Jonathan Roberts's articles

Create your own Live CD in 7 Steps

Knoppix made live CDs popular—and with good reason too. Do you want to check whether a distribution works well with your hardware, or to show off the latest Compiz Fusion magic, or maybe you have a presentation to do and you want to make sure you have the same environment to show it in as you had to create it? A live CD can help with all of these scenarios. However, until recently you had to read through some pretty dense documentation to make any customisations. Now, Fedora 7 is out and Revisor is here to help you create any kind of live system you can imagine, in 7 easy steps.

Summer Reading

Today I thought I might suggest a little bit of summer reading, now the good weather has finally arrived in the UK! Some are a little off the beaten track, with less explicit links to free software; all of them, in my opinion, will be of interest to anybody visiting this website. So, read the list, pay a visit to Amazon and grab the nearest bottle of sun cream!

Free Software, Free Society by Richard Stallman

Gnome panel mania

If you’re a GNOME user I expect you’re more than familiar with the panels that come as standard with your desktop; if you use openSUSE you’re probably also familiar with the slab menu that Novell have developed. There are, however, several other applications out there that can extend and beautify your Gnome panels.

Gimmie

Gimmie is a unique desktop organizer for Linux. It’s designed to allow easy interaction with all the applications, contacts, documents and other things you use every day.”

Interview With Matthew Allum of OpenedHand

JR: Hey Matthew, to start if you could introduce yourself and tell us a bit about OpenedHand.

MA: Hi. I’m a 32 year old father, husband, free software hacker and boss man of OpenedHand. I live in London, UK. Beyond making Linux better on devices my other interests include modern design, comics (a big fan of the likes of Ed Brubaker, Alan Moore, etc.) and table tennis (current office champion—first rule of OpenedHand: let the boss win at ping-pong). I’m the author of various pieces of free software, including Matchbox, Xephyr and most recently Clutter.

Interview with Havoc Pennington

I read a piece in which the author criticized the free software world for not being innovative enough; needless to say this angered me, so I decided to try and demonstrate that this is not the case. Over the next few weeks I’m going to post a series of e-mail interviews with developers who are driving forward the ideas and expectations of the computer industry as a whole, in new and exciting ways! This week’s interview is with Havoc Pennington, who’s currently working on a number of great projects related to the idea of an “online desktop”: read on to find out more!

Getting help with free software

So, you’ve made the move to free software. As you’ve no doubt noticed, there are quite a few differences between the proprietary software you’ve been used to and free software: the interfaces are different; it costs a heck of a lot less; and if you’re using one of the community supported distributions there’s no premium rate helpline! These all seem like benefits to me, but what happens when you have a problem?

Spin your own live CD

A few weeks ago, I promised to explain how to create your own custom live CD with Fedora’s new tools. Well, last week Fedora 7 was launched and all the tools you need are available in the repositories. This even includes a brand new graphical tool, put together by the people at Fedora Unity, called Revisor, which will allow you to spin your own live CD or installation material in an unbelievably user friendly manner.

CC Salon London

The first ever Creative Commons Salon in the UK is to be held in London next month, and I thought people who read this might be interested! If you're in London on June 28th be sure to drop by and check it out, it's being planned as a monthly event so keep an eye out. Here's the original announcement, with plenty more details (find the CC-Salon London website here):

Creative Commons, the Open Rights Group and Free Culture UK are pleased to announce the first London CC-Salon event, to be held in Shoreditch on Thursday 28th June 2007.

Education, education, education

I heard a phrase today that reminded me of my childhood: “...learning and sharing together”. I’m not sure if I ever heard this exact phrase, but it was definitely a theme that was central to my early education; it’s now a central theme of my life again, this time through free software. This link between free software and education was first made by Richard Stallman in his essay Why Schools Should Use Exclusively Free Software, and this link is now being reinforced by the work that’s going on with the One Laptop Per Child initiative.

Fedora: champions of community!

Fedora 7 Test 4 was launched last week and I’m excited! Right now I’m downloading the ISO to try it out and, although I’m aware that there are plenty of new features for me to explore in the distribution itself, many of the elements that have me most excited are changes relating to their infrastructure: they are setting out to empower the community more than any other distribution has.

Give the BBC a kickin'

When I checked my feed reader at one point today I noticed that there was an interesting sounding article from the BBC available - “Tiny files set for a big future” was the heading. It did actually turn out to be a novel look at the importance of compression technologies when it comes to the availability of content on the web; then I read the last few paragraphs and it went horribly wrong: the BBC needs a wake up call (from us!).

Mark Shuttleworth interview released!

The interview with Mark Shuttleworth in which he answers the questions sent in by all of you has finally been released after a few delays. Read on for more information!

In the interview, available at Questions Please..., Mark covers a wide range of topics including the possibility of a completely free Ubuntu release on the time frame of feisty+1 - he also lets us know a quick tip on how to install any current Ubuntu release without any of the proprietary blobs!

Free Me: a DVD about free culture and free software

A DVD that comes with lots of great examples of Free Culture which plays in your DVD player, with even more examples when you put it in your computer – including a GNU/Linux Live CD. The idea is simple: help to get the word out about Free Culture, including Free Software, by showing off what's already been achieved; the thing is, we need your help!

MP3 patents: In praise of sense

In a recent court ruling Microsoft has been forced to pay $1.52 billion for patent infringements relating to MP3 technologies. This is one of those rare occasions when we get to see the dangers of software patents in a real world situation; as well as this we can also find vindication of the stance taken by many distributors of Free Software.

Gnome vs KDE

It appears this old argument is flaring up again. On Linux.com there was an article discussing some recent posts on the Linux Foundation's Desktop Architects mailing list: Christian Schaller suggested Linus Torvalds should try using Gnome for a month and then report back on his experiences at the forthcoming GAUDEC conference in the UK. Inspired by this I've decided to take up the challenge – all be it in the opposite direction (and I won't be reporting back at GAUDEC!).

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