Sun, 08 Feb 2004

Linux Potpourri

I took a few random paths on the Web today and found couple of gems. The first is a neat little article about using LPD to play music.

Following the instructions, I had it working in minutes. This would be be a lot of fun in an office or group setting where everyone could queue up a few of their favorites songs for all to listen to.

Apparently a group of engineers at Dell are behind the new Dell Linux Community Web. This looks like an interesting and useful site. I've bookmarked it and I'm sure I'll be back regularly.

I found a link from Jeff Duntemann's ContraPositive Diary to the Linksys Blue Box Router HOWTO by Eric Raymond. I've always liked the Linksys devices but hadn't realized some run Linux and play so well in a Linux environment.

I may consider replacing my Linux firewall box with a Linksys Blue Box soon. I subscribed to Vonage and I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of the analog phone adapter (probably a Motorola VT1000v ). I'll be using the Linux Advanced Routing and Traffic Control HOTWO to figure out how to ensure quality voice connections without dropped packets or delays. I intend to install the analog adapter behind my firewall.

If a Linksys Blue Box can do a better job of routing my VoIP traffic I'll happily replace my 400Mhz Celoron based firewall. I can recycle it as my annual Windows tax machine.

At home, I use Windows just once a year. The only piece of software I find I still need Windows to run is TurboTax. I have an old 200 MHz system with Windows. Once a year, I fire it up, headless, with just a keyboard (and only then because it refuses to boot without one). Then I access it via RealVNC from my Debian GNU/Linux desktop. I would happily use one of the online tax preparation services except I need to prepare several returns: mine, one for each of the kids (3), and this year I'll probably be preparing one for my mother. Having my own software is more cost effective.

I love all my free, open source software. However, I would happily pay for a good quality tax preparation package to run on Linux. It would certainly be nice to see TurboTax for Linux!

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