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The Mailbag

HELP WANTED : Article Ideas
Submit comments about articles, or articles themselves (after reading our guidelines) to The Editors of Linux Gazette, and technical answers and tips about Linux to The Answer Gang.

Firewalls for dummies, with fun examples

Wed, 28 Apr 2004 02:15:10 -0700
Heather Stern (The Answer Gang's Editor Gal)

Some of The Answer Gang have seen complaints on open forums that there is documentation for iptables and netfilter, but it is all scary and hard to read. Looking at them myself, can't blame folks for thinking this.

So, we'd like to see an article on this topic - aimed at practical examples, doing some ordinary basic types of things - but with the orindary Joe Linuxer in mind, not people who wanted to learn yet another scripting language (tm) just to know their dialup outbound won't get invaded by blue meanies seeking to "sploit" the systems on their inner network. (Other examples welcome too.)

If you think you can make putting up the defense shields "Just A Little More Fun" - check out our article submission guidelines, and then mail articles@lists.linuxgazette.net, we'd love to hear from you.


Editor retirement

Thu, 29 Apr 2004 21:15:10 -0700
Ben Okopnik, Thomas Adam, Heather Stern (The Linux Gazette Editor Gang)
Question by Mike Orr (mso from oz.net)

This is my last issue editing Linux Gazette. Ben Okopnik has agreed to take over producing LG starting in May.

[Thomas] Great! Out with the young, in with the.....

So you're all gonna DIE!!! DOOM IS AT HAND!!!

[Heather] Mike's taking some well earned time off to play computer games.
[Ben] Weren't you supposed to wait until the tranquilizers kicked in? Boy, just look at all those capitals and exclamation points; a sure sign of somebody who wears his pants on his head, according to Terry Pratchett.
(I don't care if it's an accurate reflection of reality; they still shouldn't let you out on the streets like this and scare the innocent passerby.)

Fortunately, Heather Stern and Thomas Adam have agreed to step in and "handle" Ben whenever he starts reaching for those dark sunglasses

[Heather] "Handle" hehehe. Ben keeps leaving his sunglasses in the TAG lounge whenever he's split one too many ginger beers with us in the lounge. We make sure to sneak them back into his shirt pocket when he's not looking.

and that slingshot he bought from a pirate in the Caribbean last year when his helicopter.... Oh, that's another topic.

[Ben] He certainly was a pirate. I mean, jeez - $2.00 for for a single Slingshot when a whole bottle of Cruzan rum was going for $1.70??? Robbery pure and simple, I tell ya.
    3 oz. Peach Schnapps
    3 oz. Gin
    3 oz. sour mix
    dash of Grenadine

   Open a coconut, pour off all but a couple of oz. of the water. Add
   ingredients, mix, and serve.
Anyway, if you see me reaching for one, join in.

Anyway, Ben will be reading your articles and putting together the zine, and Heather and Thomas will be helping out as necessary besides continuing their jobs as TAG Editors.

[Thomas] I know I've been saying it for months, there will be articles from me. :) It's this thing called 'real life' that annoys me.

I came back to LG in October to help recreate the production infrastructure at its new webhost and to make sure it was done right. Now linuxgazette.net is established and is humming along nicely. At the same time, other priorities in my life have intruded.

[Thomas] That's to be expected. You've been doing this for a good number of years.

Python is proving to be a greater interest to me than Linux, and it has somehow become a good intersection for my work,

[Thomas] I know what you mean there - I am finding Ruby is engulfing me.

volunteer, and personal interests. I need time to study more Python packages for work, I want to play with Twisted (a versatile Internet services framework), and we're organizing a Northwest Python Sprint in Seattle in June. Plus there are some personal Python projects I've been wanting to do. Linux has become more of an environment I'm in rather than something to focus on. My next Linux project will be installing Gentoo , which two coworkers are using and recommend. It looks like it has come a long way since I looked at it last year.

I've also been reprioritizing some other things in my life. I've given up wrestling -- with my joint inflexibility I'm just not going to be able to be serious about it, and I think after two years I've gained about as much from it as I can. Now I want to get into boxing. Not really seriously, but just for fun. But first I gotta get in shape for it, and first I have to spend a month or two earning $$ like mad to get over my current cash-flow problem. So I'll have plenty to do. I'm also taking yoga more to help with the flexibility.

[Thomas] I never was one for contact sports such as boxing and wrestling. Heck, I am not even a sports fan. :) But I always did have a certain amount of admiration for people who can box.

It has been a great inspiration working with the staff and contributors to LG over the years. The amount of dedication and goodwill people put into LG is astounding.

[Heather] Awww shux. :D
[Thomas] Likewise, Mike. It has been a pleasure and indeed an honour to have worked with you. It has been a pleasure both in terms of Linux, but also getting to know more about yourself, and the culture that surrounds you. I only hope that we continue our discussions - I find them most enlightening.

When I started editing LG in 1999, I was afraid every month that not enough articles would come in. But somehow they always did. Eventually I learned to just expect it.

[Ben] [wry grin] I guess I'll just have to take that attitude over and carry on with it. It's sure seemed like an edgy proposition at times.
[Heather] For which we are all very grateful to you dear readers who decide to take up the pen... or electrons... and put your new spin on things into the shared world of Linux Gazette :)

I'm grateful to The Answer Gang, to Mick for doing News Bytes, to Javier and Shane and Jon for contributing their cartoons, and to many authors of high-quality technical articles who keep sending stuff to LG again and again. You've all shown what volunteers can do if they work together.

[Ben] Hey, it's a labor of love. We may all have our own reasons for being here, but in the end it comes down to us putting out a quality 'zine that benefits a large community; that's not small potatoes. It sure gives me a good feeling to know that our efforts help people, that LG is acting as a force multiplier for our advice, tips, and so on.
[Thomas] More importantly, we're still showing that. :) I hope you won't be leaving permenently. I hope you will still be TAG member, contributing when you can. You're always welcome. :) I read your Python article in the LJ (I actually ordered it in from America) - very impressive. I'll still stick to Ruby though. :D

Now I'll go to the TAG lounge and open a cold bubbly ginger-beer. Then I'm going home to make my favorite dish, pho and earl green tea. (That's green, not gray.)

PS. I wrote an LJ article about the Python conference in DC last month if you'd like to read it.

[Ben] Mike, it's certainly been a hell of an experience working with you all these years. We've had fun and we've been through some edgy times together, a bunch of sweet and only a little of the sour, and I'll always think of you as a friend (despite the fact that you're giving away all my secret plans, ya ratfink.)
Wherever your life takes you, you have my best wishes for the future.
[Thomas] Best of luck to you, Michael. As I say, keep in touch, and most of all, thank you. :) If you ever find yourself in England (or indeed, if I am ever likely to be in America anytime soon) be sure to let me know.
[Heather] Hee hee, if you're about to be in America sometime Thomas, you'd better let us know, we'll have a TAG meetpoint and a party.
We will miss ya, Sluggo. Hopefully not too much though - thanks for agreeing to stay on as a contributing editor, and maybe we'll see an article from you once in a while. Mike, it's been a grand time working with you, so don't be a strange... oh, alright, be as strange as you need to be, but like Thomas says, do keep in touch :D

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Copyright © 2004, . Released under the Open Publication license unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 102 of Linux Gazette, May 2004

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