SSHFS Mount remote directories locally with SSH

Sometimes it’s annoying to work from your Desktop on remote files using command line only, while you can access them easily using GUI. The problem occur if you are editing text files that have non standard encoding, and in this case using command line might broke your encoding or not allow you to see text correctly. So instead of finding a way to display it in command line, I prefer using other editors. Read more

Ubuntu Howto Fix Repository Signature Verification Issues

Repository signature verification issues in ubuntu are becoming annoying, I’m getting this after apt-get update :

W: A error occurred during the signature verification. The repository is not updated and the previous index files will be used. GPG error: natty-updates Release: The following signatures were invalid: BADSIG 40976EAF437D05B5 Ubuntu Archive Automatic Signing Key
W: Failed to fetch
W: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

here is a quick fix :

$ sudo apt-get clean
$ cd /var/lib/apt
$ sudo mv lists lists.old
$ sudo mkdir -p lists/partial
$ sudo apt-get clean

Should be enough, but still getting error like :

W: GPG error: natty-updates Release: The following signatures were invalid: BADSIG 40976EAF437D05B5 Ubuntu Archive Automatic Signing Key

Try another clean

$ sudo apt-get clean
$ sudo aptitude -o Acquire::http::No-Cache=True -o Acquire::BrokenProxy=true update

Test now

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

Fixed !

Open Source, Closed Source, We are not enemies

Every time I read a paper about open source I can feel how it’s trying hard to oppose to closed source or proprietary software. People in the closed source side seems to take things differently : ” we are doing business and we have to generate sales, closed or open doesn’t matter”.

I’m not going to defend open source, because there are enough arguments, technologies, and solutions that are very competitive and no closed technology can compete with them, however my only take is only for education.

Why most education systems “impose” the use of proprietary solutions ? I did not said that MS Office is bad, but do not force me to use this product. Why teaching kids how to use Windows, Word, Excel, PowerPoint… then Access for advanced users !

As a student I’ll have probably to write text, reports, table sheets, presentations … I don’t think this deserve to be taught separately and marked in the final exams ! People behind education programs are sometimes old fashion and love to stick to old stuff they learned, or just prefer the solution of facility if it’s about teaching few basic features documented and sponsored by the software provider.

The only good things is probably teaching Java as main programming language in most universities and colleges, and my apologies for those who are stick to Pascal “forever”. It’s okay to teach .NET but don’t stick to Visual Studio and Windows environment, there is Mono for people who don’t know it which provide an open source alternative.

In business, the choice of open or closed technology is not a matter of evangelism. I had the chance probably to work on a large open source solution using a closed source database for a government institution, and actually another new project which is based mainly on closed technology and integrated with the open source solution.

The core business solution is stable for one year already, and is mainly powered by open source technologies (operating systems, web server, web application), even the closed source database is running on an open source OS.

Getting the new project running with closed technology doesn’t much matter for me – even if I won’t recommend it if I was asked before. Making the business evolute is my only concern, and integration was really made easy between the two technologies.

My only worries today is about the capabilities of the closed technology to support a high number of users, and high traffic during peak times. In the same time I’m not much worried, because the core business is in the safe side, if the new implementation for a reason or another fail, only the “closed source” part of the system will fail and not the entire system.

Businesses and consultancies have the choice, most of the time, but they are mostly interested to work behind a giant company name to make sure that their solution will be accepted. By experience selling a custom made solution (powered by open source technologies) is much more profitable than reselling licenses of any available software, but the lack of experience and confidence doesn’t give much choices.

I think I have answered a key question here : small companies cannot compete with open source software, get behind a large company name and you will be able to sell any open source solution at a very competitive price compared to closed source one. Open and closed source are not enemies, it’s up to you to use one or the other, or make them both coexist.

Say YES to Open Source

Today I was reading on Okaz newspaper a news about a contractor who abused of their confidence and programmed a password change after leaving his position at King Abdul Aziz University. Things that creates troubles in administrative transactions in the entire university.


Without entering into further details, how this could happen, and why … It’s true that something wrong happened and they assumed the consequences. I’m not talking about the small amount of money they paid to get back the password, but about the scam behind it and the name of the university in question.

I wanted to profit – as usual – and focus again on the strategic decisions of considering Open source as alternative in critical mission projects. Whatever if you are talking about ERP, CRM, BPM, DMS, … the open source alternative is always available and costless compared to proprietary solutions. Best of all, open source is a guarantee to have full control on the business and get lock-free solution.

Imagine if this project was made in an open source ecosystem, the university will never get locks anywhere, and their system might be updated easily and quickly – even if something wrong happened.

Most important things to consider to avoid locks :

  • Adopt Open Source technologies
  • Document everything : Business, communications, code and databases
  • Adopt a backup/restore strategy
  • Adopt a disaster recovery strategy
  • Share the knowledge in a development team, and avoid using only one developer in a large project to minimize cost. Two or more developers will get work done faster and safer.
  • Separate critical mission projects, from new alpha/beta projects. Use SOA as much as possible for integration.
  • Do not go e-Business if you are not ready for it and always provide alternative in case of failure. And consider seriously that the project will fail.
  • finally -in Saudi Arabia specifically- ask for support, Yesser program is doing great work and their consultants might really help to secure your e-Business.

You still don’t trust open source ?

Introducing CouchDB at the first Jeddah Geeks meetup

Yesterday was held the first Jeddah geeks meetup and I wanted to thank everyone who assisted, participated, or organised the event. Since the topic was about web application development, I was talking yesterday about new trends in open source distributed database : NoSQL with a quick introduction to CouchDB and some case studies.

Some photos of the meeting are available courtesy of Shihab Babgi:

(HBY) Consultancy