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A celebration of open source

In honor of this week's Open Source Bridge conference, as well as in recognition of the role that open source software has played in the development of our business, we're pleased to announce that today, June 16, 2009, Code Sorcery Workshop is offering any open source contributor a free license to Meerkat, our SSH tunnel management application. We are also giving away a $250 gift certificate to the legendary Powell's Books. Read on for the details.

If you'd like a free copy of Meerkat, just leave a comment on this post linking to an open source project that you've worked on with a brief mention of what you did. It could be coding, but doesn't have to be -- it could also be documentation, helping new users, anything that contributes to the common good of the project. We'll collect all the info and send each contributor a full, unrestricted license to Meerkat, a $19.95 USD value.

However, if you'd like to instead try for the $250 USD gift certificate to Powell's Books, a purchase of Meerkat will make you eligible for this drawing. Just register Meerkat today and you will automatically be entered for the drawing. The winner will be announced in a followup post.

In both cases, you must take action by midnight Pacific Daylight Time tonight to qualify.

Meerkat is an application that adds a lot of Mac-specific value to SSH, an open source tool that ships with every Mac (as OpenSSH). And Macs themselves are built on a ton of open source software such as Apache, Postfix, CUPS, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, sudo, unzip, zlib, and many others. You can read more about Apple's commitment to open source as well as open source releases pertaining to Mac OS X.

I began knowingly using open source software in the mid-90s and started contributing by releasing my own projects on freshmeat in late 1999. I've always looked for ways to contribute to open source projects when I can, whether it's by bug fixes, new feature patches, documentation, or just community help. Most recently, I've been involved with the Drupal content management system.

Open source is the lifeblood of the internet. So many of the tools that we take for granted everyday have been developed in this way, by generous folks giving their time for the greater good. I am extremely thankful for the many ways that open source has enabled me to teach myself a lot of what I know today about technology, to provide economical solutions for clients who need it, and to make software better and better by degrees.

So, here's to open source!

Meerkat 1.2 is out!

I'm pleased to announce the release and immediate availability of Meerkat 1.2, the latest version of our popular and easy to use SSH tunnel management application for the Mac.

You can read more about Meerkat, view a series of brand new video spotcasts (for desktop as well as iPod/iPhone) highlighting its major features, and download a free 14-day trial of the application on Meerkat's product page.

This release represents a lot of work, but especially so in the AppleScript, command-line, and SSH session launching departments. There are a whole slew of new features and enhancements and a number of bug fixes, too.

I hope to write more soon about some of the development challenges in this release, as well as the business aspects of major software releases and balancing a service and product business, but for now, go check out Meerkat!

The Meerkat is loose!

After many months of development, I'm pleased to announce that Meerkat is ready! As the tag line goes, UNIX power, Mac style: SSH tunnels made easy. Meerkat is an easy to use SSH tunnel manager built specifically for the Mac. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears has gone into this release and I'm happy (and relieved) to get to this point.

If you're reading this on the actual site, you may also notice that I've redesigned the website. I hope that it makes more information available, while staying uncluttered and more easily manageable.

Lastly, I've also moved from WordPress to Drupal as my content management system. There are many reasons why, and I hope to blog about them in the near future, but for now, please do drop me a line if anything seems to be out of place.

And now, go get Meerkat! :-)

SSH tunnels for the common man (and woman)

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Thanks to the fine folks at TUAW, I've been alerted to an interesting start to a series at Apple Matters called Using SSH: Secure Tunnels for the Common Man. There's a nice bit of explanation on the need for and the basic concepts behind SSH tunneling.

Of course I'd be remiss to not mention Meerkat, Code Sorcery Workshop's next application, built specifically to address the need for easy and feature-rich management of SSH tunnels. Even for folks like me who know the Terminal commands for SSH and the concepts behind rather arcane uses such as dynamic forwarding as a SOCKS proxy, it's very useful to have menu bar access, Growl integration, Bonjour capability, and other Mac-like features for a classic UNIX tool like SSH.

However, I think that even with a tool like Meerkat, it's important to have some sort of forum or knowledge base for various uses of SSH, which is something that I hope to start when Meerkat launches. It's tricky because part of an SSH tunnel is inherently personal (e.g., your account details), but the basic concept can be shared for other people -- whether it's tunneling to your home iTunes collection, accessing your colocated Mac server securely via screen sharing, or securely browsing the web while on guest networks.

Anyway, give the article a look. I look forward to the upcoming installments -- SSH is a dark art to many and it's good to shed some light on it!

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