August 2005

OpenOffice 2.0 vs. MS Office Review Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 @ 3:51 PM by mayhem
There's an interesting, if partisan, review of OpenOffice 2.0 in comparison to Microsoft Office over on Real Tech News. Open Office gets a general vote of approval, as you might guess from the title 'Open Office 2.0 Kicks MS Office Around The Block'" From the article: "My primary use for OpenOffice has always been as a word processor and I believe this is an area where it excels (so to speak!). For anyone used to MS Office, the difference in the two interfaces is minimal. In fact, I find it easier to use OpenOffice's interface than MS Office's for various things such as inserting a header and footer. To create or change a header and footer in MS Office XP, you must go to the "view" menu. I'm not sure why something like a header or footer would be placed in the "view" menu before it is actually part of a document. (Source: Slashdot)
The Boot Loader Showdown Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 @ 7:45 AM by mayhem
What utility do practically all Linux users use, regardless of their job or expertise? A boot loader. In this article from IBM, see how a boot loader works, meet two popular loaders -- LILO (LInux LOader) and GNU GRUB (GRand Unified Boot loader) -- and review the pros and cons of each." From the article: "Most simply, a boot loader loads the operating system. When your machine loads its operating system, the BIOS reads the first 512 bytes of your bootable media (which is known as the master boot record, or MBR). You can store the boot record of only one operating system in a single MBR, so a problem becomes apparent when you require multiple operating systems. Hence the need for more flexible boot loaders. (Source: Slashdot)
Asian Linux set for launch Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 @ 12:57 PM by mayhem
A partnership of companies from Japan, China and South Korea will unveil a new Linux-based operating system for local markets in Beijing, a report says.

Read more here. (Source: SMH)
Google launches IM program Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 @ 12:55 PM by mayhem
Google has unleashed Google Talk, an instant messaging program designed to unify the factionalised world of online chat.

Read more here. (Source: SMH)
Linus backs trademark charge, says 'Maddog' Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 @ 2:02 PM by mayhem
Trademarking the Linux name and charging for its commercial use world-wide is supported by its creator Linus Torvalds, a senior Linux community figure from the US says.

Read more here. (Source: SMH)
Major news organisations hit by fast spreading virus Posted Sunday, August 21, 2005 @ 2:23 PM by mayhem
A number of damaging worms are targeting corporate networks worldwide, with major news outlets CNN, ABC News, the New York Times and the Financial Times in London among the most prominent victims so far.

Variants of the Zotob worm which first started affecting computers at the beginning of the week, and other newer worms are responsible for the attacks, which are aimed at Microsoft’s ageing Windows 2000 operating system.

The worms take advantage of a security hole in the operating system’s Plug and Play feature. The flaw in the OS was patched by Microsoft last week but it has taken hackers less than a week to distribute code that can take advantage of the flaw.

An affected computer becomes inoperable as a result of continually re-booting. The Financial Times carried a notice on its front page this morning (17 August) apologising for any errors that were the result of a virus that “disrupted production”.

It is not yet clear whether the infections at the news outlets affected were a result of remote attacks on the networks, or whether staff brought in infected laptops used at media events and infected their network after logging in.

The Microsoft patch should protect users from the worms currently circulating, but many firms need to test patches before installing them company-wide installation.

Read more here. (Source: AusPCWorld)
FreeBSD 6.0 to Target Wireless Devices Posted Sunday, August 21, 2005 @ 2:16 PM by mayhem
FreeBSD is hoping to move beyond the server and desktop market by providing expanded wireless support. FreeBSD developer Scott Long said that 'one of the primary reasons for improving wireless support is to give companies the tools to put FreeBSD into their wireless devices. The guy at FreeBSD who is adding wireless support is under contract from wireless companies to do the work.' (Source: Slashdot)
Linux Kernel 2.6.13-rc6 Now Available For Download Posted Sunday, August 14, 2005 @ 3:54 PM by mayhem
You can now download the 2.6.13-rc6 Linux Kernel from here, or any of the mirrors here, full changelog information is available here.
Managing Linux daemons with init scripts Posted Sunday, August 14, 2005 @ 3:52 PM by mayhem
When you install a new Linux server distribution, you can often install all of the daemons you'll need to run on that machine at install time. Distribution vendors present a "ready to go" distribution by supplying initialization scripts for all of the services you might run. But what happens if you're building from source, and no init script is supplied? What if you're writing the source and haven't ever built an init script? Here are a few ways to cope when you're faced with this challenge.

Read more at (Source: NewsForge)
Pentium 4 Overclocked to 7.1GHz, Sets World Record Posted Sunday, August 14, 2005 @ 12:02 PM by mayhem
This Japanese guy overclocked a Pentium 4 to 7.132GHz!! The system managed to calculate pi to 1 million decimal places in 18.516 seconds, setting the world's record." The article notes that a Pentium 4 had been overclocked faster earlier this year, but at that speed it was not possible for the machine to function beyond BIOS. Of course, they'd yet to try diverting power from the dilthium crystal reactor to the deflector array. (Source: Slashdot)
Quake 3 Source Code to be Released Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 @ 8:38 PM by mayhem
QuakeCon has just kicked off and at the end of the keynote speech, John Carmack made an announcement saying that the Quake 3 sourcecode will be released shortly. (Source: Slashdot)
Digium Announces Two-Port Hardware for Asterisk at LinuxWorld San Francisco Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 @ 2:44 PM by mayhem
Digium Inc., the creator of Asterisk and pioneer of open source telephony, today announced the availability of its new dual span T1/E1 PCI hardware, the TE205P card and the TE210P card. Both cards support T1 and E1 environments and are selectable on a per-card or per-port basis.

This 2-span feature enables signaling translation between E1 and T1 equipment and allows inexpensive T1 channel banks to connect with E1 circuits. Since the TE205P and the TE210P improve I/O speed over slave-only architecture and reduce CPU usage.
Linux Passes the Microsoft WGA Test Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2005 @ 9:31 PM by mayhem
Here's a good one for the Linux fans -- running Wine on Linux and attempting to download a Windows Genuine Advantage protected file from the Microsoft website works just fine. It seems that Bill Gates has a soft spot for Tux after all, or at least isn't bothered about him downloading updates. (Source: Slashdot)
Mozilla goes commercial Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 @ 8:50 PM by mayhem
The nonprofit Mozilla Foundation has set up a commercial subsidiary to cash in on the popularity of its flagship Firefox browser. With its flagship Firefox emerging as a legitimate alternative to Microsoft Corp.'s dominant Internet Explorer Web browser, the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation wants to cash in ...

Read more. (Source:
Firefox gains kiosk lock-down extension Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 @ 8:49 PM by mayhem
The popular Firefox Web browser has gained a kiosk extension, thanks to a contribution from Jevin K. Ramjattan, an intern at Symbio Technologies. The new kiosk function displays the browser in a locked-down mode that is useful for systems deployed in public locations like Internet cafes, libraries, and schools. ...

Read more. (Source:
Review: Lunar Linux Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 @ 8:47 PM by mayhem
Lunar Linux is an eye-opener, even for someone who has used many GNU/Linux distributions. It's based on the Source Mage distribution, but, as indicated on the project's Web site, Lunar Linux developers have rewritten both the install code and the package management code in an effort to increase its user-friendliness. A user-friendly source-based distribution? Yes, but as is the case with most new code, there are bugs to be worked out.

Read more. (Source:
Beta Testing for Slackware 10.2 to Begin Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 @ 5:35 PM by mayhem
The development work of Slackware Linux has recently been fairly active and good news is that a beta version of 10.2 may be available soon: "Hi folks, I think it's time to consider this to be mostly frozen and concentrate on beta testing in preparation for the Slackware 10.2 release, so there won't be too many more upgrades and additions. Things are going to be pretty busy for me over the next couple of weeks besides working on getting 10.2 finalised, but let me know about any issues that need fixing before the release and I'll get to them just as soon as I can. Have fun!" Read here for the full changelog and stay tuned!
Distribution Watch: FreeBSD 6.0-BETA2 Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 @ 5:31 PM by mayhem
FreeBSD 6.0-BETA2 has just been released: "The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 6.0-BETA2. Because suitable pre-build packages are not widely available (see the Known Issues section below) BETA2 only has disc1 and bootonly ISOs available, and there are no FTP install trees... If you have an older system you want to update using the normal CVS/cvsup source based upgrade the branch tag to use is RELENG_6 (though that will change for the Release Candidates later). Problem reports can be submitted using the send-pr(1) command." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details. Download (i386, MD5): 6.0-BETA2-i386-disc1.iso (450MB). Wiki Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 @ 1:19 PM by mayhem is running a great Wiki with all sorts of useful Linux information covering:

* Applications
* Commands
* Common Questions and Misconceptions
* Common Tasks
* Distributions - List of Linux distributions
* Future Tech
* Gaming
* Hardware
* Installation
* Networking
* People
* Programming
* Security

You can checkout the Wiki here. (Source:
Distribution Watch: Openwall GNU/*/Linux Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 @ 1:14 PM by mayhem
Openwall GNU/*/Linux (or Owl for short) is a security-enhanced server platform. The primary approaches to security are proactive source code review, privilege reduction, privilege separation, careful selection of third-party software, safe defaults, "hardening" to reduce the likelihood of successful exploitation of security flaws, and the uses of "strong" cryptography.

Pricing: Free to download, official CDs available for $9.35 to $140

Review: Slax 5.0.6 Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 @ 1:12 PM by mayhem
"The first time I used it, Slax restored my faith in my old clunker of a Toshiba laptop. The distribution ran (and even booted) faster from the CD-ROM drive than Windows did from the hard disk. But as I began to get a feel for Slax and use it to browse the Web, listen to music, and the like, I didn't feel like Slax had sacrificed usability for agility. This fine balance alone would make Slax an interesting and noteworthy distro, but it has even more tricks up its sleeve." - by Bill Yanelli.

Read More (Source:
Linux Kernel 2.6.13-rc5 Now Available For Download Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 @ 1:07 PM by mayhem
You can now download the 2.6.13-rc5 Linux Kernel from here, or any of the mirrors here, full changelog information is available here.
Linuxathome Poll Update Posted Saturday, August 6, 2005 @ 6:13 PM by mayhem
Well the time has come for a new poll so the old poll has been retired, the results were:

How long have you used Linux for?

3-5 yrs - 40% (146 Votes)
< 1 yr - 22.1% (81 Votes)
6-10 yrs - 17.5% (64 Votes)
1-2 yrs - 14.7% (54 Votes)
11-12 - 3.5% (13 Votes)
13 yrs ! - 1.9% (7 Votes)

Total Votes: 365