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Libferris and SQLite--A Powerful Combination, Part 1

The libferris virtual filesystem allows you to mount things that are not normally thought of as filesystems. Examples include XML files, Berkeley db4 ISAM files, relational databases, system log files, as well as applications like Firefox, Evolution, XWindow, emacs, and Amarok.
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Architecture + Testing

SyncEvolution comes with a CPPUnit based test suite. The "client-test" test runner executes the tests, which consist of both traditional unit tests as well as integration tests. Compilation determines which tests are available. See the HACKING document for details. This page...
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How To Use An mp3 Sort Script To Organize Your Media On Linux

Organizing your .mp3 files may seem like an impossible task, but on Linux, it's as easy as a quick script. Here is a guide to how .mp3 sort scripts work and where to download and customize your own.
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Mozilla Calendar for Linux

The Mozilla project is best known for its widespread Firefox browser, a cross-platform, extensible, and open source Web tool used by millions. The project applied the same development model to building its email client Thunderbird, which shares many of the same underlying technologies and design principles used in Firefox. The third but perhaps least-known application in the Mozilla suite is the Mozilla calendar client--a cross-platform tool for managing multiple local and remote calendars, tracking to-do tasks, and synchronizing with other users. The stand-alone version of the calendar is called Sunbird, but most users choose the Lightning build instead, an extension for Thunderbird that integrates calendar functions into the email client.


You can install the Lightning extension by downloading the XPI file from the extension's page at Inside Thunderbird, select the Add-ons manager from the Tools menu, hit the Install button, and select the newly-downloaded XPI. When you restart Thunderbird, you will see the calendar components built right into the user interface and menus. The bottom left-hand corner of the window contains an application switcher, so you can jump between the calendar view, your email, and the task list organizer.

In the calendar view, the left-hand sidebar holds a small month-view widget and a list of all of the available calendars tied to your profile. By default, you have just one: "Home." You can add events to this calendar as desired with the New Event button--Lightning supports single and repeating events, timed and all-day events, user-defined event categories, adjustable privacy levels, automatic reminders, and sending invitation requests to people in your address book.

You can gain even more flexibility by adding additional calendars, to track work and group events separately, for example. Your calendars will be color-coded to distinguish between them in the main calendar views, and you can show or hide them by toggling the check box in the left-hand sidebar's list. To create a new calendar, chose New Calendar from the Calendar menu.

The calendar creation tool allows you to create either a local or network calendar; a local calendar like Home will be accessible only on the computer on which it was created. Network calendars provide an even greater level of convenience--you can connect to the same set of network calendars from multiple locations and never worry about changes getting out of sync. Lightning supports three remote calendar protocols out of the box: iCalendar, CalDAV, and Web Calendar Access Protocol (WCAP). iCalendar is an Internet standard usually recognized by the .ICS extension on its calendar feeds, and requiring an iCalendar server on the remote end. CalDAV uses a WebDAV server to remotely store calendar files. WCAP is an XML-and-HTTP based protocol that incorporates elements from iCalendar, but is mostly used by the Sun Java Calendar Server.

To add a network calendar of any kind to your profile, you will need to first set up the calendar on the remote calendar server, then copy the provided URL into Lightning's calendar creation tool. This can be a personal calendar that you alone use, a shared calendar to which other people have read-write access, or a read-only feed such as a national holiday calendar or sporting event schedule.

The task manager provides a category-based to-do list system based on the iCalendar VTODO standard. Because VTODO tasks are part of iCalendar, they can incorporate many of the same features, such as categories, privacy settings, reminders, and repetition. Tasks also have a "status" property with which you can track progress towards completion; Lightning allows you to sort and view tasks based on their current status just like other properties. Note also that because tasks are an iCalendar feature, each task must belong to a particular calendar and can only belong to one calendar. That may seem counterintuitive at first, as tasks are presented separately from calendar events, so be sure to get into the habit of checking the calendar setting of each new task if you use multiple calendars to sort events.

Extensions and Providers

Because Lightning is Mozilla-based, it supports extensions, just as Firefox and Thunderbird do. There are Lightning extensions that change the way the application behaves, such as adding additional reminder variations, that support additional data formats, such as the Hebrew calendar or .VCS files, or that add new functionality like importing birthdays from your address book contacts.

Perhaps the most useful extensions, though, are those that enable you to connect to additional calendar services. The Provider for Google Calendar extension adds a button to the new calendar creation tool that lets you subscribe to Google Calendar feeds, with full two-way editing support exactly like the built-in network calendar types. Additional services have their own "provider" extensions, like Remember The Milk.

Sunbird and More

Most of calendaring features found in the Lightning extension are also available in the stand-alone Sunbird application, minus those that deal with address book integration. If you do not use Thunderbird or simply prefer a stand-alone calendar, you can try Sunbird. It is available as a download from and can often be found in the package management system of major Linux distributions. Sunbird supports the same calendaring extensions as Lightning, including the remote calendar providers.

Beware, though, that the future of Sunbird as a stand-alone product is uncertain. The project announced that the recent 0.9 release would be the last Sunbird build until further notice. The reasons were two-fold: first, the project had too few developers to maintain separate builds for both Sunbird and Lightning, and second, over the course of the calendar project's life, the vast majority of downloads were of the Lightning variant. The situation could change, but until the project makes an announcement to that effect, Sunbird 0.9 may be the last release for the foreseeable future.

Whichever variation you choose, you will find additional documentation on the Mozilla Calendar wiki. The project also maintains a list of other applications and calendar servers known to work well with Sunbird and Lightning. If you need help with a particular feature of Sunbird or Lightning, the mozillaZine site hosts an active discussion forum where both developers and users meet to talk about the project and its ongoing progress.


Flickr Clients on Linux

The Flickr photo-sharing Web site is popular not just for its social networking features, but because it makes its APIs available to outside software developers so it can be integrated into other applications. On Linux, several popular photography and graphics applications support Flickr, and there are special-purpose Flickr applications to choose from, too.

On the Web

There are several open source plugins for the Firefox browser that make using the Flickr Web site easier. Fireflix and FlickrFox each add a sidebar to your browser window with photo uploading, management, and search controls. Flickr Gallery Plus adds features to Flickr galleries, allowing you to more easily navigate between pictures with the mouse or keyboard. Better Flickr is a set of Greasemonkey scripts with which you can add functionality to several part of the site: replying to comments, magnifying individual photos, and showing extra information on photo thumbnails and page menus. In addition, there are plenty of Firefox extensions that support specialty tasks using Flickr as a back-end, such as slideshow generation. You can find them all in the Photos, Music and Videos section of

Uploading to Flickr

Flickr support is also built in to the major Linux desktop photo management applications. Digikam and F-Spot can export selected photos to Flickr directly, saving you the intermediate step of saving an edit copy to disk, only to upload it via the Web browser. Picasa can export to Flickr with the addition of the picasa2flickr plugin. Beyond these "big three" applications, many other Linux photo management applications either have native Flickr support or can provide it with a plugin.

If you don't use any of the above applications, or if you need to upload images to Flickr that you create elsewhere (such as in GIMP, Krita, or Inkscape), a stand-alone Flickr uploader may better suit your workflow. The mostly widely-used Flickr upload tools are Desktop Flickr Organizer (DFO), jUploadr, and KFlickr. jUploader is a Java program, so you will need a Java runtime in order to use it. DFO is a GTK+ application that integrates well with the GNOME desktop, and KFlickr is meant to fit in with KDE. All allow you to upload your photos directly from your computer to Flickr, with control over titles, descriptions, privacy, and tags. They differ slightly in the features supported--KFlickr supports connecting to multiple Flickr user accounts, for example, while DFO supports remotely editing and deleting photos from the Flickr account--so check out each to see if a particular feature stands out to meet your needs.

Other options are available, though, such as the command-line Perl uploader flickr_upload, or the lightweight, Python-based Kphotobymail and Postr, which are built for KDE and GNOME desktops, respectively.

Downloading from Flickr

Uploading your content to Flickr is only half the fun; storing your images on Flickr for safekeeping and exploring images from your friends (or searching for unique content) are possible from the desktop, too. Since Flickr makes it easy to tag content with Creative Commons licenses, the site is also a good source of free, share-able stock photography for presentations, desktop wallpaper, or slideshows.

FlickrEdit is the most full-featured download tool; it is a Java application that started out under the name FlickrBackup, designed to quickly download your entire Flickr photo archive. The new program does more, including metadata editing and support for sets, favorites, and groups. FlickrGettr is a lighter, more streamlined alternative written in Perl, and that can be used from the command line, with a graphical interface, or run as a CGI Web application.

Webilder and Wally are both utilities designed to grab images from Flickr and use them as your background wallpaper. Both work with KDE and GNOME, as well as other Linux desktop environments. With these applications, you are not limited to just your own photos: you can automatically search for keywords in descriptions and tags to find interesting photos from any user on Flickr. If you use KDE 4.0 or later, you can also try out the Flickr On Plasma widget, which runs a slideshow of Flickr photos tagged as "interesting."

Finally, the ultimate integration between Flickr and the Linux desktop is flickrfs, a filesystem module for FUSE. Flickrfs links Flickr content directly into your computer's filesystem, so that your remote photos appear to be local files to all of the applications on your computer.

Flickrfs's primary use case is to give you seamless access to your photos from every application you use--file manager, image editor, even command-line script. It can synchronize your Flickr photos with local directories, and automatically creates a sets directory so that you can move images into and out of sets easily.

It also creates a tags directory, with personal and public subdirectories beneath it. The tags/personal/ directory allows you to search for photos using each of your tags, but the tags/public directory searches across Flickr. To make a search, you simply create a folder inside tags/public or tags/personal with the name of the tag you are searching for. When you open the folder, it will automatically be filled with all of the matching images flickfs can find.

There are more Linux applications that support Flickr integration every day. Uploaders, downloaders, and most importantly, direct support for Flickr in general purpose applications. Fortunately, you can find hands-on help with almost any of these applications through your distribution's user forum--or by visiting Flickr and finding the group dedicated to the application you use.


Linux Security Tools: A Primer

If you are new to the Linux operating system, then the whole of Linux security will be untapped territory to you. If you are migrating from Windows, you are most likely accustomed to the standard Firewall/Virus Protection/Malware Protection combinations. You're used to paying for security and you're used to that feeling of panic that sets in every time a new virus is released into the wild. The idea of security might have been one of the biggest selling points for Linux to you... and rightfully so.

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