August 2010

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Philip continues to play devil’s advocate / script kiddie for my telnet URL handler. My input checker allowed host/port definitions to begin with a hyphen character. That’s an invalid domain name, so I ignored the possibility that someone might try it. Philip used it to pass a switch to the telnet/ssh command.

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After I wrote yesterday’s post, Philip reminded me of the dangers of not validating your inputs. Here is a better telnet/ssh handler which checks the URL passed to it.

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Firefox’s telnet protocol handler in Linux stopped working some time after version 3.0. I manage a network of switches, routers, and other devices with command-line interfaces. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to click on telnet:// or ssh:// URLs again?

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I’ve been searching for a good remote desktop client for a long time. My requirements are simple. It must:

  1. save passwords
  2. manage connections via the GUI
  3. support VNC and RDP
  4. work with our IP KVM

This last requirement is the kicker. When I change hosts on our Adderview IP KVM, it draws one frame at 0x0 resolution, and then changes to the resolution of the new host. This has crashed every VNC client I’ve tried except xvnc4viewer. Which of course, doesn’t save passwords or have a GUI (the raw X menu when you press F8 does not count).

I have tried KRDC, Vinagre, xtightvncviewer, and a number of simpler command-line VNC clients. They all seem to be designed to support the “my Mom needs tech support” problem, not the “I manage remote servers” problem. KRDC won’t even login to my KVM; it just hangs after authentication. I suppose that’s better than crashing, but it is still a show stopping bug for me.

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I have two Skype accounts; one for work, and one for personal use. Unfortunately, the Skype client for Linux is somewhat limited. It can store two usernames, but it saves only the last password entered. Tonight, I hacked up a solution.

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Last week I upgraded from Kubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” to 10.04 “Lucid Lynx”. The word “upgrade” here is misleading, since I chose to reformat to take advantage of filesystem changes. However, I imported much of my customisations from backup. Here are my notes on Lucid, from the perspective of a long-time Kubuntu user.

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