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Mac OS X, GD, Authen::Captcha

I needed to add some captcha foo to a Perl CGI I was writing, so I took a look at the Authen::Captcha module, which looked pretty simple, but, wait… requires GD, which requires the GD Library, which requires… you get the picture.

Luckily I found a guide titled: Compiling GD on Mac OS X HOWTO, which I followed, and which failed for me. (I did get newer versions of zlib and FreeType, but the rest matched up.) Once again, GD got me. After repeated attempts and failures (it was a long day) I finally realized that libtool was tripping me up. See, there is this bit:

% cd ../gd-2.0.33
% ln -s `which glibtool` ./libtool
% ./configure

But after running the ./configure my symlink to libtool had been replaced by a file named libtool. This was easily fixed by running ln -s `which glibtool` ./libtool again after running ./configure like so:

% cd ../gd-2.0.33
% ln -s `which glibtool` ./libtool
% ./configure
% ln -s `which glibtool` ./libtool

I am running Mac OS X 10.3.9, and I’m not sure what else is different, I’m just documenting what I had to do. Anyway, I’ve now got GD installed, as well as Authen::Captcha and I can now attempt to determine if someome is a robot or a real human being. (Or at the least, discriminate against those with accessibility issues. Apologies to Bender…)

(Thanks to Matías Giovannini for writing the guide.)

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Beep! Beep! Beep! Backing Up!

People, really… A public service announcement.

Make some backups!

My own backup strategy consists largely of something like this:

ditto -V -rsrcFork /Users/pete /Volumes/Backup/Users/pete

Which, besides making a whole bunch of text appear on the screen, backs up your home directory, saving the resource fork, just in case!

That /Volumes/Backup is actually a drive on another machine, so now we’ve got a copy. Well, a few hours later we have a copy…

(See Also: man ditto)

(Non-Mac OS X users, you’re on your own here!)

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AFP, SSH, Something Like That

I was trying to get afp running over ssh, which I did by the way (of course I try to make everything run over ssh) and I realized that months back I actually did get Netatalk running on brew, my Red Hat 7 box. So I figured I should check red, my Fedora box, and it looked like I started but never finished the config. 5 minutes later I had it all done. At least I think. It’s behind a firewall so I have not tested it yet. I would have, if the Linksys router web-based config interface worked properly in lynx. I mean, some of it does, just not the port forwarding part, which sucks if, you know, you are at a remote location and want to forward a port, remotely, or something.

(This post fills my “geek speak” quotient for the day, I am now free to talk about cats.)

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Apple and Mozilla

Apple has Mail.app, Safari, and iCal. They all run on Mac OS X. Well, iCal requires Mac OS X 10.2 I believe, and I’m sure future versions of Mail.app and Safari will require an appropriately recent version of Mac OS X.

(I’ll assume the “standard” apps for Windows would be IE and Outlook, both of which seem to be the source of much trouble for many people…)

For web browsing I tend to use Firefox (and before that Mozilla.) I started using Mozilla back when the versions had things like M1 assigned to them, so I’ve grown fond of it over the years.

At home I’ve been using Apple’s Mail.app for quite a while, and it does an awesome job of determining what is junk, but I also use Thunderbird, which is great at doing IMAP, and I really like the way it handles multiple accounts. At work it’s all Thunderbird all the time. (I won’t touch Outlook!)

Now, when it comes to iCal, I was a bit split. When it came out, it was cool, but I resisted, because I was still using a PowerBook pretty often, and that PowerBook was stuck on Mac OS X 10.1.5, and could not run iCal. I toyed around with the early Mozilla Calendar extension, but now it’s getting closer to being the real deal in Sunbird.

So do you see a pattern? Apple does a great job of producing nice, clean, well-done applications, and if you exclusively or primarily use Mac OS X (the most recent version) you can be “all set” as the kids say. For the average user, there isn’t really anything lacking. Email, web browsing, and calendaring is handled.

But… for the folks who use Windows, Linux, etc. instead of, or in addition to Mac OS X, Mozilla’s got you covered. They put you in the “all set” mode with their offerings. Ah, one more thing, as Steve Jobs likes to say… For the hackers among us, those who like to push things further, extend. enhance, customize, tweak, and just turn inside-out, the Mozilla apps provide such a thing. The list of extensions for Firefox is impressive, and Thunderbird, and (I’m assuming) Sunbird will also follow with a nice list of extensions to do what the makers did not think of, have time for, or did not choose to do.

The Mozilla “platform” is a ripe field for the hackers to plant those seeds…

I would like to thank the Mozilla Foundation, and the supporters of these apps… They’re making computing better all the time.

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Mac OS 9 Browsers

Recently Tantek said about Mac OS 9 web browsers:

Of course if you’re running OS9 (say, for example, if you’re using a Mac that just either won’t run OSX or doesn’t have enough memory of CPU power to make OSX usable), IE5/Mac is still your best choice – those other choices either don’t exist or exist only in abandoned versions far shy of IE5/Mac’s capabilities.

I agree that IE5/Mac was a very nice browser, 4 years ago… But instead of using a 4 year old browser, you could use a 1 year old browser with many of those modern day browser features, in the form of WaMCom.

WaMCom is based on Mozilla, and provides a version which runs on Mac OS 9 (and even 8.6!) which is good, because official Mozilla development of non-Mac OS X apps ended a while back…

Of course Tantek probably has a soft spot for IE5/Mac, so I guess I can’t blame him for liking it. ;)

I was going to mention something about the benefits of open-source, but I’ll spare you this time, as I’ve got code to debug…

See Also: Unofficial Mozilla for Mac OS 9 (Mac OS Classic), Mac OS 9 Web Browsers: A Mini-Review, Mozilla: Old Releases