Archive for the ‘Linux Internet’ Category

Amaya: browser from the people in charge of the Web

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

screenshot of Amaya

Way back in 1996, the folks at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) decided that they wanted to show everybody what the Web could do. They developed the Amaya web browser, and it continues under development to this day.

No longer just a web browser, it incorporates editing features as well. Along with HTML, it also supports editing of stylesheets, XML files, SVG images, and more. Its WYSIWYG interface allows you to easily create web pages that make sense and look great too. A "structure view" lets you examine the object hierarchy in your document. The CSS tool lets you painlessly format your document correctly without having to have your stylesheet reference book open on your desktop. The included Annotea tool lets you make annotations to your text.

Amaya is a free, open source application. It is available for most popular computing platforms, including Windows (NT and later), OS X (Intel and PPC), and many flavors of Linux.

Download Amaya

FREESCO brings your tired old computer back to life

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

screenshot of FREESCO

What do you do with a garage full of old computers? With the rapid addition of new features to user applications and operating systems, it generally doesn't take too long for your hot new computer to become yesterday's news. Whether it's technological breakthroughs or planned obsolescence, your hardware just may not cut the mustard with today's latest and greatest tools. It seems a shame to just throw this stuff out—in an ecologically-responsible way, of course—when there are still a lot of clock cycles left in them.

One way to recycle old computers is to use them as servers for various low-overhead Linux or other *NIX platforms. Whether it's as a NAT router and firewall, a web- or mail server, an FTP platform, or any of dozens of other uses, your old system probably still has the horsepower to be used in ways that do enhance your productivity.

FREESCO is an open source solution that lets you bring your old box back to life. Computers with a little as a '486 processor and 12MB of RAM can be used to run a router for your broadband or dial-up connection, a nameserver, SSH server, print server, and more. It supports up to ten network cards, so you can build a pretty complex network here. You can run it from a floppy, a RAM disk, or install it to your hard drive.

FREESCO is a free download.

Download FREESCO

Free Web Server

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

screenshot of Abyss Web Server

It used to be, back in the day, that when you bought Windows, you owned Windows. Not so much any more. Now there's the home edition, the super-duper home edition, the professional version (as opposed to the amateur version?), and so on. Each has a different price, and a different set of features, with a direct correlation between price and functionality. One of the features that they decided, in their wisdom, was an "extra" was that of a local web server. There's no such thing any more as the Personal Web Server that used to ship with Win98; now you have to buy the super-duper version of Windows to get a copy of IIS, the big-deal Windows web server. What if you want to create an intranet to use locally, or even a low-volume web site for the real world to access? Time for third-party applications.

Abyss Web Server is a powerful web server that doesn't require a high-priced version of Windows to run–it'll even run on Win95. In fact, it doesn't require Windows at all, since it's also available for OS X, Linux, and FreeBSD.

It's easy to set up and configure, with a browser-based front end. It supports server-side includes, custom error pages, URL rewriting, and many more features. The Windows version even handles ASP.NET pages. With add-ons, it supports PHP, Perl, Python, and a bunch of database backends.

Abyss Web Server is free for personal use. If you want to add extra functionality or deploy it in a production environment, you'll want to upgrade to the paid version.

Download Abyss Web Server

Free Online Website Builder

Monday, September 29th, 2008

screenshot of Doodlekit

Okay, so you need to create a website. That may not seem too daunting a task. Unless you have no artistic sense. Or you don't know HTML. Or you don't have a copy of Dreamweaver or some other WYSIWYG web editor. Maybe it is too daunting after all. Or maybe not.

Doodlekit may be the answer to all these problems. It's an online website builder that helps you to get the job done, without losing your mind in the process. Choose from among multiple layouts and color schemes, add stock photos, background images, and more. Pretty quick, your new website is up and running without your breaking a sweat. Pretty slick. And since everything is done online, you don't need to worry about downloading and installing (and paying for) complex software on your system. Need to include a blog? It's done. Create and RSS feed? All taken care of. It really is just that easy. The price is easy too: free.

Doodlekit is a free service. It should be compatible with most modern web browsers.

Download Doodlekit

Keep track of web pages you want to view with Read It Later

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

screenshot of Read It Later

Are you a creature of the Web? Over the course of the day, how many sites do you suppose you visit—dozens? hundreds? more? If you're on the move, you probably don't stop to read them one at a time; chances are you set a bookmark for each of these sites so that you can come back later and browse through them. The problem there, of course, is that now you have hundreds of bookmarks set, but you really only plan to use each one only once. If you want to maintain any semblance of sanity, now you have to dig through that pile to weed out the one time only bookmarks, while leaving your real bookmarks intact. What a mess.

Read It Later is a Firefox extension that lets you save these use-once bookmarks and deal with them in a way that makes sense. When you run across a site you want to get back to, just click the button, and it's added to your list. When you go back and read through your list, you can choose to delete entries once you've read them, or upgrade them into real bookmarks in Firefox, posting them to, or any other service.

Read It Later works with Firefox 3. They have an older version that is compatible with earlier releases of the browser.

Download Read It Later

Web based MySQL Administration

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

screenshot of SQL Buddy

SQL (Structured Query Language) is the lingua franca of the database world. While there may be proprietary languages used by different applications, most of them speak SQL, and certainly the most powerful ones use this. When constructing SQL statements, it's possible to be very precise in getting what you want from a database. Unfortunately, sometimes the syntax can get pretty complicated, and it's easy to know what you want and maybe a little harder to get the result you're looking for. There are tools out there that can help you with some of the more complicated queries, or to give you a hand if you're only an occasional SQL user and can't put your finger on just the right syntax.

SQL Buddy is a web-based tool that lets you easily manipulate your databases. With an intuitive interface, you don't have to memorize tons of arcane commands to get work done. Add and drop tables, Add a column. Tweak an entry. There now, that wasn't so hard, was it?

Install SQL Buddy on your web server and you're ready to go. You need to be running PHP 4.3 or later, with MySQL 4 or better. It's compatible with Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer, so you'll really be in control of your database in a jiffy.

SQL Buddy is a free download.

Download SQL Buddy

Webalizer web server access log analysis tool

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

screenshot of Webalizer

Maybe you're a web designer, and you've created the World's Best Site. Or maybe you're a business owner and you've just taken the plunge and staked out an online presence. You might be a blogger, and you've just started up the killer blog. Okay, so who cares?

Unless you've just built a site for a school project, one of the most important things you're looking for now is traffic. It doesn't make any difference how great it is, if nobody's looking at it, then it doesn't really mean anything. Your server access logs will tell you a lot about who showed up, what they did while they were there, and all kinds of other information. Unfortunately, you really can't read through raw server logs and make any sense of what's going on with them. You need a tool to help you digest and analyze all that raw data.

Webalizer is one such tool. It understands most commonly-used log formats, and it can work with archived files, so you don't have to keep a huge pile of files on your server. Configure it to generate the reports that help you to measure what you need to know about traffic coming to your site.

Webalizer is a Linux app, so if you're running an Apache web server, you probably already have everything you need to use it.

Download Webalizer

Proxy Server Selector for Firefox and Mozilla Browsers

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

screenshot of SwitchProxy

Proxy servers are a pretty slick way to connect to the Web. Whether it's because you are trying to maintain some semblance of anonymity by shielding your IP address from your destination, or just because you're relying on caching on the server, lots of people use them. If you use multiple proxies—maybe one at work and another at home—it can be a pain in the neck to keep tweaking your system to activate one or the other of them, depending on where you are.

SwitchProxy is a tool that makes it easier to switch the proxy server you're using at any given time. A browser plugin, it's designed to work with the Mozilla-based family of web browsers and tools, including Firefox, Mozilla, and Thunderbird. (It's a couple years old, so you may want to check to see how it works with SeaMonkey, Camino, or other more recent Mozilla-based browsers.) You can set up your list of servers and access them to select or change via Toolbar, Context Menu (right click menu), or as a Toolbar Element. You can choose "regular" proxies, or select from a list of anonymous servers to use, even setting it to change servers automatically from time to time to really mix things up.

SwitchProxy is compatible with all systems running Firefox and supported Mozilla-based browsers.

Download SwitchProxy

Download YouTube Videos

Friday, May 30th, 2008

screenshot of Free YouTube Downloader

Can't get enough YouTube? Whether it's the latest viral video, some slick "how-to" program, or any of a zillion other types of content, we've all grown addicted to YouTube. Here's a tool that helps you download YouTube videos to your machine, so that you can enjoy them again and again.

Free YouTube Downloader does exactly what the name suggests: it enables you to grab those videos and save them locally. Just copy and paste the URL of the content you want, and press the button. It couldn't be easier. It supports multiple downloads as well—just type several addresses into the box, each on a separate line.

Free YouTube Downloader is a Java application, which means that it will run on Linux, Macintosh, Windows, or just about any other platform that has Java Runtime Environment Standard Edition, with Java version 1.5 or better.

Download Free YouTube Downloader

Server access through a firewall

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

screenshot of Web Console

Need to do serious work, but you're trapped behind a firewall? In some corporate and other environments, security constraints necessitate locking down all inbound- and outbound traffic except for ports 80 and 443, the standard ports for HTTP and HTTPS traffic. If you need to use services like FTP, Telnet, or SSH to talk to a remote server, you're out of luck. What to do?

Web Console is one solution for this problem. Using only these allowed ports, you can now execute shell commands on your server, edit files using vi or Emacs, and all the other stuff you'd do if only you could access your server.

Installing Web Console on your server is pretty straightforward. It works on both dedicated servers and shared boxes. It's written in Perl, so your server is sure to support it. Once you're up and running, the web interface uses AJAX technology, so you are really interacting in real time.

Web Console will run on any web server that includes Perl.

Download Web Console