Wouter Verhelst's articles

FOSDEM: Free and Open Source Developers European Meeting

For the seventh time now, the Université Libre de Bruxelles [1] in Brussels, Belgium, is hosting FOSDEM [2].

The impact of meetings like these on the free software community as awhole is huge. Apart from the obvious attractions of the meeting, such asthe ability to go to different talks and learn about exciting newthings related tofree software or to see demos at different stands, FOSDEM also allowsyou to meet people from all kinds of different backgrounds.

GPLv3: Do we really need it?

I assume that people who read freesoftwaremagazine.com will most likely be aware of the fact that the Free Software Foundation is working on an update to the GPL version 3. If you're not, a number of articles and blog posts have been written on the subject. But with the Linux kernel developers stating that they oppose many of the changes, and with some people licensing software explicitly as "GPLv2" rather than "GPLv2, or any later version", one could wonder whether the whole update effort makes any sense.

Differences

mgetty

By many people, sending and receiving faxes on GNU/Linux is considered to be equivalent to using HylaFAX. And while I agree that HylaFAX is a nice piece of software with a nice set of features, I found that sometimes it can be rather overwhelming to set up. If you need some of its more advanced features, such as its client-server protocol that’s used for Windows clients, then HylaFAX is a great choice. But if you don’t need all that, then I believe mgetty is a much wiser choice...

Background

Free software may kill some software firms. So what?

Some people who advocate against free software claim that it's bad for the economy and not sustainable in the long term, because the lack of direct revenue on developing free software makes it harder to make money out of developing such software. If generating direct revenue out of software development is not possible, they claim, then less people will be inclined to write software professionally. In turn, this will mean that end-users will have less high-quality software available. Is that really true? Let's find out.

Revenue, and money as a motivator

Keeping your system tidy: creating simple packages

Installing software on a GNU/Linux system is often as simple asopening a package management interface, selecting with the mouse whichpackages you want installed, and letting the package management systeminstall the wanted packages—plus, any dependencies required forthe package to run. But what can you do if you want to install softwarewhich is not already packaged in your distribution of choice, and youstill want it to be registered in your package management system foreasy maintenance?

Create your own package, of course. Which doesn't have to be all thathard.

Ryzom: a free MMORPG?

MMORPGs, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, are fairly popular in the proprietary gaming world. Rather than playing a game all by yourself on a computer in your own dark room, you could be playing a game all by yourself on a computer in your own dark room---but against thousands of other people who play the same game on-line along with, or against, your character in the game, adding an intriguing social edge to the genre. Unfortunately, no such game currently exists in the free software world. Not yet, anyway.

Nevrax and Ryzom

Securing NFS

NFS is a network protocol with which many UNIX-administrators have a love/hate relationship. On the one hand, it’s the ideal protocol if you need to export a filesystem from a UNIX-like system. On the other, it has a bit of a reputation of being insecure. Since a rogue system can just tell an NFS server that “hey, I’m representing a user with UID 1000, please remove all the files in my home directory”, this reputation may not be totally undeserved.

Or is it?

Authenticating on the network

Usually, I get annoyed at having to authenticate myself to each and every service I set up; after all, my passwords are the same everywhere, since I make sure of that myself. On Windows, I wouldn’t have to do that; once I log in, Windows is able to communicate credentials to each and every service that asks for them. But something similar is impossible on GNU/Linux, right? Wrong.

Single sign-on

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