MonadLUG notes, 8-Mar-2007: tac and “Pitch Your Distro”

The second Thursday of the month is the usual meeting of the Monadnock Area Linux User Group, MonadLUG, at the SAU #1 offices on Hancock Road in Peterborough. This month, Ray Côté ran a discussion on “Pitch Your Distro” and Bill Sconce took on the “Man Page of the Month” on the command tac.

You won’t think you could make much of a presentation on tac, but that would be underestimating Bill Sconce 😉 Here’s the short form: tac is cat backwards. Longer form: tac lets concatenates files, but reverses the line ordering of the result, so you get last line first. There are only a couple switches, -s to specify a separator other than newline and -r to use a regex separator. Using this simple tool, Bill was able to present a wicked example that reversed not only line order by character order, and lead to a discussion about the use of regular expressions, piping, precedence, quoting and backticks. A good time was had by all.

The main discussion was a let’s-go-around-the-room discussion of what distros are in use and why and for what. With nine people present (and one of them a non-combatant), how many distros would you expect? We heard about: Debian, Slackware, OpenBSD, OS X, Fedora, RedHat, CentOS, SuSE, Mandrake, Ubuntu, Xubuntu, more RedHat, Knoppix, Gentoo, Libranet and some Knoppix war stories. Many aspects of the different distros were discussed: cost, support, lifespan, the difficulties of sound cards, and more.

Many thanks to Ray for running the meeting, Bill for tac and bringing a projector, and all for participating.

Next month’s meeting (April 12th) will have Seth Cohn presenting Drupal. Hope to see you there!

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