Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation review

Sun have made some headlines in recent months through the release of their Ultra 20 workstation and a number of new servers based on the AMD CPUs. For some this is seen as major change of direction for a company that is well known for the use (and continued interest and development) of the SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) CPU. With so many new machines being based on the AMD CPU it will be surprising to some that Sun’s new mobile units are based on SPARC technology.

Book review: The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source by Martin Fink

An introduction to the open source community targeted at business managers, this book by Martin Fink offers members of the free software and business communities glimpses of each other’s world view. It also includes a lot of practical advice for businesses interested in cashing in on the success of free software.

An older book, but still very relevantAn older book, but still very relevant

Writing device drivers in Linux: A brief tutorial

“Do you pine for the nice days of Minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote their own device drivers?” Linus Torvalds


In order to develop Linux device drivers, it is necessary to have an understanding of the following:

  • C programming. Some in-depth knowledge of C programming is needed, like pointer usage, bit manipulating functions, etc.
  • Microprocessor programming. It is necessary to know how microcomputers work internally: memory addressing, interrupts, etc. All of these concepts should be familiar to an assembler programmer.

Win a copy of “Wicked Cool Perl Scripts”

Mon, 2006-04-24 10:02 -- admin

This week we are giving away a copy of Wicked Cool Perl Scripts by Steve Oualline.

All you need to do to enter is:

1) Read our terms and conditions.

2) Send your FSM subscriber name (the name you use to login), and your full name to .

Entries open on the 24th of April 2006 and close on the 29th of April 2006.


Book review: Wicked Cool Perl Scripts by Steve Oualline

Every GNU/Linux administrator will need to touch a Perl script or two at some point. Perl seems to be the scripting glue of choice since it has matured so well over the years. As a result, administrators can choose from many different Perl books. One such book is Wicked Perl Scripts by Steve Oualline and published by No Starch Press.

Wicked Perl Scripts coverWicked Perl Scripts cover

The day my father blew himself up

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the visible front of the current standards battle royale: in this corner, at 220 pounds, Open Document Format (ODF)! In the other corner, the 800 pound gorilla, Microsoft Office 12 XML format! Hopefully, we won’t get caught in the explosion.

The day my father blew himself up

Why can't free software do portable right?

I recently bought a U3 compliant USB key, the hype and packaging was amazing and for the most part the U3 drive lived up to the expectations. Thunderbird was included on the key, and I was excited about being able to make any computer “my computer”, do my work, and then go without leaving a trace.

We have a winner for “Linux Made Easy”

Thu, 2006-04-13 13:52 -- admin

The entries just keep growing in number and this week was no exception, unfortunately there can only be one winner...

Congratulations Jeffrey Mills of Seattle, Washington, in the USA!

Mike has won a copy of Linux Made Easy.

Thanks to all who entered.

Thanks also go to No Starch Press for providing this great prize.

Google Calendar—Yes!

Wow. I logged in to Slashdot today and the first thing I saw was that Google has released its new calendar. I noticed right away that this calendar allows imports from MS Outlook—one less excuse for people to cling to MS. I've tried various calendar apps within Firefox and Thunderbird, but this one appears as intuitive as Google's great Reader app. I wonder if any of this is making MS nervous?

Building a new media lab: advice needed

Greetings, everyone. We’re currently in the process of planning a new media lab for our English department. We have a budget of about $50,000, though there are hints that we could get more if we could make a compelling enough case. At any rate, the lab’s purpose will be to give students the chance to produce some really outstanding new media projects. These will likely range from website production to simple digital videos and on to fully interactive media (e.g., flash movies, videogames).

Win a copy of “Pro Apache Ant”

Mon, 2006-04-10 10:11 -- admin

This week we are giving away a copy of Pro Apache Ant by Matthew Moodie.

All you need to do to enter is:

1) Read our terms and conditions.

2) Answer this question:

What CMS is our new system based on? (Hint: read the editorial for issue 11.)

3) Send your FSM subscriber name (the name you use to login), your full name and your answer to .

Free software events review March 2006

As the March Hare sprang from the ground to frolic in the newfound warm weather of the spring season (here in the North), the free software world continued its steady but rapid advancement in the information technology landscape. Meanwhile, waiting in the corner is yours truly, glancing occasionally at the media ready to report on events that I personally think are interesting and feel like including here. In the month of March that consisted of:


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