Tony Mobily's articles

Ubuntu Netbook Remix: a detailed explanation

Lately, there has been a lot of noise about Ubuntu's Netbook Remix. In an unrelated (and definitely lucky) interview with The Guardian, Mark Shuttleworth hinted that Canonical were about to announce a version of Ubuntu for a new class of devices created by accident by Asus with the EeePc (talk about corporate luck...). Th buzz about this was monumental. But... what is Ubuntu Netbook Remix? Here is the answer...

GNU/Linux and free software are unstoppable

When I first saw GNU/Linux (the kernel plus the utilities) in 1994, I was amazed. I started using GNU/Linux as a server system, rather than a desktop machine, and I just couldn't stop thinking: "This will only keep better and better. There is no limit. This is simply unstoppable. Everybody will be using this, and only this, by the year 2000". Remember that the year 2000 seemed really quite far off... and that I was being genuinely optimistic.

Dubious ads in Free Software Magazine

Hello Everybody,

This is an emergency post. I am writing it in Dubai. I am on my way to Rome and then London, only have 50 minutes left in my EeePC and no Dubai power adapter. The joys of travelling...

Some dubious ads have appeared in Free Software Magazine. I have received reports of a "virus scanner" (fake) with a malicious redirection. We currently use two ad networks, IDG and Adsense, and I don't have any way to figure out which one is giving problems. In any case, having worked with both of them, I am 100% sure this is something that simply slipped the net.

Interview with the Ekiga developers

Ekiga is the most popular, free VoIP software available. When I asked the Ekiga team for an interview, there was a lot I didn't know. For example, I had no idea I'd be interviewing quite so many people (coordination was quite a challenge!), and--more importantly--I didn't know that so much knowledge would have been uncovered. Every single member had something important to say, and the result is an interview that becomes a unique insight into Ekiga, the VoIP world, free software development and team work.

Julien Puydt, Damien Sandras, Matthias Schneider, Yannick Defais, Jan Schampera, These guys know telephony. They were born with a directory in their pockets. This interview is not to be missed. Enjoy.

Many thanks to Gary Richmond for editing this epic interview

Interview with Kurt Denke, the man who shut "Monster Cable" up

I was lucky enough to catch Kurt Denke for a short interview. Kurt is actually on vacation right now; however, he still found some time to answer my questions. For those who have been living under a rock for the last week, Kurt Denke is the owner of Blue Jeans Cable; Monster Cable attacked Blue Jeans Cable on the basis of "Intellectual Property violations". You should read Kurd Denke's response. It's a very enjoyable read, which makes you realise just how knowledgeable Kurt Denke is, on intellectual property law and on cables (!).

Here is the interview:

Tertiary menu in Drupal 6

By default, Drupal allows you to set a "primary" menu and a "secondary" menu. At this point you should know that if you go to admin-> menus -> settings and pick the same menu for both primary and secondary links, the secondary links menu will contain the sub-menu of the selected item in the primary menu.

What happens if you have three levels of menus?

Drigg (the pligg alternative) vs. Pligg: why should people switch?

As some of you already know, I am the main developer for Drigg. I donated probably more than 1000 hours of my life to the Drigg project, because I believed in it. After reviewing existing CMSs out there, I believe that Drigg is the best system available today for people who want to create Digg-like sites (but, in fact, when people deploy Drigg they get fully functional Drupal sites...!). You can see my contributions to Drigg daily. One more programmer has joined Drigg, which is going right ahead.

However, Drigg's community is still smaller than Pligg, its main competitor. Why?

Virgin Mobile Australia: the path Google doesn't (yet?) follow

There are companies we love and respect. Google is one of them. Regardless of their mistakes, their jet, their priorities in terms of software releases, there is an "innate" trust.

But, is it safe to trust Google?

I am asking this because I got burned. Not by Google, but by Virgin Mobile Australia.

Free software magazine allows readers to create community posts!

Dear readers,

There is some news. This is important news about Free Software Magazine, and it affects the community. Please spread the word far and wide, in your blogs, news hubs, social networking, and so on.

What's the fuss about?

Well, all of our readers can now create contents in Free Software Magazine’s site, starting from now.

What is the free software community?

In this video, I try to answer the question "What is the free software community?" Comments, or even community posts in response to this, are most welcome!

Note: you will need a flash player to see this video. We are examining options. If you have success using Gnash, or know of a video service that is more free software friendly, please let us know!

Linux phones: a fragmented market in search of a leader (Google?)

About five years ago, it was clear to me that personal computers would disappear... in our pockets. Along many other analysts, I could see computers getting smaller and smaller, and mobile phones getting busier and busier. Eventually, my dream-prediction said, it wouldn't quite be "one computer on every desk" but a much more exciting "one computer in every pocket, and one monitor/keyboard paid on every desk".

We are getting there, and yet again GNU/Linux is missing that train.

Fight Microsoft's lobbying of the world's governments: call to free and open source millionaires

The free and open source software community has witnessed, over and over again, how far a visit to the right government officials can go. Bill Gates seems to know the game, and what cards he should play in every occasion to "make things happen".

Over the last few years, it was apparent to us that making good software and creating good standards was just not enough to fight such a strong political presence. How could the free and open source world fight this?

Here is the proposal, in a nutshell (for the lazy readers): creating a fund aimed at informing government officials and prime ministers in the world about free software, and making sure that they receive similar benefits as they would if they chose to push for a Microsoft contract.

Lenovo enters the server market, keeps quiet about Linux

I recently learned the news that Lenovo is entering the server market outside China.

As the editor of Free Software Magazine, the first question that came to mind was: "Will they run Linux?". To my surprise, the answer was nowhere to be found.

Lenovo: hardly a Linux-friendly maker

Back in April 2007, Lenovo announced that it would "offer a wide selection of low- to high-end machines be loaded with Linux software from Novell Inc.". I won't comment the odd choice of GNU/LInux distribution, which is besides the point (I am an Ubuntu fan, and am convinced that any new Linux desktop user should be given Ubuntu for a number of reasons). What I do want to point out, is that some ten months later those laptops are nowhere to be seen.

The world does not need a "conversion nightmare": a standard office file format already exists

This is an editorial about file conversions. It starts with a story about Free Software Magazine and our struggle with article formats, and continues explaining why the world needs to get rid of Office Open XML, which could create more problems than the Microsoft monopoly itself.

Love your bugs: a zen guide to keeping your sanity while managing a free software project

Over the last few years, I've come to accept the fact that regardless of my attempts to quit this job, I am fundamentally a programmer. I wrote a book about security, I am the Editor In Chief of Free Software Magazine, but in the end I am still just a programmer. A lucky one, I must admit.

Free software will win. Eventually.

Free software (eventually) works better than proprietary software; why?

Making dramatic statements always implies a need to "back" them (or "prove" them) with facts, data, statistics. However, a statement like "Free software works better than proprietary software" is so broad, anybody can prove it and disprove it at will. It depends on which angle you take, which area, and what your comparison terms are. However, I would like to add an important keyword to that sentence: "Free software works better than proprietary software". That easily-missed word shyly hiding in brackets makes all the difference.

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