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Desktop Linux Showdown

Last week I gave a presentation at LinuxCon in sunny Boston entitled Desktop Linux Distribution Showdown. The premise was to compare the three most popular desktop distributions to find out which is most user-friendly. It wasn't easy, and the results might (or might not) surprise you.

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Weekend Project: Personal Area Networking with Bluetooth

Although most people think about Bluetooth in its "cable replacement" uses, such as with wireless audio headsets and keyboards, the Bluetooth standard defines a range of protocols and profiles optimized for specific uses. One of the most useful is the Personal Area Networking (PAN) profile, which encapsulates network-layer traffic, such as IP. This means you can use PAN to set up a cheap network access point over a Bluetooth adapter — the bandwidth will not be up to 802.11 speeds but it does offer some interesting properties, such as being invisible to wardrivers in the parking lot, and enabling Internet access on mobile devices without WiFi. To set up PAN on your Linux machine, start with a Bluetooth adapter and a working kernel.

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The Perfect Server - CentOS 5.5 x86_64

This tutorial shows how to set up a CentOS 5.5 server (x86_64) that offers all services needed by ISPs and web hosters: Apache web server (SSL-capable), Postfix mail server with SMTP-AUTH and TLS, BIND DNS server

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Weekend Project: Secure Instant Messaging with Off The Record

Instant messaging, just like email or VoIP traffic, needs to be secure from eavesdroppers, man-in-the-middle attackers, and other security threats. Many IM clients can tunnel messages over transport layer security (TLS) to provide encryption, including XMPP (a.k.a. Jabber), IRC, and the OSCAR protocol used by AIM. TLS provides authentication and encryption at a low level, but a considerably secure solution for IM is a protocol called Off The Record (OTR). Pull up a chair and secure your instant messaging today.

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How to join a Ubuntu machine to a Windows domain

No matter how you try, sometimes you can't escape the clutches of Microsoft and Windows. You might have a fortress of Linux solitude at home, but unless you are one of the lucky ones working in a Linux-only environment, you are going to have to interact with Windows.

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