Gentoo Split Ebuilds for KDE 3.4 and Onwards

Here’s a good thing, those nice Gentoo folks are going to create ebuilds for the various components of KDE, migrating away from the monolithic, all-or-nothing ebuilds for kdebase and kdepim to packages for things like kdebase-kioslaves and kopete. The monolithic ebuilds will be maintained for 3.4, but for KDE 4.0 and later there will only be the split ones.

For the details see the Gentoo KDE Split Ebuilds HOWTO.

Making Postnuke Understand Time Properly

I finally got fed up enough with the dumb way that PostNuke does its time stamping to try and fix it. Basically it uses local time everywhere, then gets you to tell it which timezone its in via its preferences and finally expects users to register and set their timezone so it can re-correct the time for them!

Anyway, this isn’t obvious until you go hunting around for why it doesn’t seem to work if you’re not in the same timezone (or in my case, continent & hemisphere) for where your website is. Googling around for Postnuke “time zone offset” gives some helpful references, especially with respect to a Postnuke Forums posting about fixing it. But before you go off and read that, note that (a) it won’t work on current versions and (b) there’s a simplified variant of the hack. Still kudos to them for working this out!

You’ll need to read on for the guts of the article, as I don’t want to scare the non-techies out there by putting it on the front page directly.. 🙂

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Wales do the Grand Slam!

It takes a while for the news to get down here, where they take a rugby ball and make up silly rules about what to do with it, but Wales have done the grand slam! The last time they did that (1978) I wasn’t even in high school!

For those who have not been initiated into the mysteries of the Five Six Nations Rugby Union championship it means they beat all 5 other teams in the championship. I was over the moon when they beat England but never imagined they’d do the Grand Slam…

Kevin Morgan dives over to score a try for Wales, from the RBS Six Nations Website
Wales Celebrate Victory, from the Welsh Rugby Union website

Fork-bombing Linux – a Lesson in Poor Defaults

My good friend Alec Muffett has blogged an article from SecurityFocus about the vulnerability of default Linux system installs to, what he neatly call, "The triumphant return of: main(){while(1)fork();}".

It’s sad to see that many Linux distros (Debian being the notable exception) still ship with bad defaults that don’t prevent a non-privileged user fork-bombing a box. Certainly something that needs to be addressed as it’s all part of the “defence in depth” that any system needs.

Referrer Spammers Using Non-Existant Domains

You’ve probably seen this yourself already if you’re running a blog yourself, but the referral spammers are now using referrer URLs that don’t have any DNS records yet, I presume because they think that people can’t check them out first to see if they’re a spammer or not.

Of course, it’s fairly obvious because how on earth do you get a referral from a site that doesn’t exist! They go *plonk* here as soon as I spot them..

AOL Revise Their Terms of Service for AIM – Much Better!

AOL have revised their Terms of Service to replace that wording that had everyone in such a kerfuffle, and it’s a lot better.

They’ve replaced the Orwellian "You waive any right to privacy" section with a much more reassuring statement, quoted below:

As explained in detail in the AIM Privacy Policy, AOL does not read your private online communications when you use any of the communication tools on AIM Products. If, however, you use these tools to post Content or other information to public areas on AIM Products (for example, in chat rooms or online message boards), other online users will have access to this information and Content.

Their privacy statement referred to above says (amongst other things):

AOL does not read your private online communications when you use any of the communication tools offered as AIM Products. If, however, you use these tools to disclose information about yourself publicly (for example, in chat rooms or online message boards made available by AIM), other online users may obtain access to any information you provide.

So well done to AOL for clarifying this so quickly, but it’s a shame it happened in the first place.

They do still claim that if you post to a public area then you are allowing them full licensing rights, viz:

You or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to public areas of any AIM Product. However, by submitting or posting Content to public areas of AIM Products (for example, posting a message on a message board or submitting your picture for the “Rate-A-Buddy” feature), you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium.

But that’s easily fixed by not posting to them in the first place!