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Book review: Hardening Apache by Tony Mobily

A recent Netcraft survey found that approximately 67% of websites (two-thirds of the entire internet!) are served with Apache. With such a large number of administrators using Apache on their servers it stands to reason that a large number of crackers will focus their attentions on cracking it. That’s where “Hardening Apache”, a book by Free Software Magazine’s own excellent and keen-eyed Editor In Chief, Tony Mobily, comes in (it was just a little plug).

Convincing management to approve free software

The grassroots efforts of system administrators have brought Linux and other free software into the mainstream. To be an effective advocate for free software at work, you need to speak the language of management and convince them from their point of view. This article discusses how to present your case, why your audience makes all the difference, how to hook them with proof of cost savings, and reveals two secret weapons for your quest to promote free software.

Free software liberates Venezuela

The third International Forum on Free Knowledge brought together many groups and individuals interested in the development of free software worldwide to the city of Maracaibo. One reason Venezuela choose to host this event is because starting in January (2006), their new free software law, directive 3.390, comes into effect, which mandates all government agencies to migrate to free software over a two year period. I was invited to speak about Telephonia Libre: the use of free software in telecommunications.

Map of VenezuelaMap of Venezuela

Free software events for January 2006

As time boldly advances through January passing the Chinese New Year, we can witness free software carrying on its momentum and spreading itself even further around the globe. With that comes the plethora of additions, enhancements and modifications to the portfolio with which we have to become accustomed. As with other articles of this nature, I can only bring you the events that I have become awae of. These include:

Book review: Just Say No To Microsoft: How To Ditch Microsoft And Why It’s Not As Hard As You Think by Tony Bove

This book, the contents of which should be evident in the self explanatory title, makes you feel a bit revolutionary. It isn’t just the catchy headings, which are clever paraphrasings of song titles and geeky cultural refecences; it’s also the air of genuine excitment which permeates the pages, and makes you feel inspired during and after the reading process. I think many people’s continuing use of Microsoft, even when they know about the insecurities, and the bugs, and the horror, is caused by inertia. And this is just the book to get them up and off their swivel chairs!

Win a copy of “Just Say No To Microsoft”

Mon, 2006-02-06 08:06 -- admin

This week we are giving away a copy of Just Say No To Microsoft: How To Ditch Microsoft And Why It’s Not As Hard As You Think by Tony Bove.

All you need to do to enter is:

1) Read our terms and conditions

2) Answer this question:

In our latest newsletter there is a message about digg. Who are the people from FSM that usually submit articles to digg?

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

Spring Cleaning

Here in the US, yesterday (Feb 2) was Groundhog Day. From what I understand, this comes from an old German Pennsylvania ritual of getting up early on a Winter day and observing an animal coming out of hibernation to see if he (or she, or it) can see his shadow. If so (as Phil did yesterday), tradition holds that there will be 6 more weeks of Winter. If not (which is a lot rarer), there will be an early Spring.

Towards a free matter economy (Part 4)

A good scientist is a person with original ideas. A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible. There are no prima donnas in engineering.—Freeman Dyson

Imagine where free software would be today if it weren’t for the GNU C Compiler! Just as free software depends heavily on free compilers, so does free design rely on having free computer aided design and authoring tools.[1]

Book review: Agile Web Development with Rails by Dave Thomas and David Heinemeier Hansson, et al

The last time I looked at Ruby was many years ago, when the language was still relatively new. At that time it had yet to find wide acceptance when competing against the older and more established script-based languages such as Perl and Python. Although Ruby has since become more popular as a general purpose language, one of its most significant impacts has been within the web development space due to the development/deployment environment that is Ruby on Rails.

We have a winner for “Building Online Communities”

Thu, 2006-02-02 10:39 -- admin

There were lots of entries this week, but unfortunately there can only be one winner...

Congratulations Kyle Ambroff of Sacramento,California!

Kyle has won a copy of Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress.

Thanks to all who entered.

Thanks also go to Apress for providing this great prize.

Browsers for Mac OS X

When Apple migrated the Mac operating system platform to Mac OS X, one of the key components was an underpinning based on the FreeBSD operating system. The use of an open source operating system as the core has in turn led to an increase in the use and availability of free and open source software (FOSS). It is now much easier to develop software for the OS X platform (development software is included, instead of being an expensive addition) and this makes it both easier for people to get involved and more likely to take part in open source community projects.

Interview with Orv Beach @ SCALE

SCALE (Southern CAlifornia Linux Expo) is an event that shouldn’t be missed by anybody who is serious about Linux. Let’s hear what Orv, one of the event’s organisers, has to say!

The interview

Can you explain, in a few words, what SCALE is?

SCALE is a grass-roots free software show, with an expo floor, and several tracks of presentations for attendees. By grass-roots, I mean that the focus is on educating the end user. This year SCALE is happening on the 11th and 12th of February at The Radisson Los Angeles Airport

Win a copy of “Web Mapping Illustrated”

Mon, 2006-01-30 03:19 -- admin

This week we are giving away a copy of Web Mapping Illustrated by Tyler Mitchell.

All you need to do to enter is:

1) Read our terms and conditions

2) Answer this question:

In our latest newsletter there is an ad for SDJ. When does the advertised promotional offer end?

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

GRUB tips and tricks

The GRand Unified Boot loader, or GRUB, has all but replaced the default boot loader on many GNU/Linux distributions. It includes some conveniences over LILO, the LInux LOader. One advantage is not having to remember to run /sbin/lilo every time you make a configuration change. It also can function as a boot loader for removable media such as floppies, CD-R/W and USB flash memory keys. It is short-sighted to view GRUB only as a boot loader to be installed on a hard drive of a GNU/Linux system.

Book review: Web Mapping Illustrated by Tyler Mitchell

When I started Anansi Spaceworks in 2001, we were keen to create an interactive online browser for the planetary maps that we sold at that time, but didn’t know how to do it. With this book though, I’m tempted to try it again just for the fun of it! Whatever your interest in maps is, this book will help you out.

A straightforward introduction to creating interactive mapping sitesA straightforward introduction to creating interactive mapping sites

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