Welcome back to another edition of the Linux newsletter. This week, we're all over the open source map, with articles and opinions for your education.
Dru Lavigne started the week with yet another FreeBSD Basics column (and don't let the name fool you, she often covers general, free Unix tools). This time, she explores DHCP--general principles, client setup, and server basics. Read more in Introducing DHCP.
New contributor David Mertz assumes his audience is familiar with basic object-oriented programming techniques before bending their minds with advanced features. This week, he examines metaclasses. Unless you follow the dead Greek Democritus, you may have asked yourself, "What are classes made of?" As David explains, by returning to the building blocks of classes, you can achieve some powerful constructs with very little code.
Frequent author Joao Prado Maia returns with integration on his mind. Specifically, there are plenty of articles about the popular Smarty PHP templating package. There are also plenty of articles about PHP's PEAR::DB database abstraction library. Joao jumps firmly in the gap by writing The Dynamic Duo of PEAR::DB and Smarty. Put these two packages together and see how much easier your PHP life becomes.
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Bookwise, we're happy to bring you an excerpt from the third edition of Practical Unix & Internet Security. This week, a snippet from Chapter 16 gives Tips on Avoiding Security-Related Bugs. Please remember, though, a list of ideas is no substitute for using your head. For example,
assert() is no help if you compile out debugging information.
Finally, we have two interesting pieces to spark some conversation around the water cooler. Ian Darwin reacts to the news that OpenBSD has lost its DARPA grant in Soldiers Renege on Hackers. This editorial gives some of the history of DARPA and Canadian relations.
Second, your editor takes on the claim that "companies that sell support for open source software make a profit from buggy software" in The Myth of Open Source Support Tactics. This came to mind during a hearing on Oregon HB 2892.
We've some very interesting articles in the near future, including how-to instructions for adding source control capabilitites to your own applications.
Secure Programming Techniques
In this first installment in a multipart series of excerpts from Practical Unix & Internet Security, 3rd Edition, you'll find tips and general design principles to code by that will help you avoid security-related bugs. And check back to this space over the next few week for additional tips, all selected from Chapter 16 on "Secure Programming Techniques."
On all but the smallest TCP/IP network, it's handy to configure network information for computers automatically. That's what DHCP does. It's easy to act as a DHCP client, but configuring a server is a little trickier. Dru Lavigne introduces DHCP and explains what you need to know to setup a simple DHCP server.
Video Playback and Encoding with MPlayer and MEncode
No consumer Linux box is complete without the ability to play digital video files. Until recently, this was difficult -- the codecs weren't freely available or distributable. MPlayer seeks to change this. KIVILCIM Hindistan introduces MPlayer and demonstrates some of its features.
Cheap IP Takeover
Rob Flickenger offers a scheme for monitoring the health of a server that lets another server take it over if it fails, using ping, bash, and a simple network utility. Just another sample of the hacks you'll find in Rob's hot-selling O'Reilly book, Linux Server Hacks.
A Primer on Python Metaclass Programming
Classes and objects are simple, right? Once you really get it, isn't that all there is? Well, no--there's a whole class of advanced object-oriented techniques to make your code simpler, stronger, and more elegant. This week, David Mertz explains metaclasses--the building blocks of classes. Though the examples are in Python, the ideas translate to many other languages.
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