Linux Penguin

Linux Security – Firewall Management With IPTABLES

We have talked about security in this space before, in more abstract terms. More specifically, we are going to review the basic setup and some simple access rules using the venerable and ever popular ‘iptables’ firewall available for every Linux distribution around.

Firewall Service Management
Depending on the distribution, you are able to manage your firewall service a number of ways. With the RPM based distributions (Red Hat, CentOS, Fedora), you can start the firewall as follows:
sudo service iptables start
and you can set it to autostart thereafter by executing:
sudo chkconfig iptables on

With Debian based distributions (Debian, Ubuntu and its variants and Mint), you manage both the start and autostart using a script called ‘ufw’ as follows:
sudo ufw enable

This will both start the firewall with default chain rulesets in place as well as configure the firewall to autostart on system boot. The valid states for ‘ufw’ are [enable/disable/status], status will let you know whether the firewall is started and configured to start on boot.

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Cloud Storage for Your Linux Platform


Most of us are storing some of our files (pictures, music, documents, etc) in the cloud in one way or another. What we are going to talk about today is some of the cloud storage providers that support Linux integration Рsome directly with an install-able client, some by implementing access through standard technologies. Finally, we will point out those who (at least at this point) do not seem to want the Linux crowd to soil their premises with our footprints.

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Ubuntu – Secure Remote Desktop Connectivity

Accessing your desktop remotely is a convenience that we all appreciate. Many people set up VNC Server and an associated client in order to have their full ‘X’ capable desktop with them wherever they have a network connection. What some do not realize is that VNC as a protocol is extremely insecure and very susceptible to MitM snooping (Man in the Middle) since much of the text back and forth between client and server is transmitted as clear text. Today we are going to install and configure a simple VNC Server, access it with a VNC client and then add some security by using it over SSH.

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Unplugged – Replace Your Cable Provider with Linux Enabled Media

The title of this article says it all. Can we replace our traditional media providers (cable, satellite or other) with nothing more than online media, enabled for Linux? I think we can get closer to an answer that we have been able to at any point in the recent past. Depending on your goals (cost reduction, time shift, diversity of programming), I believe we can provide some guidance and information that will enable you to make the decision to unplug.

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Ubuntu – Steam Client Installation and Review

Some time ago, Valve announced that they were releasing a Steam Client targeted at Linux systems. At the time, it was rumored that their first Linux playable game internally (other than independent titles that already had Linux versions) was Left 4 Dead. Although we have not seen the rumored L4D port, we do now have a full blown Steam client for Ubuntu Linux (at least that is the officially supported distribution, however, I have seen clients working in Mint, Fedora and OpenSUSE). Here, we are going to talk about the installation and configuration of the client, along with some of the ‘gotchas’ involved. We will then talk about a couple of the games available and some of the lessons learned during the client use and subsequent gameplay.

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Ubuntu Linux – Using KDE, Gnome, Cinnamon and XFCE

Without getting into any political reviews of different flavors of Ubuntu (Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Kubuntu, AdInfinitubuntu), we are going to look at starting with the default Ubuntu installation with Unity and then branching out to include KDE, Gnome, Cinnamon and XFCE. We will make all of them available for use and will be able to choose amongst any of them at sign in so let’s get started!

Desktop, Desktop, Wherefore Art Thou Desktop?
As you know, by default as of Ubuntu 11.04, Unity is the desktop we are greeted with after a fresh install.

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Ubuntu Linux – Apache and Self Signed Certificates

Whether it is on your desktop or server installation of Ubuntu, there will come a time that you may need to work with Apache and certificates. We will go into full certificates from Certificate Authorities (like Verisign or Entrust) as well as exploring some of the ‘Open Source’ Certificate Authorities (read: free) in a later article. Today we are discussing how to prepare Apache to answer HTTPS requests in the VHOSTS as well as installing and configuring the pieces. Finally, we will install a self signed certificate and access our system over HTTPS to verify it all works.

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Ubuntu Performance – Troubleshooting

So now that our Linux distribution is installed, things just don’t seem “right”. Today we will be talking about ways to troubleshoot performance on our Linux installation. Although today’s article will have a decidedly Ubuntu slant, almost everything we will discuss equally applies to every distribution. If there are distribution specific notes for any of the commands, I will make an effort to point that out (or feel free to leave anything you notice in the comments and I will include them as appropriate).

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Tools to Add Life to Your Shell Scripts

One of the more commonly overlooked items when creating shell scripts is their ability to do more than just output to the command line. The misconception that a well written script cannot create or display more advanced GUI controls (progress bars, warning boxes, status updates, etc) will be addressed in some detail. We are going to look at several ways that you can use your shell scripts in a more user friendly manner.

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Linux Penguin

Top Tools for Every System Administrator's Toolbox

As anyone who has worked in the Open Source World for some time, I have stocked my toolbox with a large number of common programs and utilities that help get the job done. All major distributions have each of the tools I am going to talk about either installed by default during setup or available via their core repositories post installation.

These tools will provide us the information and metrics to not only see what is going on with our system but will help with the analysis necessary when performance or stability becomes an issue. We are going to look at the ‘Top’ tools for finding disk, CPU, network and/or other system bottlenecks as well as some that just answer some basic questions. By no means is this initial list anywhere near comprehensive. I intend to follow up this article with several others introducing other tools and eventually diving in deeper with the more complex applications.

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