Gianluca Pignalberi's articles

Book review: Linux System Programming by Robert Love

Many people make the mistake of thinking of Linux as just another Unix. Though most system calls are indeed identical, some of them aren’t. Knowing the difference is important. The book Linux System Programming provides complete overview of Linux system calls.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Linux System Programming provides us with a complete overview of Linux system calls

Freemind in your kitchen

Tired of reading recipes the usual way? Frankly, I am. I find them more interesting, as well as easier and faster to read, by representing them as mind maps [3, 4]. In this article I have two goals: to demonstrate an alternative format for presenting recipes, and at the same time to provide a short users’ guide for Freemind [1, 2]. As I progress through the article I will also be describing a recipe that you can try for yourself—enjoy the meal!

Yudit: edit your multi-language text easily

In this article I will show you how to write multi-language texts without the cumbersome OpenOffice.org. Back in 1999, the Hungarian Gáspár Sinai needed to edit Hungarian and Japanese texts. So he decided to write an editor that was Unicode [1] compliant. Once he had done the basic work, it was a straightforward task to include other languages, and Yudit [2] was born.

Yudit was built for Unix, but Sinai did do a version for Windows.

Digital image resizing with the GIMP

Processing digital images is a very common task today. Image processing tools are so common that users often process images by trial and error, without really knowing what they are doing. One of the operations people fail most commonly is resizing an image.

In this article I will explain how to resize images. This is a way for me to celebrate 10 years since I started studying digital image processing!

Fundamentals

Book review: The Debian System by Martin F. Krafft

The title “The Debian System” may be misleading to some, but it shouldn’t be. As the author claims, this book isn’t yet another guide to GNU/Linux. It’s a guide to Debian GNU systems, whether the kernel is Linux, BSD, or Hurd. Thanks to this book, both Debian beginners and experienced users have a detailed guide to the Debian world: its organization, licenses, and tools.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Free software history and evolution in the former Soviet Union: Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine

“Former Soviet Union” is a term that often makes people think of a somehow original concept of freedom and democracy. You can observe some heritage looking, for instance, at the facts of today’s Belarus [1,2] and Turkmenistan [3,4].

Anyway, even there, people always have had the will to express their ideas and opinions. Think, for instance, of the samizdat [5], or of the dissidents.

GuITmeeting 2005: a short report

Free Software Magazine is obviously about free software. Many readers may also know that we create our magazine using free software. But, not only do we use free software, we also develop it.

I have developed the LaTeX class that we use to typeset the individual articles and each complete issue. Even though the class isn’t very well written (it is getting there!), whenever someone asks me to provide our LaTeX class, I do send a complete starter’s kit for turning LaTeX into a magazine typesetter; well... sort of.

Yes, I am a big LaTeX fan.

Book review: Write Portable Code by Brian Hook

How many times do programmers have to port software written to run on one particular architecture into another (or more than one) architecture? Does it always go smoothly? If you answered “yes”, you might not need this book. But if your answer was “no”, then this book is for you.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Brian Hook is a professional software developer, and has worked primarily in the gaming and entertainment industry. He collected his experiences in this book in order to advise us on how to write portable software.

Book review: Open Source Solutions for Small Business Problems by John Locke

Businesses are often bound to proprietary and closed source software solutions. So, when they try to adopt free software, they often face difficulty. John Locke wrote this book to give advice on when and how to make the transition from properietary/closed source software to free/open source software. The author deals with the most common and useful software a small business is likely to require.

The book's coverThe book's cover

Interview with Roberto Vacca

Roberto Vacca is a Doctor of Computer Science and an electrical engineer. He is very well known in Italy because of his forecasts, mathematical and provisional models, his books (which he sells through his site www.printandread.com) and articles. Since his forecasts, as well as his points of view, are always very sharp and are so clearly expressed, I decided to talk with him about his activity and free software world.

Book review: Computers & Typesetting Millennium Edition by Donald E. Knuth

Professor Donald E. Knuth doesn’t need an introduction: he created TeX (a powerful typesetting system) and METAFONT (a program to design fonts). He also designed a font family, called Computer Modern, which is the default choice of TeX.

The cover of Computers & Typesetting Millennium editionThe cover of Computers & Typesetting Millennium edition

Mr. Knuth is known to write sharp and enlightening books. His books about typesetting are no exception: he wrote five books dedicated to these topics, and Addison-Wesley now sells them all in one box, entitled “Computers & Typesetting Millennium edition”...

Book review: Computers & Typesetting Millennium edition by Donald E. Knuth

Professor Donald E. Knuth doesn’t need an introduction: he created TeX (a powerful typesetting system) and METAFONT (a program to design fonts). He also designed a font family, called Computer Modern, which is the default choice of TeX.

The boxed setThe boxed set

Mr. Knuth is known to write sharp and enlightening books. His books about typesetting are no exception: he wrote five books dedicated to these topics, and Addison-Wesley now sells them all in one box, entitled “Computers & Typesetting Millennium edition”.

The contents

The five books are:

  • “The TeXbook”

Interview with Donald E. Knuth

We all know that the typesetting of Free Software Magazine is entirely TeX-based. Maybe somebody don’t know yet that Prof. Donald Knuth designed TeX, and did it about 30 years ago. Since then the TeX project has generated a lot of related tools (i.e., LaTeX, ConTeXt, , and others).

This year I had the chance and the honor of interviewing Professor Knuth. I’m proud, as a journalist and FSM’s TeX-nician, to see it published in what I consider “my magazine”.

The LaTeX Project Public License

In a world where people wish to protect their work in any way, there are plenty of licenses [5] that protect the rights of their work, while still allowing it to be shared.

One of these licenses is the LaTeX Project Public License (LPPL) [3], mainly used to distribute and protect TeX-related works, but suitable, with small modifications, for works not related to TeX. This license only covers distribution and modifications of a work, while its execution is not restricted. No requirements are made concerning any offers of support for the work, as stated in the clause 1 of the LPPL.

Book review: Unix Power Tools 3rd edition by Shelley Powers, Jerry Peek, Tim O’Reilly and Mike Loukides

Using a Unix system requires a lot of knowledge, and it’s common to see Unix users and administrators spending a lot of time reading handbooks, tutorials and man pages to find out the “right” sequence of keystrokes. In the publishing world there is a little pearl, a single source of information about Unix and how to use it: Unix Power Tools, published by O’Reilly and Associates. O’Reilly is a well known publisher of Unix books; in this one, you’ll see Tim O’Reilly himself as an author!

The cover of Unix Power Tools 3rd editionThe cover of Unix Power Tools 3rd edition

Book review: Unix Power Tools 3rd edition by Shelley Powers, Jerry Peek, Tim O’Reilly and Mike Loukides

Using a Unix system requires a lot of knowledge, and it’s common to see Unix users and administrators spending a lot of time reading handbooks, tutorials and man pages to find out the “right” sequence of keystrokes. In the publishing world there is a little pearl, a single source of information about Unix and how to use it: Unix Power Tools, published by O’Reilly and Associates. O’Reilly is a well known publisher of Unix books; in this one, you’ll see Tim O’Reilly himself as an author!

The book’s cover The book’s cover

The contents

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