Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Computer Reuse Through Linux

One day I found a laptop dumped in recycle bin at my office. It is Toshiba Tecra 8100 with Pentium3 450 MHz, 64-MB RAM and 12 MB harddisk. It had Windows NT in it. I took it home, reformatted it with my SuSE Linux 9.2. Well, the memory seemed not enough, so I went to and found somebody was selling the 128 RAM SIMM100 for around 20 bucks. Not bad, I though. So I bought it and installed it on the laptop.

I got 192 MB now so I could run the GUI (I use KDE, but also added many GNOME libraries to run GNOME-based applications). I then downloaded the latest kernel available at that time (2.6.10). I also bought Cisco Linksys PCMCIA WLAN card (WPC54 SpeedBooster). Unfortunately, Linksys has not provided the driver for Linux yet, but luckily there is ndiswrapper downloadable somewhere. So I copied the driver for Windows to my Linux, run the ndiswrapper and ...voila, the wireless card worked. Well, still had problem here. Apparently, there was a conflict between ndiswrapper and ndiswrapper. I rebuilt the kernel and disabled sound drivers, but still sporadically the ndiswrapper did work very well (sometimes, the WLAN lost connection). For your info, I rebuilt them with specific processor criterias enabled, such as mcpu=pentium3 -msse and mfpmath=sse.

A few days I go, I gave a try to use kernel I even rebuilt Krolltech's QT and many libraries. After many days of recompiling, I successfuly made the wireless work with sound drivers. I was one of the happiest days in my life making reuse the old laptop. I have been using the laptop for many of my daily activities, including browsing, reading emails and even a lightweight server. Yes, it is a server. Imagine if I use Windows for this purpose, I might have burned the laptop to the hell for its slowiness.

The laptop has SSH server, FTP, Telnet and many other services. I even also connect my external USB harddrive, thus I got additional 12 GB of space for storage. Not bad at all.

At work, I also partition my other laptop (it is IBM T30 with 512 MB RAM and 40 GB of total space). I parition 6 GB for Linux, and the rest for Windows 2000. You know what? I ended up using Linux for my work activities almost everyday. Linux is really cool, and I have learned a lot about many things because of opensource applications and tools available from the internet.

I really thank people outthere who have developed such great operating systems, applications and tools.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Got Answer from one of the 'Hacker'

A few weeks ago I modified an article about SHA-1 on by adding a link to another page telling a brief biography about one of the SHA-1 hackers, a chinese researcher name Xiaoyun Wang. After a few minutes, somebody removed the link and even the new page I added due to infringement of copyrighted materials.

I was suprised, but then I sent email to the researcher asking wether she objects my writing. I got a reply few days later saying that her team and the university (Shandong University of China) are going to create a new website dedicated to this security stuff. Well, she did not really answer my questions, but at least I got a response from an expert and Ph.D in security.

Let's wait and see how their website and papers will look like.

Rebuilding KDE made Easy!

After a few months not checking KDE website (, two days ago I revisited the site and found an interesting tool for KDE 3.3.2: Konstruct. The tool is easy to use and is designed to build (checking components and to download the missing ones, configure them, compile and link the whole libraries and component).

The only command I needed to execute is:

cd konstruct/meta/kde; make install

So easy to build now. If I recall, it was giving me hard time to recompile my KDE (it was 3.3) on my IBM Laptop T30. I had to download all *.bz2 files (plus qt-x11 libraries), extract them, reconfigure and compile one by one.

I am still having problem though when compile them on my 'free' Toshiba Laptop Tecra8100. Somehow, one component (Kppp) complains about 'regfree' and some other procedures altough I have double checked the Kpp*.cpp has "#include ". Anybody knows how to resolve it?