Top 25 Articles of All Time, Part 3

This week we take a look at the all-time favorite articles ever featured on We'll feature the top 25 in this series, presenting you with five each day this week. These 25 articles alone represent tens of millions of page views on

Top Articles 11 - 15

15. UNIX under the Desktop by Doc Searls and Brent Simmons
A penguin's-eye look at Apple's OS X.

When Steve Jobs introduced Apple's new iMac in January 2002, the spotlight was focused entirely on the physical architecture of the first mainstream computer that fully defied the term “box”. The new iMac is a white dome with a flat screen that floats on the end of a chrome arm. It looks like a cross between a Luxo lamp and a makeup mirror. Jobs called it “the best thing we've ever done”. Read more.

14. Getting a Windows Refund in California Small Claims Court by Steve Oualline
Thanks to good records and a Small Claims judge, Steve Oualline got a $199 refund for his unused copy of Microsoft Windows XP. One Linux user's story shows how to establish a good refund case.

Getting a Microsoft Windows refund from a manufacturer is seldom easy to do. In this article, I describe some techniques you can use to get your refund, including how to deal with the manufacturers (and all their excuses) and going to small claims court. Read more.

13. Setting up a VPN Gateway by Duncan Napier
How to install and run an IPSec-based VPN gateway with a firewall using a single bootable Linux diskette distribution.

A virtual private network (VPN) is a tool that enables the secure transmission of data over untrusted networks such as the Internet. VPNs commonly are used to connect local area networks (LANs) into wide area networks (WANs) using the Internet. Perhaps you need to build a VPN between two offices but are not sure if the large infrastructure costs associated with an enterprise-level VPN solution are justifiable. The performance of applications that are intended for use over LANs (for example those that use network file sharing) seriously can be degraded over WAN connections. Likewise, lower bandwidth and longer latency in WAN connections can affect adversely the reliability and performance of groupware and thin-client applications. Perhaps you have a home office and would like to use your high-speed internet access to connect seamlessly and securely to your office LAN through an IPSec-capable router. Or perhaps you are just curious about VPNs and IPSec in general and want to experiment. Read more.

12. Monitoring Hard Disks with SMART by Bruce Allen
One of your hard disks might be trying to tell you it's not long for this world. Install software that lets you know when to replace it.

It's a given that all disks eventually die, and it's easy to see why. The platters in a modern disk drive rotate more than a hundred times per second, maintaining submicron tolerances between the disk heads and the magnetic media that store data. Often they run 24/7 in dusty, overheated environments, thrashing on heavily loaded or poorly managed machines. So, it's not surprising that experienced users are all too familiar with the symptoms of a dying disk. Strange things start happening. Inscrutable kernel error messages cover the console and then the system becomes unstable and locks up. Often, entire days are lost repeating recent work, re-installing the OS and trying to recover data. Even if you have a recent backup, sudden disk failure is a minor catastrophe. Read more.

11. Streaming MPEG-4 with Linux by Donald Szeto
Internet video for the next generation.

Seven years ago, when I was still a clueless kid, I played my first video clip on the Internet using a 56k connection. It was in Real Media format and contained a video track in 11Kbps and a mono audio track. All the buffering drove me crazy. Today, with all sorts of high-speed lines, you seldom come across network congestion during playback of a streamed video clip. This new speed has enabled rapid development of multimedia on the Internet. One of them is video streaming. Read more.