Category: free software

openvpn clients on pfsense

In my 2017 article on using OpenVPN on a SOHO router I said: “In testing, I’ve found that using a standard OpenVPN setup (using UDP as the transport) has only a negligible impact on my network usage – certainly much less than using Tor.” That was true back then but is unfortunately not so true …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2019/07/07/openvpn-clients-on-pfsense/

one unbound and you are free

I have written about my use of OpenVPN in several posts in the past, most latterly in May 2017 in my note about the Investigatory Powers (IP) Bill. In that post I noted that all the major ISPs would be expected to log all their customers’ internet connectivity and to retain such logs for so …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2019/06/26/one-unbound-and-you-are-free/

multilingual chat

XKCD cartoon about multiple chat systems

I use email fairly extensively for my public communication but I use XMPP (with suitable end-to-end encryption) for my private, personal communication. And I use my own XMPP server to facilitate this. But as I have mentioned in previous posts my family and many of my friends insist on using proprietary variants of this open …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2017/10/14/multilingual-chat/

using a VPN to take back your privacy

network diagram

With the passage into law of the iniquitous Investigatory Powers (IP) Bill in the UK at the end of November last year, it is way past time for all those who care about civil liberties in this country to exercise their right to privacy. The new IP Act permits HMG and its various agencies to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2017/05/12/using-a-vpn-to-take-back-your-privacy/

strip exif data

I have a large collection of photographs on my computer. And each Christmas the collection grows ever larger. I use digiKam to manage that collection, but as I have mentioned before, storing family photographs as a collection of jpeg files seems counter intuitive to me. Photographs should be on display, or at least stored in …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2014/01/11/strip-exif-data/

untrusted dod certificate

Chris Williams over at El Reg posted a nice article about the kind of crypto best practice you need to follow if you care about privacy. The article questions the wisdom of using David Miranda as what Williams calls a “data mule” to carry physical electronic media (possibly) containing sensitive data through Heathrow and goes …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/08/23/untrusted-dod-certificate/

save your money – just use tails

I suppose it was inevitable that the Snowden revelations would lead to greater interest in privacy and anonymity. I applaud that. I suppose it was also inevitable that there would be a rash of commercial products emerging from both “entrepreneurs” and the more established “security” companies to take advantage of that increased interest. That, I …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/07/17/save-your-money-just-use-tails/

prism opt-out

In all the noise on the ‘net about the alleged NSA PRISM program, this new site offers an amusing, but nonetheless useful, list of free alternatives to proprietary software. In part the site sort of misses the point about PRISM, but it is still good to see someone taking the time to point out that …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/06/16/prism-opt-out/

Debian iz free operatin sistem (OS) 4 ur computr

For a moment today I had the awful feeling that the debian website had been compromised by an illiterate 14 year old. The front page had been changed and contained such pearls as: “Debian providez moar than pure OS: it comez wif ovar 29000 packagez” and “Peeps hoo use sistems othr than Intel x86 shud …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/04/01/debian-iz-free-operatin-sistem-os-4-ur-computr/

using an ssh reverse tunnel to bypass NAT firewalls

There is usually more than one way to solve a problem. Back in October last year I wrote about using OpenVPN to bypass NAT firewalls when access to the firewall configuration was not available. I have also written about using ssh to tunnel out to a tor proxy. What I haven’t previously commented on is …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/03/26/using-an-ssh-reverse-tunnel-to-bypass-nat-firewalls/

tor and the UK data communications bill

As a Tor node operator, I have an interest in how the draft UK Data Communications Bill would affect me should it be passed into law. In particular, I would be worried if Tor ended up being treated as a “telecommunications operator” within the terms of the Act (should it become an Act). Fortunately, Steven …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/12/10/tor-and-the-uk-data-communications-bill/

using openvpn to bypass NAT firewalls

OpenVPN is a free, open source, general purpose VPN tool which allows users to build secure tunnels through insecure networks such as the internet. It is the ideal solution to a wide range of secure tunnelling requirements, but it is not always immediately obvious how it should be deployed in some circumstances. Recently, a correspondent …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/10/27/using-openvpn-to-bypass-nat-firewalls/

what every iphone needs

I stumbled across this site today when following a link from an email on the topic of reflashing an android tablet with CyanogenMod. The guy who sent the email (to the ALUG list) had bought a generic 7″ android tablet. He was considering reflashing with CM9 and was asking for advice/guidance/gotchas or whatever before doing …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/08/20/what-every-iphone-needs/

stallman likes sharing

The guardian’s series on internet freedoms (or otherwise) continues today with an article by Richard Stallman on the kindle and ebook publishing. Stallman makes a point I’d missed in my own commentary on the kindle when he says: “Many other habits that readers are accustomed to are not allowed for ebooks. With the Amazon Kindle, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/04/18/stallman-likes-sharing/

rockbox rocks

Some time ago my wife bought me a Sansa Sandisk Clip+ music player. When she asked me “what kind of MP3 player” I would like, I specifically specified the Clip+ because it could handle ogg vorbis encoded audio files. All my audio disks are encoded in this format. Picky I know, but there you go. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/04/16/rockbox-rocks/

HMG goes cloudy

The UK Cabinet Office has announced the winning bidders to supply IT goods and services to UK Government under its new framework contract called “G-Cloud”. The winners are listed on a new website called the CloudStore which, supposedly, allows HMG procurement specialists to search for the goods and services they want to purchase. The new …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/02/20/hmg-goes-cloudy/

tomorrow the world

A slightly breathless new post over at omgubuntu proudly boasts that the market share of Linux on the desktop jumped “from 0.96% in January 2011 to 1.41% by the year’s end.” (That could equally be be written as a close to 50% rise in Linux’ popularity). No doubt this will scare the pants off Steve …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/01/30/tomorrow-the-world/

moxie’s proxy

image of googlesharing proxy

Moxie Marlinspike, a security researcher probably best known for his SSL proxy tool, likes google even less than I do. His googlesharing website says: “Google thrives where privacy does not. If you’re like most internet users, Google knows more about you than you might be comfortable with. Whether you were logged in to a Google …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/01/22/moxies-proxy/

tails in a spin

When I first tested running a tails mirror on one of my VMs, the traffic level reported by vnstat ran at around 20-30 GiB per day. I figured I could live with that because it meant that my total monthly traffic would be unlikely to exceed my monthly 1TB allowance. However, when I checked the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/01/12/tails-in-a-spin/

tunnelling X over ssh

OK, yes, I know there are probably already a gazillion web pages on the ‘net explaining exactly how to do this, but I got caught out by a silly gotcha when I tried to do this a couple of days ago, so I thought I’d post a note. Firstly, X is not exactly a secure …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/12/19/tunnelling-x-over-ssh/

ubuntu de-throned

For the first time since early 2005, Ubuntu has fallen off the top spot on distrowatch. The new number one, by page hit ranking, is Linux Mint. I’m not at all surprised.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/09/ubuntu-de-throned/

dis-unity

The reaction to Ubuntu’s move to Unity seems to be getting wider coverage. Over at LWN, Bruce Byfield blogged recently about the rift between the Ubuntu developers and its users. In particular he highlights Tal Liron’s entry to the Ubuntu launchpad bug wiki under bug number 882274. In that entry, entitled “Community engagement is broken” …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/09/dis-unity/

fully minted

image of linux desktop on my netbook

After exploring the alternatives to Ubuntu, I finally settled on Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) running Xfce as the desktop. I am now Ubuntu free and have a desktop that looks the way /I/ want it to look rather than the way some design nut wants it to look. I am also hopeful that the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/06/fully-minted/

time to ditch ubuntu?

I’ve used Ubuntu on my desktops/laptops and netbook for some time now. I think my first installation was 6.06 (the version 6.04 which was late by two months) and my desktops currently all run 10.04 LTS. I got over the minor irritation of the move of the window control buttons from the top right to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/10/19/time-to-ditch-ubuntu/