Utilities

How to use some of the more fundamental tools in Linux. Sometimes you can do more with less...

Many of the various sites I maintain have comment sections. Some have Forum software (typically Kunena), some allow comments on articles, some on images. All of these site have in common that if the configuration is not perfectly right, you end up with tons of spam. And by "tons," I mean several gigabytes of uploads a month.

I am slowly getting the configuration down, but every software update, every new installation is another potential trap. Then I will look at the stats and realize there is a sudden surge of uploads from a particular location (so far, Russia and Ukraine have been particularly prolific). I will look at the comments, and they will typically be in English and try to sell (for whatever reason) fashion articles.

I assume, from referrer traffic, that this is a ploy to increase the search engine ranking of sites that sell counterfeit wares. If I have a link to a Guggi handbag (popular with spammers!), and I am a "good" site, then Google et al. will rank the link higher.

So far, I've been going for a very low-level approach: I look for IP addresses that generate "too much" traffic, block them, and look at the database tables that hold comment spam. Then I remove the offending comments manually.

Read more: Creating Blog Spam Alerts

Working with version control systems can be a pain in the butt. I notice that most frequently when I do a find in an SVN directory and find all the administrative files that go with it. It's factors more files in there than in the actual directory.

At the same time, there are times when you would want every access to a file recorded, so as to be able to undo things. Restore the status as of last Monday, or see the difference in that file that just got changed a minute ago.

Versioned file systems have been around for a long while. On Linux, apparently, the default is copyfs - which also apparently hasn't seen much of an update in a long while. 

Here I used a different approach than that used by most. Instead of creating a file system that does its own versioning, I used an existing versioning tool, subversion, and made its use transparent. The advantage is that this file system doesn't require you to learn a new tool, if you know subversion; if you don't know or care about versioning, you don't have to worry, either: this file system will be perfectly transparent to you.

Read more: SVNFS: a Versioned File System

clickyI am a compulsive screen maximizer. Start menu bars are set to auto-vanish on my screen, and the app rules the day. If you think I ever see my desktop, I have to disappoint you. Plasma widgets are useless on my computer, and frankly I don't understand how anyone ends up having enough screen real estate to see the background picture they chose, unless there is a sudden crash of an application.

That leaves no room for a clock to be visible on my screen. A clock is one of those things you really need, once in a while, but unless it's "once in a while," it's perfectly pointless.

Like the title bar on windows. You got the app icon, the title, and the close/maximize area, but otherwise it's a waste of space. 

Read more: Clocky - a Tiny Title Bar Clock in Linux
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