A new project has been added

Hi everyone,

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog. I wanted to announce that I added a new project to my Projects page. It’s an updater for a TunnelBroker IPv6 Tunnel, written in Python. You’ll see two versions listed. The first version is the original script, while the second version includes a password hashing program.

The requirements are Python 2.7.3 (although it’s a trivial task to convert it to Python 3.x), and you’ll have to fill in your information in the UserInfo.txt file. Try it out, and let me know what you think. And let me know what features you want to see included in it. My next plan for the script is adding some type of file size limitations, so you don’t end up with logs that are wiping out your hard drives. Right now, you have to manually clean the results.log file out (although after a week of running, it’s only at about 5KB).

Have a great day:)
Patrick.

A Slight Rant…

Hey everyone,

It’s been a while since I posted here, and I do apologize for that. I’ve been busy with other projects and haven’t taken the time to prioritize–but I am doing that over the next couple of weeks (New Years Resolutions, anyone?)

There’s been a lot of things happening in the IT world recently, and I’ll touch on those in future posts.

This post is actually a slight rant which is aimed at the Open Source crowd. I say slight, because I’m an avid supporter and user of Open Source.

Here’s the rant….

There are three groups of attitudes: Pro Microsoft, Pro Apple, and Pro Open Source/Linux. The Pro Microsoft group tends to slam anything Apple or Open Source related. The Pro Apple group tends to slam anything Microsoft related, and treat the Pro Open Source/Linux group as their little sibling. In a lot of sites, the Pro Open Source/Linux group slam everything Microsoft or Apple related.

This is the problem… In some places (for example the Ubuntu Code Of Conduct) you’re supposed to treat everyone fairly and kindly. However, it seems like that doesn’t apply when it comes to Microsoft or Apple (mainly Microsoft). People who use Microsoft or Apple products, and look at Open Source or Linux will see these attitudes as childish. That may turn them off to the virtues of it.

Now, some people may say “Well, we don’t want them then.” Or they’ll say “It’s their loss.” The reality is that it’s OUR loss. And, we do want them. We want them to have a choice. Whether they choose to stay with Microsoft, Apple, or closed source (proprietary); or they come over to Linux and Open Source, the CHOICE is what matters. Microsoft and Apple don’t want users to make that choice–they want them to stay with their products and keep their profits up.

The short of this is that We (Open Source Advocates) need to be above the childish attitudes. We need to show the users why the choice is important, and why our preferred software/operating systems are better. But we need to do it professionally, so the users will give us a fair shake… After all, the Proprietary group uses childish tactics like FUD to keep users. We shouldn’t sink to their level.

Have a great day:)
Patrick.

An Update and a Little Confusion on LibreOffice

Last evening, I received a reply from the LibreOffice team concerning the support of Office 2007 formats. They said that they are going to continue to support those formats, and to an extent the OOXML format as well. This is confusing since the article that I read on Groklaw said they don’t consider OOXML as a standard, so they won’t support it.

That being said, it’s great that the team plans to support the Office formats. In the US, LibreOffice (or OpenOffice.org as it was known) is virtually unknown. In other parts of the world, it’s more prevalent (possibly used more then Microsoft Office).

I have to say that I’ve been surprised though. I tutor for our local Community College, and one of my former students mentioned that he’s using OpenOffice.org in place of Microsoft Office. He’s not an IT major (and not even interested in computers), so I was pleasantly surprised to hear that he was using the suite.

I’ll be blogging more about the new suite as time goes on. This weekend, I’m planning on downloading the source code and installing it. Also I’ll be installing the beta for Windows on my Windows 7 boxes.

Have a great day:)
Patrick.

Announcing "LibreOffice"

Today I wanted to discuss a press-release that was put out yesterday, which announced the beta of “LibreOffice.” This is being sponsored by The Document Foundation, and in all honesty is a fork of the popular OpenOffice.org office suite.

The main difference between the two suites is that OpenOffice.org will allow you to use “non-free” (closed-source) addons. LibreOffice restricts the addons to “free” (read as GPL or open-source) only. Also they are not supporting the OOXML format (which is Microsoft’s Open XML document format). Whether this means that they won’t support the Office 2007 formats remains unclear (although I did send an email to them asking about this).

If you’re on Windows, Mac, or Linux, you can download the beta at http://www.documentfoundation.org/download/ although it should be noted that the Linux beta is in .rpm form. This means that debian-based users (*buntu, Debian, Mint, and others) will have to either install from the source code, or use an rpm-deb conversion program like alien.

Also, since it’s a beta and a fork, there may be things that will still say “OpenOffice.org” and the addons will still point to the OpenOffice.org addon site. I plan to give it a go in the next few days (on both Linux and Windows), just to see how it compares. Right now, it should be essentially the same thing as OpenOffice–it’s the future that will be interesting.

Have a great day:)
Patrick.

From the NYTimes: The Defenders of Free Software

The Defenders Of Free Software (Subscription may be required but is free for accessing online articles. Update: If you view more than 20 articles in a single month, you’ll be required to sign up for a paid subscription.)

This article is about one person who works for the GPL-Violations.org site in encouraging companies that use Open Source software to follow the licensing agreements.

I wanted to point it out for two reasons:

    1. It discusses how deeply Open Source software really is becoming rooted into our society

 

  • It also discusses the fear that companies have of Open Source software developers coming after them for money

 

The reality is that the companies are basing their fear out of the tactics of the “Closed Source” companies–not the principles of Open Source. The developers and GPL-Violations.org are not trying to make a quick buck (although I would imagine that all of them would appreciate something in return for their efforts). They are trying to promote the use of Open Source (and trying to make sure that companies don’t steal the code).
As was mentioned in the article, while a “Closed Source” company will send lawyers after the violator (at the very least they will start with a Cease-and-Desist Letter), the Open Source community will first try to get the violator to correct the issues. ONLY If the violator refuses (or fails) to correct the issue, will they resort to Cease-And-Desist Letters or lawyers.
Kind of a better system, don’t you think?

Have a great day:)
Patrick.

How the open source community could save your life | opensource.com

How the open source community could save your life | opensource.com

This article makes some really valid points.  After all look at how many drugs have been pulled from the market, years after they were introduced.  And since most medical devices are basically micro-computers in themselves, you really should be concerned about how well they work.

It’s not a perfect solution (because there is no such thing).  But, the question remains:  Would you trust your life to the manufacturer of the device, who on one hand wants to save lives, but on the other hand is in a push to get the device out the door quickly; or would you rather trust your life to a group of people who are constantly going through the devices code—making sure that the bugs are fixed before you (or anyone else) gets into a scenario where they’re triggered?

I, for one, agree with the presenter.  Now that I’ve seen this, I’ll want to know more about the device and the code behind it.  Because the people and company making the device aren’t the ones who won’t ever see my family and friends again… I am.

Have a great weekendSmile
Patrick.

Linux News: North Korea’s “Red Star” Linux, and is FOSS an Enemy of the State?

http://www.linuxinsider.com/rsstory/69541.html

North Korea announced their own distribution of Linux called “Red Star.”  It’s aimed at the North Korean People and Government and provides a Korean language interface.  Meanwhile the International Intellectual Property Alliance (which coincidentally is made up of mainly American based organizations) claims that because Open Source options deny “legitimate companies” a place in governments, then any government that uses Open Source software should be deemed an “Enemy of the State.”

Now, here’s my take on this.  If a Government purchases a closed source application, they do not know what is in the code.  Yes, they can get the source code from the manufacturer.  But until they do, they could potentially be leaking information to other Governments through the manufacturer.  **NOTE that there is no proof of this happening that I know of…****

However, if they use Open Source software, they limit the chances of this happening.  Why? Because they can have their coders look through the source code and remove anything that they deem a security risk.  And they can compile the updated code—without risking loss of data or secrets.  Plus with the code being open, the chances of a company sneaking something into the product are nil.  This is because the Open Source Community won’t stand up for it.  It goes against the Free Open Source Software principles.  Can the IIPA say the same about their closed source counterparts?

Now, unlike the IIPA (and to an extent some of the Open Source Community), I feel that there is a place for both.  It boils down to whichever product provides the most effective tools for the situation.  In some cases, Open Source provides the tools.  In others, it’s closed source (or open source designed to run on closed source systems).  The Government (as well as the People) should have the right to choose whichever product suits their needs better—without fear of being called an “Enemy of the State” from organizations like the Business Software Alliance, MPAA, RIAA, Association of American Publishers,  Entertainment Software Association, Independent Film & Television Alliance, and the National Music Publishers’ Association. (These are some of the organizations in the IIPA.)

So, please read the article, and come back here with your comments.  I’d really appreciate them (both for or against Open Source).  And I’m working my way back into daily blogging, so I’ll be back soon.

Have a great day:)
Patrick.

A week without Windows…

Recently a friend of mine who writes for ZDNet went 48 hours on Ubuntu Linux.  Aside from problems that he had in getting his VPN working and drivers, he seemed to have a favorable impression of Linux and Open Source.  One of the biggest arguments was that 48 hours is not long enough to really get a feel for it.

I think 7 days would be a good start—especially for a college student.  So, I plan on attempting it in a couple of weeks.  I have a couple of caveats though… 

One is that my e-mail addresses are almost all based on Windows Live—and Microsoft will not allow third-party clients to access their Live mail accounts (at least not easily).  So, I may have to use Outlook (in Windows) for that.  Otherwise, I will end up with around 500 to 1,000 e-mails at the end of the week.

The second caveat is that I’m a tutor in Visual Basic. So, I may have to fire up the laptop in Windows to look at a VB program (unless Eclipse or NetBeans has a VB integrated development environment that’s compatible with Visual Studio).

The third caveat is that right now, I cannot get into my Kubuntu installation on my laptop (and I have to repair GRUB on my desktop).  This is due to a later kernel upgrade which breaks my laptop.  So, I may have to go back to 9.04 in order to do this.. Unless the latest kernel will work.  This is also one reason why I’m not starting immediately.

***Update of sorts**** I reinstalled Kubuntu last night on the laptop.  Now it’s a matter of getting it to boot up and go.  If I can get it working, then I’ll be ready sooner (maybe).  I’ve also looked into configuring Hotmail as a POP e-mail in Evolution—the only problem being that i have mail in folders on the server (and Microsoft, in their infinite desire to make you use THEIR products, won’t allow the other folders to transfer through POP).

I may even consider using Crossover to utilize my Outlook (and possibly Visual Studio) during the time—if I can get a trial version of it.  Or I may have to run Kubuntu in a VM (unless I can install it using wubi and have it use the existing Kubuntu partitions for it’s location).  If I go the VM/wubi route, then I will limit my Windows to Visual Studio (and maybe Outlook if it’s too much of a hassle to do things through the web).

So I will start this on January 25 and conclude it on February 1.  I’m looking for suggestions on how to overcome the obstacles that I have.  If anyone has any ideas, please comment or e-mail me before January 23 (so I have enough time to implement them).

Have a great day, and stay tuned for more blog posts on this subject. 🙂
Patrick.

A Poll for anyone that wants to vote…

I’m curious about this, so I’m taking a poll.  There’s two questions to the poll.  My hope is that Microsoft may take notice of the interest, and choose to open the .NET Framework source code up, so the Wine and Mono developers will actually be able to perfect the projects.  This would benefit gamers, people who run Office, and people who run other applications that are “not Linux compatible” due to their need for the framework.  And it could benefit Microsoft, in that people who choose to install Linux on their older PC’s may choose to purchase copies of Office to run on them.

Here are the two questions….

1.  If you could run virtually any version of Microsoft Office on any distro of Linux (through Wine or Mono or another .NET Framework project), would you purchase Office and run it on your Linux box?

2.  If Microsoft offered a version of Office that was closed-source, but totally compatible with Linux (Office 2010 for Linux, for example), would you buy a copy and run it on Linux?

The Polls are in the sidebar since I’m writing the post in Live Writer, and can’t insert the poll here.  Also blogspot doesn’t allow you to insert polls.  You have to create “Page Elements” or “Gadgets” that include them.

Have a great day:)
Patrick.

Edited to remove “My intention” as I’m not sure how I’ll get the information to Microsoft—and to clarify a few things about why I’m doing this.

Another post along the lines of Microsoft Open-sourcing programs…

Hi everyone,

   I was thinking about this earlier and wanted to post about it as well.  Microsoft is making available the technical documentation for thousands of their programs.  I haven’t checked to see if this includes Outlook Connector or Hotmail/Windows Live at all, but I’d like to see that.

   I’ve been trying out Ubuntu Linux, and the main issue I have is that I can only download my Inbox from my Windows Live accounts.  This is through third party applications.  I would like to see either the Outlook Connector add-in or the API for the Windows Live that it uses be released.  That way, third party e-mail clients can once again access their accounts.

    Microsoft is already charging users to be able to access it via Outlook Connector (at least the Calendar features).  So, they have nothing to lose by opening it up for third party e-mail clients. 

    The concept that it will reduce SPAM is bogus, since it really hasn’t lowered the amount of SPAM coming from (or purporting that it comes from) Windows Live accounts.  And Microsoft is already making money on people wanting to utilize the calendar functions via Outlook.  So, it’s a win-win situation if they open the source or the API’s.

    Once again, any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated. 

Have a great day everyone 🙂
Patrick.