Hold the Back Page
Extending the mnemonic, disyllabic fame of A&M (Hymns Ancient and Modern), S&M (don't ask) and K&R (Kernighan and Ritchie), I propose C&B for Eric S. Raymond's The Cathedral & The Bazaar, O'Reilly, 1999. Here's a book that will survive Guy Kawasaki's hyper-blurb: “The most important book about technology today, with implications that go far beyond programming.” It may even, in future editions, distance itself from Bob Young's foreword, written before the Linux Red Hat CEO started challenging Bill Gates as Mister Midas #1.
As a longstanding Jolt judge in the book category (since 1991, in fact, when Software Development magazine initiated these prestigious Academy-type awards; see note 1), I've been judiciously cautious in my reviewing strategy, resisting all but the most perverse publicational PR sexual enticements. My critical objectivity has been further strained by the fact that, over the years, I've been personally involved with many of the writers under scrutiny. Also, authors are more aware of the hard slog involved than are unpublished doryhores (see note 2) and tend to review with more sympathy and fewer sour grapes. A classic example from the early UNIX days was the late Professor Jim Joyce of UCB. He never, alas, got around to writing the “perfect” UNIX book, but gained infamy with his deflating reviews of other authors' attempts. Of one, he wrote, “I won't say there's a mistake on every page, but there are certainly more mistakes than pages.”
Yet in praising C&B, I swear I'm uninfluenced by a feeling of friendship and gratitude to Eric Raymond stretching back to his seminal work (with Guy L. Steele, Jr. and others) on the weird delights of hacker culture and its lexicon. (Eric also kindly reviewed my Devil's DP Dictionary back in 1981, and encouraged my update, The Computer Contradictionary (1995)--but again, I deny any cozy back scratching!)
C&B is, first off, a great read, written for a wide audience including many who when polled “Which OS do you use?” answer “What's an OS?” The main theme, as you must know, is the OSS (Open Source Software, see note 3) revolution: what, why, how and whence. In particular, the theme is the unpredictable successes of GNU, Linux and Apache, based on an approach that seems to defy the sacred rules of cathedral-capitalism (or what Radio Tirana used to call the “howling Wall Street jackals”, see Note 4).
The gist is that many thousands of programmers are contributing their time and skills on a voluntary, unpaid basis. The motivations vary, but one that Eric stresses is the traditional hacker egoboo (“egoboost”), and I suppose, an appearance on my new TV show, “Homes of the Poor and Famous”.
Even stranger, and generating mixed feelings among the OSS purists, is how OSS has, in many instances, formed a symbiotic relation with the big-money bottom-liners who are rushing to exploit the Linux phenomenon. (At the recent ACM2000 Awards, Apache won the coveted IBM Systems' prize.)
The wonderful thing about C&B, unlike the spate of bland software-development and people-ware books, is the violent controversy generated, some of which rises beyond the boring anecdotal to the exciting ad hominem. The most detailed attack on C&B has come from Bertrand Meyer (another esteemed friend, mon dieu), available at www.sdmagazine.com/features/2000/03/f4.shtml.
I've looked on OSS from both sides—and what strikes me is how often each side ignores ecumenical approaches from the other. Bertrand declares, “Accept that both commercial and free software have a role to play and that neither will ever go away.” Eric makes similar statements. But where's the controversial fun in that?
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide