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For programmers on big projects, a version control system for managing source code is vital, but working on files in a large project from one of these programs' command-line interfaces is cumbersome. Worse, the results of the commands lack highlighting to show the differences between files and revisions. ViewVC is a handy browser-based code viewer that allows users to browse a source code tree managed by either CVS or Subversion, look at changes, compare revisions at the file or line level, and perform other operations -- just about anything except allow users to check out or commit files.
Mounting and unmounting filesystems used to be straightforward in GNU/Linux. A basic knowledge of the mount command or some editing of /etc/fstab in a text editor and you were done. However, with the addition of udev in the 2.6 kernel for autoplugging, and the demand for hotswapping USB devices, along with the increased use of logical volume managers and other complications, the process is now more complicated -- perhaps too complicated for many among the growing number of desktop users. That is where graphical mount managers such as Forelex Mount Manager, PySDM, and MountManager find their niche.
The PasTmon passive traffic monitor keeps an eye on your network, recording which clients are interacting with which services, when and how long things took. You can then use the application's PHP Web interface to investigate these figures to see if any host is connecting to Web services that it shouldn't, or is contacting services suspiciously more frequently than you would expect for normal operation, or when response times become excessively long.
One of the first things I do upon installing a Linux distribution is put the Network Monitor applet on my GNOME panel. Watching the blue lights twinkle on and off makes me aware of network traffic. But if you want more details about what's happening on your network, such as which application is hogging bandwidth or what each network interface is up to, you can turn to specialty tools like NetHogs and IPTraf. While NetHogs is a unique tool altogether, IPTraf can be used on a server as well as by a home user.
Large collections of MP3 files can be hard to manage. Organizing your music into directories helps some, but when you want to play just those tracks in a certain genre or from a certain year, no amount of directory organization will help -- but Zina, a powerful Web application, can.
The number of Firefox extensions continues to grow. For example, when I last wrote about tab extensions just over a year ago, about 110 existed. Now, despite the need to rewrite many extensions to make them compatible with Firefox 3.0, the number is over 190, and the choice is greater than ever. Basic functionality, coloring options, positioning of the tab bar, automatic opening of tabs at startup -- whatever your need, you can probably find it on the Firefox add-ons site.
When users want the latest in free and open source software (FOSS), they are likely to think first of sites like freshmeat, or perhaps Softpedia or GnomeFiles. However, as the FOSS community has divided into specialized communities, sites for new releases have proliferated, to the point where it is difficult to keep track of them all. Since 2007, openDesktop.org has provided a portal for many of these specialized sites. Under the slogan "Let's build the desktop of the future," openDesktop.org provides a quick overview of new software that is independent of desktop or distribution.
If you are into email like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were in the movie You've Got Mail, you probably want to be warned as soon as any message enters your mailbox. If you use Gmail, you can try one of several Gmail-specific applications that let you know when new messages arrive.
NFS-GANESHA is an NFS version 2-4 server that runs in the user address space instead of as part of the operating system kernel. Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE) lets you run a filesystem in the user address space instead of as part of the Linux kernel, but the FUSE support in the Linux kernel from many Linux distributions does not allow you to export FUSE through NFS. NFS-GANESHA lets you expose FUSE through NFS without patching your kernel.
Glancing at the features list for Fedora 10, at first you might be unimpressed. Many of the features are basically infrastructure improvements, fixing known problems and enhancing performance while laying the groundwork for future developments. However, infrastructure affects almost everything you do with your computer, and the more you use Fedora 10, the more you are likely to conclude that -- one or two minor problems aside -- this may be the strongest Fedora release yet, as well as the first glimpse of its future.
Making labels for DVDs and their cases is an often overlooked task. Many discs are lucky to have some terse information quickly scrawled on them after burning. But there are some fine open source applications available for creating labels for CD-ROM and DVD disks and printing jewel case inserts, including gLabels, kover, and cdlabelgen.
TiddlyWiki excels at managing notes and text snippets, but can you tweak it for other uses? If you take a look at some applications based on TiddlyWiki, the answer appears to be a resounding yes. With TiddlyWiki derivatives, you can manage tasks, track projects, keep tabs on contacts, and organize book collections. Like the original TiddlyWiki, each derivative consists of a single HTML file which you have to download to your local hard disk. Open the downloaded file in a browser, and the TiddlyWiki-based tool is ready to go.
With Fedora 10 scheduled for release today, many users are thinking about how they are going to upgrade. A complete upgrade is something you do no more than twice a year, so the details are easy to forget. Also, the Fedora upgrade process, which centers on pointing to a new repository, is more complex than, say, the equivalent Debian process, in which repositories remain constant and only their contents change with a new release. But an even stronger reason for the uncertainty is that a Fedora system can be upgraded in at least four ways, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages.
When Maine State Employees Association SEIU Local 1989 needed software to safeguard confidential information and ward off online threats, it found an open source solution. The labor union, which represents more than 15,000 public and private sector workers throughout the State of Maine, chose Untangle's open source Gateway platform, a solution that not only helps keep confidential data away from prying eyes, but also protects against spam, spyware, phishing, and viruses.
The Bash Debugger Project (bashdb) lets you set breakpoints, inspect variables, perform a backtrace, and step through a bash script line by line. In other words, it provides the features you expect in a C/C++ debugger to anyone programming a bash script.
Spreadsheets might be called databases for the timid, since they're more user-friendly than databases and do a good job working with limited amounts of data. Some tools for databases can work well with spreadsheets too. Take for instance DataForm, a new OpenOffice.org Calc extension that provides a form-like interface designed to make entering and finding spreadsheet data easier.
Gather round the table for a hearty feast of homemade dishes straight out of the Linux.com forums. All your favorites are here -- heartburn-inducing Windows-to-Linux file permission problems, savory search tips, and little bits of GNOME and Squid for those with an adventurous palate. And, of course, for dessert there's a fresh slice of grandma's old-fashioned unanswered questions.
The economy is falling as fast as temperatures in November. Recession seems certain, if it's not already here. The stock market's performance resembles Disney World's Space Mountain roller coaster. And every open source vendor, every Linux project, will be touched in one way or another.
Nowadays, everyone uses Ubuntu, most people have used Fedora, and many folks have tried openSUSE. SimplyMEPIS ... not so many. That's a shame, because this relatively obscure Debian-based desktop distribution from Morgantown, WV, is an outstanding desktop operating system. With SimplyMEPIS 8 at beta 5 and closing in on release, I tested the distribution and found it to be a keeper.