HOW-TOs

Trying to Tame the Tablet

Like many folks, I received a shiny new Nexus 7 tablet for Christmas. This brought me great joy and excitement as I began to plot my future paperless life. For most of the evening and an hour or so the next day, I was sure the new Android tablet would change my life forever. Sadly, it wasn't that easy.

Working with Stdin and Stdout

Previously, I erroneously titled my column as "SIGALRM Timers and Stdin Analysis". It turned out that by the time I'd finished writing it, I had spent a lot of time talking about SIGALRM and how to set up timers to avoid scripts that hang forever, but I never actually got to the topic of stdin analysis.

Updating the Firmware of Linux-Based Devices

This tutorial provides a general description of updating Linux-based firmware and illustrates it with some specific implementations. First, consider the sections of the memory system (Figure 1) and parts of memory that should be updated while transferring software to a new version.

ConVirt: the New Tool in Your Virtual Toolbox

Virtualization is now a staple of the modern enterprise. As more and more shops switch to the virtual paradigm, managing those new virtual resources is a critical part of any deployment. For admins using Microsoft- or VMware-based hypervisors, powerful management tools are available to keep their virtual houses in order.

SIGALRM Timers and Stdin Analysis

It's not hard to create functions to ensure that your script doesn't run forever. But what if you want portions to be timed while others can take as long as they need? Not so fast, Dave explains in his latest Work the Shell.

Troubleshooting with Telnet

Poor telnet, it used to be the cool kid on the block. It was the program all sysadmins turned to when they needed to connect to a remote server. Telnet just wasn't that good at keeping a secret—all communication went over plain text—so administrators started switching to SSH for encrypted remote shell sessions.

Pwn Your Phone

I've owned two different Android phones since they first were released, and I eventually rooted both of them. My Droid (original) was such a popular phone that rooting it was very simple. I used my rooted Droid until it wore out and rebooted every time I slid open the keyboard. My second Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S2, is the phone I have right now.

The Über-Skeleton Challenge

I received an interesting message from Angela Kahealani with a challenge: "Here's what I'd like to see in Work the Shell: a full-blown shell script template. It should comply with all standards applicable to CLI programs.

N900 with a Slice of Raspberry Pi

It may not come as a surprise to anyone who regularly reads my column that I tried to be first in line to order the Raspberry Pi. I mean, what's not to like in a $35, 700MHz, 256MB of RAM computer with HDMI out that runs Linux? In the end, I didn't make the first batch of 10,000, but I wasn't too far behind either.

Extending GlusterFS with Python

Are you a Python programmer who wishes your storage could do more for you? Here's an easy way to add functionality to a real distributed filesystem, in your favorite language.

Getting Started with Salt Stack-the Other Configuration Management System Built with Python

I was proudly wearing one of my Salt Stack shirts the other day when my daughter asked me, "What is Salt Stack?" I began by explaining the problem it solved. If you have multiple servers and want to do things to those servers, you would need to log in to each one and do those things one at a time on each one. They could be fairly simple tasks like restarting them or checking how long they have been running. Or, you might want to do more complicated things like installing software and then configuring that software based upon your own specific criteria. You also might want to add users and configure permissions for them.

Kbuild: the Linux Kernel Build System

One amazing thing about Linux is that the same code base is used for a different range of computing systems, from supercomputers to very tiny embedded devices. If you stop for a second and think about it, Linux is probably the only OS that has a unified code base.

Extreme Graphics with Extrema

High-energy physics experiments tend to generate huge amounts of data. While this data is passed through analysis software, very often the first thing you may want to do is to graph it and see what it actually looks like. To this end, a powerful graphing and plotting program is an absolute must.

An Introduction to GCC Compiler Intrinsics in Vector Processing

Speed is essential in multimedia, graphics and signal processing. Sometimes programmers resort to assembly language to get every last bit of speed out of their machines. GCC offers an intermediate between assembly and standard C that can get you more speed and processor features without having to go all the way to assembly language: compiler intrinsics.