Access a Raspberry Pi with Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and REMMINA

    I am a huge proponent of Open Source software, and when I have the choice between a proprietary application or an open source one with similar features, I’ll generally opt for the open source program unless there is a compelling reason not to. In the case of remotely accessing PCs, I prefer to use RDP software over VNC. While RDP is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft, and VNC is open source, I find RDP easier to use for remotely accessing GUI based systems. If I need to access a non-GUI system, I do fall back to SSH though.
   Recently I have been experimenting with Raspberry Pi computers. (I am working to setup a Hadoop cluster, and will hopefully write more about that in the future.) The initial setup of the PI’s includes updating the package lists and installing any newer versions of the included software, setting a static IP and then installing xRDP. After that I use my Linux Mint laptop to make any further changes after I have them headless in the rack using REMMINA , which supports SSH, VNC and RDP.
    Installing xRDP on the PIs is pretty straightforward. Here is how to do that:

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Running Kettle (Pentaho Data Integration) on Mac OSX 10.12 Sierra

A new version of Mac OSX and a new version of Pentaho Data Integration (aka Kettle) but the same old problem getting Kettle to run. Apple tries to keep their operating system locked down and secure, so if you download applications from the Internet that aren’t from the Apple App Store, the files are quarantined.

With the update to Sierra, the quarantine process has been “improved”. Keep reading to see how to do it!

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Use Linux SQL Server with R (ODBC)

This is my second article on using Microsoft’s new Linux version of SQL Server with R. This time, I’ll cover how to use RODBC to gather data from SQL Server. As a bit of background, over the past few months, I have been working to learn R, a free software environment for statistical computing. Its been gaining popularity over the past few years, and Microsoft just gave it a huge boost by integrating R into their Power BI visualization software and in the Windows version of SQL Server 2016. Since a good deal of my work involves connecting to Microsoft SQL Servers  its a good opportunity to show how to connect to a SQL Server installed on Ubuntu from R using ODBC.

For this tutorial, I am going to assume that you already have R installed. For my purposes,  I am running R on the same Ubuntu machine as the SQL Server. If you need instructions for installing SQL Server on Linux, Microsoft has provided a write-up already. So now let’s get started.

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Create a Pentaho Kettle Repository on SQL Server

As I have stated previously when creating ETL workflows, its useful to store the information in a database repository, rather than as individual files on your workstation. This allows multiple users to have access to the information (why recreate the wheel?),  it allows you to pull it into your jobs quickly and easily, and you can back it up quickly and restore it if necessary. With the community version 7.0 of PENTAHO® DATA INTEGRATION (PDI), I am happy to report that you can finally create a repository for your ETL code on Microsoft SQL Server. Previously, you could setup a repository on MySQL or PostgreSQL with the community edition but there were compatibility problems with the code that Kettle used that didn’t work with SQL Server. After downloading the latest version I was attempting to make a connection to SQL Server, and decided to test setting up a repository again. I am happy to say it works so the remainder of this article will walk through the process of setting up a Pentaho repository on SQL Server 2016 from a Windows 10 machine.


  • Download the jTDS open source SQL Server JDBC driver. Extract the ZIP file, and copy the jtds-1.3.1.jar file from your download and save it into the data-integration\lib folder of your Pentaho application. Although Microsoft provides a JDBC driver, it did not work for me.
  • Create an empty database on your Microsoft SQL Server. I created one called “PentahoRepository”
  • Setup a SQL Server user account (not an Active Directory account) on your database server and give the account  DBO (owner) permissions on the database. Using a DDLADMIN level does not work. I created my account and called it “repository”. I also set the default database for this account to the new database.

Now that we have our prerequisites setup, we can start the PDI client.

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