2001 11 08

                    LINUX NEWS
        Resources & Links From CramSession.com
            Thursday, November 8, 2001


1) Sean’s Notes

2) Linux News

Samba Team Responds to MS Settlement
Linux PDAs Reviewed
Amazon.com Saves Money With Linux
Hip to be Square?

3) Linux Resources

Log Syslog to a Database?
Samba With 9x and ME
Ending Cross Platform Installation Disasters
The Ten Commandments for Debugging Perl
Apache Load Testing

4) App o’ the week

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1) Sean's Notes

"Thus it is said if you know your enemy and know yourself,
your victory will not be imperiled"
		- Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"

While not a regular reader of Linux Magazine, I do pick up
the odd one that catches my eye.  While perusing September's
issue, I saw a two page spread for Microsoft's Windows Web
Hoster program.  Quickly checking the cover, I was indeed
still reading Linux Magazine.

Unsurprisingly, the magazine received a good deal of negative
feedback, from "You're selling out" to "I'm canceling my
subscription".  I must admit my first impression was that
someone in Redmond must have made a mistake.

Zealotry is unfortunately a trademark of the Linux movement,
which I find hard to reconcile with its ideals of Freedom
and choice.  Those that chastise the editors of Linux Mag
do a disservice to its readers by trying to limit their
freedom to choose.  Evil as you think they are, Microsoft
is still a valid option.

The way to the desktop, to the servers, and everything in
between is by providing a better product.  Beating people over
the head won't make Linux fans of them.  They just have to
"see the light", as it were.  Argue the technical merits,
but don't resort to the low attacks.  "Microsoft sucks"
doesn't have any place on a business case.

So why the gratuitous quoting of Sun Tzu?

When talking with other Unix administrators, I often find
that the more capable ones also have a good backing in
Microsoft products.  After all, a 100% Unix shop is rare.
When I worked as a Unix developer, we still had marketing
and administration staff using Windows.

One of the strengths of Linux is its interoperability.
Your corporation uses NDS for authentication and management?
Not a problem, we can use that.  It is almost the opposite
of Microsoft's "Embrace and Extend" strategy.  Instead of
adopting a technology and then extending it so that no one
else can use it, the Linux way is to build it better, while
still maintaining compatibility.  One only has to look as
far as the Apache web server.  Almost anything in it can be
extended by a module.  You can choose to run ASP, or you can
choose to run other, more capable software.  The code should
more or less run on either IIS or Apache (assuming you don't
start in with objects that only exist on Windows), so you
never lose your choice.  Using something like PHP for
dynamic web content? It runs on Windows, as does Apache.

Or how about Samba?  Need your Windows box to pick up some
files?  Not a problem.  Want to run more Windows machines, but
don't want to fork out the big bucks for NT Server licenses?
Samba has you covered there, it can act as a WINS server, or
even a PDC.  The choice is yours, the Samba team has put in a
lot of work to make sure their software plays nicely with NT.

In order to get the most out of these compatibility features,
though, you have to know the enemy.  If you don't know how it
works on the real thing, how can you expect to swap in Linux?
How can you expect to use the advanced features and stability
that Linux offers if you can't even satisfy the user's basic
needs?  Or, when an application doesn't work through your
Linux firewall, you can understand enough about the client
platform to troubleshoot the problem from both ends.

Comments like "I'm dropping my subscription because you take
Microsoft's money" are from people who don't understand the
enemy.  If they did, they would have said "Congratulations
on being brave enough to offer me a technically valid choice,
no matter how unpopular it might be with some of your readers."

I'm not advising everyone to run out and get your MCSE, but
I do strongly recommend that those wanting to become Linux
gurus learn about the other operating systems out there.
Not only will it make you better at your job, but it will
enhance your credibility as someone who uses Linux because
it is better, not just because they dislike Microsoft.

Long live the Penguin,


Visit the Linux News Board at

2) Linux News

Samba Team Responds to MS Settlement
On the surface, the agreement reached by Microsoft is good,
since it should open up the proprietary protocols that
hinder integration with other software, both on Windows and
Linux. The Samba team has a different take on this, though.
It seems that buried within the details are restrictions
that swing the balance toward Microsoft, severely limiting
what protocols they have to open up.

http://linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn 01-11-06-005-20-OP-MS

Linux PDAs Reviewed
For those that are looking for a PDA that runs Linux, this
review covers the basics of several different models, and
distributions. The final page includes references to more
detailed information.


Amazon.com Saves Money With Linux
On their latest filing, Amazon showed a 25% decrease in
technology spending, which turns out to be around $17
million in savings. They attribute part of it to their
increased usage of Linux in the back end systems. Will an
increased usage of Linux help get this company in the black?
Only time will tell.


Hip to be Square?
KDE has an outstanding user interface in my opinion, but the
author of this article finds it a bit too blocky for his
liking. While he's complaining, he's got some other things
to say about his distaste for desktops in general.


3) Linux Resources

Log Syslog to a Database?
If you've got more than a couple of machines, you may know
that syslog can redirect logs to one machine over the
network. It's still in a text file, though. If it were in
a SQL database, then you would be able to analyze easier.
This article explains how various syslog capable devices
can securely dump their logs to a central database.


Samba With 9x and ME
Readers of the Cramsession boards will recognize Guitarlynn,
who has contributed a lot of useful advice to aspiring Linux
gurus. I'm not sure how I missed this one before, but Lynn
has written up a great resource for those looking to set up
Samba. With this document in your hands, allowing your
Windows machines to access files on your Linux box will be
a breeze.


Ending Cross Platform Installation Disasters
With toolkits like Winelib and Qt, the reality of applications
being targeted toward both Linux and Windows at the same time
is coming closer. This article investigates the difficulties
inherent with a cross platform installation program.


The Ten Commandments for Debugging Perl
Even though the language may appear simple, debugging Perl
can be quite the nightmare. Follow these ten guidelines,
and not only will you be a better debugger, but you'll
probably end up writing code that has fewer errors in the
first place.


Apache Load Testing
It's one thing to set up a web server, but it's another
to know how much load it can handle. This article looks at
ways to benchmark your web server and plan for capacity.
I apologize in advance, as it requires a free membership to
read, unless of course you read it through Google.com's cache.


4) App o' the week
Using the Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM), this
authentication module allows you to authenticate passwords
against an NT SAM, rather than a local password file. This
is a great help if you have both systems, and are tired of
keeping passwords in sync.


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