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Tech Tips from Our Tech Editor

If you're running IP Masquerading and want to make services on your internal network available from the outside, just install rinetd on the IP Masquerding box available at http://www.boutell.com/rinetd/. (Also available as a package; check your distribution's web site.)

If you let other people run Perl scripts on your machine, make a symlink from /usr/local/bin/perl to the real location of Perl so they don't complain, “Hey, you don't have Perl.”

Another thing that shouldn't make any difference but sometimes fixes weird problems: switch PCI cards around in their slots.

If you have a complicated crontab, do a crontab -l > my_crontab_`date +%Y%m%d' to save it in case you royally mess up a crontab -e.

vi Navigation

Use (, ), [, ], { and } for navigation marks in vi. The % command will move the cursor to the matching mark. For example, with

( some text [ some more stuff
another line
{  ]
} )

If you position the vi cursor on any of the marks, in command mode the % will move the cursor to the matching mark.

You can use this method in comments in a programming or scripting language to allow quick fast-forward and fast-backward over large blocks of code, as well as use it to find boundaries of functions in languages like C which use one of these marks to delimit functions.


Map an unused key to change files in vi. For example, if your .exrc or .vimrc has map , :e#^M when you've edited two files, for example, by giving

vi file1 file2<Enter>

so that you're in file2 and in command mode, typing , (no Enter required) will switch you back to file1. Use it again, and you switch to file2 and so on.

Job Opening Trends

by Reginald Charney

The falling fortunes of the dot-coms and the uncertainty of the election results, even before the election, have affected job figures. While the number of jobs offered has fallen since April, the decline has leveled off. Chart #1 shows the normalized job trends over the last 11 months. Ordinarily, things that don't change are not very interesting. But in this case, the fact that things have leveled off is good news.

(Note: Chart #1 is normalized for the number of jobs in January of this year. That is, the number of openings in January 2000 has been taken as 1.00.)

Figure #1

Platform Demand

Over the last 18 months, a number of platforms have competed for dominance. One of the interesting aspects of this is how fast demand for the main platforms has been growing or shrinking. Demand is defined as the rate of acceleration/deceleration in the trend line for the period shown. From Chart #2, we can see that demand has been slowing for the older platforms, while the newer ones, like Windows 2000 and Linux, have accelerated faster than all others.

Figure #2

Again, the exception to the rule is Solaris. It is right up there with the newbies. This indicates that Sun is increasing its dominance of its markets. These demand lines are positive at the moment because of the long period of expansion. Over the last 30 days, demand for all platforms has followed the general trend and decelerated. However, the short term has not yet outweighed the long-term demand.


Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal