Ryan Cartwright's articles

Debian adopts time-based releases -- somebody check the temperature in hell

You may have seen that the Debian project (my particular GNU/Linux distribution of choice) has decided to schedule fixed time-based releases in future. This has come as a surprise to many -- including possibly some Debian developers -- largely because of Debian's long-standing "we ship when it's ready" policy. So what caused this change of heart and is it a good idea.

Identi.ca: How free software can drive a social networking revolution

Social networking, micro-blogging and other such buzzwords abound across web development these days, and the "public" is a fickle as ever. The darling of the media-driven, web-based section of the public is dropped as soon as it gets popular or as soon as somebody figures out a way to make money out of it -- money usually involves advertising, which usually ends up bombarding users with spurious post-mercials. How can free software make an impact in such an environment and create forms of social business? Enter Identi.ca

When Windows 7 ships without IE8 will it be good news for free software browsers?

A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced that Windows 7 would not ship with Internet Explorer 8 within the European Union. This is to comply with EU demands following the anti-trust case some time back. On the immediate face of this seem like good news for users of other browsers -- but is it?

Interview: Bringing a community together with free software

At a recent free software advocacy event I encountered a great example of free software being used in the community. Chris Kilby has been running an IT suite for residents of his local housing estate in Stepney, east London. A suite of desktop PCs running Edubuntu with a Fedora-based server has been built and runs on a shoestring budget. I recently caught up with Chris to ask him more about the project.

Saving my sanity with Zenity : shell script interaction via the GUI

Whilst an increasing number of recent converts are avoiding it (and I don't blame them really), the shell is still a key tool for the majority of GNU/Linux users. Shell scripts are knocked-up, shared and deployed in all sorts of circumstances -- some simply time-saving, others life-saving. But even if the shell script has been written by somebody else, running it can be a cumbersome and frightening exercise for users of lesser experience or confidence. How do we bring the flexibility of the shell script to the GUI-only user?

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