The latest episode in the Office Wars

Lately, I’ve been hearing more and more about Microsoft’s efforts on furthering what I believe they call the “Office User Experience”. This got me thinking. Doesn’t Microsoft have a near monopoly on office software at the moment? OK—There are other offerings out there—but do they warrant the massive expenditure MS is putting out on promoting this? Then it dawned on me. They must be panicking about and are doing what they can to prevent an exodus.

With that in mind, let me give some examples and my personal thoughts on the issue...

Free software history and evolution in the former Soviet Union: Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine

“Former Soviet Union” is a term that often makes people think of a somehow original concept of freedom and democracy. You can observe some heritage looking, for instance, at the facts of today’s Belarus [1,2] and Turkmenistan [3,4].

Anyway, even there, people always have had the will to express their ideas and opinions. Think, for instance, of the samizdat [5], or of the dissidents.

Marketing free software projects

Thu, 2006-03-09 21:36 -- admin

It can be difficult for free software projects to get the word out, especially without any corporate backing. My colleague Matt Raible has some interesting points to make about this issue, along with advice on how to market your free software project (it generally comes down to reaching out to your community of users and contributors). And I would add one more point: assign a press contact who will be friendly and prompt with inquiries. I don’t know how many times I’ve contacted a project and received a late or half-hearted response.

Win a copy of “Running Linux 5th Ed”

Tue, 2006-03-07 14:48 -- admin

This week we are giving away a copy of Running Linux, 5th Ed. by Matthias Kalle Dalheimer & Matt Welsh.

All you need to do to enter is:

1) Read our terms and conditions

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

Entries open on the 7th of March 2006 and close on the 11th of March 2006.


Free culture events for March 2006

Welcome to the first newsletter listing and reviewing free culture events around the world. Free culture is a movement that extends the logic of free software into the world of art, advocating free creativity, sharing and remixing. There will be thousands of events with this ethos going on around the world, but the listings below are brought to you by activists and advocates of the free culture movement. You can add your events and reviews to this newsletter on the Free Culture UK newsletter wiki.


Upcoming events


GuITmeeting 2005: a short report

Free Software Magazine is obviously about free software. Many readers may also know that we create our magazine using free software. But, not only do we use free software, we also develop it.

I have developed the LaTeX class that we use to typeset the individual articles and each complete issue. Even though the class isn’t very well written (it is getting there!), whenever someone asks me to provide our LaTeX class, I do send a complete starter’s kit for turning LaTeX into a magazine typesetter; well... sort of.

Yes, I am a big LaTeX fan.

Book review: Running Linux, 5th Ed. by Matthias Kalle Dalheimer & Matt Welsh

Running Linux begins with the subtitle “A distribution-neutral guide for servers and desktops”. This subtitle manages to capture the essence of the book extremely well, containing extensive information for both a desktop and server environment within its 972 pages.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

McDonalds: The Game

Here’s another reason why CC licensing can be effective—it can help get games like this one out to the public so rapidly that plenty of people get the chance to play it before the hammer comes down. This game is seriously effective social and political commentary, but since it uses McDonalds’ trademarks all over the place, I’m sure it won’t last long. You’d better grab it while you can. You can also read an interview with the designer at GamaSutra.

We have a winner for "Hardening Apache"

Tue, 2006-02-28 09:01 -- admin

First, I have to say that we were absolutely swamped with entries for this prize. And, I thank you all for entering, but there can only be one winner:

And the winner is...

Nelson Mambre of Venezuela!

Congratulations Nelson you have won a copy of Hardening Apache.

Thanks to all who entered.

Thanks also go to Apress for providing this great prize.

Accelerated X flame wars!... Maybe not

An advantage to free software is that it is an environment where competition can thrive, choice is always available and different solutions exist for the same problem. However, it’s also fair to say that free software is disadvantaged where competition breeds, choices are forced on unsuspecting users and diverse technologies fight each other.

What is X?

Everyone likes pretty pictures. The newsagent’s stand is now crowded with glossy magazines, roadside advertisements glare out at you as you drive along the freeway, you see a wondrous mosaic as you look at all the packaging on supermarket shelves. Television long ago replaced the radio as standard home entertainment and the fact that you cannot judge a book by its cover doesn’t prevent the vast majority of the human population from doing so. The same applies to computers now.

64 Studio

Creative computer applications are a niche, and a relatively small one at that. Even brand-leading proprietary software companies like Steinberg, the developers of the long-established Cubase music sequencer, have been recently bought out. Consolidation in the creative application market has seen Adobe buy Syntrillium, who created Cool Edit, Avid buy Digidesign and Apple buy Logic—and there are plenty of other examples.

Advice for starting a free software project

How do you get a new free software project off the ground? It’s all about community.

I answer reader questions about free software issues here, and an interesting question came up recently from a reader thinking of releasing code as free software. How do you get a project off the ground? How do you build interest and nurture a community?

Interview with Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth is the founder of Thawte, the first Certification Authority to sell public SSL certificates. After selling Thawte to Verisign, Mark moved on to training as an astronaut in Russia and visiting space. Once he got back he founded Ubuntu, the leading GNU/Linux distribution. He agreed on releasing a quick interview to Free Software Magazine.

Book review: Zope 3 Developer’s Handbook by Stephan Richter

Like its subject matter, the Zope 3 Developer’s Handbook, has benefited from the mistakes of its predecessor, “The Zope Book”, and is a finely-engineered work. It is written in an extremely concise and carefully thought-out style, to make the immensely complex machinery of Zope 3 understandable to the reader in a mere 456 pages. It's easy to imagine a less-well-written book needing three times the volume to cover this material half as well. As a result, however, it is not a very casual book—you will need to read slowly and pay attention, if you want to get the most out of it.

Win a copy of “Zope 3 Developer's Handbook”

Mon, 2006-02-20 04:49 -- admin

This week we are giving away a copy of Zope 3 Developer's Handbook by Stephan Richter.

All you need to do to enter is:

1) Read our terms and conditions

2) Send your subscriber name (the email address you use to login) and full name to .

Entries open on the 20th of February 2006 and close on the 25th of February 2006.


What’s free about free software?

Computer history has some interesting parallels with the history of the American West. After the initial forays of Lewis and Clark and the first set of explorers, early settlers crossed the plains in covered wagons. But the West wasn’t accessible to most Americans until the age of the railroads, when the Union Pacific Railroad put tracks across the continent and started running a regular passenger service.

Railroad history


Subscribe to RSS - articles