The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'unix'


Nine Traits of the Veteran UNIX Admin, a quasi-humorous list of grizzled-neckbeard stereotypes:

1: We don't use sudo
2: We use vi, not emacs, and definitely not pico or nano
9: Rebooting is almost never an option
And in reply, Nine traits of a modern UNIX admin (first draft), by Justin Dugger, illustrating how things have changed in the age of cheap virtualisation and git everywhere:
1. Sudo is mandatory. Not because we make mistakes but because it's easier to audit. And because you shouldn't need to poke around as root, since you have a functioning configuration management tool.
2. Vim, emacs, Eclipse, it's all fine, because your job involves making changes to a git repository from your local workstation and pushing to configuration management.
9. When in doubt, reformat. Servers should be cattle, not pets. They don't have special names, and when one gets sick, you take it out back and shoot it!
(I agree with the vi thing, and still use it for things which are too small to fire up SublimeText for. Or which have to be done through a ssh connection or text console. There is often a terminal running vi open on my MacBook.)

(via MeFi) tech text editors unix vi 7


Dennis M. Ritchie (better known, as many of the ancients were, by his UNIX login, in this case, dmr) has reportedly passed away in Murray Hill, New Jersey, after a long illness. Ritchie was, of course, co-inventor (with Brian Kernighan) of the C programming language (in which a huge proportion of the world's software is written, and which influenced a lot of other languages, from direct descendants like C++ and Objective C to every language which uses C-like syntax), and co-creator (with Ken Thompson) of the UNIX operating system (originally started as a personal project, and now the architectural template for everything from the internet server which is sending you this web page to, quite probably, your mobile phone). Ritchie's influence on the technologies on which our world is built is huge.

c dmr obituary rip tech unix 0


A big list of useful shell commands for OSX. Some of these are generic UNIX shell tricks, but many are OSX-specific and quite useful; to wit, a few examples:

# Copy output of command to clipboard
grep 'search term' largeFile.txt | pbcopy

# display a Quick Look preview of a file; ctrl+C to kill
qlmanage -p photo.jpg

# converting an aiff file to 160kbps AAC:
afconvert track.aiff -o track.m4a -q 127 -b 160000 -f 'm4af' -d 'aac '

howto osx tech tips unix 0


JS/UIX; a complete virtual UNIX machine that runs entirely in JavaScript using DHTML. Well, not entirely complete; the realistic-looking executable files in /bin, upon closer inspection, have sizes of 'n/a', and are basically façades for JavaScript pixie dust that does what they are meant to; also, the shell doesn't actually support any scripting commands. However, you can create and access files, and it even has a mostly usable implementation of vi.

(via /.) javascript nifty unix web web toys 0


Somebody has ported UNIX to the GameBoy Advance. Not Linux, UNIX, as in 5th Edition UNIX (1974 vintage), running on a PDP-11 emulator. Mind you, as the GBA has no keyboard and no means to add one, it's not very useful, being limited to executing a sequence of commands compiled into it. But it's impressive nonetheless. (via bOING bOING)

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Airport arrival display malfunctions, displaying HTML source. It looks like those things run on an embedded UNIX system of some sort, with a HTML-based rendering engine (though presumably not a web browser in kiosk mode). Curious... (via 1.0)

(Malfunctioning information displays can be interesting, because the nature of the malfunction often reveals something about how the system works. Witness things like news/advertising billboards displaying Windows error dialogs, or in-flight entertainment consoles showing Linux kernel messages as they reboot or whatever.)

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This is pretty cool, in a UNIX-geek sort of way: using the LPD printer spooler as a MP3 jukebox. In short, you set up a "printer" which plays MP3s (or other music files) and then "print" MP3s to it (from the local machine or remote machines). (via Slashdot)

hacks mp3 unix 0


The UNIX Haters Handbook, an amusing critique of the popular operating system model, is available for free download; from a Microsoft server, no less. (via bOING bOING)

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A NYTimes piece looking at the culture of away messages on instant messaging services, and how many users (typically young people) treat their messages like LiveJournal mood rings. (via Techdirt)

She said her friends often use away messaging as an emotional outlet. "One friend always has up song lyrics that reflect her mood," she said. Ms. Sanders has done that, too. During reflective moments, "I would be listening to sad songs and would be, 'That would make a great away message.' "
What's more, the away message "becomes a litmus test for personal worth," said Rebecca Blatt, another sophomore at Penn. "Writing 'having an awful day,' or 'drowning in a sea of tears' clearly invites a reaction. What if no one responds?"
And when it comes to sweethearts, especially former and future ones, away messaging adds a new immediacy. Those unwilling to delete a former flame's screen name can effortlessly if painfully keep track of a life they are no longer part of.

(Even if they never were part of it in the first place except in their fevered imaginations.)

Not that this is anything new, mind you; similar things have been happening on goofey for a decade or so; and then there are .plan files (remember those?) from back in the days when people used multi-user UNIX systems. Ah, that takes me back.

away messages culture online unix 0


Nifty MacOS X program of the day: iTerm, a better replacement for Terminal, featuring Mozilla-style tabs. (via bOING bOING)

osx software unix 3


An interesting article looking at the potential of UNIX shell script viruses. Shell scripts run on many architectures, and (along with C compilers) can be used to custom-build exploits and rootkits for the specific platform; while no such virus has been wildly successful yet, the potential is there.

(Of course, there's an easy way to defang many of them: remove the C compiler from your servers/front-line machines, which would make building exploits rather impossible. A malicious script could still download precompiled exploits from a website; though if you run your servers on something weird, it may not be able to find one; if crackers had to precompile exploits, they would probably go mostly after the 95% of machines which run Red Hat Linux on a x86 or something equally common.)

security tech unix viruses 5


Sokoban in sed! And it's quite playable too, if you don't depend on advancing to the next level automatically. (via Slashdot)

hacks sed sokoban unix 0


An interesting interview with Jim Gettys, architect of the X Window System, where he puts paid to the myth of X bloat.

Most of the perception of bloat is caused by how Linux reports memory. An X server maps the display card into its address space, and on current graphics cards this can easily be 8, 16, 32 or even 64 megabytes of address space (for the frame buffer and registers of the display). Naive people look at "ps" or "top" and draw the wrong conclusion.

(via Slashdot)

jim gettys linux software tech unix x11 0


That old workhorse, the X Window System, is finally getting decent rendering capabilities, including alpha-blending and anti-aliased text (TrueType-only; not using the standard text routines). Which is a Good Thing; translucent windows and menus look pretty nifty, and before this, you had to do that kind of thing by hand, using X just as a dumb pixel-pushing mechanism; not exactly an efficient use of a networkable window system. (via Slashdot)

unix x11 0


Something seen making the rounds:

Subject: Unix variant of "love bug"

This virus works on the honor system:

If you're running a variant of unix or linux, please forward this message to everyone you know and delete a bunch of your files at random.

(Thanks, Toby!)

humour unix virus 0


The famous paper by Ken Thompson (the creator of the original UNIX), in which he describes his infamous self-perpetuating C compiler/login trojan horse.

The moral is obvious. You can't trust code that you did not totally create yourself... No amount of source-level verification or scrutiny will protect you from using untrusted code... As the level of program gets lower, these bugs will be harder and harder to detect. A well installed microcode bug will be almost impossible to detect.

c ken thompson security trojans unix 0

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