SSL in Firefox 3

To my dismay today, I ran into a problem with Firefox 3 Beta 5 on Hardy Heron.  Apparently, Mozilla has decided to put the screws to people who sign their own certificates or use certs not issued by their own domain by creating a four step process to bypass the error message.  Here is an explanation:

I was attempting to access an APC UPS inside my company’s network (translated If I am subjected to a man-in-the-middle attack, it is no one’s problem but mine and my department’s.)  APC signed the cetrificate and I was accessing it by IP address inside my network.

So, explain this one to me Mozilla… Is APC supposed to drop their encryption on their UPS systems or do they just have to pay their employees to rewrite the code so I can go out and buy a certificate for this device?  Do I have to register this with my internal dns so it’s easy to remember the way back to it and the students where I work can memorize it’s name?

Perhaps this needs to be removed out of the final version of Firefox 3 and you can write an extension that makes everything break!

Making Thunderbird Open Hyperlinks in Firefox on Ubuntu

This one was driving me nuts and I finally found a solution. For several weeks, Thunderbird has not been opening links I click on them. I found a solution here:

  1. Open Thunderbird version
  2. Go to the Edit menu
  3. Click on Preferences
  4. Click the Advanced tab
  5. Click the Config Editor button.
  6. An about:config window will open up.
  7. In the Filter box, enter
  8. If the editor is unable to locate it, create a new string and input
  9. Enter firefox for the string value.
  10. Close out and restart Thunderbird.

Hyperlinks should now be available in your email!

Zotero, a research extension for Firefox

I stumbled upon an amazing research tool toady while I was searching for a download management Firefox extension today.  Zotero is more than just a download tool.  It is a literary reasearch tool which allows you to track web citations, bookmarks, and the like from within the browser.  I would traditionally create a Bookmark folder and dump links into it until I fealt I had enough to write a post.  However, with Zotero, all my notes, bookmarks, and files from the web are stored inside a project file that my browser stores.  I cannot comment enough on the professionalism that went into this extension.    Unlike the usual extensions that do little tricks for you (downloading YouTube videos for example) this one is an actual productivity tool.  I hope this is a sign that more professionals are seriously moving to open source software development.

Zotero can be found at


I’ve added a GrandCentral button over on the right hand side to leave me a voicemail with any suggestions / complaints / praise you may have for the site. Also, please leave me a message if you are a sys admin interested in starting an IT podcast. It is completely up in the air what the schedule will be like, but I’m hoping to start off slow, maybe 12 episodes a year. Nothing too formal or stuffy. It will probably start out as a skype conversation and grow from there.

Is this the big one?

For several years, a dark cloud has hung over the US open source community. Mostly triggered by the “SCO v. Everybody cases”, this cloud is the fear that some manner of patent could bring down open source projects, such as the kernel itself.

Two days ago, Red Hat, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ACLU, the Free Software Foundation and several others have chimed in that it is time for patent reform by filing briefs in a case involving two guys trying to patent betting on the weather. I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not going to over-analyze this thing, but I will provide links to all the gory details.

Hardy Heron Beta Testing

I am testing the Hardy Heron beta right now. I’ll spare a recap of the features that everyone else is talking about and delve into a UI change that I noticed right away. Instead of having a million boxes all over your screen when you are deleting, copying , and moving files, there is one that stacks all your active Nautilus progress bars together. This is more than likely a feature of the new Gnome release, but being the geeky sysadmin that I am, it was the first shiny thing that caught my eye. I still haven’t tested Brasero, but I will try to over the weekend. K3B is really getting to be overkill even though it has been my favorite recording software for the past six years. I will post more results when I can.

My Idea For How to Improve Ubuntu

For those not aware, Canonical now has a voting system setup for submitting your own ideas on how to improve Ubuntu, called Ubuntu Brainstorm. This is similar to the Dell IdeaStorm site that established Ubuntu as a distribution that Dell Computer needed to include purchase options for. Anyway, I have submitted an idea for community review and will include a link on the sidebar of this blog for your review.

My suggestion is providing a portal with tips, tricks, and directions for new and interested users. The idea may need some further documentation and thought, but I already have 64 votes as of this post. Feel free to check it out, and if you are at all interested, please consider voting for this idea.