Sphirewall Project

I stumbled on the Sphirewall Project the other day. Sphirewall is an open-source Linux firewall to compete with Iptables, Smoothwall and Monowall. The following are excerpts of the Sphirewall website.

Sphirewall is an open-source Linux firewall and router that provides advance user management and bandwidth analytics coupled with powerful flexibility. It’s open-source, free, easy to install and built from the ground up not using iptables.

Check out the features below

  • Full NAT/PAT and ip filtering support
  • User authentication and group based filtering
  • Detailed analytics and reporting on network traffic
  • Web, commandline and json api based management

You can download the debian iso, burn it to a cd, usb stick or mount it in your favorite virtualization system and get it running in minutes.

Who Wants An Ouya

Apparently everyone does. It’s already sold out at Amazon and GameStop. It might be available at BestBuy and Target, but supplies are limited. Ouya is an open-source game console launched for just $99. It’s powered by Android OS and by a Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset making it easier for developers to port games into the console. There are currently 170 downloadable games.

For more details about the Ouya, read more from this CNet article.

Samsung NX First Android Based Camera

Per LinuxGizmos.com

Samsung unveiled a quad-core, 20-megapixel Galaxy NX camera with 4G LTE and a 4.8-inch display, billed as being the first Android-based, connected interchangeable-lens camera, as well as an Android-powered 16-megapixel, 10x-zoom Galaxy S4 Zoom. Also today, Samsung unveiled the Ativ Q, a dual-boot 13.3-inch convertible tablet that runs Android and Windows 8 on an Intel “Haswell” Core processor.

Read the rest of the article.

Default Virtual Host in Apache

If you have multiple domains installed in a virtual host configuration with one IP address in Apache, the IP address may not resolve to the domain you prefer. Let me explain.

For example, you have the following domains running on an Ubuntu Server with one IP address.

abc.com
cde.com
klm.com
xyz.com

All the domains are resolving as expected on the browser.

However, if you type the IP address on the browser, it only defaults to the first domain found in the /etc/apache2/sites-available directory, which is most likely abc.com.

If you want the IP address to default to another domain, such as klm.com for example, you will need to edit the /etc/apache2/httpd.conf file and add the following entries.

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerName www.klm.com
ServerAlias klm.com
DocumentRoot /var/www/klm.com/www
</VirtualHost>

Those are the only entries you’ll need. Typing the IP address on the browser will now default to the contents of klm.com. All the other domains are still accessible via domain names on the browser.

Owncloud 4.5

OwnCloud is an open-source file sharing and file storage cloud platform that’s similar to Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and other cloud sharing services. The difference is, OwnCloud allows you to install your own cloud storage on your own server. You manage the server software yourself making your data your own. OwnCloud has vastly improved the past year. OwnCloud has added a desktop client for Windows, MacOS and Linux, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Much has changed since the last time I played around with OwnCloud. Instead of performing an upgrade of my previous installation, I’ve decided to just reinstall everything from scratch. OwnCloud now gives your three options to install the server software. You can install it from a tar archive, a Linux package, or you can use the Web Installer. I chose the latter. It turned out to be the simplest option.

You simply download the small installation file called “setup-owncloud.php.” You then upload the it to your web server and run the install script. You will be asked to supply a username and password. The installation file will then download the rest of the program and complete the installation for you. It takes less than a minute to complete the install.

Just a couple of things worth sharing. I opted for SQLite install. So, there is no MySQL database needed. There’s only one thing I want to modify. I want increase the default allocated space to something bigger. Other than that, it’s a functional file sharing service. It’s not as polished as Dropbox and Google Drive, but it’s not too shabby either. At least, you can sleep well knowing your data is your own.

Linux Steam Gaining Momentum

Valve released Steam For Linux several weeks ago making it possible for Linux gamers to play games on the Linux platform. Initially 57 games were available on Linux steam. To entice gamers to play on the Linux platform, Valve offered steep discounts ranging from 50-75% off the normal price. Counter Strike is available for $4.99 and Half-Life for just $2.49. It gets better. Team Fortress is totally free.

Interestingly enough, Linux Today reported today that Linux Steam accounts to about 2 percent of the users at Steam. Not bad considering that Mac users are at 3 percent, and Mac Steam has been around since 2010. If you want to give Linux Steam a try, just download and install Linux. Choose any of these popular distributions: Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora or everyone’s favorite distro at this moment, Linux Mint.

Choosing a Desktop Environment on Linux Mint

Linux Mint has four desktop environments that you can choose from. There is KDE, Xfce, Cinnamon and Mate. The two most common choices by users are Cinnamon and Mate. Technically, you can download any of the desktop environments and change them later. If you decide to go with Mate and later on want to install Cinnamon, the change is going to be easy.

You just need 400MB of extra disk space, which is practically nothing judging on the size of hard drives nowadays. The only other decision to make is to whether include multimedia effects or leave them out. My preference is to include them.

Let’s say you’ve decided to go with Mate and want to install Cinnamon later on. Changing from Mate to Cinnamon is quite easy. All you have to do is install Cinnamon via the Terminal which is my preference. You can easily do the same using a GUI package manager.

From Mate to Cinnamon

$ sudo apt-get install mint-meta-cinnamon

From Cinnamon to Mate

$ sudo apt-get install mint-meta-mate

Once you’ve made the change. You need to log out of the current desktop environment and log in again and making sure you select the environment you would like to use. You can switch back and forth desktop environments to your hearts delight. As you can see, changing desktop environments in Linux Mint is quite easy.

Setting Up An Internet Radio

Setting up an internet radio is quite easy nowadays. From the Linux perspective, there are two obvious choices. Either go with Icecast or Shoutcast. I went with Icecast because it was the easy option. Shoutcast is probably more popular since it has a better directory listing if you want your internet radio advertised to potential listeners. But I’m not really interesting in listing my internet radio. I just want a proof of concept that it works.

Installing Icecast on the Ubuntu server is quite easy as running “sudo apt-get install icecast2″ from the Terminal. You’ll be asked three different times to supply passwords for admin, relay and source accounts. Once you have Icecast server installed on the Ubuntu. It’s time to open up the port number from the firewall. The default port is 8000. You can change the port number later by editing the Icecast config file. It should be the /etc/icecast2/icecast.xml file.

As far as the broadcast software, I’m using a simple software called Butt, which means “broadcast using this tool.” It’s a funny name if you ask me, but it’s very simple and it works flawlessly. It’s also free. There are other options, but I just want something simple, and Butt serves that purpose. Now, Butt is capable of capturing the sound input of your computer’s microphone and sending it to Icecast. As long as you can play it on your computer, you should be able to broadcast it on your internet radio.

I’m sending out the output of my desktop speaker to an audio mixer, and then sending out the output of the mixer back to to the computer’s microphone line in. This gives me the ability to play anything on the computer and broadcast it. In addition, I can add a microphone to the audio mixer and have the ability to speak to an audience using any dynamic or condenser microphone that you may already have.

That is pretty much the setup in a nutshell without going into the nitty gritty details.

How to Start, Stop and Restart MySQL

What do you do if your database server is down? Well, you can certainly reboot the server. That might solve the problem, but I rather restart the database first before doing something as drastic as rebooting a server. There are instances were rebooting doesn’t always solve the problem if there’s an issue with the database. Now, most open-source blogs and web applications today use MySQL as their database of choice. So, here are instructions on how to start, stop and restart MySQL on Ubuntu and Debian-based systems.

Stop MySQL database

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysql stop

Start MySQL database

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysql start

Restart MySQL database

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysql restart