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Book review: Zope 3 Developer’s Handbook by Stephan Richter

Like its subject matter, the Zope 3 Developer’s Handbook, has benefited from the mistakes of its predecessor, “The Zope Book”, and is a finely-engineered work. It is written in an extremely concise and carefully thought-out style, to make the immensely complex machinery of Zope 3 understandable to the reader in a mere 456 pages. It's easy to imagine a less-well-written book needing three times the volume to cover this material half as well. As a result, however, it is not a very casual book—you will need to read slowly and pay attention, if you want to get the most out of it.

What’s free about free software?

Computer history has some interesting parallels with the history of the American West. After the initial forays of Lewis and Clark and the first set of explorers, early settlers crossed the plains in covered wagons. But the West wasn’t accessible to most Americans until the age of the railroads, when the Union Pacific Railroad put tracks across the continent and started running a regular passenger service.

Railroad history

Convincing management to approve free software

The grassroots efforts of system administrators have brought Linux and other free software into the mainstream. To be an effective advocate for free software at work, you need to speak the language of management and convince them from their point of view. This article discusses how to present your case, why your audience makes all the difference, how to hook them with proof of cost savings, and reveals two secret weapons for your quest to promote free software.

Towards a free matter economy (Part 4)

A good scientist is a person with original ideas. A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible. There are no prima donnas in engineering.—Freeman Dyson

Imagine where free software would be today if it weren’t for the GNU C Compiler! Just as free software depends heavily on free compilers, so does free design rely on having free computer aided design and authoring tools.[1]

Book review: Web Mapping Illustrated by Tyler Mitchell

When I started Anansi Spaceworks in 2001, we were keen to create an interactive online browser for the planetary maps that we sold at that time, but didn’t know how to do it. With this book though, I’m tempted to try it again just for the fun of it! Whatever your interest in maps is, this book will help you out.

A straightforward introduction to creating interactive mapping sitesA straightforward introduction to creating interactive mapping sites

A techno-revolutionary trip on the internet

When I think about American presidential elections, three things come to mind: money, corporate power and disenfranchisement. One of the big political stories of our time is the decline of party politics, especially for the young. But another story is that of the internet revitalising democracy, empowering and connecting citizens in a new, vibrant space. Often Utopian, theoretical and romanticised, this vision of the future was made real in the race for the Democratic presidential candidacy recently in America by Howard Dean.

Book review: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress

Three books in one, covering popular community building softwareThree books in one, covering popular community building software

Increasingly, the World Wide Web is not about static information pages, nor even dynamic web applications, but the process of creating and maintaining communities and collaborative efforts. Three of the most popular tools for developing such sites are presented in this new book from Apress.

This book is really three small books bound into one volume, as each software package is dealt with in a separate part of the book, apparently by separate authors

The contents

Introduction to Zope

Zope is a web application server, similar in concept to proprietary products like Cold Fusion. However, it is free software that is available under the GPL-compatible Zope Public License, which is very similar to the BSD License. Zope was designed with the specific goals of creating a powerful, secure framework for the development of robust web-based services with a minimum of effort.

Book review: Deploying OpenLDAP by Tom Jackiewicz

For years I’ve had two to five computers around the house, with a variety of accounts for myself, my wife, and now my kids, not to mention a couple of special management accounts. Manually configuring these systems can be pretty tricky, because we’ve never installed any kind of central system for controlling users and passwords. We just try very hard to keep the UID numbers the same on all the different computers (which annoys my wife, because she’s the “second user” even on her own computer).

How to get people to work for free

As time marches on and our lives become more complicated, it seems we have less and less time to devote to that free software project we started back in our idealistic youth. Rather than abandoning a good project due to lack of time, consider seeking out the assistance of other members of the free software community. With a few simple steps you can make it easy to find volunteers to help you complete your project.

A roadmap to finding volunteers

Book review: Open Sources 2.0

Few people take the time to truly consider just how free software concepts have affected, and continue to affect, the software industry, developers, corporations, organizations and the entire web community. The book Open Sources 2.0 takes many essays from free software and open source leaders that have shaped free software as a thought process and as an industry, and places them into a single compilation.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

The contents

What is code?

_The two of us wrote this article together. Since each of us was several, there was already quite a crowd. We have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as farthest away. We have been aided, inspired multiplied [1]. _

JP: Code is described as many things: it is a cultural logic, a machinic operation or a process that is unfolding. It is becoming, today’s hegemonic metaphor; inspiring quasi-semiotic investigations within cultural and artistic practice (e.g. The Matrix). No-one leaves before it has set its mark on them...

Book review: The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide, 2nd Edition by John H. Terpstra and Jelmer R. Vernooij

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for quite a few years, you’ve probably heard of Samba, the free software server that provides Windows networking compatibility. For new users coming from a Windows networking environment who want to avail themselves of all the advantages of free software server platforms, Samba is the ticket, and the ticket to Samba is good documentation.

The Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide, 2nd EditionThe Official Samba-3 HOWTO and Reference Guide, 2nd Edition

Book review: Samba-3 By Example, 2nd Edition by John H. Terpstra

Humans often learn best by example, and the Samba documentation team has responded with this very admirable collection of example Windows networking projects with Samba. I liked the design of this book, and although you will obviously need to access the Samba-3 howto for reference purposes, I would personally recommend buying this one and reading the howto online, if you must choose. This is essentially a cookbook, but it also has a consistent context which makes the examples hang together.

Samba-3 By Example, 2nd EditionSamba-3 By Example, 2nd Edition

Disaster relief and free software

Technical needs in the immediate aftermath of the South Asian tsunami disaster of 2004 put software development and distribution methods into sharp focus for relief groups. When volunteers were immediately available to help coordinate relief efforts, access to software slowed them down. It was evident that traditional commercial software distribution had broken down. It was untenable.

Reducing the risk of risk

US bankruptcy law has hitherto been fairly liberal, allowing people to restart their lives after a financial collapse by legally eliminating debts and leaving the individual with sufficient resources to rebuild. Entrepreneurs, finding traditional business capital difficult to obtain during the critical seed phase when their ideas have not really been proven, have been willing to take that risk of personal financial failure in the name of pursuing new and risky innovative business plans—just the kind needed in a society whose status quo is not sustainable.

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