Learn 10 Good UNIX Usage Habits

Submitted by jbreland on Wed, 12/20/2006 - 14:51

I'm a bit late posting this (I believe it's already made it to Slashdot), but Michael Stutz recently published a good article on the IBM developerWorks site entitled, "Learn 10 good UNIX usage habits." From the introduction:

When you use a system often, you tend to fall into set usage patterns. Sometimes, you do not start the habit of doing things in the best possible way. Sometimes, you even pick up bad practices that lead to clutter and clumsiness. One of the best ways to correct such inadequacies is to conscientiously pick up good habits that counteract them. This article suggests 10 UNIX command-line habits worth picking up -- good habits that help you break many common usage foibles and make you more productive at the command line in the process. Each habit is described in more detail following the list of good habits.

It contains some very useful tips. I recommend that anyone using a CLI environment, regardless of your experience level, give it a read.

Full link:

http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/aix/library/au-badunixhabits.html

Linus on Binary Kernel Modules

Submitted by jbreland on Thu, 12/14/2006 - 11:52

As found via Slashdot:

microbee writes: "On LKML's periodic GPL vs. binary kernel module discussion, Andrew Morton hinted that he favors refusing to load binary modules in 12 months. Greg Kroah-Hartman then posted a patch to do exactly that. Surprisingly Linus chimed in and called it 'stupid' and a 'political agenda,' and even compared it with the RIAA's tactics. Later in the same thread Greg withdrew his patch and apologized for not having thought it through."

Linus' post is a pretty good read on this debate. If you're unfamiliar with the topic, here is a brief overview. My personal take is that FOSS drivers are definitely the way to go, but being able to actually use my hardware takes precedence. If no viable (or comparable) FOSS driver exists, then I'd rather use a binary driver then simply not have full use of my hardware.

Anyway, as I said, it's a pretty interesting read. Here's a full link to Linus' post:

http://lkml.org/lkml/2006/12/13/370

Password Management Concerns with IE and Firefox

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 12/12/2006 - 08:01

SecurityFocus recently published a two-part article by Mikhael Felker covering security concerns with the password management functionality in both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. It's a pretty good read for anyone interested in such topics.

Here are the links:
http://www.securityfocus.com/infocus/1882
http://www.securityfocus.com/infocus/1883

LegRoom Downtime and Upgrade

Submitted by jbreland on Sat, 12/02/2006 - 20:18

LegRoom.net was down for a couple hours Thursday night, and again Saturday afternoon for a shorter period of time. This was due to a planned upgrade that didn't go quite as planned. However, all issues are now worked out.

So, what was the upgrade? The LegRoom.net server, as well as all associated network equipment, is now connected to a couple of brand new UPS backup units. These should provide about an hour of power for LegRroom.net should the main power fail/flicker/surge. This should hopefully keep things a bit more reliable in the future.

Universal Extractor 1.4.2 Released

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 11/28/2006 - 19:59

I just posted Universal Extractor 1.4.2. This version has a lot of improvements, including a fix for the crash issue in 1.4.1. Highlights include:

  • Full internationalization support for installer
  • New preferences page for installer to set history and debug options introduced in 1.4
  • Four new languages included by default
  • Various bug fixes for Windows 9x

The usual links:

Universal Extractor Download

Universal Extractor ChangeLog

Universal Extractor Feedback

Enjoy!

Inno Setup Scripts Updated

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 11/28/2006 - 19:32

I made some improvements to the support scripts I use with my Inno Setup installers in the process of readying the Universal Extractor 1.4.2 release.

The biggest improvement was made to the Inno Setup CLI Help script. This script allows end-users to pass /?, /h, or /help to the installer package to get a list of available command line arguments. The new version supports custom parameters as well as the components and tasks lists that were available in the previous version. I also changed the delimiter, so if you use the script in your own installers, please be sure to read the ChangeLog.

I also updated the Modify Path Inno Setup script, but this was purely a documentation update to make it a bit more clear. No functionality changes were made.

Universal Extractor 1.4.1 Update

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 11/27/2006 - 02:34

As noted in the previous Universal Extractor post, there's an issue that can cause UniExtract to crash under certain circumstances. I've since had time to investigate the issue, and have determined UniExtract will crash anytime the archive is selected via the GUI browse button (the '...' button to the right of the "Archive/Installer to extract" field). This is due to an improper variable declaration that crept in during the 1.4.1 updates.

I've also determined that UniExtract will not crash if one of the other supported methods is used:

  • right-click on file and use UniExtract context-menu integration
  • drag-and-drop file onto UniExtract GUI
  • select previous file from archive history

Of course, this isn't a solution, but it's a workaround for those of you that may have already installed it and are experiencing the issue. It also explains why some users have not reported it, as well as why I missed it during my testing (I generally test using the three methods above, which are faster for me than using the browse button).

I had planned on releasing 1.4.2 quickly to fix the issue, but there are some additional improvements that I want to make in 1.4.2 as well that's taking longer than I had anticipated to get working correctly. So, in the meantime I'm making available a "patch" (for lack of a better term) to fix the issue for current 1.4.1 users. You can download an updated version of the UniExtract.exe binary from here:

Edit: Removed download link. Please use UniExtract 1.4.2 instead.

Replace the copy of UniExtract.exe in your existing install with this new version, then use as you normally would. I should have a proper 1.4.2 release out within the next day or so, so unless you're currently affected by the crash issue, you may want to just hold off until then before upgrading.

Universal Extractor 1.4.1 Released

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 11/21/2006 - 20:32

Update: 11/26/2006
Please see this post for additional information.

Update: 11/22/2006
A few people have reported an issue with version 1.4.1 that prevents it from extracting any archives. I recommend that you do not upgrade to version 1.4.1 at this time. It may be a few days before I'm able to fix the problem and release a new version, so please continue to use 1.4 or 1.3.1 for now. I'll post another note once I've had a chance to fully investigate.

As hinted at in the 1.4 release post, some bugs and other issues related to internationalization support were found rather quickly. Functionally 1.4 should work fine, but there were some display issues, etc. that needed to be tweaked. So, I'm releasing 1.4.1 as a quick bugfix release to address these problems. I included translation files for Chinese (Simplified), French, and German with this release. Any contributed language files that I receive after this release will be posted to the main Universal Extract page for download, and they'll also be included in future versions.

Universal Extractor Download
Universal Extractor ChangeLog
Universal Extractor Feedback

Universal Extractor 1.4 Released

Submitted by jbreland on Sat, 11/18/2006 - 18:39

I just posted Universal Extractor 1.4. The two primary goals of this release are to make it more "portable" (making the history tracking optional, allowing the user to specify where the debugging file is written, etc.) and to add support for internationalization. I also added a few tweaks and fixed a few bugs to try to speed up installer extraction.

Warning: Adding support for internationalization required a substantial number of changes to the code, which may have introduced some new bugs. If 1.3.1 is working fine for you, it may be a good idea to stick with it for a little while until 1.4 is more thoroughly tested. If, however, you are a not a native English speaker, typically run applications from a portable USB drive, or just live for bleeding-edge software, then I do recommend upgrading to 1.4.

Anyone interested in translating UniExtract to another language should follow the instructions in English.ini. If you do this, please send me the completed translation file so I can include it in the next version of UniExtract (as well as probably make it available for download directly from my site). This way everyone can benefit from your work.

The usual links:
Universal Extractor Download
Universal Extractor ChangeLog
Universal Extractor Feedback