Maria Winslow's articles

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?

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.

Interview with Alan Robertson of the Heartbeat project

Heartbeat, a free software project, has crashed the price barrier for Linux high-availablity. Redundancy has never been so affordable, thanks in part to the efforts of Alan Robertson, project lead. I caught up with Alan to find out more about the history of the project, and future plans.

MW: How did the Heartbeat project get started?

Apache Tomcat faster on Linux than Windows

Web Performance, Inc. has published a performance report comparing tests of Apache Tomcat on Windows and Linux, with interesting results. The report found that Linux was able to handle about 32% more users than Windows on identical hardware with identical test conditions.

What I love about this report is the level of detail they provide about their methodology and the data. They provide all the information needed to duplicate their results. From the press release:

“Free software” unsafe!

I mean Microsoft Internet Explorer, of course.

Scanit, an internet security company, has reported that in browser vulnerability tests, Microsoft's Internet Explorer was unsafe 358 days out of 365. On the other hand, the Mozilla family of browsers together were left exposed for only 56 days out of the year. The company monitors known vulnerabilities and security patch availability, and reports the number of days each browser is exposed to risk. Read the report for more...

Interview with Kay Ramme of the OpenOffice.org UNO project

Universal Network Objects (UNO) is an interface-based component model that is part of OpenOffice.org. UNO allows for interoperability among different programming languages, object models, processes, and machine architectures. UNO works over local networks or the internet.

Kay Ramme is the UDK project owner and Sun Senior Technical Architect for OOo and StarOffice. I recently asked Kay to tell us about new efforts to modularize the OpenOffice.org office suite and to make its component model available as an independent entity.

Free software doesn't mean free people

A friend of mine is a core developer on a free software project that most people would consider one of the top ten in overall importance, especially in terms of getting mainstream users migrated to free software overall. He’s a known expert on this project, and very knowledgeable about free software in general, from both technical and business standpoints. I won’t say who it is, but he has plenty of publications to back up his expert status.

He’s getting frustrated with the free software world.

Oracle is feeling the pressure

Oracle is expected today to announce a free (yes, free) limited version of its database called Oracle 10g Express Edition.

This is clearly a reaction to pressure from the open source databases MySQL and PostgreSQL. It shows that free software is good for IT purchasers even if they don't use it. Downward price pressure is a natural side effect of the commoditization of software that has occurred as the free software phenomenon gives us a freer market.

Geronimo, an open source Java application server

I recently spoke with Bruce Snyder of the Geronimo project about this open source Java app server under the Apache Software Foundation.

My favorite quote from Bruce:

“I have a saying I've used for years that I think sums it up: With open source, we come for the code, but we stay for the people!”

See the full interview here...

A conversation with Bruce Snyder of the Geronimo project

Geronimo, the open source Java application server sponsored by the Apache Software Foundation, has been picking up steam lately. Hard core developers are experimenting with it as a potential replacement for proprietary application servers like IBM Websphere.

(Editor’s note: In this article, the term “open source” is used rather than “free software”. In this case, they are intended to be synonymous.)

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