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Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

Like anything else on linux, it’s easiest to do things from the command line. Open up a terminal window and type in the following commands

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You will often have the need to access data that resides on another server, whether you are writing an online RSS aggregator or doing screen scraping for a searching mechanism. PHP makes pulling this data into a string variable an extremely simple process.

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Apache gives you a list of files in an empty directory by default, but sometimes you will want to show a list of files that are in a directory through PHP so that you can customize the output of the list, and make a “pretty” listing of files. Here’s the basic code to make a list.

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Note: I’ve written an updated article for both Vista and XP

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There are a number of ways to kill a process if you know the name of the process. Here’s a couple different ways you can accomplish this. We are going to assume that the process we are trying to kill is named irssi

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A useful technique for your applications is allowing them to parse command line arguments. This can give a lot of extra functionality to your application, for instance to pass the name of a file to open on the command line.

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When you are programming a Windows Forms application, you will invariably need to get variables from a second form window, such as an options form or popup search prompt.

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If you have an unwieldy text file that you are trying to process, splitting it in sections can sometimes help processing time, especially if we were going to import a file into a spreadsheet. Or you might want to just retrieve a particular set of lines from a file.

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Setting up an SSH server on Ubuntu is about as simple as it gets. The server of choice is OpenSSH.

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The ASP.NET development environment on Ubuntu Linux is called XSP. This is a simple webserver written in C# that can be used for either ASP.NET 1.0 or 2.0 applications. You can install both environments side by side if need be.

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Update: These instructions are out of date. You should instead install MonoDevelop from source.

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When you are trying to install software on Ubuntu or Debian linux using the apt-get package system, quite often you’ll forget the exact name of the package you are trying to install. Here’s how you can get a little help figuring out what the name is.

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If you are doing any kind of PHP development, you’ll almost always be using Apache along with it. Here’s the quick and easy way to get PHP up and running on your Ubuntu box.

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There is no easier way to get your Ubuntu installation up and running with the tools you need than Automatix. I’m not entirely certain why this hasn’t been integrated into the core of the system yet, because it’s about as easy as it gets.

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Windows has included batch files since before it existed… batch files are really old! Old or not, I still find myself frequently creating batch files to help me automate common tasks. One common task is uploading files to a remote FTP server. Here’s the way that I got around it.

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If you are familiar with linux/unix, you will be very accustomed to the ability to kill (and start) processes from the command line. Linux gives you a very rich set of command line tools that simply don’t exist on Windows by default.

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To interact with the services panel from the command line, Windows provides the Net utility. From the command prompt, you can use this utility to start, stop, pause and continue services. What most people don’t realize is that you can also use this to display a list of services that are running on your computer.

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The Routing table dictates where all packets go when they leave your system. On most environments, all packets that leave your system will be forwarded over to your router or hub, and from there out to the internet.

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This seems to help out with the memory usage quite a bit. Generally, when you minimize a window the memory usage goes way down because that application isn’t active. Unfortunately, Firefox by default doesn’t adhere to this behavior. Here’s how to force it to.

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For this exercise, we will use the mysqldump utility the same as if we were backing up the entire database.

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From a command prompt or terminal window, run this command:

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Very simple, either use the clear command:

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To find files containing keywords, linux has a powerful command called grep, which you can use to find the lines inside any file or a list of files. I use this very often to find a function declaration in a set of php files that I’m unfamiliar with.

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Run this command from a terminal window. This works on debian, ubuntu, and redhat. I’m sure it works on others but those are the only ones I have access to.

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This approach works for any linux operating system, including Ubuntu, and is probably most often used in conjunction with web development work.

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