Linux Genuine Advantage (tm)

Linux Genuine Advantage™ is an exciting and mandatory new way for you to place your computer under the remote control of an untrusted third party!

According to an independent study conducted by some scientists, many users of Linux are running non-Genuine versions of their operating system. This puts them at the disadvantage of having their computers work normally, without periodically phoning home unannounced to see if it's OK for their computer to continue functioning. These users are also missing out on the Advantage of paying ongoing licensing fees to ensure their computer keeps operating properly.

[...]

Once you've installed Linux Genuine Advantage™, you'll want to register and send in your licensing fees to receive these important benefits:

  • Your computer, which worked just fine before, will continue functioning normally!
  • Our software which you just installed will not disable logins on your computer (as long as our license server keeps working properly)!
  • It's totally awesome!
  • We might not raise the yearly licensing fees in the future!

[...]

Did you wake up this morning and say "I wish someone would figure out a way to let me do less with my computer"? You've come to the right place!

Hilarious! They even got source code: http://www.linuxgenuineadvantage.org/source/.

Per-application GNOME settings

Dear Lazyweb,

how the .... am I supposed to tell GNOME to use or not use an HTTP proxy for specific applications?

Sample scenario:

  • I want to use an HTTP proxy in Galeon (for anonymous browsing via Tor + Privoxy).
  • I do not want to use an HTTP proxy in Epiphany (normal non-torified browsing).
  • I do not want to use an HTTP proxy in Rhythmbox either. No need to tunnel all the Creative Commons podcasts and music I listen to through Tor.

Now guess what happens when I disable the HTTP proxy in Epiphany. It's disabled in Galeon, too. Enable it in Galeon, and Rhythmbox will use the proxy (thus slowing down huge downloads for no reason). Aargh.

Is it really so hard to have per-application settings? I mean, this isn't exactly rocket-science, right?

And yes, I do want to use all those applications at the same time. And no, I do not run a full GNOME desktop environment (I use IceWM, thanks), so I don't care about any GNOME-Desktop-Foo solutions — I just want each of those freaking applications to have their own settings.

Once again QEMU saved the day...

Suppose you want to try out Xen for the first time, and you're a bit paranoid careful because, well, you don't want to break your system. No problem, just download the Xen 3.0 Demo CD Image (a live CD). Or so I thought; it took me a loong time to even find a download link for that beast. There seems to be no ISO image for 3.0.4, but only for 3.0.3 (gah!).

Anyways, the live CD seems to try to mount /dev/sda as my CDROM drive, which is... um... stupid, as that's a harddrive. A SATA harddrive to be more specific. A dm-crypt'ed hard drive to be even more specific. So there's no way the live CD can ever mount that. I was dropped into a minimalist shell, but couldn't figure out how to fix anything from there, and a quick look at the docs didn't reveal anything either.

So here's my fix:

  • Boot the normal OS, insert the live CD.
  • Start the live CD in QEMU: qemu -cdrom /dev/cdrom -boot d
  • Done. I had some problems with graphics in QEMU, so I chose the command line boot option of the live CD...

Nice huh? QEMU's hard drive is an IDE drive, it's called /dev/hda (instead of /dev/sda), thus the live CD works fine.

(Yes, I'm sure this could be fixed "the right way" too, but this is a nice way to get quick results, i.e. a working Xen test setup)

Unmaintained Free Software progress

Unmaintained Free Software new main page

Yet another Unmaintained Free Software update:

Thanks to Matthias (again), we now have a wonderful new main page in the wiki, which looks a lot better than the old one which I had created a long time ago...

The nice icons were created by David Vignoni for the Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x. They're available under terms of the GNU LGPL.

Many other things in the wiki are currently undergoing a long-overdue update and fixing phase. I plan to upgrade the MediaWiki installation we're using, and some new MediaWiki extensions will be added, too.

Oh, and I created and installed a nice favicon for the site, based on the project logo. If you ever wondered how those things are created, here's one possibility:

  1. Create two PNG images, one 16x16, one 32x32 pixels.
  2. apt-get install icoutils
  3. icotool -c foo16x16.png foo32x32.png > favicon.ico
  4. Place the resulting favicon.ico file in your DocumentRoot. Done.

I'm sure there are other and better ways to do it, but this was the first I came up with after a quick apt-cache search favicon.

Second Life client GPL'd - two weeks later...

A nice recent example of the benefits of open-sourcing software is Second Life, the well-known online virtual world. The Second Life client was released under the terms of the GNU GPL (version 2) roughly two weeks ago.

Since then a lot of community activity has been observed:

Most of these things (and others I might have forgotten) would certainly not have happened with the closed-source client anytime soon...

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