[wellylug] Re: Amnesty volunteer work... comments?

Jonathan Harker jharker at massey.ac.nz
Mon Mar 3 15:30:54 NZDT 2003

FYI, this is what I ended up writing... went for an informal approach.

Following up on a pleasant conversation I had with Tam this morning. I've been 
off since Thursday having my wisdom teeth out, so please forgive any unwise 
comments that follow! I thought I might jot my skills and some ideas down for 
you to ruminate over.

I should probably mention first of all that I'm a great fan of all things open 
source. Not just free as in beer, but free as in speech, freedom from the 
choking grip of proprietary software companies and their continual "upgrade" 
treadmills. Microsoft, Oracle etc. shall remain nameless...


1. Web design. HTML, PHP, design, layout, artwork... [snip]

2. Database design and implementation, SQL... [snip]

3. Installing and configuring Linux, particularly desktop workstations. There 
are others on the WLUG better at the flashy network admin side than me.

4. General programming of any sort. Web (HTML, Javascript, PHP), C++, Java, 
VB, .NET, Delphi/Kylix.


1. Security, locking down your webserver from attack. Not hugely familiar with 
Lotus Domino, but I suggest checking to see if your Lotus Domino server has 
any recent security patches that may need applying. I've done a quick 
preliminary scan - here are the results (Basically nothing to panic about 
until I/we take a further look at it, as it may be garbled this end by the 
Massey firewall)

netcraft says you're currently on Domino 5.0.6, last updated on 16 
August 2001, meaning your Domino software is more than two and a half years 
old. This is not good from a security point of view. nmap reports the 
following ports are open on your webserver - it may pay to check if they are 
all necessary:

22/tcp     open        ssh
80/tcp     closed      http  (for the website)
443/tcp    open        https (for any secure webpages - SSL)
1352/tcp   open        lotusnotes
2601/tcp   open        zebra
2604/tcp   open        ospfd 

There are also a huge number of "closed" ports that are still listed and 
exposed to portscanning. Port 80 is coming up closed (hmmm perhaps it is the 
firewall at this end). Uptime is 89.948 days (last rebooted Tue 3 Dec 2002 
14:03) which is pretty good for a web hosting NT box.

2. For a charitable organisation, liberation from any software upgrade 
treadmills would be a good thing in terms of cost. There may be a case for 
junking any future Windows/Office "upgrades" in favour of Linux/OpenOffice on 
your desktops. For 99% of your daily needs, OpenOffice works fine, and reads 
and writes Word/Excel files. The advantage is it is free, continuously 
improving and future upgrades will continue to be free (this goes for all 
open source software). This may be especially pertinent given your expanding 
pool of volunteer Linux enthusiasts who can support such a move!

3. Online polls on the website, to garner public opinion on issues

4. Public forums for people to discuss these issues

Hope that's not too disjointed or unwise!


Jonathan Harker
Massey University

Spouse, n.:
  Someone who'll stand by you through all the trouble you wouldn't have had
  if you'd stayed single.

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