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TLS encryption and mutual authentication using syslog-ng Open Source Edition

Collecting log messages is an essential part of managing, maintaining, and troubleshooting IT systems. Since your log messages can contain all kinds of sensitive information, you should make sure that they are kept safe. The easiest way to protect the log messages as they are transferred from your clients to your logserver is to authenticate and encrypt the connection between the client and the server.

This tutorial shows you step-by-step how to create the certificates required to authenticate your server and your clients, and how to configure syslog-ng Open Source Edition (syslog-ng OSE) to send your log messages in an encrypted connection. Installing syslog-ng OSE is not covered, but downloading it for your platform and installing it should be easy.

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Second milestone of Univention Corporate Server 4.0

Today, Univention has released the second milestone of Univention Corporate Server 4.0. This is aimed at channel partners, technology partners and interested parties, who want to take a first glance at the upcoming release of Univention Corporate Server (UCS), which is planned for mid of November 2014.

It already includes a preview of the completely redesigned Univention Management Console, the web-based graphical interface of UCS' infrastructure management system, with the aim to improve overall usability.

It also includes a connection with OpenStack and Amazon EC2 to manage hybrid clouds.

Further information on: Univention forum


StorPool – A Toolkit for Cloud Application Providers

StorPool is a software defined storage solution targeted at cloud application and infrastructure providers. The software runs on a cluster of commodity servers, aggregating the internal storage of those servers into a shared volume. The solution, for now, is only compatible with Linux based systems. For many online application or cloud providers this should not be an issue.

What makes the StorPool solution unique is the flexibility that permeates every aspect of the product. For example, many converged solutions require a lockstep addition of storage and compute. Each time you need to add capacity or processing power you have to buy both, in the form of another server, fully loaded. Most data centers, especially service providers, don’t scale that way. There are times when they need to scale just the compute aspects of their infrastructures and others where they simply need more storage.

StorPool customers can use a converged infrastructure when the data center needs both compute and storage resources. But, if one is needed more than the other, the organization can add dedicated storage nodes or dedicated clients (hosts with no storage). This ability to mix and match between converged, dedicated compute or dedicated storage is rare.

Read more at Storage Switzerland.


CLI Intro: Useful General-Purpose Commands

This tutorial is the second part of the introduction to Linux command-line. In the first chapter I tried to make a brief introduction to the shell and the basic ways of moving around. Here I will talk about several useful commands, which may be needed on a day to day basis if you're working with the shell.


Working with Files and Directories

Creating Directories

The command to create new directories (also called folders) is mkdir. For example, to create a directory called booksinside your home directory, you would issue the following command:

mkdir books

Renaming Files

In Linux, renaming a file is done via the mvcommand, which stands for 'move'. The general format of the command is:


So, if for example you would like to rename the directory created previously, books to mybooks2, you would issue the following command:

mv books mybooks2

Copying Files

The command for copying files and directories is cp. For example, to copy the file /etc/network/interfaces to you home directory you could write the following:

cp /etc/network/interfaces /home/USER

Make sure to replace USER with your username. Or, if we keep in mind that ~is automatically expanded into the home directory of the current user:

cp /etc/network/interfaces ~

And if your current working directory is already your home directory (e.g. /home/USER):

cp /etc/network/interfaces .

The character .expands into the current directory. See the first chapter to see more details on this. You could even use environment variables, which expand into a certain string. In the following example, the variable $HOME holds the path to your home directory:

cp /etc/network/interfaces $HOME
You may have noticed that if you copy a file to a path that ends in a directory (e.g. /home/USER), the file will be copied inside the respective directory, it will not delete nor replace it.

You can copy more than one file at a time, the last argument being the directory where you want the files to be copied:

cp myfile1 myfile2 myfile3 ~/books

This command will copy myfile1, myfile2 and myfile3 from the current working directory into the booksfolder, located inside your home path.

Copying Directories

Directories can be copied in the same fashion as files, only this time we will use the -r switch. This tells the cpcommand to copy directories recursively, meaning all the sub-folders and files of the specified directory.

cp -r Documents ~/books

This command will copy the Documents folder from the current directory inside the booksdirectory located in your home path.

Creating Files

To create empty files, you can use the touchcommand. In a later chapter I will discuss on how to create and edit or modify text files with various editors.

touch myfile

Removing Files

To delete a file, you would use the rmcommand:

rm myfile

To delete a directory, you will also need the -rswitch:

rm -r mybooks

Adding Users

Adding a New User

The command is adduser which is a user-friendly wrapper for the useraddcommand. More on administrating users and groups in a later chapter.

Other Commands

View the Current Date and Time

Use the datecommand for displaying the date and time:

$ date
Thu Oct  2 16:32:58 EEST 2014

In addition, you can use format specifiers to display the date and time differently. For example, you could use the %Y (year), %b (abbreviated month name), %d (number of the day, two digits), %H (hour, 24-hour format), %M (minute), %S (second):

$ date +"%Y %b %d %H:%M:%S"
2014 Oct 02 16:58:44

To change the date and time, use the --setswitch:

sudo date +"%H%M" --set="1656"

The above command will change the hour and minute to 16:56.


The calcommand will display an ASCII calendar of the current month, and will highlight the current day:

Show Your Username

The whoami command will print the username currently logged in. Additionally, you can use the echo $USERcommand, which will use the $USER environment variable to echo (print) its value:

Print System Information

For this we will use the uname command with the -aswitch, to show all the information available:

$ uname -a
Linux mint 3.13.0-24-generic #47-Ubuntu SMP Fri May 2 23:31:42 UTC 2014 i686 i686 i686 GNU/Linux

This shows the kernel version, the date and processor architecture. Except for uname, there are two other commands which print hardware information, lspci which prints all the PCI devices, and inxi, which is a script usually available on Linux Mint systems.

$ inxi
CPU~Dual core Intel Celeron CPU G530 (-MCP-) clocked at 1600.000 Mhz Kernel~3.13.0-24-generic i686 Up~2 days Mem~824.3/3721.2MB HDD~500.1GB(68.9% used) Procs~189 Client~Shell inxi~1.8.4

inxidisplays extended information about the CPU, kernel, memory, hard-disk space and so on.

Show Uptime

The uptimecommand is used to print for how long the system has been running:

$ uptime
 17:21:25 up 2 days, 21:02,  7 users,  load average: 0.28, 0.21, 0.21

Print Text

The echocommand is used to output text:

$ echo "Hello, world!"
Hello, world!

You can use the echo -ecommand to interpret special characters (like in C):

$ echo -e "Hello,\t world\!\n\n"
Hello,   world\!

Here we used a horizontal tab (\t), and two newlines at the end (\n). Notice how the !character is escaped too.

Searching for Commands

Commands and programs usually reside inside the /bin, /sbin and /usr/bin directories. To search for a command in such standard locations, use whereis:

$ whereis cal
cal: /usr/bin/cal /usr/bin/X11/cal /usr/share/man/man1/cal.1.gz

To search for a command in all the possible locations in your $PATH, use which:

$ which
Environment variables such as $HOME, $USER or $PATH are variables which will be expanded (replaced) by the shell with the string that they hold. For example, the $PATH variable contains all the locations in which commands reside, separated by the : character. Try echo $PATH to see it.

Show File Types

Use the typecommand for this:

$ file track01.ogg 
track01.ogg: Ogg data, Vorbis audio, stereo, 44100 Hz, ~192000 bps, created by: Xiph.Org libVorbis I (1.1.0 RC1)
$ file cover.png 
cover.png: PNG image data, 320 x 317, 8-bit/color RGBA, non-interlaced

Getting Help

Usually commands have a manual page, so for any command you could use man COMMANDto read a detailed help about what it does and how to use it. The manual page lists all the parameters you can pass to the command. Once you've opened a manual page, you can navigate through it via the arrows, Ctrl+P or Ctrl+N to read the previous and respectively, next line, or Q to quit and close the manual page and return to the shell.

Commands usually have a -h or --help parameter, which will display a short description on what the command does and a compact list of parameters that it takes.

More on getting help in a following chapter.

CLI Intro: Useful General-Purpose Commands


SMPlayer 14.9 Review – One of the Best Movie Players for Linux

SMPlayer is a powerful video player for Linux and Windows, based on MPlayer, with countless features and options. Together with VLC, I believe there is no match for it when it comes to movie players.


In this article I will overview the main things that make SMPlayer stand out of the crowd, putting it on the top of the video playback applications list. SMPlayer is written in Qt 4.8 and uses MPlayer2 for video playback. Personally I have only words of praise for this player, which is why I decided to write this review. So let’s proceed and see what the most important features of SMPlayer are.

SMPlayer 14.9 Review – One of the Best Movie Players for Linux


Protect yourself from the big bad shellshock

It has been announced on Wednesday, that a serious vulnerability has been found in the bash program installed on Linux, Unix and MacOSX systems. Because this bug is a hidden open-door to your system, hackers can gain access to your system from the internet, a run programs completely taking over the system.

This is a serious problem, that if not handled quickly, and properly, will cause serious damage to your computer and Internet infrastructures since most of the computers servicing the Internet are running a Linux or Unix OS.

Heed these warnings. Read these links thoroughly and make sure you update your Linux, Unix and MacOS X systems with the latest patch for bash. Start patching immediately.


Convergence and the Mobile Desktop

For years I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of 'Ubuntu Edge' or some similarly convergent distribution of Linux capable of running my Android applications as well as a full Linux desktop.


The idea of docking my smartphone (now phablet) to get a full Linux desktop including all the applications I am accustomed to using with all the responsiveness and flexibility that we have come to expect from mature distributions such as we get currently from the open source community, is from a business perspective, the return on investment that is necessary when investing into ever more expensive technology.

Consider the cost of a laptop, tablet, and desktop in addition to the smartphone and game console we already own. Whatever your personal mix, these technologies are already blurring the lines between themselves. To bring Linux mainstream has proven a challenge in the last decades, and in my personal opinion it is because Linux has failed to differentiate itself as the innovative leader it could or should be.

Here is an opportunity to leap ahead of the competition and get to market with a fully interoperable smartphone/phablet/tablet OS that brings the flexibility of Linux/Android to the existing hardware (HD/4K anyone?) that we own.


Enterprises are Moving to the Cloud

Cloud computing is growing rapidly. Businesses are moving to the cloud at an ever-increasing rate for many reasons. The agile ability to access applications from anywhere, anytime is a huge advantage for professionals. Dramatic cost savings are achieved by eliminating expensive hardware and software purchases, upkeep, and IT staff funding. Budgets are even improved by a reduction in overall power and utility bills when switching to the cloud. Many companies who have yet to make the switch are wondering if it will be worthwhile for them to consider.

Microsoft has recently announced that they will be ending support for the Server 2003 operating system. While this did not come as a shock to most, it most certainly served as a wake-up call. There are an estimated 2.6 million hot closets housing a Server 2003 operating system in businesses around the globe, and all will need to migrate over the next 8 months. The businesses will be faced with the decision: purchase brand new expensive hardware or look for an alternative solution at a much more affordable monthly rate. Cloud adoption is expected to climb dramatically during this time period as the hosted solution is more and more feasible, reliable, and secure.

As more and more businesses adopt cloud hosting services, studies and surveys are being conducted to determine satisfaction rates. Software as a Service (Saas) implementation is a huge decision for a company to make and therefore professionals are looking for the opinions of others who have already made the move. TechRepublic recently conducted a study of existing SaaS users, and the results were staggering. 91% of professionals surveyed report that their cloud computing solutions have either met or exceeded expectations.

These results are quite encouraging for businesses of all sizes who are considering making the move to the cloud. Software hosting is proving to be just as advertised and is benefiting businesses across the board. Many versions of business critical applications are available in the cloud. From SAP to your CRM of choice, QuickBooks hosting or Sage 50 hosting, all enterprise apps imaginable can be found in the cloud. This new data should help professionals make the decision to adopt a hosted software platform for their company's applications and data.


New computing centers for Afghanistan with UCS

The center for international and intercultural communication (ZiiK) at the Technical University Berlin (TU) is dedicated to offering students from developing countries long-term perspectives focussing hereby on sustainable help in information technology.

Since 2002, Dr. Nazir Peroz, born in Afghanistan and Director of the Ziik, supervised the setup of new IT centers in five Afghan universities with the use of open source software. “From the beginning, our aim was always to create something that will continue to help Afghanistan in the long term as well, something which opens up perspectives for the future for the nation, and offers the people hope”, explained Peroz. “The IT sector is ideal for achieving these goals because it is indispensable for modern economy on the one hand and requires lower investments in hardware than other branches of trade on the other.”

When the team arrived in Kabul first in 2002, the situation was dreadful. After decades of war and the tyranny of the Taliban, there was not much of the academic education system left. In the whole of the capital’s college there were just a handful of old computers, some of which didn’t even work anymore. When establishing the computer centers, the Germano-Afghan project employed Open Source software right from the start. “Naturally, the license costs were the most important reason for choosing Open Source software”, said Daniel Tippmann, Project Planner and Coordinator at the ZiiK.

As to the operating system to use, the team wanted a system, which puts the Afghan staff in a position to perform all the necessary work with as little training as possible and if possible without our support. Over the years, the ZiiK team and its Afghan partners tried out numerous different operating systems, primarily different Linux distributions. The youngest of the computer centers, the IT Center Kandahar (ITCQ), was the first to set up all the servers on the basis of Univention Corporate Server (UCS), which proved to be the best for them in terms of ease of use, flexibility and scope of action due to its App Center, which offers the installation and integration of numerous other proven open source solutions. Until the end of 2015, the other four universities will follow and migrate completely to UCS.

More information at: IT for Afghanistan: German project supports the training of young IT professionals


Introduction of Huawei SSR1PCXLL401 board

SSR1PCXLL401 is a SDH service board which serve in Huawei OSN 1500B equipment. You could discover several names of this board, these are SSR1PCXLL4, SSR1PCXLL401, SSRD0PCXL411. In fact they describe the same item and you can use any name of it to search on the internet. Many professional HUAWEI transmission product suppliers buy this board such as thunder-link international. Reports various alarms and performance events, which facilitates the management and maintenance of the equipment. Four parts compose of SSR1PCXLL401, namely, SDH Processing Unit whose function is transmits and receives 1xSTM-1/STM-4/STM-16 optical signals; SCC Unit works on Configures and monitors services, monitors the service performance,and collects the information about the performance events and alarms; Cross-Connect Unit includes Higher order cross-connect capacity: 60(Gbit/s); Lower order cross-connect capacity: 20(Gbit/s), which matters a lot to the customers; the forth one Clock Unit provides the standard system synchronization clock. The SSR1PCXLL401 is available in one functional version, that is R1. It is used in the OSN 1500B Transmits and receives 1xSTM-1/STM-4/STM-16 optical signals. It converts the received optical signals into electrical signals and sends the electrical signals to the cross-connect side. In addition, it also converts the electrical signals sent from the cross-connect side into optical signals and transmits the optical signals. The SSR1PCXLL401 could be installed in slots 4 and 5 in the subrack. By default, slot 4 is the slot for the working board, and slot 5 is the slot for the protection board. The feature code 401 of the SSR1PCXLL401 indicates the type of optical interface is S-4.1. Some parameters that differ from the series board of SSR1PCXLL401 can be referred as follows: (S-4.1) , its transmission distance is 2 ~ 15 km; (L-4.1 ), 20~40km; (L-4.2), 50~80km and (Ve-4.2 ), 50~100km.

Password Management Market Trends and Forecast 2014

Password Management Market

Passwords act as the authentication tool and a defense against attempts of unauthorized access. Password management has emerged as a major segment of identity management market. Human generated passwords are often algorithmically weak and prone to attacks. In the recent years, the importance of password management (also known as sensitive or shared password management or password vaulting) has grown enormously for both the enterprise and individual users owing to increased number of password secured accounts including financial, social, and official, among others. It is difficult for users or enterprise to remember all the passwords. Rise in the complexity and number of complex systems being deployed across the organizations, and strict compliance requirements and rules for generating and changing passwords makes it complicated to manage the passwords. Further, the password management problems often cause expensive delays and loss of productivity. Such issues are easily solved while using password management solutions.

Browse Full Report @

Moreover, increased instances of attacks by hackers have increased concerns toward password security and this is helping in growing demand for password management solutions. The password management products and solutions are deployed either on-premise environment or in hosted environment over cloud. The rapidly growing cloud market presents a great opportunity in the hosted password management market.

Low success of password self-service projects among end-users until now is a key concern among industry players. However, as the awareness toward the benefits of deploying such a model is increasing it is anticipated that self-service solutions would find increasing demand during the coming years. Also, growing customization, synchronization, and extension requirements are driving the demand for more extensive and sophisticated password management solutions. In order to provide improved password management and security to account, industry players such as Microsoft and Google are offering newer ways for managing passwords such as USB tokens and automatic encrypted solutions.

Two major segments of password management market are privileged password management and self services password management. Self service password management provides features such as management and resetting of passwords to the employees without needing the help of helpdesks. This helps in saving the valuable time of the IT personnel and reduces cost. The privileged password management solutions offer higher security to passwords by maintaining the passwords of privileged users deploying various methods including frequent randomization of passwords, automated password resets and privileged session recording. Key end-use sectors in this market include banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), telecom and IT, energy and utility, public sector, manufacturing, education, healthcare and life sciences, education and retail and distribution, among others.

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