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Free software 2.0

Free software (and open source) license models have become the most influential force in business IT to date. The first part of this article presents a brief history of free software, combined with the findings from an analysis of the attitudes and expectations, across several hundred large and medium-sized businesses, relating to free software. The second part of this article presents Delphi Group’s vision for the next wave of commercial free software, where demand is driven not by cost alone, but foremost by quality of service and increased agility.

Who’s behind that web site?

Let’s talk about phishing. Phishing is just like fishing, only your identity is the fish and the bait is an email that looks like it came from your bank, or eBay, or Paypal, or any other legitimate place. The goal is to get you to follow a link to a site owned by the phisher, and trick you into divulging some private information, such as your bank account number, pin, passwords, or social security number.

Book review: From Bash to Z Shell by Oliver Kiddle, Jerry Peek and Peter Stephenson

If you use a free software operating system or environment, chances are one of your key interfaces will be through some kind of shell. Most people assume the bulk of the power of shells comes from the commands available within them, but some shells are actually powerful in their own right. Many of the more recent releases being more like a command line programming environment than a command line interface. “From Bash to Z Shell” published by Apress, provides a guide to using various aspects of the shell.

Book review: From Bash to Z Shell by Oliver Kiddle, Jerry Peek and Peter Stephenson

If you use a free software operating system or environment, chances are one of your key interfaces will be through some kind of shell. Most people assume the bulk of the power of shells comes from the commands available within them, but some shells are actually powerful in their own right. Many of the more recent releases being more like a command line programming environment than a command line interface. “From Bash to Z Shell” published by Apress, provides a guide to using various aspects of the shell.

Linux-VServer

Everyone is eager to virtualize their working environment to take advantage of the abstraction layer it provides. Some may require resource isolation for enhanced security, others may need development environments for testing and debugging. Whatever your needs are, virtualization will save you resources through utilizing them more efficiently. This is done by exploiting synergies built on proven technologies, improving availability and reducing downtime, adding scalability through duplication and gaining a certain degree of hardware independence.

Gains from virtualization

The leap from virtual host to virtual machine

Back in the good old days, when men were men, women were women and the standard way for two computers to talk to each other was through a cable plugged into the serial port, was when I first took the plunge into this “internet” thingy and signed up with an ISP. Then, armed with a modem, a telephone line that doubled as a fax, Netscape 1.1 and a sense of adventure, I surfed web sites, emailed the few others I knew who had also taken the plunge and joined in on worldwide discussions on what we called “News Groups”.

Book review: Linux in a Windows World by Roderick Smith

Linux in Windows World aims to solve the problems experienced by many system administrators when it comes to using Linux servers (and to a lesser extent clients) within an existing Windows environment. Overall the book is meaty and a quick flick through shows an amazing amount of information has been crammed between the covers. There are though some immediately obvious omissions, given the books title and description, but I’m hoping this won’t detract from the rest of the content...

The cover of Linux in a Windows WorldThe cover of Linux in a Windows World

Book review: Linux in a Windows World by Roderick Smith

Linux in Windows World aims to solve the problems experienced by many system administrators when it comes to using Linux servers (and to a lesser extent clients) within an existing Windows environment. Overall the book is meaty and a quick flick through shows an amazing amount of information has been crammed between the covers. There are though some immediately obvious omissions, given the books title and description, but I’m hoping this won’t detract from the rest of the content.

The book’s cover The book’s cover

The contents

The internet’s plague: spam

When the internet became a “thing” for the masses, it was around 1995. Well, it was a little earlier for some, and later for some others, but I think 1995 is a pretty good point of reference.

At the time, we all thought the internet could be a_ utopia_, a place where nothing really bad could happen because we were all connected to one another - almost literally.

Anonymity made things even more exciting: there was the freedom to be however we wanted to be (who has never, ever lied on IRC?!?) and to join groups we’d never dreamed of joining before.

Xen, the virtual machine monitor

Virtualization is set to become a key requirement for every server in the data center. This trend is a direct consequence of an industry-wide focus on the need to reduce the Total Cost of Operation (TCO) of enterprise computing infrastructure. In spite of the widespread adoption of relatively cheap, industry standard x86-based servers, enterprises have seen costs and complexity escalate rapidly.

Virtualization is set to become a key requirement for every server in the data center

Haskell

Many programmers are fluent in several programming languages. Most of these languages have some things in common. Loops and variables are fundamental features of most languages.

I want to show you a different way of solving problems. Haskell takes a different approach than you’re used to—to just about everything.

Why Haskell is interesting?

There are quite a few things about Haskell that make it interesting and unique:

  • Haskell has no loops because it doesn’t need them. There is no “for” or “while” in Haskell.

Newsflash!

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an XML based web content syndication format. RSS has become the defacto feature on weblogs and many news sites. Almost all major news sites and weblogs provide an RSS feed for their audience. An RSS-aware program (aka RSS reader) can check these RSS feeds for changes and display the updates in a human readable format.

RSS has become the de facto feature on weblogs and many news sites

Web site blocking techniques

For a variety of reasons, organizations have very strict policies regarding web site access. These policies usually mean that not all users have permission to access all web sites.

This article will explain two techniques that can be used to block web site access to specified groups of users at specified times, using Squid’s built-in mechanism and using squidGuard.

The social implications of free software

If you’re new to it, free software appears to be tough to shift to. It also tends to be supported by a smaller pool of techies, and has something of a steep initial learning-curve. So why shift at all? In any case, you can easily make do with illegally-copied proprietary software... right?

Wrong! That’s a lazy way of looking at things. It’s also an outdated approach, which goes back just three decades or so, when proprietary- you can’t copy it, you can’t share it—software became the norm.

Graphic icons

There are a lot of important and exciting discussions currently taking place around issues concerning the ownership of ideas. The thoughts and the accompanying practices surrounding the subject have been formed through a diverse range of alliances, interests and motivations. The arguments are becoming increasingly polarised into distinct methods and approaches that already challenge and govern, not only our lives and working practices, but also, our ability to communicate.

net.labels

The traditional approach to releasing music, independent from what is called “the music industry”, follows a basic formula: record, print CD, promote, distribute, promote, lose money.

It is difficult to know why so many independent musicians follow this pattern, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they will almost certainly lose time and money. Thankfully there’s a new type of independent music label that is emerging on the internet. These entities call themselves net.labels and are in the process of defining an interesting new subculture of independent music distribution.

Make it right using Tcl

Any sufficiently complex software system has bugs, and those of us who aspire to produce high quality work also seek to not only minimize these, but guarantee that our code does what we say it ought to.

One proven way to eliminate bugs, and ensure that code behaves as documented is to test the program. Easy enough to do by hand, when there isn’t much functionality. However, when the system grows more complex, and there are many possible environmental factors with various permutations, it quickly becomes obvious that we need to automate our testing.

Worst case scenario - protecting your computer

In my last article my laptop had died a spectacular death from a full cup of coffee. I had to send it into the IBM depot, where they replaced nearly everything but the battery. Including the hard drive.

My files were all properly backed up, and I was even able to retrieve the few files I had worked on that day by connecting the drive to another computer. So when the service depot called and said they wanted to replace the drive, I said go ahead.

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