Things to learn about Linux

Julia Evans has this amazing list of things to learn about Linux.  I think, it doesn’t matter how new or experienced you are with the operating system, you’ll find a few points in this list that you either know nothing about or know very little.

Personally, I’ve been using and administrating Linux systems for almost two decades now, and my own knowledge of the things on that list is either very limited or not existing.  Sure, I know about pipes and signals, but even with basic things like permissions there are some tricky questions that I’m not sure I can get right on the first go.

Some of the topics mentioned are simple and straight-forward and will only need a few minutes or a couple of hours to get up to speed with.  Others – are huge areas which might take years, if not decades (like networking, for example).

I look forward to Julia’s drawings covering some of these.


PHP 7.1.0 Released!

PHP 7.1.0 release is out, bringing quite a bit of new features and improvements.  Here are some of the new things:

I guess I’ll wait for Fedora 26 or something to get a silent upgrade. :)

Migrating to PHP 7

PHP 7.0.0 has been released for a year now.  I wasn’t in a rush to migrate to it, but with all the cool features and performance optimization, it’s definitely something I wanted to look into rather sooner than later.

It turns out that I’ve done my first PHP 7 migration a week ago, when I upgraded my laptop to Fedora 25.  Yup, that’s right.  It’s a bit embarrassing, but I have been developing on PHP 7 for a week without even noticing it.

$ php --version
PHP 7.0.13 (cli) (built: Nov 9 2016 07:29:28) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2016 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.0.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2016 Zend Technologies
with Xdebug v2.4.1, Copyright (c) 2002-2016, by Derick Rethans

I think that was due to a few things:

  • It’s been quite a busy week, so my attention was all over the place.
  • PHP 7 backward compatibility is pretty awesome.  There are only a few things that need fixing in the older code bases, but if you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few years, you probably have nothing to change or worry about.
  • Most of the code I’m working on runs through TravisCI builds, which are executed on both PHP 5.6 and PHP 7.  Since we had this for a while now, most, if not all, of our code is PHP 7 compatible.

The absolute lack of any issues for the last week, related to this upgrade, is encouraging.  Now I will probably try to upgrade our servers sooner than later.

With that, I’ll go back to the wonderful and exciting world of PHP, leaving you to decide whether I’m very serious or very sarcastic…


Things to avoid when writing application logs

DaedTech runs the blog post “Avoid these Things When Logging from Your Application“.  It sounds trivial, but it’s not.  There are quite a few good reminders for best logging practices.  Here’s the summary list:

  • Forgetting Context
  • Cryptic Codes
  • Spamming the Log File
  • Unsafe Logging Calls
  • Mixing Application Logic with Logging
  • Sensible Logging

Read the whole thing for examples and details.

Julia’s Drawings on Programming

Julia Evans, who blogs about her programming endeavors, now also draws simple, note-like sketches on a variety of the computer and programming related subjects.  Those are great as kick memory refreshers or reminders for “I wanted to learn more about that” kind of things.  Here’s her take on pipes, for example:


Worth an RSS subscription!

runkit – changing the PHP internals on the fly

Here is something I didn’t know about until today – PHP’s runkit extension:

The runkit extension provides means to modify constants, user-defined functions, and user-defined classes. It also provides for custom superglobal variables and embeddable sub-interpreters via sandboxing.

This blog post – “Shimming PHP for Fun and Profit” – demonstrates how to use it with a case for a custom base64_decode() and unserialize() functions.  Here is the actual code on GitHub, which shows off how to use runkit_function_rename() and runkit_function_add().

This is not something one would use frequently, but might be an absolute life saver on a rainy day.

Deployer — Deployment tool for PHP


Deployer is yet another tool for deploying PHP projects.   It looks to have more similarities with Laravel Envoy and phake, than with, of which I am a new and growing fan.  But I thought I’d throw it into the mix here, just in case I’ll change my mind in the future.

Top 29 books on Amazon from Hacker News comments


I came across this nice visualization of “Top 29 books ranked by unique users linking to Amazon in Hacker News comments“.

Amazon product links were extracted and counted from 8.3M comments posted on Hacker News from Oct 2006 to Oct 2015.

Most of these are, not surprisingly, on programming and design.  A few are on startups and business.  Some are on how to have a good life.  Which is a bit weird.

Chrome Extension : var_masterpiece – turn PHP var_dump() into a thing of beauty


Var Masterpiece is a Google Chrome add-on, which formats PHP var_dump() output into something much more beautiful and useful.  You can customize the type colors and a few other things in the extension options, once installed.