April 2, 2008

Ask Linux.com

Author: Linux.com Staff

Last week we took a look inside the Linux.com forums to see what readers were talking about and what questions needed answering. Since that visit led to answers for some threads and spawned several new forums users, we thought we'd come back with questions that range from why you have to type in your password for sudo, to how to work with the DjVu scanned image format.

Sudo and user passwords

In the New to Linux forum, user Arthur4 asked a deceptively simple question about disabling the "admin password." A little clarification revealed that he was frustrated by repeatedly having to enter his password for sudo access to system configuration tasks.

Shashank Sharma explained how to change sudo's preferences to suppress the password prompt -- but he and other respondents also reminded everyone that such action is an inherent security risk that should not be taken lightly.

Monitoring the Web

User maven asked the Applications forum how to monitor Web pages for changes, and get email or RSS alerts when there is activity.

I need a program or script to monitor a list of Web pages and alert me (via email or RSS) when specified parts of any of the pages change. I'd like to run it on a shared Web hosting account, so PHP, Python, etc. would be nice. I've used Webmon in the past, but it doesn't do email or RSS alerts and it's Windows only. I'd like to avoid having my desktop machine on all the time.

Several readers made suggestions, including a Linux port of WebMon called WebMonX and the native Linux desktop application Specto, which we reviewed in March.

Neither WebMonX nor Specto fits maven's need exactly -- he would like a server-based solution that doesn't depend on a desktop session keeping an app open 24/7. Got any ideas?

Open questions: Keyboard shortcuts, DjVu, and more

Even if you don't have a solution for maven, there are more unanswered threads where you might be able to help a Linux user in need.

In the Hardware forum, Dunewalker is having trouble getting a USB 2.0 PCI expansion card recognized.

User the_melbo is looking for Linux instructional classes, and is willing to pay for a good course.

Over in Applications, user kancha wants to know how to configure SquirrelMail and Postfix to send vacation messages for two different mail domains in a single installation.

And abhseth is looking for help with optical character recognition, converting existing PDF files to DjVu format.

If those questions fall outside your specific area of expertise, swing by the New to Linux forum, where there are always people experimenting with Linux for the first time who could use a friendly pointer.

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