Saturday, January 31, 2004

Groklaw has dug up some stuff on the SCO case
The short of it is,what they claim as intellectual property, they actually gave away.

Agnula - free software project funded by the European Commission(!!!). Surprised me as I was completely unaware of this , nor had I heard about it in any of the Linux journals or websites. Must investigate this one further , as its sounds interesting.

IBM Linux promo page - it's polished , professional and well done. Flash required.

Watford Electronics
Build your own desktop from the components YOU want. Helps avoid the Microsoft tax. Superb site - well worth checking out.

Opportunity rolls off its lander
Larger image of roll off available here
More images here

Friday, January 30, 2004

Around 2 weeks ago, I noticed a flood of Viagra mails getting through my SpamAssassin filters. Turns out that the spam was using Habeas haikus in the headers - and thus SA was giving it a -8.0 score.

Ramping the habeas rule in my SA config up to 0.0 stopped them.
You need to put this rule in your systemwide SA config:

score HABEAS_SWE 0.0

Goodbye "Habeas" emails.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

MyDoom creating havoc - Anti-Virus software adding to the problem
My home email is protected by a combination of SpamAssassin , procmail rules and Bayesian training - this has been incredibly effective in zapping my Spam down to a maximum of around 1 or 2 a day - sometimes I can go for days without any spam in my inbox.

I log on tonight to be greeted by a flood of MyDoom messages, Anti-Virus software bounce messages (even though I never sent to virus out - i use Linux!), and mail server bounces from people i have never emailed (again , a MyDoom side affect).

If my lowly home ISP email account is being flooded in this way , one can only imagine the severity of this outbreak is on the bigger corporate email systems.

What is REALLY annoying about this , is not the worm itself - those messages I can understand. It's the flood of stupid Anti-Virus software messages back to me , telling me that "I've been infected". No I haven't - i didnt send the damn thing in the first place.

Brian Martin of is also highly annoyed with the Anti-Virus companies as well. They are ADDING to the worm traffic and yet we've had these worms for the past three years.

Stop it now ! I dont want your stupid moronic "I've been infected" messages any more - and I don't want them adding to the problem of clogged email systems.

There - rant over....

Slashdot are discussing this issue too

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Netcraft stats on

Reverse engineered analysis of MyDoom worm
RAV Antivirus - real time stats
Full Disclosure mail archive

Gates takes a side-swipe at Apple, Linux security

Bruce Perens makes statement on SCO virus
"Do not cheer on attacks on the SCO site. By doing so, you falsely implicate our community in the attacks, in the eyes of outsiders who read your words"

Outages Continue as SCO Offers $250,000 MyDoom Reward

Mydoom Surpasses Sobig.F to Become Fastest Spreading Virus Ever, with 1 in 12 Emails Now Infected

Handy ,but slightly obscure Konsole stuff

ls -tual * | sed 4q
Show 4 most recent files, ordered by date and time, with newest at the top.

tail -f /var/log/maillog
You'll notice that the tail -f stays active in your console, and any new incoming log entries are written to your console window - just the thing to monitor your implementation of SORBS or Spamcop blocking.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

KOffice 1.3 released
KOffice site is Slashdotted at the moment - so i'm just linking to the Slashdot announcement. MS Office filters are included in this new release.

Linus speaks out - calls SCO a "cornered rat"
"They're a cornered rat, and quite frankly, I think they have rabies to boot. I'd rather not get too close to them. There are literally several levels of SCO being wrong. And even if we were to live in that alternate universe where SCO would be right, they'd still be wrong.'"

In the same issue of BusinessWeek , Darl McBride of SCO is interviewed.
"Q: You've received bomb threats, death threats and plenty of hate mail because of what you're doing. Have you ever wanted to say to your detractors, "Hey folks, this is just software here?"
A: They say if you want to get into an argument at the dinner table, start a conversation about religion or politics. I would argue that Linux is a cross between religion and politics. "

And Darl hasn't even confronted Richard Stallman yet. Sounds like someone who's definitely out of their depth and really does not understand the market that they are in.

New virus to target SCO on Feb 1st
The MyDoom virus is timed to DOS the SCO website from Feb 1st to Feb 12th. Opinions Slashdot are sharply divided on this one - from "I want to join - is there a Linux version of it" to "This is a SCO conspiracy out to discredit those nasty Linux hackers" and everything inbetween.

Opportunity photos of nearby rock formation

Panoramic view of rock outcrop near Opportunity
Another view
3D view

Came across this site today - Linux Lookup.

Here's a bunch of links from it:
Kernel Compile Guide
Ownership & Permissions guide
Streaming MP3 Server Guide

Monday, January 26, 2004

Jeremy Zawodny is giving up TV for 30 days
It'll be interesting to see how this one pans out.

Times (London) commentary on the Gate's Knighthood
"To date, the prime effect Microsoft has had is to suck billions of pounds in exorbitant licensing fees out of British companies, schools, universities, hospitals and government bodies."

Opportunity sends a color postcard
Hi res JPEG image - Opportunity is currently sitting in a crater, approximately 65 ft in diameter.

A Hole In One
JPL press release

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Dean scream gaining cult-like status on Web
Already there are remixes available on the net. Google for "I have a scream"

ExtremeTech reviews Ark Linux

SpaceFlight Now - "First pictures show bizarre martian world"

Bill Gates to get honourary knighthood
oh dear...

First color image by Opportunity
Terrain is radically different to that imaged by Spirit.

Governor Schwarzenegger and Ex Vice President Al Gore were at mission control

First panoramic image from Opportunity

Photos (lots of them) taken by Opportunity
Slashdot coverage

Opportunity Lands on Mars - Opportunity Lands

Friday, January 23, 2004

Hi Res version - 1.5 mb Jpg

ESA Mars Express picture - water on Mars?
The blue color might be a false color effect, but there's no explanation for it in the link above. Or could it actually be real life water on the Martian surface?
In this article,Gerhard Neukum of Germany's Free University of Berlin said it is too early to determine the composition of the black-colored substance at the bottom of the now dry river beds.

Hang on a minute - those blotches to the left are certainly blue in color, not black. Later on in the article, Neukum confirms that what we are looking at is real and not colourised:
"Neukum also said the colors of the images produced by the stereo camera is as realistic as possible and are not enhanced to provide additional details. "What you are seeing is real," he said."

In the hi-res version of the image,you can see the blue areas more clearly.Frozen water maybe? Or actual flowing water gushing out because of previously undiscovered underground volcanic activity??

Note the channels flowing into the blue "lake" in the rough middle of the image. Strange isn't it? Remember that the common scientific consensus is that flowing water shouldn't exist on Mars - although that is changing. Under ground heat from periodic vulcanism could create very brief mini-floods of water bursting to the surface for example. The water wouldn't stay around , due to Mars' very thin athmosphere, but it suggests that possibly Mars' water hasn't evaporated away , but is locked in some kind of super-hard permafrost , just below the surface.

And if that is really the case, then the case for a manned mission going to Mars is even more compelling.

Hmm... here's something cool that i just stumbled across on google. If you type in "what is " , you get a dictionary answer from google. Click on the links below to see what i'm on about.

What is hydrogen?
What is Berlin?
What is Ganymede?

New social networking site, thats invite only. Founded by a Google engineer, it proclaims that it is being run "in affiliation with Google". More about this at

If anyone is a member , you can invite me, please.... :-)

Spirit still in "critical" condition
"The crippled Spirit rover remains in critical condition on the surface of Mars, engineers said today, the victim of ongoing electronic seizures that have caused its central computer to reboot itself more than 60 times over the past two days."

Frequently updated NASA press releases on Spirit.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Very cool idea. Looks great too.

O'Reilly article on the often overlooked hdparm utility, which can dramatically improve performance on your Linux box.

Gentoo forums
Superb resource , that's only about Gentoo, but also about Linux in general. Lots of forums to choose from as well, and in multiple languages too.

Debian schmebian #2
My new deb box has woody stable preinstalled, which means that only php 4.1 is available. PHP 4.3 is available in the unstable sid branch of deb. I was able to apt-get php 4.3, but this doesnt come with the cli binary of PHP -that's in the php4-cgi package.

Doing a
apt-get install php4-cgi
resulted in package dependency errors, as i had both stable and unstable sources in my sources.list - apt-get was trying to grab dependencies from stable rather than unstable.

the solution is to use the -t option in apt-get.

apt-get -t=unstable install php4-cgi

Any dependencies of unstable php4-cgi are now grabbed from the correct target release branch of Deb.

Debian schmebian
sourced from here

Building a kernel
You can do a make menuconfig; make dep; make clean; make bzImage, but to do all these in a debian way - Configure it the normal way and do make-kpkg --revision= kernel_image.This will build a debian package.
For example, if you ran this on a linux-2.4.16 kernel, the file of the package would be named kernel-image-2.4.16_rev1_i386.deb

Once you have the .deb file, install it using 'dpkg -i'. After the package installation, cross-check /etc/lilo.conf and /sbin/lilo -v before rebooting.

How to rebuild the dselect database from scratch:
(useful, as the apt db and dselect can get out of sync if you forget to do an update):

perl -i.bak -pe 'if (/^Status: [^\s]+ ([^\s]+) ([^\s]+)/) { $_="Status: ".($2 eq "installed" ? "install" : "purge")." $1 $2\n"}' /var/lib/dpkg/status

Remove any lingering packages in your list
dpkg --get-selections|sed -e 's/deinstall$/purge/'|dpkg --set-selections apt-get dselect-upgrade

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The RIAA are at it again
RIAA fires 532 lawsuits - more details at the Slashdot link above.

The strange properties of Martian soil
Slashdot coverage.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Wired - "Malcolm MacLaren on 8 bit Punks"

Wired discovers "chip music", which this blog author has known about since about 1991 on the Amiga. It's quite humourous in a way - a style of music that is already a decade old now being praised as "something new". The words "barrel" and "bottom" come to mind. But having said that, the article is an interesting read and I for one wouldn't mind seeing a Protracker tune in the top 20.

And if you really want to hear chip music, just visit for hundreds of these old tunes. They'll play in most modern media players (Winamp is ok, XMMS is fine with them too).

Monday, January 19, 2004

KDE 3.2 Reaches Final Stage: Announcing Release Candidate 1

SpamAssassin notes
Setting up Site-Wide Bayesian Filtering
How can my users feed back mail for the Bayesian learner?

Saturday, January 17, 2004

5 million aerial WW2 images to go online
"This huge photographic archive - up until now stored in thousands of boxes at Keele University - has now been made available to us all on line. The images - taken by RAF reconnaissance pilots - provided vital intelligence during war.
More than half a century on - these photographs give us a new perspective of the second world war - a birds eye view of history. One image shows American GI's landing on the morning of June the 6th 1944 - D Day."

The archive is available on Monday 19th January at this address:

Linus Torvalds, the Samba team and others get dunked for charity at LinuxConf 2004, Australia
ZDNet wrap up of LinuxConf
Newsforge reviews the Mepis distro
Mystery at Gusev crater
"Scientists are puzzled about a patch of soil near the Mars rover Spirit lander that they now call "Magic Carpet". The intrigue has been stirred up by how soil behaved when the lander’s airbags scraped across the martian soil. That soil appears to have been peeled away"

Spirit microscope takes close up picture of Martian soil
Martian soil in 3D
Spirit robotic arm extended

BSD for Linux Users
Internet fool’s gold sparks Nigerian fiasco
Nokia to release Perl for smartphones
KDE at Linuxworld NYC

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Spirit Looks back in 3D

Medium Res 3D image

Spirit Rolls onto the Martian surface
Forward view from Spirit
Spaceflight Now coverage of today's events
Slashdot coverage here

Other news today:
Linus Says 2004 is the Year for Desktop Linux
Warp Records shun DRM and go bleep
Unencumbered MP3 downloads of the Warp back catalog are available (Aphex Twin, Black Dog, Boards Of Canada and lots more)
The Register also covered the Warp story today as well.

You can see what all the fuss is about here

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Seen on the Slashdot discussion about SkyOS:

"I know we're not all idiots individually. en masse we are the equivalent of one very large, distributed idiot."

Here's a handy KDE tool - FileLight
Screenshot eye candy here

Image taken by Spirit after it successfully completed a 115 degree turn to line up with exit ramps from the lander.

Spirit is ready to Roll!

Go To That Crater And Turn Right: Spirit Gets A Travel Itinerary

Spirit's Surroundings Beckon in Color Panorama

Other stuff :
Thinking outside the box - Sky OS
SCO lines up UK targets
Migration from Windows to Linux saves thousands
UK firms stay away from online recruitment
No fix from Microsoft for IE url spoof bug

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

New apps from KDE Apps
Very nice digital camera tool.

Graphics viewer
3D Landscaping tool, like Vista Pro or Terragen

And this final one is way way too cool:
"KDE Image Database (KimDaBa) is a tool for indexing, searching, and viewing images. The indexing is done by telling KimDaBa who is on the images, where the images were taken, and (optionally) adding descriptions. KimDaBa is highly optimized for easy indexing of images, so that it is possible to use it with thousands of images. It also allows you to browse your images easily, based on the properties (person, location, keywords) you specified when indexing."

Linkdump for today:

Setting up Debian
LOTS AND LOTS of screen shots to guide you through a full Deb install.
RPM and APT-Get
Great guide for Red Hat RPMer's who are coming over to Debian APT-GET and are wondering what the equivalent commands are.
Joe Roepcke
New blog that I stumbled across.

OS News reviews MandrakeMove
More info on MandrakeMove here

Monday, January 12, 2004

World's smallest flying robot
The Micro Flying Robot, which is sort of like a small helicopter, is controlled wirelessly via Bluetooth.
The Lacie 1 Terabyte External Hard drive
Lacie's new one terabyte external hard drive which has enough capacity for 30 days of non-stop MPEG2 video.

More gadgets posted on Gizmodo

OS/2 Meets the 64-bit Operton
The OS that refuses to die.
Sun Cobalt users left in weekend FTP lurch
Sun breaks ftp service - Cobalt developers fix the problem.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Spirit rover on Mars - new images
Hazy Martian skies
New real estate on Mars
New 3D panorama image

KDE Apps is now online

World Wide Words
Interesting site , on the meaning and origins of thousands of English words and phrases.

The ACME catalog

SCO approaches Google about Linux license

Lindows Hires Everaldo
Everaldo is the artist responsible for the superb Crystal icon set

Friday, January 09, 2004

Slackware based live CD distro. What's cool about this one is that it's got KDE 3.2 beta on it. Ideal for trying out the beta of KDE 3.2 and the beta of KOffice 1.3.
And it's Slackware , so that gets it a few more geek points for that alone... Nice website as well.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Slashdot - "Did SCO Actually Buy What it Thought?"
Mad Penguin
Good site.

Linkdump for today
Debian is really easy to use - honest!
Xandros 2.0 distro review
IBM will move to Linux internally by 2005

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

NASA releases new 3D image from Spirit rover on Mars (JPG, 1 meg image)
3D blue-red glasses needed. I've got some, and this image is just incredible - you can really see the undulation of the terrain in front of you. Almost as good as actually being there.

High Res 3D Mars image
24 Meg TIF & 1 Meg Jpeg available from the above page.

Second image of Comet Wild-2 released by Stardust team

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Microsoft launch anti-Linux campaign
Get the , errr, "facts" at the Microsoft site here.
And , please try not to spill your coffee when reading it.

As you can guess, the Slashdot crowd are going bezerk on this one

eWeek have an article on the Microsoft guy who is behind he campaign.

Close up of rocks around Spirit
First color image from Mars
Very large 8mb hi-res color image taken by Spirit. Seriously worth downloading - the resolution is quite incredible.

Yahoo - "Nasa unveils color photos"

Monday, January 05, 2004

Robotic Freedom
Fascinating article on the future consequences of intelligent robots replacing service sector workers. The author ponders that it could turn into a nightmare, with the vast majority of people unemployed and in poverty. Or , if it's done right, it could beckon in an era of unparalled freedom and prosperity, where human beings no longer have to work for a living.

3D panorama image taken by Spirit on Mars
3D blue-red glasses needed - it's an awesome sight! Can't wait for more of this kind of imagery.

Other stuff:
Richard Stallman - "The Free Software Community After 20 Years"
Is the command line necessary for most Linux users?

Slashdot - "The Long Term Effects of Outsourcing"
Gates to star at UK chancellor's entrepreneur summit
Inquirer - "PC Annoyances"
Linux OS can't be compared to Microsoft OSes
How to blow a billion or two
ZDNET on the Sun - Cobalt debacle. $2 Billion down the swanney.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Higher res Spirit panaroma image

JPL Spirit image archive

Spirit rover lands on Mars - sends back pictures

Spaceflight Now blog with minute-by-minute updates on Spirit

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover due to land at 8.35 Pacific Standard Time, Saturday night
That's 4.45 am Greenwich mean time on Sunday morning.
Rover poised for Mars landing

Stardust successfully flies by comet

Friday, January 02, 2004

LinuxWorld's predictions for 2004
Sun opens up Cobalt code