March 26, 2008

Ask Linux.com

Author: Linux.com Staff

Got a question about Linux or free and open source software? You've come to the right place. In the left column of every page, directly below the Distributions link, you'll find a link labeled "Get Linux help" that will take you to the Linux.com discussion forums -- your best bet for getting Linux-related troubleshooting and advice, whether the issue involves hardware, software, or neither. Here are some examples of threads from recent days -- some with answers, and some still looking for solutions.

FTP site mirroring

User skydiverQ asked for software he could use to synchronize files between his client machine and a Web site:

I am (was?) using FTP Synch for Windows ... but I am not finding anything cost-free for Linux. I am finding a couple that have trial periods that I'd have to buy after giving them a whirl ... but part of the Linux attraction for me was the free aspect, and I haven't had to "buy" anything yet.

Shashank Sharma recommended several robust, full-featured FTP clients for Linux -- gFTP, Kftpgrabber, and FileZilla. User omni814 recommended lftp, which specializes in two-way mirroring.

VPNs and iptables

User vincentdipiazza posed a more involved problem to the Miscellaneous Discussion board, about configuring his Linux firewall to work with a virtual private network (VPN):

I am currently redirecting all traffic through the VPN. This works great. However, I don't want HTTP traffic to go through the VPN; I want all other traffic to go through but not HTTP. So I did a lot of research and I found that I would be able to create another routing table besides main, and then route any specific traffic through that route.... Now, as soon as I issue this command, HTTP traffic doesn't work at all. All other traffic works perfectly. If I try to access a server using SSH it works, but if i try to access the Web nothing happens.

The full details, including vincentdipiazza's routing setup, is described in the thread. And in case the simple thrill of solving the problem isn't enough, Vincent is so eager to find the solution that he is even offering a reward. User Gargravarr posted a possible solution -- disabling rp_filter -- but the jury is still out as to whether it fixes the trouble.

Open questions

If you have a better idea for either skydiverQ or vincentdipiazza, feel free to supply your own input in the appropriate forum thread. And there are always other open questions where you can help a new Linux user overcome a hurdle.

A common question is how to choose the Linux distribution that best fits the user and the available hardware. For example, user khanm78 is looking for advice on which distro best supports hardware with extreme amounts of RAM -- as in 32GB. At the other end of the spectrum, Rolcol is trying to find a distro that will work on a recycled laptop with just 128MB of RAM; so far, Ubuntu, Xubuntu, and Vector Linux have all failed to install.

Your contribution to the forums is always welcome. You don't need any special privileges to post; the very same Linux.com account you use to post comments works in the forums, too.

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