linux

Rule #4: Grow, Don't Build

Since free software and other free culture products are formed by an organic, incrementalist process, they tend to be highly organic in their design as well. Free software is not so much built as it is grown. Thus, when considering a new project, you must think not about how to break it down into implementable chunks that can be assembled into a working product, but rather about how the project can organically grow—moving from working product to working product as it does so—becoming progressively more useful as it is developed.

Microsoft's metered pay-as-you-go patent. It's Trusted Computing Mark Two but worse

This time, Microsoft may have outdone themselves with a proposed patent of such breathtaking hubris that it makes their previous FUD pale by comparison. If it comes off it will either be a licence to print money (Redmond's version of Quantitative easing?) or the biggest Pyrrhic victory in the history of computing since Steve Jobs refused Bill Gates and hardware vendors a licence to use Apple's OS and software.

When you first read about Microsoft's proposed patent you are suffused with the glow of righteous anger but before you get carried away, stop. Stop and think. This patent might just be, to mix my metaphors, a Trojan Horse and the straw that breaks the Camels' back. Windows users seem to possess a high pain tolerance (I only lasted until Windows ME before I broke and confessed to anything and everything) but this just might tip some of them over the edge. As homeless refugees they could be receptive to seeking asylum in the Republic of Unixland. Let's find out why.

A triple-boot system with GRUB: Debian GNU/Linux "Lenny", FreeDOS 1.0, and Windows 98SE

This last Christmas, I refurbished and installed computers for two of my children. As we still have a pile of old games in a drawer, I wanted to provide multi-boot systems. This was much easier and more satisfying than the last time I set up a Linux/Windows dual boot system (with LOADLIN.EXE, which I can't really recommend today). I also wanted to test out the current state of FreeDOS (a GNU GPL-licensed operating system that emulates parts of MS-DOS 3.3 and MS-DOS 6.0). I did try installing ReactOS 0.3.7 instead of Windows on one of the systems, but I ran into installation problems I couldn't work around (a topic for a later column, perhaps), owing no doubt to the immaturity of the ("alpha") software.

Homebuilt computers for Christmas

In tight economic times when I was growing up, my family generally had "homemade" Christmases, where all the gifts were handicrafts they had made. It takes a lot of time, but it does save money, and in all honesty, those were some of the best I can remember. This year, I'm following much the same pattern, though my skills are different (I couldn't knit a sock to save my life, and while I can sew, I'm not exactly good at it): this year I'm giving my kids (refurbished) computers.

Return of the Xvid: check your outputs!

A long time ago, on a blog post not that far away...

I once wrote an article on Xvid 1.1.3, and the speed boost one could get by enabling assembly-optimized code. Well, this is a case of my being hoisted by my own petard -- however, I must admit that several things were against me.

In short, Murphy's Law struck again. But first, for those of you who don't want to click through old blog posts, a (fair) bit of history.

Book review: Linux System Programming by Robert Love

Many people make the mistake of thinking of Linux as just another Unix. Though most system calls are indeed identical, some of them aren’t. Knowing the difference is important. The book Linux System Programming provides complete overview of Linux system calls.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Linux System Programming provides us with a complete overview of Linux system calls

Unjustifiable Criticism of Richard Stallman by Linus Torvalds

A recent attack piece against Richard Stallman was written by Linus Torvalds on the eve of Obama's election.

Black and white by Linus Torvalds

Linus begins with this:

So I'm pretty well-known for not exactly being a huge fan of the FSF and Richard Stallman, despite the fact that I obviously love the GPLv2 and use it as the license for all my projects that I care about.

Stephen Fry wishes GNU/Linux a happy 25th birthday

I was surprised and delighted to find this video presentation by one of my favorite performers, Stephen Fry, called "Happy Birthday to GNU", on the GNU project homepage.

Posted on September 1st, in honor of GNU's 25th anniversary, it turns out to be only the latest in a series of entries on Mr. Fry's official blog site praising the virtues of free software.

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.

Vienna failed to migrate to GNU/Linux: why?

Several governments and councils reported multi-year migration plans to GNU/Linux. Free software activists praised each one of them in their blogs and commentaries. However, a few months or years on, some of those plans crumbled. Vienna is one of them. A question here begs to be answered: why did it happen? The City of Vienna made several crucial mistakes. In this article, I will list the most prominent ones.

Book Review: Linux Thin Client Networks Design and Deployment by David Richards

This book is a gem. The author has written a compact volume covering many facets of GNU/Linux on thin clients. The book is persuasive and gives attention to issues of users and managers. The author is the same David Richards who led the government of Largo, Florida, to adopt GNU/Linux on thin clients under the radar of Microsoft, through the valley of thin clients, across the mountains of IT to the promised land of GNU/Linux--before Munich and Extremadura. This is also the same person who brought thin clients on e-bay.

Book Review: Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux by Mark G. Sobell

Mainstream Linux distributions such as the ever-popular Ubuntu have the potential to contain thousands or tens of thousands of packages and have a wealth of supporting services activated on computer boot ups. Mark G. Sobell’s book A practical guide to Ubuntu Linux, published by Prentice Hall, describes the details of maintaining these complex structures on your own machine.

Linux Thin Client Networks Design and Deployment by David Richards

Thin client solutions bring together the display features of a personal computer and the low support requirements of dumb terminals. The client machine handles the user interface, while the servers provide the processing power for the applications. Thin clients offer considerable savings in staffing and capital costs. GNU/Linux lends itself to thin clients for reasons that are explored in this book. The book's author, David Richards, clearly has experience of explaining and implementing thin client solutions.

Play Mp3 on Linux without any Codec

Mon, 2008-04-07 19:40 -- birbal

It uses a free flash mp3 player, combined with the power of PHP/XML.

What you need.

1) php cli or apache module 2) download the zip file attached 3) extract to a folder say phpMp3 4) copy your mp3's in the same folder. 5) from your command prompt/cli or apache just run createTracks.php 5) open the index.html

Download and Source and Demo :- http://www.techbirbal.com/viewtopic.php?f=95&t=2025

How to love Free Software in 3 steps: configure, make, make install

I recently re-read the article how to hate free software in 3 easy steps by Steven Goodwin. I'm no programmer, but then I've also installed a few distributions myself. And frankly, I have trouble relating to that post.

Several points were made in the article's comments, some being that non-programmers don't compile from source anyway, compiling from source requires you to be a programmer, and other operating systems don't crash when you tinker with their partitions.

Excuse me?

Book review: Official Damn Small Linux Book by by Robert Shingledecker, John Andrews and Christopher Negus

Damn Small Linux (DSL) is my favourite GNU/Linux distribution. It's not the one I use the most, but to me it represents everything good in the Linux world. It's small enough to run on any old PC, powerful enough to solve most any problem. This is the distribution to use when proving just how useful GNU/Linux can be.

Book review: Linux Firewalls: Attack Detection and Response with iptables, psad, and fwsnort by Michael Rash

The stability of an enterprise-wide infrastructure depends on understanding innovative, defensive security-related software. Linux Firewalls: Attack Detection and Response with iptables, psad and fwsnort written by Michael Rash and published by No Starch Press, outlines viable approaches that enable a defensive solution in depth.

The unspoken truth of operating systems

An article on Slashdot recently is the latest in a series of items I’ve seen over the past several years, all on the same theme. Each one has identified the thing which will finally allow Linux to build up enough inertia to begin to gain significant market share on the desktop and begin to challenge Microsoft and Apple. Most of the articles focus on a single issue as the key. Sometimes it’s technology―stability and lack of viruses. Sometimes it’s usability―the latest release of Gnome, or Ubuntu’s attempts to make Linux user friendly.

Free software drivers: the unmatrix

Well, it’s been a while—“cough!”—the set’s all dusty since my previous post about 3D cards...

One thing that isn’t quite dusty though, is the state of free software drivers! I will sum up the different evolutions (some would even say, revolutions) that have occurred over this summer (June-September 2007).

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