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Secure Email, Better than Nethack; Collaborative Gotchas; and the Embedded Future

by chromatic
Linux Newsletter for 06/16/2003

Greetings from muggy Florida. This week's Linux newsletter comes to you from YAPC::NA, mercifully air conditioned. We have several interesting articles this week — let's get started.

The nice thing about email is that it's very simple. Unfortunately, the simplicity of SMTP leaves it open to all sorts of troublesome things, including other people reading your mail or pretending to be you. Besides that, there's always a record of where you sent your mail. Keeping your anonymity (if necessary) or privacy (when desired) is tricky. David Mertz takes a break from advanced object-oriented programming to explore Privacy and Anonymity in Email, part history and part practical application.

Games correspondent Howard Wen returns again to describe the most Nethacky version of Nethack that isn't Nethack. What? Well, a little project called Slash'Em tends to be the proving grounds for patches that eventually make their way into Nethack proper. Read more in Slash'Em: The Sum of All Nethacks.

Karim Yaghmour, author of Building Embedded Linux Systems, having explained previously that embedded Linux doesn't exist, returns to discuss Embedded Systems, Linux, and the Future. Learn who the traditional embedded OS vendors are and who are the current players and how they plan to make their mark in the market.

CollabNet's Mark Murphy joins our stable of authors this week. As the world continues to change, shrink, and converge, you'll likely find yourself working with colleagues across the street — or the sea. His article, The Challenges of Remote Collaboration, explains some of the issues you'll have to consider. Take a lesson or two from open source development for working within your company.

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This week's featured OSCON speaker is Sterling Hughes, PHP internals hacker, speaking on Advanced PHP and Introduction to PHP 5.

It's been interesting to watch the evolution of PHP from its first days as a Perl-based processor to a full-fledged programming language that even has command-line and GTK interfaces. Of course, adding any new feature means making trade-offs. What goes into the language? What comes out? What things are similar and what things are different?

PHP 5 adds several new features intended to make everyone's lives easier. You can't quite use it yet, but that means you don't have to upgrade yet. That day is coming, though, so if you're sticking with PHP, latch on to a guru like Sterling in preparation.

For all our U.K. readers, Daniel James points out that Tim O'Reilly is speaking at the LinuxUser Expo, which runs from June 24-26 in Birmingham, England.

See you next week,

Technical Editor
O'Reilly Network and Linux DevCenter Top Five Articles Last Week

  1. 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.

  2. Privacy and Anonymity in Email
    Email has been described as a postcard. Sure, it's rude to read someone else's mail, but it's trivial to do. There exist many technical means to protect your privacy and to help you communicate anonymously. David Mertz explores the history and current state of email protection.

  3. Running Arbitrary Scripts Under CVS
    CVS includes several hooks to integrate with other tools, such as bug and project tracking. Jennifer Vesperman, author of the upcoming Essential CVS, demonstrates how to expand CVS to meet your needs, using Bugzilla as the example.

  4. Embedded Systems, Linux, and the Future
    Karim Yaghmour, author of Building Embedded Linux Systems, looks at the various initiatives, moves, and trends having an impact on the future direction of embedded Linux. He also examines what role the open source and free software community--as well as embedded system developers--should play to ensure that Linux is the best choice for an embedded OS.

  5. Slash'EM: The Sum of All NetHacks
    Any worthwhile Nethack variant eventually finds a home in Slash'EM. It's the proving ground for all sorts of new and unique ideas. Far more than just a conglomeration of patches, Slash'EM is a fresh game in its own right. On the twilight of a new release, Howard Wen examines how a classic is kept alive and fresh.

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