Issue 21

Issue 21

If the pen is mightier than the sword, is the touchpad greater than the mouse?

I was one the first people I knew to get a mobile phone (Motorola analogue flip!); but I was also one of the last to sign up for Googlemail. I am not a dedicated follower of fashion. I stand still and, sooner or later, fashion meets me coming round the other way. So, it might not come as a surprise that unlike the young turks of computing I came late to the mysteries of the ubiquitous Synaptics Touchpad. You see, I was weaned on that Faustian pact with Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), the mouse. Having endured several very unpleasant encounters with various forms of RSI in the recent past, I decided to explore the alternative therapy of the touchpad. This article is an exploration of what you can be done with it in the GNU/Linux environment, its options, utilities, graphical front ends and command line options.

Property and commons

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 another chapter of this text. This time I will show you how the internet enabled a new form of information production: commons-based peer productions, like Wikipedia or most free software today. What is free content and why is it so important to people collaborating over the internet?

Making KDE look good

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" goes the old saying. What looks great to me, might not be very appealing to you.

Most GNU/Linux distributions pick default images that are bland, inoffensive, and boring, all of which have their place, but we can do better. This article will look at making your GNU/Linux machine look beautiful.

Note: this article only covers KDE.

Configure Exim with anti-spam

A few comments on my article The perfect network server in issue 17 requested some more in depth follow-up pieces. This is what I hope to be the first of those. It focuses on Exim, the mail transfer agent (MTA), specifically setting it up with spam scanning. It is based on setups I currently use, hosted on Debian GNU/Linux.

Review of FreeBSD 7

The next major update of FreeBSD 7, due this December, is in the running to be one of the most impressive FreeBSD releases to date. The ULE scheduler has now reached maturity, leading to significant gains across the board (particularly in server workloads). This new scheduler brings notably impressive performance improvements to both MySQL and PostgreSQL.

In the first section of this article, I'm going to take a look at what's new. In the second section, I will discuss what the future holds for FreeBSD beyond the upcoming FreeBSD 7.0 release, including screen shots of the revamped FreeBSD installer "finstall".

Free software Easter eggs

It is grey a dull, overcast day here in downtown Amsterdam. The weather is rather oppressive, summer’s smile long gone and my wine cellar miraculously has grown to quiet emptiness. However, I know a not too-well guarded secret. Hidden in the cracks, just at the edge of your eyesight, is extra humorous functionality in your favourite free software applications. Silent professional Easter eggs are waiting stealthily to make you smile.

All the C you need to know for GTK+

If you want to develop applications with GTK+, a graphical toolkit used by the GNOME desktop environment, it is essential that you are comfortable with the C programming language. This article is meant to give you a short refresher on the basics of C that you will need to know when developing GTK+ applications.

Group interview: a graphic view of the open hardware movement. Part 1: motivations

Excitement in the Open Graphics community is quite high as it approaches its first production run of the FPGA-based "Open Graphics Development" board, known as "OGD1". It will be available for pre-sale this month with the first units expected to ship soon thereafter. The board is targeted at hardware developers, with the specific goal of supporting development and testing of designs for a fully-documented consumer Open Hardware Graphics Card to be implemented using an ASIC (thus resolving one of the biggest obstacles to free software on the desktop).

Free software is social software

Free software has much to offer non-profit organizations (NGOs). If you are reading this, you are probably a member or participant of an NGO, and I hope I can show you why free software and open standards are important for your organisation. Or maybe you are a free software supporter who’d like to see a change in a social organisation near you. In any case, I will try to give you a few arguments in favour of free software, along with some practical information on how to successfully face a migration process from proprietary software.

Purchasing free-software-friendly hardware

Many people have complained about the lack of pre-integrated computers running GNU/Linux or the lack of fully free software drivers for important hardware. Ultimately though, it's up to you, the consumer, both to satisfy your own requirements and to send a message to vendors that supporting free software pays. You can do this fairly easily by integrating your own computer from its major components, and selecting only components that have free software drivers. It's certainly possible, and even if you've never built a computer before, it's not all that hard!

Free software is cheaper: case study while creating a podcast

I have a podcast—The Beer Crate, since you asked—which is written and produced using free software, and released under the CC by-nc-nd license. It's a fun little hobby that keeps me off the street, and gives me an excuse to drink and review beer. But had free software not existed, how much would it cost to produce and host a show using proprietary software? I set out to investigate...

Google extensions in Firefox

I want to take a detailed look at turbo-charging the Firefox browser with an elite selection of Google utilities. Firefox has its critics and its failings, but it has now been downloaded in excess of 400 million times: and as they say “what flies eat, they can't all be wrong!” Firefox is pretty good out of the box, but everyone knows that the functionality of Firefox is extended massively by the simple addition of extensions, security issues nothwithstanding.

In this article I will talk about how to extend Firefox so that it plays better with Google.

Protect your server with Deny Hosts

Requiring system accessibility via the Internet poses several problems for system administrators. One problem is allowing access by authorized users with the least amount of complexity on the client computer while keeping the system and its services safe from intruders. Common services that may be provided include web server, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server, and Secure Shell (SSH) server. Each of these services can require different methods of security to ensure only authorized users have access.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Issue 21