Linux Archives

Is Ubuntu’s New Firefox Watching You?

According to a recent Slashdot article it very well might be.  Ubuntu recently released a new extension to Firefox alpha 3 called “Multisearch”.

The first thing that I don’t like about it is that it installs automatically without any warning about potential privacy problems.  For me that’s a deal-breaker all by itself.

Another thing that gets it a thumbs down is that the article also mentioned that it has “other purposes” of collecting usage data and generating revenue.  Exactly how the “generating revenue” part works wasn’t explained that I saw but the simple fact that it’s part of the reason for the plugin is reason enough IMO to yank the sucker.

This means that the next time I start my Kubuntu (that’s Ubuntu with a KDE desktop for those who don’t know) machine, I’m going to start Firefox and go to “Tools” and “Add ons” and deactivate and / or remove that plugin.

Technorati Tags: search plugin, firefox, plugin, multisearch, privacy, ubuntu, spyware

Something I’ve talked about in the past is the fact that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the writing on the wall.  Microsoft & co. have made it clear that they’re moving on, first with Vista and now with Seven.  As much as I don’t like the fact, sooner or later the XP Pro that I prefer to stick with instead of those increasingly nasty new versions of windows is going to end up far enough out of date that it not only won’t run anything new but probably will reach a point where, like windows 95, it’s no longer even a good idea to allow it on the net.

A Practical Guide to Ubuntu LinuxI originally had planned to set up my laptop with a vista / ubuntu dual boot and use that as a learning ground to become familiar enough with ubuntu so that when the time came I could just make the switch to linux on my desktop machines.  However the laptop’s hard drive failed and after spending time browsing sale pages I find that replacing it just isn’t going to happen as soon as I’d like.

So, In the meantime, I’ve decided to take something of an old fashioned approach to learning the ins and outs of linux in general and Ubuntu in particular, a paperback book titled “A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux“.  It’s a method that isn’t used so much anymore these days what with e-books and video tutorials and such but it’s still one that honestly works pretty good for me.  As for having an e-book version, that might work ok for some but I prefer having a physical bound book… it’s easier to put bookmarks in and use sticky notes and highlighters to make notes in it.

The main thing is that because I can see the end of windows operating systems coming (and trust me, Microsoft’s days as the “Big dog” are all but over.), I’m planning to be ready and make the switch to linux as far ahead of time as I can.  For once in my life I’m going to be in the leading pack on something like this instead of playing the “scramble to catch-up” game.

Technorati Tags: Video Tutorials, E Books, Practical Guide, Reading A Book, Paperback Book, Microsoft, Desktop Machines, laptop, Book, Dual Boot, Spending Time, Linux, laptop hard drive, Windows Operating Systems, Sticky Notes

HBasically Speaking…

I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking around to find a programming environment that would allow me to create a linux version of my Mixminion Message Sender program because the windows Visual Basic version isn’t interested in working under Wine and I’m just lazy enough to want at least a rudimentary GUI to interface with Mixminion and handle all the grunt work of setting up messages.

So I looked around at several possibilties. I tried the Fast Light Tool Kit, but have not been able to get it to compile. Asking around got me a suggestion to try TCL/TK. I got it installed and working, and it looks every bit the powerfull language people have said it is. I’m working on learning it, but it’s just alien enough to someone used to various flavors of Basic that I think it’ll be a while before I’m ready to release anything created with it.

With that thought I hit the google trail again and found a couple of candidates for Visual Basic lookalikes… HBasic and Gambas. I looked over both sites and decided that HBasic looked like it would be the most likely. I d/l’d the source and immediately ran into problems compiling it… seems that ./configure didn’t agree that I had MySQL (or at least some library, ‘’) and that I didn’t have QT (which I had used Synaptic to install earlier)

Given that, I ditched the source and d/l’d the binary. Once it was in place I started it up and saw that it is indeed a great environment to create the next version of MMS. I played around with it some, getting used to it when it crashed after I deleted an object from the GUI on a test program. That’s when I found this error msg in the bash window I started HBasic from:

apostle5406@debian:/usr/local/hbasic/bin$ ./hbasic
Error loading mysql SO lib!
Message: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory 
Error loading erp SO lib!
Message: /usr/local/hbasic/erp/lib/ cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
Component initialized method <_Z14new_pushbuttonl> not found

Now I need to find out where to get these files (and what version to get) to get HBasic working…

A server is (re)born

Finally, after what seemed like forever trying and re-trying one package, tutorial, howto, guide after another, I’ve finally managed to get a mailserver working to replace the mercury32 server I had in windows

The winning software is xmail. It’s a full featured mail server package that handles smtp, pop3 and finger servers all in one package. The docs page on the xmail server website made installation and setup a snap. I was able to re-create the email accounts I had on my old mercury32 server easily.

Xmail managed to do the one thing that all other linux mail server solutions could not manage. qmail, postfix, exim4 and sendmail just to name a few all required one package for smtp, another for pop3, another for smtp-auth, Etc. When I asked about it I was told that part of the linux philosophy is for each program to do one function, allowing the user to select what functions they want and install the appropriate programs.

The problem there is that I have the idea that in some cases, ‘one program, one function’ is breaking things down too much. In the example of a mail server, that means smtp, pop3, ssl/tls, user authentication, user managment, filtering and at least some of the anti-spam handeling are best delivered in one package as a suite of related functions.

I think at least part of the reason I had so much problems was in at first not knowing about this, and then trying to work out arrangements that worked and satisfied all dependencies. In some cases I think there were either things I missed or mis-handled or some outright errors in tutorials and howto articles I found dealing with mailserver setup.  Several times I would follow the example exactly, only to reach a point where everything stopped because the directions given simply didn’t work.

In any event, after finally getting a working solution with xmail, it’s made a believer out of me. I’ll be quick to recommend xmail in the future to anyone wanting advice.

My next project is to come up with a programming environment that’s at least similar to visual basic so that I can create a linux version of my Mixminion Message Sender.

So far I’m running into fun problems… FLTK fails to compile because of dependencies not met, Gambas looks good. I haven’t tried it yet. HBasic looks REALLY good, but there’s that pesky dependency problem again..  coming up with exactly the right qt3 files to install, and convincing it that, yes, I DO have MySQL installed… Etc. Etc. Etc. …



Exim4…in cyberspace no one can hear you scream.

This whole thing started around a month ago when the ‘normal’ level of windows difficulties shot off the scale.  First, a hardware problem cut my pc off from the net, then when that was fixed, windows 98SE decided to make life SO much more fun by refusing to see the host computer on my little LAN, making it impossible to get Windows Internet Connection Sharing working again.

I spent a couple of weeks, trying every possible combination of options, but windows networking just would not co-operate.  I even re-installed windows twice, still getting me nothing but frustration.

Then I gave up and installed Debian Sarge in a dual-boot.  IT had no problem connecting online, and things were looking up.

the problem came when trying to get a mailserver running on linux.  exim4 is what it ships with, and i’ve done a lot of reading and question asking.. crawling all over any site where I could find mention of exim4, debian, and smtp auth.

three weeks after installing debian, my mail server is still silent.