Configuring CGIWrap for large shared hosting systems


The purpose of this document is to show how to configure CGIWrap to allow users on shared hosting to run CGI and PHP scripts using their own user identity and permissions. The code in this HOWTO is used to provide CGI and PHP capability for over 8,000 users of a Red Hat Enterprise Linux host. In this HOWTO you will learn how to install CGIWrap so that users will be able to run CGI and PHP scripts in a directory named public_html.

What is CGIWrap?

CGIWrap is a gateway program that allows general users to use CGI scripts and HTML forms without compromising the security of the http server. Scripts are run with the permissions of the user who owns the script. In addition, several security checks are performed on the script, which will not be executed if any checks fail.

CGIWrap is used via a URL in an HTML document. As distributed, cgiwrap is configured to run user scripts which are located in the ~/public_html/cgi-bin/ directory.

CGIWrap Documentation

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Reprint: My Collection of Vintage Smalltalk Books

This is a reprint of a 2010 item that got lost when I moved from WordPress to SquareSpace. I see in the logs that some really astute folks came looking for some Smalltalk news but got the 403 Missing Page instead. Sorry about that. Let's hope that Google sends its little robot around to re-index this real soon. :)

Every time I’m swept up in an new project I gird my loins by gathering a phalanx of books around me. I start by downloading all of the free PDF’s I can find. Stephane Ducasse, author the entertaining Squeak Robots book, has an exhaustive list of free out-of-print Smalltalk books. So I got them all. I don’t know how many of these books I’ll ever read, but I feel good having them there, just in case.

I like real books, so I scoured the used book list on Amazon and was able to find paper copies of many of my free PDF’s.

Most of these books were first published in the 80's and 90's, with a few of the Squeak books arriving after 2000.

Most of these books were first published in the 80's and 90's, with a few of the Squeak books arriving after 2000.

Of all of these books, my favorite is SMALLTALK-80 by Adele Goldberg and David Robson (1989). Though the book’s cover gives it a quaintly old-fashioned look, the content is contemporary and the writing admirably clear — perfect for a student like me.

I like this book so much that I carry it with me on my walks around San Francisco and read it while I sit in Starbucks eating pastries and drinking espressos. Now and then some generic dude will see my antique book and comment, “Damn. Is that language still around? Why would you want to learn that when you could learn Java?” 

I also have a soft spot in my heart for Squeak: Learn Programming with Robots by Stephane Ducasse, which I’ve mentioned previously. This book is good-spirited and all about having fun with programming. It’s an absolutely painless, fun introduction to Smalltalk. A kid can handle this book easily—even an adult kid.

My buddy Bill G. observed me collecting these dusty, out of print tomes. Back in the 80’s he did some Smalltalk programming in The Valley. He said, “There used to be an all-Smalltalk books store in Palo Alto on University Avenue, right down the road from Xerox. That’s how hot Smalltalk was in those days.” He paused. “I think that place is a Starbucks now.”

That’s cool with me. I need a clean, well-lighted place to hang out and read my books and get hassled by Java programmers.

Happy hacking…


A Linux Workstation for Eric S Raymond

One of my favorite tech-talk Youtube channels is TekSyndicate. Their combination of jerkiness, humor, and relevant information entertains me.  When I was putting together my workstation I watched a bunch of their DIY build videos, but ended up getting hooked on their news videos.

But, they recently they topped themselves --- they built Eric S. Raymond's new workstation. If you don't know who Eric S Raymond is, it's not big deal, but you're probably running his GPS daemon software on your phone. If you're into Linux, check it out --- it's fun to watch a bunch of geeks build a dream machine.