A new time

This is my first post of the new year 2008, and this is my first post written on a Mac! Yes, you’ve read well: during the last year I’ve worked hard to explore all the paths that would make possible to me "reinvent" the way of doing business (where for "business" I mean IT, obviously!), and I came to this choice after a long and heavy work in the new (for me) Unix field.
I’d like to explain as soon as possible the reasons which made me follow this path of innovation, but this subject is too important to be told about in this informal blog. I’ll surely write about Microsoft’s fall in a few posts on my official corporate blog.

As now, I can only say that the "Leopard" operating system from Apple looks like a good candidate to support a lot of small-to-middle sized businesses in my Country, where the Open Directory system seems to be able to accomplish the basic functions needed by them in a more cost-effective and reliable way than the new Windows Longhorn platform can.
I’m at the beginning of my evaluation, but I feel that there will be a lot of work in the next months, mainly adapting my "engineering  habits" to the new Apple’s platform. :S

I’m writing using the Qumana offline blog editor on my new black Intel-based MacBook … so everything I’ve written so far was only to test this tool! 😉 If you wish to know something more about this work, please go to my official blog and wait until I’ll have the time to write down some no-nonsense words about that!

CommuniGate Pro

I had been spending some free-time to research a good  groupware server far less featured than an enterprise product (such as Microsoft Exchange, with whom I’ve some experience 😉 ). What I was looking for was a product which is able to:

  • run on at least one type of BSD server platform;
  • give a user experience similar to that of an Exchange system (e-mail, personal and shared contacts, calendar and tasks);
  • be accessed using different types of desktop clients (such as Microsoft Outlook, Mac OS X Mail, web browsers or other free/open-sourced  products) over the web in a secure way (using SSL/TLS);
  • integrate with an existing corporate directory service (Active Directory, Mac and authenticate using secure protocols, such as kerberos.

I’ve spent a lot of time looking for that solution and, until now, it seemed that the only way to accomplish these goals was to build it using a few stand-alone products (SMTP and IMAP server for e-mail, web collaboration for groupware tasks, external authentication services, etc.). That was not what i was looking for, since one of my requirements was to maintain the administration cost as low as possible.

Same days ago I rediscovered the Communigate Pro platform, which seems to fit completely what are my needs: I’m giving it a try by creating a new service subdomain (see the CGP web interface at http://mail.bsd.valsania.it) and running it on a FreeBSD jail. It’s too early to say something sharp about it, but I feel that’s a great piece of software, built to perform and scale very well even in an enterprise or service provider environment, and I surely be glad to get deeper into that solution.


Few days have past from when I began to play with the most famous and feature-rich open sourced IP PBX. Obviously, I’m running it on my FreeBSD testing systems and, even if I’m in the beginnings, I can say that my impression about this software is very good: I feel like it was the “Sendmail” in the IP PBXes field, and that makes it very friendly to me! 😀

I’ve also discovered many ways to give it a user-friendly graphic interface; I gave them a try, but they are too simple to be effectively useful in the environments I wish to make Asterisk working. I’ll go further and mybe I’ll tell you again as soon I’ll have a sharper vision about that.

At the time I’m writing, the dialplan I’ve wrote is enabling me to place calls between two offices in different locations, manage incorrectly typed extension numbers and support remote SIP and IAX connections to the central office system. I wish to complete the configuration of the voicemail module and implement call parking, conferencing and dial-by-name directory as soon as possible.


Some days ago I read a very nice document explaining the technology behind the Jabber system. I have to admit that the specifications of the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol  (XMPP) nicely impressed me! Making XMPP one of the few Internet standard IM protocol approved by the IETF is the fact that definitely convinced me to build a FreeBSD jail and begin testing some Jabber servers. I’m focusing on the Openfire product, which seems to be really enterprise-ready: I’ve been able to connect it to Active Directory and to the MSFT Live Messenger public IM service in a snap! I’m also interested in ejabberd, which seems to support all high-quality features that an hosting provider needs (as the clustering support): maybe it would be a building block of the Phoibos service infrastructure.

Testing Drupal update

For the first time since I began working with Drupal I had to upgrade a running web site to a newer version. The upgrade has been from 5.1 to 5.2 release, which contains some bug fixes (see the related announcement). The process has been quite simple on a development test site and I succesfully completed it at the first shoot. I decided to wait some days more before upgrading my first Drupal web site in a production environment!

I’ll be back ASAP

A log time has past since my last post on my corporate weblog, mainly because I’ve spent a lot of time to working on several tasks, both internally and externally to my company. During these months I’ve collected a lot of drafts about many arguments, mainly related to new business experiences, and I wish to publish them as soon as possible, hoping to have some time to spend on it during the next month. See you later! 🙂

Again on WordPress

Just upgraded all Phoibos hosted weblogs to the latest 2.2.1 WP version, mainly because of new XSS bugfixes. I’d like to move as sson as possible the whole Phoibos blog hosting collection to a new FreeBSD server (6.2-RELEASE) with the latest versions of Apache, PHP and MySQL. I’ll post the results as a comment when I’ll finish. 🙂

Phoibos blog hosting upgraded

Once more time our blogging service platform has been upgraded to the latest version of the WordPress engine (the 2.2 “Getz”). As usual, there has not been any problem in the simple upgrade process: this news is only to tell our users that we don’t sleep all around the day! 😉


After I had setup it for a friend of mine, some days ago I decided to take a look to the Drupal open source CMS. As usual, I did not have the time to get in deep with it, but I feel it could be a good platform to develop on, mainly to build clean corporate public web sites (looking for theme developers…). Until I’ll be able to take a sharper look at its potential, I’ll publish my work-in-progress pages on http://drupal.valsania.it. Take it a look… I’ll be glad to read your opinion about Drupal as long as you’ll insert your comments to this post.