Command Line Kung Fu Developer

Want to become a Linux guru, or just look like one? Then visit Command-Line-Fu.

From the site:

Command-Line-Fu is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again. Delete that bloated snippets file you’ve been using and share your personal repository with the world. That way others can gain from your CLI wisdom and you from theirs too. All commands can be commented on and discussed. Voting is also encouraged so the best float to the top.

You can subscribe to the feeds or follow the latest commands on Twitter. Every new command is wrapped in a tweet and posted to the Command-Line-Fu account.


Using Unison to synchronize more than two machines

Rsync is great, however, it only synchronizes files in one direction. Unison, on the other hand, synchronizes both ways. It allows two replicas of a collection of files and directories to be stored on different hosts, modified separately, and then brought up to date by propagating the changes in each replica to the other.

Why you should use Unison instead of Rsync:

  • Unison works across platforms, allowing you to synchronize a Windows laptop with a Unix server, for example.
  • Unlike simple mirroring or backup utilities, Unison can deal with updates to both replicas of a distributed directory structure. Updates that do not conflict are propagated automatically. Conflicting updates are detected and displayed.
  • Unlike a distributed filesystem, Unison is a user-level program: there is no need to modify the kernel or to have superuser privileges on either host.
  • Unison works between any pair of machines connected to the internet, communicating over either a direct socket link or tunneling over an encrypted ssh connection. It is careful with network bandwidth, and runs well over slow links such as PPP connections. Transfers of small updates to large files are optimized using a compression protocol similar to rsync.
  • Unison is resilient to failure. It is careful to leave the replicas and its own private structures in a sensible state at all times, even in case of abnormal termination or communication failures.


Get groovy for better shell scripts

Eric Wendelin wrote:

I often use shell scripts to automate mundane, repeatable tasks on my computer. Since I’ve found Groovy, though, I have discovered a great way to make writing those scripts easier and more enjoyable. This is especially true if I have anything complex to do, and it saves me a LOT of time.

I couldn’t agree more. Also, I’m quite impressed how easy is to operate on an XML document with Groovy.

Get groovy for better shell scripts

Building desktop Linux applications with JavaScript

During his keynote presentation at OSCON last year, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth described application extensibility as an important enabler of innovation and user empowerment. Citing the Firefox web browser and its rich ecosystem of add-ons as an example, Shuttleworth suggested that the Linux community could deliver a lot of extra value by making scriptable automation and plugin capabilities available pervasively across the entire desktop stack.

Mark Shuttleworth also described his strategy for accelerating the adoption of Linux. He discussed the importance of extensibility in open platforms, contemplated the challenges of adapting conventional software methodologies so that they can be used for community-driven development, and contended that the open source software community has the potential to deliver a user experience which exceeds that of Apple’s Mac OS X platform.

Ryan Paul: Building desktop Linux apps with JavaScript

Running Quercus in Jetty Web Server

Jetty Web server can be invoked and installed as a stand alone application server. It has a flexible component based architecture that allows it to be easily deployed and integrated in a diverse range of instances. The project is supported by a growing community and a team with a history of being responsive to innovations and changing requirements. More info here.

Installing Jetty

First you need to download Jetty. It’s distributed as a platform independent zip file containing source, javadocs and binaries. The most recent distro can be downloaded from Codehaus:

$ wget
$ unzip
$ cp -R jetty-6.1.14 /opt/
$ cd /opt
$ ln -s /opt/jetty-6.1.14 jetty

Problems installing Jetty? More info here.

Running Jetty

Running jetty is as simple as going to your jetty installation directory and typing:

$ cd /opt/jetty
$ java -jar start.jar etc/jetty.xml

This will start jetty and deploy a demo application available at:


That’s it. Now stop Jetty with cntrl-c in the same terminal window as you started it.

Installing Quercus

Quercus is a complete implementation of the PHP language and libraries in Java. It gives both Java and PHP developers a fast, safe, and powerful alternative to the standard PHP interpreter. Quercus is available for download as a WAR file which can be easily deployed on Jetty:

$ wget -P ~/quercus
$ jar xf ~/quercus/quercus-3.2.1.war

Unpack the WAR file and copy all the jars to Jetty’s global library directory:

$ cp ~/quercus/WEB-INF/lib/* /opt/jetty/lib

Configuring Jetty

Edit the web.xml file:

$ vi /opt/jetty/webapps/test/WEB-INF/web.xml

Add the following between the web-app tags:

    <servlet-name>Quercus Servlet</servlet-name>
    <servlet-name>Quercus Servlet</servlet-name>

Create a PHP file inside the test application:

$ cat /opt/jetty/webapps/test/index.php
<?php phpinfo(); ?>

This file will be available at:


It works! You are now ready to:

Instantiate objects by class name

$a = new Java("java.util.Date", 123);
print $a->time;

Import classes

import java.util.Date;

$a = new Date(123);
print $a->time;

Call Java methods

import java.util.Date;

$a = new Date(123);
print $a->getTime();
print $a->setTime(456);

print $a->time;
$a->time = 456;

And much, much more.

NautilusSVN: Linux TortoiseSVN Equivalent

Based on Stuart Langridge’s original script, Jason Field and Bruce van der Kooij created a set of Python scripts which integrate a load of Subversion functionality into the Gnome Nautilus browser. It’s basically a clone of the TortoiseSVN project on Windows.

NautilusSVN currently supports the following functionality:

  • Checkout
  • Commit
  • Revert
  • Diff (using Meld or gvimdiff)
  • Log Viewer
  • Revision and SVN User as columns in Nautilus views
  • Emblems to show file status (though buggy)
  • SSL authentication (buggy)
  • Username and password entry dialog
  • Editing Properties

NautilusSVN Project

Netbooks: Microsoft’s biggest worry

Netbooks will account for about a third of all PC growth this year, according to Citigroup. They are a real threat to Microsoft. Clearly, the future is in netbooks and that has Microsoft worried. Microsoft isn’t just worried about ceding 30% of the netbook market to Linux, it’s also worried that if people get used to running Linux on netbooks, they’ll consider buying Linux on desktop PCs as well.

According to Dickie Chang, this gives users a chance to see and try something new, showing them there is an alternative.

Happy New Year!