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Michal Zalewski on the Wire
Inside the mind of a security researcher


Distributing Content with BitTorrent
Distributing files via P2P


Perl Needs Better Tools
Perl tools for 21st-century programmers


What Is the X Window System  Developed at MIT in 1984, the X Window System, now up to X11 release 6, or X11R6, has been the standard environment for Unix windowing systems. Ellen Siever provides some historical context for X's staying power, then discusses its major features: working with X and the X server and X clients; configuring X; and much more. Ellen is a coauthor of Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition.   []

Security Alerts
Security Alerts: PHP Trouble  Noel Davis looks at problems in PHP, Adobe Reader, Kismet, LibTIFF, Evolution, Mutt, bluez-utils, Ignite-UX, CPAINT, Awstats, Clam AntiVirus, and Gaim.   []

Python and XML: Should Python and XML Coexist?  In his latest Python and XML column, Uche Ogbuji claims that the costs of using XML as a little language in a Python application may outweigh the benefits of doing so.   []

Remote Scripting with AJAX, Part 2  In part one of this two-part series, Cameron Adams created an example application that showed how to use remote scripting to implement the AJAX XMLHttpRequest protocol. Now, in part two, he shows how to create a usable interface for the example app.   []


Linux for Video Production  Linux and open source software is traditionally good for developers and system administrators, and recently good for business users. When will it be good for multimedia users? A handful of projects are making video production and editing possible (and useful)--PiTiVi and GStreamer among them. Jono Bacon examines the present and future of video production with Linux and open source software.   []

Big Scary Daemons
Monitoring Network Traffic with Netflow  SNMP and MTRG can tell you what your network is doing, but they don't always give you the details you need. Netflow does--but it has a complex setup and configuration. Fortunately, Michael W. Lucas shows how to install and configure modern versions.   [Sysadmin DevCenter]

Remote Scripting with AJAX, Part 1  In this two-part series, Cameron Adams demonstrates the advantages of using remote scripting with the AJAX XMLHttpRequest protocol to create web apps and improve website functionality. Here in part one, he creates an example application that shows how to implement XMLHttpRequest. Stay tuned for part two next week, where he'll show how to create a usable interface for the example app.   []

What Is the GNOME Desktop  Nope. It's not a garden garnish. GNOME is a desktop software project designed to look familiar to anyone who has ever used a computer. Aaron Weber distills what the GNOME desktop is, what apps users will find as well as what platform development tools developers will find, and the resources to help you get started using it. Aaron is a coauthor of Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition.   []

How to Decide What Bugs to Fix When, Part 1  There are two challenges to making smart bug decisions: first, understanding how to make good bug-fix decisions; and second, creating and following rules that makes it easy to stick to those decisions when the pressure is high. In this first installment of a two-part essay, Scott Berkun, author of The Art of Project Management, provides the core ideas you need to make your own bug-fixing rules.   []

The Ur-Quan Masters  Star Control II is one of the most beloved space exploration games. When its original developers released a version of the source code under the GPL, members of the fan community began to port it to modern operating systems. Howard Wen recently interviewed the developers about their goals, their progress, and how open source works for them.   []

FreeBSD Basics
Accessing Secure Subversion Servers  In the previous FreeBSD Basics column, Dru walked through installing and configuring a secure Subversion server for sharing documents. This time, Dru explains how to teach users to use the server, first from the command line and then from the RapidSVN GUI tool.   [Sysadmin DevCenter]

Security Alerts
Apache Trouble  Noel Davis looks at problems in Apache, bzip2, Cisco devices, fetchmail, Netpbm, Ethereal, Proftpd, pstotext, apt-cacher, Compress::Zlib, Gopher, nbSMTP, and PowerDNS.   []

The Virtual Internship: Taking Control of Your Future by Becoming an Open Source Developer  Looking for a job fresh out of college, and finding the competition thick? Brian Fitzpatrick recommends you create your own virtual internship by contributing to an open source project. You'll get real-world experience, and advice and criticism from talented programmers. More importantly, from a career perspective, you'll start building a publicly visible portfolio of your work that you can show to any prospective employer. Wondering how to choose an open source project to contribute to? Come to OSCON 2005 this week and rub elbows with just about everyone connected to the community.   []

How to Schmooze at OSCON  OSCON is next week and you have people to meet, questions to ask, and assistance to offer. Where should you spend your time, and how should you start your valuable hallway, BOF, and party conversations? Robert Bernier offers a schmoozer's guide to effective conference attendance.   []

The Practicality of OO PHP  PHP is an easy language for doing practical things immediately. The easiest ways to begin aren't always the best ways to stay productive, though. PHP's support for object orientation requires a little more learning and a little more discipline, but it has many benefits for larger projects. David Day explains the basics of OO in PHP 4.   []

Important Notice for ONLamp Readers About O'Reilly RSS and Atom Feeds  O'Reilly Media, Inc. is rolling out a new syndication mechanism that provides greater control over the content we publish online. Here's information to help you update your existing RSS and Atom feeds to O'Reilly content.  []

Security Alerts
Problems in Oracle Reports  Noel Davis looks at problems in Oracle Reports, Skype for Linux, MediaWiki, Kate, Kwrite, Shorewall, ekg, libgadu, PHPNews, phpSurveyor, Affix, Heartbeat, and phpPgAdmin.   []

The Commons Doesn't Have a Business Plan  The commons used to be a grassy area in the center of town where anyone could graze animals. Now it's a metaphor for anything available to everyone without restriction. Andy Oram argues that this is the ground from which new businesses spring--and that open source and free software are the wellspring for new software and technology.   []

O'Reilly Learning LabAugust Special: Save 15% -- In our practice-based, self-paced courses, you can build your online portfolio with plenty of instructor feedback and a free O'Reilly book for reference. For a limited time, use the discount passcode "tigercub" to save an extra 15% off any of our courses--including all University of Illinois Certificate Series. Take advantage of this great deal and register today!

Security Alerts
Problems in SpamAssassin, PEAR, and Bugzilla  Noel Davis looks at problems in SpamAssassin, PHP PEAR, Bugzilla, Heimdal/Kerberos telnetd, Vipul's Razor, TikiWiki, poppassd_pam, zlib, FUSE, the Solaris kernel, HT Editor, GNATS, JBoss jBPM, Trustix Secure Linux, and Trac.   []

Calculating the True Price of Software  Businesses have long viewed support and maintenance as essential components of software. Open source business models often focus on charging for support and customization. Is there an economic model that can demonstrate the true worth of a piece of software and the option for support, maintenance, and upgrades? Robert Lefkowitz argues that open source exposes the true value of software itself as, essentially, worth less in comparison to support and maintenance.   []

Big Scary Daemons
Information Security with Colin Percival  The recent disclosure of side-channel techniques to retrieve cryptographic secrets on hyperthreading machines caused stirs in security and operating system development communities. Colin Percival, a FreeBSD security officer, reported the vulnerability and weathered the questions and criticisms. Michael W. Lucas recently interviewed him on this vulnerability, vendors' responses, and security research.   []

The Virtual Referral: Mitigating Risk by Hiring Open Source Developers  Hiring a new employee is almost always a risk, and hiring the wrong employee can prove a costly mistake for managers. Brian Fitzpatrick suggests you hire an open source programmer. Find out why doing so mitigates the risks involved in hiring. Meet Brian at O'Reilly's Open Source Convention, where he'll be leading a Subversion tutorial and a session on switching from CVS to Subversion.   []

Building an OpenBSD Live CD  Linux isn't the only operating system that boots and runs off a CD. OpenBSD does as well. Kevin Lo uses his for didactic purposes, but this is a good example for taking your desktop or firewall along with you. Here's how to build and customize an OpenBSD installation on a CD.   []

OSDL's Linux Initiatives  OSDL is a somewhat vague entity in the minds of many in the Linux community. Beyond employing several top kernel hackers, the company spearheads several initiatives designed to improve the GNU/Linux operating system for use in business and industry. Here's what it's doing, what it's done, and why.   []

How to End Wars Between Testers and Programmers  There's a natural conflict between testers and programmers because of the difference in perspective each role has. The best way to end struggles is to redefine the goals of the work so that their roles can be collaborative, not adversarial. In this article, Scott Berkun draws upon his years of project-leading experience to provide some inside tips for managing your development team.   []

Apache's eXtended Server Side Includes  In the early days of web publishing, SSI was an easy way to include dynamic content in pages. Though large server-side application frameworks have more popularity, SSI lives on--especially in Apache XSSI. Kostas Pentikousis demonstrates how XSSI makes it possible to build powerful, clean, maintainable, and fast web sites.   []

Custom-Compiling Apache and Subversion  Subversion is a useful, powerful, and modern revision-control system that builds on well-understood and powerful tools including Apache. This layering has many benefits--and drawbacks, if the defaults aren't quite right for you. You can compile them yourself, though; Manni Wood demonstrates how.   []

Art and Computer Programming  One of the great theoretical debates in computer programming is "Is programming art?" There are creative components certainly, and aesthetic aspects occasionally, but do programming's functional concerns push it more toward craft or engineering? John Littler recently cornered several well-known hackers for their opinions on the subject.   []

ESR: "We Don't Need the GPL Anymore"  During a recent Brazilian conference on free and open source software, hacker, writer, and speaker Eric Raymond stated that open source would see more rapid success if the GPL didn't make people nervous. Federico Biancuzzi recently interviewed ESR to gain more context for the statement and to explore these views more fully.   []

Security Alerts
Problems in OpenSSH, Sudo, and Java  Noel Davis looks at problems in OpenSSH, Sudo, Sun Java, Blackdown Java, tcpdump, cpio, JBOSS, Adobe Reader and Acrobat, gedit, Gaim, and Trac.   []

Calling SOAP Servers from JS in Mozilla  Interacting with web servers through forms and user actions alone seems so dry and boring. The full-fledged SOAP client built into the Mozilla family of browsers can make your applications more active and useful. Zachary Kessin shows how to write a simple SOAP server in PHP that communicates with Mozilla through JavaScript.   []

What Developers Want  Regardless of the language and platform you choose for development, you likely share some goals with your fellow developers: to be productive, to use good tools, and to keep your tools and processes out of your way while you create good software. Murugan Pal, CTO of SpikeSource, explains ten attributes he thinks developers want.   []

The PBX Is Dead; Long Live VoIP  The private branch exchange has been the reference standard for business telephone systems for decades, but the technology is on the verge of obsolescence, thanks in large part to open source VoIP technology. Brian McConnell delves into Asterisk, a Linux-based open source softswitch, and why it may herald the end of PBX.   []

Cooking with Python, Part 2  Recipes from part one of this two-part series of excerpts from Python Cookbook, 2nd Edition covered how to handle international text with Unicode and how to select elements from an unsorted sequence. In today's recipes, learn how to implement a ring buffer and how to compute prime numbers.   []

Building my MythTV Box, Part 1: Hardware  While the Broadcast Flag battle continues, it's still legal to put together your own home-theater PC. Matthew Gast has begun constructing his system and covers hardware in this first installment of the series.  []

Security Alerts
Problems in the Kernel, OS X, and WordPress  Noel Davis looks at problems in the Linux kernel, Mac OS X, bzip2, WordPress, WebSphere, Peercast, PHPMailer, Binutils, Popper Webmail, Dzip, and FreeBSD's gzip.   []

Live Backups of MySQL Using Replication  One of the difficulties with a large and active MySQL database is making clean backups without having to bring the server down. A simple method to ensure reliable backups is to set up replication for MySQL. Russell Dyer, author of MySQL in a Nutshell, walks through the process of using replication for data backups.   []

Object Overloading in PHP 5  PHP 5 has greatly improved object-oriented programming support. It also has new hooks to overload methods and properties. How can you do this? Why would you want to? Martin Jansen demonstrates method and property overloading with PHP 5 objects.   []

Cooking with Python, Part 1  In these sample recipes from Python Cookbook, Second Edition, learn how to use Unicode to handle international text strings that include non-ASCII characters, and how to select the nth smallest element of a sequence. Check back here next week for two more recipes on implementing a ring buffer and computing prime numbers.   []

Ajax on Rails  XMLHttpRequest and Ruby on Rails are two hot topics in web development. As you ought to expect by now, they work really well together. Curt Hibbs explains the minimal Ajax you need to know and the minimal Ruby you need to write to Ajax-ify your Rails applications.   []

Securing Web Services with mod_security  Web services build atop HTTP to allow more flexible applications. However, their flexibility and ubiquity do not always protect against vulnerabilities due to the way HTTP works. Fortunately, the mod_security module and some planning can block potential attacks at both the protocol and application level before they start. Shreeraj Shah explains.   []

Top Ten Data Crunching Tips and Tricks  Every day, programmers perform unglamorous but necessary data crunching: recycling legacy data, checking configuration files, yanking data out of web server logs, and more. Knowing how to crunch data with the least amount of effort can make the difference between meeting a deadline and making another pot of coffee. Greg Wilson, author of Pragmatic's Data Crunching, offers ten tips for crunch time.   []

Security Alerts
Problems in the Linux Kernel, LISTSERV, and gdb  Noel Davis looks at problems in the Linux kernel, LISTSERV, gdb, FreeRADIUS, shtool, mailutils, Qpopper, davfs2, libmagick6, picasm, cheetah, and ppxp.   []

Writing Google Desktop Search Plugins  Google recently released the source code of Kongulo, a plugin for the Google Desktop Search utility. Kongulo is useful on its own, but it's even better as an example of how to write your own plugins for GDS. Jeremy Jones explores the code and explains how it interacts with GDS.   [O'Reilly Network]

Python Standard Logging  Tracking down what your application does seems easy; just add a few print statements here and there. Unfortunately, effectively tracing a program is more difficult. That's where Python's standard logging module comes in. Jeremy Jones demonstrates how to make it work for you.   []

The Irrlicht Engine  One of the most complicated pieces of software in the world is a 3-D engine, right? Not according to Nikolaus Gebhardt. He's almost single-handedly created his own open source-capable 3-D engine, Irrlicht. Howard Wen talks with him about the design, implementation, and goals of the project.   []

Rexx: Power Through Simplicity  The P-languages get most of the press these days, but they're not the only dynamic languages in the world. Arguably, Rexx is the grandfather of them all. It's received little attention in the open source world, despite several good open source implementations. Howard Fosdick shows off some of the features of the language with practical examples.   []

Rendering Everything as Text  Ah, the days of plain-text everything are long gone, what with media files (hooray!) and encumbered binary blobs (boo!). Is the solution to give up your comfortable, efficient, and effective text-based tools? No way. Philip Hollenback proposes that you can render any data format to meaningful text for mail reading, indexing, and more. Here's how.   []

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Weblogs: Links & Commentary

 chromatic chromatic's Weblog
Communities and Successful Commercial OSS Projects
Bernard Golden, a deep thinker I recommend reading, has just published his August 2005 newsletter. The big insight for me is something I'd always sort of known but wish I'd said or even thought directly -- "... the viability of commercial open source vendors depends upon the existence of a vibrant community." Go read -- he has much more to say.

An approach to e-mail management [François Joseph de Kermadec]

Is Ruby more Country or Grunge? [Dan Zambonini]

Synergy: Great Utility. Now, how about some Authentication and Encryption? [Nitesh Dhanjani]


Adopting and Using Open Source Software
Redwood City, CA Sep. 7, 2005

Better Software Conference & EXPO
San Francisco, CA Sep. 19, 2005

STARWEST (Software Testing Anaylsis & Review)
Anaheim, CA Nov. 14, 2005

> More

Today's News
August 31, 2005

Matt Croydon: The Emerging Django Job Market [Source: Python URL (daily updates)]

M2Crypto 0.15 [Source: Python URL (daily updates)]

PyJflash 1.2 [Source: Python URL (daily updates)]

Archetypes 1.3.4-final released [Source: Python URL (daily updates)]

Supybot 0.83.0 [Source: Python URL (daily updates)]

Uche Ogbuji: Domlette and Saxlette: huge performance boosts for 4Suite (and derived code) [Source: Python URL (daily updates)]

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