Sunday, January 28, 2007

A virtual second life

After my vent on Friday, I decided to go and try something different. As I have mentioned before I am not much into graphical games. Yet I have been hearing a lot about Second Life. Second Life really isn't a game. It is a Second Life! Kinda like: What does an ant do? Answer: be an ant. There is no real objective, it is just like having an avatar of 'you' in a virtual world (grid).

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents.
What is Second Life?
I have only been looking at it since Friday, and I don't have the greatest graphics card, nor Internet connection. Yet so far I'm impressed, and I am enjoying my experience. The client is Open Source. I'm using the alpha Linux version of the client, and it has preformed very nicely. Especially given the limitations of my system (I have never needed a big graphics card in the console :|).

It is interesting to see the interactions between people, and how many people think that it is all about talking in a virtual chat-room. One thing that does annoy me is the currency in there, and how hard it is to come by at first. I can see how you can make money once you have money, but it only comes in trickles at first, (Especially if you don't have a pay-pal account like me). Kinda like the First Life ;)
Other than that I am really having fun. I can see many potentials, and I have already started to learn how to script it *blush*.
If what to join in and have a look. It is interesting to see where all this is going. Have Fun!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
(from Monty Python's the meaning of life)
words and music by Eric Idle

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.

So always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath

Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

And always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the right side of life...
(Come on guys, cheer up!)
Always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the bright side of life...
(Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
Always look on the bright side of life...
(I mean - what have you got to lose?)
(You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing.
What have you lost? Nothing!)
Always look on the right side of life...


I have been busy these last couple of days playing with an internal LAN setup. It has been down right painful. I "love" GUI's which "know" what I really want *rolling eyes*. Every time I have it working just fine, I move on, and then within 10-30 Min's everything goes to shit.

That's not all, there have been a couple of personal things which have been plaguing me. All up I just can't seem to get it together at the moment. Not that I am complaining. There are so many hundreds of thousands of millions of people suffering more than I. I am just forgetting to look on the bright side of life.

Today here in Australia it is: Australia Day. A day on which we celebrate the slaughter of thousands of native people. What is this society coming to?
When are people going to see that we can't live this way? Humans will not survive if we don't work together. What makes Humans so powerful is that we have the capacity to work together, as a group, a collective. We could achieve so many things.

  • Imagine how great our knowledge would be if we shared it between us all. (even the "sacred texts" the medical research papers, the things that others have decided that the public can't handle.)
  • Imagine how far the space program would be if there where no monetary concerns.
  • Imagine the new inventions which would develop if ideas where not locked down by massive companies, who have no intention of developing them.
  • Imagine if ideas were free.
  • Imagine the computer systems, if the company's shared ideas, and worked together.
  • Imagine if children were not forced into institutions to learn "their place", but were treasured, their skills encouraged and their ideas listened to.
  • Imagine if there was no money! No hording of possessions. So that some have all and most have none.
  • Imagine if we lived with equality!
  • Imagine that it didn't matter were you where born or how much money your family had. And that you still had a chance to share yourself with the world, to give to humanity, and your opinions counted.
  • Imagine if we didn't step on the intelligent people, and make them feel worthless, and hopeless, that we encouraged there talents, and used there skills to help further humanity.
  • Imagine the peace, the love, the laughing, the fun, the knowledge.
  • Imagine having a friend who didn't want something from you.
Just imagine. I know I'm a dreamer.

I just don't get this society. I don't understand why we don't working together for the good of every one. The earth is not going to be around forever. We need to spread out, or humans will not survive. When are we going to stop these petty squabbles over land, money, religion, and realize that we are all human! We are the same species, and furthering our species should be more important than, money, actors, clothes, what fred is doing, guilt, or trying to be something society says is right.

Simple Plan - Crazy:

Saturday, January 20, 2007

VMware server on Ubuntu

I installed VMware server into Ubuntu 6.06 server today. It is really easy to install. These are the steps that I took:

Configuring Ubuntu:
First I did a server install of Ubuntu. Nothing fancy just a simple install. Then some simple configuration, first adding a root account, and su to root:
$ sudo passwd root
$ su

Then I added OpenSSH server:
# apt-get install openssh-server
# vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Next I updated the system:
# vi /etc/apt/sources.list
Commented-out: the CD, and added: The dapper universe sources
# apt-get update
# apt-get upgrade

Hardening System:
I added a simple firewall (see iptables howto for info on building a firewall rulset):
# vi /etc/init.d/iptables
# chmod +x /etc/init.d/iptables

Then removed some uneeded files:
# rm -f /etc/
# rm -f /etc/issue
# touch /root/.hushlogin
# touch /home/illy/.hushlogin
# touch /etc/skel/.hushlogin

Installing needed applications:
Then I installed some applications which the VMware install will require:
# apt-get install linux-kernel-headers libx11-6 libx11-dev libxtst6 xlibs-dev xinetd
# apt-get install gcc binutils-doc cpp-doc gcc-4.0-locales make manpages-dev autoconf automake1.9 libtool flex bison gdb gcc-doc gcc-4.0-doc libc6-dev-amd64 lib64gcc1

Installing VMware Server:
First create Directory where virtual machines will be installed. I already created mine in the install on a separate partition: /vm
Download VMware Server from: You will need: VMware Server for linux (Binary tar.gz). And either the VMware server client package for windows or linux, depending on which you are going to use it on. You can also go on and install the Management Interface, yet I only want the server.
Then Install VMware:
# tar xvfz VMware-server-*.tar.gz
# cd vmware-server-distrib
# ./

Then just follow each step. It is explained quite well.

And there you have it VMware server. I can now install the client on my desktop and connect to the server and create new virtual machines. For a full Tutorial on this process please see: How To Install VMware Server On Ubuntu 6.06 LTS.

VMware Workstation, 6.0 Beta

I have been having a look at VMware Workstation, 6.0 Beta, for about a week now. After reading: Desktop Virtualization with VMware Player and Workstation, I decided that I would give it a try. I have used VMware server many times, but not Workstation.
I have been quite impressed with it. There are many very good features. Unfortunately the FreeBSD 6-Branch doesn't preform well as a guest. Yet OpenBSD runs very well as a guest, and so do many linux, and Windows operating systems.
Figure 1. The image is of OpenBSD running as a guest OS, in VMware Workstation 6 Beta.

There are many features in workstation which I really like, and are very functional. Some of the new features in this release are:

  • Full support for Ubuntu 6.10 as both a guest and a host. I have tested Ubuntu 6.10 as both and it preforms very well. I was impressed.
  • There is multiple Monitor support, in which you can specify how guests see the monitors.
  • There is now support for the VIX API (formerly known as the Programming API), the API allows the writing of scripts and programs to automate virtual machines.
  • New IDE plug-ins, to Visual Studio (Windows) or Eclipse (Windows or Linux).
  • You can now run Virtual machines in the background, with Workstation closed. I really loved this feature, very handy.
  • If the guest installed supports VMware tools, then there are many features involving file transfer, and peripherals. However I was mainly testing server operation.
  • There is increased RAM support.
  • USB 2.0 Support, this works really well! I was so happy to see there there was finally 2.0 support, well done!
  • There is also support for many new guest and host operating systems, including Solaris 10 Update 3, Windows Vista, and Novel Netware 6.5 SP5, as well as many Linux OS's.
For more information on new features please see: VMware Workstation 6.0 Beta Release Notes.

I was really impressed with Workstation as a whole. It was very stable running under Ubuntu, both 6.06 and 6.10 as hosts. Most of the features that I tried worked just fine, except I could not get VNC connections to guest Operating systems to work. As I mentioned before it bothers me that FreeBSD doesn't work, but what can you do? I Love that you can create teams, I had a four computer OpenBSD cluster running inside a team, and it worked so nicely. I enjoyed playing with these features. It is a pity that the server addition doesn't have teams. I also loved being able to clone a virtual machine.

Overall Look and Feel
I always find the VMware GUI's easy to use, and simple to find my way around. The general look and feel is very comfortable. Some more complicated features are a little confusing at first but after using them you get the idea. A good knowledge of networking comes in hand with some of the more advance setups. Overall I have certainly enjoyed my experience in Workstation Beta 6.

I have enjoyed working with Workstation, and I certainly think that it is worth a look if you are a developer of any sort. Or if you would like to try Virtualization on the desktop. I have to say one thing that I will certainly give VMware over some over forms of Virtualization I have tried and that is it is simple to use. Plus I really love VMware's Virtual Appliances; which are: "pre-built, pre-configured and ready-to-run software application packaged with the operating system inside a virtual machine." They are very useful, and I really appreciate the work which has been put into many of them.

Slow Internet connection

Over the past couple of days our Internet connection has been ridiculously slow. Some web pages have been taking 5 minutes to load and that's if they load at all. Downloading anything has been virtually impossible. I don't know what's been happening, but it wasn't a problem on our end. So it must have been an ISP problem. Luckily it has heaps better today. Hopfully I can get some more work done.

I hate slow Internet connections. It reminds me of dial-up *shudder*. Not that our connection is that great. Hopefully it will be one of the first things to be updated when we have more money coming in :).

Friday, January 19, 2007

FreeSBIE 2.0

FreeSBIE 2.0 was released on Monday 15th January. So I downloaded it to have a look. What is FreeSBIE? From the Developers;

"FreeSBIE is a LiveCD based on the FreeBSD Operating system, or even easier, a FreeBSD-based operating system that works directly from a CD, without touching your hard drive. We also develop a simple to use and easily extendable toolkit used for the creation of the CD. This toolkit can also be used to make embedded images a-la miniBSD or nanoBSD."
I loved working with FreeSBIE 1.1 I have used it many times, and handed it out to lots of people to try.
Unfortunately I haven't had the best luck with FreeSBIE 2.0. It didn't run well in VMware, the problems are known "FreeBSD VMware" issues, so I'm not blaming FreeSBIE developers for that.
However I didn't have much fun just running it from my normal workstation either. It took ages and ages to boot (over 3Min's). Once it had I started x, many programs where not working properly, and things looked a little unfinished (if you know what I mean). I was quite disappointed. Anyway I am hoping that it was just my hardware.
If anyone else gets a chance to try it, I would love to know what you think.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

FreeBSD 6.2

I have been playing with FreeBSD 6.2. I loaded it into a virtual machine, only a minimal install, with required sets, man pages, src all and the ports. The images are screen shots of my first boot:

I've mostly been exploring the OpenBSM tools. This is how I enabled Security event auditing;

# cp /sys/i386/conf/GENERIC /sys/i386/conf/GOKU
# vi /sys/i386/conf/GOKU

option AUDIT
Then built my new kernel:
# cd /usr/src
# make buildkernel KERNCONF=GOKU

# male installkernel KERNCONF=GOKU
# reboot

Then I went through the following man pages: auditreduce(1), praudit(1), auditpipe(4), audit.log(5), audit_class(5), audit_control(5), audit_event(5), audit_user(5), audit_warn(5), audit(8), auditd(8)

After playing around with the tools for a while, I made a small jail, and tested the stability and securelevels. Securelevels are easy in 6.2; you just add the -s option to specify a jail's securelevel.
Then I played around with some of the new command options. The traceroute(8) has a number of new options, which are really useful. I like that freebsd-update(8) is now part of the base system. It saves me installing it every time.

I haven't yet installed the ports and played with any contributed software, as FreeBSD 6.2 is playing up in VMware badly (As you can see by the date in the second image, above). So I am going to install it on another hard drive. I would like to build a desktop on it again. Over all I like FreeBSD 6.2, I can't wait to play with it some more. I am glad that a lot of the 6.1 bugs have been fixed. I hope to have more fun with it again soon.

Monday, January 15, 2007


FreeBSD 6.2 has just been released. According to the release announcement, FreeBSD 6.2 not only offers many bug fixes, and stability improvements, it also contains new features and performance improvements. I am certainly looking forward to installing this new release in the 6-STABLE branch. Hopefully I should have it downloaded by morning :).

Features of note:

  • Security Event Auditing, can now be enabled in the kernel using the AUDIT kernel option; audit(4)
  • FreeBSD on the Xbox; FreeBSD can now run on the Xbox, for more information please see: FreeBSD on the Xbox
  • Improvements to a number of network interface drivers.
  • IPFW(4) improvements, including packet tagging
  • The linsysfs(5) pseudo-filesystem driver has been added.
  • A number of OpenBSM tools have been added
  • The freebsd-update(8) has been added. This tool manages binary updates to the FreeBSD base system.
  • You can now specify a jail's securelevel: jail(8)
Software Updates:
  • GNOME has been updated from 2.12.3 to 2.16.1
  • KDE has been updated from 3.5.1 to 3.5.4
  • BIND has been updated from 9.3.1 to 9.3.3.
  • GCC has been updated from 3.4.4 to 3.4.6.
  • IPFilter has been updated from 4.1.8 to 4.1.13.
  • less has been updated from v381 to v394.
  • libpcap has been updated from 0.9.1 to 0.9.4.
  • lukemftpd has been updated from a snapshot from NetBSD as of 9 August 2004 to a snapshot from NetBSD as of 31 August 2006.
  • netcat has been updated from the version in a 4 February 2005 OpenBSD snapshot to the version included in OpenBSD 3.9.
  • OpenSSH has been updated from 4.2p1 to 4.5p1.
  • sendmail has been updated from 8.13.6 to 8.13.8.
  • tcpdump has been updated from 3.9.1 to 3.9.4.
Getting FreeBSD 6.2:I will write a review tomorrow once I have downloaded, installed and looked around the system. I am so excited I have been waiting for this release for a while.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Setting up OpenBSD as a Gateway/Firewall

Today I setup and tested my first OpenBSD firewall/gateway. I was really fun. Before today I had completed bits and pieces of the setup but not the entire process.
These where the steps I took:

# 1. Install:

Partitions =
Filesystem Size Mounted on
/dev/wd0a 150.1M /
/dev/wd0b 383.9M swap
/dev/wd0d 511.9M /tmp
/dev/wd0e 99.9M /var
/dev/wd0f 5120.2M /usr
/dev/wd0g 2048.0M /home

Sets =
bsd - This is the Kernel. Required
base40.tgz - Contains the base OpenBSD system
etc40.tgz - Contains all the files in /etc

# 2. Filtering and Firewalling OpenBSD:

First I Prepared pf: by starting it in rc.conf.local. (I will need to reboot for this to take effect)
# echo "#Start PF" >> /etc/rc.conf.local
# echo pf=YES >> /etc/rc.conf.local

Now I need to configure pf.conf:
# vi /etc/pf.conf

If you need help creating a pf ruleset please have a look at the following: PF User's Guide, pf(4), pfctl(8), pf.conf(5), pf.os(5), pflog(4), pfsync(4), altq(9).

# 3. Setting up your OpenBSD box as a Gateway
Allow IP forwarding by adding this line to /etc/sysctl.conf configuration file:
# echo "net.inet.ip.forwarding=1" >> /etc/sysctl.conf

Now modify the routes on the other hosts on both sides.
Routes can be controlled with routed(8) or OpenBGPD, in the base OpenBSD install.

# 4. DHCP Server

# Configuring the DHCP server, dhcpd
# echo "#Start dhcpd" >> /etc/rc.conf.local
# echo 'dhcpd_flags=""' >> /etc/rc.conf.local

# Put the interfaces that you want dhcpd to listen on in /etc/dhcpd.interfaces:
# echo rl1 > /etc/dhcpd.interfaces
# Then, edit /etc/dhcpd.conf
# vi /etc/dhcpd.conf

# 5. Configuration:

Su'd to root, create /etc/profile and add the content below.
# Configuring profiles:
# echo "alias su='su -l'" > /etc/profile
# echo "alias rm='rm -P'" >> /etc/profile
# echo 'if [ "$USER" = root ]; then' >> /etc/profile
# echo 'PATH=/sbin:/usr/sbin:/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/X11R6/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/sbin' >> /etc/profile
# echo 'PS1="\`hostname -s\`:\`pwd\`# "' >> /etc/profile
# echo 'else' >> /etc/profile
# echo 'PATH=/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/X11R6/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/games:.' >> /etc/profile
# echo 'PS1="\`hostname -s\`:\`pwd\`$ "' >> /etc/profile
# echo 'fi' >> /etc/profile

Then I rebooted the system, so that all of the above could take effect. I attached a couple of nodes to the switch, which worked perfectly.
Now I am testing the setup. So far everything is working well :)

I'm not sure how I went, I think I did ok for a first try. If anyone has any suggestions I would be more than willing to hear them. Thank you!

Creating an OpenBSD 4.0 bootable install CD

I needed to make an OpenBSD bootable install CD yesterday. I normally use the boot-only CD, then ftp install, the sets I need. Yet this was impossible on this particular system. So I needed to create an install CD.

Note: You can purchase the Official OpenBSD CD's from here: Orders. The sale of the CD's and other products go to fund the project, so please support them where you can.

Creating an OpenBSD 4.0 bootable install CD

First I needed a program to make the ISO image: mkisofs. To ensure mkisofs is installed I did the following:
# mkisofs -version
mkisofs 2.01.01a03-unofficial-iconv (i686-pc-linux-gnu)

So far so good.
Next I made the CD file system hierarchy, You can make these directories anywhere you would like:
# mkdir -p OpenBSD/4.0/i386
# cd OpenBSD/4.0/i386/

Then I downloaded the entire i386 directory from an OpenBSD ftp mirror: ftp mirrors.
# wget --passive-ftp*

Now I can make the ISO image using mkisofs. I am going to use the cdrom40.fs as my boot image. Please see man mkisofs for instructions on use.
# cd ../../
# mkisofs -vrTJV "OpenBSD40" -b 4.0/i386/cdrom40.fs -c boot.catalog -o OpenBSD40.iso /home/kris/OpenBSD/

Now I have a ISO image named "OpenBSD40.iso" in my OpenBSD directory. I burnt it to a CD-rw to test it. Then after it proved itself, I burnt the image to a CD-r.

For more information on how to do this for yourself please see here: How to make an OpenBSD bootable install CD.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Pumpkin Scones

My partner was talking about pumpkin scones and he was shocked to discover that I hadn't tried them. They are an Australian tradition I am told :).
So I got a lovely treat, my man made me pumpkin scones, they were very very yummy. I thought I would share the recipe, so you can try them too:

This recipe, courtesy of:
Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen's Famous Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones
Degree of difficulty: Low

Ingredients you need:
1 Table spoon of butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin (cold)
2 cups Self raising flour

Cook pumpkin and leave to go cold.
Beat together butter, sugar and salt with electric mixer.
Add egg, then pumpkin and stir in the flour.
Turn on to floured board and cut.
Place in tray on top shelf of very hot oven 225-250 degrees Celsius, for 15-20 minutes.

Learning TCP/IP

I have been spending the past couple of days reading information on the TCP/IP protocol suite. I want the key concepts and ideas to be knowledge in my mind. See I believe that there is a point when learning where; the things that you are reading, studying and thinking about, become things that you know, and the knowledge is secured into you mind.
It can take a while for this to happen, with somethings, yet eventually the knowledge becomes Your knowledge.

I started out by studying the following RFC's:
RFC 790 - Assigned numbers
RFC 791 - Internet Protocol:
RFC 793 - Transmission Control Protocol
RFC 1122 - Requirements for Internet Hosts - Communication Layers
RFC 1123 - Requirements for Internet Hosts - Application and Support
RFC 1180 - TCP/IP tutorial
Also if you are looking for a really good explanation of the OSI reference Model then wikipedia has one here: OSI model From Wikipedia

I started reading The TCP/IP Guide; from chapter: Networking Fundamentals. This is a very fully on book about TCP/IP. I am enjoying reading it, even though at times it feels a little flowery, and I think that some of the explanations could have been a little clearer. Yet I understand how hard it is to make a complex subject manageable.
I hope to continue reading through this guide today. It will take me a while to get through I imagine.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Computer role-playing games

Over the past couple of weeks I have been indulging in the world of online games. By online computer role-playing games; I mean games, which are played over the Internet, including; MMORPG's (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), and MUD's (Multi-User Dungeon or Domain or Dimension).

Personally I am not big on games, and I don't play them very often. If I do indulge I prefer text based Adventures, and puzzle solving games.
Well a couple of weeks ago, I was doing some research on telnet, and I stumbled across a MUD. I had never seen one before so I went and had a look around. It all started out innocently enough, yet it wasen't long before I was doing nothing else.
Within a couple of days I was starting to eat into my study time with game play. Then after a couple more days I started to spend even longer in front of the computer, doing less and less work. I was annoyed if I couldn't play, and dreaming about game play, and quests.

On Friday I was sitting in front of the game again, (after giving my partner another excuse about having to get another 45100 guild points so that I could do some new trick,) when I realised that I wasn't ever going to be happy with the outcome. I was working on getting these certain guild points. As soon as I got them I was annoyed, because I still needed another 200 exp points to raise my stats in the game. So even though I had reached a new milestone in the game, the psychological pull to move onto the next challenge was there, pulling me onwards into the game.
It was then that I realised that I was addicted and how true all of these stories are about, being trapped inside these games, these virtual worlds, really are, e.g. The View From the Top.

So I am going to slow down my playing right now. I haven't played since Friday. I would like to learn the language used to write MUD's, so in this way I may play more, yet I don't want to waste my life in front of a game. I don't want to get trapped.