Archive for the 'linux' Category

30
Jul
09

A Mono proposal

Mono developer Jo Shields has created a couple of Mono-free Ubuntu remixes. Here are the torrent links for i386 and amd64 architectures. There is talk of maintaining a regular Ubuntu edition sans Mono over on the Mono-Nono site. It’s a little unfair to expect Jo to do it all by himself, and it’s a good chance for people suspicious of Mono to do something about it rather than simply grumble about the whole thing. The Ubuntu Technical Board have made it clear that they don’t see inclusion of Mono-stuff in Ubuntu to be that much of a problem, so rather than start another flame war, head on over to Dan Serban’s proposal on the Mono-Nono site and volunteer to help out.

For the uninitiated, Mono is one of those things that people feel… strongly about. People who are ambivalent or even completely apathetic about the whole thing do exist, they just aren’t very vocal about it. Perhaps I should blog about that. Sure, why not?

Diary of someone apathetic about Mono.

As I was making breakfast this morning, I noticed how the scrambled eggs in the pan before me failed to remind me of the great Mono debate. The kettle came to the boil, whistling in that shrill way that’s almost, but not quite, completely unlike the flame wars I hadn’t read the night before. I realised then that I hadn’t thought about Mono for minutes, perhaps even tens of minutes. My girlfriend looked at me in a way that was completely different from the way Miguel de Icaza and Roy Schestowitz would glare at each other if they were thrown to the bottom of a bottomless pit, destined to fight each other to the death for all of eternity.

Err, perhaps not.

17
Jul
09

Linux malware, sure it’s possible

Update 18th July 2009. If you want to read actual desktop environment developers (i.e. people who who know loads more than I do) discussing this vulnerability, then this 2006 thread from a Xorg mailing list may interest you. If you want to see the proof that it actually works, then go right ahead and read on.

I tried to ask questions about this on a forum and got banhammered for it. But never mind. I did a bit of research into it and discovered that a few people have already documented this possible vulnerability, and that it is somewhat legitimate. People love to say that the biggest security threat for computers is the users themselves, which is fair enough. Who needs to craft a drive-by download when you can just get the users to click on naked_chix.jpg.exe all by themselves? Linux makes it difficult, but not impossible, for malware to take hold, but it pays to be aware of the dangers, however slight they may be. I don’t personally believe that there is much of a threat at all, and the particular exploit I’m about to describe isn’t very special or clever, either, and can only affect a small number of people. The only thing that is somewhat interesting about it is that it can get root access without drawing attention to itself.

Continue reading ‘Linux malware, sure it’s possible’

09
Jul
09

Asus and Microsoft. Where’s the beef?

Asus famously dumped Linux in the most tasteless way possible. By creating the shock site known as It’s better with Windows. Anyone who isn’t a complete bloody nincompoop realises that something happened behind the scenes. Either Asus went with Linux to get Microsoft to force their prices right down, or Asus went with Linux because that was the only choice available to them and then Microsoft talked them out of it. Even so, such things are easily refuted by the Microsofties around the web, as all they have to do is tell you to look for all those black helicopters. Any way, it was nice to see such a suggestion appear in a popular news organ, yesterday. Victor Keegan wrote for the Guardian,

It gave Asus a package it couldn’t refuse – a cheap version of Windows as long as it tossed the upstart Linux overboard. True or not, Asus has changed from being a successful proponent of Linux to an evangelist for Windows.

Nice to see it there in print. Thanks goes to @glynmoody for highlighting this one. His blog is pretty great, too, so check it out whenever you can.

09
Jul
09

Google Chrome OS. And a stupid top ten list about why it’s going to suck.

I wanted to write something about Google Chrome OS. But one quick look at my rss feeds tells me that the world and his wife has already written about it. The tech world has written about this so extensively in the last couple of days (whilst I was gigging) that anything insightful I can possibly write about it has already been said by every blogger from here to eternity. Even fake Steve Jobs is banging on about it. The major press got involved too, with articles appearing in the Times, the Guardian, and on the BBC. But if you want to read a bunch of boring shite from technophobes trying to explain what cloud-based computing is, then be my guest and go and read those articles. Here I’m getting down to the nitty gritty. The no-nonsense guide.

Continue reading ‘Google Chrome OS. And a stupid top ten list about why it’s going to suck.’

06
Jul
09

One command installation of Firefox 3.5 in Ubuntu

Psychocats posted a howto about how to install Firefox 3.5 in Ubuntu over here. It’s good, but it’s still not completely hands free. So I decided to make it a bit better. Copy and paste the following command into your terminal for Firefox-3.5 goodness.

Update | 8th July: Watch out, this will download the US version of Firefox only. If you’d rather have a version in your own locale, be sure to follow ol’ Psychocat’s version instead.

Code:
if [[ -e ~/.mozilla ]]; then cp -R ~/.mozilla ~/.mozilla.backup; fi; wget -c 'http://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-3.5&os=linux&lang=en-US' && sudo tar -jxvf firefox-3*.tar.bz2 -C /opt && rm firefox-3*.tar.bz2 && sudo mv /opt/firefox/plugins /opt/firefox/plugins.backup && sudo ln -s /usr/lib/xulrunner-addons/plugins /opt/firefox/plugins && sudo dpkg-divert --divert /usr/bin/firefox.ubuntu --rename /usr/bin/firefox && sudo ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox /usr/bin/firefox

All in one!

06
Jul
09

Bash aliases: check memory usage, package management, and more!

Check the memory usage of your favourite application in style. Grep the output of ps!

Code:
function ram() { ps auxf | grep $1 | grep -v grep | awk '{sum=sum+$6}; END {print sum+1023/1024}' ; }

Append the time and date to the start of your files.

Code:
function datestamp()
	{
	for x in $@; do
		if [ -e $x ]; then
			mv $x $(date +'%F')-$x
		else
			echo "$x? File doesn't exist, fool."
		fi
	done
	}

Install, remove, autoremove and purge. Now renamed Loadry, unloadry, laundry and nuke, respectively.

Code:
function loadry () {
        if [ $(whoami) != "root" ] ; then
           sudo apt-get install $@
        else
           apt-get install $@
        fi
      }

function unloadry() {
	if [ $(whoami) != "root" ] ; then
	   sudo apt-get remove $@
	else
	   apt-get remove $@
	fi
      }

function laundry() {
	if [ $(whoami) != "root" ] ; then
	   sudo apt-get autoremove $@
	else
	   apt-get autoremove $@
	fi
      }

function nuke() {
	if [ $(whoami) != "root" ] ; then
	  sudo apt-get autoremove --purge $@
	else
	  apt-get autoremove --purge $@
	fi
      }

For anybody who followed the Futurama tutorial, here’s a little something extra, just for you.

Code:
function woots() { #!/bin/bash
  cows=(/usr/share/cowsay/cows/*.cow)
  num=${#cows[@]}
  ((num=RANDOM%num))
  randcow=`echo ${cows[$num]}`
  if [[ $randcow = "/usr/share/cowsay/cows/leela.cow" ]] || [[ $randcow = "/usr/share/cowsay/cows/fry.cow" ]] || [[ $randcow = "/usr/share/cowsay/cows/bender.cow" ]];
    then futurama;
  else
    phrase=`fortune -a`
    cowsay -f $randcow $phrase;
  fi;
}

Ah shucks, maybe someone will find this nonsense useful some day.

05
Jul
09

Bash alias: look at an Experts Exchange article without having to pay

Experts Exchange often comes up when I’m searching for how to fix stuff. It’s annoying, because this site constantly tries to get you to pay for stuff and hides the actual content away as best it can. You don’t actually have to pay, though, to see the content. So here’s a Bash or Zsh alias for neatly avoiding all that:

Code:
function experts() { curl -s -H 'User-Agent: Googlebot/2.1 (foo)' $1 > $2.html && firefox $2.html; }

Change the ‘firefox’ bit to whatever browser you use (I’m on 3.5, yo!). Usage is simple:

Code:
experts http://link.to.experts.exchange.article.com filetosave

Don’t worry about including the .html bit, either. The file is saved to your current directory, just so you know.




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