Friday, July 31, 2009

One laptop multiple monitors

For some reason I love to have more than a single monitor to work with. At home I have a couple of big flatscreens to work on and a dual video card. However at work I am limited by my laptop to only use the laptop screen and a single extra monitor due to the fact I only can hook one monitor to the laptop.
As I have decided to tackle this problem I started a little search on the internet to find some products that can do this trick. And as it turns out you can have multiple screens via USB attached to your laptop. Even do I still have to order one I am already looking forward to it and improving my workspace.
First I found is the ViBook solution however I am more looking for something like the see2 from tritton because the Linux support is better for this one. That is to say, it is not supported however you can get it to work from what I read online so I will give it a go.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Crash a BIND9 server

Bind is reporting a security flaw in their bind9 distribution. It turns out that you can cause a bind server to crash remote. As bind is one of the most used DNS servers arround the world and DNS is the glue which makes the internet stick together it can be considered quite a high risk. It turns out that you can crash a server by sending it a dynamic update for a zone of which the server is the DNS master. Or as it is stated on

Receipt of a specially-crafted dynamic update message to a zone for which the server is the master may cause BIND 9 servers to exit. Testing indicates that the attack packet has to be formulated against a zone for which that machine is a master. Launching the attack against slave zones does not trigger the assert.

This vulnerability affects all servers that are masters for one or more zones – it is not limited to those that are configured to allow dynamic updates. Access controls will not provide an effective workaround.

dns_db_findrdataset() fails when the prerequisite section of the dynamic update message contains a record of type “ANY” and where at least one RRset for this FQDN exists on the server.

db.c:659: REQUIRE(type != ((dns_rdatatype_t)dns_rdatatype_any)) failed
exiting (due to assertion failure).

Now if we take a look at the dynamic update part:

Dynamic Update is a method for adding, replacing or deleting records in a master server by sending it a special form of DNS messages. The format and meaning of these messages is specified in RFC 2136.

Dynamic update is enabled on a zone-by-zone basis, by including an allow-update or update-policy clause in the zone statement.

Updating of secure zones (zones using DNSSEC) follows RFC 3007: RRSIG and NSEC records affected by updates are automatically regenerated by the server using an online zone key. Update authorization is based on transaction signatures and an explicit server policy.

The dynamic update can be done via the nsupdate command. I will not explain on this weblog how you can crash a BIND9 machine however I can confirm the thread is real and with a little understanding of BIND and some research it is possible. I have been using a test environment to check it and if you are running a BIND9 server you might want to do dive a little deeper into this.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How social media can make history

Somehow I have missed the talk by Clay Shirky which he gave for, however now it is on my weblog.

"While news from Iran streams to the world, Clay Shirky shows how Facebook, Twitter and TXTs help citizens in repressive regimes to report on real news, bypassing censors (however briefly). The end of top-down control of news is changing the nature of politics."

Clay Shirky also maintains a great website which I can advise to read from time to time.

mobile social networks , a new name for me on the block. is a mobile social network which uses geographical information to create the social network. You can meet with friends and leave messages while maintaining a list of friends and a online profile. It also allows you to direclty see what and where your friends, or total stranger find some interesting things.

Walking on a street and see a new restaurant, you can send a tweet via twitter however you can also geo-tag it on so everyone can see it directly when they browse the map of the city. is quite a new kid on the block and not fully came to a complete product in my opinion. It needs a lot of tweaking still and a lot more users to create a good community. However, I am very anxious to see how this will go in the upcoming time.

Opensource and openfood

One of the things I love is food, not the food you make when you come home from a hard day of work do. I love the kind of food that you make on a Saturday or Sunday. The kind of food you tend to go from shop to shop to get all the best ingredients. The kind of food where you already think the entire week, I will make this upcoming weekend. The kind of food you can get in a good restaurant and now you prepare it yourself.

Food is a as coding, food is even used in many books about writing code. You have to learn to make it, you have to learn to appreciate it and you need a lot fo good sources who can teach you.

Why do we love opensource software, well we can see how it is made and we can change the parts we do not like. It is in most of the cases free (as in free beer) and a lot of people already tried it, improved it to their likings and shared the improvements.

The same go's for open food, where people make nice real nice food and other people adopt and change some things and during time it is getting better and better. So even if you have nothing with opensource you might love openfood. Just give it a try.

Installing bashreduce on Ubuntu

I recently tried to install bashreduce on my Ubuntu machine. This is the reason I needed the git-core installed.

To download the bashreduce sourcode you can execute the following command:

git clone git:// or you can execute git clone in case your firewall is blocking you from downloading it. It will state " Initialized empty Git repository in /home/johan/bashreduce/.git/" so you know where the repository is created for you. moving to ~/bashreduce will give you the location of the sourcecode. Now if you want to make the sourcecode go to ~/bashreduce/brutils and do a make command:

johan@ubuntu-0:~/bashreduce/brutils$ make
cc -O3 -Wall -c -o brp.o brp.c
cc -o brp brp.o
cc -O3 -Wall -c -o brm.o brm.c
cc -o brm brm.o

Now we have to do a make install to get things up and running:

johan@ubuntu-0:~/bashreduce/brutils$ sudo make install
[sudo] password for johan:
install -c brp /usr/local/bin
install -c brm /usr/local/bin

All set and done, you are ready to use bashreduce on your machine.

Installing GIT on Ubuntu Linux

I recently came across a project which used GIT as a version control system. I am normally used that you can download the sourcode from a SVN subversion repository. GIT is just another version control system.

Like most other modern version control systems, Git gives each developer a local copy of the entire development history, and changes are copied from one such repository to another. These changes are imported as additional development branches, and can be merged in the same way as a locally developed branch. Repositories can be easily accessed via the efficient Git protocol (optionally wrapped in ssh for authentication and security) or simply using HTTP - you can publish your repository anywhere without any special webserver configuration required.

Installing GIT on Ubuntu is quite easy you can simply execute a apt-get install git-core to install it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oracle GoldenGate LIVE STANDBY

Oracle announced this week that they closed the deal of buying GoldenGate Software. Another company joins the ranks of Oracle. Looking at the products offered by Goldengate some of them look real nice and promising.

If we look at the data integration and high availability solution products of GoldenGate we can find some very nice products. With those new products Oracle is strengthening his position even more for high availability. For example the life standby solution which enables a even better switchover and synchronize solution for oracle databases. Some of the key benefits named on the website are:

• Minimizes business interruption and data loss by enabling a standby database that is always ready for immediate failover
• Offers seamless, real-time data flow between heterogeneous primary and backup databases
• Updates the primary source system with new transactions that occurred during the outage, once it is back online
• Isolates data corruption during replication to provide a reliable and completely up-to-date standby system
• Eliminates geographical distance constraints
• Provides point-in-time data recovery and selective rollback of erroneous transactions
• Applies changed data to the standby system with a user-defined delay when desired
• Detects source system performance issues and alerts IT teams
• Maximizes backup system value by allowing it to also support real-time reporting

If you look at the course Oracle is taking by hosting applications itself, having its own operating systems and even its own hardware you can expect that Oracle will be making its own SaaS datacenters even more robust. Within a short while we could possible see Oracle running on Sun hardware having Oracle Enterprise Linux as the operating system and having things in sync using the solutions from GoldenGate. I really wonder about the roadmap for their new datacenter. In the video below you can see that Oracle is running NetApp in its datacenter in Austin. However, now Oracle and Sun are getting to know one another I would not be surprised if Oracle will make a shift to Sun Storage solutions in the upcoming time. Sun is providing some very nice storage solutions.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Installing MicroStrategy reporting suite

Some time ago MicroStrategy made me aware of the fact they now provide a free reporting suite. Time to write a blogpost on the installation process.

First of all, download the reporting suite from the website. After some fiddling around I found out that it will ONLY run on a 64-bit environment if you would like to run it on a Linux Platform. So I downloaded Oracle Enterprise Linux 64-bit and installed it on my MacBook Pro using VirtualBox from Sun MicroSystems. When all is setup you are ready to go and install the free reporting suite form MicroStrategy. The idea that you will be able to run the reporting suite from MicroStrategy on a virtual 64-bit Oracle Linux enviroment on top of a macbook pro is somewhat cool, or is this just a geeky thing to like?

First unpack the downloaded file. This is somewhat strange because you get a zip file which holds a tar.gz file. So you have to do a unzip then a gunzip and than a tar -xf and then finally you will have the installation files ready. Somewhat overdone and I am not sure if they gain any compression by doing it like this....

When all is unpacked you have to go to ./Installations/QueryReportingAnalysis_Linux and run setupLinux.bin to get things started. At the first attempt running it on a 32 bit environment you can get a somewhat cryptic error message stating it can not install the Java JRE. This is due to the fact that the JRE is prepacked for a 64-bit environment and not a 32-bit environment. Remember, you HAVE to run a 64-bit environment for this version. That is, if you want to do it by the book. As this is Java you can come around this, question is, do you want to?

If you come arround the 64-bit and 32-bit part you might run into a Xlib error as shown below:

Xlib: Connection to " 0:0" refused by server
Xlib: No Protocol Specified

The installer is unable to run in graphical mode. Try running the installer with the -console or -silent flag.

This however is not strange error and when you have been working with UNIX and Linux you might have come across those kind of things before. It whould be nice if the installer was checking this before and showing you a somewhat more useful message even do it is not a problem in the installer itself. If you do a xclock you will see that you get the same error. You might want to execute a "xhost +localhost" which will take care of localhost being added to access control list.

After all those bumps are solved you will be presented with the installer to be able to install MicroStrategy9 on your Linux system.

Step 1. Pick your language. And I will stay with English for now.
Step 2. Quick introduction, click the next button.

Step 3
. Read the Lincense Agreement and set the radiobutton to accept and click next (only IF you agree, else click cancel).

Step 4. Set a name, company and add your License Key. The license key should have been send to you after downloading the installer. After this click next.

Step 5. Select the home location for MicroStrategy9 free reporting suite and click next.

Step 6. Select the installation location for MicroStrategy9 and click next.

Step 7. Select a location for the logifiles.

Step 8
. Now it is time to select the components you want to install. As I want to test I install it all however if you for example not using blackberry applications this is the place to make sure it is not installed.

Step 9. This is the point you can get a warning that you have not set all kernel parameters correct. In my case this is the semmni parameter. As I already wrote a post about semmni parameters back in 2007 I will not go into this. You can and set the parameters yourself and rerun the setup or you can ask the installer to correct the error.

Step 10. At this point you will get a overview of what will be happening during the install and check all the pre-requisits. Strange thing is that the installer now start to complain about missing packages. For example in this case it is complaining about missing OpenSSL. It would be nice if this was reported in the first step. So you have to quite the installer and try again. However you can ignore it at keep running the installer.

Step 11. You are asked to set the location for the Mobile Web Server JSP installation location. You can just keep it on default and click next.

Step 12. If you are using a weblogic server you have to take action on deployment however if you do not you can skip this step.

Step 13. Select the blackberry client installation folder.

Step 14. Select the location to install the portlets.

Step 15. Select the location to install the J2EE Web Services.

Step 16. review all the things you setup and click install.

Step 17. Extracting of the packages and installing will be done so it is time to get some coffee.

Step 18. File Transfer Completed. Click next to continue.

Step 19. You have to activate your server or it will stop working after 30 days. This is where I lost them. I already created a account, got a key, entered the key and now I have to activate my server? How many times do I have to share information with MicroStrategy before I can use this "Free" product?

Step 20. Enter information to activate your server and click next.

Step 21, give up even more of your privacy and click next. (sigh). You would think they could match your online profile with the given license key to prevent such a thing. Make sure you click the radiobutton on the top as "I am an employee of the licensed company", if not you have to do it all over again for a person who is working for the company who is holding the license. All you have done is gave the information away on who is the person who is installing this program. (this is the most annoying part of the installer and is giving me the creeps).

Step 22, request a activation code. come on guys,... how many times do I need a code, give up personal information and such before I can use this product? You have send me a License Key which I entered in step 4 which is send to my mail address so you can bind my name to this key. Use some BI to figure it out. This is getting very frustrating!

Step 23. Some information about the request. Click Yes to continue.

Step 24. A message that a activation key is send to my mail address. (again? was the license key not enough?)

Step 25. Message that the installation is done and that you can start the MicroStrategy Configuration wizard.

In basics you need to perform a lot of steps which are all needed however the frustrating part is that they want more and more information about you while they already do have information about you which you provided when creating a account to enable you to download the installer in the first place. In my opinion this is one of the parts that should be removed from the installer. This is by the way one of the first installers where you have to enter this much information about yourself except for some shareware programs. Next step is to configure your system and enjoy your free reporting suite.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Social networking more populair

Luis Benitez is blogging about the fact that by 2011 social networking will be More Popular than Face-to-Face Collaboration. At least that is what IBM is stating in one of the youtube movies they posted.

I am not sure if IBm is correct however I think that social networking will create not only new friends online, it will also create new friends offline. If you look for example at the opencoffee meetings you see happening around the world I think that social online networks are making the offline connections stronger instead of weaker. That social networks will start playing a bigger role is without any doubt however it will not have much negative impact on real-life meetings in my opinion.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler

We have waited for it a long time, however Oracle has now finally launched a great tool for data modeling. Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler is a new graphical tool available for Windows, Mac and Linux to develop your data model. One of the great advantages is that you can very quickly drag and drop an entire data model and create a DDL file. DDL stands for Data Definition Language and can be used as a medium between your design tools and the real database where you would like to deploy your model.

One of the great benefits of this tool is that you can not only create a model for an Oracle database, it is also capable of creating DDL files for other databases like Microsoft SQL server and DB2 databases.

In some cases when you create a DDL file from a model you will encounter errors like: “There are # errors Check the design rules for more details”. You can enforce design rules so when working in a larger team than one person on a design you will have to comply with the same rules. You can check the design rules under “Tools” > “Design Rules”. When applying the rules you will be presented with all the violations on the rules so you will be able to repair them and make your model compliant before deploying it to a database instance.

Besides this you will also have the option to engineer from your relational model a logical model. This can be very handy if you first create a logical model and afterwards need to document your model. This can save you a lot of visio time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Opensource movie

We all know opensource software by now and the concept behind it. If you do not like it you can change it, if you spot a but report and or even better repair it. This way the software can stay free (as in free beers) and you will create a better product every time you solve a bug.

A concept that you might not know is openbooks, you can reed some about it on the O'Reilly pages who give away some on how this works and you have the GNU Free Documentation License for example. Books under GFDL can be changed, adopted,... etc etc.. We all know also the concept of Creative Commons. All those ideas have provided a ground for a group of Polish filmmakers to create a "OpenFilm".

You will have access to all the raw material of the Valkaama project and if you do not like the compiled film as it is..... you are free to create your own movie. In my opinion this is a great concept for showing what can happen if you leave a community to decide. I will follow this closely and hope to see a lot of interesting changes to the plot.

If you are interested in the project or just want to catch a free movie, check the Valkaama project site. One of the trailers can be found below:

Sharepoint opensource

Most likely you do have encountered Microsoft sharepoint somewhere in a corporate environment. It can be that it is used as the basis of your companies intranet, a team platform for teams working on different locations and using it to share knowledge. The options are almost endless. One of the great benifits is that you can change a lot and that you can see it as a framework to develop exaclty that what you need. The downside is that you will not be able to change all. It is a product from Micrsoft so it will stay closed source and for some of us (me included) this is somewhat a downside to the product.

If needed some of us woul like to have full access and the ability change whatever fits a particular need. I am currently asked to look into a sharepoint like solution for a non-profit organisation and came accross a product called Cy.nin which is a opensource alternative for Sharepoint.

Cy.nin provides you with almost the same options (and some extra) as you would expect from Microsoft Sharepoint. The difference is that Cy.nin is opensource and you can download the sourcecode for free. Also a commercial version is available and you will have some more support on this version. However, for everyone who starts in a green field situation for a knowledge sharing platform, corporate and non-corporate I can only advise you to have a look. Install it on a Linux box and give it try. You will be supprised with the options and possibilties you find.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Richard Stallman

I received a mail from someone asking me what the deal is with Richard Stallman on my Blog. Well,... I will not say to much about it.... the only thing is that I like to state a homage to Richard because he is one of the founding fathers of opensource and I think he is one of the great inspirations for the GNU developers.

So if anyone wants to know what the deal is with Richard,... he is one of the best developers I have ever encountered and he is the leading man behind GNU.

By the way... if you have any money you are not using... think about GNU! And NO they are not on the stock market, it will buy you a good feeling :-)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Address style Oracle

Oracle Applications let you enter customer, supplier, bank, check, and remit–to addresses in country–specific formats. For example, if you have customers in Germany, you can enter German addresses in the format recommended by the Bundespost, or you can enter addresses for customers in the United Kingdom in the format recommended by the Royal Mail.

This is done by using descriptive flexfields to enter and display address information in the appropriate formats. The flexfield window opens if the country you enter has a flexible address style assigned to it, which lets you enter an address in the layout associated with that country. If there is no address style associated with the country, Oracle Receivables uses the standard address format.

Oracle iStore for example also uses these formats to output the address for example in the checkout pages. An address style tells Oracle Applications how to format and arrange the address fields so that they best suit the address entry requirements of a particular country. Many countries can use the same address style, although a country can only use one address style at a time. You assign address styles to countries using the Countries and Territories window. You can assign one of the address styles provided or you can create your own.

You can create your own by using the using the “Application Developer” responsibilities and selecting the “Flexfield” > “Descriptive” > “Segments” menu. Here you can search for Application: Oracle Receivables & Title: Address, this will give you the Descriptive Flexfield Segments who are taking care of the address style in Oracle.

By using Segments you can add or remove valuesets to the address style. This will result in a new style for input and output of your addresses and will result for example in changes in the Oracle iStore checkout pages.

Bittorrent Google Chrome-OS 1.3.0

As already posted in my previous post about Google Chrome OS, it is coming the long awaited Google OS. The point that it is announced by Google on their blog is already a little giveaway that they are quite far with the development.

A second pointer that they are quite far with the development is that screenshots are available. The current version mentioned is the Google Chrome OS : OS DEV –V1.3.0

Someone took some “screenshots” in the form that it is a photo from his screen ;-) You can find a couple on the website.

The second step you most of the time will see is that a developers version is leaked and can be downloaded. I wonder how long it will take before you can download Oracle Chrome OS via bittorrent.

Google Chrome OS

Google announces a new operating system named Google Chrome OS. As we have learned in the past is that if Google launches something it most of the time is a good product. So should we be happy with a Google OS?

Yes, why:
- It will be opensource so the Linux developers will have access to the sourcecode and can learn how google did things.
- It will be a big momentum against the dominant position of Microsoft.
- It will be a free (no charges) operating system.
- It will be easy to integrate the OS with Google products

No, why:
- Google can become just the next Microsoft.
- It will give Google (possible) the power to also harvest information when you are not online and store this for building more knowledge around their users.
- It might possible defer developers from some of the Linux projects to Google OS projects.

The problem for Google is that it is always has been a very friendly guide for a lot of internet users. You currently see more and more users who are asking questions about the more dominant position of Google. When launching a operating system it can step into the same trap as Microsoft. Even do Google launches great products which I personally love I think they now should be ultra careful to not upset the masses.

I personally cannot wait to have some more information about the new operating system than already published at the moment however I am even more interested in how Google will handle the critics on the system which they will get. Not the comments on the working, because they will be able to handle this, I more interested in the comments on the operating systems impact on a security, privacy and moral front.

Do I think it is good to have a Google OS? Yes, and I can not wait to see it and how it will come into place.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Debian Apache AddHandler mod_python

When you like to create a web-application using python and you are running a Apache webserver you will most likely like to add the handler mod_python. mod_python will allow you to run for example python with a extension like .py and .psp .

The below example is done on a clean default install of a Debian linux server. First thing to do is install the mod_python module in apache. You can do so by executing the following apt-get command.

apt-get install libapache2-mod-python

Now we have mod_python installed however we have to do some manual configuration. open the following file in vi (or any editor you like) /etc/apache2/sites-available/default . Here you have to look for the vhost configuration part you like to add the handler to. As this is a default install you will be looking for the /var/www location.

Here you will have to add the following lines:
AddHandler mod_python .py .psp
PythonHandler mod_python.publisher | .py
PythonHandler mod_python.psp | .psp
PythonDebug On

This will make sure that you have something like this for you vhost configuration:

Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
AllowOverride None
Order allow,deny
allow from all
AddHandler mod_python .py .psp
PythonHandler mod_python.publisher | .py
PythonHandler mod_python.psp | .psp
PythonDebug On

Now you can test it by adding some .py and .psp code to /var/www and call it with a browser. If all is correct you should see the result of your code and not the code itself.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10gR5

Chung Wu reports on his weblog that Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10gR5 is now available for download for all supported operating systems. This now includes 64-bit Windows (x86-64) and HP Tru64 Unix.

You can download OEM from the oracle website or the eDelivery website. If you would like to know what the new features are in you can take a look at this website from Oracle; “New in Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5 (
Some of the things I really like in this version are for example:

Repeat notifications are now supported for all notification methods – OS Command, PL/SQL procedures and SNMP traps. Administrators can customize the format of the e-mail notifications sent by Enterprise Manager to better satisfy their operational requirements. Customizations include the changing of the content and inclusion of target properties and other information that provide more business and operational context about the alert.

Enhanced management and monitoring support for new Oracle Database 11g features such as ADDM for RAC, Real-time SQL Monitoring, Partition Advisor, and Automatic SQL Tuning are provided.

Comprehensive automation provides a simple, user-friendly workflow for capturing production workload, copying it to a test system, setting up software and test databases to the point time of capture, deploying replay clients, orchestrating the replay process, and analyzing the replay results.

Oracle Virtualization (Oracle VM) Management: Virtualization management involves the monitoring, administration, and maintenance of the virtual servers and guest virtual machines in your enterprise. Enterprise Manager is now able to monitor virtualized entities alongside the physical infrastructure and perform complete lifecycle management of virtual servers and software running on them.

Real User Experience Insight: This product maximizes the value of your business critical applications by delivering insight into real end-user experiences through reporting on user traffic requested by, and generated from, your network. It integrates performance analysis and usage analysis into a single offering, enabling business and IT stakeholders to develop a shared understanding into their application users experience. Out-of-the-box support for Siebel and E-Business Suite is provided.