimate security work and even the suggestion of protection against frivolous lawsuits?! What administration is this anyway?

The story is here but I wonder how far these fumes will go when confronted by the continual strengthening of anti-circumvention laws (which, of course, the much loathed DMCA is a part of) by politicians of the same stripe. I don't trust a word of it but I will definitely keep an ear cocked. Even the admission that most security holes aren't discovered by software vendors is a nice break from the usual talk of public burnings and the end of civilization.

The mention of responsible reporting is the one part that didn't sit well with me. Until there is some kind of legal protection for people who discover and report security flaws the expectation of direct reporting is a little much. The reason that security related mailing lists and websites are so popular is that they afford hackers some degree of protection from the snapping jaws of vendor's legal departments.

All of that said, you know who really owns (in the pejorative sense, of course) this administration and it isn't us. It was a good speech but I don't see any paperwork coming out of it.

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31Jul/02Off

The Domain Squatting Loser-Hero

For your education and entertainment (from the land where wives get naked an d all IPs are logged):

Crappy crap has an interview with John David or Jon Messner or whatever his name is today here. He had this brilliant idea to squat an al-Queda domain and then turn the logs over to the FBI. Ignoring the fact for a moment that logs are completely useless as any sort of evidence (unless, of course, curiousity or research are somehow falling under a new set of laws I don't know about) because web content is by nature available to the world. It would make as much sense for me to claim that all of my incoming referrals from RWN were people interested in technology. Given the fact that any domain run by a terrorist organization is probably swarmed by script kiddies every ten minutes this is doubly useless. I'm not sure whether to question John's intelligence or integrity.

Then there are the other sketchy factors. Who owns the discussion site about these issues that is "mostly unmoderated"? Another convenient source of IP addresses? What get's even more interesting is that the same guy who is so willing to hand over suspicious IP addresses to the FBI regardless of their uselessness also owns All Turbo. What could be better than having this guy provide your dialup service? To his credit, there is absolutely no privacy policy posted on that site. OK, so that's a little unreasonable. He's just reselling service from some company in Pennsylvania when he's not selling the script kiddies pictures of his wife. Oops. That was tasteless. I'm not sorry. It is the same woman in every photo. Maybe it's his cousin although the Wired article makes me think otherwise.

One quick quote before work:

John David: We have all the IP addresses to the tune of 27 thousand visitors a day seeking Alneda.com (the calling) from every hostile country imaginable. But interestingly enough, 90% were from Saudi Arabia.

That becomes much less interesting when the site is in Arabic. Click the links, kids and be automagically associated with terrorist associations! Get your very own FBI file on your subversive activities!

Update: Just noticed that the introduction of the RWN article calls JD's domain buying a "hack." Buying something out from under someone is not a hack in either the popular definition or the original sense. It takes neither technical ability or ingenuity to buy an expiring domain. Spammers and porn sites do it all the time. The redirect is back up. It points you to a full page of advertising banners for John David's various porn sites. Sad little snitches.

Update II: Electric Boogaloo
All of the pundits have been linking to usual crap about John's courageous hack. Jesus. You folks do actually run your websites, right? Pick all of the terrorists' IP addresses out of your logs and mail them to the FBI. I'm sure they'll give you the prompt attention you deserve. I've heard they're also very interested in which browser and operating system terrorists are using these days. I made the mistake of posting an overly long comment about it over at Anne McCaffrey's site but I can't imagine that anyone will take it seriously.

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30Jul/02Off

HP Looking Pretty Suicidal

I have to stop taking naps. This big shitstorm about a reported vulnerability in HPUX (which is notoriously bad for security problems as it is) which HP tried to quash by threatening legal action. Rather than issuing a patch HP threatened the organization that found it with fines and jail time.

The most complete story is here. In the discussion at Slashdot (linked here for the first time ever) Bruce Perens was responding to comments and trying to do some damage control. After the word came down from the suits in control about his intended demonstration of DVD hacking at the Open Source Con you've really gotta wonder what's going through Bruce's mind right now. The potential litigation would fall under the DMCA which is the exact piece of law that Perens was planning to protest.

The real question, of course, is what the hell is Hewlett-Packard thinking? If you look at it from the most crass perspective (I'm thinking public relations here) any legal action based on the DMCA is going to be an albatross around HP's neck forever. I'm fairly certain that you will find no strong supporters of the DMCA within the tech community and even less among the advocates of free software.

I'm going to leave it at this since I'm basically regurgitating one news story and what little useful information can be gleaned from the discussion on Slashdot. Hopefully HP will get their shit together and release a proper statement sometime tomorrow.

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30Jul/02Off

Your Aura Is Spam Colored

Noticed this article about a warm and snuggly spammer who lambastes something like a million email addresses a day. He claims that he's giving people a "little ray of sunshine" even if they don't ask for it. I'm very sure that few would sympathize with this defense given his plan to sell the "service" at some point in the future.

Here's to the "techno-terrorism" of blackhole lists and suspended accounts.

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30Jul/02Off

I Hope This Is FUD…

Anyone who reads this junk knows I'm not a huge fan of RedHat. Althought I've never pinned down any logical reason for my distaste for their take on the Linux distribution I've steered clear of both the distribution and the company altogether. So here is the golden opportunity to talk some nasty shit about them. This is just nasty shit and I really hope it isn't true.

The weird disdain that RedHat seems to have for the KDE Project is no big secret. Although RH started including KDE within the distribution a couple of years back there are still outstanding and unfixed bugs specific to RH. They don't seem to give a shit. If you want a desktop environment that works seamlessly on a RH system you're pretty much stuck with Gnome. Not necessarily the end of the world but given a choice I choose choice.

This confuses me because RH has always been the great hope of the suit-oriented factions of the Linux community. Because they became a sort of de facto standard for the Linux desktop (even more so if you consider that Mandrake was originally based on RedHat) people started looking to RH to give Microsoft a little competition. All of this is fine and dandy but as a somewhat pissed KDE developer points out in the article Redhat doesn't have the lions share of the Linux market that it used to and KDE is probably the most popular desktop environment on the Linux platform. What the hell are they thinking?

You can also read the email exchange and try to make some sense out of all of this. It isn't entirely black and white. KDE developers don't have the reputation of being the most nice or forward looking folks on the planet but then again I wonder what the RH folks are thinking with the used car salesman pitch. I dunno. It's a little too late to think too hard about this and I feel like I've been blogging about window managers and desktop environments too often.

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29Jul/02Off

I’ve Stopped Counting the Horsemen of the Apocalypse…

LinuxWorld dedicating not only ink but an entire column to my own personal favorite window manager Ion.

Ion has none of the flashiness (unless you configure it that way) that most people expect out of window managers. Although I'm risking the wrath (and believe me, it makes the hollow roar of the right wingers seem pathetic in comparison) of the purists here, I tend to lump desktop environments and window managers together. For me Ion might as well be a desktop environment since I use it for specific purposes. Programming? Reading a lot of documentation while programming? Wish you could just use the damn keyboard like Thompson and Ritchie intended? Ion is the shit.

It's a bit of a learning curve in the same sense as emacs. You need to remember multiple key combinations (which the author of the article seems to find more fault with than I do) and get used to things automatically tabbing when dismissed. Like Linux itself, Ion requires the reading of some terse documentation but gets the job done with incredible speed and reliability. I tend to send X down in flames fairly often. The twenty odd active terminals and real player and mozilla open with like three rows of tabbed sites will do that under KDE or Gnome. X seems more reliable under Ion which is quite possibly my imagination but still makes me want to use it when I'm doing resource intensive crap.

Oh yeah, the article at LinuxWorld. I almost forgot. There's also an informative write up about Ion over at Monolinux if you're so inclined. As far as LinuxWorld is concerned, I'm eagerly awaiting the article on Surfraw.

Update:
I guess I was a little cracked out after work. I completely forgot to mention why I like Ion so much.

1. Keyboard centric: While pointing and clicking is fine for most desktop navigation it becomes really irritating when you're dealing with multiple instances of nearly identical terminals. There is no clickety click in terminals and using the mouse is just irritating. Ion also makes it easy (once you get past the aforementioned learning curve) to navigate between active windows. This leads us to...

2. Tabbing. Because a window manager is supposed to, well, manage windows I'm always a little surprised at how badly most of them handle dozens of windows. Ion automagically tabs inactive windows and doesn't allow workspaces to overlap. You end up with a well organized desktop of visible workspace instead of a pile of unsorted windows. It's difficult to explain but it makes an enormous amount of sense when you're dealing with numerous text files.

Whew. I need to start taking naps after work. I'm coming home more spaced out and brain dead than usual.

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28Jul/02Off

Debian, Nvidia, and Pulling Out Your Hair.

I occasionally lurk on the debian-user mailing list which is trickier than it sounds due to the sheer volume of the list. More times than not I end up downloading 50 out of well over a hundred headers. Even without reading even keystroke that lands on that list I've noticed one recurring problem that I had myself while installing Debian: Configuring nvidia video cards correctly can be tricky. Debian's oft maligned installer assumes you know what you're doing and sometimes you just don't.

One very simple and basic thing - make sure you're using the nv driver when configuring X. If at any point you make the wrong choice use dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86 to start the process over again. This will come in handy if you're testing different configurations. Your previous selections are the defaults after you've configured it so it's a relatively safe way to tinker and fine tune.

You're going to want the nvidia-kernel-src .deb and the nvidia-glx-src .deb in most cases. You can get them with dselect or apt-get install them.

If X still refuses to start go back to the X configuration and turn off the frame buffer option. This was the final problem for me. Since the configuration routine says that it's probably safe to leave on I didn't think that it would be so problematic. It was and once I disabled it X reared its ugly head and everything was fine.

Oh, one other thing that you should probably already know, don't (unless you absolutely have to) follow those links above to get the nvidia files. Apt (usually in the apt-get install package-of-your-choice invocation) will get the job done or you can use dpkg's dselect for a text menu driven interface.

Good luck.

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28Jul/02Off

Dumb Motherfucker or Joe McCarthy’s Ghost?

You really have to wonder if these fuckheads/warbloggers/pundits think before posting things like this. Although you're a pathetic mouthpiece for conservative "voices" at very best, you really need to give what you're saying a quick lookie-loo before declaring that simply being neighbors with someone the powers that be consider a bad guy makes murdering them swell and dandy. Then again you can just blow the criticism off with "political correctness" whenever the question becomes too complex, right? Ah, the simplified world of the warblogger... I wonder if you think at all.

If you have any sort of long term memory at all you'll remember your painful introduction to logical thinking. While the Law of Hammurabi might be a useful context for dumbing things down for folks of your mindset it isn't particularly helpful for understanding things within a useful context. How about a quick refresher?

A government shoots a fucking missle into a residential area in an allegedly targeted attack. While the folks they're after are killed, five children are killed and something like 150 others are injured. Did I mention that this action was taken by an incredibly militarized government with a seemingly endless supply of resources? Is this the act of a group of terrorists? No, it's the Israeli government. I'm thinking maybe crappy crap didn't read the entire opinion column he quoted from. A couple of lines below the part he lifted is this line: This is not about diplomatic table manners. It is a fight to exterminate human monsters. Then's there's the sheer genius assertion that the entire continent of Europe is somehow anti-Semitic for being critical of Israel's actions.

Whoops. My fault for making the mistake of wishing you'd think before opening that big old trap. Dumb motherfucker or Joe McCarthy's ghost? You be the judge.

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27Jul/02Off

Daniel Robbins Interview

There's a short but very informative interview with the grand poobah of the Gentoo project over at Tiny Minds.

Although I've seen more than a few interviews with Daniel this one is worth reading because he (patiently) answers the recurring installation speed question. It baffles me that people can't seem to figure this one out (and I fully realize that the interviewer was mainly voicing the questions of readers here so don't take it as a slag on that person) and it makes me wonder if this is a side effect of the majority of Linux distributions being binary based.

I think that most people have never compiled a large piece of software. It isn't the quickest process in the world. Robbins has the patience to explain why this is a good idea. He summarizes it by basically saying that compiling from source allows users to exploit the power of available source code in a utilitarian way instead of the usual lip service given to the concept.

He also devotes a little time to talking about creating a quicker install version of Gentoo with more dependence on binary packages and also about introducing some kind of branching to separate the unstable and stable versions. The pace of Gentoo development is insane and I'm a little surprised that branching hasn't happened yet. They're supposed to make a whole bunch of announcements in the coming weeks so we'll just have to wait.

The only thing that leaves me confused is the creation of more binaries since the whole point of this distribution is optimization. The best way to optimize free software is by compiling it on your own machine and with your own compiler. I'm not criticizing the decision but I really hope that it doesn't eat up time better spent or cause the project to lose focus.

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27Jul/02Off

Hacking Up Billy Bass

Redneck roommates? Too much coffee and time? Learn how to make that annoying fish into something marginally more interesting here. Funnin' aside this is pretty cool because it attempts to solve the lip synching problem with a fairily complicated procedure. According to the site this project has been submitted to an embedded Linux contest but you know you just want to watch the funny fish say "Mmmmm, forbidden donuts" so get your ass over there before this gets /.ed to pieces.

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27Jul/02Off

Cash Money!

The nightly Ditherati mailing features a quote from Bruce Perens about his employer and freedom. All of this from the man who was at one time the grand poobah of the Debian project. Argh.

Here ya go:

"I care more about this than getting myself fired, but the fact is that getting myself fired today would have hurt Hewlett-Packard's Linux program."

A little bit of money goes a very long way apparently. I wonder what the exact price of maintaining a shred of dignity is these days. I guess the commercial exploitation of Debian means more than a token (at this point, at least) act of resistance against arbitrary and overreaching protection of intellectual property. Tsk tsk.

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26Jul/02Off

Blah and More Blah.

They came for the middle managers and I hated middle managers so I said nothing. Then they came for the NT admins and I can't even have a conversation with an NT admin so I said nothing. Then they came for the accounting department. Good riddance and I said nothing. Then they came for the MBAs-without-purpose-or-knowledge and I absently chuckled. Then they came for the desktop support drones and I was already gone for the day and my pager was off. It must be Friday.

Did I forget to wish a horrible, violent, and painful death to all Macintosh zealots who would do something as stupid as forcing a floppy into a zip drive and then complain that Macintoshes are supposed to be more friendly and figure that stuff out for them? No sir. I believe I forgot that part. Your respite from the forces of Darwinism is temporary.

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25Jul/02Off

Disgusting Spineless Opportunistic… I Could Keep Going…

Just a few days ago I was very happy about the demonstration/act of civil disobedience that Bruce Perens was planned for the Open Source Software deal in San Diego this weekend. Apparently HP is not allowing this. This sucks for a couple of different reasons:

1. Perens said that he would personally handle the potential legal ramifications but HP was afraid they might somehow become a target.

2. HP needs to sprout a spine and realize that making a commitment to open source activists means more than paying for street credibility. Sometimes the folks with deep pockets need to take some risks. Poo on HP and their lawyers.

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25Jul/02Off

LWN is finished….

Sadly LWN announced their own demise this week citing the all too familiar motivations like burnout, starvation, and lack of support. It was a pretty ambitious project that kept more than a couple of people very busy. I'm sad to see it go since it was a very convenient and sane digest of what was going on in the Linux world. Hopefully they'll all move on to other projects where they can spend more time and energy documenting and participating in the community and less time playing janitors and babysitters.

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23Jul/02Off

Unix The Supermodel…





via the super cool Other Unix page. Since few can handle the steps necessary for international copyright/trademark registration you end up with some pretty wacky stuff with Unix as part of the name. I know some people who could use some Unix diapers...

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23Jul/02Off

Perens Steps Up To The Plate

Bruce Perens is going to publically violate the DMCA during a DRM workshop at the O'Reilly Open Source Software Convention on Friday. He'll be demonstrating a hacked DVD player that will play Euro format DVDs. I'm very curious to see what happens. If the dicks in control decide to take legal action (which they have plenty of time to arrange given the two day heads up) it will be a fine illustration of why the current version of DMCA is over reaching. I really want to hear the pasty old vampire explain how altering DVD players to accomodate legally purchased DVDs is somehow killing the motion picture industry and promoting the "tyranny of piracy." There is some heated discussion gong on in smoke filled rooms right now, I'm sure. After the debacle with Dmitry Sklyarov the public relations horse is indeed dead so they might as well storm into the conference with pump shotguns waving the banner of consumer protection. Is there a contract out on old crappy crap yet?

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23Jul/02Off

Can Someone Please Help This Man?!

From the odd and often disturbing Debian Curiosa mailing list comes this little gem:

Dear Sir,

We are the networking solution provider & are looking for the antivrus
solution for your product. Kindly send us the solution for linux debian 2.0
as soon as possible

Thanking You,

Regards,
for Technext Systems

Deepti Jain
(6175024-6193396)

Godspeed the solution to all of these horrible virus problems I'm having. Chuckle-licious. It's also worth noting that Debian 2.0 would be a couple of years old and doesn't really exist any more sorta like Linux virii.

On a Somewhat Related Note
This sign off from #debian was pretty pathetic:

Signoff: fuzzyping ("Is there a debian channel out here that really wants to help its users? Guess what they say about deb-elitists is true. Bac).

What makes it worse is that this fella repeatedly mentioned that he was a RHCE. Ugh. People who claim to be certified as an engineer but can't be bothered to read documentation need to leave Earth.

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22Jul/02Off

Debian-Med Gets Some Ink…

In the latest Brave Gnu World Georg talks a bit about the Debian-Med project. It seems like few people have heard of this project which is a shame since reliability and security are high priorities within medical technology. I haven't seen other efforts to tailor a collection of free software to the medical industry. There is some sketchiness concerning proprietary but freely distributable (that's "closed source" if you're a born-again right winger) software within the distribution. Given that it is Debian we're talking about here there will probably be a fair amount of debate/discussion/feces slinging about the matter but there is already a surprising amount of structure to the project. I'll have to remember to check in every once in awhile to see how things are going.

Just a Quick Aside
Just Another Negative Review of the Preconfigured Lindows PCs.

22Jul/02Off

Glad I Took Friday Off…

More sheer genius from work via the automailer from the cruddy help desk software my department uses:

KEY: 31264
MSG: New Helpdesk call for your workgroup: Call #31264:****** in Speech Dept - User says that his MAC says there is 1.97 GB on SPC Y: drive. His PC says 16.7GB. He tried to copy a 2GB file to the Y drive from MAC. MAC won't let him.

A little explanation: The Y drive is a public storage server with a 1mb quota on a single file. I have no idea how this rocket scientist thought has was going to get away with copying 2 freaking gigabytes onto it. I love my job. Really. I have this horrible urge to just put in a ticket to have his machine removed and redeployed to someone that has the minimum clue requirement but I'm too nice for that. No, really, I am.

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21Jul/02Off

I’m Not A Communist But I Play One On Mailing Lists.

The unfortunate part about the GPL debate is that it won't end. The usual party of evil minions decided to flood the comments on a couple of things that I wrote about the GPL and I deleted them with absolutely no guilt. Partially because some of them called me bad names (which seems a little ridiculous when you're talking about Intellectual Property but hey...)but mainly because they were so completely full of shit that I didn't want to contribute to the FUD effort. I guess I failed to make some points obvious enough for even the idiots to digest.

1. I try to refrain from this tactic most of the time but you really need to read up on things and at least make a token attempt to understand them before you go shooting your mouth off. You might want to check out the FAQ at very least. It's bound to more helpful than third hand information from Microsoft. Pretend you have an objective bone in your body and go give it a read.

2. The GPL isn't as virulently viral as some would suggest. Like most regulation of intellectual property in the free software world it is a measure of protection against black boxing intellectual work for profit. You are not in any way obligated to distribute changes in GPLed software just by modifying it. As it plainly says in the FAQ you are free to modify software under the GPL and use it in an organization/company without making your modifications public. The only time this is restricted is when you start circulating the modified software publically which I'm sure in your case means selling it. For people who spout off so militantly about your rights to YOUR intellectual property (or whoever you've sold your rights to) I'm surprised that this simple concept is so difficult for you to grasp.

3. Invoking your starving children is a pretty obnoxious way to argue. While it's true that a small percentage of free software developers are employed explicitly to produce free software you might be surprised at how many release some of their work as free software. There are some companies in the world that look at development (especially of standards) as something akin to academic work. You build on academic work by having access to it and fully understanding it. Trying to protect innovation from falling into the wrong hands (ie. the wrong company) is a little ridiculous at this point. While the old "information wants to be free" chant may fall a little short you might want to consider the wisdom of "not reinventing the wheel."

Hopefully that clears up my position on some of these ideas. Calling me a communist as some kind of jab is almost as ridiculous as proclaiming yourself a Visual Basic developer. Ge ye back under the bridge.

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21Jul/02Off

Server Wackiness…

The site was painfully slow for a day or so. I emailed the noc folks with no response but since things are back to the blazing speed that I'm used to I'm not complaining. Every time the server runs slow or times out I start to feel very guilty about all of the glowing recommendations I've given my host.

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20Jul/02Off

Debian 3.0!

Whoa. I made a very fatal kernel mistake and ended up spending the day reinstalling my operating system. The strange part is that Woody was released during that time making the version of Debian I'm running the stable release. What a strange feeling to run stable. I destroyed my system as a testing release and reinstalled it as stable.

It's pretty cool, though, that Deb is hitting 3.0 after two years of 2.2 releases. There was an irc party and the usual understated official announcement from the man behind the curtain. Onward!

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18Jul/02Off

Cooler than Yesterday…

Oddly enough we had an air conditioner passed down to us on the 100th anniversary of its invention. I take back every bad thing I've ever said about AC. For the first time in weeks I can work without feeling sticky and disgusting. Holly and Jose are right at the top of my "favorite people" list for loaning me a little slice of heaven. Denver has consistently hit mid-90's for the past six days or so. Having the temperature of the interior of the house slightly cooler than outside seems like the most luxurious and decadent thing ever.

The hellish temperatures (at least for someone who is still accustomed to the bland non-climate of the SF bay area) have made an unnecessary activity seem like a chore so the posting is minimal. This is compounded by the summer semester winding down. Eight week programming classes are more than a little hectic.

It's looking like TurboLinux is on the way out despite the recent attempt at catching up with that really crappy yet insanely popular distribution. It's all rumor and speculation right now but significant since TurboLinux has a huge chunk of the Asian language market.Linux and Main checks in on this one as well. Apparently Transmeta is fucked too. I wonder if Linus will be in the job market soon. Ouch. Kinda weird since Transmeta seemed like it was finally stepping up to the plate with production. Like the OQO wasn't the coolest toy released this year.

Linux Journal has the Reader's Choice Poll up and running. No chad counting or brother who fixes elections completely invalidating the results going on there.

Also go check out StreetSpam. You know you hate those "Work from Home" signs that pop up everywhere. Go check out some resources and (eventually) some suggestions on how to rid the world of these annoying little advertisements. It's a great idea (much more realistic than billboard liberation and whatnot) on a scale that folks without ski masks and climbing gear can use. I'm hoping to see cool stuff happening there in the future.

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17Jul/02Off

Informative Gentoo review…

Found a nicely done review of the Gentoo distribution over at OS News and then promptly forgot about it until now.

The review is fairly in depth and also gives the prerequisite warnings about Gentoo being a little bit more work than your average desktop Linux distribution. Gentoo is source based so you compile all of your own software instead of relying on precompiled binaries. While this may seem like madness to most people the idea of having a whole OS compiled for your machine is appealing. I'm going to give Gentoo a shot as soon as I have a spare x86 machine at work. The main appeal is speed and less crap weighing down your machine.

The file management system Portage (which isn't mentioned in the review) is also fan-freaking-tastic looking. I immediately want to compare to with using apt with sources but I think that Portage is further down the road than that. The configurability is insanely granular.

The author also tries a couple non-x86 installs which is something you don't see all too often.

So if you're looking for a new toy to play with or you're sick to death of binaries bogging down your machine this review might be a good place to start your evaluation.

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16Jul/02Off

Xoops and More Damnable Xoops

I get a whole lot of traffic from searches for Xoops which is a content management system that uses PHP extensively. Back in the day (three months ago) I played around with it a little bit and sent the first version of this site to push up some daisies. Don't worry you didn't miss much. Eventually I figured out that Xoops wasn't the answer for me. It's geared towards news and portal sites that need to handle traffic efficiently and not really for ranty little dry spots in the mud like this one that average less than 250 unique IPs a day.

Being a civic minded guy I decided to link some Xoops/PHP type resources here for the betterment of those who come coasting in from a Google search.

Xoops

The Main Xoops site. There really isn't a better resource for learning how to use this CMS. They also have forums for problem solving and whatnot. It seems like things are pretty active there and the community is expanding. They have a better handly on Xoops specific stuff than anywhere else.

Content Management - Some other options to consider.

PHPNuke - the old dirty bastard of PHP based content management systems. There seem to be a whole lot of people using it (thus a lot of development of modules going on) but I also hear a lot about security problems. I've never used it personally so don't take my advice on this.

PostNuke - the allegedly improved fork of PHPNuke. I don't know. Also seems to have a large community of users and a lot of active development. The developers seem to like to insult each other. Funny but probably not a good sign.

Geeklog - a new project with speed and security as priority number one. They are apparently working on a *nix-based security model. Sounds good. Probably not the easiest to install and maintain. Probably fast as holy shit. Never got around to trying it.

Drupal - Our friends at Debian Planet recently switched to this CMS. I've yet to get a comprehensive answer why. They had a little trouble getting things working (mySQL errors and whatnot) but they were also moving a massive amount of stuff from one framework to another. Very committed to keeping it real Open Source style.

There are a million more but these seem to be the ones most similar in design and intent to Xoops.

Stuff
PHP main site - the scripting language that powers most of these management systems. I've bought several books but time has not been on my side.

mySQL will most likely be your database backend. They have an extensive amount of documentation available online and keep it open source for the kids.

So, there is a good start. Between the links above you should be able to get started. There is also this motherhuge list if you want maximum options. Have fun. Good luck. Thanks for stopping by.

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16Jul/02Off

…and his lovely wife Debbie…

Sometimes keeping a close eye on your logs ends up transporting you to a magical land where cookies grow on trees and MAGIC is everywhere. Other times you see "doug henning wonder whim" coming in from a Google search and you wonder what the hell is wrong with people. I had no idea that magical world of Doug Henning extended beyond the grave. I'd assumed that that the tail end of the 1970's was the furthest that particular hippie would make it.

It turns out that Wonder Whims were some creepy ass toys cooked up by Hennings in the pre-Veda Land days. Damn. I'm sorry I looked. Along the way I found this hilarious article from 1997 about the differences between the Doug Henning and David Copperfield schools of magic. Apparently only educated snobs like David Copperfield while Henning is " not above wearing colorful suspenders, striped shirts, a Richard Simmons haircut, and a mustache" and more about magic for the people. Class war is officially everywhere folks.

It is really too bad that Veda Land was never completed. I can imagine it being a hot vacation spot for the acid damaged crowd. Hell, I'd even make a trip there to try out the ride that takes you into the molecular construction of a rose. Someone please pick up the torch!

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16Jul/02Off

Even More Lindows Bashing

If you stop by here with any regularity and read anything that I write (guess I'm basically talking to Aaron when I qualify it with 'read') you might be familiar with my distrust/dislike/utter contempt for Lindows. The newest public statement via chat does nothing to change that.

Michael Roberts is a confused man being pursued by a flock of angry penguins and eventually by an angry mob of Wal-Mart customers who tried to save a couple of bucks. Roberts himself admits that the audience we're going for has never heard of linux, so it's more of a distraction when talking about our system to mention linux.. Basically, he wants a line in the sand drawn between hard and crappy Linux and his revolutionary new OS which is for all practical purposes a very broken Linux distribution.

What I never get out these long interviews: what exactly is the target market for Lindows. The "desktop" is a completely meaningless term when trying to describe what a computer is used for. I think that available applications have more to do with what the end user does with a computer than anything else. If you give someone a machine that only has "productivity" software available you're going to have a business machine even if the interface is pretty. Roberts stated in this very chat that Lindows isn't interested in developing Lindows with gaming in mind. So, what is the purpose of Lindows?

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15Jul/02Off

The Weekend in Omaha

We just returned a wedding in Omaha, Nebraska. I'm pretty glad to be back in Denver. I'm just now getting the required amount of internet connectivity and drinkable coffee into my system. Because I'm a completely paranoid freak (even without the recent trickle of death threats from the blindingly brilliant patrons of the Right Wing News) I'm not one to announce my vacations beforehand. Although you will not read any ramblings here about how much Yoon and I are alarmed by the glowing blue Masonic temple in Denver I do get the ick about pretty harmless things.

I often call Denver a cowtown. Actually I have longer and more explicit descriptions but I'm feeling a lack of trollishness after my weekend escape from all things weblog. Omaha is eerily similar to Denver. It has the same basic layout, the same general trend in architecture (bland!), similar little-big-city complexes expressed by its populace, and Ye Olde downtown slowly morphing into a glorified strip mall with oh-so quaint cobblestone streets. Like the nearly identical free weeklies that you'll find in SF, Denver, Dallas, or Miami with an identical masthead (all owned by New Times)I'm convinced there is some national downtown renovation company. They slip into town, buy up parcel of deserted warehouses, and set up shop. Then the cruddy old warehouses (where everything worth doing/attending in the city has happened up until this point) are gussied up with some new plaster with carefully planned exposed brick. After that the company hires a few local loudmouths who've been aching to tap into the urban and contemporary market to offset the styrofoam and mortar chainstores that serve as the dominant business atmosphere. The tired masses from the suburbs yearning to be urbane eat this shit up.

What could be more rewarding than finding the same great stores that we know and love from the mall only in an environment that is refined and so dang cosmopolitan. Is that a swan made of ice. Oh pinch me so I know I'm not dreaming.

Omaha is getting the same lower downtown money douche. It just looks so familiar. The names are slightly changed (different bad puns in reference to their product) but the effect is more than a little creepy.

Anyway, the wedding... My last few summers have been entirely about weddings. This is the first of the summer and special in ways that others won't ever be.This friend (and I've mentioned his his problems with the Catholic church in earlier posts) sustained a spinal injury a couple of years ago that left him quadriplegic. Two years after losing the ability to walk and a majority of the motor skills in his hands he got married. There is more to the story than that but I feel weird going into the details of someone else's life. I might be burned out on the whole summer onslaught of weddings but this was worth attending.

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