Linux + Active Directory login

If you run a heterogenous business network, there's a fair chance that you have a Microsoft Active Directory infrastructure. There's also a fair chance that you're running Linux systems.

There are a great many ways to integrate these two operating systems to use the same user database. Many places use plain LDAP to the Active Directory. Others federate an OpenLDAP server running on Linux into Active Directory. Still others use Microsoft's old and creaky NIS server support.

It's fairly well known that Samba has fairly complete Active Directory support these days, and that it can operate as an almost-fully-functional member server. It's slightly less well-known how to actually use this support for login purposes however.

So, let's take a look at how to do it!

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Posted by Matt Lewandowsky on Wed, 13 Jun 2012

Will RIM become the next IBM?

Many people who have become tech pundits recently are actually too young to actually remember when IBM had their own operating system, and that it was at least somewhat successful. It went by the simple moniker "OS/2".

The fact that it has been mostly relegated to the dustbin of history, and that some of the supposed causes are being repeated to some extent by RIM in their BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet OS 2.0 (and upcoming BlackBerry 10) is potentially worrisome for both developers and investors. But no one's really been drawing the parallels.

One person who has made the connection, amusingly enough, is Alec Saunders, VP of Developer Relations at RIM. Alec's been around various cool technology for years. He worked at Microsoft during the DOS and OS/2 days. He worked at QNX during the "dot-com era". He did fun stuff like Internet telephony after that. He made a blog post a few months before making the return to QNX (RIM bought QNX to make it the basis of their modern products) drawing some parallels between the Android Runtime and IBM's "Win-OS/2" integration.

So, in light of the events of the past year (the release of the Android Runtime, Alec's return to QNX [and joining RIM], the announcement of "BlackBerry 10" [often abbreviated "BB10" by developers, just as "OS/2" really stood for "Operating System/2"], many announcements by their competitors [including Android], waves of new developers and applications flocking to the PlayBook, and much more), it seems appropriate to look at his post again and offer opinions and concerns from the viewpoint of someone who hasn't ever been on the "inside" of the organizations involved. :)

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Posted by Matt Lewandowsky on Sat, 9 Jun 2012

Updated script for cross-compiling BlackBerry PlayBook applications under Interix!

(Note, this is an update for our article about developing for the PlayBook using Interix. If you have no idea what this article is about, please start with the previous one. There are no guarantees you will be enlightened, however!)

Well, as predicted, the lack of a working ls got annoying. (It was using the wrong /usr/bin and causing all sorts of fun!)

So, we did what we have to. And in the process, we found an optimization that shaved nearly a half-second off the script's load time!

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Posted by Matt Lewandowsky on Tue, 5 Jun 2012

Developing for the BlackBerry PlayBook using Interix (SFU/SUA)

Update (05 June 2012): Updated script available.

If you're like many people who are developing for the BlackBerry PlayBook on Windows as it is the only choice for the full suite of PlayBook SDKs available that's installable on a standard PC (a "Hackintosh" doesn't count, sorry), and you have a UNIX or Linux background, you probably have some favorite POSIX-y toolkit. At Greenviolet, ours has been Microsoft's Interix (also known as "Services For UNIX" or "SFU" prior to Vista and "Subsystem for UNIX Applications" or "SUA" after XP). So, of course, we wanted to be able to do our cross-compilation work from within our environment of choice.

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Posted by Matt Lewandowsky on Fri, 1 Jun 2012

The future of mobile computing?

As many of the people who know Greenviolet are aware, we've been migrating toward becoming a mobile application development company for some time. Being "late to the party", we've been able to look at the mobile landscape with a different eye from those who have been following it very closely since its popular inception.

The biggest complaints right now for those who are looking to enter the space are that it's too saturated, Apple's App Store policies "suck", and the Android Market (or Google Play, or whatever name it is going by right now) is saturated with "crap". There are other options emerging onto the landscape though. Those are what we've been finding interesting...

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Posted by Matt Lewandowsky on Fri, 1 Jun 2012