Ken Hess Archive

Kenneth Hess is a Linux evangelist and freelance technical writer on a variety of open source topics including Linux, SQL, databases, and web services. Ken can be reached via his website at http://www.kenhess.com. Practical Virtualization Solutions by Kenneth Hess and Amy Newman is available now.
Scripting, Part Two: Looping for Fun and Profit
Crafty System Administrators who want to conserve energy need to learn the fine art of looping.
Command Line Magic: Scripting, Part One
Creating shell scripts is the lazy (smart) system administrator's way to automate and build intelligence into repetitive tasks.
Making the Evolutionary Leap from Meerkat to Narwhal
If you're using Maverick Meerkat (Ubuntu 10.10) or an older distribution, Natty Narwhat is a whole new animal.
FAUMachine: First Impressions
If you'd like to try a new twist on virtualization, FAUmachine might be the next cool thing.
FBCMD: Command Line for Facebook
What's better than the command line and Facebook? How about combining the two?
Say Cheese, Webcam Effects Demo
Video effects walkthru of the desktop webcam application, Cheese. With commentary.
Putting Drupal to Work
Drupal is a simple but powerful CMS. However, you'll probably want to configure it. Learn how to tweak Drupal's settings to your liking.
Drupal at Warp Speed
Need to setup Drupal CMS but don't have the time to learn how? Try this 30 minute quick start guide.
2X ApplicationServer: Applications at the Speed of Cheap
If you're looking for a way to beat the high cost of application publishing, look no more, 2X has it under control.
Have Some Cheese with that Webcam
Cheese Webcam Booth will make you smile because it's fun and free and it works.
WiFi Extension Problem Solved: DD-WRT
There's nothing quite like solving your own problems with Linux. Using Linux-based DD-WRT solved a big one for me.
Google Your Desktop
Google Desktop is the best personal search engine that money can't buy.
Audacity: The Free Dimensional Sound Editor, Part Two
Learn how to mix sound and voice to create professional and audacious effects for your next audio project.
Audacity: The Free Dimensional Sound Editor, Part One
The audacity of developers who create, maintain and support an advanced sound editor free of charge is unfathomable but appreciated.
Debian 6: First Impressions
If you can get past the "Emperor's new clothes," it's the same old Debian.
Slap a Patch on It and Call it Good
Patching and updating have their limitations but, if you want support, you'd better have the latest and greatest.
LibreOffice 3.3: First Impressions
Say goodbye OpenOffice.org and say hello to new freedom with LibreOffice.
Hands On Demo: iPad Linux Terminal
After a quick session of Angry Birds, Senior Systems Editor, Ken Hess, gives us a tour of how you can turn your iPad into a handy Linux terminal.
VirtualBox 4: First Impressions
A look at the good, the bad, and the not-so-ugly of Oracle's latest incarnation of VirtualBox.
Take a Mulligan with Redo Backup & Recovery
If you like the way snapshots work for virtual machines, you'll love that same physical system functionality with Redo.
Apple iPad: A Linux Administrator’s New Assistant
Will the iPad gain acceptance among staunch Linux supporters or will the mere mention of such cross-species contamination stir up thoughts of lighted torches and pitchforks? Truth be told, it's a great device for some administrative tasks.
Up and Running with KVM, Ubuntu Style: Part Three
Once you go graphical with KVM's Virtual Machine Manager, you might never go back to the command line.
Up and Running with KVM Ubuntu Style: Part Two
Continue your dive into KVM virtualization, Ubuntu style.
Up and Running with KVM, Ubuntu Style: Part One
KVM, Red Hat's darling enterprise virtualization solution runs on Ubuntu. Let's not tell Red Hat.
SME Server: Simple. Mature. Enterprise.
SME Server is a no-nonsense approach to providing advanced network services to a large user base.
All That Java Jive
I love coffee, I love tea. I love the Java Jive and it loves me.* If Java is giving you jive, put your fears aside. You'll soon love it sweet and hot. Or maybe not.
Wireshark II: The Analysis
Find out if those TCP streams on your network are filled with C monsters or if it's smooth sailing for your Internet surfers.
Wireshark: An Ethereal Experience
If you love the aroma of network packets, you'll love capturing a snifter full of your favorite network-scented morsels with Wireshark, the world's most popular network protocol analyzer.
As Easy As Openfiler
Need an easy and powerful storage solution? Openfiler is one excellent option. Let's check it out.
The VMFS-3 Virtual Blockade
If VMFS-3 has you blocked, help has arrived in the form of magic SAN and an attentive Wizard.
Storage DBAN, Disksposal and Diskpensation
What you do with your disks after you're done with them does matter. Find out how to properly prepare them for the next owner.
Gnome Partition Editor: The Dearly GParted
GParted is an essential system administration tool. Learn to use it wisely.
Ten Essential Linux Admin Tools
Every good Linux System Administrator has a set of tools they reach for again-and-again. Here are ten must haves for your virtual utility belt.
Shell In A Box Gives Your Browser Terminal Status
Shell In A Box gives you simple web-based terminal access to your Linux system.
Tune In. Turn On. Turn Key.
Forty free, working and relevant turnkey appliances with unbreakable cloud-based backup and restore.
Remove Remote Connectivity Static with Dynamic DNS
Ever-changing IP addresses are an annoyance but you can clear up your remote connectivity static with Dynamic DNS services.
Dropbox: Painless and Free Backup
If you use several computers, sharing files between them is a pain but Dropbox takes the pain away--for free.
Virtualization Through Thick and Thin
Thin provisioning sounds like a good idea in theory, and sometimes it is, but when it goes bad, it really goes bad.
Command Line Audio: Simple as mpg123
Your mileage may vary with mpg123 but your MP3 listening enjoyment never will.
Are You Expecting? Your Boss Should Know
The quest to save labor makes us do some crazy things but when you're expecting, there is an easier way.
The Persistence of Time
Where does the time go? If you've ever had to ask this question, NTP can give you the answer time and again.
NTP: Timing is Everything
If your system time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future -- or the past -- it's time to fix it with NTP.
Disk Space: The Final Frontier
Disk space is always at a premium but how do you handle it when you have a disk or filesystem that's full? After today, you'll know how to boldly go into that dark realm.
Swatch: The Simple Log Watcher
You'll always know what time it is with swatch, a real time monitoring tool for your logs.
From the Sys Admin Toolbox: Logwatch
Q: What did one lumberjack say to the other lumberjack? A: Watch those logs.
Logs: Your Linux System’s Lovable Worker Bees
Can't bring yourself to love logs? You should take a second look.
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Eth
The ethtool utility provides ethernet card information and management to die for.
From the ACLU: Know Your Rights
Know your rights. Protect your rights. Another lesson from the ACLU.
Linux File Security Training at the ACLU
If user and group management has you in a quandary, it's time to take the advanced filesystem security class at the ACLU.
Linux System Information Decoded
System Administrator Dilemma #942: Send a Data Center Service Tech out to pop open the case to tell you what's in your system or use two simple commands.
User and Group Management 101
Whether you're new to managing users and groups or just need a quick refresher, this tutorial will sharpen your sys admin chops.
Do You Have an Aptitude for Software?
If you think smart is intelligent or if you think yum is tasty, aptitude will expand your thoughts with attitude.
A Debian Package Primer: Part One
If you use a Debian-based Linux distribution and you aren't familiar with the apt-get packaging system, you're apt to fall in love with it.
GoAhead Software Goes Ahead with Open Source
GoAhead Software, high-availability middleware vendor, shifts to an open source business model.
Five Easy Ways to Secure Your Linux System
When it comes to system security, there's no single correct solution. But with vigilance and these techniques, you will be five steps closer.
Got Security? You’re in Denial
Do you think your systems are secure? Install DenyHosts and you'll realize that you were in denial.
Klaatu Recommends Nikto for Web Security
Download and use Nikto before an attacker reduces your website to a burned-out cinder.
KDE 4.4: Does It Work Yet?
A confirmed GNOME superfan takes a new look at KDE 4.4 and likes it.
Five Ubuntu Features You Didn’t Know About
Psst. Hey, would you like to hear an Ubuntu secret? OK, how about five secrets?
Tweeting from the Command Line with Twyt
When 140 characters is all you need, the command line does it better.
When Memory Serves You: Using ramfs and tmpfs
Need a performance boost for your reads from and writes to a database or other dynamic files? A RAM-based filesystem is just what the good system doctor ordered.
Disk-O-Tech: Linux Disk Management
Are you bewildered by disk management in Linux? Don't be. Here are the nuts and bolts of adding a new disk to your system.
VirtualBox’s Little Secret: The Command Line
Casual VirtualBox users might not know about the awesome power that lurks just beneath the surface in the Command Line Interface (CLI).
Virtual Machines are No Security Blanket
Contrary to popular belief, virtual machines are no more secure than physical machines. They are also no less so.
Whose Platform is it, Anyway?
Cloud computing, virtualization and mobile devices take the 'proprietary' out of computing--at least for the consumer. Just think of the possibilities.
New Decade Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Tarballs
There's a front moving in and it looks like long overdue drought relief. Keep your umbrella handy--it looks like a virtual deluge.
2010 and the Fate of Your (Virtual) Desktop
Do you think that converting your clunky, maintenance-burdened physical desktop OS to a clunky, maintenance-burdened VM will save you some money? Think again.
2010: A Virtual Retrospective
Looking back on 2010 and what's ahead for 2011.
A Little Virtual Machine Recreation
It's time for a little VM recreation and you don't even have to get sweaty in the process.
Tempting Those Blackhatted Poohs with a Taste of Virtual Honey
Providing a little taste of honey to would-be intruders could save the whole hive from greedy paws.
What’s GNU in Virtualization
What's better than virtualization? How about free virtualization?
Windows 7 is More Than Just a Windows XP Virtual Host, Part One
And now for something completely different for Windows: Virtual Hard Drives.
Windows 7 a la XP Mode
Windows 7 arrives virtualization enabled. And a free copy of Windows XP to boot and reboot.
Which Major Hypervisor is Cheaper? Does it Matter?
The search for the answer to this ultimate question is a noble yet daunting quest. Licensing obfuscation makes the answer the stuff of Sherlock Holmes novels and fortuneteller quarry.
Got Training? Go Virtual.
An inexpensive classroom is as close as your local hypervisor.
Will Appliances Replace Standard VMs?
Put your virtual machine footprint on a diet with appliances.
Virtualization Makes Traditional Operating Systems Obsolete
When function surpasses form, the operating system drops out of the equation.
A Virtual OS for My Hypervisor Please
When will someone develop an operating system that's virtualization optimized?
It’s a VMworld After All — But For How Long?
Will pressure from Microsoft, Citrix and Red Hat prove to be too much opposition for VMware's now precarious lead position?
The Parallels of Hosting
Which virtualization technology would you choose if you owned a hosting company? The answer by those who do might surprise you.
A Portable Hypervisor: Part Three
Booting into Hyper-V R2 not exciting enough for you? How about booting it from a USB drive?
A Portable Hypervisor: Part Two
Microsoft's Hyper-V lives comfortably on a USB Flash Drive.
Taking Microsoft’s Hyper-V R2 for a Spin
Is Microsoft's latest Hyper-V incarnation track-ready? We take it for a spin to find out.
A Portable Hypervisor: Part One
A pocket-sized hypervisor is the stuff of dreams and sometimes dreams do come true.
Has Virtualization Made Capacity Planning Obsolete?
Are the days of IT's ultra-geeks are numbered with the introduction of virtual data centers and cloud computing?
Upping the Ante from Virtual PC to Hyper-V
Long shot or sure thing -- what's it like to go "all in" with Hyper-V?
My Midsummer Night’s Dream of A Virtual Lab
I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was. 'Twas something virtual and free, as in ale or speech, to me.
OVF to VM and Back Again
Do you need to deliver your appliances in smaller packages or do you have an OVF and don't know how to use it? This how-to unravels the OVF mystery.
Is Virtualization a Grassroots or a Gourmet Solution?
Virtualization is a serious technology solution that might run up a serious tab if you aren't minding your P's and V's.
Proxmox VE 1.2: First Impressions
Download, install and go to work in less than an hour.
How Mobile Are Your Hosted VMs?
As Cloud Computing hits the mainstream, people are wondering: How mobile are my VMs?
The Hypervisor of my Dreams: A Virtual Wish List
Question: Hyper-V, VMware, Citrix -- do any of them have it right? Answer: Only if you could combine all three into a single product.
VMware vSphere: Out of the Box and into the Clouds
Touted as a Cloud OS, vSphere enters the cloud computing fray with a bang.
Desktop Virtualization Revisited Part Four: VMware Workstation
Does VMware still win in desktop-level virtualization? Easily, but not without a caveat or two.
GNOME vs. KDE: The Final Smackdown
Two Linux desktops step into the ring. But in the end, there can be only one...
Desktop Virtualization Revisited Part Three: Parallel’s Workstation
Parallels Workstation: Unparalleled coolness or virtual bust?
Desktop Virtualization Revisited Part Two: Microsoft’s Virtual PC
Small, simple, stable and priced right: Is Microsoft's Virtual PC a good introduction to the world of virtualization and a great way to pull Linux into a Windows environment?
Desktop Virtualization Revisited Part One: Sun’s xVM VirtualBox
Server virtualization is cool. VDI is not. Desktop virtualization is hot.
Templates Shmemplates, What’s All The Fuss About?
Are OS Templates really worth the trouble and disk cost or is it just hype?
XenServer 5: First Impressions
Putting XenServer 5 through its paces; getting hands-on with Citrix's latest virtualization solution.
Strange Bedfellows: Citrix, (Free) Xen & Microsoft
XenServer is now free and Citrix is partnering with Microsoft. What does it all mean?
Five Perceptual Barriers to Virtualization
Is your distorted view of virtual reality keeping you from adopting virtualization?
Everything Xen. Everything Xen. I Don’t Think So.
Should you rely on a single virtualization technology or should you diversify?
Cloud Computing: Are You a Weather Watcher or a Rainmaker?
What's your level of involvement in the Cloud? Are you a casual observer or do you dig in and develop, taking an active role?
Walking the Workload Tightrope Part Three
Combining and separating virtual machine workloads is often frustrating and time-consuming. Here are some tips to help you sort through it and maintain your balance.
Walking the Workload Tightrope Part Two
Keep your balance with simple workload analysis and remember that not everything that can be virtualized, should be virtualized.
Walking the Workload Tightrope: Part One
Whether you're walking a physical tightrope or maintaining a virtual infrastructure, you need one key element for success: Balance.
Hey (Hey) You (You) Get Onto My Cloud
Will Cloud vendors make a hit in 2009 or will we decide that two's a crowd?
The Lazy System Administrator’s Way to Virtualize
The easiest, quickest, and cheapest virtualization method is at your fingertips -- you'll want to get to know OS-level virtualization.
Web Browser Hero
Perhaps the most versatile, feature-rich web browser available today is on your Desktop and you may not even know its name.
Virtual Machine Backup and Restore: What’s Your Strategy?
Can you do backups on a shoestring without sacrificing their integrity? Do it with the tools you have but be careful -- there are some gotchas.
Child’s Play: Linux Conversion Through Education
What's the easiest way to get more people using Linux? Start them young.
The Rise of Virtual Appliances
Virtual appliances deliver focused services in a lightweight package. With all of the talk around virtualization being large system optimization, why single-purpose machines getting so much attention?
Dump Microsoft Access, Get Kexi
Billed as the "Microsoft Access for Linux," Kexi is an integrated data management application that allows you to easily work with SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL databases.
On The Horizon: Microsoft’s Cloud Utility
Could Microsoft become the next Consolidated Edison? It could happen.
Evolution: A New Outlook for Linux
For as much time as you probably spend in an email client, you should be using an app with the features that help you get your work done and plays well with other (possibly proprietary) applications. Evolution fits that bill.
Virtualization’s MF Future is in its MF Past
Curiosity about computing's future can be found in its past: The mighty Mainframe (MF) lives again.
Hype vs. Hope: 10 Things You Should Know About Buying Blade Servers
Do the glowing vendor claims surrounding server blades still stand if you cut out the marketing hype? Let's find out.
Cloud Computing: Resistance is Pointless
Cloud Computing is the future of computing but resistance is high due to the presumed lack of control and ownership. These jitters will pass.
Catching Up With Andrew Kutz
Prolific virtualizaton blogger, Andrew Kutz, on VDI, dark horses, and if virtualization is taking us back to the era of mainframes.
Virtual Machine Sprawl: What Does It Cost You?
When "true-up" time comes, you may need a nitroglycerin pill instead of having a glass of champagne.
5 Ways to Know You’re Ready for Virtualization
You've heard the hype, now it's time to measure if you really need to jump into the virtualization fray.
VDI: Very Disappointed Indeed
VDI, you have been measured. You have been weighed. And you have been found wanting.
The Short Life Expectancy of the Virtualized Desktop
RE: Current technology for desktop virtualization -- you're doing it wrong.
Cisco, What are You Thinking?
Who's the big winner in a VMware/Cisco teamup?
VMworld Preview
Kicking off our coverage of the world's premier virtualization tradeshow, we take a look at what you might expect to see announced this week.
The Data Center Desktop
Red Hat put the emphasis back on the desktop with the acquisition of Qumranet.
Wine @ Work: Running MS Office and IE on Linux
Let the Bacchanalia begin! Getting your Windows apps installed and running on Linux the Wine way.
Spawn of Ubuntu
Looking for a new desktop? Ubuntu's spiffy progeny includes several worth checking out, including Linux Mint, Freespire, and gOS.
Simple Software Firewall with a Twist
Mitigate attacks with this simple to setup and deploy desktop firewall.
Sudo Voodoo
Using the root account for day-to-day work is a bad idea. It's better to use sudo to act like root when you need to do a little system administration. Ken Hess shows you how.
Secure Remote Access from Your Desktop
Connecting to your home computer from work, a friend's house, or while on vacation in another country is very simple — if you know how to use a small handful of tools. Ken Hess shows you how to connect securely and tunnel traffic using SSH.
Apache, For Instance
If you need a staging environment for a new network service, don't run out and buy new hardware — even a new virtual machine may be unnecessary. Instead, create another instance of the service with just a few simple steps.
Making Sense of System Performance
A number of old-fashioned tools can prevent very modern problems