Monday, July 31, 2006

LMP IT Officers Unite!

Last July 27-28, 2006, I attended a "Forum on eGovernance Capability Building" sponsored by the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), The Asia Foundation (TAF), and the British Embassy at the Astorias Plaza Hotel in Ortigas.

The League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) in partnership with The Asia Foundation (TAF) held the forum as it is their common support for the use of Information and Communication Technology to improve services and operations in the municipalities.

Aside from being a participant, I was also made to talk to introduce Joomla! for the easy creation of dynamic content rich websites.

The forum was also a way for the organizers to organize IT officers in municipalities in the country in one organization under the auspices of the LMP. It is tentatively known as the LMP Association of eGovernance Advocates. The organization was established to promote eGovernance among LGUs and to its constituents and pursue the formulation of a national policy that will ensure the success of local ICT projects.

And to my surprise, I was elected as National President (unoppose and to think that it was my first time to meet the other participants). Personally, I was at the most gunning for the PRO position but I guess they must saw something in me that I wasn't able to.

For starters, we talked about convening all national government agencies concerned and ask them to push for the standarization and interoperability of their info systems (READ: open source), encourage mayors to fully support ICT, push for a enabling law that will allow the creation of permanent ICT positions even if the LGU's allocation for salaries is already over the prescribed limit, and among other concerns.

I am now doing a website for the organization using Drupal (my first try), and has already created a mailing list for the organization at

I was also able to distribute Ubuntu and Kubuntu installer CDs during the event and was able to discuss about our LGU's experience on using Linux on the desktop with my peers. Some of them in fact have signified their intent to ask me for assistance for possible Linux desktop migration.

Personally, I hope I could encourage more LGUs to adopt free open source softwares in their respective LGUs thru the organization. Other than that, I hope I could keep up with the challenge of being the President of the organization. I am excited, obviously.

I have high hopes yet I don't want to push it too much. I don't wanna give my fellow ICT officers too much undue pressure yet I don't wanna waste the momentum and their enthusiasm.

I'll go with the saying "THINK BIG, START SMALL" and so God help me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Doing the Samba without the Terminals

Assumptions: You're connected to a Local Area Network and your NIC has already been configured with the proper IP and subnet. Of course, basic mouse skills will help. (Addendum to assumptions: You just want a simple share, meaning you just want everybody in the LAN to view, copy, and edit the shared resource.)

Install the samba and smbfs packages with the Synaptic Package Manager. Open Synaptic (System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager) and search for the samba and smbfs packages. Right click on it and then choose install. Click apply. Close Synaptic when finished.

Create a folder in your home directory. Click Places -> Home. Ctrl+Shift+N to create a new folder and name it SharedFolder.

Change its permissions to 777 (or read-write-execute permission to User/Group/Others). Right click on the folder then Properties then click the Permissions tab then make sure all the read write execute check boxes have checks on it.

Now to share the folder... click System -> Administration -> Shared Folders. Click Add. At the Path selection, click the up and down arrows then choose others to browse your home folder.

Now as you see the SharedFolder folder that you just created, make sure you double click on it and not single click. Click Open. Put something on the Name field (like SharedFolder) then also put a check on the Allow Browsing Folder option. Click on General Windows sharing settings. Put anything on the Host Description field, then put your LAN's workgroup at the Domain / Workgroup field (in my case is MYGERONA). Click OK.

For the settings to take effect, you should do something at the terminal but for the sake of avoiding the terminal... just restart your PC. :)

That's it. Tried and tested it with two PCs and one laptop.. all fresh installed with Ubuntu Dapper.

I hope it works for you too. :)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Automatix and just being me...

I remember then when I started using Automatix for Ubuntu, someone told me that I should not use Automatix coz its a badly written program (it was said to use the --force-yes option but according to the developer, it ain't true) and it won't help me learn Linux the right way.

My take? I guess that someone forgot about the fact that not everyone who migrated from Windows to Linux wants to learn Linux. Some jumped in to Linux because they just got tired of viruses, spywares and other malwares while some got hooked with the ideals of GPL... and for so many other reasons but in the end they just want a "just works" Linux box.

Some people want to learn before they use something, but for some people like me, we prefer to use something first and then learn the details later. What drives people like me to learn something is how that something did great for us.

Now, if something doesn't work for me at the onset, why would I even think of learning it? But that is just me...

That is why Automatix helped me a lot on my migration. Remember, I am no developer... and WAS a sucker for the other OS. When I first started Linux, I must admit that I got intimidated with the menu of command lines just to get my Linux box play music and movies or install useful apps.

And no matter how you say it that it was too easy to do this and that, believe it or not, lots of newbies find it hard... yeah, its easy for you to say Linux guru.

Why can't we just let them use tools like Automatix and EasyUbuntu so that they could enjoy their PCs first and then encouraged them later to understand the details? Well, of course, it would be a different view if we are talking about programmers and developers.. but I am talking about myself -- a none programmer who just want to use Linux.

About Automatix as a badly written program, I guess I am too lucky coz I haven't had any problems with it. Never.

Nonetheless, I still thank those who warned me against Automatix. At least, I have been warned of risks and that I appreciate. If I choose to use Automatix and for that you call me an idiot or pathetic then fine with me! But hey, its NOT your PC that I am using, right?

I took my choice... and choice is what open source and Linux is all about.

Now let's all go get a life.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Kubuntu: I want to try!

Sir Chin Wong of the Manila Times issued a challenge to Linux developers that has something to do with providing an easy GUI on SAMBA (network file sharing) and CUPS (printer installation). He uses Ubuntu, by the way.

Wait! I do remember when I was using Mandrake 10.1, there was a nice GUI interface for SAMBA setup and I had no problems sharing my printer on the network. Unfortunately, no more Mandrake 10.1 for me to try on.

But then, I realized that there is Kubuntu which is KDE based just like Mandrake 10.1.

How I wish I could help Mr. Chin Wong by developing such GUI but then I am no developer or programmer so I had to try help him in other ways I can.

And so I will try to install Kubuntu any time this week and share my experiences thru this blog. I hope to get something out of it although quite honestly, a year of using Ubuntu (Gnome-based) has already made me a stranger to KDE. (I really pray that I'll have time to do this.)

By the way, Jon has a very nice how-to on transparent Squid proxying with iptables. Do read it and enjoy.