||*--------           At Tonight's Meeting...             ------*|| 
||*--------      Bozeman Linux User Group Meeting         ------*|| 
||*--------           September 26, 2002                  ------*|| 
||*--------                                               ------*|| 
||*--------             Ken Dyke, editor                  ------*|| 
||*--------                                               ------*|| 

Howdy folks, and welcome to another edition of "At Tonight's Meeting..."

||*--------           At Tonight's Meeting...             ------*|| 
||*--------              by Sheri Hall                    ------*||

We would like to say "Thanks!" to all of our LUG members at 
tonights meeting.... Ryan Gantt, Mike Stone, Kyle Cunningham, Dan Wilson, 
Sheri Hall and Ken Dyke.  A big thanks to our commuters, Joe Haynes from 
Helena, Charlie French from Big Timber, and Warren Sanders from the 
Yellowstone Valley LUG in Billings. Thanks for joining in!

||*--------                The Meeting...                 ------*||

Ken Dyke got the meeting underway.  He did not have much in the way of 
news.  For the presentation there was an 8 page hand out and a CD-R.  He 
covered some of the history behind LinuxFromScratch and described the 
community that has grown up around it.  He placed emphasis on the need 
to read all the early chapters as they have important pieces of information 
that help avoid errors during and at the end of the build process.  He 
explained the build partition and the fact that this partition will in the 
end be the new root partition.  While the book may do something one way 
there is often a pointer to a hint if the reader would like to try another.  
One of the book's reasons for being is to put reader in control of how their 
operating system is put together.  Configuring the kernel is a presentation 
all on its own. /sbin/lilo and then shutdown -r now  Then either celebrate 
or go back and figure out what was done wrong.

When asked about the stability of LinuxFromScratch systems Ken replied, 
"469 days of uptime.  Unfortunately, the hard drives are running out of room.  
So, I have some drives on order and already have more RAM.  It won't be too 
much longer before it comes down".

||*------                  Tool Tip                      -------*|| 
||*------                by Ken Dyke                     -------*|| 

I am not very fond of PDF files.  (For more on my views of PDF see the "Adobe 
PDF file format" item
on my soapbox.)  There are several command line tools that come with the 
Xpdf package.  The one I like is pdftotext.  For the type of material I am 
interested in this is a great tool.  I can turn foo.pdf into foo.txt and then 
use less/vim to read and comment.  Then later I can use various search tools 
on these files when I am looking for that 'something I read the other 

||*------                  PHP News                      -------*|| 
||*------                by Ryan Gantt                   -------*|| 

PHP 4.2.3 is out! Woo-Hoo. The biggest, most noticable changes are:
The resolution of many COM issues within PHP and OOPHP. They also fixed
domxml_xslt_process() and domxml_get_element_by_id() and several other
issues in DOMXML. 4.2.3 is a release following a pretty weird 4.2.2. All
422 did was fix a security issue, but nothing else.

NukeNews - PHPNuke has released their 6.0 app. Oh, don't worry, the code
is just as bad as before. If you are looking for burly-type speed, go with
PostNuke. I am using PHPNuke on a site, and there are some things that
I see wrong with it, day by day. First off, there is no way to "degrade"
from a higher version to lower, without manually changing all the MySQL or
Postgres SQL tables that they altered in the new version. I guess you
could have empty fields, but that would be to no avail. Why degrade? To
get a better forum and some better options. Also, their forums are
awful. I'm not sure who let Splatt get in on 5.5+, but they need to have a
serious talking to. PhpBB was good, and they took it out. Tsk tsk. Third,
The learning curve is pretty steep. If you already have an idea what
you want, and know how the code is going to work through what you are
doing, then it won't be so bad, otherwise it could be a nightmare. And
there are a lot of language files... There is one in almost every single
directory. This takes up a lot of space. Why doesn't he just put them
all in one directory in the root? Still not sure.

Pear (framework and distribution system for reusable PHP components) has
had quite a week, also. They've seen 5 stable releases and a beta,
which is very good.

* HTTP_Request - Provides an easy way to perform HTTP requests, supports 
  GET/POST/HEAD/TRACE/PUT/DELETE, Basic authentication, Proxy, Proxy 
  Authentication etc.
* Log - The Log framework provides an abstracted logging system. It supports 
  logging to console, file, syslog, SQL, mail, and mcal targets. It also 
  provides a subject - observer mechanism.
* Net_DNS - Resolver library used to communicate with a DNS server.
* Var_Dump - provides a simple way to dump a variable's content in a nicer 
  way than a classic var_dump().
* XML_Transformer - with the XML/Transformer class one can easily bind PHP 
  functionality to XML tags, thus transforming the input XML tree into an 
  output XML tree without the need for XSLT.

* Mail_Queue - Class for putting mails in queue and send them later in 

Pear also has the classes needed to make a database abstraction
layer. This is great, unless you don't know the location of pear or php
on your server. Then trouble brews.

||*------                  Doghouse                      -------*|| 

No one here except the usual suspects.

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

Subject: Book Review - Learning Java 2nd Edition
From: Joe Haynes 
To: Ken Dyke 
Content-Type: text/plain
X-Mailer: Ximian Evolution 1.0.7 
Date: 25 Sep 2002 20:35:13 -0600

Learning Java by Patrick Niemeyer and Jonathan Knudsen,
Second Edition

I've recently started a project that called for parts to
be developed in Java. Having no experience in Java, I
decided to start by reading through several introductory
books. Most of these were pretty straightforward. They
started describing the simple semantics and object oriented
structure of the language. But, as I read on, it seemed
to take forever for the books to teach anything useful.
The first chapters covered the creation of a simple web
browser based "apps" but didn't cover creating a full
stand-alone application.

In other words, I longed for a deeper explanation and
a book that taught Java without holding my hand or
insulting my intelligence with feeble applications.

Luckily, "Learning Java" is a book that takes a more direct
approach. The first chapter includes the usual history of
java along with a quick dose of java's philosophy.
But the second chapter begins by introducing
almost every large component that can be used in a Java
application. The example programs include swing components, 
graphics objects (used for rendering graphics), threading and 
catching exceptions (using Java's internal mechanisms for
recovering from run-time errors).

Chapter two answers the question, what's the best way to
start creating an application? How do I compile my first program?
And, how do I start to make use of Java's object orientation by
adding classes?

In a short span, the authors provide the answers to these
questions with examples. Even better, these examples are
explained so that the user understands a concept before
being saddled with a label (I found this approach to be
helpful when learning about the facets of object oriented

After the first two chapters, the books follows a path
of learning laid out in the examples of chapter two. The basics of the
language are followed by a broader explanation of working
with objects and classes. The rest of the book covers broader
subjects such as text processing, network programming, web based
applications, screen layout components, graphics programming,
javabeans, web applets, and XML (new to this edition). In
general, I found these chapters be well written and a great resource
for tackling problems within my own project.

This book isn't for a user just learing how to program. Users should
have at least some background in programming like C or PERL to
understand the authors comparisons between Java and other languages
(which I found to be helpful even though I do not have experience with

The most enjoyable aspect of this book is that it doesn't follow
a cookie-cutter approach to teaching Java. Explanations
of complicated subjects are spread throughout instead
of being crammed into dedicated chapters. Best of all,
the authors demonstrated some of Java's advanced utilities
while teaching the fundamentals of the language.

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

Due to the great response/demand for this feature I have been working
with publishers to increase the selection of books available.  I have
succeeded in establishing a couple of relationships for keeping book
reviewers busy.  The guidelines given to me by these publishers vary
somewhat but the the following outline encompasses behavior that will
avoid feelings of abuse and exploitation all around.

Please read and follow these guidelines in ordering review copies of

1) Limit one book per month. 
2) Publish a review before ordering another book. 
3) When selecting a book for review choose one that has been 
   published within the past year or so. 
4) We are a Linux User Group.  Please keep this in mind when 
   selecting titles.  (For example, Photoshop does not run on 
   Linux so it would be inappropriate to ask for "Photoshop 7: 
   The Complete Reference") 
5) If there were a fifth item it would go here. 

We have not developed a guide for the review itself so until then you
might give Slashdot's book review guide a look see: 

Send reviews to Ken to be published in the next issue of "At Tonight's 
Meeting...".  Please make the files ascii text only with lines wrapped
at 76 characters (to fit an 80 character wide screen). 

The following books are available for review: 
The book from New Riders Press has already been spoken for. 

||*-----                     EOF                           -----*|| 
I think, therefore, ken_i_m
Chief Gadgeteer,
Elegant Innovations
"Doing my part to spread the Free and Open Software memes".

August 2002 :: "At Tonight's Meeting..." index page :: October 2002