Issue 22

Issue 22

Home automation in GNU/Linux

Home Automation is anything that your home does for you automatically to make living there more enjoyable or productive. It covers many areas, including remote and timed control of lights and electrical home appliances, distributed media services, and communication. Over the last 10 years, many hardware manufacturers have presented their own proprietary solutions to these problems. Unbeknownst to them, a groundswell of developers from around the world has been providing similar solutions to the free and open source community.

Creating web pages, the right way

Have you ever felt that warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that your code is error-free and complies with the latest standards? In terms of programming skill, web authors are too-often seen as the bottom of the barrel (you will notice I didn't call them 'web programmers') due to the apparent forgiveness and limitations of the platform. However, they are required to cover a large array of programming expertise and, even worse, they must ensure that their code runs the same on various platforms–something "real" programmers consider a challenge.

The "bottom of the barrel" indeed!

Configure a professional firewall using pfSense

The guide will take you through the setup of the pfSense firewall with one WAN interface, one LAN interface and one Opt1-WiFi Interface.

This guide was written for Linksys, Netgear, and D-link users with no firewall or router experience. No experience is needed with FreeBSD or GNU/Linux to install and run pfSense. When you are finished, management of pfSense will be from a web interface just like any of the SOHO firewall/router appliances.

Hotwire: a combined terminal/GUI for GNU/Linux

There is nothing more guaranteed to ignite a bad tempered, incandescent flame war that an outbreak of hostilities between the rival Gnome and KDE camps. Well, except perhaps a slanging match between the champions of the GUI and the command line. Enter stage left the compromise candidate which might just unite the warring factions: Hotwire.

Writing a kernel module for FreeBSD

FreeBSD 7.0 has already been released. If you are a real hacker, the best way to jump in and learn it is hacking together an introductory kernel module. In this article I'll implement a very basic module that prints a message when it is loaded, and another when it is unloaded. I'll also cover the mechanics of compiling our module using standard tools and rebuilding the stock FreeBSD kernel. Let's do it!

Mail merge in OpenOffice.org

The office where I am network administrator switched most users to OpenOffice.org (OOo) back at version 1.1, and has followed the upgrade process to the current version 2.3 (a few poor users who have to exchange documents outside the office with high fidelity are still clinging to their MS Office 97). Our receptionist does a lot of general secretarial duties, including lots of letters, envelopes, and labels that involve mail merge. Since this seems to be a sticking point for many people, I am putting everything I have learned from helping her and have gleaned from various sources on the Internet together in this tutorial.

Mobile devices in GNU/Linux and GNOME

You have a computer (a laptop or a desktop). Since it's a machine you use often and don't tinker with much, it probably runs Ubuntu Linux. Or, maybe, another distribution (like Mandriva 2008). If it doesn't run GNU/Linux, I hope you're at least using BSD. If not, stop reading right now!

You also have a brand new digital camera, or a shiny new MP3 player. And you feel the dread: are those pure consumer oriented pieces of hardware compatible with my machine? Will I have to pay the Microsoft tax (and the required hardware upgrades) to get all my photos from my last holidays, or to listen to Beethoven's fifth sung a capella by lazy llamas? Read on.

DOSBox, a multiplatform PC emulator

DOSBox is a freely available, cross-platform PC emulator. Rather than attempting to be the technology leader as a business-orientated virtualization environment like VMware or Qemu, DOSBox instead offers a rich set of features aimed at closely recreating the behaviour of a retro gaming PC. To this end, it offers a selection of accurate sound card emulations and facilities to throttle the emulation speed back to vintage PC levels, along with other features designed to make sure that the old games run properly and accurately within a protected environment.

Composer, a potential HTML based word processor

Rosalyn Hunter writes about using Composer as a stand-in word processor. I too, have used it in this fashion on OS X. I like it for various reasons. For instance, I'm quite familiar with it, as I've used it for website authoring numerous times. It creates HTML files. I've come to the conclusion that HTML is not a bad “language” to use for a word processor, considering that it already allows for basic editing features--and then some. If it isn't obvious, Composer is an HTML editor that was part of the old Mozilla suite.

Group interview: a graphic view of the open hardware movement. Part 2: technical and social issues

The tools and techniques for creating hardware designs are very different from those used for software; and because of this, developing open hardware is a significantly different and greater challenge than creating free software. In the second part of my interview with the developers of the Open Graphics project, I wanted to explore these factors and the solutions this one open hardware project has found.

GNU/Linux and free software are unstoppable

When I first saw GNU/Linux (the kernel plus the utilities) in 1994, I was amazed. I started using GNU/Linux as a server system, rather than a desktop machine, and I just couldn't stop thinking: "This will only keep better and better. There is no limit. This is simply unstoppable. Everybody will be using this, and only this, by the year 2000". Remember that the year 2000 seemed really quite far off... and that I was being genuinely optimistic.

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