Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sun opens Java under the GPL license

Finally, the day has come.
Yesterday, in a historic move, Sun opened the Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE), Java Platform Micro Edition (Java ME), and Java Platform Enterprise Edition (Java EE) —under the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2).

Friday, November 10, 2006

What is a thin client, really ?

Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz wrote on his blog this definition about thin clients:

Industry convention says that apps written to browsers are defined to be "thin." But by that definition, thin really equates to "using someone else's runtime environment" -- in that the browser itself has to be present for the service to be rendered. And last I checked, browsers require operating systems and windowing environments. Not exactly thin. So in my book, it's inaccurate to say Google or YouTube are "thin clients" -- they're services that leverage someone else's thick client. A browser.

This is really true and seems to reflect a feeling that I've had already.

Why do people call thin client a small computer which has an operating system (Windows CE, XPe, or Linux, it doesn't matter) installed in a local media, perhaps a flash memory ?
And think that it's not only an operating system, but applications too.
Like the web browser.

Do they call it thin client because the disk usually doesn't spin ?
Because the upgrades are much more difficult and tedious than upgrading a fat client disk ?
Because the operating system and applications fits in only 64 or 128 MB of flash ?
So, the desktop PCs from sime time ago, when disks were much smaller, were thin client too.
And we didn't know it !

Real thin clients boot off the network. Stop.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Vuelta al cole

Cuando los primeros rayos del sol asoman sobre el horizonte, Augusto se prepara para su primer dia de clase en Saint Michael School en Junior I, lo que seria equivalente a Primer Grado.
No les parece mentira ?
No, que nos levantemos a esa hora (incluido yo que tome la foto) no, sino que ya vaya a la escuela ?
Si ayer era un bebe...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Running Microsoft Internet Explorer on Linux

This is a short introduction to a more in-depth article I'm writing about Running Microsoft Internet Explorer on Linux, covering Fedora Core and Ubuntu releases (you may run any other Microsoft Windows application as well, not just Internet Explorer).

You may wonder why, if you can run Firefox.

Well, there's a huge list of reasons, but on top of this list is: because some important sites are designed like crap and you can't use Firefox to access them.

Have you seen tons of error messages in your Firefox's Javascript Console while accessing your home banking or when you try to buy an iPod online ?

This is a reason.

You can use Wine, Crossover Office, but personally I think that you extend your agony.
Do you need Flash 8 on Linux ?
Flash 9 ?
This is a way.
The solution uses rdesktop 1.5.0 with seamless window support, Cendio's seamlessrdpshell, Microsoft Windows XP, and VMware Workstation (but can also be applied to the free VMware Player or Server).
I'm also using some Python scripts and devilspie to modify some windows.
More on this next on this blog.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Diego Torres Milano's blog: gnome-terminal enhancements

Diego Torres Milano's blog: gnome-terminal enhancements
Today I've released gnome-terminal-launcher-0.6 now featuring FedoraRPMs and Ubuntu DEBs.

This new version includes some fixes and enhancements. Further details are provided in the changelog.

Monday, August 07, 2006

PXE wireless booting


From time to time, in the thin client, network booting, LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) and other related technologies mailing lists the same question arise: how do I boot off the network with a wireless card ?

Sometimes, the answer derives to the use of flash disk or other local boot methods,but strictly speaking this is not a wireless booting and the thin client is not thin anymore.

The approach presented here doesn't require the use of a hard disk, flash memory or other local storage device. The nature of the network boot is preserved.

Although, you need to add an additional piece of hardware which is a wireless bridge.

There's a subtle difference between access points and wireless bridges which sometimes is not clear enough. Thus, our first step will be to depict this difference.

Access points

Access points are the most common element in wireless networks.

The 802.11 standard defines an access point as a communication hub for users of a wireless device to connect to a wired distribution system, such as an Ethernet network. Access points also play a major role in providing access control and wireless security to users in the shared radio environment.

Wireless bridges

Unless the 802.11 standard doesn't specifically define a bridge some vendors offer wireless briges as a simplified and somewhat different from access points.

A bridge is a device that connects two networks that may use the same or a different Data Link Layer protocol (Layer 2 of the OSI Model). Bridges have been in use for decades, especially with wired networks.

Access points connect multiple users on a wireless LAN to each other and to a wired network while a bridge connects two different networks.

The simplest case is a basic Ethernet-to-wireless bridge. This type connects directly to a single device via an Ethernet port, and then provides a wireless connection to an access point.

These types of device provides the solution when the device (i.e: thin client) has an Ethernet port but no 802.11 NIC.

Available Ethernet-to-wireless bridges
  • D-Link model number DWL-7700AP
  • Linksys model number WET54G
  • Cisco Aironet 1300 Series

Wireless network booting

Because, as far as I know, there's no wireless 802.11 NICs featuring PXE firmware, the Ethernet-to-wireless bridge is the only way to go to provide wireless network booting.

The thin client has the PXE firmware in the Ethernet card which is connected to the Ethernet-to-wireless bridge. Thus, when the thin client broadcasts the PXE request it is bridged and forwarded to the wireless network access point, which in turn is connected to the wired network where the servers reside.

This solution is completely transparent for the thin client and servers.

Wireless security

Wireless security (ESSID, WEP, WPA, etc.) can be configured in the bridge so there's no need to store nor configure theses settings in the thin client.


I've successfully implemented this approach in the past in some large scale PXES Universal Linux Thin Client deployments, in big retail stores mainly with moving thin clients (battery operated thin clients mounted on a cart).

External links

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cerrado por vacaciones

Hoy fue el primer dia de mis vacaciones, y aprovechando que los niños van al summer school nos fuimos a bucear en el naufragio del destructor HMS Maori, que fue hundido en el Malta Grand Harbour por un avión alemán el 12 de febrero de 1942 durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Y el titulo no es verdad, este blog no cierra por vacaciones...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Octavio - Live in Malta

Los invito a escuchar el primer corte de difusión de Octavio - Live in Malta, llamado One, Two, Three, ....

Que lo disfruten tanto como yo (click en la imagen del speaker/parlante o como lo llamen para escuchar).

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Installing Mediawiki on SourceForge

If you are trying to install Mediawiki on SourceForge, and you are encountering a lot of issues coming from the fact that SourceForge's web servers mount the project home directories read only, you should take a look at Mediawiki installation on SourceForge and follow the directions to run a script that I've written to circunvent those problems.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

gnome-terminal enhancements

If you are a system administrator, perhaps a command line junkie, and you deal with a large number of servers on a daily basis, you may have already created profiles to define the connection characteristics of each server.

I've also experienced an improvement in usability assigning a different color and icon to a server or group of servers. After a while, you can quicly identify which server are you connected to with just a glimpse of the screen.
But this has a drawback, the only way to open a terminal is from another terminal unless you've already created launchers for the specific profiles.
To provide a cleaner solution. I've create the gnome-terminal-launcher applet that reads the profiles from GConf and creates the corresponding menu entry to invoke the gnome-terminal command and its arguments.

Despite the fact that it is a work in progress and some other features will be added in next releases, it is very helpful now for the administrator's toolbox.

Visit the project SourceForge home page to obtain more information gnome-tla.sourceforge.net

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Recuerdan el post anterior Tengo pruebas ?
Casualmente, la semana pasada cuando ibamos a Roma, nos encontramos con este buen señor y también casualmente le toco el asiento junto a los diablillos. Observen detenidamente la expresión de resignación en ese rostro.
Esperamos encontralo en nuestro próximo viaje...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Tortilla espanola

Ayer, nuevamente Andrew e Ina nos invitaron a cenar ya que les explicamos esa vieja tradicion Argentina que indica que si invitas a cenar a alguien un sabado en la noche luego debes invitarlo por siete semanas mas si no quieres tener siete anos de mala suerte ;-)

Ina nos agasajo con una tortilla española espectacular que pueden degustar visualmente, aunque en esta oportunidad no pudimos esperar a tomar la foto y ya esta empezada. La acompañamos con un Siglo Rioja Crianza.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Ubuntu 6.06 LTS

Now testing Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, which was released yesterday, and I'm very satisfied. I was always a RedHat/Fedora kind of guy, but anyway I liked latest Ubuntu a lot.

gnome-app-install small bug

During the tests I've found a small bug in gnome-app-install, there's no need to say that the gnome-app-install/synaptic combination is much, much better that Fedora's pup/pirut.
The problem is that everytime you select an empty category, the information from the previous package is still displayed because the blank page fails.
Well, as I found this problem I wrote a small patch for the gnome-app-install application that solves it.
I'm filling the bug report right now (filled under BUG #48044).

The patch can be found here: http://dtmilano.googlepages.com/gnome-app-install-blank_page.patch

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


El sabado, nuestros unicos (no, no es un link, esta subrayado) amigos en Malta, Ina y Andrew nos invitaron a comer una deliciosa paella que aqui pueden apreciar.

Ina es Española, por eso la seleccion de este plato.

Mientras comimos, nuestros niños, gentil y desinteresadamente, ayudaron a los suyos a destruir su departamento.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

AIGLX: Turn the Service on and Off with a Right Click

In the last section of http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/RenderingProject/AiglxOnFedora there's a script to turn the AIGLX composition manager ON and OFF in metacity window manager.
The script is based on zenity, and because it does not provide a Question dialog with Yes and No buttons, the mapping is done in the message.

Well, here is my version of the script in Python and PyGTK to avoid zenity caveats.

#! /usr/bin/env python
# Copyright (C) 2006 by Diego Torres Milano <diego@pxes.org>
# This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
# the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
# (at your option) any later version.
# This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
# but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# GNU General Public License for more details.
# You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
# along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
# Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307,

import gtk
import gconf

q = gtk.MessageDialog(type=gtk.MESSAGE_QUESTION,
q.set_markup('Do you want to turn ON the AIGLX Service ?')
(q.run() == gtk.RESPONSE_YES))

Save the script in the Nautilus script folder (~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts) as AIGLX and change the permissions to make it executable by owner. Close Nautilus and right click the Desktop. You should now have a AIGLX menu option in Scripts.
Enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

PXES birthday is approaching

PXES Universal Linux Thin Client is approaching its fifth birthday and I'm preparing an article about the history and the most relevants facts during its lifetime.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Nuestra vida en Malta

En realidad esto no esta tan mal aunque el costo de vida es un poco alto. Malta es tan caro que fuimos a Italia y nos parecio un regalo, lo que no deja de ser una ventaja.

Antes de llegar estabamos un poco preocupados por el departamento en el que viviriamos, conociendo los costos de las propiedades de Europa en general y los tamaños de los mismos nos habiamos resignado a uno mucho mas chico.
Pero no podemos negar que el departamento nos sorprendio. Ademas estamos justo frente al mar y los veleros navegando se puede apreciar desde la ventana del living.
En una isla de esta magnitud, que este frente al mar no es mucho decir. Lo exclusivo aqui es estar rodeado de tierra, esos son los verdaderos bacanes.
Ese living es muy espacioso y para que negarlo, bastante mas lujoso de los que esperabamos. Les adjunto la foto para que juzguen por ustedes mismo (living).

Friday, April 07, 2006

Llegamos a Taormina

Superado este pequeño desvio en la historia, continuamos con nuestro viaje a Italia.
Luego de salir del puerto encontramos la oficina de Informacion Turistica en Catania que atiende al publico de Lunes a Viernes, y ya van adivinando...
era Sabado en la mañana.
Pero preguntando se llega a Roma, aunque este no era nuestro caso porque queriamos ir a Taormina, y asi lo hicimos de todas maneras averiguando que unos buses azules nos llevarian hacia nuestro destino.
Y a que no saben como se portaron los niñitos en este viaje en bus ?
Bien !
Se durmieron instantaneamente. Octavio que iba sentado a mi lado no logro siquiera terminar de comer la galletita que tenia en su mano.
Este viaje tambien tiene su atractivo ya que se ve el Etna a un lado y el Mediterraneo al otro durante casi todo el trayecto.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tengo pruebas

He recibido algunos comentarios tratando de defender a los niños y alegando que yo he exagerado y aumentado su cuestionable comportamiento en los viajes.

Pero a las pruebas me remito.
Esta foto de un vuelo anterior, que hacia un tiempo deberia haber publicado, creo que demuestra lo contrario, no ?

Aun no entiendo porque esa persona se bajo en San Paulo...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

El viaje a Italia

La semana pasada fuimos a Italia por unos dias. Aprovechando la proximidad de Sicilia con nuestra ubicacion actual, decidimos encaminarnos (mejor dicho embarcarnos) hacia esa isla.
Hemos aprendido algo que espero poder trasmitirles en este comentario: nunca se les ocurra pasear por Europa con chicos.
Fuimos en ferry, ya que el viaje era corto, bueno pensabamos que era corto... O mas bien, se nos hizo un poco largo ya que los "angelitos"
no dejaron de gritar, pelearse, patear y molestar a cuanto pasajero se encontrara a nuestro alrededor. De mas esta aclarar que muchos de estos pasajeros, ingenuamente pretendian dormir, ya que el ferry habia partido de Valetta a las 5 de la mañana.
Tremendo error en el que habian incurrido, ya que nadie pudo dormir al menos en las 20 filas de asientos contiguas a nuestra ubicacion.
Pero todo tiene su recompensa y habiendo logrado que no nos arrojen por la popa a bordo de una de las balsas salvavidas pudimos divisar la imponente imagen nevada y humeante del Etna, que al menos para mi compenso ampliamente la tortura del viaje.

Al llegar a Catania (Italia) las similitudes con Argentina saltan a la vista y no es por casualidad que fueron una de las principales corrientes de inmigracion hacia esas tierras.
Es el primer mundo pero desordenado.
El ferry nos dejo en el muelle, justo en el medio de la nada, asi que como coronacion tuvimos que atravesar el puerto entre camiones, contenedores, clarks, autos, motos y todo otro tipo de vehiculo que puedan imaginar.

Este es la primer entrega sobre el viaje. En los proximos dias tratare de ir completando la historia y agregando algunas fotos.

Nota al pie: Los cambios de colores de los fonts, entre diferentes grises, son responsabilidad de este editor, del AJAX, del Firefox, del viento solar o vaya a alguien a saber de quien ;-)

The beginning of the blog era...