Every GNU/Linux administrator will need to touch a Perl script or two at some point. Perl seems to be the scripting glue of choice since it has matured so well over the years. As a result, administrators can choose from many different Perl books. One such book is Wicked Perl Scripts by Steve Oualline and published by No Starch Press.
Software is a tool, a compilation of code that directs computer hardware, a program that empowers people to work more productively. Before Richard Stallman founded the GNU Project, many outside of hacker communities would have reasonably asked: why on earth is the ethics of software distribution philosophically interesting?
The free culture movement is growing, from its inception in the free software movement to the relatively recent establishment of Creative Commons. Across the world, localised teams are adapting CC licenses to their particular legal systems. Record labels, indie film studios and well over 10 million web pages are using CC licenses. Are we on an inexorable ascendency? Well, not quite. In this article I will show that we still have a lot of issues to iron out.
Interviews are a mainstay of the media. For journalists, they’re an excellent way to check facts, get some nice quotes or structure an article. For free software projects looking for coverage, they’re an easy way to write your own article and get it published. But getting the most out of an interview can be a fine art; journalists can misunderstand or even misrepresent what you say, and you can ruin or make your image in the eyes of the audience. The third article in this series suggests some strategies to adopt to make every interview a marketing success.
Opportunities and hazards
Some weeks ago I (Marco) was looking for new things to learn in Perl. I took a look at my library and reviewed the titles of the books I read less, and after some consideration found two topics: GUIs and threads. But since I hate the “hello world” kind of programs, I decided to start this exploration of the (for me) unknown parts of Perl with a somewhat meaningful application: a chat.
The chat project
Following on from my general introduction to guerilla marketing in the first issue of this magazine, I will now discuss some specifics of getting good press coverage. This much-neglected area of marketing is actually a relatively important issue, especially if your project is genuinely interesting, and can reap huge rewards.
It is a common assumption that companies who distribute free software will promote it, leaving the community to concentrate on the meat of the project itself (including code, documentation, graphics, and so on). But this is untrue; companies generally devote few resources and little expertise, leaving communities to fend for themselves in the big scary world of media and marketing.
In his speech at aKademy, Bernhard Reiter of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) both celebrated Software Freedom Day and reminded the KDE community of what freedom in software means. The FSFE was founded in 2001 to promote and defend free software, and to coordinate national free software organizations, throughout Europe.
GNU/Linux is growing all the time: new software is being created; new copies downloaded or bought; new users are discovering free software for the first time. With this growth we have seen the rise of polished distributions, sales-minded distributors, “XX” software is being released, and so free software is gaining commercial success in many fields. Even governments, from Peru to the UK, are now racing to use free software. But governments seem to be the only ones who are talking about switching specifically because they want free software, not just stable, secure and powerful software.