List of open source packages

I came across this list of free and open source software packages from wikipedia. It is quite a comprehensive list that has categories such as Science, Theology,Networking and Games.
Before purchasing a software I will definitely take a look at this list. Two software I currently use from this list are RSS Bandit and KeePass.
RSS Bandit I tried it after my previous RSS reader crashed too many times. RSS bandit is written in .NET and it syncs my Google Reader Account
KeePass I find useful to store and encrypt my passwords. You have the option to install on your PC or have it on a flash drive.

Due to the economic climate of 2008, some companies started to look to open source in a effort to reduce IT cost. Why not you ?


Season’s greetings from openSUSE

I installed openSUSE 11.2 and I must say I find it a candidate for the Linux desktop. One observation , and it started happen close to Christmas, was this screen (see photo) during the booting of openSUSE. (Taking a photography class is now on my to do list)

The boot screen looks like a postcard from the north pole. The tux Linux penguins were all decked out for the Christmas holidays.

I guess it is openSUSE’s way of saying “Merry Christmas and all the best for 2010”

Open source license primer

With all those open source licenses out there I thought I would present an explanation of the most popular licenses: GPL, LGPL, BSD, MIT License, and Apache Licenses.

  • GPL (GNU General Public License) : Issued by the Free Software Foundation, it imposes the restriction that all code that uses GPL-licensed components has to be also licensed through the GPL. Its key motivator is to redistribute any improved code back to the community, so everybody can benefit from the improvements.
  • LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License) : Also issued by the Free Software Foundation, it requires the redistribution of the original code together with all the new code that uses it. It can be used by non-GPL components. This means that you can use the component in your proprietary software, but the rest of your software does not have to be redistributed under the same license. However, your proprietary source code needs to be distributed also.
  • BSD (Berkley Software Distribution) License :Takes a different approach from the GPL, it only requires the acknowledgment of the original authors of the software, and thus can be easily integrated into proprietary software. Code licenses through BSD can be redistributed through the GPL without getting permission from the original authors.
  • MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) License : Also called the X License or the X11 License, it is a non-copyleft, free software license that allows reuse as proprietary software. In its simplest form it grants unlimited rights under one condition: that “The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.”
  • Apache License: Apache Software Foundation authored many widely used products and projects. The Apache license is very non-restrictive, and allows using licensed software freely as long as the user redistributes the terms of the original license. It does not mandate the redistribution of their code.

Network tools for Linux

Here are few network tools when working with the Linux OS

  • ifconfig : This tool can be used to display the current configuration of a network interface. A privileged user can also use it to change any parameter of a network interface, be it an Ethernet card, a serial PPP link, or the loopback interface. For example, to show the configuration of all network interfaces on the host, we can use:
  • netstat : This tool is able to extract a lot of different kinds of information on all or just one network interface.
  • snoop and tcdump : Both these utilities enable an administrator to examine the packets being sent on a network.
    Either tool allows packets to be examined as they appear on the network. Various options allow packets to be filtered according to source IP address and port, destination IP address and port, protocol, message type, and so on. For example, Apache’s communications could be monitored on port 80, filtered down to data packets.
  • spray : A variant of ping . spray floods a destination server with ping packets to test the handling capacity of the network and server. The higher the percentage of packets that reaches the destination, the better the network. This is an unfriendly thing to do to a network that is handling real network traffic, so it should be used with caution

The Linux Desktop – reality ?

I just recently completed a course called Organizational and Business communication at Fanshawe College. One of the course requirements was to do a presentation. My presentation was on Data Mining, more on this in a later blog.
One of the class members did a presentation on Linux, and showed some open source alternatives to the common windows applications. Most members of the class was intrigued, however one class member asked the following questions:

  • Can you have MSN messenger ?
  • Does the open source equivalent has the same functionalities as MSN messenger?
  • Does iTunes work on Linux?

These questions showed that the Linux desktop has a long way to go before it is adopted as desktop equivalent to windows. Sure you can use an windows emulator like wine, but which non-geek computer user will have the time to configure a windows app to run on Linux.
I have three Linux boxes at home, and I too use windows sometimes. Mark you this is running a vm on Debian.
From the view of outsiders, Linux are for geeks who relish at writing complex command line statements. It will be a while to convince individuals born in the world of Microsoft windows.
Hey, I can’t convince my wife to switch.