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FreeBSD Basics



Fun with Xorg
Xorg includes several useful utilities and features that almost no one knows about. You can accelerate your display, nest one X server in another, distribute your session across multiple monitors on different machines, and watch a session on another machine. Dru Lavigne explains. [12/07/2006]

Sharing Internet Connections
Protecting your computer when you're online is good. If you have multiple computers in your home or small business, protecting all of them is also good--especially if you can share your internet connection. Dru Lavigne demonstrates how to allow other computers to use the network safely with a FreeBSD or similar Unix system and fwbuilder. [10/05/2006]

Building a Desktop Firewall
By now, many internet users know that they need a firewall to protect their computers while they're online. Knowing that doesn't convey the knowledge of how to create and maintain a firewall. A nice GUI firewall builder called fwbuilder makes it possible to set up a working firewall in ten minutes--on Linux, *BSD, and Mac OS X. Dru Lavigne shows how it works on FreeBSD. [08/03/2006]

Using DesktopBSD
A few user-friendly distributions of FreeBSD have appeared lately. DesktopBSD is a user-friendly variant of FreeBSD 5.5 that is suitable even for Unix novices. Dru Lavigne walks through the installation and use of DesktopBSD to provide a modern, powerful workstation. [07/13/2006]

Using PC-BSD
A few user-friendly distributions of FreeBSD have appeared lately. PC-BSD is one suitable for the corporate and home desktops, even those of users unfamiliar with Unix. Dru Lavigne walks through the installation and configuration of PC-BSD to provide a modern, powerful workstation. [05/11/2006]

Building Binary PC-BSD Packages
Several BSD-based distributions have emerged recently--and a few are relevant to and accessible by end users. One such is PC-BSD, whose innovations include a binary package installation system. Of course, that requires people to build binary packages for it. Fortunately, as Dru Lavigne demonstrates, doing so is both easy and addictively fun. [01/05/2006]

Using Software RAID-1 with FreeBSD
Disk space is cheap, and putting multiple disks in a computer is relatively cheap. Taking advantage of redundant disks to protect against hardware failure is invaluable. Though some RAID solutions require special hardware, FreeBSD 5.0 and later support software RAID. Dru Lavigne shows how to configure and enable disk mirroring. [11/10/2005]

Using FreeBSD's ACLs
The standard Unix permissions scheme works fine if you have simple needs, but juggling groups and users can grow unwieldy very quickly. FreeBSD's Access Control Lists give you more control over who can access files and directories. Dru Lavigne explains how to enable, understand, and use them appropriately. [09/22/2005]

Accessing Secure Subversion Servers
In the previous FreeBSD Basics column, Dru walked through installing and configuring a secure Subversion server for sharing documents. This time, Dru explains how to teach users to use the server, first from the command line and then from the RapidSVN GUI tool. [08/11/2005]

Setting up a Secure Subversion Server
You've finally persuaded your users to stop emailing documents back and forth when they need to collaborate, but you've had to recover three overridden versions on the shared network drive this week. Dru Lavigne has an answer; this month's FreeBSD Basics column demonstrates how to allow users to collaborate on documents with safe and secure version control provided by Subversion. [05/12/2005]

make for Nonprogrammers
If you're a typical FreeBSD user, you may never have compiled C source code on your own. Yet if you've ever issued a make command, it's compiled code for you. How does it do that? What does it do, anyway? And what else can it do? Dru Lavigne answers all of these questions. [03/24/2005]

FreeBSD Tips and Tricks for 2005
The nice thing about F/OSS is that it grows too fast for anyone to keep track of everything new. In her second annual exploration of new things she missed the first time around, Dru Lavigne discovers installed FreeBSD logos, CLI dialog boxes, rescue utilities, more articles, a run-level GUI, saved ports options, and RSS readers. [02/17/2005]

More FreeBSD for Linux Users
BSD and Linux are both Unix workalikes. How different can they be? In certain cases, very! Though the systems share a family tree, their differences sometimes stand out. Dru Lavigne explains FreeBSD's directory layout, devices, kernel modules, and terminology to Linux users. [01/13/2005]

FreeBSD for Linux Users
BSD and Linux are both Unix workalikes. How different can they be? In certain cases, very! Though the systems share a family tree, their differences sometimes stand out. Dru Lavigne explains FreeBSD's runlevels, startup scripts, kernel configuration, and documentation systems to Linux users. [11/11/2004]

FreeBSD Bag of Tricks
Software junkies like Dru Lavigne always file away interesting new programs for their bag of tricks. In this installment of FreeBSD Basics, Dru demonstrates how to use usermin for easy webmail and reveals the convenience and glory of TheOpenCD. [09/23/2004]

Building a Unix Server
Building a new server is always a little exciting -- you have the chance to make a fresh start, with good intentions and everything. But if it never ends up that nicely, take some tips from Dru Lavigne, who explains how she sets up Unix servers. [08/26/2004]

Unix Printing Basics
For some reason, consumer-level printing has never been easy on any OS, including Unix. Unless you're in the know, it seems like a mess of spoolers, filters, and drivers. Fortunately, new versions of Ghostscript and foomatic make configuring printing easier. Dru Lavigne explains the basics of Unix printer installation and configuration. [07/08/2004]

FreeBSD Networking Basics
Networking is integral to many functions of a modern FreeBSD system. When it's working, it works wonderfully. When it's not working -- or before you've configured things -- it can frustrate new users. Dru Lavigne explains how to verify, configure, and optimize FreeBSD networking. [05/13/2004]

Interesting New Ports
Perusing the Freshports list is a great way to find interesting and useful new FreeBSD ports. Dru Lavigne explores how to prune unused ports, expand your fortunes, improve your English, and harden your system's security. [03/25/2004]

Hiding Secrets with Steganography
Bad guys in the movies all keep their wall safes hidden behind paintings. Is there a metaphor in there for your sensitive files? Dru Lavigne explores steganography, or hiding secret messages in images or sounds, with the outguess and steghide utilities. [12/04/2003]

Improving User Passwords with apg
The biggest security weakness in any system is usually its users. One line of defense is choosing and enforcing a good password policy. The automatic password generator port can help your users create -- and remember -- effective passwords. Dru Lavigne demonstrates its use and configuration. [10/30/2003]

Cleaning and Customizing Your Ports
One of FreeBSD's biggest benefits is its ports collection. It seems like magic, but a little maintenance can make it work even better for your system. Dru Lavigne explains how to keep your ports collection clean and how to customize individual ports. [09/18/2003]

portupgrade
One of FreeBSD's biggest benefits is its ports collection. Perhaps the most important ports utility is portupgrade. Dru Lavigne demonstrates how you can get the most out of your ports collection. [08/28/2003]

Ports Tricks
One of FreeBSD's biggest benefits is its ports collection. You can go years without learning more than just make install clean, but there are dozens of features built into the ports tools. Dru Lavigne demonstrates several of these tricks to simplify your life. [08/07/2003]

SMTP Proxies
Now that you know all about proxies, you're ready to install and use an SMTP proxy. Why would you want to? To make your life easier. Dru Lavigne explores messagewall, a flexible SMTP proxy. [07/24/2003]

HTTP Proxies
Now that you know all about proxies, you're ready to install and use an HTTP proxy. Dru Lavigne explores Squid and Middleman, two effective and powerful HTTP proxies. [07/03/2003]

Proxy Terminology 101
You're probably reading this page through a proxy right now. You might be saving bandwidth, sharing an external IP address, or being protected from work-unsafe material, but could you tell a reverse proxy from an arp proxy? Dru Lavigne explains what these and other terms mean in preparation for installing and running proxies. [06/19/2003]

Configuring a TFTP Server
TFTP, the Trivial File Transfer Protocol, is ideal for devices such as routers and network-booting machines. With only a bit of EEPROM space and few utilities, how can you upgrade? Dru Lavigne demonstrates how to configure TFTP to serve hardware images. [06/05/2003]

DHCP on a Multi-Segment Network
Dru Lavigne previously covered DHCP and its terminology and setting up a simple DHCP server. On a larger network, subnets and relaying make things a little trickier. This week she explains how to configure DHCP for a large network. [05/15/2003]

Configuring a DHCP Server
In her previous article, Dru Lavigne introduced DHCP and its terminology. This week, she explains how to configure a DHCP for a small and reasonably simple network. [05/01/2003]

Introducing DHCP
On all but the smallest TCP/IP network, it's handy to configure network information for computers automatically. That's what DHCP does. It's easy to act as a DHCP client, but configuring a server is a little trickier. Dru Lavigne introduces DHCP and explains what you need to know to setup a simple DHCP server. [04/17/2003]

File Integrity and Anti-DDoS Utilities
tripwire's not the only file integrity utility. Dru Lavigne explores aide and yafic, tools for making sure your system is clean of intrusion, and introduces utilities to detect DDoS programs. [04/03/2003]

Checking System Integrity with tripwire
In a secure system, everything has its place. If something's out of place, you'll know it. Dru Lavigne explains how tripwire, the file integrity utility, can monitor your system for anomalies. [03/20/2003]

Avoiding Trojans and Rootkits
It's a sad reality that connecting to the Internet puts your computer at risk. Of course, there are several ways to mitigate that risk. Dru Lavigne explains a few good habits to reduce the danger and introduces tripwire, an open source file integrity utility. [03/06/2003]

PAM
Last time, Dru Lavigne introduced one time passwords. Rather than an all-or-nothing approach, most free Unixes support several different authentication methods. This time, Dru explores PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules), which allow you to govern how users log on and authenticate themselves. [02/20/2003]

One-Time Passwords
You've replaced telnet with ssh. You've instituted password-checking utilities, and you rotate passwords monthly. Still feeling paranoid? Dru Lavigne's got the answer -- one time passwords. This alternate authentication method for FreeBSD means your security won't be jeopardized even if someone sniffs your password. [02/06/2003]

Odds and Ends
The end of year holidays bring a chance to reconnect with friends, family, and Unix. At least, they do in Dru Lavigne's household. The FreeBSD columnist shares a few odds and ends on getting to know Unix better. [01/23/2003]

Cryptosystems: Debugging IPSec
You've learned about cryptosystems. You understand VPNs. You've installed IPSec. You'd like it to work. Take heart, Dru Lavigne's final installment of "Cryptosystems" explains how to debug IPSec. [01/09/2003]

Cryptosystems: Configuring IPSec
VPNs make it possible to have secure networks on top of the insecure public Internet. Having explained the concepts, Dru Lavigne's newest Cryptosystems article demonstrates how to configure IPSec. [12/26/2002]

VPNs and IPSec Demystified
How do you allow remote users to access resources on your network securely over an insecure connection? With a VPN. Never fear, Dru Lavigne's latest Cryptosystems column explains the concepts and terminology behind the technology. [12/12/2002]

Cryptosystems: Configuring SSH
Cryptosystems are handy, but they're not for everyone right out of the box. In her second article on SSH, Dru Lavigne explores some of the more common configuration options for clients and servers. [11/28/2002]

The SSH Cryptosystem
OpenSSH encrypts sessions between two machines, making packet sniffing much more difficult. In the second of a series on Cryptosystems, Dru Lavigne explores the default configuration of OpenSSH on FreeBSD and demonstrates how to enable key pair encryption. [11/14/2002]

Cryptographic Terminology 101
No matter how good your internal security, your data isn't safe if it's sent externally as plain text. To protect your sensitive information from prying eyes, you need cryptography. Dru Lavigne's latest column gives a crash course on this field's vital terminology. [10/31/2002]

Playing Audio and Video Files with FreeBSD
In the last of her multimedia series, Dru Lavigne explores utilities for enjoying common Internet audio and video formats under FreeBSD. [10/17/2002]

DVD Playback on FreeBSD
Dru Lavigne delves into the world of DVD playback and tests four applications from the ports collection to find one that suits her needs. [10/03/2002]

Using Sound on FreeBSD
Dru Lavigne continues configuring a multimedia workstation by demonstrating how to get sound working, and looking at some of the sound-related ports in the ports collection. [09/19/2002]

Turn FreeBSD into a Multimedia Workstation
Dru Lavigne explores the world of FreeBSD on the desktop by rebuilding the system from source and installing all of the common desktop components. [09/05/2002]

Archiving with Pax
Dru Lavigne finishes up her series on archivers with pax, a versatile utility that can create both tar and cpio archives. [08/22/2002]

Securing FreeBSD
Dru Lavigne shows us several ways that we can increase the security level on a FreeBSD box. [08/08/2002]

Understanding CPIO
Dru Lavigne explains the art of using cpio to archive a list of files generated by the find or ls utilities.  [07/11/2002]


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