Welcome to the LinuxFocus January/February 2003
A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in
front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large
and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inch
He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into
the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into
the open areas between the rocks.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of
course, the sand filled up everything else. He then asked once more if
the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous -- yes.
The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and
proceeded to pour the entire contents into the jar effectively filling
the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed.
Now, said the professor, as the laughter subsided,
I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks
are the important things -- your family, your partner, your health, your
children -- things that if everything else was lost and only they
remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house,
your car. The sand is everything else -- the small stuff.
If you put the sand into the jar first, he continued,
there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your
life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will
never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention
to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your
Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work,
clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.
Take care of the rocks first -- the things that really matter. Set your
priorities. The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.
The professor smiled. I'm glad you asked.
It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,
there's always room for a couple of beers.
I think the same story applies to good software design. First you have to
get the basic design right and then you can add other things. If you think
about all the applications and features first then it will become an
The Linux OS is an example for good design. This is one of the
reasons for its continued success.
We saw also that it can take very long time
to cleanup "chaotic" design. It took many years to re-structure Mozilla but
now that it is a well structured application things are happening much faster
and stable revisions are being released regularly.
Blender (www.blender.org) is now also free software. This cover
image with the Tux family on ice was made with Blender. However it was
made with the old binary version and it might take some time to cleanup the
Remember this story next time you develop software.
Happy new year!
-- Guido Socher
Intrusion detection with Debian
José Salvador González Rivera
The article presents techniques and the tools for
Debian GNU/Linux to detect and track people wo broke into your computer
Fighting against Spam-Mail
Katja and Guido Socher
Spam E-mail is growing at an alarming rate and it is a major problem
for almost everybody. In this article we will explain what to do
against this plague.
Automating system administration
with ssh and scp
If you have large number of Linux/Unix system to administer, then you'll
certainly need some scripts to help you automate some of the work.
This article focuses on ssh and the utilities that come with it.
BASIC programming with Unix
The Basic programming language is old and "basic" but still used. Although
Linux has much more powerful scripting languages than Basic it also offers
a number of Basic interpreters.
This article introduces a QT application to study the development of the
The LinuxFocus Tip
Searching case insensitive
When you open vim or vi then the search (with /) is normally
case sensitive. "string" is not the same as "String". To change this
You can also put the "set ic" permanently into your ~/.vimrc file.
"ic" stands for "ignore case".
To search in man pages case insensitive (when viewed from the command
line) set the evironment variable PAGER to 'less -i'.
export PAGER='less -i'
setenv PAGER 'less -i'
Hints and tips for People translating articles can
be found in The Translation