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Book Review: Pro Linux System Administration

by Sander Marechal

“By the end of this book, You’ll be well on your way to becoming a Linux expert” is quite a bold claim for a book that is aimed at people who only have some familiarity with Windows and networking. “Pro Linux System Administration” by James Turnbull, Peter Lieverdink and Dennis Matotek aims to do precisely that and surprisingly, it largely succeeds. In its 1080 pages it explains how you can set up and configure multiple Linux servers to operate a small business network. Starting with basic Linux management and working up the stack through networking, e-mail and webservers you will end up with a pretty complete network that includes document management, groupware and disaster recovery.

The only downside of the book is that it becomes terser as it goes along. Part 1 and half of part 2 are quite thorough. They explain what you are doing, why you are doing it, differences between distributions and possible gotchas. But as the book moves up the application stack these explanations become shorter and in some cases amount to little more than an installation walk-through. I think it would have been better to focus on fewer alternative applications and dive deeper into those.

This article was originally posted at LXer Linux News.

Ubuntu package repositories removed

The package repository at http://packages.jejik.com is no more. I created it way back in 2006 to host packages for gnome-hearts for Ubuntu Dapper Drake because the initial gnome-hearts release came too late to get into the universe repository at that time. Starting with Ubuntu Edgy gnome-hearts has always been in the Universe repositories for Ubuntu. It␂s been over two years since Dapper Drake so it’ time to retire the old repositories.

In the unlikely case that you are still running Dapper Drake or use a machine that was upgraded from Dapper Drake, please remove http://packages.jejik.com from your apt sources list.

The LXer Interview: John Hull of Dell

by Sander Marechal

It has been over four months since Dell started shipping computers preloaded with Ubuntu GNU/Linux to home consumers in the United States. Lets take a moment to look at the progress that has been made so far. John Hull, manager of the Linux Engineering team in Austin was kind enough to let me interview him by e-mail. Besides commenting on the current state of affairs with Ubuntu on Dell machines, he also offers some insight in how the Linux team at Dell works and opens a small window into the future of Linux at Dell.

This article was originally posted on LXer Linux News

Ubuntu on Dell - Good for Linux or just for Canonical?

by Sander Marechal

After a few unsuccessful attempts to censor the news, the big word is finally out: Dell will sell some desktop and laptop models with Ubuntu Feisty 7.04 pre-installed.

Dell hasn't stated yet exactly on which models it will provide pre-installed Ubuntu, but Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has a nice analysis of the different options and most likely models. One thing sticks out from that list: as bigg on the LXer forum has noticed, they all have Nvidia cards and Broadcom 1390 wireless cards.

Will Dell be shipping machines with no hardware 3D and wireless support? That can't be good for Linux! But it's certainly going to be good for Canonical selling paid support...

Is Ubuntu set to become non-free?

by Sander Marechal

Last week at the Ubuntu Developer Summit the release goals for Feisty Fawn-scheduled to appear April 2007-were discussed and drawn up. Ubuntu's next version is aiming for some pretty good features such as a bullet proof X.org and network roaming. There's one change that bothers me to no end though: composite by default.

The problem is that, in order to reach this goal, they want to install and configure binary video drivers by default. That is a firm slap in the face of long term Ubuntu users everywhere though.

Gnome-hearts 0.1.2. binaries available

by Sander Marechal

I have created binaries for gnome-hearts-0.1.2 for Ubuntu Dapper Drake i386 and amd64 architectures. You can download the from our download page and from our APT repositories.

Binaries for Debian unstable/testing and Ubuntu Edgy Eft should be available as soon as they have been accepted in their main repositories.

Secure-APT Repository opened

by Sander Marechal

We have created an Secure-APT repository with unofficial binaries for our software to make it easier for you to keep up-to-date with our latest releases. At the moment it only contains gnome-hearts for Ubuntu Dapper Drake 6.06, since it is impossible to get gnome-hearts backported to the official Ubuntu Dapper backports repositories.

To use the repository, you should add the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

## Lone Wolves APT Repository
deb http://packages.jejik.com/ubuntu dapper main
deb-src http://packages.jejik.com/ubuntu dapper main

You will also need to install my public key, or you will get authentication warnings when installing software from this repository. You can import the sander.marechal.asc file, or get public key ID 019D48B7 from your nearest gpg keyserver. You can use the following commands to import the key:

gpg --import sander.marechal.asc
gpg --export --armor 019D48B7 | sudo apt-key add -