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SELinux: Comprehensive security at the price of usability

By Mayank Sharma

Operating system security revolves around controlling access. Linux distributions subscribe to the Discretionary Access Control (DAC) mechanism that lets resource owners decide who gets to access the resource and how. People soon realized that DAC is not an ideal solution, as it gives applications the same privileges of the user running them. One compromised application running as root effectively compromises the full system. This led security experts to develop Mandatory Access Control (MAC), which grants access to resources as defined by a security policy, regardless of the user running the application. The Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) project is the first mainstream implementation of MAC.

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A survey of Linux PDF viewers

Portable Document Format, designed in the early 1990s by Adobe Systems, is slowly replacing PostScript as the preferred format for saving and viewing generic documents. Early on, only Adobe supplied programs that enabled users to view PDF files. But since the format's specification is open, Adobe Reader (formerly "Adobe Acrobat Reader") is now only one among an increasing set of PDF viewers. Here's a guide to the best alternatives for Linux users.

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Quick and dirty Samba setup

By Joel Nahrgang

Samba is an open source project that allows Windows users to connect to a Linux server from which to share data. If you are looking for a simple, affordable home file server, or need more disk space on your office network, a Linux server with Samba is the way to go. Linux along with Samba offers a stable, secure environment that is available at no cost, along with features such as remote administration, immunity to Windows viruses, and the ability to run on low-end machines. Here's how you can set up a simple Samba server on Slackware for SOHO use.

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How to bridge networks with OpenVPN

By Manolis Tzanidakis

OpenVPN is an easy-to-use open source VPN software based on SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) that offers cross-platform interoperability. The majority of OpenVPN tutorials I've found describe how users can connect to a corporate network from their laptops over insecure networks, such as the wireless network in a hotel. By contrast, the setup I'm about to describe is better suited for permanently connecting entire networks -- for example, branch offices to the headquarters of a company.

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Vim tips: Working with external commands

Vim is a powerful editing tool, but there are some things it just can't do. However, Vim lets you access shell commands and utilities without leaving Vim, and that lets you perform some amazing tricks.

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