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October 2005

Mozilla Suite, Seamonkey, huh?  
- OK, apparently some of the Firefox developers aren't happy . I don't follow this stuff closely, and probably wouldn't understand their complaints anyway. This whole collaborative development scene is completely foreign to me, and although it obviously works, I sure don't understand how. But never mind that.
Microsoft fesses up  
- The full article is great reading, but the gist of it is simple: in 2004 Microsoft came face to face with what I and lots of other folks suspected about Longhorn: it was a plate of ugly spaghetti that was never going to work. Microsoft sucked in its gut and threw the whole thing out, starting over from scratch. Finally we know the reasons behind the mysterious sliding release dates: it all went in the dumpster and they had to start fresh.
- First of all, no real Unix admins use telnet unless over a vpn or within a local network. But never mind that, Paul's real gripe is that he thinks the command line is what is dumb: according to Paul, the right way to administer a Unix machine is with the GUI or Webmin.
The Linux Kernel Primer  
- I've been less than happy with other kernel books I've read. Admittedly,it's a difficult subject: there's a lot to cover, and you really need quite a bit of programming and general Unix knowledge before you could even consider jumping into this area. But I have the background, have even written simple Unix drivers, and yet every other kernel programming book has disappointed me.
- If you haven't given Opera a spin recently, you'll find it has the features you expect like tabbed browsing and RSS feeds, but it also has some nice ideas of its own like a Trash icon that lets you recall pages you accidentally closed, and a 'Fast Forward' button that guesses what link you'd click on next.
Undoing bad archives  
- Most zip or tar archives are made so that they unpack into a sub-directory. However, every now and then you run into one that wasn't done that way, and if you happen to unpack it in a directory that already has files, you end up with confusion: what was just unpacked and what was already here?
And the SCO case keeps on twitching  
- PJ over at Groklaw thinks her grandchildren (if she had any) might still be following this SCO mess. Well, it won't take that long, but it sure has dragged out, hasn't it?
The cost of Linux  
- While that might be true in some places, we all know that there are plenty of Windows folk who know nothing at all about anything but Windows, so I'm not sure that offers much against Microsoft's position. However, he also notices the thing all us Unix folk know to be true
managing processes under linux  by anonymous
- kill all processes that are owned by the current user but that are not associated with their current login tty
Massachusetts vs. Microsoft  
- It's official: after 2006, Massachusetts isn't going to use Microsoft file formats any more. At the moment, Microsoft says they aren't going to change their software to be able to produce open formats, so by inexorable logic, Massachusetts won't be using Microsoft Office either.
Oh, the irony..  
- It's not that anyone would expect to use Windows for this sort of thing. Of course not, this is big box (or big cluster) territory, and not Microsoft's thing at all. But it wouldn't be half so amusing if some big AIX machine or indeed anything but Linux were involved. Linux is the enemy, the second worst boogey man in Bill's closet (the Google monster being the first in recent nightmares, of course).
Self-Service Linux : Mastering the Art of Problem Determination  
- There's heavy concentration on using trace and debugging tools here; these sections are far better and more complete than anything I've read elsewhere, and include real examples of compilation problems and how to solve them.
Virtual Tape  
- Virtual tape does just what you'd think: a backup thinks it's writing to tape, but in reality the data is going elsewhere. It may still end up on tape eventually, but in the meantime it's heading for disk, local or otherwise. This stuff isn't cheap, but then neither are the systems where people would be interested in it.
New Interfaces for Microsoft?  
- All this really comes down to is more templates, which is nothing new. You point at what you want the end result to be rather than digging through menus. What this is, of course, is 'Have it our way' ™ , a marketing method that more than one company has tried and found to be highly convenient, easier on employees, fantastic for controlling costs, and yet the customers always seem to dislike it.
HLA - The High Level Assembly Programming Language  
- I've noted before that assembly language programming can be quite engrossing. It's the level of detail that captivates; there can be a great deal of craftmanship and mental challenge in writing assembly programs.
Why pay for pain?  
- This is the OS SCO needed to introduce in 1997 or even earlier, when they still had customers and resellers hanging in there.
Open Document  by anonymous
- It seems there's a on-going campaign by Microsoft's surrogates in the media to spread FUD about Massachusetts' announcement that they will use OpenDocument from 2007. For example, it's been claimed that taxpayers' money will be wasted on converting old documents, whereas Massachusetts specifically said that the decision would only apply to new documents. Several other false claims have also been made - with the aim, one can only suppose, of inducing F, U, and D. The truth is Redmond hasn't a leg to stand on in this controversy and we should expect to see many more lies in future:
SCO_OSR5.0.5 + vmware (4.5.2)  by mberndtson
- I followed the article here on how to install OSR upon vmware 4.0. The setup includes a scsi boot/root disk on blc(0,0,0) , a data disk on scsi id 6 and an ide cdrom as secondary master and a very small ide disk as primary master. This worked great and has done so for almost a year now. However, linux compatibility issues forced me to upgrade to vmware 4.5.2. This is when the fun begins:
Linux|Unix debugging and performance tuning:Tips and Techniques  
- Thus, it's heavy on code, but doesn't entirely ignore system performance monitoring tools. The concentration is on code though, including kernel code. If you don't like programming, this is not your book.
A bit of C debugging  
- Since it obviously WASwriting to that array, that meant that it was oversteppingbounds somewhere - it thinks it's still writing to a bufferof deleted items, but that's allocated too small, so it's writing elsewhere and munging the orders array.
- PasswordMaker takes a master password you supply, and hashes it with the url of the site you are looking at to produce a one-way password for that site.
We sell our souls so easily  
- With mortgages and other consumer transactions, we usually have at least some protection because of laws that try to protect us from outright chicanery. With EULA's, outrageous terms may or may not be enforceable, but we seldom even know what terms are stated at all.
Intellectual property revolution?  
- The ridiculous extremes of bad patents, never ending copyrights, and the seeming willingness of courts to grant exclusive use to quite obvious ideas is one of the more disturbing aspects of our current society.
Copyright Changes  by Anthony Lawrence
- Absuse by scraper sites forces me to change my copyright policy. This is really annoying and disappointing, but there it is.
C++ or C (or both?)   by Anthony Lawrence
- Some of you may have made use of Dean Jones' CleanCode Email. It's a nicely done mail sender - it's not an SMTP server, it just sends mail, but lets you specify the gateway or smart host to use, which makes it wonderful for systems that don't need to receive mail.
The future is..   by Anthony Lawrence
- I'm going to disagree a little bit though. In case you can't read the original, the major point made was that Hollywood thinks things are easier than they really are, and that the types of things we see happening in science fiction movies may never be possible.
Google confuses me   by Anthony Lawrence
- Google confuses me. I understand that they HAVE to do Microsoft versions. I also understand that Linux versions can be more difficult because of all the different distros out there. Yes, the Mac and Linux market combined is still ridiculously small so from a straight product analysis, what they do makes sense. But it does not make sense politically.
Bash 3.00 brace expansion  
- With Bash 3.0, we now have brace expansion for lists. Prior to this, we sometimes used "seq", which could result in such awful things as:
Viruses and Unix  
- I was in a meeting last week where a customer was exploring switching from a Unix platform to Windows. Of course one thing mentioned in favor of the Unix platform was the lessened threat from viruses, but someone brought up the old 'popularity' argument: if Unix were as popular as Windows, it would have just as many virus problems.
Windows vs. Unix - the forgotten facts  
- Any typical computer user today (user, not administrator) is just as helpless at the console of a Windows domain server as they would be at any Linux or Unix server. Anyone who actually has some experience in their 'normal' OS and knows what they want to accomplish will fumble their way through the foreign server with just about the same difficulty whether they are a Unix geek trying to set up Windows 2003 Server or a Windows admin setting up RedHat AS: they both will have troubles, but they both probably will succeed.
panic, panic_on_oops  
- The 'panic' file controls whether or not the kernel will attempt to reboot after a panic. If 'panic' is zero, it will just sit forever waiting for you to do something. Obviously that's not good for an unattended machine or a machine that is difficult to get to, or perhaps a machine with no monitor. In those cases, you probably want to set 'panic' to some non-zero value.
VMware Player   by Anthony Lawrence
- VMware Player is now a freely distributable application that lets anyone run a virtual machine created by someone else.
- Symlinks is a handy utility for managing symbolic links. It can clean up the sort of problems that come from carelesness when creating symbolic links.
taskset for CPU affinity  
- SMP operating systems have choices when it comes to scheduling processes: a new or newly rescheduled process can run on any available cpu. However, while it shouldn't matter where a new process runs, an existing process should go back to the same cpu it was running on simply because the cpu may still be caching data that belongs to that process.