Linux Journal November 2012

Linux Journal November 2012

by Jill Franklin

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Linux Journal November 2012 by Jill Franklin

A quick overview of what's in this special Python issue:

* Intro to Salt Stack--the Python-Built Configuration Management System
* Incorporate Python into Your Bash Workflow
* Write Extensions for GlusterFS with Python
* Extend PostgreSQL's Capabilities with PostGIS 2.0
* Create Applications inside the Chrome Browser

Detailed Overview: Indiana was the Dog's Name

My wife is afraid of snakes. Actually, "afraid" may not be a big enough word.
My wife is terrifyingly and abundantly mortified of snakes. Like any good
husband, I remind her that Indiana Jones also was afraid of snakes, so she's in
good company. This month, our issue is all about vipers--no, wait, Python.
Whether you're a new programmer or an old coder, Python is flexible, cross-platform and really quite robust.

Joey Bernard gets the Python train rolling in our UpFront section. Sympy is a
library for Python providing a full-featured computer algebra system.
Although I
have no problem with my kids learning long division, there certainly are some
great advantages to using computers for complex maths.

Reuven M. Lerner takes a trip into HTML5 land. He shows how to create Chrome
extensions, which can be entire applications running inside your browser. With
HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and so on, Chrome applications can be robust, complex and a
far cry from the Web applications of just a few years ago. In fact, if you
recall from last month, I use a Chrome extension for writing my Linux Journal

Our other resident programmer is Dave Taylor, who teaches how to use SIGALARM
in scripts to add valuable complexity to scripts that need it. That might
sound overwhelming, but Dave explains what he's doing along the way, and in the
end, what seems like a complex and confusing idea makes sense. Speaking of
confusing ideas, I had to do a double take when I read Kyle Rankin's article on
his new Android device. Yes, you read that right, Kyle uses Android. Like most
things Kyle does, however, it's more than just switching from his N900 to a new
phone. He's never happy with just a phone; Kyle wants a communication device
that doubles as an International Space Station. This month, he comes close.

I haven't been happy with the lack of hate mail in my inbox recently, so I
thought it would be a good time to write an article about Windows. Okay, to be
honest, it's a little more complicated than that, but I fully expect to get hate
mail nonetheless! As a Linux user currently stuck in a job with a Windows
infrastructure (not here at Linux Journal, of course), I'm working hard to feel
as at home as possible. I share my struggles with you, and maybe make Windows a
little easier to deal with.

After my sacrilegious foray into the Windows world, Richard Delaney brings us
back to topic with his article on replacing Bash scripts with Python. Since
Bash scripting is the only form of programming I ever do, I'm both hesitant and
excited about this topic. Learning a new language would be very beneficial for
me, and if I can use it for the same purposes I use Bash, all the better!

GlusterFS is a fascinating distributed filesystem, which can scale to enormous
size. If you're a Python programmer and want to add functionality to
GlusterFS, Jeff Darcy's article is perfect. Integrating code across languages
can be a daunting task, but with the flexibility of Python, Jeff shows us it's
worth the effort.

Configuration management systems are all the rage. This is obviously because it
makes managing large numbers of servers much easier to do. A part of me thinks
it might be due to the funny sounding project names as well. Puppet and
Chef are both fairly well known, and thanks to their names, they're easy to remember.
This month, Ben Hosmer introduces us to a Python-based configuration management
tool named Salt Stack. Apparently having interesting names is a requirement
in the configuration management world, and Salt Stack lives up to that. Does it
live up to the functionality of its competition? Ben lets us know.

Stefano Iacovella finishes off this issue with PostGIS. PostgreSQL is a great
open-source database system, but for keeping track of spatial data (think
maps), it really needs to run with an extension like PostGIS in order to handle
that type of stuff. Not only does PostGIS allow for complex mapping of spatial
data, but it also can handle four-dimensional information as well. Good luck to
Indiana Jones if he tries to follow a four-dimensional treasure map though. It's
hard enough to keep track of snakes in three dimensions!

--Shawn Powers

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015917604
Publisher: Linux Journal
Publication date: 11/02/2012
Series: Linux Journal , #2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 10 MB

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