Historical Timeline of Linux

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It was the summer of 1994 when I was first introduced to the lighter version of Unix called Linux. At the time I did not fully understand the future for the OS and embraced it as almost a geek’s favorite dream since I was already a Unix nerd. Since that time Linux has grown into a full-blown, robust, consumer oriented OS which easily has the speed, reliability and security to topple the two behemoths from their glass perches. The news is, as a world of Linux geeks, we really don’t want normal users coming en mass. In fact I almost wish releases like Ubuntu did not make it so dadgummed simple for the average Jane and Jack to switch.

Truth be told for your small business nothing could be better than a secure installation of Linux which cuts your annual software licensing costs to almost nil. While there are a few third-party apps with a fee you can do pretty much anything you need to get done around the average office, unless you have proprietary tools developed by 3rd class developers who only know how to use MS or Mac tools to get the job done, for next to nothing.

Linux is free as are many powerful and well supported applications. You can use a choice of robust word processing tools, just about any web browser, printers, web cams, human input devices, speakers, games, chat, web development (no duh, most real developers are Linux geeks anyway), video editing, graphics … must I continue?

While I am not in IT, I am an applications and content developer, I can tell you I have been running a small business on Linux since 2001 and have logged nearly $1 billion in sales on Linux – for free. It lets me break down my security into micro bites as well as giving me the power to modify the kernel on the fly to make the system behave the way I need it to behave when I need it done. Try that with OS or MS.

Just One More Reason to Go Linux

Graphical memory allocation app for Linux.

I won’t take the time here to list all of the reasons to use Linux and in reality most Linux users prefer the wimps and cry-babies to stay away from Linux. But, since you’re neither a wimp nor a cry-baby and just have not stepped up to the operating system of real geeks and developers, here’s just another reason to try Linux now: memory management and ease of managing how much memory is used where.

The screenshot shows how well presented memory allocation and use is on Linux.  Are there apps like this for Mac and Windows? Sort of. For both Mac and Windows they look more like this. One of the beautiful aspects of the Linux world is the open source community provides amazing tools just like this one.

The Disk Usage Analyzer pictured here is included in Ubuntu distributions. If you just want to try Ubuntu, one of the easier for newbies distributions, you can create a USB drive boot and run the entire operating system and several plugins from a 16 gig thumb drive.

Running Spotify on Linux

So you’ve finally broken the chains and are ready to soar with your superior operating system. Yes, it’s a little more involved to do a few things you can expose yourself to with a click on the two behemoths but it’s worth the extra few minutes. In reality it’s usually just as simple as knowing how to use Google to find the solution – like many readers have done just now!

First let me say that you can run your business computers with Linux. Some installs are easier to use and others are more secure and powerful. For the beginner I currently recommend Ubuntu. Previously I may have recommended Mandrake or RedHat but currently (Winter 2012) I recommend Ubuntu. The current release is 11x and it’s quite simple even for the person just starting with Linux. Be smart and start with a single computer, learn a few tips and then delete your Windows and Mac OS partitions!

Now the meat: Spotify doesn’t make a big deal about their Linux version but it exists – and you can get it. Although the documentation says it is only available to Premium users (as of this date) that’s not exactly accurate. It should be told that Spotify is in a large part developed on Linux as is most of the web and many other applications the world uses every day. The Spotify version for Linux originally existed only for the developers but they continue to tweak it and now, because they finally got it to stream ads, it is available to you, too. Available to you if you know a few tips like this one from http://www.spotify.com/us/download/previews/:

So how do you get it? We’ve packaged it for Debian Squeeze/Ubuntu 10.04 package and for Fedora 13, i386 and x86_64.

Debian

# 1. Add this line to your list of repositories by  #    editing your /etc/apt/sources.list  deb http://repository.spotify.com stable non-free    # 2. If you want to verify the downloaded packages,  #    you will need to add our public key  sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 4E9CFF4E    # 3. Run apt-get update  sudo apt-get update    # 4. Install spotify!  sudo apt-get install spotify-client-qt

Using .htaccess to shorten or redirect links

It happens. You create a page buried deep in your directories like http://www.yoursite.com/data/new/articles/automobiles/new/ford.php – makes an okay link to click on but a little difficult to share in a print or broadcast ad. If, instead, you could have http://yoursite.com/ford you’d probably increase your sales.

This tip can be accomplished a few different ways depending on your available applications, server configuration and perhaps even operating system. This article assumes you are familiar with FTP and are hosting your website on a Linux machine with Apache. If so this is simple and quick.

Step One

FTP to your www (public_html) directory or whatever your web document root folder is called.

Step Two

Locate the .htaccess file. If one does not exist you’re make one in any editor that can save in plain text.

Step Three

Make a backup copy of your existing .htaccess file.

Step Four

Insert the following lines of code at the top of your .htaccess file

#long URL redirect  RewriteRule ^ford$ http://www.yoursite.com/new/ford.php [NC,L]

What happens?

The .htaccess file tells the Apache server how to act. When it is in the document root folder it runs before anything else happens. In this case when the browser requests http://www.yoursite.com/ford the .htaccess file sees that and rewrites it to http://www.yoursite.com/data/new/articles/automobiles/new/ford.php through the RewriteRule – a server level command.

Break it down

The RewriteRule reads the input from the browser and rewrites it to whatever you designate. You can point a local address to an offsite address. For example you could Rewrite http://yoursite.com/search to go to http://google.com/

The caret ^ is shorthand for http://yoursite.com/ (the directory the .htaccess file resides in)

The dollar sign $ tells Apache this is the end of the term to look for. It won’t look for (in this case) fords, fordy or even ford.

After the target URL are two directives NC and L. The NC tells Apache to ignore text case. This means ford, FORD, Ford or FoRd will all rewrite to your target URL. The L means Last. This stops the .htaccess process and immediately sends the browser on its way.

Got questions or need help using it? Call 877-7000-KEN which is 877-700-0536