For the last 17 years or so, I’ve been a huge fan of the various BSD-inspired operating systems, starting with SunOS 4.1.x, and then moving on towards the various free flavours available for the PC, such as Bill Jolitz’s 386bsd, then FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. For a while, even I was a regular contributer to the NetBSD community, and enjoyed playing with them all.
When I started installing and running my own servers for mail and web application purposes about 8 years ago, there was an abortive few-month attempt to use Microsoft Windows Server, but since then it’s all been FreeBSD, with the latest lanfear.com server being FreeBSD 4.9-RELEASE (and with an uptime of 2 years, which would have been nearly 3 had my ISP not hacked and rebooted my machine one day).
To this date, various SYSV-inspired features, such as initd and their directory structure leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. I have repeatedly stuck with types of linux such as SuSE (before it sucked), and Ubuntu, that still gave me
/etc/rc and familiar directory structures. Mac OS X still gives me warm tingly feelings to this day.
So, it is with some sadness that I recently decided to move from my own dedicated server to a virtual server hosting solution. I’m simply never in the USA any more, and I don’t want to have to worry about my computer going down. A virtual server comes with a guarantee that all hardware problems are the ISPs, and is a bit cheaper to boot. I usually hover around a 0.00 load average, so serious computing power isn’t a necessity for me.
However, the cheapest package with the best bandwidth means my server will, henceforth, be running Ubuntu Server. It is reasonably familiar to me … I can still add things to
/etc/rc.local, and the rest of
/etc isn’t too alien, and the apt-get scheme seems to work reasonably well. My needs are less these days, as I slowly admit defeat in the email world and let people like Google do it for me, so as long as I can run web apps and a few other fun things, I’m happy. All of my sites and addresses have already been moved to the new server.
The old FreeBSD 1U Dell server will be shut down by the old ISP on Thursday, and put in a box for a friend to go pick up sometime after that. I’ll miss it.[Read Rest of Article]
I recently had the oppportunity (necessity) to set up a web application that interacted with many of the users through SMS messages in addition to the more traditional HTML interface. While there are a number of possible software solutions for GSM modems on Windows, on Unix-like platforms the most commonly used one is Kannel. It also has the advantage of being open source and thus very, very free.
However, setting, configuring, and using Kannel tends to be a bit tricky. I’m writing this article (almost a HOWTO) in an attempt to help out anybody who’s undertaking the process themselves and might be able to get some tips and tricks from this. I expect this to not be a terribly popular article, but if I ever need to set this stuff up myself in the future, then I’ll have it written down somewhere at least!
Most of the instructions here will work on any Unix platform, such as Linux, FreeBSD, or Mac OS X. It’s worth noting that I got nearly everything working with OS X, only to be thwarted at the very end because Mac’s no longer have serial ports to use GSM modems. You could, however, easily use some of the more advaned HTTP based SMS services on a Mac server of some sort.[Read Rest of Article]