Archive for the ‘Free Software’ Category

The looks

September 17th, 2011 No comments

In the past week I practically bullied all my friends into reading the first post about the Linux experience and to my surprise, it did trigger a certain wonder in the non-nerd community that I know. The biggest curiosity had to do with its looks. I felt like trying to describe someone for a blind date… “Is not so boring! Seriously, it looks really good”, “No, I know you are not a computer person but I’m telling you, it changed its appearance completely and it looks amazing now”. This was actually the thing I was most surprised about when I first interacted with my Ubuntu interface, cause it’s really intuitive and friendly to the eye. Almost all of its software has a resemblance to one that we are familiar with already (Libre Office to Word, Banshee to iTunes, GIMP to Photoshop and so on). Most people think of Linux in the same way I did: is not for me cause I’m an “average” user, it’s the OS for programmers. That may have been the case some years ago, but now even a blond girl (hey that’s me!) can find her way around it without feeling hopeless or lost in an unfamiliar environment. However, the success of a blind date doesn’t have to do only with looks, because the important things usually transcend the limits of what’s visible to the eye. The open nature of this operating system makes all the difference in the world, and even if we are not familiar with the technicalities of it, even if we don’t understand how Linux is better than other OS because on the surface it “looks” the same and we are not particularly turned on by the cleanliness of the processes running in the back-end, we should try to be aware of the social and political implications of our daily choices and own those choices rather than let others decide for us.


Privacy issues in (OS X)

September 6th, 2011 No comments

Christian Kienle just found a disturbing privacy issue affecting If you wanna see a demonstration simply watch his video. He’s making this issue public so that every user can find out about it and is able to prevent bad things from happening with their (private) data.

Categories: Free Software, Technology Tags: ,

tweet nagios server status

August 28th, 2011 2 comments

On my Nagios Server I use twitter to send status alerts. It works nicely with Identica & Twitter.

The setup is easy. First install twidge with

root@host:~# apt-get install twidge

Then write a twidgerc file with the according twidge configuration

nagios@host:~# vi /etc/nagios3/twidgerc
oauthaccesstoken: %(serverbase)s/oauth/access_token
oauthauthorize: %(serverbase)s/oauth/authorize
oauthdata: [("user_id","XXXXXX"),("screen_name","YOUR_SCREENNAME"),("oauth_verifier","XXXXXX"),("oauth_token","XXXXXX"),("oauth_token_secret","XXXXXX"),("oauth_callback_confirmed","true")]
oauthrequesttoken: %(serverbase)s/oauth/request_token
sendmail: /usr/sbin/sendmail
shortenurls: yes
urlbase: %(serverbase)s/1

Make sure the file is readable by Nagios user. (!)

nagios@host:~# chown nagios /etc/nagios/twidgerc

Then add the following lines to /etc/nagios3/conf.d/contacts_nagios2.cfg (on GNU/Linux Debian).

define contact{
contact_name twitter
alias Twitter
service_notification_period 24x7
host_notification_period 24x7
service_notification_options w,u,c,r
host_notification_options d,r
service_notification_commands notify-service-by-twitter
host_notification_commands notify-host-by-twitter
email twitteraccount_to_contact

… and add “twitter” to the members in the contactgroup (in the same file).

members root,nagiosadmin,twitter

Then add these lines to etc/nagios3/commands.cfg:

define command {
command_name notify-service-by-twitter
command_line echo "#Nagios $NOTIFICATIONTYPE$ $HOSTNAME$($SERVICEDESC$) is $SERVICESTATE$" | twidge -c /etc/nagios3/twidgerc update
define command {
command_name notify-host-by-twitter
command_line echo "#Nagios $HOSTSTATE$ alert for $HOSTNAME$" | twidge -c /etc/nagios3/twidgerc dmsend $CONTACTEMAIL$

Nagios will tweet the service notifications and send a directmessage to the according user with the host notification.
Here’s an example:

=^.^= Lx

Copy me: Technological change and the consumption of music

August 26th, 2011 No comments

… worth reading:

Copy me: Technological change and the consumption of music

CC-by-sa 3.0 2009 by Nick White

For those who worry about the cultural, economic and political power of the global media companies, the dreamed-of revolution is at hand. The industry may right now be making a joyful noise unto the Lord, but it is we, not they, who are about to enter the promised land. (Moglen 2001)


Technological changes have political implications. Changing the way we interact with things encourages a reconsideration of the rules and institutions that have governed previous interactions with them.

The current debate about copies of recorded music using the Internet is an excellent example of this, and by examining it one may better understand the relations between people and recorded music, and between listeners and the traditional publishers of music.

While undoubtedly a great deal may be usefully said and examined in other technological changes in music recordings, I will here focus primarily on filesharing, as it is something I have been somewhat involved in myself, and hence I have significantly more knowledge ‘from the inside.’

I will begin by discussing traditional definitions of ‘commodity,’ and then move on to a very brief overview of historical trends in copying and music recording. I will also touch upon the printing press in order to discuss the creation and rationale behind copyright laws, which form a major part the present filesharing debate. I will then go into greater depth into the current practises of people who share music on filesharing networks, and the response by the recording industry, before embarking on an analysis of the meaning and significance of some of these new practises and dialogues.

It should be noted that I’m speaking primarily of England and the United States of America, and the situation will be somewhat different in other parts of the world.


Download the paper
or visit

Promoting DuckDuckGo

August 22nd, 2011 No comments

DuckDuckGo is a beautiful, fast and secure search engine, which actually cares about the users privacy and does not track you.
As too few people yet know about that amazing search engine I thought about a way how to promote it.
Here’s my solution for sysadmins and webmasters:

Include the following rewrite rule into your .htaccess on the Apache Server.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /

SetEnvIf Referer "google.([_a-zA-Z-]+/)" promote_duck
SetEnvIf Referer "" promote_duck
SetEnvIf Referer "" promote_duck
SetEnvIf Referer "" promote_duck

Order Allow,Deny
Allow from all
Deny from env=promote_duck
ErrorDocument 403$1&kz=-1

This will cause that every referrer request by Google, Yahoo, Baidu and Bing will be redirected to DuckDuckGo, showing the according search results.

=^.^= Lx

P.S. Here’s the forum discussion regarding this issue.

Cory Doctorow’s talk on Freedom

August 12th, 2011 No comments

This week Cory Doctorow gave a great talk about this (*sigh*) boring old issue of Freedom and Human Rights in the age of the knowledge society at the ACM Siggraph Conference in Vancouver.

For further reading:
Cory’s Blog


August 3rd, 2011 No comments

Anticensorship in the Network Infrastructure: Watch out for Telex.


Telex is a new approach to circumventing Internet censorship that is intended to help citizens of repressive governments freely access online services and information. The main idea behind Telex is to place anticensorship technology into the Internet’s core network infrastructure, through cooperation from large ISPs. Telex is markedly different from past anticensorship systems, making it easy to distribute and very difficult to detect and block.

What makes Telex different from previous approaches:

  • Telex operates in the network infrastructure — at any ISP between the censor’s network and non-blocked portions of the Internet — rather than at network end points. This approach, which we call “end-to-middle” proxying, can make the system robust against countermeasures (such as blocking) by the censor.
  • Telex focuses on avoiding detection by the censor. That is, it allows a user to circumvent a censor without alerting the censor to the act of circumvention. It complements services like Tor (which focus on hiding with whom the user is attempting to communicate instead of that that the user is attempting to have an anonymous conversation) rather than replacing them.
  • Telex employs a form of deep-packet inspection — a technology sometimes used to censor communication — and repurposes it to circumvent censorship.
  • Other systems require distributing secrets, such as encryption keys or IP addresses, to individual users. If the censor discovers these secrets, it can block the system. With Telex, there are no secrets that need to be communicated to users in advance, only the publicly available client software.
  • Telex can provide a state-level response to state-level censorship. We envision that friendly countries would create incentives for ISPs to deploy Telex.

Piraten sind die besten Kunden

August 1st, 2011 No comments

Telepolis schreibt: “Nun gab der frühere EMI-Manager Douglas C. Merrill auf der CA World Expo in Sydney zu, dass eigene Studien seines ehemaligen Arbeitgebers ergaben, dass Personen, die über P2P-Dienste unlizenziert Musik herunterluden auch die besten Kunden von iTunes waren. Filesharing sieht er deshalb als “try-before-you-buy marketing”, für das die Musikindustrie nicht einmal zahlen müsse.” … – Wen wundert’s? Ach ja stimmt: Sony, EMI und die ganze Bande haben es immer noch nicht begriffen.

Love is …

July 1st, 2011 No comments

…setting up

a key logger, and
a public/private key pair with empty passphrase, and
a launch daemon, and
a bash script using curl with a short connect timeout, and
a dynamic DNS service, and
double NAT forwarding through your two routers, and
local port forwarding to your laptop’s usual web server, and
a bash script at DocumentRoot with, occasionally,
a reverse port forwarding ssh command in it executed in the background with nohup, also to
the dynamic DNS address, and
another double NAT forwarding, and
appending the public key to your laptop’s authorized keys, and
running tail -F /var/log/apache2/access_log, and


June 29th, 2011 No comments

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