OpenFiler Attempt Failed

Installation was successful. All my network cards were detected properly. I had thought that everything was going to be fine but I hit a snag. OpenFiler has recently incorporated OpenLDAP into...

Installation was successful. All my network cards were detected properly. I had thought that everything was going to be fine but I hit a snag. OpenFiler has recently incorporated OpenLDAP into OpenFiler to enable “local” authentication. After logging in to the web interface, I could not get OpenLDAP to work for me. 

I tried different methods to configure OpenLDAP and browse forums to get more information on setting up this service. But to no avail. And the bad thing is that the Administrator guide by OpenFiler is for the older versions, they have nothing on OpenLDAP. I think a lot of people are having problems with OpenLDAP as well. Or perhaps it needs someone with way more experience in networking and with LDAP than me. But I hope that there will be a solution soon. Or at least a solution which I can understand. I am rather keen to test out the features but in order to do that OpenLDAP or a third party LDAP authentication system is needed. I don’t have any on my network currently.

Anyone has any success in getting OpenLDAP to work? The problem I am getting is that they say that my LDAP setting is not valid. And after doing some changes, I get the error message that the authentication is not successful or something.  Ahhh…..so so so so frustrating. Took me about 1-2 hours to troubleshoot the problem but couldn’t solve it.

If only FreeNAS has individual share policy, I would highly recommend FreeNAS. But it looks like we need to wait a while longer for the next milestone in order for FreeNAS to have such a feature. I thought that OpenFiler is the solution to all my problems, too bad, I couldn’t get it work for me.

OpenFiler – Now With Local Authentication

  Finally, one of the best open source NAS/SAN software now comes with local authentication. It means that you no longer need to use a third party authentication anymore. Previousy I...

 

Finally, one of the best open source NAS/SAN software now comes with local authentication. It means that you no longer need to use a third party authentication anymore. Previousy I had installed OpenFiler before I realized that a LDAP sever is needed. That was a waste of time. You can set the users and passwords locally on OpenFiler as it now comes with local LDAP service. Yes, they have understood what we need. How many of us have such a server in our home/small offices? Most of us just need a secure storage platform for several users. That’s all we need.

OpenFiler supports all the storage networking protocols like CIFS, NFS, HTTP/DAV/FTP & iSCSI so you can be rest assured that whichever operating environment you are working on, it should have no problems at all. It also comes with an easy to use web based administration interface. Thus, simpletons like me can administrate. And installing is also quite simple. All you have to do is download the iso image, burn to a CD and then boot up from your CD/DVD-ROM drive. The installation procedures are easy to follow.

And OpenFiler is powerful. It allows multi-user share and quotas with group support. For each share, you can configure to quota, access and service controls.  It supports a wide range of hardware too, so if you are thinking of setting up a high end system for your big office, you should take a look at OpenFiler. However, if you are thinking of setting up for a small office, OpenFiler can be the solution as well. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience in Linux, it should be a breeze to setup.  Or you can just buy one consumer NAS from Dlink or Buffalo. However, if you have a spare piece of PIV system with maybe 512MB of RAM, you can make use of it as your NAS. Plus it is way more secure.

OpenFiler is based on rPath Linux and it is a very stable piece of software, meant for enterprise usage. So, I guess that would mean that a lot of enterprise hardware is supported. I have downloaded the image and will be “deploying” the software on 2 servers soon. Too bad, I don’t have a Xenon server to play with but these should do. I will write my little review on OpenFiler soon.

Introducing UltraVNC

I am here yet again to introduce to you another great open source software. This time, it’s UltraVNC. If you don’t know what VNC is, please take a look at my...

I am here yet again to introduce to you another great open source software. This time, it’s UltraVNC. If you don’t know what VNC is, please take a look at my earlier post. Basically, it allows you to control a PC through the LAN or the Internet from another PC. Something like Norton Anywhere (if you are into commercial products). And previously, I have introduced to you RealVNC and TightVNC. Both are capable software, but UltraVNC tops it all.

In additional to the regular features of VNC (that is client access to a VNC server), they support graphics mirror driver, which helps improve the speed of client access (useful if you have a slow PC). You can also do File Transfer (just like TightVNC), Text Chat as well as enabling Javaviewer applet. What this means is that you can access your desktop through a Java-enabled browser! No client software needed. Very cool indeed. But I think that the Javaviewer will be somewhat of a resource hog, so the client PC may need a higher end PC.

UltraVNC also allows add-ons. This means that additional features (other than the official ones) can be added to your software. These include repeater (allows you to access behind a router), NAT-to-NAT (allows you to access behind a router without any modifications) plus a customizable UltraVNC Client which your users can download and use without the need to do any setting changes.

It is amazing that an open source software can do so much. I have always thought that open source software are usually plain or featureless versions of the commercial ones. But I think soon, open source software may even overtake commercial ones in terms of functionality. I am so glad that I am firmly on the side of the open source community. And it is important to note that these software can save your company or business a lot of money. Everyone should take a look at what these projects can offer them. And please support them if you can.

Oh, I nearly forgot, UltraVNC works on all versions of Windows, even older ones.

Handbrake – DVD Open Source Convertor

How many of you guys have a PMP (Portable Media Player)? How many of you guys would like to compress your DVD Video to something smaller in size? How many of...

How many of you guys have a PMP (Portable Media Player)? How many of you guys would like to compress your DVD Video to something smaller in size? How many of you guys would like to watch videos on your PC instead? Nowadays, we have DVD Players which can play Divx/Xvid Video files and this makes the Divx/Xvid format rather attractive. Think large screen TVs! And I guess this is a very convenient way to “transfer” files since Divx/Xvid video files are much smaller than the native DVD format.

Well, I am here to introduce to you another open source alternative, this time to convert your DVD Video files to other video formats. It’s called Handbrake. It works under Mac OSX, Windows and Linux. However, I see that not all DVD encryption is supported, so you may not be able to “rip” certain DVD Videos out. I believe that they only support CSS type protection. You will need additional software to rip out other DVD Video files with other encryptions. And best part for some, you can convert directly to mkv files. Oh, you can convert to h.264 format as well. I am sure a lot of iPod users will be glad to have this feature.

This software is a batch converter. It allows you to queue jobs for processing and you can then enjoy a tall cup of Vodka and come back later to collect your files. If you have to do a lot of files at one go, you will appreciate the usefulness of this feature. Unless the videos are short, it will usually take several hours to encode. With batch conversation, you don’t need to be physically there.

There are other open source software out there to convert DVD Videos to other formats. But this one makes it easy. Just choose the file and the output type and then all you have to do is to wait till it is finished. No more complex commands to use or multiple software to consider.

Why I can’t Stop Playing Civilization IV

How many of you guys has or is playing Civilization IV? For those who don’t know what this game is about, it’s sort of like Populus where you control a “civilization“,...

How many of you guys has or is playing Civilization IV? For those who don’t know what this game is about, it’s sort of like Populus where you control a “civilization“, maybe like the Greek or the Chinese or the American and you start with just a settler (he builds cities) and a unit for exploring. Then you build stuff and even more units and after you have massed a number of powerful units, you go and whack some other civilization. It’s that simple but super fun. The aim is to control a portion of the world or to build some spaceship to carry you to some distant planet (there are several other options for you to choose from, like diplomatic victory or cultural victory).

Anyway, I think I have spent too much time on this game but anyhow, I have compiled a list of why this game is so very enjoyable. I just can’t get enough of it! I am currently playing the second expansion pack called Beyond The Sword or BTS for short.

1. You get to be one of the famous leaders of your Civilization. Talking head and all. You even get to meet Churchill then smack him around because you don’t like his arrogant English accent.

2. You get to build the Internet. And you get some cool video of you doing that. Makes you all horny and stuff.

3. You get to wipe out some civilization. Don’t like the Dutch and their windmills? Build an army and wipe them off the face of this earth. Don’t like the pesky Russians and their cheap vodka? Send in your nukes!

4. I love it when they attempt to insult you, right before their cities get annihilated.

5. Each Civilization has it’s own unique unit and building. If you choose Singapore, you get the unique unit “sheep” which is very cheap to build(1 hammer cost) and can explode upon contact with intelligent lifeforms. For the unique building, Singapore gets “Media Corp”. It replaces the broadcast tower, cost way more and does nothing.

5. Your heaps and heaps of modern armour, against their lonely catapult. Think power overwhelming!

6. Your heaps and heaps of stealth bombers, against their puny airships. Think power overwhelming!

7. You get to found religions and errr….. make tons of money from it.

8. Just one more turn. Just one more.

9. The hordes and hordes of howling barbarians right at your doorstep. You remembered to build walls right?

10. Quests! Yes, you get to complete a quest and get some nice stuff, just like an RPG!

11. You get to build corporations with stupid, cheesy names that will be bound to fail if it is in real life. Sid’s Sushi….who in their right mind would name their corporation Sid’s Sushi?

12. “Corporation: n, An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.”

13. You get to play big boy spy and wear big boy spy underwear like James Bond.

14. Launching that beautifully rendered Rocket and Spaceship to Alpha Centauri….

I play games to keep my mind off work and playing Civilization IV is so much fun! If you had not yet tried playing this game, you should have a go at it. It won’t disappoint. And unlike the previous Civilizations games, this version takes less time to complete. You won’t be spending weeks playing this game. Probably, a medium sized map will take one day or so to complete.

Super Sluggish Surfing Speed (Solved)- SSSS (S)

Hello guys, I am in my whining mode again. And yes, it’s my Internet access. The problem was my web surfing. FTP, emails and others seemed to be normal. But there...

Hello guys, I am in my whining mode again. And yes, it’s my Internet access. The problem was my web surfing. FTP, emails and others seemed to be normal. But there surfing speeds I was getting down here was rather pathetic! I believe it had to do with my ISP’s super lousy proxy server. When I browse to a page, it will take like several seconds before it loads. Sometimes it will just time out. It’s so damn frustrating, especially when you urgently need to look for information on the Internet. Maybe I am too spolit with high speed Internet connections!

I phoned my ISP to complain about the slow surfing speed and guess what did they tell me? Well, the tech guy told me that it could be my PC is slow and cannot handle the “fast” speeds. Okay, perhaps, but I had tried with my laptop and it is just as sluggish. The helpdesk guy then told me that it could be because I have 2 PCs connected to the Internet and thus the bandwidth is shared between both of my PCs. But then it still happens when I switch off one. The helpdesk guy then told me that it is most likely I have been using the bandwidth too much and the “Quality Department” had throttled down my speed to maintain performance for the rest of their customers. I then asked him whether they have such a policy and why wasn’t I told about it and whether I should be refunded. The helpdesk guy then went silent. I really hate defensive helpdesk support. They tend to place the blame on the customer rather than check whether their Internet connection is okay. And I am the kind of person who seldom raise my voice and get angry with anyone. Yes, I know that there are some customers do demand a lot of things, but I am certain I am not that kind. I am just asking whether is there any problem with their proxy server. But alas I have no luck with this one. So finally I gave up and hang up (I have been talking to that guy for over 25 minutes trying my best to explain everything!) .

The next time I called, another helpdesk person answered. After explaining the problem to him, he agreed that it is most likely something wrong with their DNS or their proxy server. He promised to look into it and said that he would call back. Lo and behold, in less than 15 minutes, my surfing speed went back to normal. However, I didn’t get all call from the helpdesk. But at least, I got my problem solved. Sometimes, it really depends on your luck. If you get a responsible helpdesk person who gives feedback to their technical staff, then everything can be solved in a pretty short amount of time. If you get those who thinks that every customer is wrong and refuses to even bother to check, then you are in for a long haul with them. A really long haul and a big time waster.

Computer Snacks

Are you spending a lot of time in front of the computer? Do you find that you don’t have enough hours in a day to make yourself a proper lunch or...

Are you spending a lot of time in front of the computer? Do you find that you don’t have enough hours in a day to make yourself a proper lunch or dinner? If so, won’t it be great to have something which you can easily eat without dirtying your keyboard? I am thinking of setting up a business selling food for computer geeks and freaks. Unlike other kinds of food which make it difficult to eat when you are busy typing or leaves a mess, computer food are a lot more “neat” so to speak. Will it work? Is there a market for computer snacks. Will geeks spend a little more on snacks which can satisfy both their hunger and their need for time?

Here are some criteria for “Computer Snacks”:

1. No preparation is needed. We computer guys like to eat our food and do work on the PC without spending hours preparing the food. But maybe microwave or the oven is acceptable.

2. Must not crumple easily. We don’t like to clean up afterwards. Worse, those little bits and pieces may drop into our keyboards and it may grow into some sort of a forest/jungle underneath the keyboard.

3. Neat. If we get our fingers or mouth dirty, we will have to clean it, either on the monitor table, mouse, keyboard or our clothes. This is not acceptable. We would prefer to have it in a good package so that we won’t dirty ourselves. Just peel of the top portion and start munching!

4. Tasty. Some of us have taste. Seriously.

5. Must be able to be purchased online. The most important is that it must be available online with free delivery worldwide. We will probably order a lot at one short. Our credit cards are due next month.

6. Looks good. Presentation is everything. It must be elegantly designed and must project a tingly feeling when geeks look at it online. This will make us want to buy it. Or lick the computer monitor.

7. Must not look like Scooby snacks. We have pride. No doggy snacks for us, even if it is so damn tasty, or so I heard from other pride-less geeks.

Other than fruit bars and beef jerkies, I don’t see any computer snacks out there. I am going to corner this market really soon. This is the beginning of an empire where computer geeks are the bosses! “Geeks! Geeks! Rally to me! Rally to me!”

PS: I had mispelled geeks as greeks. It is now corrected. No offense to the people from Greece, the crucible of civilization and mass orgies.

What I would Like To See On a Linux Router

As you guys know, I am rather keen to using a Linux PC as my router. The main reason why I would like to use a Linux PC as a router...

As you guys know, I am rather keen to using a Linux PC as my router. The main reason why I would like to use a Linux PC as a router than those consumer routers from Linksys or Dlink or whever, is because they are much more powerful. I am a heavy Internet user, mainly for video streaming, emails, FTP, downloading Linux distros and so on, so I need the power. But I also need it to be easy to install and easy to configure and administrate. They must come with a web-based administrative interface. And because of that, I have tried a lot of different firewall/gateway linux based distros but most of them isn’t perfect. Some distros have this important feature but lack certain other important feature. The best I ever used is Monowall. It’s a lightweight router/firewall/gateway with some very powerful features and works perfectly as a gateway and can handle most of what I throw at it. And best of all, it doesn’t require a Harddisk so you just need to boot from CD and store all your configuration files on your floppy. However, because they need to keep it lean, some features are not included.

Anyway, the below points are what I would like to see on a perfect router/gateway.

1. Multiple WAN and load balancing + redundancy. Hey, with the Internet now so important and with broadband charges dropping, I think that a lot of us can afford 2 internet connection. Won’t it be great to have redundancy and faster internet access together?

2. VPN. Hey, it’s very important for mobile workers. And since a lot of us work both from home and office, having VPN access to our homes is a godsent. No longer do we need to carry portable hdds to and from office. And it’s reasonably secure.

3. Captive Portal + Time Limitations. Good for families with children. You can control your children’s internet access by limiting how long they can surf and chat online. In order for them to get into the Internet, a username and password is needed. And yo can control which time of the day they can access the Internet. For the rest of the adults, well…..

4. DNS Server. DNS Caching is good. Why, because a lot of ISPs have very crapy DNS servers. This really slows down the speed in which you can access a website, especially if you are like me who likes to visit all sorts of websites. I had to use OpenDNS to get a decent DNS!

5. Proxy Server. Can really speeds up http access. And with a proxy server, you can easily control which websites your children can access. Proxy Server comes with a log as well, so you can find out what your children have been visiting when they surf the Internet. However, I discovered that sometimes video streaming can be affected if I connect through a local proxy server. Perhaps it is because my own ISP is using a proxy server as well?

6. Enhanced Wireless Support. A lot of Linux routers have limited support for wireless adaptors. So if they have a wider range of Wireless adaptor support, tha would be great. But of course, the problem would lie with the underlying OS rather than the developer of the gateway. Oh, and WPA support as well.

7. Antivirus. Help us help the Internet by stopping virus from spreading. Antivirus at the gateway level will be great to stop virus from even reaching us in the first place.

8. Loads from CF Cards. I just don’t trust HDDs. They break down too easily. And they are power hungry too. So it would be great if it works from CF Cards. Or just use a LiveCD without a HDD and have all the configuration files on a floppy. But I don’t think the Proxy Server and the antivirus service can work without some storage space.

9. Lightweight. Sure, the proxy service will probably take about 50-100 MB as cache, but they rest should be lean. I don’t like bloatware and such a software should allow me to uninstall a certain feature which I don’t use. Not too mention, a lightweight router will be more responsive and speedier.

10. Dynamic DNS. Who remembers IP addresses? And who keeps tracks of IP address changes? No one. Not even big brother.

If I think of more ideas and suggestions, I will add them here. Hope someone will create such a perfect distro for us to enjoy.

Impressed – eBox Platform

Yes, finally I am impressed with something. And yes, it’s the eBox Platform which I have been raving yesterday. I have finally downloaded it and had installed it on my spare PC. Well,...

Yes, finally I am impressed with something. And yes, it’s the eBox Platform which I have been raving yesterday. I have finally downloaded it and had installed it on my spare PC. Well, I had some installation problems, it seems that eBox is very particular about the network card it uses, I tried 2 different types of NIC and both cannot be detected. I think the problem lies with Debian rather than the developers at eBox. Anyway, NICs are cheap nowadays, you can find a list of supported NICs from the Debian website and see whether you can find one that works in your local store. However, after I found one NIC which works, everything went fine for me. No other installation problems.

The web based interface is great as well. Very well organized and you can easily find what you need on their main page. If you have some experience with routers and administrating servers, this should be a breeze for you to handle. However, one thing about eBox, the user interface is a bit sluggish. I am using the interface through the local network and it feels rather sluggish. Even saving any configuration is slow. Not sure why that happens.

The best part about eBox is that it allows you to configure and add as many network interfaces as you want, through their web based interface. No longer is there a need to figure out how to edit whatever file to do that (like SME Server). You can even add virtual interfaces as well. So one NIC can have different IP addresses. But I don’t think it is recommended. And as I said, NICs are very cheap nowadays, you can add more network cards if you need. And setting up these new devices are a breeze, just go to the activate the interface (eth0, eth1 and so on). Of course, make sure that the NIC is supported first.

I am using the eBox Platform mainly for the mails function. Setup is pretty easy. Goto Mails, and enable the mail server. And if you need, activate the POP3 (and IMAP) as well. Then you will need to add users. eBox supports virtual domains, which allows you to have different domains on the same server. If you need to send mails from the eBox sever, you need to create something called objects which is actually an IP Address or IP Address range and then allow it to relay mails. So, this will be a problem for those roaming users. I am not sure how to set “allow all” to send/relay mails. You can of course go and find out all the IP Address ranges and allow that, but it’s very tedious and tme consuming.

eBox doesn’t have a webmail either. And there is no interface for users to access the eBox for changing of settings and configurations. This is kind of disapointing. Users cannot change their passwords themselves. Only the administrator has the ability to do that. If eBox adds a web-based email service, it would be perfect!

For it’s antivirus and antispam portion, it looks adequate enough. They have a variety of options for filtering spam and to configure spam assassin. You can add white or blacklist to your spam filter, pretty standard for an spam filter system. It looks like the version of freshclam installed by eBox (they use ClamAV) is old but it doesn’t seem to affect the antivirus system. Updates are downloaded as per normal.  It’s too bad they don’t have any option to configure how often the virus definitions are updated.

For those who are not interested in the mail functions, I think one of the things that will interest you is that it supported Load Balancing. So if you have two Internet connections, you can use this to “load” balance your WAN connection. I believe that it even supports more than 2 WAN interfaces! I have not tried it before, so I am not sure how effective it can be. All you need to do is to configure two of your network cards to external and setup the gateways and then configure the rules. Note that this doesn’t acually increase the speed of your Internet connection (it’s not like twice as fast or something), it provides a sort of QoS for your Internet needs.

eBox has pretty good documentation, but a lot of terms and jargon are used without much explanation. I am sure beginners will find it very difficult to understand. I think eBox would do a lot better if it improves on it’s documentation, and cater their documentation to beginners as I am sure a lot of eBox users will be beginners.

Introducing eBox Platform – The Answer to Everything

Have any of you guys wanted to setup a server where you could have everything included? Well, sure if it goes down, everything goes down but it’s going to be very...

Have any of you guys wanted to setup a server where you could have everything included? Well, sure if it goes down, everything goes down but it’s going to be very convenient to administrate that server right? You have everything on one interface and it is going to save you lots of time and effort, rather than hoping around different servers and trying to remember which password is for which server. Sure you have. We are all lazy at heart.

So now I would introduce to you eBox! This open source beauty has features like NAT, Firewall, Transparent Proxy, Content Filter, Domain Controller, File Sharing, Printer Server, Mail Server, Jabber Server, DNS Server, Date and Time Server among others. Yes, it is a really full-fledged small business server with all the bells and whistles. And you get to administrate everything on a easy to use web interface. So just key in the URL in your browser and you are in control. What you need to do is to download the image file and burn to a CD. Then you just need to install the distro to a pretty high end PC. Everything comes with a easy to use interface, so if you have some experience with networking, it should be no problem. Oh, this distro is based on Debian so it should feel very familiar with Debian users. And if you already have Debian setup on your PC, you can just use their debian installer to install eBox. And if you are using Windows-based servers, it’s perhaps time for you to look at other alternatives. And eBox is a very decent competitor to Microsoft’s Small Business Server.

From the looks of the eBox community, this distro is very active and the eBox software is constantly being updated and developed. And the latest version v0.9.99 is out, perhaps this is just one more step to the final build? I can’t wait to download the image file and start playing around with eBox. I hope I will be impressed. Just that I downloading the image file takes very long. It’s downloading at 10kps from my side. Probably will take several hours to complete downloading.

If you are looking for other distros with around the same features, I would recommend you SME Server and Clarkconnect. I have been using SME Server for my webserver and my spare email server, it certainly looks very stable. The latest version adds a number of features and has increased support for RAID devices.

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