Monthly Archives: January 2006

Phishing and Spam

Well, I use the internet, I have an e-mail address, and so it is very certain that I get spam – quite a lot of it, something around 80 e-mails a day.

What to do? Well, I use kmail, so the choice is quiet easy: I installed Spamassassin, and went through the very comfortable spam-filter-wizard of KMail. After that, Spamassassin identified the most spam mails, and all I had to do was checking once a day if there was a false positiv.

So long, so good – but still not perfect: I had some phoshing e-mails annoying me again and again. Not that i would click on them, but they were automatically sorted into my e-bay or paypal directories, and I didn’t want it to. So one chance was to train spamassassin against phishing e-mails – but that would be very hard because for example ebay-phishing is very similar to real e-bay mails despite one changed address.
Another problem is that spamassassin works quite slow – it need some time for scanning a e-mail, and KMail is blocked at this time, which is a problem of KMail.

So what to do?

For the second problem I decided to switch over to another spam filter. Although Fedora Core does not come along with another KMail-supported filter, I found a bogofilter package somewhere and decided to give it a try – and it works very fast, much fast than spamassassin. We will see if bogofilter gets slower the better I train it, but from the first experiences it is almost untrained much fast than an untrained Spamassassin, so I’m quite confident about that..

What what to do against Phishing? Luck helped: I installed ClamAV some days ago just to have something if I need it for friends when they send me something. And because I wanted to know if KMail was able to communicate with ClamAV I configured it to scan all my incomming mails.
Some hours later I realized that there was something in the “Virus” directory in KMail – I checked, and found a phishing e-mail without any attachment. That confused me and I scanned the e-mail manually with ClamAV. And see:

$ clamscan Paypal\ Flagged\ Account
Paypal Flagged Account: HTML.Phishing.Bank-159 FOUND

———– SCAN SUMMARY ———–
Known viruses: 42498
Engine version: 0.88
Scanned directories: 0
Scanned files: 1
Infected files: 1
Data scanned: 0.00 MB
Time: 2.108 sec (0 m 2 s)

That’s something I really appreciate! It helps to keep an overview about everything going on in my mail system.
But one note: that can only work if you do not have filters which react to mails comming from “ebay” or “paypal” and stop filtering them after detecting. In this case you have to uncheck the “stop filtering” box somewhere in the filter configuration. Or you could put the virus filter rule on top of all mails. It’s left to you, as you want :-)

MTP – the second

Some months ago I wanted to have a MP3/Ogg player – actually more a Ogg player because almost all my music is Ogg (btw.: I know that the correct term for the audio codec is Vorbis, not Ogg-Vorbis or Ogg, but the file format is ogg, and this is a blog, so I don’t care so strict :-p). I heard lots about the very good Ogg support of iRiver, and decided to buy one of their players. It was in the time when the new T30 came out, and I bought one of the first available – and was deeply disappointed. They used the new mtp-protocol, designed by Microsoft and some others, and at this time only usable with Windows Media Player 10, which requires Windows XP.

I had the hope that iRiver probably would release a new firmware to use the device as an mass storage system, but they answered with no. And there were no help available in the Open Source world because these drivers were just released – I was one of the first people who got one…

Later on I decided to send iRiver to hell, but found satisfaction with a new (btw.: much better) device, an U2 from iAudio.
I’m using this U2 since then and I’m completely satisfied with it. And I started to inform myself a bit more about iAudio and realized that they build quite good players and that these players are mostly working as USB mass storage and have Ogg support – what do you want more?
Actually, I was so pleased that I bought later on a X5 for my sister – a very cool and nice player which has a hard drive and works like a charm – and after all I know technical much superior to the famous iPods.

Time passed by, and I eventually forgot about mtp and this stuff – until today!

Today I was working in the German Wikipedia again, and continued my some days ago started work to polish up all articles about xiph.org, ogg, vorbis, theora etc. While working their I came pass a site which listed several devices which were able to play Ogg. I saw the T30 there again, and decided to give google a quick look if there is something new on the mtp/Linux front – and their is!

Thanks to these form posts I read about the new development version of gphoto2:

Basic MTP support for iRiver mp3 players using ptp driver T10, T20, T30, M415

gphoto2 now comes with mtp support! Ok, built especially for the iRiver devices, but it’s a very good start, and as it is a protocol-“standard” (Microsoft way of standard, not a real standard) it should work on other devices, too.

I am very happy to read this – especially because Linux now has a support which several other Windows versions don’t have (Windows 2k, Windows XP with older Media Players, and so on). Ok, it’s still a development version, but I hope they will release it soon – and if not, whatfor do we normally use Linux distributions? They can provide packages with extra packages!

Yes, on days like this I really like the Open Source community, the development processes, and that it really works! :-)

Google Talk – open federation

I just had a look into google blog and found the new information that google is opening it’s jabber servers for other servers. That means that everyone who has a jabber address can talk to everyone on google talk – pretty nice!

So Google is using open standards, respects them and is extending them if it makes sense – something other companies don’t make at all. And it’s one of the reasons why I still like google (from a technical point of view, not from a censorship point of view), although they could start publishing their software for Linux to be more liked by me ;-)

Let’s see how fast and well the kopete group will implement the jingle plugin, and how well it will interact with KDE. I like to test around :-)

Interview about KDE 4

Seconds before I wanted to shut down my computer (I was already to late because I helped a newbie at irc) I found this interview with Aaron Seigo at LinuxDevCenter.com. It is as intersting as promising, but with one bad news: no Screenshots yet :-(

But I understand why they do it, and as long as I still have my build errors in KDE 4 I cannot provide you with any real Screenshots :-/
But the time will come :-)
Another not-so-nice-but-expected thing in this interview is the beta-release time Seigo expects: Fall 2006, that’s pretty late compared to the fact that Windows Vista will be out then. KDE 4 has to be much better to get enough attention and positive feedback from the press and reviewers… But I just hope that it will be :-)

Related to this I dreamed a little bit about the perfect world – there we would see Windows smashed in the eye-candy and usability wars between Gnome and KDE – both of them would develop in two different directions, and would push each other, while Windows would have no chance to follow both of them :-)

Talking/Dreaming about (useful) eye-candy, I realized that one of the X developers who is strongly involved in the eye-candy development there is a KDE developer (Zack Rusin, as Aaron Seigo employed by Trolltech). I hope that means that we get a well X-integrated KDE. The only thing which is still missing is a X-eye-candy supporting graphics driver for my stupid ATI card. Next time I will try to get a good 3D card which is provided with Open Source drivers. As far as I got it Intel does a quite good job in this area, similar to their wireless lan drivers (which are not fully open source, but better than many other solutions)…

So, for the future: we will get a breathtaking KDE 4 – the question is more about when, and if our hardware is strong enough to support everything ;-)

Filesystems

One thing which never bothered me really are file systems – until I relaized that ext3 does not run with extended attributes and acls by default. You need acls if you want to give extended user rights to special files (useful for larger systems with several users) and you need extended attributes for systems which react immediatly on file or directory changes – like desktop search machines.

You are able to activate them by editing /etc/fstab, I mentioned it somewhen here somewhere, but while I was studying these things I realized that there are several other filesystems which come along with this stuff and where you don’t have to change anything at all.

That made me curious and I started to read about the different file systems. It turned out that for example XFS has better repair tools as ext3 (ext3 has no real repair tools at all…), and I read more and more about it.

When I then switched back from Suse to Fedora Core in the autumn of this year I tried to switch the filesystems, too – and it worked (more or less, due to a bug of FC4 I was unable to have a xfs root partition; but /home and /media/local are now xfs). And it works quite nice.
Ok, to be honest, the only real effect I see is that the acls and extended attributes activated by default. Oh, and it works much faster to “recover” the file system after a hard shutdown.

But it becomes nicer if you have a look at actual benchmarks – these are pretty nice. Ok, I have to admit that it looks like jfs is better than xfs, but even the author says he stays with his xfs because I likes it much more :-)

So my decission is clear, I will try around with xfs more. I actually have the feeling that xfs feels smoother – except when I have to erase a big directory, but that happens seldom ;-)
I must say I would like to test around with jfs too, but selinux is not supported there, so I will stick with xfs – and wait until FC5 is out – I will roll the dices again then :-)

New program managing tools at Fedora Core

kOoLiNuS pointed me to a webpage where you can see a sneak preview of fc5.

The most important things from my point of view are that you can see the new update-tool Pup and a new package installer which shall replace system-config-packages. Although the second mentioned one is still quite ugly and needs a lot of design-polish up it looks very promising, and is very good to hear that we will finally see a new package manager gui. That will help to make it easier for new users.

In a related story, I got an answer on the mentioned bug – it basically said that I have to explain again what I want. It’s a little bit sad because that shows that no one (besides me) thinks that there is a strong need for easy methods of installing new repositories for updating third party software. But well, at least I tried. If I have a better idea, or a better idea how to communicate it, I will try again, hope dies last.

And, btw.: I switched over from knewsticker to akregator. The disadvantage is that I don’t see it anymore when new headlines are given, I have to open the program to read them – but that’s an advantage also because I’m not deviated anymore by the ticker itself. And akregator is better to put some news sources inside which only release new information very seldom, like the ati-driver-ticker, which comes up with an update every two months :-)

New fresh apps in KDE

I thought a bit about it, and I just want to make sure that other people can’t get angry with me:

There were several new things in KDE in the last weeks and months – I’m very well aware of it! But one reason because it just doesn’t come to your mind is that KDE develops normally in form of a complete system. So, for example, with the release of KDE 3.5 we got very many kicker enhancements, konqueror was able to pass the acid2 test, and so on.

And there was akregator which came up some months ago and was very much welcomed – but I must admit that I wasn’t really aware of this program because I never ever use it (although I should probably start with, because I always wish to have knewsticker providing the feature of only showing the news which are new….).

Last but not least: as long as we wait for KDE 4, we will see new releases of KOffice – with even better Open Document support, new tools, enhanced apps and, I hope, mcuh improved guis – enoguh to look forward :-)