Category: Linux

Ubuntu 7.10 DNS issue

Ubuntu 7.10 (aka Gutsy Gibbon) has a DNS-related bug.

I referred to it when I posted about having upgraded to 7.10 last week but since then I have found how to get around it.

First the problem –
After the upgrade, browsers, mail clients and other Internet-related applications run very slowly. Loading pages in Firefox can take 30+ seconds and sending/receiving emails seems interminable too.

On inspection, the Network settings seems to forget any custom settings (I had pointed it at the OpenDNS servers). Adding the OpenDNS servers to the router’s settings didn’t help. Re-adding the DNS servers to the Network Settings helped for about five minutes when it would once again lose the configuration and slow down.

Checking the Ubuntu forums I discovered that this appears to be related to IPv6.

I tried the following suggestion and it fixed the problem for me straightaway:

  1. IPv6 is supported by default in Ubuntu and can sometimes cause problems
  2. To disable it, open a Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and type the command: gksudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/aliases
  3. Find the line alias net-pf-10 ipv6 and change it to read alias net-pf-10 off
  4. Reboot Ubuntu

Everything is zinging along happily on my laptop once more!

Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) launched

Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) launched yesterday. Ubuntu is a linux distribution with a focus on desktop systems and usability. It issues major releases at pre-scheduled six monthly intervals.

I installed the previous version of Ubuntu (7.04) on one of my laptops recently and was very impressed with its performance and stability.

The update from 7.04 to 7.10 was completely painless – it was a one button click in the Update Manager!

The new version has lots of tweaks and newer versions of applications but it also has eye candy visual effects built-in (System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects:

I have had one problem with 7.10 so far and that is that it won’t remember my DNS settings. I’m not sure why that is or if it is only me. I normally use OpenDNS for my DNS – it is annoying to go back to Eircom’s significantly slower DNS servers after using OpenDNS servers for so long now.

Microsoft will Open Source Windows (or die!)

I have said on a number of occasions that Microsoft should Open Source their Windows Operating System (and their Internet Explorer).

However, it bears repeating.

I realise it is unlikely to happen in the near term but, I firmly believe it will happen in the not-too-distant future (when Microsoft realises that they can’t compete with Open Source).

If you take it simply from a numbers perspective, Microsoft has 70,000 employees. If we say 40,000 are actively programming code for Microsoft (the rest being admin, management, marketing, etc.) then you are looking at a maximum of 10,000 who would have contributed to the development of Vista, Microsoft’s current Windows incarnation. I suspect the number is lower.

Vista is estimated to have cost Microsoft $10 billion and six years to develop and they still shipped a fairly shoddy product.

Presumably Microsoft will want to re-coup that investment before it even thinks about Open Sourcing Windows.

Compare that with the various Linux distros. It is estimated that around 100,000 people have contributed to Linux’ development! I recently installed Ubuntu on my laptop and it simply blows Vista away in terms of performance and reliability.

Why are Ubuntu and the other Linux distros so good?
Lots of reasons but a few jump out:

  1. With open source development, you are getting the “Wisdom of Crowds” – the more people involved in the development, the better the end-result
  2. Open-source development is peer reviewed so bugs are caught earlier in the process and any which make it into a release are fixed quickly
  3. In open source projects the code is written by people who self-select for jobs they have an interest/skillset in
  4. Feel free to add more in the comments!

The upsides for Microsoft of open sourcing Windows are myriad, for example:

  1. If/when Microsoft open source Windows, their Windows piracy concerns will suddenly disappear
  2. Microsoft drastically improves its reputation as an anti-competitive bullying monopolist
  3. The next operating system they write would cost a fraction of the $10bn spent on Vista and would be much higher quality

The economics of Open Source are counter-intuitive. IBM spends around $100m a year on Linux development. If the entire Linux community puts in $1 billion worth of effort and even half of that is useful to IBM’s customers, then IBM gets $500m of development for $100m worth of expenditure.

If Microsoft could, in one fell swoop, get rid of their Windows piracy concerns, write better quality software, improve their corporate image, and radically reduce their development costs, do you think they would do it?

Ubuntu first impressions

Using Wubi, I installed Ubuntu onto my Vaio laptop over the weekend (Ubuntu is a Linux distro – an open source operating system).

Apart from some nervousness on my part about losing any info from my Windows partition, the install was completely painless.

Ubuntu Screenshot

The interface is really slick – it is obvious that lots of time and thought went into the look and feel of this OS.

It is also incredibly fast (despite being installed into a single file in the Windows partition as opposed to a normal install). From a standing start to being able to open a web page Vista took four minutes thirty seconds on this machine. Ubuntu took one minute fifty seconds on the same machine.

I’m trying out Evolution now (email client) and I will start trying other apps as well to see how they compare. For now though, I am impressed.

Backup software for Vista?

I want to install a copy of Ubuntu on my laptop.

However, when Vista was installed on it, a single partition was made of the hard drive so if I try to install Ubuntu now, it will overwrite the Vista partition (I assume, anyone knowing better, feel free to jump in!).

I presume that what I need to do is backup my Vista install, partition the drive into one partition for Vista and one for Ubuntu, restore the Vista into its partition and install Ubuntu into its partition.

Can anyone recommend software to allow me to backup my Vista install (including all my installed apps and settings), so that I can restore it again later.

In case it is relevant, I don’t have a floppy drive for the laptop.

Update – since posting this I came across Wubi – an Ubuntu installer which installs Ubuntu into a Windows partition. This could be an easier solution. I’ll try that and see how I get on.

Intel based Macs to run multiple OSs

I see where Apple has applied for a patent that allows the computer maker to protect the installation of Mac OS X so that it can only be used on Apple produced hardware. No real surprise there.

However, the patent also describes a method whereby Apple hardware could be used to run other Operating Systems:

22. The method of claim 20, wherein the first operating system is selected from the set consisting of Mac OS X, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.

23. The method of claim 20, wherein the second operating system is selected from the set consisting of Mac OS X, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.

So Apple are stopping OS X from being installed on other hardware while simultaneously allowing multiple OSs on Apple hardware? The only way to run OSX will be to buy a Mac. But once you have bought a Mac, you can run whatever you want on it. This would certainly make Apple’s hardware quite attractive for people who need access to multiple OSs.


I see cnet have picked up this story as well

New lame Adserving software

Mark Evans has written an article about a new Ad Serving company called AdGenta.

It is supposed to deliver more relevant ads because you upload your blogs posts through a downloadable AdGenta application called Qumana (where do they come up with these names?). You compose the post in Qumana, click on the advertising button and an ad is placed into your article based on the text of your piece.

All sounds fine until you go to download Qumana and you see the Qumana System Requirements:

Operating System: Windows(R) XP, Windows(R) 2000, Windows(R) 98

Hello? Where is the Mac version? And the Linux version?

Then you look at the blog platforms supported:


metaWeblog? Who uses metaWeblog? Where is the WordPress support? What about LiveJournal? TypePad?


Guys – if you want to take on the big boys you need to get bloggers on board, – to do that, you need to support the platforms we use.

Edited to add the Linux versions question – thanks Michele

Block hotlinkers but allow some sites remote access to images using .htaccess

In a previous post I explained how to create a .htaccess file to stop remote image linking (hotlinking) and bandwidth theft – however, there are some situations where you might want your image files linked to from remote sites – how do you make exceptions for these sites?

The code to block all sites from hotlinking to your images is, as follows (see my previous post for a detailed explanation of the code):
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)? [NC]
RewriteRule \.(png|gif|jpe?g)$ - [NC,F]

To allow Google, AltaVista, Gigablast, Comet Systems, and SearchHippo translators and caches to be able to link to images we need to use the following code:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)?tomrafteryit\.net [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://216\.239\.(3[2-9]|[45][0-9]|6[0-3]).*(www\.)?tomrafteryit\.net [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^*(www\.)?tomrafteryit\.net [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://216\.243\.113\.1/cgi/
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://search.*\.cometsystems\.com/search.*(www\.)?tomrafteryit\.net [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://.*searchhippo\.com.*(www\.)?tomrafteryit\.net [NC]
RewriteRule \.(png|gif|jpe?g)$ - [NC,F]

And obviously, everywhere you see my domain ( in the code, substitute in your own domain.

Windows XP SP 1 – not very secure!

The Denver Post carries a story which clearly shows just how insecure Windows XP SP1 is compared to other Operating Systems

According to the story, StillSecure, a Louisville-based network security firm, connected six computers – with six operating systems – to the Internet for a week without any virus protection. Over the course of a week, the machines were scanned a total of 46,255 times by computers around the world that crawl the Web looking for vulnerabilities in operating systems.

Once the vulnerabilities were identified, the remote computers launched 4,892 direct attacks with a staggering variety of worms, Trojan Horses, viruses, spyware and other forms of malware.

The test examined only what happens when computers are turned on and connected to the Internet. The test didn’t evaluate additional dangers that computer users face when they use e-mail, surf the Web, click on Internet links or use file-sharing programs.

Here’s what happened:
Windows XP Service Pack 1

Attacks: 4,857

Results: Attacked successfully within 18 minutes by the Blaster and Sasser worms. Within an hour, the computer was taken over and began attacking other Windows machines.
Windows XP Service Pack 2

Attacks: 16

Results: Survived all attacks
Apple Mac OS X Jaguar

Attacks: 3

Results: Survived all attacks
Linux, Suse Professional 9.2

Attacks: 8

Results: Survived all attacks
Linux, Fedora Core 3

Attacks: 8

Results: Survived all attacks
Linux Red Hat 9

Attacks: 0