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Secure Shell

ir0b0t Re:Firestarter (2 comments)

What's the command line syntax to ssh into a machine and then copy a file there back onto the other machine?

about 9 years ago



Linux User Group for Professionals? (Redux)

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  about 6 years ago

ir0b0t writes "In August of 2005 I posted asking if there were other lawyers who had migrated their law offices to FOSS. Its now January of 2009, and I want to renew the question. Its ironic that a profession as devoted to logic and the Constitution as lawyers has not required more FOSS literacy of its members. Has anything changed since 2005? Are there lawyers or other professionals who have formed groups to discuss FOSS and its use? Either as a practical and cost-effective alternative to proprietary code or as mandated by devotion to civil liberties?"
Link to Original Source

Can Closed Source Be Legally Blended With GPL?

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ir0b0t writes "Using a GPL license with closed source code should mean that the modified code is also GPL. But this guy, ptang ptang olay biscuit barrel, says no. Closed source code *can* sometimes legally be combined with GPL code without resulting in GPL code. I happen to disagree, but I heard he's a lawyer and a coder and that he ought to know. :) Here's the link."

free software; free legal forms

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ir0b0t writes "Coders and lawyers for openmissoula presented a "proof-of-concept" demo to the Montana Supreme Court Commission on Self-Represented Litigants that uses free code to give free legal forms to low and moderate income Montanans. Many Montanans cannot get access to the courts for even simple matters. Existing nonprofits typically use large grants for proprietary solutions. Will the proof-of-concept demo be embraced by the Montana lawyers?"

Support For Small Professional Offices Using FOSS

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 7 years ago

ir0b0t writes "I have a small office and recently finished replacing all the code in my office with FOSS. It took over 5 years, and my brother had to help me a lot. He actually did everything, and I tried to stay out of his way and learn as much as I could. Here is what I'm running now: * Ubuntu 7.04 * Samba * Drupal * OpenOffice * egroupware * backuppc * Firefox * Thunderbird * Gnucash Now I need technical support occasionally because the discussions on the forums are often over my head, and my brother may disown me if I keep relying on him for help. What options are available for FOSS technical support in the smaller cities, especially for a small law or accounting office?"

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  about 8 years ago

ir0b0t writes "Two migration stories are being offered in Montana to urge social justice lawyers to migrate to free and open source software (FOSS). The site has links to my law firm which runs FOSS and the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Attorney website which just migrated to Drupal. The focus of the nonprofit openmissoula site is saving money through FOSS to increase direct services to clients — especially low-income and pro bono clients.

Here is the lead story on openmissoula that makes the case:
Nonprofit programs and private offices can be served entirely by free and open source software (FOSS) .

Using FOSS avoids licensing fees charged by vendors and related risks and costs of proprietary software. Money saved permits innovation and more direct services to clients. How? A local area network (LAN) server based on Samba can connect a large number of Windows, Apple, and Linux workstations. A "user-friendly" desktop-oriented version of the Linux operating system is Ubuntu. Egroupware can be used for a shared team members' calendar, a shared contacts directory and a shared to-do list. Jabber can be used for instant messaging. Asterisk can be used to run a large telephone system. An email client is provided by Thunderbird. A "better browser" (according to Forbes) is Firefox. A website like this one can be published with Drupal. Gimp can be used instead of Photoshop for image editing. Accounting records, formal documents and routine correspondence can be created with the Open Office Suite. Encrypted remote access with an office computer can accomplished with freenx. Backups can be automatically completed and sent offsite over an encrypted connection with Backuppc.

Advocates, social workers, grant administrators, legal aid attorneys, public defenders and program facilitators take notice: there is no licensing fee for use of these — and other — FOSS programs.

Read more: 50 Open Source Success Stories in Business, Education and Government
What additional incentives can be offered? Or is FOSS a wrong turn for the nonprofit world? "



Of Telephones And Copy Machines . .

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 8 years ago This is a brief note that small professional offices here in my neck of the woods typically overspend by ridiculous amounts when buying phone systems and copiers.

In my experience, its not uncommon for professionals here to spend $3,000 or more on a telephone system that delivers no more service than $300 worth of off-the-shelf AT&T Speakerphones.

The other area of excess capitalization is copy machines. One attorney I know spent $14,000.00 to purchase a copy machine for an office that was crowded with two attorneys practicing there.

The added irony of purchasing (as opposed to leasing) an overpowered copy machine is that the service contract costs the office even more unless someone on the staff happens to be an expert on the features of such a powerful machine.

And if there was an expert on staff, that person would point out the futility of purchasing such a powerful copier to serve such a small office.

The answer to the copy machine problem is to spend closer to $600 on a smaller machine that fits a smaller office. Its plenty powerful and needs no service contract.



ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 8 years ago The server running egroupware had been doubling as a workstation. Nothing ran quickly anymore.

We decided not to start gnome on that machine in the future and devote all available ram and processor cycles to serving the network. The monitor, keyboard and mouse were removed.

I'm using the Emperor Linux laptop (Lenovo & Ubuntu Breezy) for all work now.

The egroupware clients are running much more quickly now. No swap memory is needed. I had underestimated how much ram is used on a busy workstation.


freenx & egroupware

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 8 years ago We've added freenx clients secure remote logins to our network. Excellent.

We've also added egroupware for shared calendar and contacts lists over our samba network. Also excellent. Egroupware appears to have potential for coordinating and centralizing other shared data (e.g. time records).

Our network is surpassing proprietary networks in comparably sized and larger professional offices in our town by any measure of efficiency. There is no way I can see an advantage to returning to the limits of the proprietary network, dueling vendors and no command line.


Secure Shell

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  about 9 years ago Secure shell is up and running today.

Port forwarding is set up from the dsl modem that acts as a router for the office.

The ssh service also had to be set up through the firewall too. We're using Firestarter 1.0.3.


Open Source Law Office: 2005 Recap

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 9 years ago As the year closes, the open source code successfully used in our office includes the following:

Ubuntu 5.10 with Linux kernel 2.6.12-10-386.

Gnome 2.12.1

Open Office 2.0

Evolution 2.4.1

Firefox 1.0.7

Nvu 1.0

Gimp 2.2.8


Ubuntu is installed on my desktop and though XP Pro is installed on another partition, I do not need to boot it and have not booted it for most of the last quarter of 05.

The other machine in our office does run XP Pro and is networked to my machine with Samba.

Our calendar is managed by Evolution which we print out and review together at staff meetings. Open Office handles all legal and client drafting, bookkeeping of trust, client billing, receivables and payables and converting text and spreadsheeting from MS format. WordPerfect is still a problem.

Firefox obviously handles browsing which means legal, fact and background reference research. Nvu and Gimp are used to update content on the website.

Ubuntu is the best distro for my purposes that I've road tested. Over the past five years, I've also tested Mandriva, Red Hat and Slackware.

Technical support has been better for the reason that we find answers faster, the answers cost less money and there is no artificial shelf life on what we learn as existed with proprietary vendors who wipe out pieces of your learning with new upgrades, formats, tweaks, etc. I rely primarily on Ubuntu Forums for our technical support since installing Ubuntu.

Challenges which remain include the following:

Our accountant uses Quickbooks Pro, and I think it saves us money to accommodate them by keeping at least one version of our books in that format. My technical skill (and that of my staff) is not to the level that we've been able to find an open source solution to easily replace Quickbooks Pro. The problem is not so much a lack of candidates or other problem with the available code so much as my technical knowledge.

There is one piece of legacy code which is special for our jurisdiction that won't run with Linux. I have not tried it out with WINE and for the time being, we use the app with XP Pro when we need it which is not often.

There is no integrated client management package like Amicus Attorney or Kemp's, but I miss this far less than I expected. The spreadsheets I've made are easier to use and do actually do more. Learning to use the spreadsheet was a better investment of time than learning to use Amicus or Kemp's.

The printers are still working slowly. My suspicion currently is the driver. The attached printer is an hp laserjet 1200 and the printer across the network is an hp laserjet 4.

There is the added problem with the network printer that my smb.conf file is still pretty primitive. (I can post it if anyone is interested in trying to duplicate and improve this setup in their office.)

There is more to do in 2006. On my list is ssh, pgp and command line sytax for installation and configuration of new code. I have 50 books (and also links) to this information, but I simply haven't mastered the skills yet.


Firefox page loading fix

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Firefox was inexplicably failing to load pages when used with Linux. It was a problem under both Mandriva and Ubuntu but not a problem under XP Pro. It did work fine with Ubuntu Linux on my home machine but not my office machine. The two machines use different ISPs but are otherwise substantially identical.

The problem was ridiculous but driving me nuts. Some kind souls on Ubuntu forum posted the fix which was distressingly simple. Now all is well in my Firefox world.

Here is the fix I used for Firefox loading pages slowly or not at all when used with Linux:

type about:config into address field

scroll to network.dns.disableIPv6

set to "true"

browse happily ever after


Open Source Law Office: Considering Calendars

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 9 years ago Evolution does not appear to share calendars the same way that Amicus Attorney shares a calendar. Amicus Attorney has one calendar that can be read and written to over a local area network. Since everyone on the network is required to use a Micro$oft operating system, there's no compatibility issues.

Our goal is to banish M$ from our office forever and ever. We want to be liberated from M$. We need a kludge for this calendar sharing problem to do it.

Here's the problem:

Evolution shares its calendar by publishing it on a server. This approach won't do the trick. The calendar we end up using can be served, but it also needs to be shared.

That way if the lawyer's assistant needs to schedule the lawyer for an appointment, the lawyer's calendar can be altered to reflect that s/he is no longer available during that time period, for example, to attend a court hearing.

This is a crucial feature of all law office calendars --- even calendars made out of paper. At least two sets of eyes need to be triple-checking the dates. The left hand must know what the right hand is doing, or disaster will result.

I'm wondering now about an even more low-tech solution. What about using something like emacs to create a shared calendar file that can be read and written to over a Samba network by a Windows XP machine?

Hmmmm . . .


Open Source Law Office: Samba Redux

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 9 years ago

The linux desktop in my office is now networked so that our office machines interact basically the same way they used to under the peer-to-peer Windows XP setup.

I used the simplest smb.conf setup I could find and set my directory permissions with this command:

chmod -R +rwx home/

That directory contains all of our forms and matter files and can be browsed by the Windows XP machine that my secretary uses.

Its so excellent.


Open Source Law Office: Triage

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 9 years ago This is a short note to say that between a firewall, ssh and samba, the correct first thing to work on (in my world) is a firewall.

Why? Because its impossible to relax enough to leave my office computer powered up when I go home unless I feel reasonably good about the firewall. If the machine is not powered up, then I have to stop working on all three projects after I leave the office.

By completing the firewall to a reasonable degree of, er, completion, I can go on attempting the ssh connection after I leave. Eventually that connection will work the way I need it to work (i.e. it will work). Then I can log-in remotely and work on samba --- work on whatever.

Setting up the firewall will let me leave the machine on from time to time without having to worry. When the machine is on, there's at least a possibility that I will be able to work on ssh should I have enough energy left at night to do so. After ssh is done, the door is open to work on everything else.


Open Source Law Office: WYSWYG v. command line redux

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 9 years ago In the ongoing adventure that running my office with open source code has become, I've set aside Samba, SSH and PGP questions for the time being to consider a more philosophical question.

The question is whether its better to use wyswyg word processing or to consider using only raw text.

I was raised on the MacIntosh and the GUI and was allergic to the command line until very recently. It never occurred to me to use a text editor for the high volume of heavily formatted documents I produced each day. I didn't even know why anyone would use a text editor because I only conceived of writing in the context of writing research papers or letters.

I don't know how to write scripts, but if scripts can edit lines and lines of code with programs like grep, sed and awk, then why not a court document? I could start emacs, type what I wanted and then format it in TeX mode.

Surprisingly I've found no scripts for legal documents. There are scripts for academic formatting and some business formatting. Scripts for legal formatting are nowhere to be found.

It would be tough to evaluate whether the scripted approach would really improve on the wyswyg approach. I'm intrigued though. I end up using plain text to move documents files between different flavors and versions of word processor. It takes a lot of time.

It might be a lot easier to just stick to the raw text suitable for any word processor until its clear what formatting is needed and which program is going to be doing the formatting.


My Open Source Law Office

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 9 years ago A little over five years ago, I became interested in open source while managing a Legal Services Corporation-funded office that primarily served low-income survivors of partner violence across eight rural counties in Montana.

I saw that the money in my scant budget expended for software licenses and technical support of products offered by companies that refused to share source code could be used instead to serve clients.

Five years later, my law practice pays its bills by serving private clients. My law office runs on open source code.

Here's how:


Two i586 machines and two HP printers. A dsl connection through an Actiontec modem. ISP through a local provider.


On my desktop, Mandriva Ltd. Ed. 05, Gnome 2.8 desktop, OpenOffice, Evolution, Konqueror, Tight VNC and Samba.


OpenOffice is used for all legal forms, correspondence and spreadsheets for accounts receivable, payable, trust account management and timekeeping.

Evolution: Email, contacts and docket.

Konqueror: checking federal docket, finding caselaw and statutes, ordering supplies, etc.)

Tight VNC: accessing office network from home machine.

Samba: sharing files and printing with Windows machine in reception area (used by staff).

* * *

Though I no longer work for a nonprofit firm, I'm looking forward to expanding my use of open source to pro bono projects and nonprofit partners.

I'm writing this journal entry to celebrate this milestone in my life because --- to tell the truth --- no one here except my brother and my girlfriend knows how much work its been to overcome my tech phobias and begin learning open source basics.

My brother knows because it would have been completely impossible to do without his encouragement, guidance and patience.

My girlfriend knows because I have a hard time shutting up about it though I try. Really.

This is part of my happy celebration on the plateau before resuming the climb.


ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 9 years ago This book by Shelley Powers, Jerry Peek, Tim O'Reilly and Mike Loukides is a well written balance of historically grounded concept articles and straight forward how-to information.

I'm using the book to assist me in my ongoing (started as a hobby) project of migrating my small law office to full open source code. Now that I no longer boot Windows on my office desktop, my need for and interest in command-line syntax has sharply increased.

This book not only teaches unix-style syntax but clarifies along the way the reasons for differences in syntax between BSD, System V or Linux style versions. That clarification puts the focus on the purpose and context of the command in question which makes the overall subject easier to understand and remember.

There are so very many, many books out there purporting to do the same for coders and non-coders alike, but this one is a standout success. It is well written enough that it reminds me of books on non-technical subjects like Steven Levy's Hackers, Petzold's Code or Freiberger and Swaine, Fire in the Valley.

I hope to find more code books written in this style of historical concept first with cookbook-style augmentation by practical examples second. Its usually the latter with none of the former.

It would be terrific to find one about the history of machine and control code level coding in personal computers over the past 20 years, particularly as related to the various unix philosophies and their differences against the backdrop of the growth of consumer-focused proprietary systems.

In the meantime, I will watch for what else the authors have done. I wish I could give them a prize.

Its too rare to find such gifted writers on subject matter as potentially inaccessible to lay readers as code. This book evokes the wonder, mystery, excitement and promise of the personal computer.


ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 9 years ago It turns out that its easier and more effective to use the spreadsheet from Open Office to handle office finances. Gnucash is not ready.

I created one spreadsheet each for accounts payable, accounts receivable, trust balances and timekeeping.

The timekeeping spreadsheet tracks my time and expenses on one sheet and describes my activities on another sheet. The sheets are grouped by financial quarter.

My staff use the information on the spreadsheets to create invoices. I use the information to doublecheck the bookkeeping and reconcile the bank accounts.

I open all of the mail and enter bills into my a/p spreadsheet before passing them along to the bookkeeper. I do the same with payments and deposits in the a/r and trust spreadsheets.

This approach has given me a much finer grained control than I ever had with Timeslips or Quickbooks Pro.


Linux Law Office: Next Steps

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 9 years ago Linux is working out well on my desktop machine in my law office. I haven't had to boot my XP partition for about two weeks now. The system does everything my former XP system used to do except run Quickbooks. Gnucash imports from Quickbooks so that problem ends this week.

Next steps? I'm going to add features to the office and then figure out a way to share the info with other interested lawyers and other professionals working on social justice issues. I'm leaning toward a website so that when I attend the next NLADA conference, I can show lawyers at the OSI cybercafe what the system will do.

Before the year is out, I expect to add intra-office text messaging, remote login, automated backups and envelope addressing. That last one is particularly galling right now. My secretary has to address all envelopes on her machine with MS Word because Open Office won't address envelopes correctly.

The sharing forum will likely be a website with user accounts and lots of disclaimers.


ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 9 years ago I've been wanting to do this for a long time: My office machine now runs Linux on its desktop. Its a Mandriva Linux installation. All of the apps are open source too.

The network has only two machines on it and two printers. The machine in the reception area is an XP Pro operating system and runs Quickbooks because I haven't found a viable open source substitute yet.

My machine runs Mandriva Linux with KDE and Open Office. All of my legal documents, forms, letters and so on are done with Open Office.

Future add-ons will include serving my files to the reception machine with Samba and using Evolution for my calendar.

I post to http://www.librelex.net/tiki-index.php/ with some other legal professionals who are interested in a full open source law office.


Ohio bummer

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 10 years ago Hard to know where to start or what to say. The Onion ran the headline, Nation's Poor Elects Nation's Rich. That summed up for me. The mind boggles.


Clinton Redux

ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 10 years ago It was gratifying to hear this morning that former Pres. Clinton joined Sen. Kerry for a rally in Pennsylvania. I still think that VP Gore could have won . . . by a larger margin . . . if he had requested help from Pres. Clinton. Now if Sen. Kerry heads for Florida with the campaign crew he's assembled and sets up camp, he'll win.


ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 10 years ago These are two of my favorite words to see linked together. I like logic in connection with polis becaue it reminds me that I don't think that logic is the tool for doing the work of a city. That work is conceived differently by different people, but I think of it as the work of giving substance to the social contract, i.e. tuning the economy to feed, clothe, shelter, heal and educate.

I like polis in connection with logic because it reminds me that the most interesting questions to me are humane questions. Moral and historical problems are ghastly when stripped of human concerns or framed for cynical objectives. Within the community of the polis we are more likely to remember that we are not alone and that others depend on us.

Here is a sample from a speech which expresses these ideas for me:

. . . For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: "In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.

So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that's true, but most importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love --- a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. . . .

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and to make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

RFK 4/4/68, Indianapolis


ir0b0t ir0b0t writes  |  more than 10 years ago Having just watched debate no. 3 (held in Tempe, Arizona), I have grown tired of trying to anticipate whether other viewers will or will not evaluate issues on whether the candidates seemed "likable."

With respect to any reasonable measures of competency and performance, Senator Kerry spoke more intelligently and is more experienced than President Bush with domestic policy questions. For the record, Senator Kerry was also more likable, particularly when he spoke about the proper relationship between religious belief and works.

Senator Kerry clearly "won" the debate in the sense that he answered the questions with a better command of facts, a better understanding of policy and better ideas for the economy.

It was not even a close call.

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