FSM Newsletter 11 February 2008

FSM Newsletter 11 February 2008


Mon, 2008-02-11 00:39 -- admin

Hello readers, and welcome once again to Free Software Magazine's fortnightly newsletter, keeping you up to date with all things free software... AND the top 10 FSDaily announcements for this week! Enjoy!

Top ten Free Software Daily stories this week

  1. Microsoft Cuts Off Access To Old Documents --What happened and why open formats matter! Tucked in with the many security updates (and the restoration of one’s ability to paste text from a web page into a Word document!), a very interesting modification to the Office 2003 software waits quietly for installation with Service Pack 3. These events with Office 2003 should act as a cautionary tale of proprietary product, vendor, and platform lock-in. Read more...

  2. IBM responds to Microsoft: OOXML is "technically inferior" --An article published last week quotes Microsoft officials who claim that IBM is solely responsible for ISO's recent decision to deny OOXML fast-track approval. IBM hasn't taken the accusations lightly. Read more...

  3. The GNU Manifesto --"...GNU is not in the public domain. Everyone will be permitted to modify and redistribute GNU, but no distributor will be allowed to restrict its further redistribution. That is to say, proprietary modifications will not be allowed. I want to make sure that all versions of GNU remain free..." Read more...

  4. Richard Stallman on the OLPC Laptop --"...You can download this one-minute audio clip (ogg-vorbis) of our interview with him where he talks about the OLPC laptop." Read more...

  5. GNU/something --This article might seem to be not serious, or even a little bit heretical. Well, so be it. I’ll write what I think I should write and what I see as true. Whether is it the same in your case — dear Reader — we’ll see. First of all, let me ask you a basic question: Which operating system do you use? What are the possible answers? Windows, Linux, Solaris or Mac OS X of course. But let us try to think different for a moment. Maybe it is possible, that this answer would be, for example KDE? Read more...

  6. If Torvalds quit Linux would anyone notice? --When asked what would happen if he decided to step away from coordinating kernel development, Torvalds said it certainly would not be the death of Linux. Read more...

  7. Purchasing free-software-friendly hardware --Many people have complained about the lack of pre-integrated computers running GNU/Linux or the lack of fully free software drivers for important hardware. Ultimately though, it’s up to you, the consumer, both to satisfy your own requirements and to send a message to vendors that supporting free software pays. You can do this fairly easily by integrating your own computer from its major components, and selecting only components that have free software drivers. It’s certainly possible, and even if you’ve never built a computer before, it’s not all that hard! Read more...

  8. Finding the happy medium in FOSS --Last year, Dell began offering Ubuntu on non-corporate desktops and laptops... With this offering came a lot of discussion over what Dell should include with each computer sold... comments ran the gamut from FOSS purity to legal questions to even questioning Dell's motives. Clearly the FOSS community is pulled in all directions trying to satisfy users. Is there any happy medium? Can the community balance the requests of purists and pragmatists and still release usable products? Read more...

  9. The Top 50 Proprietary Programs that Drive You Crazy — and Their Open Source Alternatives --Not every proprietary program can drive a person crazy, right? Some, like Norton Ghost, are superb tools for anyone to use. But, the fact that these tools are proprietary can drive open source fanatics up a wall. It’s not the price of the software that makes the real difference (although it’s a reason to migrate from one software to another for many people); it’s the idea that proprietary software comes with boundaries that keeps the user experience confined to…well, being the user. That’s enough to drive any developer crazy. Read more...

  10. State of Open Source Message: A New Decade For Open Source --On February 9, 1998, I published the Open Source Definition and the public announcement of the Open Source Initiative that Eric Raymond and I were starting. This was the first time that the general public heard what Open Source was about. Friday, February 8 is the last day of Decade Zero of Open Source. Saturday, February 9 is the anniversary of Open Source and the start of Decade One. It's a computer scientist thing. We always start counting from zero :-) Read more...

Thanks to Rubuntu, crimperman, can.axis, greengrass, docsmartz, dave, C733tus, serdar, and JRepin for these stories!

Latest content

Why can't free software GUIs be empowering instead of limiting? --It’s one of the more popular culture wars in the free software community: GUI versus CLI (graphics versus the command-line). Programmers, by selection, inclination, and long experience, understandably are attracted to textual interactions with the computer, but the text interface was imposed originally by technological limitations. The GUI was introduced as a reply to those problems, but has undergone very little evolution from 1973 (when it was invented at Xerox PARC) to today. So why can’t we do better than either of these tired old systems? Read more...

Purchasing free-software-friendly hardware --Many people have complained about the lack of pre-integrated computers running GNU/Linux or the lack of fully free software drivers for important hardware. Ultimately though, it’s up to you, the consumer, both to satisfy your own requirements and to send a message to vendors that supporting free software pays. You can do this fairly easily by integrating your own computer from its major components, and selecting only components that have free software drivers. It’s certainly possible, and even if you’ve never built a computer before, it’s not all that hard! Read more...

Will OpenOffice.org 3.0 be better? --Following on from my piece on whether OpenOffice.org can do the job I have remembered that OpenOffice.org 3.0 is due for release in September. So—with my comments on 2.3 in mind—let’s see whether the new version will address my needs. Read more...

Free software is cheaper: case study while creating a podcast --I have a podcast—The Beer Crate, since you asked—which is written and produced using free software, and released under the CC by-nc-nd license. It’s a fun little hobby that keeps me off the street, and gives me an excuse to drink and review beer. But had free software not existed, how much would it cost to produce and host a show using proprietary software? I set out to investigate… Read more...

Skype now has no free software competitor. Or has it? --The OpenWengo project ceased to exist last November, and all the developers have been laid off. You may want to read the whole thread and see how much sadness there is amongst the developers and the community. All of the developers have to find other jobs, while we, the community, have to find some good alternative VoIP & IM software. Read more...

Highlights, announcements, numbers and scoops for the upcoming SCALE --SCALE is on again. This year, Free Software Magazine will tease you about this ever-growing event with some numbers and some highlights. Hopefully, you will want to go as much the we do! Read more...

Red Hat packagers dance around frivolous music game software patents --Sadly, there’s nothing genuinely new about this story, but a recent discussion on the Fedora Games mailing list demonstrates the sort of chilling effect on innovation and impoverishment of the intellectual commons that occurs today because of a broken, outmoded US patent system and its misapplication to software. I’m at a loss for words to express how absurd these “patents” are. Read more...

TThe Asus Eee PC: An Ultra-portable laptop PC with GNU/Linux pre-installed --I don’t know when I was last so excited about a Christmas present, but when this little laptop arrived on my doorstep on Christmas Eve I was drooling with anticipation—even if I had bought it myself. Read more...

Linux phones: a fragmented market in search of a leader (Google?) --About five years ago, it was clear to me that personal computers would disappear… in our pockets. Along many other analysts, I could see computers getting smaller and smaller, and mobile phones getting busier and busier. Eventually, my dream-prediction said, it wouldn’t quite be “one computer on every desk” but a much more exciting “one computer in every pocket, and one monitor/keyboard paid on every desk”. Read more...

Fight Microsoft's lobbying of the world's governments: call to free and open source millionaires --The free and open source software community has witnessed, over and over again, how far a visit to the right government officials can go. Bill Gates seems to know the game, and what cards he should play in every occasion to “make things happen”. Read more...

Free Software Magazine and Free Software Daily allow OpenID logins! --In the past, Free Software Magazine’s readers and the FSDaily community have needed to create accounts and login in order to post comments, post to forums forums, vote on stories and polls, and generally get involved in the community of the sites. Thanks to OpenID, this has now changed: we have now enabled and tested OpenID on the server, and we can proudly say that it works fantastically well. Read more...

Google extensions in Firefox --I want to take a detailed look at turbo-charging the Firefox browser with an elite selection of Google utilities. Firefox has its critics and its failings, but it has now been downloaded in excess of 400 million times: and as they say “what flies eat, they can’t all be wrong!” Firefox is pretty good out of the box, but everyone knows that the functionality of Firefox is extended massively by the simple addition of extensions, security issues nothwithstanding. Read more...

Ubuntu Help: Reporting bugs using Launchpad --One of the reasons free operating systems are so great is because of their bug reporting features. Ubuntu is no exception. Like most other GNU/Linux operating systems, Ubuntu allows users to file bug reports using its bug reporting site, Launchpad. In the free software world, each user becomes a potential beta tester and gets the chance to contribute to the community without ever coding or writing documentation. Unfortunately, Launchpad’s bug reporting tool often scares away users who have no idea what a ticket, project, or distribution is. Read more...

Lenovo enters the server market, keeps quiet about Linux --I recently learned the news that Lenovo is entering the server market outside China. As the editor of Free Software Magazine, the first question that came to mind was: “Will they run Linux?”. To my surprise, the answer was nowhere to be found. Read more...

Interview with Bob Young --Bob Young, former CEO of Red Hat, former publisher of Linux Journal, current head of lulu.com and a professional football team shares his thoughts and views of Linux. Read more...

Protect your server with Deny Hosts --Requiring system accessibility via the Internet poses several problems for system administrators. One problem is allowing access by authorized users with the least amount of complexity on the client computer while keeping the system and its services safe from intruders. Common services that may be provided include web server, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server, and Secure Shell (SSH) server. Each of these services can require different methods of security to ensure only authorized users have access. Read more...

Latest book reviews released

**Moodle Teaching Techniques by William H. Rice IV** Moodle is a well-known and widely used online Course Management System. It is based on Apache and PHP and is normally associated with a MySQL database and GNU/Linux. The application has high market penetration and recognition, especially for schools. However, no matter how good a tool is, a poor teacher will only generate painful online learning experience. Moodle Teaching Techniques published by Packt and authored by William H. Rice IV focuses on best practices for constructing learning solutions. Read more...

**Official Damn Small Linux Book by Robert Shingledecker, John Andrews and Christopher Negus** Damn Small Linux (DSL) is my favourite GNU/Linux distribution. It’s not the one I use the most, but to me it represents everything good in the Linux world. It’s small enough to run on any old PC, powerful enough to solve most any problem. This is the distribution to use when proving just how useful GNU/Linux can be. Read more...

Reminders

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