Striking a Nerve
Recently it seems I hit on three very hot topics (all at once, too), that is if the volume of mail I've received is any indicator. The first of these topics can be reduced to library versioning problems on distributions and my need to keep several kernels of varying levels running to make everything I wanted to compile and run do so. Guess I'm not the only one. Perhaps a plea to programmers not to use the latest bleeding-edge library version would help, and this would be the LJ issue for that. So programmers, if you're listening, how about helping us users out!
The second issue that struck home was spam. We've seen the fall of ORBS followed closely by ORBZ. A number of other blacklists have sprung up in their place like weeds, but without a track record, just good intentions. The Razor database is suspect, with Razor sidelining several mailing-list messages that were obviously not spam. So lists and databases only work so well. I've looked over yet another antispam package that seems promising and is tunable. Let's see how that turns out (see SpamAssassin below).
Finally, a lot of folks are eager to dump Windows but can't seem to replace that Quicken package. Financial packages are dull, uninteresting and few programmers willingly commit the programming career equivalent of hara-kiri by writing one of these packages. But they are needed. One package with some promise has gone from open- to closed-source. I don't review commercial packages, but those of you needing a personal financial package might take a look at MoneyDance on the AppGen site (www.appgen.com).
I've looked over a very large number of spam filters, and not one is perfect. It seems some folks have been poisoning the well where Vipul's Razor database is concerned, so I tried SpamAssassin, which has a setup similar to Vipul's Razor. One thing about SpamAssassin, it's easily reconfigured. During my test period, I had several hundred spam messages identified. I only had one spam at 4.6 make it through and one friendly message at 5.5 get sidelined. But SpamAssassin allows you to create white and black lists. So if you have friends in, say, Costa Rica who use acr.co.cr in their e-mail addresses, you can whitelist only their specific address, while the spam kings using acr.co.cr are summarily sent to /dev/null. Excellent. Requires: Perl, Perl modules Net::DNS, Mail::Internet, Net::SMTP and procmail.
For all you ham operators out there, this is a great logging tool for your contacts. You can have multiple logs. You can add and delete bands in Preferences. The date is filled out, and on contact you just click the Time button and the time is filled in. Fill in the calling/responding station, add some remarks, select the band and click Add. You can search the log and more. It has an extremely user-friendly interface—heck, even a non-ham could work this log! And I should know. Requires: libgtk, libgdk, libgmodule, libglib, libdl, libXext, libX11, libm, glibc.
Remote Accounts Handler www.entropika.net/racs
This particular Bash script goes a little beyond gpasman. Not only does it store a list of your remote accounts and logins in GPG-encrypted form, it also allows you to connect to them by calling Racs with the alias for your remote account as the argument. It then fires up the application (SSH, Telnet, FTP, SFTP, HTTP, MySQL) and connects you to the account. Requires: Bash, expect, dialog (optional), GPG.
This Perl application will index all your files so you can perform a word search à la htDig or another search engine. But it also works locally on your hard disk and anywhere you have read privileges. So if, like me, you have years' worth of text-type documents and would like a word index of them, check out Penetrator. Its first run may take awhile, but after that, adding entries are quick and easy. If you take advantage of the optional SQL capabilities, you can perform SQL searches on the database without Penetrator's help. Requires: Perl, Perl modules DB_File, Getopt::Long, DBI::Pg (optional).
This utility sleeps in the background until a directory it is watching has a file accessed or changed in a predetermined way; it will then perform the specified command. This utility could be of particular value as part of an intrusion detection system. Find a rootkit? Let dnotify send you a message when the directory containing the file has been accessed. Requires: glibc.
Here's a different idea in a clock. It will tell you the time, but also shows you (provided you've set your preferences to the appropriate lat/long) your relative day/night position. This one is just for fun. Requires: JVM2.
Three years ago I reviewed Ted, an excellent RTF word processor, Nessus, a security check program and Nmap, a network scanner. A tough choice, but I went for Nessus.
Okay, I cheated a little. Nessus uses Nmap as part of its routine. Nessus is probably the most complete and powerful security auditing tool available at any price, and this one's free. If you use the development release, you'll get a good look at all your vulnerabilities so you can do something about them. If you are responsible for network security, this package is a must-have. Requires: libX11, libXext, libXi, glibc, libdl, libgdk, libglib, libg mp2, libgtk, libm, libnsl, libresolv.
Until next month.
David A. Bandel (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Linux/UNIX consultant currently living in the Republic of Panama. He is coauthor of Que Special Edition: Using Caldera OpenLinux.
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.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Paranoid Penguin - Building a Secure Squid Web Proxy, Part IV
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- SourceClear Open
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
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