Shell's TechBlabber

…ShelLuser blogs about stuff ;)

Linux is a joke

Once upon a time the computer market was dominated by the commerce guilds in the form of Microsoft and Apple. Some people used computers in a more professional way and had knowledge of an operating system even predating the GUI’s, called Unix. Unix, although far more difficult to use than either Windows or a Macintosh, also provided a lot more support to actually “do” something with the OS.

If you wanted to connect two computers together with a serial or parallel cable in order to transfer files then all you had to do was buy software such as Laplink or Norton Commander. And the cable of course 😉 Only then could you make the connection. Because your operating system itself wouldn’t support any of that. Unix on the other hand didn’t have this limitation. The OS provided tons of different features, including the ability to connect computers using serial, parallel and network links.

This eventually inspired the creation of Linux. A free Unix-like operating system which would not suffer from the burden and oppression which was enacted by the powerful companies. It would be an operating system build by professional hobbyists for professional hobbyists and it would embody the freedom of computing; giving the power of computing back to the users.

And now, many years later, I cannot help but wonder if Linux hasn’t turned into the very same thing it protested against.

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July 5, 2018 Posted by | Editorial, TechBlabber | Comments Off on Linux is a joke

How open are ‘open standards’ exactly?

VP_EAs you may (or may not) know I’m quite passionate about so called modeling languages; modeling standards which are often used within the field of software design. Some languages which I use on a regular basis are UML, BPMN, ERD and some diagrams which are specific for my modeling tool of choice: Visual Paradigm.

This week marks a bit of a milestone for me because quite recently I gained access to the Enterprise edition of Visual Paradigm which introduced me to Enterprise Architecture.

Although I was already roughly familiar with the concepts I never really followed up on those because I didn’t see the need. But now that I can get hands-on experience with Enterprise modeling languages and frameworks such as ArchiMate, TOGAF and BMM I figured I should do some research. ArchiMate for example is described as an “open and independant enterprise architecture modeling language”. It’s even developed by the ‘Open Group’ so surely this is as open and transparent as it gets, right? Well… maybe not.

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June 21, 2018 Posted by | Editorial, Visual Paradigm | , , , , , , | Comments Off on How open are ‘open standards’ exactly?

Computer security is NOT a product

At the time of writing I can’t access one of my favorite tech fora, which is the FreeBSD forum, because their certificate has expired. Seems somewhat sloppy indeed. However, what really upset me here was learning how my browser of choice (Opera) was now treating me like some sort of idiot.

It refused to give me access to the website because it deemed it “not private”. Which is not necessarily true because even an expired certificate can still be used for setting up an encrypted connection. But because the website opted for “HSTS” (which stands for HTTPS Strict Transport Security) it is impossible to access it anymore because most major browsers have opted to remove the feature which allows us to override this.

Which I think is utterly stupid. In fact: I think this nonsense can easily have the opposite effect of what was intended. I believe we’re in a period where many people seem to have a complete misconception about what security actually is and how it is achieved and maintained.

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June 15, 2018 Posted by | Editorial, InterNet, Security | , , , | Comments Off on Computer security is NOT a product

Using Git for Unix systems administration

Git, the version control system (“VCS”) developed by Linus Torvalds, is most commonly used for development purposes. You can keep track of your sources at any given time, branch out to test new ideas while your main source tree always remains untouched if need be. And of course you can revert changes (also temporarily) at any given time. And that’s not even mentioning the options to store all your work on a remote (central) repository in order to share it with others.

But Git can do so much more. In this post I’ll show you how you can use it to take Unix systems administration to complete new heights. If you ever wondered about some of the advantages which Git has over traditional systems such as Subversion then read on: I’ll be sharing some major examples.

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May 12, 2018 Posted by | Editorial, Tips and tricks | , , | Comments Off on Using Git for Unix systems administration

Git: A developer tool not just for developers, you might like it too!

Git

When Linus Torvalds launched Git I’ve read many things about it, but being a rather die-hard FreeBSD sysadmin I didn’t really see much use for it myself at first. After all: FreeBSD uses Subversion which I really enjoyed using myself as well. And if it isn’t broke, why change it?  Well…

Git was one of those things which sat patiently on my todo list until I had the time to check it out. And then it happened: I was trying to help out a Minecraft related project which hosted their code on Github. And that uses Git. And so I figured it was about time to scratch Git from my todo list and start a crash course to first and foremost get my suggestions sent to the project and we’d see what might be next.

That was a few weeks ago.

In the mean time I’ve converted all my Subversion repositories to Git, discovered ways to use Git which are totally impossible on Subversion and I even managed to scratch yet another idea off my todo list because of it. Simply put: I think Git is amazing. And not just for developers, sysadmins like myself can definitely benefit from this as well.

So I figured I’d share my findings.

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April 30, 2018 Posted by | Editorial, Tips and tricks | , , , | Comments Off on Git: A developer tool not just for developers, you might like it too!

DNSSEC: Massively overhyped?

Last year I got a little fed up with the Bind (“Named”) DNS server for reasons which I’ll explain further below, and I started digging into PowerDNS. A pretty solid project for sure and it definitely has some advantages over Bind. However, due to recent changes in the project I came to conclude that managing PowerDNS had become even more tedious than Bind originally was! That’s no good, so I decided to move back and because I was giving my setup a massive overhaul anyway I also started looking into DNSSEC. A topic which was still sitting on my TODO list. Yeah… Very important according to ICANN and ISC. But is it really? I have some serious concerns…

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March 26, 2018 Posted by | Editorial, Security, TechBlabber | , , , , | 1 Comment

Is AI the new ‘religion’?

In the past years the topic of artificial intelligence has been raised a numerous of times and not always in a positive way. Take for example Professor Hawkings who warns that AI could easily pose a threat to mankind due to their major differences in evolution. Or what to think about all the shown issues with self driving cars?

Tesla’s CEO has already warned governments to intervene in order to stop the threat which AI imposes according to him.

But how feasible are those fears?

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July 31, 2017 Posted by | Editorial, TechBlabber | , , , | Comments Off on Is AI the new ‘religion’?

Looking at software design with Visual Paradigm

vp_logo

Visual Paradigm is a program which can very well change the way you approach software design. Its key goal is to provide an environment which gives you full access to the most commonly used standards in design modelling while also making sure that despite the complexity with some of those models you’ll always have the right tools at your fingertips.

Now, I need to get one thing out of the way: I am probably biased. I’ve been using Visual Paradigm for over 8 years now and I still seriously like this software.

But then again, I’ve also been using some design models, like UML, for a long time as well and I also continue to appreciate what those have to offer. So… Time to do a review on a software product which has seriously changed the way I approach software developing.

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April 22, 2017 Posted by | Editorial, TechBlabber, Visual Paradigm | , , , , | Comments Off on Looking at software design with Visual Paradigm

Drupal: where people fail to understand the basics of freedom & tolerance.

Drupal is an open source content management system which allows you to build websites. There’s also a community involved around it which is said to be open to everyone; you’re more than welcome to participate and help out to make Drupal even better than it was before.

… unless you happen to be into certain sexual desires and private fantasies which might not be publically understood or accepted, in this case specifically referring to SM and/or BDSM.

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March 30, 2017 Posted by | Editorial, TechBlabber | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Drupal: where people fail to understand the basics of freedom & tolerance.

5 cases where Open Source Software went wrong

Open Source Software (“OSS”) has drastically changed the way we work within the world of IT, or ICT as is the ‘modern’ phrase. And don’t get my article in the wrong way: OSS is a very important phenomenon and one which opens up possibilities which would otherwise have been fully out of reach. Take this blog: WordPress is basically an open source product, I’m convinced that the website itself is hosted using Apache; an open source webserver, the product is written in PHP which is an open source scripting language and I wrote most of this post offline using Open Live Writer. An, you guessed it, open source Windows application (based on Microsoft’s now abandoned Live Writer).

But unfortunately, as with all good things, there are plenty of people who claim that Open Source is totally flawless and something we desperately need all the time. Yet that is not always the case. So here are 5 cases where OSS went wrong…

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November 30, 2016 Posted by | Editorial, TechBlabber | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 5 cases where Open Source Software went wrong