||*-------- Bozeman Linux Users Group Meeting ------*||
||*-------- July 25, 2002 ------*||

There was a nice turn out, especially considering the poor weather. Sheri Hall reported that there were eleven people in all.

Ken Dyke did a lighting presentation of some low-level aspects of Compact Disc as it pertains to the original audio specification setforth in the Red Book. The Red Book was published in 1980 and is the grandaddy that all the other formats build upon in some way. Compact Disc was originally intended as strictly a means for distributing audio content i.e. music. Hopefully, Ken will have his notes and some links put together in the next couple of days. Check the website if you are interested.

Kyle Cunningham showed off his I-book running Gentoo(www.obsession.se/gentoo/). He is using Fluxbox(fluxbox.sourceforge.net/) for a windows manager. He also showed off a VMware-like hardware emulation utility that he has Mac OS 9 installed in. Fluxbox is based on the Blackbox window manager. Josh said he has been happily using Blackbox for some time now. Ken expressed interest in such light-weight window managers for an old P-II 233 laptop.

Mike Stone said he knocked together a kludge for the shell programming task he was working on earlier this afternoon. Josh came up with a one line solution for him to try.

Ryan Gantt came sporting a cool T-shirt with the loopback (or localhost) IP address printed on it ( Ryan found out about the BozemanLUG through the Red Hat website.

Ken told about a client that was swindled when buying a used computer system. The client is not very knowledgable about computers and did not understanding about the licensing of proprietary software. The client paid a goodly sum for some hardware that is 4 or 5 years old because it had a couple of specialized software packages the client was interested in using. It turns out the seller mislead the client and had no intention of selling the license for the software. To cut a long story short the client has been left holding the bag on some old hardware with illegal copies of software installed on it. Ouch.

Ron Newman picked up his review copy of "PHP and XML" from New Riders Press.

The Linux Meetup Day (linux.meetup.com) was announced. Joe Haynes had a printout of the website. Ken heard about it thanks to Warren Sanders of the Yellowstone Valley Linux Users Group (lug.cotcomsol.com/). At the moment there are two candidate sites for the Meetup location. These "Meetup Days" are being organized by meetup.com. They are not a BozemanLUG event. When meetup.com picks a final location we will announce it on the list.

In a related item, today was slashdot meetup day. Not enough geeks in the Bozeman area had signed up in time for there to be a local meeting. Maybe next month.

||*------ Tool Tip -------*||

rpm -qf foo.bar

Will return the package that installed foo.bar.

||*----- Book Reviews ------*||

Understanding the Linux Kernel
by Daniel P. Bovet and Marco Cesati
Published by O'Reilly 2001
review by Ken Dyke

A journey through the innermost workings of the kernel that is comprehensible to the non-programmer/non-hacker.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1    Introduction
Chapter 2    Memory Addressing
Chapter 3    Processes
Chapter 4    Interrupts and Exceptions
Chapter 5    Timing Measurements
Chapter 6    Memory Management
Chapter 7    Process Address Space
Chapter 8    System Calls
Chapter 9    Signals
Chapter 10   Process Scheduling
Chapter 11   Kernel Sychronization
Chapter 12   The Virtual Filesystem
Chapter 13   Managing I/O Devices
Chapter 14   Disk Caches
Chapter 15   Accessing Regular Files
Chapter 16   Swapping: Methods for Freeing Memory
Chapter 17   The Ext2 Filesystem
Chapter 18   Process Communication
Chapter 19   Program Execution
Appendix A   System Startup
Appendix B   Modules
Appendix C   Source Code Structure
Source Code Index

Everything is explained clearly, in terms that a non-programmer can understand (the explainations were so clear that I understood most of the code bits). For me, this book served as transport to a new level of understanding of the *nix philosophy. After learning what data structures are, double linked lists, and how FIFOs work, when I came back to the computer I saw it with new eyes and felt a new confidence as I logged in. It has expanded my overall understanding of computer operating systems such that the specialized pieces I have studied since seem to fit in much easier.

The kernel version that serves as the main focus of the book is the 2.2.x. Each chapter closes with a look ahead to the 2.4.x kernel which had not yet been released when the book was published.

Recommended for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of what goes on underneath the GUI.

||*------ A Call for Input ------*||

Read a good book that others might be interested in? Jot down a couple of paragraphs and send them to Ken so that can be included in the next LUG report.

||*----- Books Available for Review -----*||

The LUG has been contacted by McGraw-Hill and we are busily working out the details so that we can offer titles from them.

New Riders Press is offering these books for this month only:

Cocoon: Building XML Applications
Flash to the Core: An Interactive Sketchbook by Joshua Davis
Flash MX Audio Magic
HTML & Web Artistry 2: More than Code
ActionScripting in Flash MX
Flash MX Application Design and Development
Flash MX Project, The

O'Reilly Books:

This book is a collection of problems, solutions, and practical examples for Python programmers, written by Python programmers. It contains useful code for both novices and advanced practitioners, with contributions from such Python luminaries as Guido Van Rossum, Tim Peters, Paul Prescod, and Mark Hammond.

Chapter 1, "Python Shortcuts," is available online:

This book has been expanded and updated for Java 2 Standard Edition SDK 1.4. This edition provides full coverage of all Java 1.4 language features including assertions and exception chaining as well as new APIs

Chapter 23, "XML," is available online:

...describes how such a phone system was actually built, the source code, install it onto a system, connect phones, and make calls.

Chapter 7, "Session Initiation Protocol and Related Protocols" is available online:

Send ken an email if you are interested in one of these titles.
NOTE: Each publisher has different offers and different strings attached. Ask Ken for details.

||*----- EOF -----*||

I think, therefore, ken_i_m

"Doing my part to spread the Free and Open Software memes"

June 2002 :: "At Tonight' Meeting..." index page :: August 2002