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Journal Journal: amule and amuled

Well, work's not too hectic at the moment, so I thought I'd get a few JE's knocked off while I had a chance.

The trusty P-III upstairs has recently taken on ed2k duties at the Steele household. I'll get round to writing about this at some point, but it used to be Win2k server running emule, and now it's FC5 and it's running...aMule. Emule itself is open source, and probably the most-used successor of the original eDonkey 2000 client. I've been running it for years on low-end hardware with Win2k and it's hardly ever done me wrong. Actually I've been using Emule Plus, but there's very little difference, AFAIK...

This software seems pretty neat. You have to install WxWidgets (whatever they may be), to get it to work, but this didn't present a challenge to me on FC5.

Now, I used to run Emule 24x7 on the Win2k box in a Terminal Services session, and this worked pretty well. I used to need to log in to add ed2k links and, After my failed attempts at getting bandwidth shaping to work, throttle back the bandwidth when my wife wanted to web browse (chuckle). After a couple of weeks of using Amule in FreeNX, I just wasn't geting the same experience. Suspending the session more often than not seemed to cause amule to just stop downloading (though this could have been my imagination), and it was pretty unresponsive (probably more to do with the old hardware it's running on than anything else).

Enter amuled. This is, as the name suggests, a lovely little bit of software from the developer of amule which is simply amule without a GUI. There's a few tricks to getting it working though, hence this JE...

Assuming you've got amuled running, and have tried amulecmd (the CLI tool for amuled), and amuleGUI and/or amuleweb without success

Make sure the following is present in your ~/.aMule/amule.conf and your ~/.aMule/remote.conf for good measure:


You may have to create this line, or set 0 to 1, as apparently Unix sockets are not working in this release (2.1.3). So use good ol' TCP/IP...

Next, enter the md5sum of the password, there's a way to do this on the command line, but I don't have it to hand at the moment. Enter this as:


That's not my actual password hash, BTW :)

With these two bits in place, it should be possible to connect to amuled via amulecmd, amulegui and amuleweb. I found this info tucked away on a forum somewehere, so hopefully, this will help it reach a wider audience.

Goodnight and Good luck :)


Journal Journal: FreeNX

I've been playing around with getting FreeNX working on my new old Fedora Box. (My "trusty" P-III 550, more about this later if anyone's interested). There's plenty of info out there on the subject, but to anyone who's a bit of an X newbie (like me), It can get a bit confusing when it comes to talk of servers and clients.

Now 95% of the Slashdot redership probably know all this already, but I was a command line Linux guy until last June or so, so I'm going to write it down in case anyone like me is stuck. You never know, someone might find it useful

When using the X Window System, you have an X server running. X applications are termed as X "clients". X servers can (with some encouragement) accept connections from X clients on remote machines. In theory all one has to do is set the correct $DISPLAY variable, run the app from the cmd line where that DISPLAY variable is set, and up it pops on the remote machine. There's probably some extra black magic you have to do to get this working through NAT etc, but my work network is all VPN'd up, so doing this from a machine in, say, Norway is as easy as doing it from a machine across the room. So far so useful

The next technology to introduce, and one which some may be familiar with is VNC. On Linux, you run a vncserver as a given user and it starts up a virtual session, which can be made to look exactly like the desktop you would see whilst sitting in front of the machine. On the machine itself, you see nothing, it's all going on behind the scenes. This is useful, but the way it does it is by transmitting bitmaps (compressed or otherwise) across the network, which can slow things down fairly considerably.

FreeNX takes this a step further by doing some funky things (which I still haven't really looked into too much), to compress and generally speed things up. From an end user point of view, it's been said to make X usable over a 56k link. I've yet to see this, but other people have confirmed this sort of thing.

There's plenty of info on how to get it all installed and running. I found some useful stuff here, and there's stuff dotted all round the internet (though this guide seems the most definitive). So, in short:

-Install The server bits:

# yum install freenx

-Or, if you don't have the luxury of a package manager

# rpm -Uvh nx-blah.blah.rpm
# rpm -Uvh freenx-blah.blah.rpm

Here's the science bit: concentrate. Rick Stout makes this fairly clear, but I missed it the first time. Look in /var/lib/nxserver, this is the nx user's home directory as defined in /etc/passwd. In here, you'll see home/.ssh (full path: /var/lib/nxserver/home.ssh). There's a file in here called client.id_dsa.key. Grab this, or its contents at least - you'll need it

Get hold of the client from NoMachine.com. Get it running as directed by Mr Stout, when you get to the "Show the Advanced configuration dialog"-stage, get the file shown above and import this into the "General - Key Management" dialog. This is what I missed, and got very confused about SSH key pairs, whether I had the server/client terminolgy mixed up etc. I kept getting Authentication errors, and 'twas most frustrating. Check you've got the right one by looking at the client.id_dsa.key on the server and what's in the dialog box (or at least the first and last few characters.

Click OK to everything, and you should have your very own FreeNX session running. Congrats!

A few gotchas:

Make sure you run your SSH server on port 22. Obviously this is the default, but I'd been running mine on port 443 because that's the only way I could access my home network from work. NX seemed to get most of the way through its init and then crap out because it couldn't find an SSH server on port 22 at the remote end. I solved this by forwarding the SSH server from port 22 on the machine to port 443 on the router.

Although the Nomachine client claims to have suspend/resume functionality, take this with a pinch of salt. k3b wasn't too happy when a session time out and I logged onto it again. Ah well, I needed some new coasters anyway...

If I think of any more, I'll add to this JE. Until then, happy remote access!

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: Quote of the Day...

...comes courtesy of SCHNews, yer friendly neighbourhood, easily digestible, alternative news source:

"With army recruitment at an all time low and a people used to easy living, conscription is politically impossible and the army just hasn't seemed such a groovy or necessary lifestyle choice since slacking was invented in the sixties."

TFA is about the proliferation of private mercenaries in Iraq. It's an interesting read, but then so is virtually every article they publish...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Come on BBC - The Ganja Debate 2

More news on my so-called life when I get a chance, but first this:

I was absolutely outraged to find this on the *front bloody page* of the BBC News website just now:


For a moment I thought the BBC were publishing Daily Mail content. I was so digusted in fact that I was driven to write the following reply (and I'm really not the most vocal of people, as you can probably tell by my journal), I publish it here because I know I am pissing into the wind by sending it to the BBC, but at least I've got it off my chest. I do hope it's not the shape of things to come:


"First of all let me say that I have the deepest sympathies for the anonymous writer whose son descended into psychosis (drug-induceed or not).

Secondly, I would like to say that I am disgusted that this reactionary opinion/propaganda-piece has been published on the *front page* of the BBC News website. I find it to be completely unblanced, lacking in scientific rigour and has an emotional tone that is completely out of place on what purports to be a news website, and particularly one whose bottom line I contribute to with my licence fee.

The most telling passage is this one "Some experts claim that for many younger people who have "drug induced psychosis", like my son, this sort of mental illness would have happened anyway. That is total rubbish. He was a perfectly normal boy, until this happened.". Well, let me also say that I have known many people who have taken large amounts of cannabis, and while they may not be the most useful members of society, they most certainly are not psychotic. This poor man has been bereaved and shocked by the loss of his son's mental health and is casting around for something or someone to blame it on.

It also seems that this young man ended up taking a rather large amount of the stuff, £5000 a year (around £100 a week) is, I would suggest rather more than the average dope-smoker spends on this particular drug.

To balance this story, I would like a front page story from one of the millions of people, young and old across the country who have had no ill-effects from cannabis and who have gone on to lead happy and productive lives and may even have benefited from taking this drug"


Looking at it now, I wish I'd taken a bit more time to write it, but hey...

What irks me most is that this tripe has been published for all the world to see, on the front page of what is possibly the UK's biggest news website, and it's been done (at least partially) with *my* money. To a large extent I agree with the licence fee, even if I did spend years avoiding paying it, but if this kind of thing goes on, I might have to think twice.



Journal Journal: Brighton!! 2

Well, I'll be.

It appears that there are Brightonian Slashdotters.

My home of over ten years has made the front page of Slashdot on the same day that I've confirmed that I'll be moving out. I moved there somewhat unwittingly in 1994 to go to University, and grew to love it. I've had many first experiences there (apart from the obvious). All of my erm..psychoactive experiences have taken place there (or near there), I met my future wife there and, best of all,my daughter was born there just under two years ago

We're moving west of there to a lovely little town called Arundel in about six weeks time. This is mainly due to having taken another job in Chichester (here) to replace the woefully underpaid one that I had in Brighton (here) about six months ago, and partly because we'll be moving out of a 1-2 bedroom ground floor flat, in what could be called the arse end of Hove, to a 4-bedroom house for an increase in rent of a scant £95. It may work out a bit more expensive actually as the housing benefit in Brighton is quite generous and pays just under half our rent, but then I'm that much closer to work.

It's not without a pang of regret, mostly for many good time past, that I'm upping sticks and moving, but hopefully the grass will be greener in Arundel. Wish me luck!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fat lot of good that did me

Well, here we are nearly six months later :) I'm a little bit older, but not, I fear, any wiser than I was last September when I last wrote anything in here.

I'm in a new job. One which pays qute a bit better, but actually means I have to commute. Hmmm, still not too sure about that, but as we're coming out of winter now, this is a better prospect as I get to come home when it's light.

This job is also quite a bit different, as instead of running around a building supporting lots of Windows machines and 150-odd employees, I'm supporting Linux servers running a bespoke piece of software, mainly over the phone. OH, the company only has around 10 people in it, total. So a bit of a change there as well.

Lots of shit going on, a bit too much to put down right here, right now, but keep an eye and I might just pour some other random scribblings down on here. If ya lucky :)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Gosh darn HTML

One day I'll learn how to use the paragraph tags

Honest : )

User Journal

Journal Journal: Hello world 1

I've just gotten mod points for the third time in as many weeks. Fortune must be smiling on me in some small way.. I've been reading people's journals for a while now, valuing the insight into a little of the lives of various geeks (most recently Alioth's). And I've now decided to keep one myself. Over the coming months I'll probably regale all two of you reading this with many boring facets of my life, but hey, that's what these things are for, isn't it?

If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we would all be millionaires. -- Abigail Van Buren