Monthly Archives: May 2008

PPTP VPN client on Linux SLED10 and Debian

Connecting my SLED10 (Suse Linu Enterprise Desktop) to my office’s Windows VPN was something of a struggle, I had to try several different methods just because PPTP didn’t come installed by default on my Gnome NetworkManager.

To make it work you need to install the following:

On Suse Linux (Using Gnome)

1 – Use the Software Management, search for VPNC, PPTP, SMPPD, NetworkManager and install them all

2 – Then download the NetworkManager-pptp from software.opensuse.org – you can select the desired version of the OS.

3 – Restart the NetworkManager and then create your PPTP VPN Tunel

Using KDE

1 – Use YAST, search for VPNC, PPTP, SMPPD, KVPNC and install them all

2 – Run KVPNC and create a profile in order to connect

On Debian based distros (Debian, Ubuntu, Kurumin)

Using Gnome

1 – sudo apt-get install network-manager-gnome network-manager-pptp

2 – launch or restart the Network Manager

Using KDE

1 – apt-get install KVPNC

2 – launch KVPNC and create a profile in order to connect

If you have problems connecting, check your firewall, I had problems specially with Firestarter on my Kurumin Linux (Debian based Brazilian distro)

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Splashtop – Instant-on Linux on Asus Motherboard

Asus is to go mainstream with Splashtop on its Motherboards.

Spashtop is an instant-on Linux OS that manufacturers can implement into their motherboards giving the user an option to instantly use internet and skype without having to boot up a full OS.

Up to now only top-end Asus motherboards had this feature but after good feedback from costumers it’s reported that Asus will go mainstream with Splashtop, this new fature is called by Asus the Express Gate. You can read more about it on Asus Global Sfficial Statement (Exclusive feature 4) or on Splashtop’s official blog.

System Monitoring with Nagios

Nagios is a network monitoring service that is designed to run under Linux or any othe unix-like system with a C compiler.

I have been reading about Nagios for a while and so decided to give it a go. I haven’t put it to full production yet but the trial has already impressed me.

Some of the many features of Nagios include: (extracted from Nagios Documentation)

  • Monitoring of network services (SMTP, POP3, HTTP, NNTP, PING, etc.)
  • Monitoring of host resources (processor load, disk usage, etc.)
  • Simple plugin design that allows users to easily develop their own service checks
  • Parallelized service checks
  • Ability to define network host hierarchy using “parent” hosts, allowing detection of and distinction between hosts that are down and those that are unreachable
  • Contact notifications when service or host problems occur and get resolved (via email, pager, or user-defined method)
  • Ability to define event handlers to be run during service or host events for proactive problem resolution
  • Automatic log file rotation
  • Support for implementing redundant monitoring hosts
  • Optional web interface for viewing current network status, notification and problem history, log file, etc.

Windows hosts will be monitored via a client (NSClient++) installed on the host which talks to the Nagios server. Network devices like managed switches can be monitored to different degrees depending on it’s model and maker. Linksys seems to provide more info to Nagios than Netgear but that is not set in stone, it’s just something I experienced on my tests and haven’t inspected any further.

Nagios has a nice web front end but lacks an Admin interface, all settings have to be done manually on raw text files so if you come from a Windows background you will scream. To compensate that, Nagios seems to be the best documented OpenSource system I’ve come across. All the documentation is available on its website and also on you Nagios web interface.

Installation is very easy and very well documented. I’ve installed it so far under OpenSuse 10.1 and under a Debian based distro, both went really well.

If you are interested in implementing Nagios I would recommend this book:

Building a Monitoring Infrastructure with Nagios
by David Josephesen

Dell Laptops Available at Office Works in Australia

I was in Officeworks this past weekend picking up some stationary for my son when I noticed that Officeworks now sells Dell laptop and desktop computers.

Although the practice of Dell selling computers in retail outlets has been common in North America for a while, it is a first for Australia. This change represents a large change in marketing for Dell, who until now has only sold computers via their web-site.

A quick look at the Officeworks web-site tells us that the following Dell computers are available:

  • Dell Inspiron 1520 – Intel processor
  • Dell Inspiron 1526 – AMD processor
  • Dell XPS M1330 – Intel processor
  • Dell Inspiron 531ST 5600 – AMD processor
  • Dell Inspiron 531ST 4800 – AMD processor

The prices look very similar, or identical, to what you can find on the Dell web-site.

By purchasing your Dell laptop at Officeworks you actually get to try it out first, which is a plus for many people. You are however limited in the configurations available compared to purchasing it on the Dell web-site.

Hide Google Ads on Ning Social Networking

You can hide the Google Ads on your personal page in Ning. Ning is a Social Networking platform where you can create your own Social Networking site. Well you could say it’s mean to hide the ads that will generate income for the creators and I sympathize with that but let me tell why I want to hide them. I joined a Social Networking created by a Christian Friend and during my first few visits I caught a few ads that were not quite appropriate for the content of the group, one of them being “Married Dating”, not sure I want to advertise that on a Christian Social Network – or anywhere else. Anyway excuses apart, here is how you do it (based on your own conscience).

  1. Log on to your ning site and click on “My Page”
  2. click on “Customize appearance”
  3. Scroll down and click on the Advanced tab
  4. add the following text to the textarea available
  5. .xg_ads { height:0px; width:0px; }
    .xg_module { background:#FAF7D8; }
  6. change #FAF7D8 to the background color of your template – if you change the template you will need to change this line also
  7. Done

Now you do this based on your own conscience, I’m just sharing my tips, Im’ not talking you into doing this ;).