Installing Poptop (pptpd) VPN Server on CentOS 6

For roaming mobile clients PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) is still the quickest way to get VPN connections to tunnel traffic over a secure link. Installation I always prefer installation via a yum repository as this will ensure patches are applied during regular system updates sudo rpm --import http://poptop.sourceforge.net/yum/RPM-GPG-KEY-PPTP sudo rpm -Uvh http://poptop.sourceforge.net/yum/stable/rhel6/pptp-release-current.noarch.rpm sudo yum install ppp pptpd -y Configuration Note: replace $USERNAME and $PASSWORD with actual values IP configuration echo "localip 192.168.0.1" >> /etc/pptpd.conf echo "remoteip 192.168.0.100-199" >> /etc/pptpd.conf DNS configuration echo "ms-dns 8.8.8.8" >> /etc/ppp/options.pptpd echo "ms-dns 4.2.2.1" >> /etc/ppp/options.pptpd Authentication configuration echo "$USERNAME pptpd $PASSWORD *" >> /etc/ppp/chap-secrets Firewall config service iptables start echo "net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1" >> /etc/sysctl.conf sysctl -p echo "iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE" >> /etc/rc.local iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE service iptables restart service iptables save chkconfig iptables on Start ppptd chkconfig pptpd on service pptpd start

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Jitsi Ubuntu VoIP SIP Client

The latest instalment in my never-ending quest to find a decent SIP client (see Ubuntu SIP I & Ubuntu SIP II) I came across JITSI (http://jitsi.org/). Since the website looked very interesting and the project seems very well maintained (http://jitsi.org/index.php/Main/Screenshots) I decided to give it a go. The installation is a breeze with a Ubuntu/Debian package available and the installation also adds the repository to keep the package up to date. http://download.jitsi.org/jitsi/debian/ After a few test calls it seems to work very well. The UI is much more intuitive than comparable Ubuntu clients. Looks I found my new default client - nice job Jitsi Team.  

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Connecting to Cisco Small Business VPN from Ubuntu

Connecting to IPSec VPN gateways has always been one of the more painful things to do. Unfortunately Cisco is not helping by being extremely sluggish on making their utilities available on most recent OS revisions (you can't even get their QuickVPN client to work properly on 64bit Win7 yet). Operating System support outside of Windows seems to be pretty much non-existent (see https://supportforums.cisco.com/thread/2040595). Shame on you Cisco ! Option 1 - running QuickVPN under using wine Download the QuickVPN client http://www.cisco.com/cisco/software/type.html?mdfid=282414013&flowid=787 Install using wine wine setup.exe Copy the QuickVPN Client Certificate to the QuickVPN program folder and run cp RVS4000_Client.pem ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Cisco\ Small\ Business/QuickVPN\ Client/ cd ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Cisco\ Small\ Business/QuickVPN\ Client/ wine VPNClient.exe Option 2 - vpnc connection apt-get install vpnc openconnect  network-manager-vpnc  network-manager-openconnect Theoretically it should be possible to connect to the Cisco Small Business Routers using vpnc (& openconnect). However there is ZERO information from Cisco as to the settings and the QuickVPN utility seems to use some non-standard authentication and handshake mechanisms. I would love to hear from anybody who was able to connect using native (and standard) Linux VPN utilities rather than the wine hack above.

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Running your business (mostly) on Open Source Software

The release of the latest Ubuntu Version has been seen by a number of commentators as the most end-user friendly yet and signals another milestone in the readiness of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) for more widespread (and business) use. As a long-term user of a number of different Operating Systems and as SME Owner for the last 15 years I have overseen the gradual replacement of a number of proprietary software solutions with FOSS Alternatives. With the beginning of the new financial year however, we are planning to go another step further and are starting to change our default Operating System to Ubuntu (from MS Windows). It is worth pointing out that I don't have an issue with paying for software (after all we are partly in the software development business). We also happily pay quite a number of SaaS suppliers for their services (see list below) and support. My main issue is why I should pay license fees for standard software (i.e. Office Productivity Tools) when there is so many excellent community developed products out there that do the same (in some instances better, in some instances just adequate) job ? It is hard enough running a small business in the current climate. One major benefit of changing over to a web-based (FOSS) approach to our back-end systems has been the ability to operate from anywhere. This has dramatically increased productivity for myself as well as staff being able to work from home more often. This is…

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VoIP client for Ubuntu II

After upgrading to Ubuntu 11 (Natty) I did some further research on VoIP clients (SIP) for Ubuntu Linux as XLite seems horribly out of date now. I came across QuteCom (formerly WengoPhone) and from first testing it seems to work quite well. The install is easy as it's part of the Ubuntu Community Software (Universe) and that means it can be installed via apt-get, Software Center or Synaptic. So far the early testing has been very positive and the interface seems quite workable as well as having a number of other instant messaging options available.

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KeePass Version 2 on Ubuntu

EDIT: As of Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) this is now much easier as KeePass 2 has finally made it into the repositories apt-get install keepass2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you need to read KeepPass 2 data files (.kdbx) on Ubuntu (as well as from other platforms such as Windows or Android) you need to run the Portable Version under Mono (.NET Runtime). Make sure you download the Portable Version 2.x from http://keepass.info/download.html The default Mono Distribution on Ubuntu (V11 Natty) is missing a few dependencies required for KeePassX apt-get install libmono-accessibility2.0-cil libmono-addins-gui0.2-cil libmono-addins0.2-cil libmono-cairo2.0-cil libmono-corlib2.0-cil libmono-data-tds2.0-cil libmono-i18n-west2.0-cil libmono-management2.0-cil libmono-messaging2.0-cil libmono-posix2.0-cil libmono-security2.0-cil libmono-sharpzip2.84-cil libmono-sqlite2.0-cil libmono-system-data2.0-cil libmono-system-messaging2.0-cil libmono-system-runtime2.0-cil libmono-system-web2.0-cil libmono-system2.0-cil libmono-wcf3.0-cil libmono-webbrowser0.5-cil libmono-winforms2.0-cil libmono2.0-cil mono-2.0-gac mono-csharp-shell mono-gac mono-gmcs mono-runtime ubuntu-mono You should be able to start by: mono KeePass.exe Further info: http://keepass.info/help/v2/setup.html#mono

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My mobile personal learning environment

Taking part in MobiMOOC has given me the opportunity to take stock of my own MobilePLE - the top 5 tools I find most useful as part of my ongoing learning.   Catch Notes (previously 3Bananas) - mobile note taking the most critical component. Whenever I get a new device - this is what has to be installed as one of the first actions. For those not familiar with this software - it's like Evernote without the bloat. TwiDroyd - mobile Twitter / Status.Net client. This could be replaced by similar Twitter clients GoogleReader - RSS reader client Flickr - image upload and sharing FourSquare - location based sharing   These are the main applications I use pretty much constantly, however here are some other useful services I use regularily:   Delicious - Online Bookmarking (this is an old one, but a good one). Unfortunately there are not a great deal of mobile interfaces for Delicious as Yahoo has publicly stated that it is trying to offload the project Pixelpipe - universal uploader (upload to multiple services such as Flickr, Picasa, Youtube from mobile) BeyondPod - podcast client GoogleGoggles - image recognition software to allow searches based on camera input Zxing Barcode Scan - open source barcode scanner (QR codes as well as EAN type) Wordpress Client - mobile client to edit wordpress blogs Sketchbook - mobile drawing application from Autodesk (you need a reaonable screen for this - tab preferred) UStream Broadcaster - streaming video producer from mobile handset  …

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VoIP client for Ubuntu

Having used IP Telephony for a number of years I need a workable SIP client for all of the devices I use. I have found a very capable client for my Android phones (SipDroid) and on Windows/MacOSX I generally use X-Lite (as well as it's paid version EyePhone) from Counterpath. Having tried several different Linux SIP clients (Ekiga, Twinkle, ...) but all discarded them because of weird UI's and/or problems with stability I noticed that there is a Linux version of XLite available. Unfortunately on current versions of Ubuntu (10.04) it needs a deprecated version of a library. Download XLite Linux: http://www.counterpath.com/x-lite-3.0-for-linux-download.html Dowload libstdc++.so.5: http://packages.debian.org/lenny/i386/libstdc++5/download [you will need root permissions for all of the below] dpkg -i libstdc++5_3.3.6-18_i386.deb tar -xzf X-Lite_Install.tar.gz cd xten-xlite cp xtensoftphone /usr/sbin chmod +x /usr/sbin/xtensoftphone Now you should be able to run: xtensoftphone Enjoy calling from your Ubuntu machine ! EDIT: Since upgrading to Ubuntu 11 (Natty) I have switched to QuteCom

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Huawei K3765 on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid)

Since I have switched my 3G data network from Hutchinson Three to Vodafone AU recently I also upgraded the USB modem from a Huwaei E220 (which used to work fine on recent Ubuntu NBR releases on my trusty old ASUS EEE 900) Unfortunately the new Huawei K3765 would not be recognised as a valid modem by the network manager. After a fair bit of searching it turns out that you only need to install one additional package (usb-modeswitch) to make this modem work (be recognised) on the current stable 10.04 release: sudo apt-get install usb-modeswitch For the command-line challenged here is a quick screenshot on how to do it using Synaptic Package Manager: Hope this might save some time for people trying to make this modem work on Lucid. Happy roaming !

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iPad Alternatives

Due to the hype generated by the recent launch and my reservations on using the Apple Inc. iTunes I was doing some research into alternatives to the proprietary and completely locked  iPad device (and the associated lock-down to Apple's iTunes Store). Hopefully this list can be of use for other people as well. I can see the form factor and the tablet style with a cut down (mainly web-browser based) Operating System as useful in a number of settings not least in educational institutions and libraries. Here is the findings so far: EDIT: I have re-published the list as a Google Spreadsheet to enable submission of new items. Please ENTER YOUR OWN if you found an item not on the list. If you are purely looking for a tablet as an electronic reading device there is a good Wikipedia comparison chart to look at. I will add further devices as I discover them. Please leave a comment if you find other tablets / devices that have similar features, but are more open and do not require iTunes lock-down.

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