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We can all finally install

I’ve seen a lot of new users—and even kids—using Linux comfortably. And everything goes fine—until they decide to install new applications.

You see, in Mac people can install an application by simply downloading it, copying it wherever they like, and double-clicking on it. In Windows, it’s a matter of running an ugly installer, answering a few questions, and letting it copy a zillion files all over the place.

In Linux... it depends.

The content tail wags the IT dog

The content industries have conspicuously failed to create a business model based on paid content over public IP networks, but still cling to the idea that those networks were created for just that use. Any software or system which might interfere with this theoretical paid content business is considered not just heretical, but probably criminal. The music and movie consortia have turned the transition to network distribution into a “with us or against us” battleground, with most of their customers fighting for the wrong side.

RIAA, copyright and file sharing

Smarter password management

Your dog’s name... your anniversary... your childrens’ initials, birthday, or birth weight... your favorite hobby, or the name of your boat. Which one do you use for your password? Network Administrators and hackers know that most people choose passwords like these to protect anything from logging into web-based bulletin boards to buying things online.

Every engineer’s checklist for justifying free software

In a few years viewing source code within the major components of software infrastructure will probably be a routine way of doing business. In the meantime it seems that the only reason managers want free software is because it is free (as in free of costs). That’s not a good reason in itself: in the long run there are compelling reasons that robust, mission critical infrastructure software should be made free software.

The magic of live CDs

A “Live CD” is a bootable CD, which contains pre-configured software, this allows the user to be productive without accessing any other hard drives (unless the user wants to store information).

Why would anyone want to have to carry around a CD, rather than having a desktop or laptop computer, which is fully installed and ready to go?

The value brought by live CDs is not immediately obvious to the majority of users

Mac OS X: Welcome to the jungle

If software platforms are habitats, the Mac OS X platform is surely the jungle.

Mac OS X is a modern Unix-based operating system that combines the classic Unix/X11 environment, a modern Java toolset and runtime, the classic Mac OS Carbon framework, and the NextStep-derivative Cocoa framework in an elegant and user-friendly operating environment. This diversity of strongly supported programming options, combined with Apple’s modern hardware and operating system, presents developers and users with a compelling platform for producing and using software packages.

Creating Free Software Magazine

This magazine was inspired by a conversation I had with a great friend of mine called Massimo. I said to Massimo “I think it would be great to start a magazine. It’s my ideal job, and I think I know what the world needs right now. It’s a pity there’s no money in publishing, and I’m not willing to run a magazine that doesn’t pay it’s contributors well...”. His answer was very simple: “Tony, there’s money everywhere, as long as you do something good and promote it well”. Well, seeing that he has a successful business, I thought I would listen.

Free file formats and the future of intellectual freedom

So far, proprietary formats have been maintained through a number of short-term tricks, but the advantages of free formats become clearer in the long run. Business and the computer industry have tended to be very shortsighted. However there are some important classes of technically proficient users with a much longer outlook, whose needs can only be met by free file formats. If we in the free software community want to see free formats take hold, we need to address the needs of these users.

Format Wars

Real programmers love their applications’ source code: the faster and more elegant it is, the better. Users are after very different things: they seem to want simplicity, flashy colors, nice icons and tons of options. In spite of these reasons, or perhaps because of them, programmers and users often forget what lies in the middle of it all: information.

Who owns the information?

Welcome to the first Free Software Magazine

I would have liked to start this editorial defining what free software is, but I found myself writing – and deleting – my sentences time and again.

The problem is that free software means different things to different people. To some, free software is a way to save money in licensing fees and technical support. To some, it’s a way of sharing their skills (which they do for different reasons: research, personal development, money, etc). And to others free software is a movement, a way of life.

The content tail wags the IT dog

The content industries have conspicuously failed to create a business model based on paid content over public IP networks, but still cling to the idea that those networks were created for just that use. Any software or system which might interfere with this theoretical paid content business is considered not just heretical, but probably criminal. The music and movie consortia have turned the transition to network distribution into a “with us or against us” battleground, with most of their customers fighting for the wrong side.

RIAA, copyright and file sharing

The second Mac revolution

The Apple machines of the 80’s turned computers from dull counting machines and glorified typewriters into creative tools, forcing a revolution in the design, publishing and music industries through accessibility and mass participation. If you wanted to produce—let’s say—a magazine in those days, all of a sudden you didn’t need a lot of money, you didn’t need to have a particular job or be a member of the union, and you didn’t even need to have served an apprenticeship or have been to college.

Creating Free Software Magazine

This magazine was inspired by a conversation I had with a great friend of mine called Massimo. I said to Massimo “I think it would be great to start a magazine. It’s my ideal job, and I think I know what the world needs right now. It’s a pity there’s no money in publishing, and I’m not willing to run a magazine that doesn’t pay it’s contributors well...”. His answer was very simple: “Tony, there’s money everywhere, as long as you do something good and promote it well”. Well, seeing that he has a successful business, I thought I would listen.

Case study: Mythic Beasts

Mythic Beasts is a UK company that provides Unix shells to their users. They offer fantastic service to people who need a shell account on a very fast server, and don’t want to fork out silly amounts of money. Let’s talk to Chris Lightfoot, one of the company’s owners.

TM: Who is behind “Mythic Beasts”? How did everything start?

What is Free Software Magazine?

Writing this editorial is much harder than I thought it would be. I made the mistake of leaving it last, and now the problem is that I have written so much over the last three months for this magazine (articles, emails, plans, business letters, personal diaries...) that I can’t think of anything I haven’t already said at least ten times.

Well, I have to start from somewhere, and I believe I ought to answer the most important question: what is Free Software Magazine?

Allow me to answer by explaining what Free Software Magazine is not.

A screen shot tour of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0

All major Linux distributions include a lot of free software applicationsand libraries, which turn Linux into a powerful desktop or server.

Red Hat in particular has done a great job in including numerous applications and libraries which work right out of the box, without much tweaking required.

This is a screenshot tour of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0.

Enjoy!

Terminal Server Client

Terminal Server Client for connecting to Windows ServersTerminal Server Client for connecting to Windows Servers

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