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Ralsina.Me — El sitio web de Roberto Alsina

Publicaciones sobre linux (publicaciones antiguas, página 6)

Cool applications

Fw­builder was one of three GTK ap­pli­ca­tions I used (inkscape and gimp are the oth­er two).

And to­day I no­ticed that ver­sion 2 is Qt-based :-)

I like it a lot. In fac­t, as I say in my class­es, it's the first fire­wall con­fig­u­ra­tion ap­pli­ca­tion for Lin­ux I've found that is ac­tu­al­ly eas­i­er than edit­ing a scrip­t, since al­most ev­ery oth­er one I've found is a glo­ri­fied rule ed­i­tor.

Bonus cool ap­pli­ca­tion: p3s­can

I found about this to­day, when a cus­tomer asked me for a way to vir­us­can his in­com­ing mail. Which is stored in a bunch of ac­counts all over the in­ter­net :-)

For web­mail­s, a squid redi­rec­tor does the job, but for pop3? p3s­can is com­plete­ly trans­par­ent (on­ly re­quires a tiny con­fig­u­ra­tion and a NAT rule) and for what I test­ed it, works just fine.

I am us­ing it along with cla­mav, but it al­so sup­ports Kasper­sky, F-Pro­t, and al­most any­thing, re­al­ly.

Cool gad­get, and it's just a 72KB down­load.

Linux packages the not so easy way

Are you us­ing a RPM or DEB based sys­tem? Are you us­ing a pro­gram and can't find it in pack­aged for­m?

Are you tired of won­der­ing what pro­gram you don't use any­more in­stalled all that crap in /us­r/lo­cal?

Then this ar­ti­cle is for you. Learn how to cre­ate your own RPM­s, that you can lat­er unin­stal­l, up­grade, and share with oth­er com­put­ers and user­s, with­out much of a headache, thanks to check­in­stal­l.

Late congress report

Last week, I gave a con­fer­ence [1] about KDE in the first free soft­ware con­gress of Ar­genti­na.

I can't even re­mem­ber how many "first(what­ev­er)lin­ux" of "first(what­ev­er)free soft­ware(­mum­ble)" events I have at­tend­ed. one of these days, I ex­pect to at­tend a sec­ond, and in a decade or so a third, but it seems orgniz­ing one of these things, even when they work nice­ly, is tir­ing work.

This one was or­ga­nized by Usuar­ia, a non-prof­it for com­put­ing dif­fu­sion [2] , and they had some in­ter­est­ing spon­sors, in­clud­ing Red Hat, Sun, and Mi­cro­soft.

Yes, that Mi­cro­soft.

Sad­ly, I could­n't as­sist the con­fer­ence by the MS ex­ec­u­tive, be­cause I missed about half of the con­gress for work.

My KDE stuff was shown at a small­er room, about 35/40 peo­ple. Since there was very lit­tle time (45 min­utes) and I want­ed to keep some for Q&A, I most­ly showed sim­ple stuff, like DCOP, some of the new app­s, like Quan­ta.

I spoke a lot about rather the philo­soph­i­cal thrust of KDE de­vel­op­men­t, how KDE tends to search for a tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tion to the UI prob­lem­s, on the grounds that lat­er, when ev­ery­one is us­ing the API, if the UI changes and the API does­n't ev­ery­one win­s.

Noth­ing spe­cial, re­al­ly, and not one of my best ones, so my ear­li­er nervio­sism was war­rant­ed ;-)

I at­tend­ed some oth­er con­fer­ences, I re­mem­ber one about com­par­ing MTAs (he called Qmail dif­fi­cult, so I did­n't like it much ;-), one about Free Soft­ware eco­nom­ics by a guy from Maas­tricht [3] which was quite good.

An­oth­er one was by a Nov­ell ex­ec­u­tive, who spoke about J2EE and .NET from a free soft­ware per­spec­tive.

Or rather, spoke about J2EE for a while, then men­tioned Mono be­cause he was run­ning out of time ;-)

I met my third KDE de­vel­op­er! [4] Pu­peno was there. Pu­peno: you look like a younger, red­head­ed RM­S. And your pants made me dizzy.

I could­n't tell you that per­son­al­ly. I like them :-)

I could tell this was a Lin­ux even be­cause hlf the peo­ple there had longer hair and/or longer beards than I do, when in reg­u­lar events it's un­like­ly 10% do.

Met a few of the old fel­lows from my LUG in San­ta Fe, one of them seems to en­joy suits now ;-)

But I bet since a few para­graphs above ev­ery­one is still hav­ing the word Mi­cro­soft bounc­ing in his head.

Yes, they were a spon­sor. Fur­ther: they were, by far, the largest one.

I got a Mi­cro­soft pen, a copy of Unix Ser­vices for Unix, a brochure, and a can­vas bag with Mi­crosoft­'s lo­go em­broi­dered.

Said bag is now the bed of my new kit­ten, Nini, which I adopt­ed mon­day (but that's an­oth­er sto­ry).

UP­DATE: Some­one who was there re­mind­ed me that I al­so got a box con­tain­ing a fair­ly nice tukey sand­wich, a brown­ie, and a small bot­tle of co­ca co­la, so, thank you, Mi­crosoft!

And no, I did­n't have to sign any­thing to get the sand­wich, not a NDA, not a li­cense, and no, it was­n't wrapped in a bag say­ing "if you open this bag you agree..."

What is flexibility

Ok, a rant.

A word you see a lot on the free soft­ware (what­ev­er) cir­cles, is flex­i­bil­i­ty.

In par­tic­u­lar, peo­ple al­ways like to say how a cer­tain pro­gram, or op­er­at­ing sys­tem, is flex­i­ble.

For ex­am­ple, some peo­ple say gen­too (or GNOME, or KDE, or fvwm) is flex­i­ble.

Poor mis­guid­ed soul­s. They should say they are con­fig­urable.

Flex­i­ble does­n't mean con­fig­urable!

A flex­i­ble pro­gram will han­dle many dif­fer­ent con­di­tions with­out us­er in­ter­ven­tion (or with min­i­mal in­ter­ven­tion). The metaphore is that flex­i­ble ob­jects are bent with min­i­mal force.

Kudzu (or Knop­pix's hw­con­fig) is flex­i­ble.

Re­com­pil­ing your ker­nel to stat­i­cal­ly link a new driv­er is in­flex­i­ble.

If you think that just be­cause you can man­u­al­ly re­con­fig­ure your sys­tem in­to a bazil­lion dif­fer­ent con­fig­u­ra­tions, your sys­tem is flex­i­ble, then you sure­ly agree that mar­ble is flex­i­ble.

Af­ter al­l, you can turn mar­ble in­to many dif­fer­ent stat­ues, all dif­fer­en­t!

No, sil­ly put­ty is flex­i­ble, be­cause you can shape it in­to dif­fer­ent forms eas­i­ly and quick­ly and with lit­tle ef­fort.

If in or­der to change the ink set­tings on your print­er you need to cre­ate a new print­ing queue, or print to a file and per­form a mag­ic in­can­ta­tion with a .ps file, your print­ing sys­tem is not flex­i­ble.

In fac­t, the on­ly re­mote­ly flex­i­ble print­ing sys­tem on Lin­ux is CUP­S. The rest are rigid, in­flex­i­ble and bad at their work (at least the ones I know).

If in or­der to ac­cess a de­vice some­one tries to use you have to re­con­fig­ure your sys­tem, or down­load more stuff, or hunt for a driver, or re­build your ker­nel, or re­com­pile ap­pli­ca­tion­s, your sys­tem is bro­ken.

If you think that your sys­tem is flex­i­ble just be­cause af­ter ap­ply­ing force to your sys­tem it per­form­s, you are wrong. Your sys­tem is rigid, and you are the flex­i­ble buf­fer that is adapt­ing, it's like a bake­lite rod wrapped in rub­ber­foam. And you are the foam.

You know, when you take an in­flex­i­ble ob­ject and you try to make it adapt to some­thing, it breaks. That's why in­flex­i­ble soft­ware is bro­ken so of­ten.

Since al­most ev­ery­one has this sil­ly idea about what flex­i­ble mean­s, I will prob­a­bly start us­ing mal­leable or plas­tic in­stead.

Thank you very much, try the veal, I'll be here un­til thurs­day.

The Roberto KDE Show

I will be speak­ing at the Primer Con­gre­so Na­cional de Soft­ware Li­bre on May 27th, at 15:00.

Now, I am not all that thrilled about it, since it's a com­mer­cial event and I am not get­ting any mon­ey for it, but it's a chance to show KDE, and I am a pret­ty good de­mo guy.

How­ev­er, look at the spon­sor list: IB­M, HP, Sun, Nov­el­l, and Mi­cro­soft.

Yeah, Mi­cro­soft.

So, I did whine a lit­tle to the or­ga­niz­er­s, about how this was not ex­act­ly a free soft­ware even­t, and that I did­n't just speak for free for any­one who asked me.

Well, they told me that the spon­sors pay, but it's a free soft­ware even­t, and that I am im­por­tant for the even­t, as a mem­ber of the free soft­ware move­men­t, or what­ev­er.

Ok, since it's like all oth­er free soft­ware events, I am now con­sid­er­ing wardrobe.

Jeans and T-Shirt is an ob­vi­ous choice. I use that even on com­mer­cial events.

But... what t-shirt? Here's one good can­di­date.

I spe­cial­ly like the "KILL BIL­L" mod­el be­cause it shows my com­bined ad­mi­ra­tion for Lin­ux And Quentin Taranti­no.

Too bad I can't or­der a t-shirt from North Amer­i­ca. I will have to gimp it, hope they don't mind!

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