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Linux Stuff I Use All The Time

I have been using Linux since before I thought I was cool. It went from a hobby, to a source of pride, to what it is now: an absolutely indispensable piece of my computing repertoire. As I was reading a lifehacker list of software designed to ease everyday life in this modern world(entirely for mac and windows), I kept interjecting with software that I use in Linux, and that are usually just second nature. So, I thought I'd go ahead and list out some of the tools, all of which are available free of charge, that I use almost every day.

Note: Few, if any, of these applications are specific to Linux, but since Linux is free and easy, and I've been using it for years, I'm qualifying them as Linux apps.

#1, by far: Perl It wasn't until I started writing a lot of code in Perl that I really realized the true potential of computers. The same could be said of any programming language, really, but Perl is free, easy, elegant, fun, and simple enough for even a programming novice like myself. Perl powers this entire website. I use Perl every day at work, and have subsequently saved my employers uncounted thousands of dollars in saved time and organization.

#2: Samba My first system administration job was at a small software company in Dubuque, IA, where I was brought in to manage a Redhat Linux server they'd leased from Dell, to host their excruciatingly inelegant code repository. They used no code versioning system of any kind. Instead, their highly modular source code, which by the way was really outstanding software, was hopelessly hosted on the Linux server and shared out to the office network using Samba. So, when someone needed to compile, the development software on their Windows PC would compile the tens of thousands of discrete files out on the network, and bring the server to its knees. Samba allows unix-like machines to host and connect to windows networking shares. This inelegant setup however, helped me like nothing else in learning it for my own use, and taught me well what not to do. Today, I keep all of my important data(media files, sensitive information, odds and ends) on a separate machine at home, and my Windows machine only has program files installed, so if it fails, I experience no data loss. This must all be a little confusing to the nontechnical reader, and I maintain that Samba has to be experienced to be understood and appreciated.

#3: Imagemagick As of this entry, I have 4330 pictures on this website. Every single one of them has been resized. You better believe I didn't go into Photoshop and resize them all. Actually, I don't even have Photoshop, as I have no need for it, no desire to pay for it, and would rather be as legal as possible with the software I use. Using the raw power of the command line, Imagemagick allows me to make batch updates to all the images that ever get uploaded to this website.

#4: Apache httpd As a platform for Perl development, having access to an apache server has been invaluable. Half or more of the programming I do is for web applications, or for this website. It's always extremely handy to have access to a world-accessible web server, if I need to move files around.

Without these four pieces of software, I would be sunk.

4:47 PM, Apr 10, 2008

3 comments

ralf thinks:

apache has become a hog. check out lighttpd+fastcgi for perl. mmmm.

8:31 AM, Apr 11, 2008

Chris interjected:

How in the world could you leave out uptime??

2:24 PM, Apr 11, 2008

ls CVS Repository responded:

You forgot ls!

1:11 PM, Apr 13, 2008

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