Issue 3

Issue 3

Richard Stallman’s blog

Response to Fox News Article (January 31, 2005)

Jim Prendergast’s recent article mistakenly called me a “leader in the open source community”. While I appreciate the praise that might be read into that expression, it is not the case: I do not advocate “open source” and never did. I founded the Free Software Movement in 1984. “Free”, here refers to freedom, not price; specifically the freedom to redistribute and change the software you use. With free software, the users control the software; with non-free software, the developer has control of the software and its users.

Free as in “free speech” or free as in “free labour”?

Free software sustains and enables the internet. Across the world, people continue to freely contribute ideas and expertise to an important and growing movement. The internet itself was largely born out of a culture of contributing code and content in an electronic public “space” of global proportions. This has meant that the constellation of software supporting the internet, and the content that sits upon it, is to a large degree, non-market, peer-produced and free (as in “freedom” and as in “beer”). But, why do people code, hack, test, write and create free culture?

Free software gets small

When Clayton Christensen talks, CEOs listen. Christensen is a Harvard School of Business Associate Professor who has CEOs re-thinking their growth strategies with his concept of disruptive technologies.

Now Christensen is talking about free software gaining a greater market share by getting small. More specifically, by getting small and onto handheld devices. He suggested that Microsoft should seriously consider getting into the Linux space by buying or building a separate company to pursue disruption on BlackBerry-like devices.

Open source is a market force

Companies seek to counter their competition in a variety of ways - pricing, packaging, branding, etc. There are a lot of options and any good product manager will know them well. One of the toughest situations to be in is that of competition, with the usual responses, when you are up against a competitor using the natural forces of the market place. Marketers refer to these tectonic shifts as “shocks”, because they are unusual events. They change the way the game is played, and once that change is made, there is usually no going back. The change is structural.

The importance of LDAP

All that you know about Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is wrong. From its inception to perceived usefulness, and ultimately, until the marketing department got a hold of it, LDAP has grown. It started as a useful protocol and a data structuring methodology (known by only a few), and became the latest and greatest way to synergize your action items and find parity with your eMarketing growth plan.

Running BSD on PowerPC/PPC

When you think of the PowerPC processor, chances are you’ll think of just two platforms and, by association, two operating systems. Apple’s Mac OS X, which runs on Apple’s own hardware, and the AIX Unix operating system from IBM, which runs on their own PowerPC platform systems. In reality, there is a wide choice of potential operating systems that work on a wide range of PowerPC platforms. If you want a Unix-like alternative to AIX, particularly a free software one, then Linux seems the obvious choice, but there are others.

A laptop, a coffee, and disaster recovery

Last week, my laptop died a sudden spectacular death-by-drowning, as a full cup of coffee poured into its keyboard. It emitted a pop sound, and the screen and the power shut off.

What would your reaction be? Mine was to immediately unplug the power cord and remove the battery. Then I took it over to the sink and poured out the coffee. Remembering tales of people flushing keyboards with water, I ran some fresh water over the keys and then set to work. I removed the keyboard, the palm rest, a few of the inner cards, and let it sit without power for several hours. Apparently, not long enough.

XML: WYSIWYG to WYSIWYM

It all started with cavemen and their cave drawings. All cave drawings were WYSIWYM (What You See is What You Mean). I mean (no pun intended), if you saw a cave drawing, in which a hunter was chasing a mammoth, it meant that a hunter was chasing a mammoth. There were no two ways to interpret the cave drawings. Then came alphabets and words. With words came plain text or documents. Then came XML/SGML for adding information to a document relating to its structure and/or content. An XML document contains both content (words) and an indication of what role the content plays.

When free meets proprietary

In a dream world, all software would be free. However, we spend enough time with our eyes open to realize that some situations call for proprietary software, either as a desktop or as a server application, on a free system. On the other hand, those stuck with a proprietary operating system can still enjoy free software applications. This article will list a few situations where free software and proprietary software can mix, and give three examples of each.

Why free and proprietary can mix

The risk of mixing free and non-free

If you are reading this you probably use free software. In fact, I think the probability that you are reading this article using free software is extremely high, whether it is “free-as-in-speech” as in Firefox, or “free-as-in-beer” as in Internet Explorer. Free software is increasingly being taken for granted and is almost treated as some kind of legal right in some quarters. And so it should be. A lot of people have had to put a great deal of effort into ensuring sufficient “free-as-in-speech” software exists for this to be so.

Promoting free software on non-free platforms

In a recent discussion on the Slashdot web site, free software users and advocates raised the question of whether the KDE project should be ported to the Microsoft Windows platform. Advocates for porting the KDE desktop environment made the argument that porting KDE to Windows would enable a new population of users to experience the software and that this exposure would entice these new users to seek out and adopt free software for use in their daily computing lives.

Book review: Knoppix Hacks by Kyle Rankin

Knoppix is a live-CD Linux distribution which comes with X Window and some of the most exciting and useful programs in the free software world ready for use. Like the famous Swiss Army Knife, “Knoppix Hacks” is an invaluable device. It has the best tips, tricks, and tools, along with information on other Knoppix-like systems. It contains common pitfalls and ways around them, most of which I had to discover by trial and error. Knoppix has quirks like mounting hard drive partitions read-only by default, but Mr.

Thank you!

Thank you!

This “thank you” is dedicated to all of the subscribers who are now reading issue 3 of Free Software Magazine. You have decided that it was worthwhile paying money for Free Software Magazine and have placed your trust in our project.

I appreciate your help, and I promise that we will do our very best to not disappoint.

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