kwlug is on BigTent!

The kwlug group on BigTent has now been created.

Think yahoo / google groups on steroids. The only such I've come across that allows subgroups.

It includes forums, news, events, photos, files, calendar, reviews, polls, e-mail (I think) and I don't know what all else.

I've, so far, only created forums for General Discussion, kwlug Discussion, and New Member Help. The only event is the Jan. 4 meeting.

If it's useful, go ahead and start using it. I can create sub-things as demand is identified, create group, file, forum, admins/moderators, whatever, and so on.

Installing OpenMeetings on Debian Lenny

On the previous post I showed you what you could do with OpenMeetings. Now it's time to describe how to install it on your own server.

Although you can install it in any version of Linux provided you have access to the proper dependencies, I decided to do the set up on a minimal installation of Debian 5.03 "Lenny", that way I could ensure I identified all the components needed. This will also ensure that if you want to install it in a different Distribution, you have all the elements to do it.

Web conferencing

All the tools and methods described on the previous posts work very well with a small number of people sharing a desktop or collaborating, given that access must be granted and computer addresses shared, they work well within a trusted group.

For situations where you need to collaborate with "untrusted" people or with a large number of people, the best option is to use web conferencing software.


On my post about XDMCP I mentioned that there was a better way to open a X session on a remote computer.

After reading this post you'll see why I left it at the end of this blog therad: NX uses elements and concepts explained on the previous posts (SSH, X forwarding, XDMCP, VNC)

VNC (Virtual Network Computing )

Up to now the graphical solutions I've shown were focused on accessing the X desktop. I've also focused on accessing a session exclusively.

On this post I will talk about a tool that is OS independent. You can share a Mac or Windows or Linux desktop and that allows remote collaboration with multiple people looking and controlling the same desktop.

VNC uses the RFB protocol to transmit keyboard and mouse signals to remote computer and receive back the graphical screen.


XDMCP stands for X Display manager control protocol.

The display system used in Linux was designed from the beginning as a network protocol, where the system and programs run in one computer and the display being shown on another.

The XDMCP protocol allows you to login graphically to a remote computer.

It is not a very fast protocol and these days there are better ways to achieve the same effect in a more efficient manner.

As of Gnome 2.2 and KDE 4 support for XDMCP login on the GDM/KDM login screen was dropped.

SJK pix

Gah. Once again I forgot you can't attach pictures directly to meeting locations.

SJK front

SJK side entrance

SJK on OpenStreetMap


For different reasons, some people prefer Graphical interfaces, whether it is because because they are more comfortable with them or because they may set-up a non technical person for remote access.

On the past two posts I presented command line tools. These tools require, for the most part, remember cryptic parameters, configuration file locations and unless you script them, you need to enter the whole command every time even if you are doing the same day after day.

The solution: Putty


The second command in the series is the one I find more useful and versatile so it also will be the longest post.

Different implementations of SSH will have slightly different features. In this case I will focus on OpenSSH.

To install on the server (Debian/Ubuntu):
sudo aptitude install openssh-server

To install on the server (Redhat/Fedora):
sudo yum install openssh-server

To start/stop/restart under Debian/Ubuntu
sudo /etc/init.d/ssh start


I'll start this series with the simplest and oldest command.

Remember, it is not safe to expose telnet to the internet.

To install on the server (Debian/Ubuntu)
sudo aptitude install telnetd

To start/stop under Debian
Under Debian, the telnet daemon is started by inetd when the port is accessed. This is controlled by the inetd.conf file. If the telnet line is commented out, telnet will not start, otherwise it will start.

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