Martin Brown's articles

Are GNU/Linux distribution choices a fad, or favouritism?

Over the years I’ve tried numerous distributions, and there’s been a gradual progression from what were probably the early leaders in the Linux market—RedHat for example—through to the some recent and popular examples, particularly Gentoo and Kubuntu.

The question that has been running through my head recently though is whether this is an issue of favouritism on my part, or whether it is because the distributions I use today really are comparatively better than the distributions I used 4 or 5 years ago.

Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation review

Sun have made some headlines in recent months through the release of their Ultra 20 workstation and a number of new servers based on the AMD CPUs. For some this is seen as major change of direction for a company that is well known for the use (and continued interest and development) of the SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) CPU. With so many new machines being based on the AMD CPU it will be surprising to some that Sun’s new mobile units are based on SPARC technology.

Hosting service favorites: Gallery

Sharing photos has become one of the more popular methods of sharing information on the internet. A wide range of different people, groups and organisations are using photo sharing as a way both to promote their activities or simply to share their photos with friends and family. Some companies, for example, are using online photo systems to show product shots (like the shop for electric bikes in Perth, others to enable users and customers to provide examples of the company products in use. Many professionals are using photo software to advertise and show off their expertise and portfolios.

Book review: Agile Web Development with Rails by Dave Thomas and David Heinemeier Hansson, et al

The last time I looked at Ruby was many years ago, when the language was still relatively new. At that time it had yet to find wide acceptance when competing against the older and more established script-based languages such as Perl and Python. Although Ruby has since become more popular as a general purpose language, one of its most significant impacts has been within the web development space due to the development/deployment environment that is Ruby on Rails.

Browsers for Mac OS X

When Apple migrated the Mac operating system platform to Mac OS X, one of the key components was an underpinning based on the FreeBSD operating system. The use of an open source operating system as the core has in turn led to an increase in the use and availability of free and open source software (FOSS). It is now much easier to develop software for the OS X platform (development software is included, instead of being an expensive addition) and this makes it both easier for people to get involved and more likely to take part in open source community projects.

Using awk

Awk (and Gawk, the GNU alternative) are as old as the hills (well, as old as Unix) and remain as one of the original programmable elements of the Unix operating system, along with the various shells (Bourne shell, Korn shell and C shell, in the original Unix editions).

I’m a tester of Gawk, responsible for checking the compatibility of new releases on different platforms, a job I first started when working on the BeOS and which I now do for Mac OS X, various Linux alternatives, Solaris SPARC and Intel and any other environment I happen to have available.

Book review: Programming Ruby by Dave Thomas (with Chad Fowler and Andy Hunt)

Many say that the Ruby language has clearly overtaken both Python and Perl as the popular choice for software development, both for standalone applications and also for web based solutions (through the magic of Ruby on Rails). Programming Ruby, by Dave Thomas was almost certainly instrumental in that process. The first edition of the book has been credited—by Yukihiro Matsumoto, the developer of Ruby—as a key reason for the popularity of the Ruby language outside of Japan.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Free software technology review—December

As far as hosting services are concerned, WordPress is a good example. At its heart, WordPress is a simple blogging application, and it can be used as such, but behind the basics of the ability to blog comes an array of powerful features and the ability to extend the functionality of your blog through the use of various plug-ins.

Hosting service and free software

Check out any web hosting service and they will probably be providing a number of different applications and technologies, most likely based on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

The most common of these technologies employed in this way are the components of the LAMP stack. LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL and the all-encompassing Perl, PHP and Python.

Book review: Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith

Over the course of a typical computer’s lifetime you will probably create all sorts of files, temporarily install software and generate lots of information and data that you don’t really want to keep. Unfortunately, computers tend to have a terrible habit of keeping these files and information about. In Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith you’ll find hints on how to clean and, as the title suggests, degunk your Linux installation to help free up disk space, CPU time and help optimize your machine. You’d be amazed how much of a difference degunking your machine can make.

Book review: Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith

Over the course of a typical computer’s lifetime you will probably create all sorts of files, temporarily install software and generate lots of information and data that you don’t really want to keep. Unfortunately, computers tend to have a terrible habit of keeping these files and information about. In Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith you’ll find hints on how to clean and, as the title suggests, degunk your Linux installation to help free up disk space, CPU time and help optimize your machine. You’d be amazed how much of a difference degunking your machine can make.

Book review: Randal Schwartz’s Perls of Wisdom by Randal L Schwartz

Ask for some key figures in the world of Perl and it wont be long before the name Randal L Schwartz appears. Randal has, at one time or another, been a trainer of Perl, the Pumpking (responsible for managing the development of Perl), as well as a prolific writer and speaker on Perl techniques and materials. In Perls of Wisdom (Apress) he gathers together many of his talks and articles into a single book, expanding, correcting and extending them as necessary...

The cover of Randal Schwartz’s Perls of WisdomThe cover of Randal Schwartz’s Perls of Wisdom

Book review: Randal Schwartz’s Perls of Wisdom by Randal L Schwartz

Ask for some key figures in the world of Perl and it wont be long before the name Randal L Schwartz appears. Randal has, at one time or another, been a trainer of Perl, the Pumpking (responsible for managing the development of Perl), as well as a prolific writer and speaker on Perl techniques and materials. In Perls of Wisdom (Apress) he gathers together many of his talks and articles into a single book, expanding, correcting and extending them as necessary.

The book’s cover The book’s cover

Simplifying to Linux

As a specialist in multiple environments, I have spent many years putting together an environment that enables me to do all of the work I need to do.

This makes my network—for a relatively small two person operation—more complicated and substantial than some networks that support 10, possibly even 100 times that many users.

Why so complex?

Book review: Linux Server Security by Michael D Bauer

While developed and supported with the best of intentions, Linux is still based on a wide range of different applications and systems working together. From the free software perspective this is its power; many people working together to produce a top quality operating system.

The cover of Linux Server SecurityThe cover of Linux Server Security

Book review: Linux Server Security by Michael D Bauer

While developed and supported with the best of intentions, Linux is still based on a widerange of different applications and systems working together. From the free softwareperspective this is its power; many people working together to produce a top qualityoperating system.

The book’s cover The book’s cover

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