Linux User & Developer, Issue 105

This month’s Linux User & Developer includes three of my pieces: a review of the Parted Magic Live CD, a group test of command-line compression packages and a step-by-step guide to installing and configuring CMS Made Simple.

The review was fairly standard fare, with one exception: during writing, Parted Magic was going through a rapid development cycle as the maintainer found and fixed bugs. As a result, the review needed to be revised at three separate points during its creation to accommodate changes made in each release. It’s a pain when that happens, but it’s better to start again than publish a review based on outdated code.

The tutorial was a departure from the norm, but a fun challenge nevertheless. Unlike my usual testing process, in which an Ubuntu-based virtual machine is used as the software host, I installed the CMS Made Simple software on an actual live webserver as a true test that the tutorial could be used in a production environment.

As a result of its live, production nature, the latter part of the tutorial looked at securing the CMS Made Simple installation from attack; something which, sad to say, many beginner-oriented tutorials miss to their readers’ peril.

The group test was a technical one this month: taking the command-line compression tools bzip2, lbzip2, gzip and 7Zip, I had to devise a way of testing them to see which is the best option for real-world use.

Taking place on a testbed virtual machine, the test methodology included running compression routines on both synthetic data – sparse data collected from /dev/zero and dense data collected from /dev/urandom – and real-world data.

Using compression times and compression ratios as the scoring mechanism from the benchmark testing, the packages were also rated based on their functionality for use in shell scripts or to be called from other programmes; something in which the readership of Linux User & Developer is likely to be interested.

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