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Reviews

pfSense is the alternative to the Linux Small Business Server you've been looking for..

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Take a look out at the Linux Distro landscape and there are no end of small business server distributions, these are the distros which provide you with a cheap alternative to create a small business server which in turn provides eMail, DNS, DHCP, Web Servers and many other services you'd need on a server when running a small business.

Usually the scenario would be that you use Microsoft's server products to provide your staff with a reliable back end server system, however over the last few years some of the Linux alternatives have risen like cream does to the top. Everything you could do with a Microsoft server can now be done for free on a Linux Small business distro. Zentayal is an example of this type of Distro. Its polished, there are support options, its well documented, it runs on Ubuntu as a core OS.

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A Year Into Linux Mint Debian Edition

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LMDE is a mixed bag. On one hand, you get a Debian install with the Mint specific user software that makes the end user a very nice experience. On the other hand, it's still being tweaked and played with. This can lead to some frustration with apps that haven't had all the kinks worked out yet.

Kobo Tablet

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While Amazon do whatever they need to do with UK Publishing companies before they release the Kindle fire over here in Blighty, there is of course the normal Kindle touch, however having had a play with it I wasn't that impresses with the Interface or the lack of cheap books. I decided to have a scout round for alternative eInk/eBook readers.

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Subsonic Media Streamer 4.6: The Proper Review

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I've done a few write up's on my blog about Subsonic however none of them were a proper review. So i've put one up. Covering What this is, stup, media, codecs and performance. this is great software especially if you're and Android user. However it's not limited to Android as the Web Interface is special too..

This is a followup to a couple of article's i've written about Subsonic, the first was a comparison with AudioGalaxy the other a bit of a puff piece really. This software however deserves a complete review as it's only having been using it for a week and a recent update i've really found out just how powerful it is.

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Subsonic

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A really good system for streaming your media, audio and video over the internet to your remote mobile and desktop devices. Works on any *nix system with a LAMPP stack.. and a uPNP router..

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Spideroak. Doing Dropbox better than Dropbox..

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Let's face it dropbox dropped its guard and proved it's not as secure as it needs to be. Opening the door for a service which is doing Dropbox better and more secure than Dropbox..

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Lastpass.

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Ensuring your security on any system is essential, while Linux offers many security enhancements over other OS's when it comes to the Internet you can never be too safe. Lastpass offers an incredible solution on a cross platform level for securing your Website access and making sure you only ever have to remember one password, but use as many as you like.

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Google Currents for Android..

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Google have just released Google Currents and although its US only there are AFK files for the rest of us on Android devices outside of the US.. I have to say, its aimed fair and square at Flipboard and does what it does VERY Well.

This is the sort of thing we need on the Linux Platform, a Gnome interface for this would work wonders...

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VyprVPN a great way to protect your public internet surfing.

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The hatches are coming down slowly on the underground downloading of media, its just starting now, the various lobbies are chipping away at the BitTorrent sites and the various Indexing services such as Google are self governing themselves to slowly stop providing links to other locations hosting shared media.

There are options however and this time they are Linux compatible and require very little fiddleing.

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Parted Magic - The Ultimate Linux Tool

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A sysadmin's toolbox doesn't contain physical spanners or screwdrivers, it does however contain tools. We pick them up over the years. Open source software which provides servers, tools, scripts they all end up in the metaphorical toolbox.

One such tool in my toolbox is a Linux distro i found a few years ago and has become invaluable. So much so that slowly but surely converts to the Microsoft cause i work with who felt that Linux offered them nothing are now using this as well.

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Development News

Security Leftovers

  • How To Improve The Linux System’s Security Using Firejail
    As you already know, Linux kernel is secure by default. But, it doesn’t mean that the softwares on the Linux system are completely secure. Say for example, there is a possibility that any add-ons on your web browser may cause some serious security issues. While doing financial transactions over internet, some key logger may be active in browser which you are not aware of. Even though, we can’t completely give the bullet-proof security to our Linux box, we still can add an extra pinch of security using an application called Firejail. It is a security utility which can sandbox any such application and let it to run in a controlled environment. To put this simply, Firejail is a SUID (Set owner User ID up on execution) program that reduces the risk of security breaches by restricting the running environment of untrusted applications.
  • “Httpd and Relayd Mastery” off to copyedit
  • Kalyna Block Cipher

Containers vs. Zones vs. Jails vs. VMs

  • Setting the Record Straight: containers vs. Zones vs. Jails vs. VMs
    I’m tired of having the same conversation over and over again with people so I figured I would put it into a blog post. Many people ask me if I have tried or what I think of Solaris Zones / BSD Jails. The answer is simply: I have tried them and I definitely like them. The conversation then heads towards them telling me how Zones and Jails are far superior to containers and that I should basically just give up with Linux containers and use VMs. Which to be honest is a bit forward to someone who has spent a large portion of her career working with containers and trying to make containers more secure. Here is what I tell them:
  • [Old] Hadoop Has Failed Us, Tech Experts Say

    The Hadoop community has so far failed to account for the poor performance and high complexity of Hadoop, Johnson says. “The Hadoop ecosystem is still basically in the hands of a small number of experts,” he says. “If you have that power and you’ve learned know how to use these tools and you’re programmer, then this thing is super powerful. But there aren’t a lot of those people. I’ve read all these things how we need another million data scientists in the world, which I think means our tools aren’t very good.”

Wine and Games

  • [Wine] Packaging changes
    Today we want to announce some important changes regarding the Wine Staging packages provided at repos.wine-staging.com and dl.winehq.org. We completely reworked our build system to make the packages available sooner after a release and also added some new features, like downloading old packages for Debian / Ubuntu. The complete list of changes can be found in the announcement email on the Wine mailing list.
  • Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition Announced for PC, Mac, Linux, and Mobile
  • Podcast #6 with Ethan Lee, Porter on Fez, Transistor
    Have you ever played Fez on Linux ? Transistor ? Speed Runners ? Shenzen I/O ? Bastion ? or more recently, Owlboy ? Well if you have, you have benefited from the work of Flibitijibibo who is directly responsible for the port of such titles to your platform.