Issue 14

Issue 14

Firefox extensions: fun and games

Firefox is more than just a web browser. It’s also a cross-platform arcade machine. No quarters necessary.

An ode to Ralph H. Baer

I owe much of my life to Ralph H. Baer. Oh, he doesn’t know it. He doesn’t even know me. But that’s how it goes in these days. Much of life is owed to strangers.

If you want a measure of success, I will give you a yardstick: wasted time. Or rather, leisure time. Ralph H. Baer has given many of us a legacy of time spent in front of a television, twiddling white squares around with a paddle. So it is Ralph H. Baer is a very successful man.

Flying high with FlightGear

FlightGear is a top notch and highly accurate free software flight simulator. The software has no kill or be killed situations. Don’t expect arcade like dogfights and precision bombing. Such features are not included. However, with a large range of planes to choose from and with most of the world covered by accurate maps expect a realistic experience as near to a holodeck as software only can allow.

Spiff up your website with KImageMapEditor

One of the things I love about using a large free software distribution, especially on a suitably large harddrive, is that you can sometimes just go exploring in your applications menu. It seems like there’s always something there I haven’t looked at yet. Jan Schäfer’s KImageMapEditor was one of these discoveries—and what a gem it turned out to be!

Secure email servers from scratch with FreeBSD 6.1 (part 1)

FreeBSD—it’s the other white meat. Perhaps you are a long time GNU/Linux user and have been curious about experimenting with the other half of Open Source, the BSD class of operating systems. The 6.1 release is just around the corner, the first batch of RCs (release candidates) are already hitting the FreeBSD mirrors and by the time this article hits the press, 6.1 will probably have been released. The time has come for the adventurous to forgo their penguins and get down with the beastie.

Introduction

Baby steps with The GIMP

Have you been planning on getting around to learning how to use the GIMP someday? Well now that the GIMP has had its tenth anniversary, it’s about time to start. In this article, I will walk you step by step through the process of making a web banner using the GIMP. Hopefully this kickstart will encourage you to do more playing on your own.

Editorial

When I first started thinking about Free Software Magazine, I was feeling enthusiastic about the dream. I had Dave, Gianluca, and Alan willing to help me, I had established members of the free software community willing to help me out, I had writers volunteering their time and energy for free, and I had a generous offer from OpenHosting for servers, all before I'd proved myself. There was a sense of excitement in the air, and I thought maybe, just maybe, I could make this work.

Free Open Document label templates

If you’ve ever spent hours at work doing mailings, cursed your printer for printing outside the lines on your labels, or moaned “There has got to be a better way to do this,” here’s the solution you’ve been looking for. Working smarter, not harder! Worldlabel.com, a manufacture of labels offers Open Office / Libre Office labels templates for downloading in ODF format which will save you time, effort, and (if you want) make really cool-looking labels

Managing users in Ubuntu

As you notice from day to day use of Ubuntu, most tasks are easily accomplished. But what happens when you’re ready to expand your use of Ubuntu to include new applications, or connect to a home network and add new users? This brief guide shares the key steps necessary to create and manage other users, helps clarify some essential differences with other flavors, and provides tips regarding “root” user. Perhaps most importantly, these steps help empower the use of your Ubuntu system to become far more than just another desktop PC.

Understanding users in Ubuntu

Most forwarded

Interview with Dave Mohyla, of DTIDATA

Dave Mohyla is the president and founder of dtidata.com, a hard drive recovery facility based in Tampa, Florida.

TM: Where are you based? What does your company do?
DTI Data recovery is based in South Pasadena, Florida which is a suburb of Tampa. We have been here for over 10 years. We operate a bio-metrically secured class 100 clean room where we perform hard drive recovery on all types of hard disks, from laptop hard drives to multi drive RAID systems.

Interview with Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth is the founder of Thawte, the first Certification Authority to sell public SSL certificates. After selling Thawte to Verisign, Mark moved on to training as an astronaut in Russia and visiting space. Once he got back he founded Ubuntu, the leading GNU/Linux distribution. He agreed on releasing a quick interview to Free Software Magazine.

Most emailed

Free Open Document label templates

If you’ve ever spent hours at work doing mailings, cursed your printer for printing outside the lines on your labels, or moaned “There has got to be a better way to do this,” here’s the solution you’ve been looking for. Working smarter, not harder! Worldlabel.com, a manufacture of labels offers Open Office / Libre Office labels templates for downloading in ODF format which will save you time, effort, and (if you want) make really cool-looking labels

Creating a user-centric site in Drupal

A little while ago, while talking in the #drupal mailing list, I showed my latest creation to one of the core developers there. His reaction was "Wow, I am always surprised what people use Drupal for". His surprise is somehow justified: I did create a site for a bunch of entertainers in Perth, a company set to use Drupal to take over the world with Entertainers.Biz.

Update: since writing this article, I have updated the system so that the whole booking process happens online. I will update the article accordingly!

So, why, why do people and companies develop free software?

More and more people are discovering free software. Many people only do so after weeks, or even months, of using it. I wonder, for example, how many Firefox users actually know how free Firefox really is—many of them realise that you can get it for free, but find it hard to believe that anybody can modify it and even redistribute it legally.

When the discovery is made, the first instinct is to ask: why do they do it? Programming is hard work. Even though most (if not all) programmers are driven by their higher-than-normal IQs and their amazing passion for solving problems, it’s still hard to understand why so many of them would donate so much of their time to creating something that they can’t really show off to anybody but their colleagues or geek friends.

Sure, anybody can buy laptops, and just program. No need to get a full-on lab or spend thousands of dollars in equipment. But... is that the full story?

Fun articles

Santa Claus - the most successful open source project

It dawned on me the other day, as I was shopping for the dozens of gifts it seems I have to buy every December (this year, I bought myself a holiday accommodation in Denmark, WA!), that Santa Claus is the most successful open source project in history. (Bridget @ Illiterarty would agree with that). Santa Claus is essentially a marketing development that is embodied by everyone who stuffs a sock, gives a gift, hosts a dinner or wishes Merry Christmas over the holiday season.

The next big thing in personal computing

As far as personal computing, there has been a strong shift, in the last few years, towards multimedia contents. It started with digital cameras in phones, around 2003, which is when people really started taking a lot pictures with their phones, and started using their computers to organise them. They also started using MP3 players, and having to manage their music. If pictures and music weren't big and cumbersome enough, people also started managing their movie libraries (even though today a lot of people give up and opt for a cheap satellite TV subscription from sites like http://www.saveontvdirect.com/) instead, as movies still are too big to manage for a lot of people...

Most emailed

Editorial

When I first started thinking about Free Software Magazine, I was feeling enthusiastic about the dream. I had Dave, Gianluca, and Alan willing to help me, I had established members of the free software community willing to help me out, I had writers volunteering their time and energy for free, and I had a generous offer from OpenHosting for servers, all before I'd proved myself. There was a sense of excitement in the air, and I thought maybe, just maybe, I could make this work.

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