Welcome to Valerio Di Giampietro's personal web site and blog

I'm an Electronic Engineer with almost 20 years of experience in the field of IT management, Network and Unix System Administration, Telecommunications and Digital Electronics.
In this modest web site you will find:

  • In the Linux & AS/400 page you will find articles and scripts that I wrote and used to download and convert AS/400 database files and other related informations.
  • In the I and Linux page you will find information on my early involvement with Linux (since 1993).
  • Essential and suggested Freeware Unix Programs on my toolbox. This page is unfinished (was under construction for many years) and is quite outdated
  • In the About me page you will find information about myself, my job and my family. At the moment the only information available is essential and suggested books on my technical bookshelf. I wrote this page for the first time about 10 years ago and later I moved to more managerial and less technical job, so this section wasn't updated and can seem a bit old.
  • In the About the site page you will find information on how I realized this site.
  • In the Blog section you can find my personal blog related mainly to technical issues I worked on including realization of this web site

I'am also a linux enthusiast since 1993 and an active member of the on line community since 1989.
You can contact me at (replace '_at_' with '@').

My first linux CD-ROM

My first Linux CD-ROM: SLS 1.02
This was my first Linux CD-ROM. At the time, it was May, 1993, I had a partial and slow access to the Internet at work (only e-mail, telnet and ftp, but no newsgroups); at home i was an active member of the bbs fidonet network community. A day, in the Fidonet UNIX.ITA area (a fidonet area is like an internet newsgroup) i read a posting about the aviability of Linux on CD-ROM from a company, based in Canada, and called SLS (Softlanding Linux System).
I immediately bought it, repartitoned my 486DX33 with 250Mb of Hard Disk and 4Mb of RAM, created a 100Mb partition for Linux (plus a 16Mb partition for swap) and installed the SLS distribution of Linux.
At the time the Linux Documentation Project wasn't started yet, the kernel was at version 0.99p9 (0.99 patch level 9), and the only help was the really big Linux FAQ by Marc-Michel Corsini.

In that FAQ there were really interesting things like:

  • LINUX runs only on 386/486 AT-bus machines; porting to non-Intel architectures is likely to be difficult, as the kernel makes extensive use of 386 memory management and task primitives.
  • How much space will Linux take up on my hard drive? Usually it's somewhere between 10 megs (for a nominal system+swap space) and 30-40 megs (for everything plus space for user directories, etc.). BTW the full SLS needs around 60 MB (including TeX and other goodies).
  • Why can't we split comp.os.linux?

One year later, in 1994, I started a BBS running on my Linux box and part of the Fidonet network, it was called "niXnet" and his motto was "Linux based, Unix oriented". Here you can find an old Fidonet Nodelist for Friday, October 28, 1994 -- Day number 301 where my BBS was listed.

A Short Introduction of myself

I am an IT Infrastructure Manager in a big automotive manufacturing company.
I have a very strong technical background in Unix Administration (mainly Solaris), Linux, Oracle, LAN, WAN and Internet/Intranet technology including Cisco routers, Apache web server, CGI scripting with Perl, MySQL, PHP etc.
I was involved in Unix Administration since 1989 and in Internet technology since 1992. I installed Linux on my home PC in 1993, ran a Linux Based BBS in 1994, introduced the first Linux server in my Company in 1999. I live in Italy, near Bologna, I am married and I have three daughters (23, 19 and 15 years old).
You can find more information about myself on some social websites:

LinuxLab 2018 Conference

I did a presentation at the LinuxLab Conference on 3rd December 2018 about "Introduction to IoT Reverse Engineering with an example on a home router". You can find:
  • the presentation in pdf format, in the last pages of the presentation you will find the links to the tools mentioned in the presentation
  • abdtools2: tools for hacking ADB Epicentro routers (the example home router), including firmware modification kit and VOIP password recovery
  • buildroot-armv7: a set of scripts, configuration files and Buildroot external tree to setup a Qemu emulation environment to run and reverse engineer the Netgear DVA 5592 executables. This environment uses Docker, Buildroot and Qemu to emulate a board with an ARMv7 Cortex A9 processor, Linux kernel 3.4.11-rt19, uClibc, and old versions of other libraries.

Cisco Network Emulation with GNS3 in a Docker container

GNS3 is a fantastic piece of software, it glues together different open source software and allows to emulate a network that includes Cisco routers (using real Cisco firmware), Cisco switches (using IOU, Cisco IOS on Unix), Cisco ASA and any other devices that can run on Qemu or Virtual Box emulator.

It also allows to connect the virtual network to the physical network, it is possible to access Internet in the emulated world and vice-versa. GNS3 is available on Windows, Mac OSX and on Linux, but it shines on Linux because, to use IOU, if you are not on Linux you need a Linux virtual machine running on VirtualBox.

But, because GNS3 glues together many moving parts, it can be troublesome to install everything and to have everything working seamlessly, for this reason i created a Docker image with everything installed, functioning and ready to be used on Linux (or in a Linux virtual machine running in Windows or Mac OSX).

Docker is another fantastic piece of software that, together with CoreOS and other cloud orchestration projects, like Google's Kubernetes, is one of the building blocks for the incoming Cloud Revolution.
... Read more

Microsoft Exchange: complex and dangerous by design

I am not a fan of Microsoft products, I don't like their complexity and the "dangerous by design" philosophy; recently I switched company and I am involved in implementing a data center for a public institution based primary on Microsoft Technology. One of this product is Microsoft Exchange; after many years of Unix System Management experience I didn't believe how flawed Exchange was until I red by myself the official Microsoft Exchange documentation (Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Resource Kit).
Some items that really surprised me are the followings:
... Read more

Posta che rifiutiamo considerandola Spam

English version here
Nel corso del mese di dicembre 2006 abbiamo provveduto ad installare un nuovo filtro per bloccare le email indesiderate ("spam") e le email contenenti virus o files potenzialmente pericolosi per la sicurezza della nostra rete.
Le emails possono essere bloccate per le seguenti ragioni:
... Read more

Emails that we reject as spam

Italian version here
In December 2006 we installed a new anti-spam/anti-virus email filter.
Emails can be blocked for the following reasons:
... Read more

Fighting Spam

The increase of Spam is a trend that started few years ago and it is continuously expanding, but to fight it there is plenty of good Open Source software. To use it effectively, anyway, it is needed a good knowledge of how spam floods our inboxes.

How spammers collect email addresses

The most used address gathering technique is using virus and spyware software that, without user awareness, gather email addresses from Outlook (or other email software) address-books and send this information to the spammers. Another popular address gathering technique is that of using web spiders to collect email addresses from web pages and newsgroups.
... Read more

My italian podcast "Notizie Digitali" is nr. 2

iTune top 10Thank you very much to the listeners of my italian language podcast "Notizie Digitali" (Digital News), you have been so many that my show has reached the second position in the "Top 10" of the italian iTunes Music Store.
For me this is a great and unespected result. I never expected to see that in so short time I was able to be head to head with the briallant journalists of "La Repubblica" and with the italian podcast pioneers like "Radio NK" and "Toilettecast" or with the very popular italian singer Max Pezzali.
This success will push me to improve my show, but will also create some problems; the first one is that the available bandwidth with the hosting company is not enough.

Syndicate content