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Nicholas Petreley

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Top Stories by Nicholas Petreley

(LinuxWorld) -- In the face of a slowing economy, it is increasingly difficult to justify spending any time working on my non-profit site VarLinux.org. I posted a notice stating there will be no further progress. Yet even after making it "official," I can't seem to stop myself from working on the site. Perhaps I have some secret hope it will blossom into a successful project that makes money instead of sucking the food out of my children's mouths. Or perhaps I find it therapeutic in these trying times. Regardless, working on this site continues to be educational, particularly in when it comes to learning from my mistakes. (Whenever I think of that expression, I am reminded of the Peanuts strip where Charlie Brown says something along the lines of, "If it is true that you really learn from your mistakes, that makes me the smartest person in the world.") I chronicle ... (more)

Even more stupid PHP tricks

(LinuxWorld) -- I thank the readers who sent in their comments and snippets of code in response to Two stupid PHP tricks and More stupid PHP tricks, a series about what I'm learning while adapting PHP-Nuke for VarLinux.org. I want to share a few letters that include information useful to any PHP user. If you recall from the first column, the crypt() function can suddenly switch to a different default encryption algorithm depending on how you have your system set up, which can break user password authentication. On my system, the default switched from standard DES to MD5. I fixed t... (more)

Time for a new installation paradigm, Part 3

(LinuxWorld) — This is the third article in a series calling for a new installation paradigm for Linux. We have a few more technical issues to address, but it should be useful to start by summarizing the goals so we can keep them in mind as we study the problems. Software installation should meet these minimum requirements: Installation should be easy enough for grandmothers and kids, but flexible enough for professionals to customize as needed.Installation should consume as little time as possible.Installations and updates should not break anything on your system, be it securit... (more)

Time for a new installation paradigm, Part 4

(LinuxWorld) — It is finally that time in the series to formulate changes and new approaches to software installation on Linux. Let's first summarize what we have learned, as well as the important factors and goals. Administration and troubleshooting are very expensive Any given application may share files with other applications Systems don't necessarily store shared files in the same places People often install the latest versions of software Unofficial versions of software are often required RAM is cheap Disk storage is cheap CPU power is cheap Broadband access, where availabl... (more)

A new distro in town: Gentoo emerges victorious

(LinuxWorld) — A relatively new distribution called Gentoo Linux is gaining a rapidly increasing, rabidly loyal group of users. The increasing popularity of Gentoo is almost difficult to explain, given that it's clearly a distribution by geeks, for geeks and for nobody but geeks. Obviously a geek can set up a Gentoo system for a non-geek, so you may find novices using Gentoo. You just won't find many novices installing it. To be more precise, Gentoo Linux is not really a distribution but a meta-distribution. You don't usually install pre-compiled binaries when you add software t... (more)