LJ Archive


I'll Be in My Hole

Shawn Powers

Issue #208, August 2011

Tech folks tend to get a bad rap as basement-dwelling creatures unable to function in polite society. And really, that's true for only 80% of us. Of course, I'm teasing, but it's hard to deny Linux users and open-source enthusiasts tend to belong to unique communities. We thought it might be nice to focus on our Linux community this month, and so the articles you're about to read should feel as cozy as a Hobbit hole.

Reuven M. Lerner knows his audience and introduces a new programming language called CoffeeScript. The coffee-/java-/bean-naming convention is nothing new, but CoffeeScript makes JavaScripting fun and easy. If you've ever been frustrated with JavaScript, you'll want to read Reuven's article. Following that, Dave Taylor continues his series on determining the day of the week. If you truly do live in a basement or Hobbit hole, you might need your computer to determine what day it is, as sunlight might be a rare sight.

Kyle Rankin doesn't help the geek stereotype when everything he does is within a single, dark console window. Kyle uses a screen session to connect to his favorite programs (all command-line) from anywhere. This month, he shows how to get Nagios to send notifications to a screen session instead of e-mail or SMS messages. Bill Childers is back with us this month as well, and he and Kyle continue their new column, Tales from the Server Room. If you're a sysadmin, you'll probably relate to their misery and maybe learn something along the way.

No community is a community without gatherings. Granted, in our world, those gatherings often are in IRC rooms or in on-line forums. We do have our meatspace meetups, however, and if you've never been to a LinuxFest, I highly recommend attending one. This month, I interview Gareth Greenaway from the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) and ask him what it takes to host a Linux conference. Gareth is easy to talk to, and he has some practical advice for anyone interested in attending a LinuxFest or even hosting their own. To contrast the idea of getting together in person, Mike Diehl talks about Facebook application development. Whether you're interested in integrating services or creating a new zombie-pony-themed Farmville, you'll want to read Mike's article.

Some of the core values of our Linux community are standards and collaboration. The Linux Standards Base attempts to keep the various flavors of Linux compatible with each other. Sometimes that works better than others, but we have the current “State of Affairs” regarding the LSB for you this month. Jeff Licquia, Stew Benedict and Vladimir Rubanov provide an overview of the LSB and talk about how to be compliant. Henry Van Styn follows them up with an article on Git. Once a group of people start to collaborate on software, revision control is vital. Henry discusses Git and how its distributed model makes it so powerful.

As magazine publishers, we surely understand the importance of communication when it comes to community. With the Linux world, however, we communicate in multiple ways. One of those methods, which is near and dear to my heart, is podcasting. Kyle Rankin and I do the Linux Journal Insider podcast every month, and if we can do it, you can do it. Charles Olsen walks through the process of creating a podcast from the planning stages all the way to the publishing stages. Content, of course, is up to you. Dan Sawyer takes a slightly different angle, and instead of podcasting, he shows how to edit radio dramas. If you tend to make stuff up in your podcast, you already may be walking the line between fact and fiction, so we wanted to make sure you were prepared either way.

What group of geeks would be worth their salt without allowing their computers to form a community as well? Whether you want multiple computers to share a filesystem with Unison (Adrian Klaver shows how), or if you want your systems to form a cohesive community of their own in a Beowulf cluster (Howard Powell describes how to do it with Fedora Live CDs), this issue has you covered. We've also got the full lineup you expect every month. UpFront articles, new product announcements—lots of goodies to soothe your geek itch. And, of course, if the thought of being a part of the Linux community offends you, well, feel free to read this magazine by yourself. We won't tell.

Shawn Powers is the Associate Editor for Linux Journal. He's also the Gadget Guy for LinuxJournal.com, and he has an interesting collection of vintage Garfield coffee mugs. Don't let his silly hairdo fool you, he's a pretty ordinary guy and can be reached via e-mail at info@linuxjournal.com. Or, swing by the #linuxjournal IRC channel on Freenode.net.

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