Issue 20

Issue 20

Konqueror: doing it all from one interface

When Julius Casear said, as reported by Seutonius and Plutarch, Veni, Vidi, Vici, (I came, I saw, I conquered) he was, depending on your historical interpretation, either referring to the Roman victory at the Battle of Zela or giving a two-fingered salute to the Patrician Senate of Rome. Every schoolboy and girl who has had to endure the exquisite tortures of Latin will know that famous phrase.

Press the fast-forward button to the present and those words might not be out of place on the lips of the good people who developed Konqueror, the all-in-one browser and file manager, best described as a universal document viewer.

Running a free software project

Running a free software project can be a rewarding experience if you begin with your eyes open. In my personal experience, starting a free software project with only a head-on view of a few existing free software projects is not really enough. Some basic background information can really help get you started in the right direction.

(Note: using software project management will definitely help too!)

Information technology, 'piracy' and DRM

Over at Sphere of Networks, I published a text that tries to give a simple overview of the workings of information production in the age of the internet, covering everything from free software to free culture. This article is a slightly modified version of a chapter of this text. I will show how peer-to-peer file-sharing networks work and how Big Media tries to prevent this sharing by means of random lawsuits and by using DRM. What does this copyright war mean for consumers and for our culture as a whole?

How to completely ditch GUI internet applications for the command line

Today, terminal-based programs have almost disappeared. GUIs are taking over, whether we like it or not. However, there is still a place for the old command line. Take the internet as an example: everyone’s using Firefox, Thunderbird, and Pidgin for their internet activities. Even though these are great, quality, free software apps, they tend to be bloated. That’s where the terminal comes in.


Computer role-playing games for GNU/Linux

Of all the various types of computers games out there, my favorite is the computer role-playing game, or CRPG for short. Almost everyone has heard of classic CRPGs like Ultima, Baldur’s Gate, and Fall Out, but what about free software CRPGs? In this article, I take a peek at what’s out there.

Run any GNU/Linux app on Windows without any virtualization

SSH tools, long used by UNIX gurus to perform complicated administrative tasks over the internet on machines miles away, are a very simple and user-friendly solution for more conventional purposes. Ubuntu users, read on to learn how to use SSH to run your favorite GNU/Linux software on Microsoft Windows—without installing any software on the Windows box.

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?

Beginners guide to database administration tools

Welcome to an introduction for the beginner to the basic manipulation of the MySQL database with free software. The purpose of this article is to show how universally straightforward it is to get started with installing and applying a high-grade enterprise ready database like MySQL, and to learn how to manipulate it via numerous free software approaches.

Creating a book template with Writer

While Writer allows you to create an advanced book template that consists of a master document and a number of subdocuments, there are situations where using a simpler, one-file template makes more sense. The main advantage of a one-file book template is that it helps you to work around two major problems in Writer.

Create a simple application with Hecl

These days, almost everyone has a cell phone; cell phones keep getting faster, smarter, and more capable, yet relatively few applications exist for them. The Hecl programming language makes it easy to script applications for your cell phone—with just a few lines of code, you can create applications that you can carry with you, everywhere.

Easy cell phone applications with Hecl

Virtualization in OpenSolaris

Recently there’s been a lot of news about OpenSolaris, more specifically in reference to the great progress made by virtualization technologies in it. In this article, I will exam some of these technologies, and compare them with the state of the art on other platforms.


OpenSolaris’ Zones is a mechanism that provides isolated environments with a subset of the host operating system’s privileges, allowing applications to run within the zone without any modifications (Xen is also capable of this). This makes zones useful for server consolidation, load balancing and much more.

Kopete: the KDE instant messenger

Today, everyone uses a different instant messenger. Your boss may use Lotus Sametime, your colleague AIM, your friend Google Talk, and your kid Yahoo! Messenger. However, these all take up hard drive space, RAM, and CPU usage. In addition, many of these are proprietary and Windows-only (two big minuses for GNU/Linux users). Luckily, the free software world has several alternatives that enable users to chat with users of all of these programs (and many more). For KDE users, the answer is Kopete.

Gaia Ajax Widgets: no-JavaScript Ajax

Imagine you need to create an Ajax application, and you’re scratching your head in frustration since you don’t understand prototype.js, you think using ASP.NET Ajax feels like building a car with scissors and paperclips and you don’t know enough Java to use GWT. If this is your problem, Gaia Ajax Widgets could solve your problem: Gaia abstracts away JavaScript, feels like normal ASP.NET, works on both ASP.NET and Mono—and it’s free software.

UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) installation and configuration

An inexpensive way to prevent unscheduled downtime or data loss due to power problems is with a UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply. However, a UPS by itself is not enough for proper operation. Hardware, software, and configuration together make up a UPS system that will recover from unexpected power loss or power fluctuations that can damage systems and peripherals.


Creating a free CD or DVD database and labels in Base

If you’re serious about music or DVDs, at some point you cross the threshold of having more than you can keep track of easily. The box full of index cards has served its purpose; it’s time to move on to storing information about your CDs and DVDs in a database.

From the driver to the window manager: how to install Compiz Fusion for Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu

The 3D world just got a lot brighter with the birth of Compiz Fusion, a powerful compositing window manager for GNU/Linux operating systems. Originally there was one project, Compiz, but the project forked into Compiz, and the unstable and unofficial fork of Compiz known as Beryl. Now, the two projects have been reunited for one amazing compositing window manager. In a nutshell, it adds effects to your desktop like wobbly windows (the windows actually wobble when you move them), a cool virtual desktops manager via a cube, and much more. For proof of how cool it is, just do a Google Video/YouTube search for “compiz fusion”.

Managing and configuring downloads with KGet

Downloading—no matter what operating system you are using—is ubiquitous. If you’ve been on the internet you will have downloaded something at some point: PDFs, pictures, ISOs, movies, music files, streaming videos to name a few. This article will take a detailed look at KGet, a very versatile GUI download manager for the KDE desktop which is easy to use and has plenty of easily configurable options. It isn’t perfect (but the upcoming KDE4 may rectify that) but we’ll go with what we’ve got and put it through it paces.

Extending Nautilus: rotating JPG images

I recently went looking for a way to rotate JPG images from within Nautilus, and found a nice way to do this and more. It’s not difficult to customize the right-click popup menu in Nautilus to perform custom actions on files. Here are some instructions and scripts to get you started.

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