Understanding MySQL Internals

Sash Pachev has written a new guide on Understanding MySQL Internals for O’Reilly. I was one of the technical reviewers on this book and can tell you that it makes a good read if you want to understand more of what is going on under the hood in MySQL. There’s a lot to cover, for example the pluggable storage engine archtiecture, how queries are parsed and executed, and how individual storage engines work. The book is compact, but very readable, and worth a look if you any interest in how databases are programmed, or are thinking about building your own storage engine to plug into MySQL.

Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation review

My review of the Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation had made it into Issue 11 of Free Software Magazine.Here’s a taster:

Sun have made some headlines in recent months through the release of their Ultra 20 workstation and a number of new servers based on the AMD CPUs. For some this is seen as major change of direction for a company that is well known for the use (and continued interest and development) of the SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) CPU. With so many new machines being based on the AMD CPU it will be surprising to some that Sun’s new mobile units are based on SPARC technology.The Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation is based an 64-bit UltraSPARC CPU. There are two main models, a 15″ unit that comes with a UltraSPARC IIi CPU at 550 or 650MHz, and a 17″ model with a 1.2GHz UltraSPARC IIIi CPU. Both are standard CPUs-these are not cut down or restricted versions designed to work within a laptop-and that is a key parameter for identifying the target market for the unit.

Read the full article.If you don’t get the vibes, I like this machine, and Solaris as a laptop operating system is pretty good too. In fact, I’ve start up a new blog, Laptop Solaris to talk about my experiences with this machine and Solaris on a laptop in general.

StarOffice 8 Review – Office Killer?

LinuxPlanet have just recently published my very detailed StarOffice 8 review. To summarize, I like it, and with a few caveats, it gives Microsoft Office a run for its money. The article is spread over a number pages, with screenshots, a brief TOC is below:

  1. Alternatives to Microsoft Office
  2. Availability
  3. Installation
  4. StarOffice Writer
  5. StarOffice Calc
  6. StarOffice Impress
  7. StarOffice Draw
  8. StarOffice Base
  9. Office Killer?

You can read the full article at LinuxPlanet.

Agile Web Development with Rails

My review of Agile Web Development with Rails (by Dave Thomas and David Heinemeier Hansson with Leon Breedt, Mike Clark, Thomas Fuchs, and Andreas Schwarz) has just made it to the the front page of Free Software Magazine. It’s an excellent guide to programming Ruby and Rails and if you want to do any kind of web development and are tiring of the tradtional web programming environments. The full review is readale on line.

No Nonsense XML Web Development with PHP, Thomas Myer

PHP doesn’t spring to mind when thinking about processing XML data, but PHP is a better solution than you might think. Since PHP is used to develop websites, which use HTML a standard based on the principles of XML, PHP is a sensible choice. PHP also includes powerful tools for parsing and manipulating XML data. We can use this to our advantage to convert and manipulate XML information in our PHP based web applications. XML-RPC and SOAP also use XML, so the use of a web-based language for web-services is also another obvious choice.All of these situations are covered in extensive detail by Thomas Myer in his new book, No Nonsense XML Web Development with PHP from publisher SitePoint, a long time source for articles and information on web applications and development.

The contentsNo Nonsense XML Web Development with PHP covers a gamut of different topics, from an introduction on the basics of XML and its uses through to web services. Throughout, the straightforward and relaxed tone of the book help you to pick up the background behind what Thomas is teaching you, as well as the specifics of different aspects in the book.We start off with a simple examination of XML and the role of DTDs in the consistency of the XML data. Thomas is right here to point out that DTDs are about consistency, rather than restriction, on the information we store in XML. He also covers the role that DTDs have in validating information, often simplifying the code required in our application to confirm the quality of the content. Continue reading No Nonsense XML Web Development with PHP, Thomas Myer

Randal Schwartz’s Perls of Wisdom

If you don’t associate Randal Schwartz with Perl then you obviously don’t know how much of an influence Randal has been in spreading the Perl gospel. Randal has been talking about Perl for years, writing articles and contributing to books like the ‘Camel’ (Programming Perl, from O’Reilly). He’s also contributed to the built-in documentation and has worked with the internals of Perl and built various modules and examples. In short, when it comes to Perl, there’s little that Randal either isn’t aware of, or hasn’t already written about. Hia book, Perls of Wisdom, is a collection of the articles that he’s written over the years that look at specific problems or issues that users have asked him to solve with Perl. Mostly, these are reprints of the original article, but sometimes they have been updated. In all cases you get more than just the scrip that solves the problem, you also get the theory behind it, detailed information on the problem and issues being addressed, and some potential ways to extend it. For more details, read the full review of the book at Free Software Magazine.

Degunking Linux

It may seem like this is all I’ve been doing for the past few months, but I have yet another book review that has made it on to the ‘free’ area of Free Software Magazine. This time it is Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith. At its heart, this book is about trying to get the best performance – from CPU speed, to application performance and even disk space – out of your machine by doing some regular maintenance. This includes removing old applications, keeping your system up to date, flushing out the old caches and keeping your system spick and span. This book has a rather interesting layout, in that it not only covers the mechanicss, but also provides multi-step programs for what to do on your machine when you have a few spare minutes right up to days to spend spring cleaning your machine. If you use Linux regularly on your server or desktop, this book is well worth a read.

Linux Server Security

Frequently you will hear about how secure Linux is as an operating system. Although a lot of the security of the OS comes from the many eyes examining the code and the strong developer spirit that means software is frequently updated and improved, it doesn’t automatically mean that Linux is automatically secure out of the box. You still need to ensure some good basic security practices and principles. If you are securing specific applications and services then there are still steps to follow, other software to install and some tricks and traps for the unware. All of this is covered in detail in Linux Server Security, by Michael D Bauer. A review of the book that I did for Free Software Magazine has just reached the Free Software Magazine website.