Node JS LogoI’ve just uploaded the latest .debs to launchpad for nodeJS v0.8 and npm 1.1.32. This should bring you a whole host of fixes and new features. The cluster functionality is far better now and the new module on the block is the domain features which allows you to group multiple IO features and handle them more efficiently. You can grab the latest packages here:

https://launchpad.net/~richarvey/+archive/nodejs

or by running:

add-apt-reposiotry ppa:richarvey/nodejs

apt-get update

apt-get install nodejs npm

I’ve also tested out the node-wwwfier project with the latest version and that’s still running sweetly.

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So you may of seen my recent posts about supporting the open standards policy within the UK government. I aim to answer a few questions it may of raised.

Why is this important?

Open standards allows anyone to reuse data and interact with services provided by the government. It fuels innovation and business, allowing access to public data can mean you can offer a valued added service that can support your customers better. To the normal end user this may not seem like much, but to those in business it can a critical source of information. Data such as the crime in an area is useful on sites selling houses for example, then there is transport information and plethora of other resources.

Being an open and published standard it lowers the cost of entry for data reuse. Open Standards allow anyone with technical knowledge to start using it. If this data was to be controlled by a larger company that doesn’t use open standards we have vendor lock in. This is going to create a cost barrier to anyone wishing to use the data, this might be in the form of training, sdk or software licensing. In my opinion these barriers often deter innovation purely because of costs, and that’s exactly what we can stop if we get behind the policy.

Not just data!

This isn’t just about data. Lets say you have an open source product (a blog, a database or even an OS), and your business model is to sell support. Helping this policy become a reality is also vital for you. All of a sudden you have a level playing field to compete for tenders with the government against large contracts. No longer are you going to be in the situation where you don’t stand a chance of winning a contract against the software giants of our industry. You can learn and develop the products without restrictions, without having to buy a license, with only time invested you can be industry experts and have a service or product as good as larger companies. This is great for SME’s and in turn great for the economy!

Where policy goes others follow.

This policy has implications outside of the government also. You often find where a government sets a policy industry often follows suite, this can only be a good thing for SME’s. If one government adopts this policy others are likely to consider this too this has global implications. This is why the larger companies are pouring resources into discrediting open standards.

Arguments against.

I’ve heard a couple of very thin arguments against Open Standards, one being that it “discourages innovation”, my answer to this is you are reading this article on the web. The web is probably the best example of an Open Standard and who can deny that its been responsible for a massive amount of innovation over the last 20+ years. In fact the very same companies who oppose this policy are also touting HTML5 an Open Standard itself as the future of applications.

As a note lets not forget http://www.number10.gov.uk/ is powered by an open source CMS.

What can you do?

Head over to http://open.squarecows.com and hit reply. If you have time please fill in some recommendations and ideas you may have around the subject. This kind of feed back will be crucial to the debate. I’m merely looking to even the fight and put forward the merits of being open, and allowing everyone to take part.

Also please spread the word and get everyone you know to take part in supporting open standards. take to the social networks/email/phone and hey why not fax and send everyone to http://open.squarecows.com

Who needs to fill in the form?

Anyone! Individuals and organisations. If you’ve had a open source success please say why and how it fuels by open standards. You don’t have to be UK based to take part either, the companies who are currently lobbying against this aren’t after all.

 

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Just to say I don’t condone by passing firewalls but if needs must to get a job done heres how.

So we’ve all worked in places with restrictive firewalls that make our life as admins difficult. Its easy enough to tunnel out of most firewalls if you have a SSH server on the outside you can even set it to run on port 443 if you can’t get out on 22, you can then use a dynamic tunnel using the -D flag for SSH to bounce outside the restrictions. But what if you need to do something a bit extra? What if you need to access your desktop machine from outside of your network but the VPN solution your company supplies doesn’t deliver? Well SSH can be your friend here too. Reverse SSH tunnels are going to get you right into the heart of the corporate network and probably expose how lax the security really is where you work ;) but hey if you’ve got a job to do this will just let you get on with it.

Firstly you’re going to need to initiate this from your corporate desktop in advance, you’re also going to need a “jump box” ssh server you can hit ont he internet, and finally you’ll need your local desktop.

From your corporate machine you need ssh running as a service here also then you need to make a SSH connection out to your jump box but allow connections back in down that SSH connection you’ve just opened. Its easier than it sounds:

On the corporate machine:

ssh -R 2100:localhost:22 <USER>@<YOUR_JUMP_BOX>

This opens an SSH connection to you jump box and sets up port 2100 on the jump box to forward back down the tunnel to your corporate machine on port 22.

Now for the funky stuff. You want to use your local desktop browser to surf the web but appear as if you are in the office IP range. So lets first connect to the jump box from the local desktop and open a new normal SSH tunnel:

On your local desktop outside the network:

ssh -L 8080:127.0.0.1:2101 <USER>@<YOUR_JUMP_BOX>

Don’t worry if you get erros like the following, its purely because we haven’t connected the two tunnels to each other:

channel 3: open failed: connect failed: Connection refused
channel 4: open failed: connect failed: Connection refused

Ok now time to connect to two SSH tunnels together. On your newly created SSH connection as shown above type the following in to the shell of the jump box:

On the jump box:

ssh -p 2100 -D 2101 localhost

This not only joins your dynamic tunnel to your reverse tunnel and ssh’s into the corporate machine but also allows HTTP traffic to flow between the local desktop and corporate machine using a socks proxy! Your local desktop forward traffic on port 8080 to the jump box which in turn forwards it to the jump box (localhost) onto port 2101. Now port 2101 is forwarded down the reverse tunnel to your corporate machine and you can browse the web.

Now all thats left to do is tell your browser on your local desktop to use a proxy and the details will be localhost port 8080 and the type is socks 5. Now you can browse the web as if you’re in the office and access local intranets but also you have a shell open to your desktop to do some work that can be only completed from inside.

I hope you all find this useful, and no doubt you’ll be able to forward all kind sof traffic in a simular way!

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