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aKademy 2005 review

Each summer brings a round of free software conferences, but the sunniest this year was aKademy 2005, the KDE Project’s annual summit for users, administrators and developers with ten days featuring over 60 presentations, numerous workshops and over a week of chaotic coding. Held this year in Malaga, Spain, it included a Users and Administrators Conference, a Developer Conference and a Coding Marathon.

What’s a Wiki?

If you haven’t paid attention, the World Wide Web has been changing dramatically over the past few years. It used to be that if you wanted to create a web site, you either had to learn the basics of HTML, or spend a few hundred dollars on a web development tool. Or hire a designer to put one together for you.

Every time you want to add new content to your web site, you’d have to go back to your tools, add a new page, update all of the site navigation, or pay another fee to your web designer.

Art, creativity, intellectual property and the commons

Let us begin with a story about art. In this story, art produces aesthetic works of durability and stability — things that “stand up on their own”. The act of artistic production doesn’t come from nowhere; neither is it born in the heads of private individuals. It doesn’t dwell in a social nothingness. Nor does it start with a blank canvas. Any moment of production involves the reassembling and rearranging of the diverse materials, practices and influences that came before it and which surround it.

On the “Creative Commons”: a critique of the commons without commonalty

On the face of it, the Creative Commons project appears to be a success. It has generated interest in the issue of intellectual property and the erosion of the “public domain”, and it has contributed to re-thinking the role of the “commons” in the “information age”. It has provided institutional, practical and legal support for individuals and groups wishing to experiment and communicate with culture more freely. A growing number of intellectual and artistic workers are now enrolling in the Creative Commons network and exercising the agency and freedom it has made available.

The future of computing: is free software ready?

The future is the state of things yet to come. One can only expect what may happen and never know what will happen. The future can only be predicted based on past experience. The predictions differ based on the forecaster and his experience, in-depth understanding and knowledge. The technological future is the technology of the future, the destiny of the technology of today.

The future can only be predicted based on past experience. The predictions differ based on the forecaster and his experience, in-depth understanding and knowledge

Who’s behind that web site?

Let’s talk about phishing. Phishing is just like fishing, only your identity is the fish and the bait is an email that looks like it came from your bank, or eBay, or Paypal, or any other legitimate place. The goal is to get you to follow a link to a site owned by the phisher, and trick you into divulging some private information, such as your bank account number, pin, passwords, or social security number.

Haskell

Many programmers are fluent in several programming languages. Most of these languages have some things in common. Loops and variables are fundamental features of most languages.

I want to show you a different way of solving problems. Haskell takes a different approach than you’re used to—to just about everything.

Why Haskell is interesting?

There are quite a few things about Haskell that make it interesting and unique:

  • Haskell has no loops because it doesn’t need them. There is no “for” or “while” in Haskell.

Graphic icons

There are a lot of important and exciting discussions currently taking place around issues concerning the ownership of ideas. The thoughts and the accompanying practices surrounding the subject have been formed through a diverse range of alliances, interests and motivations. The arguments are becoming increasingly polarised into distinct methods and approaches that already challenge and govern, not only our lives and working practices, but also, our ability to communicate.

Make it right using Tcl

Any sufficiently complex software system has bugs, and those of us who aspire to produce high quality work also seek to not only minimize these, but guarantee that our code does what we say it ought to.

One proven way to eliminate bugs, and ensure that code behaves as documented is to test the program. Easy enough to do by hand, when there isn’t much functionality. However, when the system grows more complex, and there are many possible environmental factors with various permutations, it quickly becomes obvious that we need to automate our testing.

Worst case scenario - protecting your computer

In my last article my laptop had died a spectacular death from a full cup of coffee. I had to send it into the IBM depot, where they replaced nearly everything but the battery. Including the hard drive.

My files were all properly backed up, and I was even able to retrieve the few files I had worked on that day by connecting the drive to another computer. So when the service depot called and said they wanted to replace the drive, I said go ahead.

Free as in “free speech” or free as in “free labour”?

Free software sustains and enables the internet. Across the world, people continue to freely contribute ideas and expertise to an important and growing movement. The internet itself was largely born out of a culture of contributing code and content in an electronic public “space” of global proportions. This has meant that the constellation of software supporting the internet, and the content that sits upon it, is to a large degree, non-market, peer-produced and free (as in “freedom” and as in “beer”). But, why do people code, hack, test, write and create free culture?

The Libre Culture Manifesto

We have written this manifesto always wishing to unfold the concept and practice of free/libre and open-source. We wanted it to stretch out so that it might take us in new directions. To start off with, we were sure that the practice of non-proprietary software code production was not a narrowly technical or economic affair, but something that was always also socio-political.

Filtering spam with Postfix

If you are responsible for maintaining an internet-connected mail-server, then you have, no doubt, come to hate spam and the waste of resources which comes with it. When I first decided to lock down my own mail-server, I found many resources that helped in dealing with these unwanted messages. Each of them contained a trick or two, however very few of them were presented in the context of running a real server, and none of them demonstrated an entire filtering framework.

The history and future of SMTP

SMTP is an abbreviation for “Simple Mail Transfer Protocol”, and is the standard internet protocol for sending email from one system to another. Although the word “simple” belies the inherent complexity of the protocol, SMTP has proved to be a remarkably robust, useful, and successful standard. The design decisions that made it so useful, though, have given spammers and infectious code an easy way to spread their unwanted messages. Its recent evolution reflects the tug-of-war between those unsavory players and the administrators who want to protect their systems and their users.

The Commons

The concept of the commons has a long heritage. The Romans distinguished between different categories of property, these were: Firstly, res privatæ, which consisted of things capable of being possessed by an individual or family. The second, res publicæ, which consisted of things built and set aside for public use by the state, such as public buildings and roads. The third, res communes, which consisted of natural things used by all, such as the air, water and wild animals.

The magic of live CDs

A “Live CD” is a bootable CD, which contains pre-configured software, this allows the user to be productive without accessing any other hard drives (unless the user wants to store information).

Why would anyone want to have to carry around a CD, rather than having a desktop or laptop computer, which is fully installed and ready to go?

The value brought by live CDs is not immediately obvious to the majority of users

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