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PAM, Reverse-Engineering Games, Linux for Finance, and the PHP ch-functions

by chromatic
Linux Newsletter for 02/24/2003

Happy Monday Afternoon! The skies are clear, the wind has died down, and it's time for yet another Linux newsletter. Here's what happened last week on

David HM Spector's Linux in the Enterprise column has returned. In spite of a sluggish economy, he sees a bright future for Linux, especially in the financial services industry. Read more about his trip to LinuxWorld Expo 2003 in Linux in the Enterprise at LWE 2003.

Howard Wen follows up on his recent Introduction to FreeSCI. This week, he's interviewed two developers on the project. What kinds of pitfalls have they faced in reverse-engineering and portable game programming? They speak out in Christoph Reichenbach and Lars Skovlund on FreeSCI.

Dru Lavigne's latest FreeBSD column explores PAM: Pluggable Authentication Modules. You can configure several optional or essential authentication methods for various users. OK, maybe that doesn't sound exciting, but it's really, really useful. Read more in PAM.

John Coggeshall's previous PHP Foundations column left many people frightened--where was the code? (OK, perhaps one or two were surprised.) Fear not, foundationers. This week's column builds on last time and demonstrates how to manipulate Unix file permissions from within PHP. If you're creating files and don't necessarily want any random person to read them, perhaps you'll find a tip in Working with File Permissions in PHP.

Finally, the well-loved Rob Flickenger contributes another recipe from his book, Linux Server Hacks. This time, he demonstrates how to distribute your own Certificate Authority public key. Handy, if you've created your own SSL certificate. Read the excerpt in Distributing Your CA to Client Browsers.

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At the risk of shameless self-promotion, your editor is somewhat proud of his most recent weblog, Who's Funding Free Software?. (It precipitated at least one long discussion of free software business models, but your editor has discussions like that with his housemates anyway.)

Next week we'll feature an article explaining how to simulate an SMP system on a UMP system with User Mode Linux. Seriously.

Until then,

Technical Editor
O'Reilly Network and Linux DevCenter Top Five Articles Last Week

  1. Creating Your Own CA
    Rob Flickenger, author of O'Reilly's recently released Linux Server Hacks, shows you how to establish your own SSL Certificate Authority using OpenSSL and a utility called

  2. Secure Chat with YTalk and SSH
    Instant messaging may be a "killer application" among the glitz and glamour crowd, but it's been around as long as multi-user systems. Robert Bernier re-introduces the venerable and powerful YTalk and demonstrates how it can be used securely with SSH.

  3. Distributing Your CA to Client Browsers
    In a follow-up to his article on "Creating Your Own CA," Rob Flickenger, author of Linux Server Hacks, shows you how to distribute your new Certificate Authority to a client's browser. He also offers some key advice on accepting a new CA in your browser.

  4. Custom Error Pages with PHP and Apache
    Turn your "Page Not Found", or "404" messages into more than just bland error reports. Serve an alternate page based on the name of the page that was not found, create a page on the fly from a database, or send an email about the not-found page to a webmaster. David Sklar, coauthor of PHP Cookbook, shows you how, using PHP and Apache.

  5. PAM
    Last time, Dru Lavigne introduced one time passwords. Rather than an all-or-nothing approach, most free Unixes support several different authentication methods. This time, Dru explores PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules), which allow you to govern how users log on and authenticate themselves.

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