Exchange Exchange with an Open Source Exchange

The (surprising) news has spread about a week ago. The OSS community finally has its own “Exchange server”: Opengroupware. The web site advertises it as “Why buy a Groupware server as a black-box when you can get an open one for free?”. Indeed. Need to check it out as soon as I find some time. I’d expect Opengroupware to be more reliable, safer and less error-prone than its closed-source commercial competitors. For free. Heh, if this ain’t cool :) Probably a top favourite for any best “OSS product of the year award”.

state of the nation

i haven’t had time yet to reconstruct the missing changelog entries. at least i now know for sure that all my server data from june 13 to july 10 is irrecoverably lost. r.i.p.

(maybe i should rather install an ordinary high-availability server in the basement instead of running such an innovative but delicate device)

yet another major server failure

urgh. this early morning (night) my barebone (o2) once again failed (i am not kidding, this is *real* though i’ve recently made some fun of “system failures” on this blog). looks like i’ve roasted my second hard disk (this time it’s a toshiba). that’s a gau. dang. conclusion: trying new things such as using a passively cooled, tiny, totally silent, environmental-friendly low-power server is inherently risky. atm, i would not recommend it (lex barebone) to anybody.

so i had to quickly replace my just installed 40 gb hdd (hitachi former ibm) of my vaio notebook with the previous 6 gb one (luckily i haven’t erased its contents yet). replaced the damaged 40 gb hdd of o2 with the equally sized one taken from my notebook. restored the latest backup using dd, sfdisk and rsync (went “relatively” smooth as from the last super-gau i’ve written down some walk-through instructions) and here we are again.

unfortunately, the last full backup dated from june 13 (need to lower backup intervals in cron as the specified sync points are often missed). this means, that i’ve lost all data since then (mail, blog, website, data repository, settings, updates etc.). among them some very important e-mail messages (please resend messages since june 13, thanks!). it’s a pity for the blog too (i particularly miss the second feedster entry and the interesting comments about it). i hope there’s something in google’s cache as i’ve recently just re-allowed google to cache /news ;)

nevertheless i will try to “restore” missing mails and blog entries, but chances to succeed are very small. the bios doesn’t even recognize the damaged/burnt hdd anymore. pretty bad thus..

as a first emergency measure, the barebone now runs cover-less (“cabrio” ;) to prevent overheating (i suspect the nightly running updatedb overheated the hdd). i will draw the necessary conclusions from the whole mess..

impolite feedster

unlike google, feedster doesn’t care about robots.txt policy files at all (i’ve forbidden indexing of /news, yet it did). netiquette doesn’t seem to count anymore.

the question that arises is whether this is

a) the result of missing (oldschool) experts in feedster’s dev team(?) or
b) intention

i am close to stop blogging under such conditions. notification of central changelogs such as is ok (it happens knowingly and actively), but i don’t want my random thoughts be spilled all over the net.

What’s so bad about “the most sincere form of flattery”?

I wonder how long it takes until “web shortcuts”, a genuine [Update: probably not genuine, see the comments below] feature of Konqueror [1], are imitated by any of the other browsers (i.e. Mozilla Firebird, IE, Opera etc.).

Here’s how Konqueror’s web shortcuts work:

To search the web using Google, simply type “gg:” followed by any Google search term(s) in Konqueror’s location bar (that’s where URLs are entered).
To look up a term in, it’s “dic:” followed by the term. For Freshmeat it’s “fm:”, for Foldoc it’s “fd:” or “foldoc:”, for IETF RFCs it’s “rfc:”, for OpenPGP keys its “pgp:” etc. you get it ;) (BTW: You can even search MSDN using the obvious web shortcut! ;)

Predefined web shortcuts can be edited/deleted, customized shortcuts can be added/defined (among others I’ve added some shortcuts for Leo, Linguadict, Gentoo’s Bugzilla)

For my daily use, Konqueror’s web shortcuts concept is superior (more convenient and faster) to any other web shortcut concept I know of (e.g. Bookmarklets [IE, Mozilla], Sidebar [Mozilla], Hotlist [Opera], having separate entry fields for each shortcut [Galeon]. The latter being particularly.. err.. “special” IYKWIM ;). If I’ve missed a concept, please notify me. [Update: Mozilla has a similar (hidden) feature too! Thx to Asa for the hint]

You might call browsers a “non-issue”. I don’t. “Web shortcuts” is only one feature picked out of many other features that still differ between browsers. Some of these differences are details only, but they can make a big difference when it comes to usability.

So, why hesitate imitating as long as it’s legal?

[1] Note that web shortcuts have been part of Konqueror since at least 2001-08-15! (Sorry, can’t find the first check-in of “web shortcuts” code in CVS)

an exec shield for o2

i’ve just applied ingo molnar’s exec shield patch to a current vanilla kernel rc:

The exec-shield feature provides protection against stack, buffer or
function pointer overflows, and against other types of exploits that rely
on overwriting data structures and/or putting code into those structures.
The patch also makes it harder to pass in and execute the so-called
‘shell-code’ of exploits. The patch works transparently, ie. no
application recompilation is necessary.

works fine. i haven’t noticed any significant performance decrease so far.

downtime of o2

heh.. today at 08:32 cet lovely o2 crashed due to overheating. I nearly burnt my hands when taking it out of its “glasshouse”. nothing serious though.

today is a hot day indeed ;)

Currently evaluating b2++ and WordPress

I’ve just installed WordPress and b2++. WordPress works, but with a few errors still. B2++ looks (code-wise) much more advanced, but so far it does not render its index page ;) Here are some screenshots:


Although I really would have liked to test the new Smarty templating engine of b2++ I have to postpone it till later. WordPress’ features are nice, but not overwhelmingly nice. It offers a better editor than MT and it doesn’t require site rebuilding upon changes.

I guess I will evaluate bloxsom soon. Until then, I won’t migrate anything.

‘gotmail’ slightly updated

btw. i’ve slightly updated the ‘gotmail’ script. now it features coloured output which makes it better suitable for console usage. if you pipe its output to a text-to-speech processor you might need to disable the color codes. the most recent version of the script can be found here:

as an addendum to “Make your server play music and talk..” you should modify the crontab entry the following way to prevent cron from sending mail messages (this can be achieved by piping any stdout/stderr output to /dev/null):


# mettlerd: make hal read aloud my new mail every 10 minutes
*/10 * * * * mettlerd /usr/local/bin/gotmail|festival --tts >/dev/null 2>&1

[Update 20031101: minor fix to make gotmail display mailinglist digests correctly: use egrep’s “-m 1” option to prevent multiple listings of from and subject lines]