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Two tiny additions to FOSS

August 21, 2010 Comments off

The quietness around here shows that I’m not much of a blogger.  That’s ok, I guess — it’s not like I wanted to make a living from it.  Well anyway, I’ve published a couple of tools I wrote a while ago, and they deserve at least a tiny announcement.  So here are two new contributions from me to the FOSS world.

ssh-pageant is an SSH authentication agent for Cygwin that links OpenSSH to PuTTY’s Pageant.  It acts very much like ssh-agent, except it leaves the key storage to Pageant.  You can use ssh-pageant to automate SSH connections from the Cygwin shell, and I find this is most helpful for those services built on top of SSH, like SFTP file transfers or pushing to secure git repositories.  It is even said to be literally life-saving.

MouseWinX is a Windows tray application that lets you quickly toggle X-mouse window activation, where the window focus follows position of the mouse cursor without having to click anything.  I wrote this back in college when I was using Magic VLSI for one of my classes, and I’ve also found it helpful for navigating GIMP.  Both are applications with multiple windows to interact with, and hot-tracking the mouse makes them a bit easier to use.  But the rest of the time I don’t like having the window focus jump around, so MouseWinX gives a simple icon in the tray which toggles the setting when clicked.

Both of these projects are in an unpolished state, like so many open source projects.  They work perfectly well, as far as I know, but I haven’t done the finishing touches, like writing documentation and packaging releases.  For now, at least the source code is out there, and hopefully this post will help them be found by those in need of such tools.

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Free Wireless

February 27, 2009 Comments off

I made an upgrade on my netbook today.  Can you spot the difference?

netbook before

netbook after

If you guessed that it’s now 100% open-source compatible, you are correct!

Even though I ordered the Linux package, Dell cheaped out with a Broadcom wireless card that doesn’t have very good Linux support.  Broadcom does have drivers available, but you have to download and compile the wrapper yourself.  Downloading a new driver and all of the kernel-devel packages is a little harder when your network is not connected…

So to replace the Broadcom, I ordered an Intel 3945ABG card, because it is well supported in Linux.  The kernel has the right drivers already included, so Fedora works right out of the box, even booting off of a live cd.  And not only are the drivers open-source, but they even work better.  My connection time shrunk from 20-30 seconds down to about 5 seconds.  I can live with that!

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