J.Lo | 1 May 03:27 2006
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ADSL Modem cum Wireless Router

Guys,

Any comment on the below product? Pros and cons? Which one worth buying? 3com design looks good and price wise also quite cheap compare to Linksys.

- Linksys WAG54G (S$169) http://www1.linksys.com/international/product.asp?coid=5&ipid=371

- Linksys WAG354G (S$135) http://www1.linksys.com/international/product.asp?coid=6&ipid=764

- 3Com 3CRWDR100A-72 (S$99)
http://www.3com.com/products/en_US/detail.jsp?tab=prodspec&sku=3CRWDR100A-72&pathtype=purchase

Appreciate if somebody can point me which one should I buy. Basically I just want to replace my prolink 8000 with AIO solutions that can provide me wired and wireless capabilities.

Thanks.

Regards,
-je.lo-

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Harish Pillay | 1 May 04:41 2006
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Continuing saga of ODF and IDA's shortsightedness

This is in today's dead tree version:
http://www.straitstimes.com/forum/story/0,5562,389550,00.html?

Format impractical? Largest ministry uses it

I REFER to the reply by Ms Jennifer Toh of the Infocomm Development
Authority ('Suggested document format not practical'; ST, April 19).
	
I applaud the move by IDA to encourage all government agencies to use
PDF files in communications with the public. This will allow us to
make use of free reader software to access important government
notices.

However, I do not see the impracticality of using OpenDocument format
within the Government. Since the policy is to use PDF to communicate
with the public, it is logical to assume that Microsoft Office formats
are used primarily in intra-government communications. Hence, the
popularity of Microsoft Office formats outside the Government is not
an important factor. Within the Government, IDA has the authority to
mandate a change to OpenDocument formats.

In addition, to generate PDF from Microsoft Office, one needs
additional third-party products such as Adobe Distiller.

All these add to the overall cost of the office productivity package.
For the record, OpenOffice can generate PDF files - for free.

In fact, the largest ministry, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), has
shown the wisdom of adopting OpenDocument formats as the de facto
document format. Since 2004, Mindef has adopted OpenOffice and the
OpenDocument format. It plans to deploy OpenOffice to 20,000 desktops
by the first half of this year.

Mindef gave the following reasons for its decision to select OpenOffice:

# It avoided paying more than $10 million by not upgrading more than
20,000 desktops to Office 2003. When the next release of Office is
launched, it has the option of staying on OpenOffice or adopting this
new release. In other words, in two to three years' time, it can again
avoid paying tens of millions of dollars by not migrating to the
latest version of Microsoft Office. This decision cycle will be
repeated every three to four years.

# It retains the choice of using proprietary software or OSS as
OpenOffice can coexist with existing, older versions of Microsoft
Office.

# It will not be forced to upgrade by vendor-introduced obsolescence
when a proprietary software vendor introduces a new version of its
software.

# It has the flexibility to read and modify codes, which is not
possible with proprietary software.

With proprietary software, even if you are a big customer and the
changes you want are reasonable, and reflect the needs of most users,
the most the vendor can promise is that the feature will be available
with the next release.

With the money saved by not buying new Microsoft Office licences,
Mindef can channel valuable resources to its core competency areas.

I believe the reasons given by Mindef apply to other government agencies.

Is the Government 'locked in' by vendors? Based on the arguments by Ms
Toh against the adoption of OpenDocument formats, IDA should not even
consider replacing existing enterprise applications with alternatives.

Wong Onn Chee
Singapore Marketing Contact
OpenOffice.org
=================================================
In the online letters section, there are two more letters:

May 1, 2006
OpenDocument format is practical and economical

I refer to the reply from the Infocomm Development Authority of
Singapore (IDA) on the use of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) for all
government documents (Suggested document format not practical; ST,
April 19), comments by the president of the Linux Users' Group
(Singapore), Mr Harish Pillay (Why is OpenDocument Format 'not
practical?'; ST, April 22) and comments by Alan Yap Chee Wee (Open
Source software not all it's made out to be'; ST, April 28).
	
Mr Yap is correct that total cost of ownership (TCO) involves not only
the initial cost but also continued support and maintenance.

However, he fails to mention that studies have shown the TCO of using
OpenDocument format (OASIS ODF) is still significantly lower than
using Microsoft's proprietary software even when excluding the
consideration of vendor lock-in.

Mr Harish should be able to tell us that Linux became widely accepted
not because it is cheap or free but because on functionality and
features, it is simply too expensive to continue using proprietary
software.

Mr Yap also fails to highlight the fact that not only has the European
IDA standardised on ODF as the de facto document format for exchange
(europa.eu.int), several US government and educational institutions,
as well as our Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), had also done so after
realising the significant economic benefits.

Unless Singapore plans to be isolated, shouldn't the adoption of a
world standard be more practical? I fail to see how IDA alone finds it
otherwise.

In 2004, the state of Minnesota sued Microsoft for overcharging its
residents Microsoft's productivity software using monopoly and illegal
business tactics. (news.minnesota.publicradio.org)

Microsoft subsequently settled with the state for US$175 million in
compensation. This is just one of the many class action lawsuits
against Microsoft.

Finally, there are two office productivity software programs that
support OpenDocument (OASIS) format today; OpenSource OpenOffice and
its commercial twin, StarOffice. Both offer a lower TCO than Microsoft
(searchopensource.techtarget.com).

Perhaps the IDA can shed some light on the TCO study it has conducted
(if any) to convince the citizen that our money is well spent.

Daniel Lee Wee Chong
=================================================
 May 1, 2006
Open Formats versus Open Sources software: Is the comparison valid?

I refer to the letter 'Open-source software not all it's made out to
be' by Mr Alan Yap Chen Wee (ST, April 28).
	
Mr Yap seems to have mistaken the issue of Open Formats with Open
Source Software. I'm not sure if comparing them is valid as the two
are quite different in essence. Very superficially, formats could be
likened to the alphabet. A person could write a document using the
English alphabet.

But imagine if the English alphabet got obliterated. That same
document which has important information may not be readable anymore.
In essence, this can be used as an analogy to describe formats.

Software, whether proprietary or Open Source, are just computing
tools. In the case of programs like word processors or spreadsheets,
the file types which they can open depend on which type of formats
have been incorporated into the program. Thus, a software can
incorporate proprietary or Open Formats.

Comparing file formats to software may not have been entirely appropriate.

With regard to the issue of implementing Open Source Software at the
enterprise level, the points put forth are, I believe, highly
debatable.

I would comment on the point made about the popularity of the Firefox
browser. Security is not the only reason for the popularity of the
browser. There are other features such as skins and extensions.

It is indeed true that some regard Firefox as a more secure solution.
This was probably a valid statement given the known vulnerabilities at
that time. During this period, malicious individuals were more likely
to target popular web browsers.

However, no software is invulnerable. The security of a piece of
software would very much depend on the way the program code is written
and the time taken to patch vulnerabilities.

Some Open Source developers are indeed very efficient in writing
software patches. As Firefox becomes more popular, it will become
increasingly targetted by malicious individuals. During this period I
think end-users will get a better idea if Open Source web browsers are
indeed more secure solutions.

Goh Lu Feng
===============================================================

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Gokul Poduval | 1 May 08:05 2006
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Re: OpenSuse singapore mirror?

Hello,

>
> There's a japanese mirror which is pretty fast, so there's no urgency
> to have a local mirror! Not that I would mind one, though :-)

  The japanese mirror seems to have gone dead. Not been able to
contact it for two days.

--
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Gokul Poduval
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Harish Pillay | 2 May 08:15 2006
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Fwd: Importance of open standards

FYI.

Harish

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: STForum <stforum-kEJvOxPFRquLvajZxc+D7Q@public.gmane.org>
Date: May 2, 2006 11:06 AM
Subject: Re: Importance of open standards
To: Harish Pillay <harish.pillay-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w@public.gmane.org>

Thank you for writing to us. We do appreciate your making the effort.

We receive 70 letters on average each day. Limited space means we can publish only about a dozen every weekday.
This means having to make often-difficult editorial judgments on which letters to publish.

We regret we are unable to publish your letter this time, and hope you will appreciate the constraints on space we face every day.
We hope you will continue taking an interest in the Forum Page.


Yours sincerely


Ms Noor Aiza
for Forum Editor
The Straits Times


To

stforum-kEJvOxPFRquLvajZxc+D7Q@public.gmane.org

cc


Subject

Importance of open standards

The Editor:

I refer to Mr Yap's comments under "Open-source
software not all it's made out to be" (ST April 28, 2006).

The problem with this print medium is that it is limited
and hence ineffective in conveying all the needed
information.  I would encourage all to visit www.lugs.org.sg
for the opportunity to engage, understand and if it comes to
it, agree to disagree.

Mr Yap said "The push for open-source software (OSS) has
always revolved around cost and security.  However, moving
to OSS does not guarantee reduction in cost nor increased
security." It is unfortunate that he holds that view point, which
he is entitled to, for if that were true, perhaps the US Federal
Aviation Administration is grossly mistaken to announce this
week that they saved US$15 million in moving to OSS as
News.com reported on April 26th 2006 -
http://news.com.com/2102-7344_3-6065387.html?tag=st.util.print
or http://tinyurl.com/rdmc8.

LUGS advocates the use of open standards based technology
that allows applications to interoperate and opens up
opportunities for innovation and empowering local economies.

The old model of locking users into a particular platform
because of unpublished document formats does no one any
good.  As an author of a document - be it your school
project, your business plan, etc., YOU own the documents you
created. Why are you letting yourself be beholden to a vendor
to access and work on your creations?  Economically, the
ability to access your data unencumbered makes sense both
financially and from risk management standpoints.

I would like to point Mr Yap to the following article on
ConsortiumInfo.org published on April 7th 2006 -
http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/article.php?story=2006040709301679 )
or http://tinyurl.com/gkll4 - which states that the US state of
Massachusetts' decision last year to go with ODF is well on
track.

Additionally, ODF is likely to become an ISO standard by
August 2006 so it is even more important that IDA adopts it.

Harish Pillay, President LUGS
Ng Hak Beng, Secretary, LUGS
James Gallagher, Member, LUGS
Gokul Poduval, Member, LUGS
Fabrice Marie, Member, LUGS
Koo Junhao, Member, LUGS



NOTE: Privileged/Confidential Information may be contained in this message. If you are not the addressee indicated in this message (or responsible for delivery of the message to such person), you may not copy or deliver this message to anyone. In such case, you should destroy this message and kindly notify the sender by reply email. All opinions, conclusions and other information expressed in this message not of an official nature shall not be deemed as given or endorsed by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd or any of its subsidiaries unless otherwise indicated by an authorised representative independent of this message.
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd Co
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jipi | 2 May 18:33 2006

SOE

Hi folks,

In digital life today, I saw that some govt group has intended to
expense $2-billion for SOE.. (Standard Operating Environment) for the
public sector..

And they might need to retrain the staff for the SOE.

Any comments? M$ and Ci$co are cited to be technology partners of the
consortia.

I seriously think this is dark cloud for Linux unless I get the message
wrongly.

jipi

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Fabrice A. Marie | 2 May 11:50 2006

Re: SOE


Hello,

jipi wrote:
> Hi folks,
> In digital life today, I saw that some govt group has intended to
> expense $2-billion for SOE.. (Standard Operating Environment) for the
> public sector..
> And they might need to retrain the staff for the SOE.
> Any comments? M$ and Ci$co are cited to be technology partners of the
> consortia.
> I seriously think this is dark cloud for Linux unless I get the message
> wrongly.
>   

I think it's great news for attackers at large. One single hole found in
that "standard platform"
and bingo, you punch a hole in all the ministries' security. Note that
Mindef opted out of this scheme for
security reasons it's been reported. Mindef know their security stuff
obviously :-)
[never put all your eggs in the same basket!]
This will also makes my job more dull (all the government pen-tests will
end up looking alike). hehehe.

Now while I believe it is important to agree on standards to lower cost
of maintenance and
all this, the focus should be more on inter-operable standards rather
than on standard platforms.
Example:
- IMAPv4 is a good standard for emails. All clients on all platforms
support it, and it's very powerful.
- SMB is a good standard for file sharing. All platforms support it, and
it's very powerful.
- etc....
This way things just work, and you don't get locked-in with a particular
vendor.

My personal problem with Microsoft and Cisco are the "enhancements" this
guys always create to perfectly
functional standards. These are never standard, and of course lock you
in right away, and cause a lot of interoperability
problems. Hopefully they'll watch out to not use any of these "enhanced"
features.

Oh well, I guess we'll see in the long run if the government save money
this way or not. My guess is that large companies
in charge of the project will do all they can to maximise their profit.
On the other hand, I'm sure the government has
some watchguard already in place to ensure that the project gets
delivered within the budget, on time, and
as per described in the project specifications.

This will definitely deliver a blow to the Open source community, if
open source specs are not integrated with the
standard platform specification at the very beginning. (my guess is that
open source software has already been deliberately left out).
Because later on when the government will request for any tender, they
will clearly specify that the software
must run on the standard platform or inter-operate with the standard
platform. While open source software most definitely can
inter-operate with this future standard platform, it certainly won't run
on it (very little open source software running on windows for instance).

In any case, I believe this is too early to argue about the details. And
one should give the benefit of the doubt to the government.
Having said that, a clearly written and concise letter sent to right
people warning them about the possible lock-in and the future
cost attached to it, would go a long way. But for it to be interesting
and have any effect, it should be constructive as opposed
to "criticising without providing a proposed solution" only

Corporate lobby is be very important too. I believe Apple, RedHat and/or
Novell should definitely be part of the technology partners
along with Microsoft and Cisco. Maybe they should lobby more to get
seats on these project panels, if it's not too late.

Just my 2cents.

Take care.

Have a nice day.
Fabrice.

--
Fabrice A. MARIE
FMA Risk Management Solutions
http://www.fma-rms.com/

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jipi | 3 May 01:10 2006

Re: Confusing the issue

put my hand up. (Kiam Peng)

and here's something to explain about formats
http://openformats.org

jipi

Harish Pillay wrote:

>Fabrice -
>
>Welcome back!  Long time no hear!
>
>  
>
>>>>Nitpicking here, but including a tinyurl might look unauthoritative and
>>>>unprofessional. Would be better to give the direct link, with the tinyurl as
>>>>an alternative.
>>>>        
>>>>
>>>Because it will be too long and prone to mistakes.
>>>      
>>>
>>True. But I agree with Gokul: tinyurl URL once printed will look like a
>>Mikey-mouse reference and will not
>>convey the weight of the original poster website. (for instance a news
>>that appear on BBC is usually looked at
>>more authoritative than a news posted on a random blog). While tinyurl
>>is great for emails, I don't think that's the
>>right way to point to information if printed in the media ;-)
>>
>>The answer is good and to the point otherwise.
>>    
>>
>
>I will accept the collective wisdom of this list and put the full
>URLs.  It is likely that it might get edited out.  I will put both
>of them just in case.
>
>So, can I have a show of hands - need 4 hands - so that their
>names can be put on the reply.  They usually allow up to 5 names
>to be printed.
>
>Can I propose the following:
>
>Gokul, James, Fabrice, Hak Beng, Harish
>
>Harish
>
>_______________________________________________
>Slugnet mailing list
>Slugnet@...
>http://www.lugs.org.sg/mailman/listinfo/slugnet
>
>  
>

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Fabrice A. Marie | 2 May 17:59 2006

Re: SOE

Fabrice A. Marie wrote:
> Hello,
>
> jipi wrote:
>   
>> Hi folks,
>> In digital life today, I saw that some govt group has intended to
>> expense $2-billion for SOE.. (Standard Operating Environment) for the
>> public sector..
>> And they might need to retrain the staff for the SOE.
>> Any comments? M$ and Ci$co are cited to be technology partners of the
>> consortia.
>> I seriously think this is dark cloud for Linux unless I get the message
>> wrongly.
>>   
>>     
>
> I think it's great news for attackers at large. One single hole found in
> that "standard platform"
> and bingo, you punch a hole in all the ministries' security. Note that
> Mindef opted out of this scheme for
> security reasons it's been reported. Mindef know their security stuff
> obviously :-)
> [never put all your eggs in the same basket!]
> This will also makes my job more dull (all the government pen-tests will
> end up looking alike). hehehe.
> [....]
>   

I know it shows poor taste to reply to oneself, but I couldn't help it.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060427/sc_nm/security_britain_hacker_dc;_ylt=ApA_esGNZ_WGy8jtC4UdI7Cs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3MzV0MTdmBHNlYwM3NTM
(or if you prefer using tinyurl: *http://tinyurl.com/h3g24)

No comment.

Take care,

Fabrice.*

--
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FMA Risk Management Solutions
http://www.fma-rms.com/

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Nguyen Dang Trung | 3 May 12:29 2006
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How to allow SFTP but not SSH with openssh?

Hi guys ....

I got a server that I wanna restrict in such a way that remote user can 
only SFTP but not SSH.
Any idea would be much appreciated.

--

-- 
Regards,

Trung, Nguyen

NCS Pte Ltd
(A member of the Singapore Telecom Group)
5 Ang Mo Kio St 62, NCS Hub, S (569141)
DID: (65) 6311 4378
Email ID: dangtrung@... 

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Leonard Soetedjo | 3 May 15:08 2006
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Re: How to allow SFTP but not SSH with openssh?

On 5/3/06, Nguyen Dang Trung <dangtrung@...> wrote:
> Hi guys ....
>
> I got a server that I wanna restrict in such a way that remote user can
> only SFTP but not SSH.
> Any idea would be much appreciated.

You can try scponly (http://www.sublimation.org/scponly/) or jailkit
(http://olivier.sessink.nl/jailkit/).  For jailkit, it has a howto to
setup sftp/scp only.

Regards,

Leonard Soetedjo

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