In search of an Open Source Dropbox alternative - SparkleShare

We're a big fan online file storage and replication services such as Dropbox, SpiderOak, or Ubuntu One. They enable mobile workers to collaborate, share files, work on the go and generally be more productive.

Due to security considerations (or data sovereignty laws) many of these services are not suitable for storing confidential or commercially sensitive material. Many of these services previously thought to be secure have now been shown to be insecure by design. (Hey Dropbox, almost a year ago, we noticed that you're using global dedupe across your customers files! When we added a common .iso file ...

— Andrew

What's new in CentOS 6

Here is a quick run down of some major features and updates that we'll soon see in CentOS 6. (When it's finally released).

Filesystem & Storage:

  • ext4 is now the default filesystem,
  • LVM finally supports mergable snapshots - finally we can implement safe (transacted) file level replication using rsync.


  • iSCSI support for root and /boot partitions


  • Updated 'tickless' kernel - save power,
  • Cgroups support for resource allocation amongst process group.

Web and applications:

  • Apache 2.2
  • MySQL 5.1.47
  • PostgreSQL 8.4.4
  • Memcached 1.4.4
  • Ruby 1.8.7
  • PHP 5.3.2
  • Tomcat 6 / OpenJDK ...

— Andrew

Disabling NTPD in FreeNAS 8

If you're running FreeNAS 8 under VMware, Xen or KVM, then you'll probably want to disable ntpd. To do this you'll need to ssh into your FreeNAS box as root and run the following commands.

mount -uw /
vi /conf/base/etc/rc.conf

Change ntpd_enable="YES" to ntpd_enable="NO" and ntpd_sync_on_start="YES" to ntpd_sync_on_start="NO".

Then reboot and you should find that ntpd has been disabled. This should help eliminate any time jitter issues when running ntpd on a virtualised environment.

— Andrew

FreeNAS 8 under KVM

FreeNAS 8 runs nicely under Linux KVM virtualisation. But unlike FreeNAS 7, FreeNAS 8 is based on FreeBSD 8.2. This means that there are some configuration differences. The main one is the network device model type='ne2k_pci' does not seem to work for FreeBSD 8.2 or FreeNAS 8.

So if you're having trouble getting the networking to work, try using model type='rtl8139'. And you will need at least 1GB for the OS drive, otherwise the installation will fail silently.

Below is a working scripted install that we used on one of our lab computers to successfully ...

— Andrew

Extracting all the links from a website using wget

Today I found myself needing to extract all the page links from a website to ensure that when we restructured the site, all the old links were redirected to the new page locations and there we no nasty 404's.

So here I present, my "Quick and dirty website link extractor". Complete with gratuitous command piping, ready to run on any Linux box with the appropriate programs installed:

MYSITE='';wget -nv -r --spider $MYSITE 2>&1 | egrep ' URL:' | awk '{print $3}' | sed "s@URL:${MYSITE}@@g"

Obviously you'll need to replace with your own ...

— Andrew

When will CentOS 6 be released?

Update 20100-07-11: Out the gates...

CentOS 6 is now released!

Update 2011-07-04: Asking the wrong question...

You should be asking "When will AscendOS be released" ;)

Update 2011-07-04: Crystal ball gazing...

I'm putting money on CentOS 6 being out the gates by the end of this week...

Update 2011-06-06: Release date has slipped...

Looks like it's a case of CentOS 6 will be "done when it's done". The release date is now estimated to be 13th June 2011. But who really knows, Karanbir previously said "if you need something to plan against - think 4 to 6 weeks" (11 ...

— Andrew

How autocracies are moving Open Source into the mainstream

The Wall Street Journal has published an interesting followup commentary on the news that the Russians are planning to move to GNU/Linux and on how this is shaping the trajectory of Open Source:

...his real fear is that Russia's growing dependence on proprietary software, especially programs sold by foreign vendors, has immense implications for the country's national security. Free open-source software, by its nature, is unlikely to feature secret back doors that lead directly to Langley, Va.

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal

— Andrew

How to install and setup a Python Django development environment on Windows 7

Step 1: Install Cygwin & Python

To get started we need to setup a Python environment running under Cygwin. First make your way over to and run their installer.

Most of the installation is just clicking next, and accepting the defaults:

Cygwin Python Installation 1

Click next:

Cygwin Python Installation 2

Click next:

Cygwin Python Installation 3

Click next:

Cygwin Python Installation 4

Click next:

Cygwin Python Installation 5

Choose your closest Mirror. We like Internode!

Cygwin Python Installation 6

This is where we stop clicking next and select our packages.

Select Python:

Cygwin Python Django Installation - Package Selection 1

We'll probably need to install a Subversion client, so also select that:

Cygwin Python Django Installation - Package Selection 2

wget will make installing the Django stuff easier:

Cygwin Python Django Installation - Package Selection 3

gcc and gcc++ will be needed later to compile ...

— Andrew

Producing Open Source Software

How to Run a Successful Free Software Project

I came across the book How to Run a Successful Free Software Project the other day, and cannot recommend it more highly for anyone developing or considering starting an Open Source technology product. It's well written, concise and succinct.

This book is meant for software developers and managers who are considering starting an open source project, or who have started one and are wondering what to do now. It should also be helpful for people who just want to participate in an open source project but have never done so before ...

— Andrew

OSI Refers Novell Acquisition To Competition Authorities

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) announced today that it has taken the unprecedented step of referring the proposed sale of Novell's patents to the CPTN consortium (led by Microsoft) to the German competition authorities.

The fact that Microsoft was leading the takeover of Novell’s patents was itself alarming to the open source community, but when it was revealed that Microsoft had recruited Oracle, Apple, and EMC to be co-owners of the patents, the OSI Board felt compelled to request that competition authorities take a closer look at the proposed transaction. We found that the German Federal Cartel Office ...

— Andrew

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