Category Archives: Business

XWiki On Debian 4 (Etch) – Tomcat – MySQL

XWiki is a professional wiki with enterprise features such as blog, strong rights management, LDAP authentication, PDF export, full skining and more. It also includes an advanced form and scripting engine making it a development environment for data-based applications. It has powerful extensibility features such as scripting in pages, plugins and a highly modular architecture. See the full feature list for more.



Open-Source Classroom Management With iTALC On Ubuntu 7.10

This document describes how to set up iTALC on Ubuntu 7.10. iTALC is an open-source classroom management solution that lets you view and control other computers in your network. It lets you remote-control other computers, show the teacher’s screen on all students’ computers, lock workstations, send text-messages to students, power on/off and reboot remote computers, etc.


iTALC promotes learning on a classroom network

iTALC, or Intelligent Teaching and Learning with Computers, is a didactical tool designed to assist teachers. Despite its name, the tool itself isn’t a learning environment. It’s meant to let teachers control their students’ computers in a computer-driven classroom setting. Thanks to its powerful remote desktop control features, simple setup, and lack of cost, it’s a potential remote assistance tool for any type of network.

iTALC is cross-platform and easy to install. There are binary packages and installation instructions available for several Linux distributions, including Debian, Ubuntu, SUSE, and Gentoo. You can also download the source package. I set up iTALC in Fedora from source without any issues and managed clients running other Linux distributions and Windows XP.

iTALC’s hardware requirements are modest. Its developer recommends 512MB RAM and 1GHz processor and a graphics card (the current breed of on-board graphics would do) on the master (teacher) computer. You’ll also have to install iTALC on all students computer as well. When installing iTALC on the student’s computer, select only the “iTALC Client Application (ICA)” option. To add a computer you’ll need to know its IP address and MAC address. The procedure is explained with screenshots on iTALC’s wiki.


Virtual Hosting Howto With Virtualmin On CentOS 5.1

Version 1.0
Author: Andrew Colin Kissa <andrew [at] topdog [dot] za [dot] net>


This tutorial shows how to set up a CentOS 5.x server to offer all services needed by virtual web hosters. These include web hosting, smtp server with (SMTP-AUTH and TLS, SPF, DKIM, Domainkeys), DNS, FTP, MySQL, POP3/IMAP, Firewall, Webalizer for stats.

I will use the following software:

  • Database Server: MySQL 5.0.22
  • Mail Server: Postfix 2.3.3
  • NS Server: BIND9 9.3.3
  • Web Server: Apache 2.2.3 /PHP 5.1.6
  • FTP Server: Vsftpd 2.0.5
  • POP3/IMAP server: Dovecot 1.0
  • Webalizer: for site statistics 2.01_10
  • Virtualmin: Control panel


Switching Office Suites from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice

How to set up to work how you want it with templates and clip art, configurations, shortcuts, and more.

It’s Time to Switch

You’ve been thinking about it for a while. You’ve seen the PDF converter and sighed longingly; you’ve blushed before the skeptical glances of your open-source and anti-Microsoft friends who say “You’re still using Microsoft Office?” you’re looking at your budget and wondering why you would pay to get Microsoft Office 2007. And you’ve received Word 2007 files and haven’t been able to open them, so you know there’s going to be some file format issues no matter what you do.

But you haven’t switched over to Quite yet.

I’m here to help. Think of this as a virtual guide, the written version of me coming over to your house on a Sunday afternoon to help get to know and figure out all the things you’re not quite sure about. Sit down with this article this weekend and in a few hours you’ll feel refreshed, open sourced, and able to hold your head high when you run into those roving gangs of open source supporters.


Installing SugarCRM OpenSource Edition On Debian 4.0 (Etch)

Version 1.0
Author: Till Brehm <t [dot] brehm [at] projektfarm [dot] com>
Last edited 07/11/2007

SugarCRM is a webbased CRM solution written in PHP. SugarCRM is available as an OpenSource edition and a ClosedSource version. For a detailed overview of the different editions, have a look at the SugarCRM website. In this tutorial I will describe the installation of the OpenSource edition on Debian 4.0. With the modules My Portal, Calendar, Activities, Contacts, Accounts, Leads, Opportunities, Cases, Bugtracker, Documents and Email, SugarCRM OpenSource Edition offers everything that can be expected from a CRM solution.


Converting All Your MS Outlook PST Files To Maildir Format

One of the challenges you may face when converting an office from Microsoft Windows to Linux is that many people archive their e-mail in PST files. There are PST tools available, but most of them are commercial, since the PST file format is closed and protected by Microsoft. There are several non-commercial methods to achieve roughly the same goal, and in this tutorial we use IMAP (more specifically, courier-imap) to convert all our e-mails from PST to the Maildir format. The advantage of this approach is that you also lay the foundation for a new mail system, with all your old e-mails already imported the day you switch over.


Deploying Corporate Knowledge base using Mediawiki

Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly.

We found the perfect way to implement our internal Knowledge base using Wiki. First a little bit of information on our company, Bobcares. Bobcares is in the business of providing technical support for Web Hosting companies. We support Control Panels like cPanel, Plesk, Ensim, Hsphere, Helm and many more, on platforms such as MS Windows, Linux and various flavours of Unix. Bobcares engineers need to be on the cutting edge of technology, so that they can solve a variety of Tier 2 and Tier 3 issues that Internet servers face.

As a smaller company with four or five engineers, the easy way of updating knowledge amongst ourselves was by email, or around the water coolers. As we grew to the current strength of 150 engineers, we realised that this wouldn’t work anymore. The Bobcares advantage has been our collective experience and knowledge. As we continued to grow, we needed to find a way to spread this collective knowledge within our company and to grow and improve on it. We hit upon an idea to implement, a common Knowledge Base, that was accessible to our engineers to update and search.

Any Knowledge Base solution that we chose had to be easy to search and easily updated by all. The most important feature we needed was for our engineers to easily create new Knowledge Base entries and to edit each other’s entries. While registering and logging in, was a nice to have feature, we didn’t want an engineer to go through registration, unless he or she wanted to. That meant that anonymous entries should be allowed. However, if people logged in, and created a KB entry, that entry would be credited in their name.

Wiki was a natural choice. A Wiki allows users to put in entries without logging in. It allows users to edit entries, either logged in or not. We chose Mediawiki, an Open source PHP, MySQL based Wiki implementation. Mediawiki is used by Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia with over a million articles, and edited daily by thousands of anonymous users around the world.

Installation of Mediawiki was fairly straightforward. It includes a number of in-built themes, which allow you to edit the look and feel. The feature we used the most in mediawiki, was the Category/Subcategory feature. This allows users to create categories and articles within the categories. In order to help users create new pages easily, we installed the Inputbox extension.


Helpdesk Applications for WebHosts

Articles by Susy William A few days back, a Web Host enquired about available Helpdesks in the market. Having closely associated with the Web Hosting industry, I quickly typed down the names of available Helpdesk systems, including Open source and Commercial Helpdesk Systems.
Later, I thought it best to search for available Helpdesk systems. To my surprise, I couldn’t find a single website which gave me information on all the available Helpdesk systems. I decided to simply sit down and write this article.

The first time I came to Bobcares, I heard the word “ticket “. It was common to hear among my colleagues : Hold on .. I have got to handle one more ticket. And then we can go for a coffee. Of course I have heard the word “ticket” before, like train tickets, bus tickets, flight tickets, cinema tickets). It shows that you have paid for admission to a theatre, movie theater, amusement park, zoo, museum, concert, or permission to travel on an airplane, public transit, boat trip, typically because one has paid the fare. But what does that have to do with this engineer working on Web Hosting servers ?

A ticket, in the Helpdesk context refers to a request for help by customers. The main benefit in having a Helpdesk Software, is that it gives you a clear cut idea on the type of issues that appear on your servers, the frequency of their occurrence, how it had been resolved and how much time was spent on the resolution of those issues. All in all, it is a critical part of a Web Hosts business. The choice of the right Helpdesk will help Web Hosts, do a better analysis of Incoming Support requests.

These are some of the features that make a Helpdesk system useful:

* 1) Ability to add staff members for specific area’s
* 2) Allowing follow-ups
* 3) Shouldn’t be resource intensive
* 4) Should be programmable for your custom needs
* 5) Integrated with a billing software would be very advantageous
* 6) Having separate queues
* 7) A custom header and footer for each support tech logging in
* 8) Search feature available and user friendly


Turn your Linux box into a PDF-making machine

By: Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier

Remember the paperless office? By now we were supposed to be handling all of our documents digitally, and saving trees by using computers to handle everything electronically. If you’d like to make backup copies of ephemeral content without printing it out, turn your Linux box into a PDF generation device for your entire network.

What sort of things might you want to save as PDFs? When you buy stuff online, virtually every site provides a receipt, which you may want later if the order email is lost or if you need to send in a receipt for expense reports. However, you may not want to print all of them out just to keep them around, and Firefox only supports writing to PostScript, rather than PDF.

What you’ll need is a Linux box with the Common UNIX Printing System (CUPS) and the CUPS-PDF driver. I set this up on Ubuntu Feisty, but it should work on any Linux distro with CUPS and the CUPS-PDF driver.

By default, CUPS-PDF is not installed, so grab it by using sudo apt-get install cups-pdf. You should then be able to add a fake printer that will convert print jobs to PDF files. Go to System -> Administration -> Printing to bring up the Printer configuration dialog. Select New Printer from the toolbar, and walk through the New Printer Wizard. You can give the printer pretty much any name you want. PDF seems like a logical choice. The Description and Location fields are optional.

On the next screen, when asked to select a connection, choose Virtual Printer, and leave the device URI as it is: cups-pdf:/. Next, on the screen where you can select a Printer from the database, choose Generic. On the next screen, choose PostScript as the Model and as the driver for the printer. Then you’ll see a screen that says “Going to create a new printer PDF at cups-pdf:/.” Click Apply and you should have a virtual PDF printer.

Now you should be able to create PDF files from most Linux apps by sending your print jobs to the PDF printer. When you send jobs to the printer, they’ll be saved to a directory under your home directory that’s named after the virtual printer — so if you choose PDF as the name of your virtual printer, then the jobs will be sent to /home/yourusername/PDF.

Most Linux apps are fairly well-behaved, but I’ve noticed that some jobs come through as zero-length files even though the applications don’t indicate any problems when printing. For example, Opera happily prints to the virtual printer, but the resulting jobs are empty files. Firefox and Thunderbird print to the virtual printer just fine.

Many GNOME and KDE apps now have the ability to print directly to PDF or export a file to PDF, so it’s not necessary to utilize the virtual printer. However, where the PDF printer comes in really handy is if you have one or more Windows machines on your network and you’d like to generate PDFs from Windows apps without spending the money on Adobe’s tools.