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New auto-change desktop picture script UNIX
[Editor's note: Submitted by Tony Williams on July 5th. I have not personally tested this script yet, so use at your own risk.]


I did some hacking and testing of robh's Perl script to auto change the desktop picture. Step one was to fix the way it killed the Desktop rather than the Finder (much safer). The other was to fix the handling of the file URL so that it worked with all Mac file names, including ones with spaces or other characters.

Read the rest of this article if you'd like the new and improved script.
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A replacement 'page' command UNIX
[Editor: Submitted by Mike Stolove on July 4th]

I find the default pager (more) for the 'man' info pages to be buggy. Pressing F forwards 3 pages instead of one, it always exits at the last page, and the formatting can be improved. I prefer the program less. To change it, add this line to your ~/.login file:
setenv PAGER /usr/bin/less
This should help because, as we all know, man is dogs best friend.

Mike Stolove
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OS X GNU software packages UNIX
If you're looking for some of the more common GNU software programs pre-compiled in easy-to-use package installers, check out for things such as Pine, Bash, Lynx, etc. If you don't have the developer tools installed, or simply want an easier way to get at some of the more common GNU packages, seems like a good source.

Thanks to Beckie Pack of OnlyMacintosh for contributing this tip.
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Install the latest Analog web tracking program UNIX
[Editor: If you run a webserver on your OS X box, you might want to take a look at Analog, one of the better and more widely used weblog analyzers. Read the rest of this article if you'd like the detailed step-by-step instructions needed to get it running on OS X. You'll need to have the developer tools installed, and should be comfortable working in the terminal window before you try this install (it's not overly complicated, but it does involve editing and compiling UNIX source files).

Thanks to Commet for contributing this how-to. -rob.]
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Use the clipboard in the terminal UNIX
Over on the MacNN forums, "kvm_mkdb" posted a couple of useful commands regarding the Mac OS clipboard. If you're in the terminal, and want the output of a command on the clipboard, you can easily get it. For example, to dump a detailed directory list to the clipboard, just type:
ls -al | pbcopy #
You can then paste the contents of the clipboard using pbpaste:
pbpaste > somefile #
This would send the clipboard contents into "somefile". Of course, that's not a great example, as you could have just sent the directory list to the file in the first place (ls -al > somefile). However, it's more useful if you want to paste into a GUI-based application such as Word or BBedit. No more mouse selection required; simply use pbcopy, switch to the GUI app, and hit command-V.

I can't find a 'man' page or help file for either of these commands - anyone know if there are more options available?
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Shell script for copying files and resource forks UNIX
Lots of people have been complaining or commenting on how there is no way to use the 'tar' command to backup, share, archive, copy, etc. files on the Mac that have resources and desktop information. Well after a few days of trial and error I have found a way.

I call it "tarw" - The tar Wrapper.

tarw is essentailly a perl script that uses the tar command to archive files individually. This allows you to archive resource forks, desktop files any data that you can get your hands on essentially. The current version simply ads support for resource forks and desktop information like creator, type and attributes. In the future who knows what is possible.

I have placed a gzipped file "tarw.tgz" on my iDisk you are free to download at:

To use the program, simply download and extract it. There is a readme file included with it.
Please provide feedback to this posting or if you like e-mail me I would love to hear what people have to say about it.

Good Luck and long live the Mac.

[Editor's note: I haven't tried this myself yet, but it sounds like a handy command-line utility!]
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Resolve SSH problems in 10.0.4 UNIX
I have seen some scattered reports of problems connecting to other systems using 10.0.4 (which includes OpenSSH 2.9p1, according to Apple's documentation). The connection begins, but then terminates with the message "Disconnecting: Bad packet length -898731090", or just fails to connect. To help debug the problem, you can try using SSH with a -v option, which is verbose mode and will show you the details of the connection attempt.

The X4U mailing lists have had some discussion on this topic, and have come up with three possible solutions:
  1. Try connecting with the 'blowfish' encryption scheme (ssh -c blowfish
  2. Compile and install OpenSSH 2.9p2 on your OS X box (there are instructions on StepWise)
  3. Upgrade the other machine (if you can) to OpenSSH 2.9p1 or later
  4. Try forcing SSH to use SSH1 instead of SSH2 (ssh -1 [noticed on MacFixit this morning]
  5. Regenerate your SSH keys (use ssh-keygen at the command line) [from the comments below]
Each of the above methods has worked for at least one user. Personally, SSH is working for me just as it did before the upgrade, but if you're having troubles, try one of the above solutions.
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Simple Mac OS X Perl tutorial UNIX
There's a simple tutorial that explains how to write and execute a Perl script under Mac OS X located at

[Editor's note: MacTipsCafe has some other tips on using OS X as well; make sure you check out the home page while you're there.]
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Apache security hole in OS X Client UNIX
Stefan Arentz has discovered a security hole in Apache which affects Mac OS X Clients serving pages off of HFS+ formatted volumes and using .htaccess for protecting directories. Since HFS+ doesn't care about capitalization, but Apache does, you can access a protected directory (say "test") by using a version with capitalization ("tEsT"). Apache won't see this as a request for a protected directory, and HFS+ will return the file, since it doesn't care about the capitalization. Instant password protection workaround.

Stefan has posted a thorough description of the bug on SecurityFocus; check out the article for more information, along with a suggested workaround until Apple releases a patch of some sort (if they do).

If you are serving pages from an HFS+ disk, protected with .htaccess files on your OS X client box, this article and workaround are a must read!
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Install a replacement mail server UNIX
Not sure if this has been posted here yet, but though it might be of interest. Turning your OSX box into a mailserver by replacing sendmail with Postfix. Very easy to follow guide and thorough explanations.

Article by Graham Orndorff
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