SVR Appeal

The lovely Severn Vally Railway is in a bit of a state due to a spot of inclement weather in the UK. Give give give, they do a fantastic job and bring lots of money to the Severn Valley and now they need your help.

I love the SVR it is run by people who really care about it and the shocking floods we have had over the last couple of weeks have caused an immense amount of damage with track being left in mid air with no ground supporting it.

Show them some love

For my bit (hic) I staffed the beer tent at this weeks gala/fundraiser, which was yesterday, (and bought my own beer) and nature was incredibly cruel and not only did it rain all day but the night before washed two trees onto the line cutting the Bewdley station off from Kidderminster where there were apparently 800 people who wanted to come on the train. Sadly it took a couple of hours to clear the track and I fear that we lost a lot of people because of the weather and the trains not running 🙁

The irony being that today it has been lovely, top down in the sunshine all the way back, argh one day out 🙁

Of DRM and Libraries

In a fit of quite shocking lazyness, I give you are reply to a post on the LUGRadio forums where I am replying to Chris (CBHWorld) who I met at LRL (Hi) with a hat that I am most envious of 🙂 who could see a justifiable use of DRM for a library style distribution of content. I know where he was going but I believe that the digital model does not fix this and the bit that is important is the stuff about how we have had book DRM before and it did not work :

You can’t compare digital distribution to a library concept, with a library you actually borrow a physical object with a physical production cost and the crucial part is that there is only one copy involved, with digital distribution you are using an exact digital copy with many versions involved. You are not moving a single file between computers so it exists in the one place, you are copying it to many places, perfect identical copies.

A physical book does not have DRM, you can read it anywhere without restrictions, a book is an open format, a book can be easily duplicated with the correct equipment (sheet feed scanner and a printer) the difference is equipment availability and cost of duplication. It is the duplication costs of digital media that blows the business models to shreds and the response is to try and make it so that you cannot copy their copies…

We had the equivalent of book DRM before, anyone else remember the activation codes for computer games? You used to get (back in the old C54 / speccy days) tables at the back of the game handbook, usually with symbols and a number code after it and every time you loaded the game it displayed a set of symbols and then you had to look it up and enter the number before you could play the game. The DRM equivalent is that they printed these chart on dark brown paper in black ink and were very difficult to read and they did this so you didn’t just photocopy the code pages.

All that happened was that it took ONE person to break it by manually copying it out and then photocopy the non-DRM version. Also the non DRM version was better as you could actually read the damn thing. In the end they just gave up that tactic as it didn’t work, they also found that a game that was easy to copy sold more (hell MS built their company on it, not games but home copying).

The only difference between that “book DRM style” and the modern DRM software is the ability to soak it in something to make it blow up in your face after so many days. The only thing is with every tactic like this, the pirated copy is better than purchased copy and that is why DRM doesn’t work socially and for end users.

Most home users would not be breaking DRM, they don’t have to, they can just download it without the DRM from the internet where it was put by one person who did. All they are doing is pissing off their users.

edit : linky to discussion on the spangly new LUGRadio forums. Good job that Trig 🙂

The Linux Codecs Issue

Just read this article and this sort of thing really annoys me. It has been solved already by Fluendo you can legally purchase your codecs from them for 28 euros.

Job done, now can we move on from the codecs issue please.

Apple, more “evil” than Microsoft?

A tad emotive title so I will quickly admit the following :-
– I have been a Windows user.
– I have used OS X intermittently, mostly when trying to get the Macbook for a friend.
– I have experienced “Apple support” when helping a friend who has a Macbook
– I now primarily use Linux and BSD software.
– I am not a Microsoft apologist, most people who meet me think I hate Microsoft, I don’t, I do not agree with their business practices and I think that most of their products are useless.
– I have used MacOS beyond a home user level.
– I have used OS X from a techy level.
– I just want to get stuff done with as little fuss as possible.

There we go, you know a little about me 🙂

This is something I have been wrestling with for a while now, if you go over to typical geek sites like Slashdot or OS News frequently you get idiotic statements like “I hate Microsoft so I use OS X” or “If you hate Microsoft buy a Mac”.

Why do I think these statements are idiotic? well basically because when you actually look at it the only difference between Apple and Microsoft is market share.

Apple insist that you only run OS X on Apple hardware, Microsoft insist that you only run Windows applications on Windows, see it is a tie. Microsoft bundle IE7 and set it as a standard with Windows, Apple does the same with Safari, admittedly most Linux distros do this with Firefox. The reason most people attack Microsoft here is purely historical, if I did a default install of a modern operating system arrived now without a web browser then I would be annoyed. There is the argument that IE is forced upon you for certain tasks in Windows (Windows update for example) and it cannot be removed but I would appreciate it if someone could confirm if the same applies to OS X.

Then the DRM issues, now if I wanted to be emotive then I would say that the latest version of Vista in this aspect amounts to theft. The amount of processing power wasted and features disabled because of DRM on Vista in my eyes amounts to theft, you have taken my computer and made it work for industry groups in America and not me. My toaster does not tell me I can only use Hovis bread in it, I bought the bread, I bought the toaster, both are mine, make me toast damnit! 🙂 Apple are no better, they constantly push their own formats complete with DRM payloads for iTunes and iPods and for the OS itself. Apple are one of the biggest DRM pushers out there.

Abuses of monopoly, again both guilty, Microsoft for virtually every anti-trust issue known to legal systems worldwide, now Apple don’t have the market share to do this to the same extent so they frequently turn on the people who actually buy their products. DCMA takedown notices issued to Mac news sites, new products like the iPhone (possibly the most overhyped thing since the segway) is a closed shop, you can’t develop for it unless Apple say you can. You want something, you buy it from Apple. Apple is also not squeaky clean on the financial front either, they have done their own dodgy dealings like the whole issue of backdated share options, it is just they have a better PR spinner for the legal team 😉

Marketing, marketing, marketing, that is what it boils down to, I do believe that Apple would be far more “evil” than Microsoft if they had the market share to do it with, they seem to prove it with what they do to their customers. I am equally sure that Microsoft would be far more “evil” if everyone wasn’t watching them like a hawk.

Realistically the key difference between the two is that you have to buy your hardware from Apple if you want to run OS X and you buy your hardware from any number of companies if you are running Windows.

Oh the linux thing, I almost forgot to put the boot in… Stop trying to put Linux on Apple kit. It is not helping, you are not motivating Apple to release hardware specifications you are just giving them more money, this also applies to efforts to “free” the Microsoft Zune, if people want to support open standards then buy products that actually support them! Don’t by a Zune, don’t buy an iPod, buy something that will work with everything. Don’t buy an iPhone, get a Neo from FIC, work with the people that believe in the same beliefs as you. Support hardware from people that want to support you, besides reverse engineering is a pain in the arse and can always have hidden bugs. This does not stop at phones, you want a PVR? Get a Neuros device it is everything the Apple TV box is and more and they want you to work with them, they will give you everything you need if you are a developer and if you are a consumer they listen to what you want, this is (also it is in a nice box so don’t tell me it is the aesthetics either…)

These companies are businesses, they have to make a profit, this profit comes from you. Spend wisely 🙂

I am sure I will get flamed for this…

Radius, LDAP and Ubuntu

So off on my adventure of building an LDAP based corp network I come to my next challenge 🙂 I want to have all my network authentication done with Radius, and I want it to backend onto the LDAP directory. The idea is to store EVERYTHING in LDAP to make life as easy as possible.

I have found a wonderful article here :
The only problem is that it is done for Red Hat based systems. Not an issue as it is still linux but some things are done differently. Eg. radiusd.conf is in /etc/freeradius on Ubuntu but /etc/raddb on Red Hat.

PAT testing….

Well we have someone doing PAT tests in the office and I am not sure he is paying attention, sure he refused to test my heavy duty power over Ethernet adapter 🙂 (16A commando to an RJ45 :):) “er you don’t plug that in do you?!?” ) but he has amusingly signed off something he shouldn’t have 🙂

The 3 socket 16A adapter from this story : has now got a big shiny PAT test passed sticker on it 🙂

I don’t think his heart is really in it 😛

ed: 19/7/07 Someone tipped him off about it and it is now marked failed 🙂

LDAP GOSA Pain and Suffering :)

It works! It finally works!
Well it is installed 🙂

apt-get install gosa was pretty straight forward, so onward to adding the schema files to openldap, this is where I hit problems.. I was following the instructions for Debian at : and utterly failing at step 2 was quite demoralising 🙂 I kept trying removing various schema to enable slapd to start but no joy….
I was getting all sorts of weird errors such as:
root@telfs01:~/ldap/smbldap-installer# slaptest
/usr/share/doc/gosa/contrib/openldap/samba3.schema: line 185: Duplicate attributeType: ""
slaptest: bad configuration file!
root@telfs01:~/ldap/smbldap-installer# vim -N /etc/ldap/slapd.conf
root@telfs01:~/ldap/smbldap-installer# slaptest
/etc/ldap/schema/gosa+samba3.schema: line 292: AttributeType not found: "gotoLogonScript"
slaptest: bad configuration file!
root@telfs01:~/ldap/smbldap-installer# vim -N /etc/ldap/slapd.conf
root@telfs01:~/ldap/smbldap-installer# slaptest
/etc/ldap/schema/gosa+samba3.schema: line 292: AttributeType not found: "gotoLogonScript"
slaptest: bad configuration file!

Eventually I find out what is happening with a helping hand from Elleo over on #lugradio (cheers!) and it was a schema problem, now a load of stuff on the web about GOSA mention gohardware.schema but it looks like that has now been split into separate files, so the best thing I can recommend is that you just go to /etc/ldap/schema and just look for anything with the same age at the GOSA schema and bang it in 🙂 In my case :
root@telfs01:/etc/ldap/schema# ls -l

total 344

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 8231 2006-12-13 15:56 corba.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 20591 2006-12-13 15:56 core.ldif

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 19762 2006-12-13 15:56 core.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 74080 2006-12-13 15:56 cosine.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1553 2006-12-13 15:56 dyngroup.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1116 2007-02-05 13:48 goconfig.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 3284 2007-02-05 13:48 gofax.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 3775 2007-02-05 13:48 gofirewall.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 13032 2007-02-05 13:48 gofon.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 13640 2007-02-05 13:48 gosa+samba3.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 13507 2007-02-05 13:48 gosa.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 8552 2007-02-05 13:48 goserver.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 12421 2007-02-05 13:48 gosystem.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 2602 2007-02-05 13:48 goto-mime.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 6708 2007-02-05 13:48 goto.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 6360 2006-12-13 15:56 inetorgperson.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 13984 2006-12-13 15:56 java.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 2471 2006-12-13 15:56 misc.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 7723 2006-12-13 15:56 nis.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 3391 2006-12-13 15:56 openldap.ldif

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1601 2006-12-13 15:56 openldap.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 19689 2006-12-13 15:56 ppolicy.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 2968 2006-12-13 15:56 README

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 16327 2007-07-16 14:44 samba.schema

-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 19059 2007-07-16 15:00 samba.schema.backup

I have put the ones I needed in bold 🙂

I am not sure if these need to be in a specific order but I have goto.schema near the end and gosa+samba.schema at the very end, so the top of my slapd.conf is :

# $OpenLDAP: pkg/ldap/servers/slapd/slapd.conf,v 2003/05/24 23:19:14 kurt Exp $
# See slapd.conf(5) for details on configuration options.
# This file should NOT be world readable.
include /etc/ldap/schema/core.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/cosine.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/inetorgperson.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/nis.schema

include /etc/ldap/schema/samba.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/goconfig.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/gofax.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/gofirewall.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/gofon.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/goserver.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/gosystem.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/goto-mime.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/goto.schema
include /etc/ldap/schema/gosa+samba3.schema

# Schema check allows for forcing entries to
# match schemas for their objectClasses's
schemacheck on

# Allow LDAPv2 client connections. This is NOT the default.
allow bind_v2

I am sure if it was not a Monday this would not have been so painful….

More Compiz Fusion Demos

Compiz fusion is the name that of the recently merged Compiz and Beryl projects (Beryl was a fork of Compiz) and it all got very complicated but they have agreed to bury the hatchets and work together again 🙂 which is good news, anyway I got sent this YouTube clip the other day which is a demo of some of the new stuff they are working on 🙂

Pretty snazzy stuff, I am merely running vanilla compiz here at the moment, but apparently the next version of Ubuntu in the autumn will have Compiz Fusion instead 🙂 🙂