2001 01 25

                    LINUX NEWS
            Thursday, January 25, 2001


1) Sean’s Notes

2) Linux News

2.0.39 Released
Linux Virus
An Interview with Dan York - President of the LPI
Is Linux Really Free?

3) Linux Resources

NT to UNIX Migration
Underground Book Available
Linux and USB
MySQL Filesystem
Lots o' Free Fonts

4) App o’ the week

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1) Sean's Notes
What's the most important skill a Unix admin needs?  Is it
shell scripting?  Knowing the ins and outs of the file
system? Running sendmail, perhaps?  Or maybe vi?

All of the above skills are good to have, but there is a
skill that is more important.  It's problem solving.

Problem solving is knowing how to find the answer to what
you need.  Guaranteed, no matter how much you know about
sendmail, you're eventually going to run into a problem
that makes you scratch your head.

Of course, going out and asking a guru the question may get
you the answer you need quickly, but you don't end up
learning anything. It is the learning part of problem
solving that's important.

A small example to illustrate.  When writing last week's
article, I made the statement that the OUTPUT chain of the
filter table is consulted after the POSTROUTING chain of
the nat table.  As I got up to that sentence, I asked
myself who takes the last stab at the packet.  Maybe
nat:POSTROUTING gets it after filter:OUTPUT?

One thing that popped into my mind was to find a newsgroup
or IRC channel and ask.  However, I took a couple of minutes
to deny packets to an outside web server in both chains, set
my machine pinging through, and checked the counters.  Sure
enough, I proved to myself that filter was consulted last,
and learned a lot more about iptables than just that.  While
flipping through the man page and web sites I found some new
options and cool features of iptables.

The best tool to use in this particular instance is the man
pages. Don't know how to use iptables?  "man iptables".
Does that solve your problem?  If not, I usually check the
HOWTO's site at--


--to see if it's already documented.  Failing that, I surf on
over to google.com (as a side note, I used to use Altavista
until quite recently.  After trying google once I was hooked.
Much faster, cleaner and more complete).  Google is great
for finding out why you're getting certain error messages.
Another great source of information on error messages is the
source itself:

grep "Connection refused" \*.c

\.\.\.and start from there.

I also experiment a lot on my own machines, as I showed
above. Part of the learning process is recovering from your
own mistakes, like the time I upgraded my system libraries
in the wrong order and rendered my machine fairly useless.

So, if you're asking yourself "How can I become better at
Linux?", the answer is to dive in and try it.  Want to know
how email works? Set up a mail server.  Just getting in to
Linux?  Give it a whirl, try things out, and if you get
really stuck ask for help.

On that note, the BrainBuzz Linux-General board is a great
place to start:


We've also got our own board for discussions:


And, because I can't get enough of that poll feature, I'd
like you to tell me what kind of book reviews you'd like
to see in the latest Linux News Poll:


Long live the Penguin,


2) Linux News

2.0.39 Released
If 2.4 is not your bag, and you never made the jump to 2.2,
then this may interest you. Some updates have been made to
2.0: lots of IDE stuff, some NIC updates, memory leaks, and
even some backporting of 2.4 features (devfs). Believe it
or not, I know of a few 2.0 boxes out there, one of mine


Linux Virus
Well, it had to come around sooner or later, a virus targeted
specifically towards Linux. This one goes after RedHat 6.2
and 7.0 servers, in particular the rpc.statd, wu-ftpd, and
LPRng bugs. All of these are fixed in updated RPMS on
RedHat's errata section. What's funny about this virus is
that it replaces the web server's home page with a picture
of a package of Ramen Noodles, and a message.


An Interview with Dan York - President of the LPI
An interesting interview with the President of the Linux
Professional Institute -- one of the certification bodies
for Linux. What makes this cert good is that it's not
particularly distribution specific. In this interview, we
find out why Dan thinks that this is a Good Thing, and other
stuff about the LPI cert.


Is Linux Really Free?
Sure, it costs you nothing to buy, no upgrade costs, but
are the maintenance costs zero? Probably not, but how do
they compare to others? This series of short interviews
investigates the question, "Is Linux Really Free?"


3) Linux Resources

NT to UNIX Migration
This whitepaper covers the advantages of Unix over NT. Well
presented in a technical fashion, this document presents a
fair argument for making the move.


Underground Book Available
"Tales of hacking, madness and obsession on the electronic
frontier" is the by-line of this book. It has recently been
offered as a free download, in a multitude of formats,
including mp3! It's been well reviewed, I'm looking forward
to reading it (on my palm pilot no less!)


Linux and USB
The author of this piece contends that Linux is not ready
for the desktop until USB support is as easy as it is with
Windows. More or less, it'll be ready when vendors ship
Linux drivers with the equipment. Check out the comments
and resources section for some helpful information on USB
and Linux.


MySQL Filesystem
>From the "because we can" department comes a filesystem
that runs out of a MySQL database. Truthfully, though, the
developer brings up some excellent applications for this.
It will make access for non-technical users easier, so that
your marketing folk could browse the database with Windows
explorer, and you don't have to write any fancy front ends.


Lots o' Free Fonts
I've been playing with the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation
Program) lately, and found this site with lots of True Type
Fonts. It's also got instructions on how to get True Type
support added to your system.


4) App o' the week
This program (Linux and Windows versions available) will
help you develop essential skills needed to work with
Windows systems, such as using the mouse to close error


(C) 2001 BrainBuzz.com. All Rights Reserved.


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