I’ll admit right up front that I am something of a regular expression junkie.Years before I even knew such a system existed (before the days of the internet) I wrotemy own regular expression system to handle the needs of a free-text database managementpackage. Today, we are all familiar with regular expressions in Perl, sed, awk/gawk andeven in “user” applications like email and word processors.
When I received the first email from Tony asking me to set up the typesetting subsystem for Free Software Magazine (FSM), I was proud... and terrified. I have spent the last six years of my life using LaTeX and, ultimately, TeX, to typeset single articles, songbooks, my thesis, CV’s, flyers, and letters.
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Each summer brings a round of free software conferences, but the sunniest this year was aKademy 2005, the KDE Project’s annual summit for users, administrators and developers with ten days featuring over 60 presentations, numerous workshops and over a week of chaotic coding. Held this year in Malaga, Spain, it included a Users and Administrators Conference, a Developer Conference and a Coding Marathon.
Alright, I admit it, up ‘til a couple of weeks ago I was still running Windows 2000 Professional. In my defence, I have been using all the free software I could on Windows—primarily Open Office, Firefox and Thunderbird. I was a bit reluctant to go through all the trouble of migrating across to a GNU/Linux distribution for two reasons. First, because my PDA and stereo bluetooth headset require software which doesn’t run on Linux. Secondly, I was a little intimidated by having to go back to using a command line after so long just using a GUI.
You are a system administrator for a small company—the captain of the firm’s computers. Doing your job well means that you may sail through the seas of information technologies unhindered, in short, the company’s IT infrastructure will stay in place. Should you mess up you will find that the email has stopped working, the web surfers are stranded and you have pinned your ship on the reefs and rocks that scatter the virtual world, or in other words, the company will not be functioning well and you be burning its money.
In summer 2004, OrganicaDTM’s design team discussed a project in a typical production meeting when suddenly a new idea arose. Somebody said that as we used free software daily in our business, we should be involved in a deeper way with free software community and should find a way thank their members for their efforts. We all looked at each other, knowing that that person was right. But how?
Free software is fast becoming the standard in quality software. It’s now possible for anyone to find a quality, free replacement for almost any proprietary program. In many cases, the free program is better than its proprietary counterpart.
You may not realize it, but there’s probably a free software replacement for every software program you own: from your word processor to your photo editor to the actual operating system.
There’s probably a free software replacement for every software program you own
The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement, but the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth—Niels Bohr
In this article I’m going to look at a staple application of many user’s lives. No, not a web browser, but an IRC client. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a simple, but effective, way for multiple users to communicate with each other in an environment that most likely equates to your local bar.
In this article, I’m going to look at five IRC clients for the Unix/Linux terminal.
We all know that the typesetting of Free Software Magazine is entirely TeX-based. Maybe somebody don’t know yet that Prof. Donald Knuth designed TeX, and did it about 30 years ago. Since then the TeX project has generated a lot of related tools (i.e., LaTeX, ConTeXt, , and others).
This year I had the chance and the honor of interviewing Professor Knuth. I’m proud, as a journalist and FSM’s TeX-nician, to see it published in what I consider “my magazine”.
In a world where people wish to protect their work in any way, there are plenty of licenses  that protect the rights of their work, while still allowing it to be shared.
One of these licenses is the LaTeX Project Public License (LPPL) , mainly used to distribute and protect TeX-related works, but suitable, with small modifications, for works not related to TeX. This license only covers distribution and modifications of a work, while its execution is not restricted. No requirements are made concerning any offers of support for the work, as stated in the clause 1 of the LPPL.
If you haven’t paid attention, the World Wide Web has been changing dramatically over the past few years. It used to be that if you wanted to create a web site, you either had to learn the basics of HTML, or spend a few hundred dollars on a web development tool. Or hire a designer to put one together for you.
Every time you want to add new content to your web site, you’d have to go back to your tools, add a new page, update all of the site navigation, or pay another fee to your web designer.
In this article I will describe an experience I had that began with the failure of some RAID5 disks at the Hospital of Pediatric Especialties, where I work. While I wouldn’t wish such an event on my worst enemy, it was something that made me learn about the power of knowledge—a deep knowledge, which is so important in the hacking culture.
Friday, April 29, 2005
I have my kids to blame, that is certain. There I was, last Christmas, in this auditorium, listening to the crunching of popcorn from my son on my left, and the slurping of soda from my daughter on the right, trying to behave like a responsible father. The lights had dimmed and we were being inflicted with the inevitable advertisements and trailers. When, at last, the fan fair that accompanied the main feature at the cinema trumpeted out of the speakers an anticipating hush spread around the audience. Even my daughter took a break from her munching.
The free culture movement is growing, from its inception in the free software movement to the relatively recent establishment of Creative Commons. Across the world, localised teams are adapting CC licenses to their particular legal systems. Record labels, indie film studios and well over 10 million web pages are using CC licenses. Are we on an inexorable ascendency? Well, not quite. In this article I will show that we still have a lot of issues to iron out.
Interviews are a mainstay of the media. For journalists, they’re an excellent way to check facts, get some nice quotes or structure an article. For free software projects looking for coverage, they’re an easy way to write your own article and get it published. But getting the most out of an interview can be a fine art; journalists can misunderstand or even misrepresent what you say, and you can ruin or make your image in the eyes of the audience. The third article in this series suggests some strategies to adopt to make every interview a marketing success.
Opportunities and hazards
Organizations of all sizes are beginning to realize how content and its reuse across the enterprise can improve productivity—and the bottom line. The need for change is driven by the desire to better manage information assets (documents, creative ideas, illustrations, charts, graphics, multimedia, etc.) and eliminate costly processes that fail to facilitate the effective and consistent re-use of content. At the heart of managing content for re-use however lies the job of exposing the underlying structure of that information.
Let us begin with a story about art. In this story, art produces aesthetic works of durability and stability — things that “stand up on their own”. The act of artistic production doesn’t come from nowhere; neither is it born in the heads of private individuals. It doesn’t dwell in a social nothingness. Nor does it start with a blank canvas. Any moment of production involves the reassembling and rearranging of the diverse materials, practices and influences that came before it and which surround it.
XMMS is a very nice program for playing music, but the default skin that comes with it is, well, “functional”. Fortunately, though, the program uses the same skin files as WinAMP 2.0 (several other programs use these skins as well, which I’ll call simply “AMP2 skins”). A “skin” is just a collection of images used to create the appearance of an application such as a music player (Figure 1).