Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How a small office can switch to open source?

During small talk sessions the topic of having offices switching to Open Source Software (OSS) intrigued me to write this piece. Its in no mean very deep but gives you considerations to start the office moving towards a secure, efficient, cost saving and almost virus free environment.

Must have apps for the office hard working staff:
  1. Office productivity suite (prepare letters, reports, spreadsheet and presentation slides) -
  2. Email clients - Thunderbird + Calendar
  3. Document viewer - Acrobat Reader
  4. Desktop publishing tools such as flyers and posters - Scribus
  5. Financial tool - GnuCash
  6. Project management and monitoring - OpenProj
  7. Graphics and photo editing tool - GIMP, F-SPOT, GwenView, XSane Image Scanning, Mobile Media Converter
  8. Backup data to CDROM or DVDROM, network - K3B, Simple Backup
  9. Web browsing - Firefox
  10. Encryption of files/data - GDecrypt, TrueCrypt, Password Gorilla
  11. Internet calls/VOIP - Skype
  12. Multimedia player - VLC
  13. Base apps/interpreter for other programmes to run - Java Runtime Environment, Flash, Wine, PHP5
If you need to have an office with Linux, consider the above as your checklist of must haves. The next question would be, which Linux would you install? There is already a good write up at Tuxradar. All of the above can be installed on Fedora and Ubuntu without much hassle but final choice of desktop is yours.

Once you have gotten all of the staff interested and comfy with the Linux desktop you can then start integrating with linux services in a networked office.

An office of 4 or more people should have a server or more with the following must have services:
  1. Printer sharing - CUPS
  2. Cetralised file/document sharing - PLONE or Open Atrium
  3. Global address book - LDAP or Customer management suite (see below)
  4. Local DNS - BIND
  5. Customer management - vtiger or SugarCRM Community Edition (Asertiva)
  6. Automated networked backup - Bacula
  7. Centralised time server - NTPD
  8. Local email server? Most small office use public email services.

There are loads of other projects that can be done once you have the above in order and your tech guy is happily getting used to OSS.

Monday, February 8, 2010

MCRYPT module for PHP (RHEL5)

RHEL5.3 did not have support for the MCRYPT module that many PHP applications use to create basic security. Well, anyone could download mcrypt from sourceforge and recompile PHP to support this module. I found another way which I hope also will work for you;

Step 1: Login as admin and install MCRYPT
yum install mcrypt

Step 2: Install epel
rpm -Uvh epel-release*.rpm

Step 3: Install the module
yum install php-mcrypt.i386

Step 4: Restart Apache
service httpd restart

Confirmation of the installed module can be found from the phpinfo() page. The module I had included cipher for

Friday, February 5, 2010

Print repeat header in Calc

Calc is a great electronic spreadsheet and have lots of functions to create a diverse range of apps.

Since my upgrade to 3.1.1, I have not explored Calc much. When I tried to print a spreadsheet that ran across 40 pages. I tried to have the first 2 rows repeat as headers in every page, an error appeared "Invalid Sheet Range".


  1. Open the Calc spreahsheet.
  2. In the menu choose Tools ->Option -> Calc ->Formula
  3. In Formula Syntax, it shows "Calc A1". Click on the dropdown box and choose "Calc A1".
  4. Click "Ok".
Some trigger must have failed to detect the values as "Calc A1". Thank you Arnel for giving the solution in Oct 2009.

Blog Archive