Saturday, July 26, 2008

Atheros releases Linux drivers

Another yay for the Linux and OSS world. Atheros wifi adapters are notoriously difficult at times to run under Linux; though I enjoy wrestling with it as much as any geek worth his/her salt, it would make things a lot easier for noobs and frees up more time for us to focus on the job rather than on lower levels stuffs like drivers and such.

Read it at Atheros unveils free Linux driver for its 802.11n devices

Hate to say this but I do look forward to the day when the excellent ndiswrapper is no longer necessary.

Friday, July 25, 2008

MS showing love to OSS

Was reading through the feeds from Slashdot a moment ago and this caught my attention, Microsoft Blesses LGPL, Joins Apache Foundation .

So does it mean MS has finally become less evil? Can't help but think of MS' fundamental strategy Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

The fact that they are willing to pay money and contribute code is an admission of OSS in the world. Of course I would not bet on them using Apache as their primary web server anytime soon.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

GPG Cheat sheet

Below are some of the more frequent GPG commands I use:

#Generate Key
gpg --gen-key

#Upload key
gpg --send-keys --keyserver DEADBEEF

#Download key
gpg --keyserver --recv-keys DEADBEEF

#Export Public Key
gpg -ao something-public.key --export DEADBEEF

#Export Private Key
gpg -a --export-secret-keys DEADBEEF | gpg -aco some-private.key.gpg

#Import Public Key
gpg --import something-public.key

#Import Private Key
gpg --decrypt some-private.key.gpg |gpg --import

#Sign Key
gpg --sign-key ABABABAB
gpg --default-key DEADBEEF --sign-key ABABABAB

#Sign a file
gpg --default-key DEADBEEF --sign --detach-sign DumbSlides.odp

#Verify signature file
gpg DumbSlides.sig

#Sign a clear text
gpg --clearsign textfile.txt
gpg --default-key DEADBEEF --clearsign textfile.txt

#Create ASCII Armoured key file
gpg --export -a DEADBEEF > mykey.asc

GPG Rul35!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Key Signing

To sign a GPG key via CLI:

#gpg --sign-key ABCDEF10

This will use the primary or first key in your keyring to sign the ABCDEF10 key.

If you have more than one key and you would like to sign the ABCDEF10 key with some other key in your keyring you need to use the --default-key switch (e.g. assuming the DEADBEEF key is not my primary key or first in the keyring).

#gpg --default-key DEADBEEF --sign-key ABCDEF10

How to sign a file using GPG

There are several reasons why you would want to sign a file, one of it is to ensure that the file really came from the author. Well , I recently finished some slides for job and wanted to sign it.

$ gpg --default-key DEADBEEF --sign --detach-sign Some-Dumb-Slides.odp

(Note, DEADBEEF is the Hex ID of my key, the --detach-sign param is used, so that a sig file is created)

An additional Some-Dumb-Slides.sig file will be created.

To verify the signature:

$gpg Some-Dumb-Slides.sig

Gosh I love GPG.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fedora 9 Update List

Just got this link from KageSenshi via IRC. It has all patches issued so far for Fedora 9 with testers' comments.

Since the previous kernel release made my home PC's Wifi dead, guess I can try the latest one and see whether it works.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fedora 9 64-bit

64-bit computing is the future, or so the chip companies and PC manufacturers are telling us. Well yes and no. I guess if you only use the computer as nothing more than a simple Internet box, a glorified typewriter and a music player, it really doesn't matter whether you run a 32 or 64-bit platform.

As more 64-bit CPUs are powering anything from notebook computers to servers, the need for 64-bit platform and software is growing by the day.

Linux and the OSS world has been 64-bit ready for quite some time now. For the server, no one can sensibly argue that Linux is lacking in any way. However on the desktop, 64-bit Linux has always been somewhat lacking. Though I am all for software freedom and openess, the fact remains that many stuff in the Net are still propreitary (Flash, Java etc); 32-bit Linux did and still does not have this issue, its 64-bit version has somewhat been the poor cousin, until now.

I installed Fedora 9 64-bit and so far, I have not seen any lack of software and plugins. In the office I listen to MP3s and CDs. I also on occasion do some "Youtubing" after hours. So far, it has stood up to the challenge.

All video plugins are available from the Livna repo. To install/enable the Livna repo, please refer to here.

The instructions also covers an easy how-to installation of the Flash plugin for the 64-bit platform (a frequent complain of frequent surfers running on 64-bit Linux is how hard it is to enable Flash plugin).

For Adobe Acrobat, I used the tarball to install.

Wammu which I use to synchronise my trusty SE W850i also works without a hitch. So far, I have been running Fedora 9 x86_64 north of 24 hours and I have yet to see any problems with it.

Doggy Poo Ride

Well, an old friend of mine who works for a major MNC that is famous for it laser printers just told me an unbelievable story.

They were all in a conference call with some big a$$ regional mucky muck and guess what? While they all have to sit through the darn meeting (I personally feel that many Managers like nothing more to hold meetings just to show others that they are doing something.) that big a$$ mucky muck had to leave for an appointment with the vet.

Not for her, but I think she should get a jab just in case, but get this, she left the meeting she called so that she can have her dog's stool analysed by the vet.

So I guess what she wanted to say is, you a55h0l3z are not as important as my dog's poo.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

SLAX Rocks!

I have always been intrigued by the idea of distros running off USB thumb drives. Well Haris (my boss) had an issue with his EEPC and needed some live distro to resolve it. Well none of us here have any USB Optical Drive, so I hatched upon the idea of using my new 8GB Drive to boot a distro.

Hmm...what distro to use? I am partial to Ubuntu and Fedora but these distros are heavy resource munchers (even Xubuntu is relatively heavy), then I remembered SLAX. In the past, I used the Live CD version of SLAX to resuscitate and backup data from many of my customers' dead XP PCs.

Ok I head over to and downloaded the USB version. And then, all I needed was to copy the tarball over to my drive, extract it and copy the extracted boot and slax dirs to the root of the USB drive and run the script as root and walla! I have a newly bootable always persistent distro.

I did run into some problems earlier on. Somehow, my File system got corrupted. Ah well, just reformat lo!

I like SLAX coz I did not need to change my USB drives' FAT32 file system, all others require a re-partitioning of some sort. Besides, like it or not FAT32 is pretty universal across many platforms.

SLAX boots up real fast, something you will not expect from a distro running KDE. Well, I basically cannot do without Firefox, so I downloaded its tarball, extracted it and created some links and I have my beautiful Firefox. I just install flash and stuff and I am good to go. is pretty heavy so I most probably won't install that. I might go for Abiword but I guess KOffice is pretty ok as well.

MP3 and AVI support is also enabled. SLAX is really cool.

There are many distros nowadays that support bootable from USB thumb drives. Backtrack 3, the popular distro for pen tester and security enthusiasts also has a version that runs off USB drives.

So, if someone asks you what's so great about the OSS world, tell them about SLAX. See if XPee can do the same.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fedora - cutting edge enough to draw blood.

Interesting read here (thanks to KageSenshi)

Fedora, whatever what people say, to me always has this kinda "beta"-ish feel to it as it incorporates the latest stuff in it - even if it breaks stuff as the article above states.

As a result of the latest kernel upgrade on my beloved F9 broke my WiFi I have sheepishly moved my primary desktop at home to Ubuntu 8.04 (hey, love it or hate it, Ubuntu really comes close to becoming the ideal Linux desktop). And no, I did not keep an older version of the kernel as I momentarily lapsed into stupidity and removed older kernels.

Don't think Fedora isn't stable or anything. It has withstood almost anything I threw at it.
Fedora is an excellent platform for adventurous sould and for those who are into seeing what the latest that can come from the OSS world. Stability, I don't think is even second on the list.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Of Gates and Bars

Read this at BBC Tech News. Interesting read even for non Open Source people.

I had a meet up with some people from the public sector to day. And my, most of them are so darn pro-MS all for the sake of the apparently "ease of use".

Yeah right, paying tons of money to get some collection of word processors and spreadsheets on a buggy platformand paying another ton just to safeguard it.

Hello? You guys are paid by the tax money of the people. So just because you guys are too lazy to do a job you are hired to do, don't blame OSS man. And stop wasting my money you clowns!!!

Anyhow END_OF_RANT. Read the fine article linked above.

Live long and prosper!