Issue 12

Issue 12

Freedom, as in fighting for

The battle between individual rights and the powers of the State is reaching a frenzy across the globe. Never before has technology given us such freedom to create, to invent, and to escape traditional boundaries. And never before has technology given the State such a chance to control us. In this series of articles exclusive to Free Software Magazine, I’ll take you into some of the warzones and show you what it’s like at the front-line...

The rise of the machines

Structured writing with LyX

In the hubbub over the Open Document Format and competing “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) word processors, a long-standing alternative model of word processing systems, with much deeper roots in the free software world, has been mostly overlooked. The author of LyX, Matthias Ettrich, calls this approach “what you see is what you mean” (WYSIWYM). However, it’s a philosophy that you will find in many “native” free software text-processing systems everywhere, from online “content management systems” to book publishing.

Hardening Linux Web Servers

Security is a process, not a result. It is a process which is difficult to adopt under normal conditions; the problem is compounded when it spans several job descriptions. All the system level security in the world is rendered useless by insecure web-applications. The converse is also true—programming best practices, such as always verifying user input, are useless when the code is running on a server which hasn’t been properly hardened.

I hope the year for Linux never comes

Toward the end of 2005 I was reading about “the year for Linux” everywhere I went. No matter where I looked, I always found articles by GNU/Linux fans (like me) that expected this year (2006) to be “the year for Linux” (once and for all). In fact, it’s been quite a few years now that I’ve been reading that “this will be the year for Linux”. And let me tell you something: I don’t want the year for Linux to come... ever! Period.

A beginner’s introduction to the GNU/Linux command line

So you have decided to try a free software operating system such as GNU/Linux, congratulations. GNU/Linux is not that different from other operating systems on the surface. You point and click using the mouse and call down menus to get programs to work.

However, these icons and windows are just the sweet candy coating on top of a much older system, a system of programs designed to be accessed by the command line.

Towards a free matter economy (Part 6)

This article explores the legal problems that will be faced by free-design communities developing hardware for space.

I have learned that distributed problems require distributed solutions—that centralization of power, the first resort of politicians who feed on crisis, is actually worse than useless, because centralizers regard the more effective coping strategies as threats and act to thwart them.—Eric Raymond

Secure your email communication with free software

Email is one of the most common activities we perform on the internet. However, email is also one of the most vulnerable internet services currently used. Email spam is common, but what most people are not aware of is that email identity theft is common as well. There is also continuous concern over the privacy and security issues surrounding the matter. However, most users dismiss security software as complex and still continue to send email messages with very little or no regard at all to security.

The GP2x PDA

Games under GNU/Linux have usually been a lacklustre affair. For every Tux Racer, there are a hundred sub-standard Pac-man clones you’d be embarrassed to advocate. For every commercial version of Quake, there’s a hundred other worthy games the publisher elected not to port to GNU/Linux. Without good games, there’s no market, and without the market, no effort is spared. And so the cycle continues. In this article, I will look at two of the areas in which GNU/Linux games have succeeded, and a new device that combines them both, which could help expose GNU/Linux to the populous.

Editorial

The IT world has a reputation of being extremely fast-paced. And it is: an accounting program in the ’80s would have been written in COBOL. In the ’90s it would have been written with a RAD (Rapid Application Developer) environment such as Delphi or Visual Basic. In the... ’00s (noughties?), today, the same application would probably be written as a web system, possibly using all of the “Web 2.0” technologies to make it responsive and highly usable.

Interview of Frank Mittelbach

Free Software Magazine and the TeX Users Group (TUG) both like to publish interviews. Recently, Gianluca Pignalberi of Free Software Magazine and Dave Walden of TUG both approached Frank Mittelbach about interviewing him. Rather than doing two separate interviews, Mittelbach, Pignalberi, and Walden decided on a combined interview in keeping with the mutual interests already shared by Free Software Magazine and TUG.

DW: Frank, please start by telling us a bit about yourself and how you got involved with LaTeX.

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