Google Gadgets For Linux

Google has announced that along with the recent release of the Google Desktop for Linux, you can now download the Google Gadgets for Linux.

About Google Gadgets for Linux

Google Gadgets for Linux provides a platform for running desktop gadgets under Linux, catering to the unique needs of Linux users. We are compatible with the gadgets written for Google Desktop for Windows as well as the Universal Gadgets on iGoogle. Following Linux norms, this project will be open-sourced, under the Apache License.

The Windows and Mac versions of Google Desktop has provided gadget hosting functionality on Windows and Mac for a while now and the Linux version of Google Gadgets will extend this platform to Linux users. By enabling cross-platform gadgets, a large library of existing gadgets are immediately available to Linux users. In addition, gadget developers will benefit from a much larger potential user base without having to learn a new API.

There’s two main components to the application: one is a common gadget library responsible for running and presenting a gadget, and the other is a host program that allows the user to choose gadgets and run them on the desktop. Currently we have hosts written for GTK+ and QT, with the GTK+ host offering a sidebar similiar to that of Google Desktop for Windows.

Download Google Gadgets for Linux

http://google-gadgets-for-linux.googlecode.com/files/google-gadgets-for-linux-0.9.1.tar.gz

Educational Linux Software For Children

It is my belief that educational software applications on Linux are an important factor for growth on the Linux desktop. While there have always been educational games for Linux, both on the desktop and on the command line, there is always room for improvement.

I have put together the following collection of educational Linux software available specifically for children. There is a ton of it out there, the following only illustrates a few of the good applications I find useful to child education.

Blinken

Blinken is the KDE version of the well-known game Simon Says. Follow the pattern of sounds and lights as long as you can! Press the start game button to begin. Watch the computer and copy the pattern it makes. Complete the sequence in the right order to win.

GCompris

GCompris is an educational software suite comprising of numerous activities for children aged 2 to 10. Some of the activities are game orientated, but nonetheless still educational. Below you can find a list of categories with some of the activities available in that category.

The KDE Education Project

There is of course a whole suit of applications that KDE has been developing for some time now under the KDE Education Project. From the website, the “primary focus is on schoolchildren aged 3 to 18, and the specialized user interface needs of young users. However, we also have programs to aid teachers in planning lessons, and others that are of interest to university students and anyone else with a desire to learn!” The next two applications are two of my favorites from the KDE Education Project.

KMessedWords

KMessedWords is a simple mind-training game, in which you have to “figure out” the word that has been given in the program. It is recommended for children over 10 years, as the game is solvable harder as it looks.

KWordQuiz

KWordQuiz is the KDE version of the flashcard and vocabulary learning program WordQuiz. KWordQuiz is published under the GPL.

KWordQuiz can read and write WordQuiz files. KWordQuiz also supports the KDE vocabulary document format .kvtml. KWordQuiz features Flashcard, Multiple Choice and Question & Answer functions. Question & Answer also has a special Fill-in-the-blank mode.

mFlash

Multiplication Flash (mFlash) is just a way to save the mess, bother, and expense of paper flashcards.

SchoolsPlay

SchoolsPlay is a collection of educational activities for schools and kids based off the Linux game Childsplay.

TuxMath

Tux of Math Command is an educational math tutor for children starring Tux, the Linux Penguin.

TuxMathScrabble

TuxMathScrabble is a math version of the classic word game “Scrabble” (Trademark of Hasbro,Inc) which challenges kids to construct compound equations and to consider multiple abstract possibilities. There are four skill levels for practice, from basic addition with small numbers, through multiplication and division with larger numbers. The game can be played by 0, 1 or 2 human players.

TuxPaint

Tux Paint is a free drawing program for children ages 3 to 12 (for example, preschool and K-6 in the US, key stages 1 & 2 in the UK). It combines an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who guides children as they use the program.

Tux Typing

Tux Typing is an educational typing tutor for children. It features several different types of gameplay, at a variety of difficulty levels.

Typing Trainer

Typing Trainer is an application suite that is directed towards students, from the novice to those who have the basic knowledge of the kebyoard finger layout, and want to train and exercise their expertese in typing. The design of the latter program, also allows for an environment where students ability in typing, can be examined by the program. And the results stored in a central database and characters given.

TuxWordSmith

TuxWordSmith is similar to the classic word game “Scrabble”, but with unicode support for multiple languages and character sets. The game is currently distributed with forty-two (42) dictionary resources for playing Language[i]-Language[j] “Scrabble”. For example, if configured to use the French-German dictionary, then the distribution of available tiles will be computed based on frequency of occurrence of each character of Language[i] (French), and for each submission the corresponding definition will be given in Language[j] (German)

If Linux game developers can continue to work on creating fun, entertaining, and informative games for children on the Linux desktop, then Linux will continue to strive and grow in the education world. Imagine how much money schools could save by converting to open source platforms and getting rid of their expensive software license fees that are “discounted” for schools.

Batch Renaming using KRename

Peter from FOSSwire has a nice article on using KRename to rename a set of files.

Renaming a big set of files can be a right chore. For example, if you’ve just imported a set of digital photos, they’ll usually have really unhelpful and undescriptive filenames such as DSC_0000.jpg.

KRename is a graphical tool for KDE that attempts to make the process of batch renaming a large set of files a whole lot more bearable.

Read more..

Mirror websites using HTTrack

If you are looking for a reliable software application that will mirror a website for offline use, I suggest HTTrack. It is available for Windows 95/98/NT/2K/XP, Linux/Unix/BSD, and MacOSX.

HTTrack is an easy-to-use offline browser utility. It allows you to download a World Wide website from the Internet to a local directory, building recursively all directories, getting html, images, and other files from the server to your computer. HTTrack arranges the original site’s relative link-structure. Simply open a page of the “mirrored” website in your browser, and you can browse the site from link to link, as if you were viewing it online. HTTrack can also update an existing mirrored site, and resume interrupted downloads. HTTrack is fully configurable, and has an integrated help system.

5 Free Linux Backup Solutions

If you’ve ever lost data due to a system crash, you know how crucial backing up important files can be. Here are 5 Linux Backup Solutions you should check out. I recommend you implement at least one of these Linux Backup Solutions before it’s too late.

rsync

There are tons of Linux users and administrators out there who have customized rsync scripts to handle incremental backups automatically on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. From the manual, rsync is described as a program that behaves in much the same way that rcp does, but has many more options and uses the rsync remote-update protocol to greatly speed up file transfers when the destination file is being updated. The rsync remote-update protocol allows rsync to transfer just the differences between two sets of files across the network connection, using an efficient checksum-search algorithm described in the technical report that accompanies this package.

Here are a few resources for learning how to set up a Linux backup solution using rsync:

http://www.mikerubel.org/computers/rsync_snapshots/

http://finmath.uchicago.edu/~wilder/Security/rsync/

http://www.sanitarium.net/golug/rsync_backups.html

mondorescue

Mondorescue backs up your GNU/Linux server or workstation to tape, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R[W], DVD+R[W], NFS or hard disk partition. In the event of catastrophic data loss, you will be able to restore all of your data [or as much as you want], from bare metal if necessary. Personally, I like using Mondorescue to create DVD disk images of my system periodically. Upon initial installation and configuration of my Linux or Windows machine, I create a DVD disk image with Mondo so that if anything ever gets screwed up, I can pop in the DVD disk and restore back to my original configuration. The mondorescue team is great and the lead developers of the project are very active on the public mailing list offering help to normal users whenever needed.

Simple Backup Suite (Ubuntu, Gnome)

If you’re running Ubuntu Linux and are looking for a quick backup solution, I suggest checking out Simple Backup Suite, or sbackup for short. Simple Backup Suite is a simple backup solution intended for desktop use. It can backup any subset of files and directories. Exclusions can be defined by regular expressions. A maximum individual file size limit can be defined. Backups may be saved to any local and remote directories that are supported by gnome-vfs. There is a Gnome GUI interface for configuration and restore.

Amanda

AMANDA, the Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver, is a backup system that allows the administrator to set up a single master backup server to back up multiple hosts over network to tape drives/changers or disks or optical media. Amanda uses native dump and/or GNU tar facilities and can back up a large number of workstations running multiple versions of Unix. Amanda uses Samba or Cygwin to back up Microsoft Windows desktops and servers.

Bacula

Bacula is a set of computer programs that permits the system administrator to manage backup, recovery, and verification of computer data across a network of computers of different kinds. Bacula can also run entirely upon a single computer and can backup to various types of media, including tape and disk. In technical terms, it is a network Client/Server based backup program. Bacula is relatively easy to use and efficient, while offering many advanced storage management features that make it easy to find and recover lost or damaged files. Due to its modular design, Bacula is scalable from small single computer systems to systems consisting of hundreds of computers located over a large network.

Speed up your Linux System with Preload

Techtrob writes:

Preload is an “adaptive readahead daemon” that runs in the background of your system, and observes what programs you use most often, caching them in order to speed up application load time. By using Preload, you can put unused RAM to good work, and improve the overall performance of your desktop system.

Check out some of the numbers,

Application “Cold” Startup Time Preloaded Startup Time
Desktop Login 30s 23s
OpenOffice.org Writer 15s 7s
Firefox 11s 5s
Evolution 9s 4s
Gedit Text Editor 6s 4s
Gnome Terminal 4s 3s

Read more..

Wine 0.9.56 Released

Wine has released a new version of their popular a program loader capable of running Windows applications on Linux and other POSIX compatible operating systems.

What’s new in this release:
- Proper handling of OpenGL/Direct3D windows with menu bars.
- Stubs for all the d3dx9_xx dlls.
- Several graphics optimizations.
- Many installer fixes.
- Improved MIME message support.
- Lots of bug fixes.

Download the binary packages here.

How To Run Linux Applications in Windows

Interested in running Linux Applications in Windows?  andLinux actually loads the Linux kernel on your Windows desktop and makes it appear as though your Linux applications are running like any other Windows application.

Linux fans that need a Windows app or two can take advantage of WINE, but what about Windows fans that need to run Linux apps? If you’re lucky someone has already ported your favorite Linux app over to Windows, but if they haven’t, you might want to check out andLinux.

Read more.. 

The Best Linux Audio Players


Youtux has an article that covers some of the best Linux audio players in relation to music play only. The list covers the following Linux audio players:

  • XMMS
  • Beep Media Player
  • Audacious
  • BMPx
  • Rhythmbox
  • Banshee
  • Muine
  • Quod Libet
  • Totem
  • AmaroK
  • Listen
  • Exaile
  • Kaffeine
  • Songbird

Read the rest of the article here.

The Best Linux Security Tools

You can never be too safe these days. Viruses, spyware, rootkits, remote exploits, you just never know what security issue is going to be your downfall. That’s why it is important as a Linux administrator to have an understanding of some of the best Linux security tools available to you. In this article, you will learn about ten of the best Linux security tools, and resources on how to use them to your advantage.

  • Nmap Security Scanner
    Nmap, which stands for “Network Mapper” is a free open source utility that allows you to explore and audit a network. From the website: “Nmap uses raw IP packets in novel ways to determine what hosts are available on the network, what services (application name and version) those hosts are offering, what operating systems (and OS versions) they are running, what type of packet filters/firewalls are in use, and dozens of other characteristics.”
    For Nmap installation documents, go here.
    There is a very useful tutorial here on the numerous scan types Nmap allows.
    This PDF is a great print-out reference that includes all of the major Nmap options.
  • Nessus Vulnerability Scanner
    Nessus is a vulnerability scanner that probes your network machines against an up-to-date security vulnerability database, alerting you of security holes, with detailed analysis on how to fix each hole. From the Nessus website: “Nessus is the world’s most popular vulnerability scanner used in over 75,000 organizations world-wide. Many of the world’s largest organizations are realizing significant cost savings by using Nessus to audit business-critical enterprise devices and applications.”
    See an example scan report here.
    For Nessus installation documents, go here.
    A nice technical guide to Nessus can be found here.
    The Nessus knowledge base is here.
  • Clam AntiVirus
    ClamAV is a GPL anti virus toolkit. The main purpose of ClamAV is the integration with mail servers, but can also be used to scan files for viruses on the command line. It provides a flexible and scalable multi-threaded daemon, a command line scanner and a virus database that is kept up to date. The most popular use of ClamAV is on a mail server, tied in with a anti-spam application like Spam Assassin.
    For installation help, go here.
    The Clam AntiVirus wiki can be found here.
    This PDF document covers all you need to know about ClamAV.
  • Snort
    Snort is one of the greatest weapons you can have in the fight against intrusions. Snort is mainly used in three different ways: as a packet sniffer, a packet logger, or as a complete intrusion detection system (IDS). From the website: “Snort is an open source network intrusion prevention system, capable of performing real-time traffic analysis and packet logging on IP networks. It can perform protocol analysis, content searching/matching and can be used to detect a variety of attacks and probes, such as buffer overflows, stealth port scans, CGI attacks, SMB probes, OS fingerprinting attempts, and much more.”
    The official Snort users manual can be found here.
    For a very complete comprehensive list of documents, go here.
  • Chkrootkit
    Chkrootkit is a tool designed to locally check for signs of a root kit on your Linux machine. “Root kits” are basically files that can hide on your machine after a break in that allow the attacker to gain access to your computer in the future.
    This PDF explains adding chkrootkit to your auditing arsenal.
  • Tripwire
    Tripwire is a security and data integrity tool useful for monitoring and alerting on specific file change(s) on a range of systems. Basically, tripwire has the ability to alert you when files have been modified on your system.
    A comprehensive guide to implementing tripwire can be found here.
    This is a nice howto on setting up tripwire.
  • Rootkit Hunter
    Rootkit Hunter is a great tool for analyzing and monitoring the security of your systems. Like Chkrootkit, this tool also checks for rootkits that may be hiding on your machine, as well as other tools on your system that may be potentially dangerous.
    A detailed guide on downloading and installing Rootkit Hunter can be found here.
  • Kismet
    From the website: “Kismet is an 802.11 layer2 wireless network detector, sniffer, and intrusion detection system.” If you have a wireless network, or travel with a laptop, this security tool is a must have.
    This Kismet readme covers just about all you need to know.
    There is also a lot of useful information located within the Kismet forums.
  • Shorewall
    Shorewall is a very powerful and flexible firewall that utilizes iptables and Netfilter. Very flexible configuration allows the firewall to be used in a wide variety of firewall/gateway/router and VPN environments.
    The Shorewall Installation document can be found here.
    Here is a quick start guide to using Shorewall.
    Shorewall Features can be found here.
  • Ethereal (Now called Wireshark)
    Wireshark is a very popular network protocol anyalizer that has a varaiety of security features including a packet browser, live capture and offline analysis and more. Basically, Wireshark captures packets going across the network and displays them to you with as much detail possible. From the users guide: “You could think of a network packet analyzer as a measuring device used to examine what’s going on inside a network cable, just like a voltmeter is used by an electrician to examine what’s going on inside an electric cable (but at a higher level, of course).”
    Here is the Wireshark users guide.
    The Wireshark wiki is here.

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse at ten of the best Linux security tools, it is up to you to install them and put them to use in your network environment.