Van Dale dictionaries on linux

After several rant mails to the Vandale publishers house, I finally gave in/up. About a year ago, I complained that I couldn’t buy a linux version of my favorite Dutch dictionaries (not that there is a choice when it comes to digital Dutch dictionaries). Online dictionaries don’t cut it for me, I always need the words (or expressions) that free online ones don’t provide. 😉 The answer was that there does not exist a linux version. So I asked when the linux version would be released. The communication stalled but apparently it got escalated and I got an answer by another person telling me there was no linux version planned, however he was delighted to announce the availability of a Mac version within only 3 months!

You know this smiley banging its head against the wall? That’s me, banging my head… How can they be so stupid to port to another platform and not take cross-platform toolkits into account?? I couldn’t help myself, so I started to lecture “cross-platform 101”. 😉 I am not sure if I was able to get through to him, but I hope at least a few fragments stuck in his mind. 🙂

In the meantime, they do have a mac version. I never received a reply to my plea. So I decided to give it a try under wine. Surprise, surprise (not), it works! (using the win2k installer patch). Sometimes, wine can really be a godsend. For the occasion, I created a few desktop icons since the original ones suck badly.

I created them by drawing bezier curves with the original icon from the website in overlay. It actually sounds easier as it sounds. 🙂 I had to tweak my beziers quite a bit to have a somewhat appealing result. Since this will probably be the last time I will take a KDE3 screenshot (still on my suse 10.3), I decided to post a screenshot of the icons with my desktop in full glory 😉

Vandale icons

Also spot the home-made icon for Cave Story, but that’s merely a rip from the game resources 😉
Here are the icons in case you want them too:
vandale icon Englishvandale icon French

FTP: copying outside chroot jail

Your typical ftp setup will allow your users to only copy/modify stuff in their own home dir (=chroot jail). Which makes sense. However, from time to time, you’ll want to access directories outside your home dir and then the following workaround can come in handy. Concretely, I have a few hard disks in my box, so, from time to time, I want to write directly to another partition than my home partition because of space constraints.

Obviously, you can allow root to access ftp, but we’d like to avoid that if possible, right? Simply making a symbolic link in our home dir also doesn’t work because of the chroot jail.

What you can do however, is mount a directory in another place. Suppose I have a /dev/sdb1 which is mounted to /mnt/data. I want to have access to the download dir on that drive. Then I can do:

mount --bind /mnt/data/download /home/mattie/download

to access this from my home dir. you can use the -r option to make it read-only if you wish (though doesn’t make much sense in my scenario). I suppose it might also work using hard links but I didn’t try that as I didn’t need a permanent link. Using mount, the link simply disappears on the next reboot.