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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Finally, another update

Been too busy working my job, contending with family matters, and trying to hack my way through FreeBSD and OpenBSD, all the while making them work together harmoniously with my XP box. My biggest headache lately has been trying to print to my HP DeskJet 722C on my XP box from the two BSD boxes. Tried all kinds of stuff like apsfilter, cups, and so forth. Now I've got a rather simple setup on both BSD boxes for printcap. I'm using foomatic-rip and ghostscript, along with pnm2ppa.ppd, the printer file from for my DeskJet printer. It was pretty open and above board on the FreeBSD box, since foomatic-rip is by itself in the ports tree. But, in OpenBSD, it's underneath /print/cups/files, and it took me a while to snap to all I needed to do was copy it to /usr/local/bin along with pnm2ppa.ppd, and then setup /etc/printcap. Ghostscript was already in place due to another ports needed dependencies. Been applying security patches lately, too, on both BSD boxes, rather than going through all the rebuilding song and dance. That's due to the fact that both OS's are coming out with a new release shortly. I've already preordered my OpenBSD cd's, and need to get off my duff (and wallet) and due the same for FreeBSD. I highly encourage anyone who reads this blog and is interested in running either operating system to order cd's. You can ftp the FreeBSD iso's, and with OpenBSD, you can d/l all the files and create your own iso's and burn them, but it doesn't help the ongoing expenses for the developers. Most of them work regular jobs and do their coding voluntarily, using their own personal time. That's pretty strong commitment, and I think it deserves some real support. Here's a good example of how you can learn either system, along with NetBSD too, even if you've always been a windoze addict like myself, just by reading the man pages and accompanying docs, and not being afraid of sweating over the keyboard a little and experimenting. Right now, on my OpenBSD system, which is running on a PIII box with 256MB of ram and two IDE h/d's, I can surf the net in Xwindows using either Firefox or Opera or, in text mode, Lynx. I do email, I'm learning how to setup spam control and firewall security. I can create my own iso images from source and burn them to cd's. I can print to my old Star 2410NX dot- matrix printer on my FreeBSD HP Netserver or to my HP DeskJet 722C on my XP box. The only hurdle I still have to get over is getting a scanner to work on the OpenBSD box. It's a PIII and has USB ports, which the old Netserver doesn't, so it's the natural choice. I've got an old HP ScanJet 3400C, but it seems to have crapped out during Hurricane Katrina, probably due to all the moisture in the house while we were gone for the evacuation. So, I've been nosing around the Sane Project site and eBay, trying to make a choice. The whole point of this ongoing exercise in opensource is to finally, once and for all, drop out of the Bill Gates financial support team. I have nothing against him or Microsoft. But, I'd rather run a system that's pretty damned secure from jump and is opensource, than pay an arm and a leg for a system that's constantly riddled with vulnerabilities. And, find myself waitiing for weeks and sometimes, even months, for a patch, when both OpenBSD and FreeBSD developers are constantly monitoring and testing their code for insecurities, and are always up front and honest when they find them, and are quick to fix them and get them up on the net for users. Okay, I am now climbing down from my soapbox. 'Nuff said on that issue. Until next time, happy hacking!

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