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An apt-get primer

Post date: April 12, 2005, 17:04 Category: System Views: 3212 Comments
Tutorial quote: If any single program defines the Debian Linux project, that program is apt-get. apt-get is Debian's main tool for installing and removing software. Working with the .deb package format, apt-get offers sophisticated package management that few Red Hat Package Manager RPM-based distributions can match.

Besides the convenience, an advantage of apt-get is that it reduces the chances of falling into dependency hell, that limbo where software installation fails for lack of another piece of software, whose installation fails for lack of another piece of software, and so on. If you know how Debian's archive system works, and how to choose the sources that apt-get uses, and use a few precautions in your upgrades, then the chances are that dependency problems will never bedevil you. Should you descend into dependency hell anyway, apt-get offers useful tools for climbing out of it.

Connecting to a Wireless LAN with Linux, Part 2

Post date: April 13, 2005, 19:04 Category: Hardware Views: 4221 Comments
Tutorial quote: In Part 1 we reviewed hardware options, which wireless utilities should be present, how to use Windows drivers, and how to be open to connect to any available wireless access point. Today we'll cover configurations on Red Hat- and Debian-type systems, basic security, and hardware discovery.

Wireless connectivity can be rather overly friendly, allowing connections from anyone. This howto assumes you have a wireless access point on a LAN, which can be all wireless or mixed wired and wireless. You don't want it wide open to just any random person with a desire to snoop on your network or "borrow" your bandwidth, but you want some access controls and security. Your access point should have a unique SSID (service set identifier), WEP (wireless equivalent privacy) or WPA/WPA2 (Wi-fi protected access) set up and working, and either a DHCP server or a pool of assigned IP addresses for clients.

The PartImage Handbook

Post date: May 21, 2005, 15:05 Category: Software Views: 2978 Comments
Tutorial quote: - Partition Image is a Linux/UNIX partition imaging utility: it saves partitions formatted using the Ext2FS (the linux standard), ReiserFS (a new journaled and powerful file system), JFS IBM journaled file systems from AIX, NTFS (Windows NT File System), FAT16/32 (DOS & Windows file systems), or HPFS (OS/2 file system) file system formats to an image file. Only used blocks are copied. The image file can be compressed in the GZIP/BZIP2 formats to save disk space, and split into multiple files to be copied on removable media (ZIP for example), or burned on a CD-R ...

- This allows the user to save a full Linux/Windows system, with a single operation. When problems occur (viruses, crash, error, ...), you just have to restore, and after several minutes, all your system is restored (boot, files, ...), and fully working.

- This is very useful when installing the same software on many machines: just install one of them, create an image, and then restore the image on all other machines. After the first one, each subsequent installation can be made automaticaly, and only requires a few minutes.

Keeping Your Life in Subversion

Post date: October 2, 2005, 16:10 Category: Software Views: 3871 Comments
Tutorial quote: I keep my life in a Subversion repository. For the past five years, I've checked every file I've created and worked on, every email I've sent or received, and every config file I've tweaked into revision control. Five years ago, when I started doing this using CVS, people thought I was nuts to use revision control in this way. Today it's still not a common practice, but thanks to my earlier article "CVS homedir" (Linux Journal, issue 101), I know I'm not alone. In this article I will describe how my new home directory setup is working now that I've switched from CVS to Subversion.

Subversion is a revision-control system. Like the earlier and much cruftier CVS, its purpose is to manage chunks of code, such as free software programs with multiple developers, or in-house software projects involving several employees. Unlike CVS, Subversion handles directories and file renaming reasonably, which is more than sufficient reason to switch to it if you're already using CVS. It also fixes most of CVS's other misfeatures. Subversion still has its warts, though, such as an inability to store symbolic links and some file permissions, and its need for twice as much disk space as you'd expect thanks to the copies of everything in those .svn directories. These problems can be quite annoying when you're keeping your whole home directory in svn. Why bother?

Tunneling the hard way: using slirp, pppd and socat

Post date: January 29, 2006, 13:01 Category: Network Views: 12569 Comments
Tutorial quote: Every now and then you might come across a "bad" ISP. The one I have at home for example is dropping UDP packets ever so often when I try to play online games -- and it tends to drop random packets while I try to log onto a gameserver too which makes a certain game I like to play crash during the loading phase so it can't recover. I also heard of other ISPs blocking certain ports on external servers -- universities for example seem to like blocking p2p network ports and the school i was attending till last august blocked everything but port 80 for http -- including ftp which made even on-topic "research" a pita at times.
Usually there's three ways of working around this problem if "giving up" is not an option to you: a) change your ISP, b) use ssh to redirect ports, c) connect to an external VPN to route for you. a) can be tricky -- it's impossible if you're sharing the link with your parents and they insist on their email addresses or in the university/workplace/school scenario. b) will only work with single port/host combinations and for c) you will need a full-fledged rootbox idling around on the internet -- which tend to be expensive and "virtual servers" might not work because those often don't include tun/tap devices and/or kernel-level ppp support if you rent them and in case you rented them you probably can't fiddle around with its kernel to enable it (that was my problem at least). If any of this rings a bell to you, read on and discover method d)
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