From the Editor - Tools, Tips and Tech for Your Next Project

Whether you're designing a new home theater, an observatory or security software, this issue has something for you.

Wouldn't things be different if you were in charge? Whether you want to archive your favorite TV shows on DVD, add an extra security check for device drivers without leaking information to marketing people or simply port Linux to your new 64-processor server, you'd do things better if you ran the place.

I've got news for you. You do run the place. You're the CEO of a multinational technology empire that has a cooperative research and development program with governments, companies and universities around the world, even your friend's hot new startup.

If you don't believe me, look at the COPYING and LICENSE files already on your hard drive. Whether you're working for yourself, starting a company or even toiling at a big company, you are free to partake in and build on the greatest information technology research effort ever. And unlike big slow “shared source” deals, you don't need to call a lawyer to plug in and start building.

Personal Video Your Way

There's no better proof of that than Christian A. Herzog's article on page 30. Want a personal video recorder that will let you make a backup? As long as the major electronics vendors design their products for cable company lawyers, you'll make the TV viewers in your family happier than the vendors ever will.

While you're watching TV, your hard drives are silently, or maybe not so silently, spinning themselves to death. With Bruce Allen's article on page 74, you can get an early warning and replace a drive on your schedule, not in the middle of the night when it fails on its own.

Kernel Power

In this special kernel issue, you'll learn that cache isn't merely a processor spec to brag about. It's a complex resource you can either use well or “blow the cache” and go as slow as main memory. Find out how Linux uses cache in James Bottomley's article on page 58.

There's plenty of other kernel innovation in this issue too. Check out Greg Kroah-Hartman's implementation of cryptographically signed kernel modules on page 48. And Paul E. McKenney is back, this time with Dipankar Sarma and Maneesh Soni, to explain a big performance win for SMP servers on page 38.

Secrets of the Software Masters

Lisa Corsetti wanted a way to check whether the Ethernet cable is plugged in. The answer opened the door to the mysteries of ioctls, and it's all explained on page 54.

Every issue, Marcel Gagné explores some new area of software for Linux, and this time he's creating simulated structures from molecules to bridges. Can you build something that will stand up? Or how many links do you need to cut to make it fall? Find out on page 18.

Don Marti is editor in chief of Linux Journal.

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