Monthly Archives: October 2006

FreeNAS for Network Storage

While we were looking for a network storage solution for our organization we found quite a few open-source and proprietary options available. One of the more interesting open-source solutions was FreeNAS. FreeNAS is very well featured, quite well developed and completely free.

Below is a partial feature list for FreeNAS:

  1. Built upon FreeBSD 6
  2. Configured and managed through a web interface
  3. Multiple network connectivity / protocol standards
  4. RAID 0 / 1 / 5
  5. SATA / USB / Firewire Drives Supported
  6. Runs well on low spec. hardware

Below is an excerpt from one of the reviews that we read:

FreeNAS (version 0.66 beta at the time of writing) is an open source network-attached storage solution, which in many ways equals or even exceeds the capabilities of many commercially developed and manufactured products. FreeNAS on an old 400 Mhz Intel Pentium based personal computer with a cheap 100BASE-T Ethernet card and two old IDE hard disks in a RAID 1 mirror configuration equaled the performance of 99% of the commercial NAS products I work with on a daily basis as part of my day job.

This is simply astounding when you consider that FreeNAS is a fledgling open source project. Testing I did in my lab with FreeNAS on a high end Xeon with SATA disks simply screamed. There’s just no other way to describe it. I ran my throughput tests five times before I was sure I hadn’t made some fundamental mistake with the math. I saw $75k performance from a $5k box running a beta NAS software platform.

You can read the full review at The Storage Forum >> FreeNAS: short review. It goes into a lot of depth about the product and comes out with a very favorable review.

Another good review (you need to register to read it) is at TechRepublic >> FreeNAS: Network Attached Storage for the rest of us.

GPS Killer

I am always on the lookout for applications that are actually useful for mobile phones. There are a lot of mobile apps out there but few that are actually something that the average person would use. Now a free mapping tool – now that is a winner!!
Last night I downloaded google maps (which is now nearly perfectly integreted with google earth),  for my mobile phone ( This means I can view routes, get directions and even find the nearest pizza shop to my location from my mobile. The rendering of the satellite imagery is just as good as on the desktop GE version. This is potentially a GPS killer – why bother with a GPS when you can get it all on your mobile?? The one downside is that you have to connect to the internet to stream the imagery – but with so many cell phone companies including unlimited web access from your mobile it is not a big deal!

Free SourceForge Enterprise Edition Download

We have been looking around at different options to help us collaboratively develop some of our software projects. We have been working on a few projects including a Content Management System (CMS) and a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution for our organization. I have actually been really curious about solutions to help us to do this and to expand the number of people we actually have working on the development.

Today while looking around the web I found what might be one of the best solutions available for collaborative development. It’s a free download of a VMware Virtual Appliance that runs SourceForge Enterprise Edition. The free version is available for 15 free users and will run on a Windows or Linux system.

Here is a definition of the collaborative development solution direct from their web-site:

Bring the powerful collaborative development capabilities of SourceForge behind your firewall

  • Monitor the status of your software projects
  • Find out what your offsite developers are doing
  • Access all important project documentation and information in a central repository
  • Manage software changes efficiently through integration with Subversion, CVS, and other development tools
  • Search across various software projects

You can check out more about the product and download it (536MB!) at SourceForge Enterprise Edition Download.

“Waiting for Permission” error in Goldmine

GoldMine 6 for DummiesI just received a bit of a panic phone call from our database administrator as Goldmine would no longer open. While he was performing the Goldmine database maintenance his workstation died (something else to fix later I guess). When he tried to log in again to Goldmine he came up with this error:

  • Goldmine Error: “Waiting for Permission to Log In”

He tried logging in on multiple computers, without any luck at all. That’s when he called me.

After talking about who our Goldmine consultant was, and how much it will cost us to call them I figured I would have a quick look on-line to try to find some help.

All I can say is “I love Google“.

After about 10-minutes of searching and reading I found the solutions, and thankfully it’s an easy one:

  • This is almost always the result of a failed database maintenance.
    Find the file in the GoldMine root directory, “license.dbx” or “license.dbu”. Rename that file to “license.dbf”. That should allow you to log in but you may still need to run a database maintenance again.

That’s it. A simple solution to a rather messy and scary problem.

Source: BDG Expert Documents: Frequently asked Questions

Free Group Project Management – activeCollab

activeCollab is a free group project management program that is very similar to 37Signals project management tool called Basecamp.

I’ve checked out their web-site and it looks like a pretty decent tool. activeCollab is a solution that is designed to be hosted on a local or hosted LAMPP server. This should be a very attractive solution for small businesses and non-profit organizations.

Here are some of the features of activeColab:

  • Easy to install and use
  • Runs as many projects as you want
  • Assignable tasks and milestones
  • Global search
  • Web based
  • Installs on your own server
  • 100% free, 100% open source
  • Per project permissions
    • allows access to people outside the organization to specific projects
    • allows internal only projects

You can check it out for yourself at Active Collab.

Free Basic Graphics Viewer – Irfanview

For a very basic, but quick to download and also free (to non-commercial users) I use Irfanview.

Like I say quite basic but can be used in Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003. Very quick to download so if you need a viewer when away from home this is a good one to download.

Allows resizing and rescaling of images, and has some effects to jazz up images!!