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ScummVM, Postfix, Regular Expressions, and Search Engines

by chromatic
Linux Newsletter for 08/25/2003

Hello from sunny Sebastopol, California, home of (and a few other things). Welcome to the Linux newsletter. We've several interesting and informative bits for your enjoyment and education this week. Let's get started:

Network administrator Glenn Graham has a habit of trying new (to him) programs, ever in search of the elusive best application. In light of the mail delivery system meltdowns last week, Glenn suggests that Postfix is an excellent mail transfer agent. It is highly compatible with the venerable sendmail, but Postfix is easier to install and configure. Read more in Postfix: A Secure and Easy-to-Use MTA.

If you enjoyed adventure games (on the computer) in the late '80s and early '90s, you're likely familiar with the excellent offerings from LucasArts: Sam and Max, Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island, and Full Throttle. These adventures live on, thanks to the efforts of the ScummVM team. Howard Wen describes the project and interviews its developers in Inside ScummVM: Classic Adventure Engine Overhaul. (Your editor confesses to great discipline for not packing his Full Throttle and Day of the Tentacle CDs on trips.)

Searching a web site isn't difficult, especially if you use a pre-rolled search engine such as SWISH-E or an external Google link. Enhancing your search isn't difficult, either—a few hours of work on your part can improve visitor searches immensely. In Peter Van Dijck's Better Search Engine Design: Beyond Algorithms, Peter explains how to analyze your visitors' queries, how to implement a suggested links feature for your top searches, and how to control search vocabularies.

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Finally, Tony Stubblebine (O'Reilly web monkey and author of Regular Expression Pocket Reference) presents Five Habits for Successful Regular Expressions. With the great power of regexps can come great blepharitic pain. Just because the vocabulary is terse doesn't mean you can't write maintainble code. While Tony specifically addresses Perl, PHP, and Python, the same principles apply to other regexp-powered languages.

This week's weblogs feature Mark Finnern wondering about the rate of technological acceleration; Andy Oram speculating that CodeWeavers emulates Windows a little too well; Dee-Ann LeBlanc asking about Linux Annoyances; Simon St. Laurent warning that some network effects are harmful; and your editor posing one question for email filter authors.

The week didn't seem so busy while it was upon is, but in retrospect, much happened. Next week will likely be the same. We'll be back then.

Stay safe,

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

  1. Why Caldera Released Unix: A Brief History
    In January, Caldera, the latest owners of the "official" Unix source code, released some of the older versions of Unix under an open source license. Ian Darwin gives the history behind this.

  2. Guido van Rossum Speaks
    Guido van Rossum, creator of Python, recently announced a move from PythonLabs to Elemental Security. Steve Holden caught up with Guido to talk about the move, the future of Python, and computer programming for everybody.

  3. FreeBSD Access Control Lists
    The Unix permissions model has worked for decades due to its flexible simplicity. It's not the only approach, though. FreeBSD 5.0 supports Access Control Lists, which allow for more flexible permissions. Daniel Harris explains what ACLs can make easier.

  4. Five Habits for Successful Regular Expressions
    For many programmers, writing regular expressions is a black art. They stick to the features they know and hope for the best. Tony Stubblebine, author of Regular Expression Pocket Reference, says programmers can avoid a lot of trial and error by adopting these five habits for regular expression development. The code examples in this article use Perl, PHP, and Python, but the advice Tony espouses is applicable to nearly any regex implementation.

  5. Ports Tricks
    One of FreeBSD's biggest benefits is its ports collection. You can go years without learning more than just make install clean, but there are dozens of features built into the ports tools. Dru Lavigne demonstrates several of these tricks to simplify your life.

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