Current_Issue.tar.gz - Linux Means Business--and Fun

by Shawn Powers

This month, we focus on Linux in the enterprise. No, not that Enterprise (I'm pretty sure I used the Star Trek joke last year). We're talking about large deployments of Linux. One awesome thing about such an issue focus is that it really doesn't apply only to folks administering huge networks. Most of the features scale down quite nicely for those of us administering a closet in our bedroom, a server rack in the basement or just a database on the couch. In fact, Reuven M. Lerner talks about CouchDB this month. Silly name aside, CouchDB is becoming more and more popular as a non-relational database. If you like what Canonical is doing with its syncing technology in Ubuntu One, you'll want to check out the underlying framework it uses—first and foremost, CouchDB.

Bill Childers has his head up in the clouds again, and this time he shows us how to set up our own cloud with Eucalyptus. Sure Amazon and that ilk are great if you don't have your own servers, but if you already own the hardware, why not make your own cloud? Bill shows how. If you already have your servers set up, perhaps you're just at the point when you need to administer them, whether they're in the cloud or not. Kyle Rankin, an enterprise sysadmin himself, presents a few more tricks of the trade with a series of crafty ways to use SSH.

Perhaps you're not interested in setting up a cloud, and you just want to make your existing servers (or cloud) do something useful. We have plenty of that this month too. Dave Taylor continues his series on scripting HTML forms, Michael Nugent talks about MySQL replication, and Daniel Bartholomew discusses SQL vs. NoSQL (where we get to watch Daniel battle his own version of Point/Counterpoint). Regardless of what services you offer on your servers, you need to be able to monitor them. Also in this issue, Paul Tader shows us Zabbix, a cross-platform monitoring tool that takes much of the sting out of setting up monitoring.

For some of us, Linux in the enterprise is only a dream we'd like to see come to fruition. We labor over our Linux machines at home, yet at work, we're stuck with proprietary operating systems and closed-source programs. Jeramiah Bowling compares Microsoft Windows and Linux in the enterprise, pulling the rug out from under some common misconceptions and providing some real data we might use to demonstrate where Linux might be a better fit. Unfortunately, even if the logic is clear, sometimes politics are a bigger stumbling block than feasibility. Avi Deitcher writes about the whole process of introducing open-source software and ideals to business folks. It's often a difficult undertaking, and Avi has some smart tips.

What if enterprise Linux doesn't interest you at all? Don't worry; we understand. And, even if you work on Linux in the enterprise, sometimes it's nice to come home and enjoy your own Linux machines without worrying about clouds, monitoring, scalability and other 9-to-5-sounding words. Jono Bacon introduces us to Quickly this month. Quickly is a program that supplies templates, tools and a framework to allow quick desktop application development. If you've ever wanted to make your own applications, but didn't want to go through the frustration of the traditional development model, Quickly might be right up your alley.

We also have a review of the Coyote Point Application Balancer, Dirk Elmendorf covers desktop document scanning, and John Knight introduces some fresh projects. Plus, there are all the other articles that make Linux Journal such a fun magazine for geeks. So whether you're building your own cloud, tweaking your existing infrastructure or just killing time on the command line, this issue has you covered.

Shawn Powers is the Associate Editor for Linux Journal. He's also the Gadget Guy for, and he has an interesting collection of vintage Garfield coffee mugs. Don't let his silly hairdo fool you, he's a pretty ordinary guy and can be reached via e-mail at Or, swing by the #linuxjournal IRC channel on

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