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Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation review

Sun have made some headlines in recent months through the release of their Ultra 20 workstation and a number of new servers based on the AMD CPUs. For some this is seen as major change of direction for a company that is well known for the use (and continued interest and development) of the SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) CPU. With so many new machines being based on the AMD CPU it will be surprising to some that Sun’s new mobile units are based on SPARC technology.

Personal security: passwords

Passwords are, without a doubt, the perferred method of online security by online blogs, portals, e-commerce sites and just about anything else. For the most part, this is a good system. But, like all security systems, there is a point of possible disclosure, and it lies with you, the password creator, manager and holder. There are tricks to managing passwords, and free software programs to make managing passwords simple and I’ll show you some of them, right now...

The problem

Book review: The Debian System by Martin F. Krafft

The title “The Debian System” may be misleading to some, but it shouldn’t be. As the author claims, this book isn’t yet another guide to GNU/Linux. It’s a guide to Debian GNU systems, whether the kernel is Linux, BSD, or Hurd. Thanks to this book, both Debian beginners and experienced users have a detailed guide to the Debian world: its organization, licenses, and tools.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Free software history and evolution in the former Soviet Union: Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine

“Former Soviet Union” is a term that often makes people think of a somehow original concept of freedom and democracy. You can observe some heritage looking, for instance, at the facts of today’s Belarus [1,2] and Turkmenistan [3,4].

Anyway, even there, people always have had the will to express their ideas and opinions. Think, for instance, of the samizdat [5], or of the dissidents.

GuITmeeting 2005: a short report

Free Software Magazine is obviously about free software. Many readers may also know that we create our magazine using free software. But, not only do we use free software, we also develop it.

I have developed the LaTeX class that we use to typeset the individual articles and each complete issue. Even though the class isn’t very well written (it is getting there!), whenever someone asks me to provide our LaTeX class, I do send a complete starter’s kit for turning LaTeX into a magazine typesetter; well... sort of.

Yes, I am a big LaTeX fan.

Book review: Running Linux, 5th Ed. by Matthias Kalle Dalheimer & Matt Welsh

Running Linux begins with the subtitle “A distribution-neutral guide for servers and desktops”. This subtitle manages to capture the essence of the book extremely well, containing extensive information for both a desktop and server environment within its 972 pages.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Hosting service favorites: Gallery

Sharing photos has become one of the more popular methods of sharing information on the internet. A wide range of different people, groups and organisations are using photo sharing as a way both to promote their activities or simply to share their photos with friends and family. Some companies, for example, are using online photo systems to show product shots (like the shop for electric bikes in Perth, others to enable users and customers to provide examples of the company products in use. Many professionals are using photo software to advertise and show off their expertise and portfolios.

Book review: Hardening Apache by Tony Mobily

A recent Netcraft survey found that approximately 67% of websites (two-thirds of the entire internet!) are served with Apache. With such a large number of administrators using Apache on their servers it stands to reason that a large number of crackers will focus their attentions on cracking it. That’s where “Hardening Apache”, a book by Free Software Magazine’s own excellent and keen-eyed Editor In Chief, Tony Mobily, comes in (it was just a little plug).

Book review: Agile Web Development with Rails by Dave Thomas and David Heinemeier Hansson, et al

The last time I looked at Ruby was many years ago, when the language was still relatively new. At that time it had yet to find wide acceptance when competing against the older and more established script-based languages such as Perl and Python. Although Ruby has since become more popular as a general purpose language, one of its most significant impacts has been within the web development space due to the development/deployment environment that is Ruby on Rails.

Browsers for Mac OS X

When Apple migrated the Mac operating system platform to Mac OS X, one of the key components was an underpinning based on the FreeBSD operating system. The use of an open source operating system as the core has in turn led to an increase in the use and availability of free and open source software (FOSS). It is now much easier to develop software for the OS X platform (development software is included, instead of being an expensive addition) and this makes it both easier for people to get involved and more likely to take part in open source community projects.

GRUB tips and tricks

The GRand Unified Boot loader, or GRUB, has all but replaced the default boot loader on many GNU/Linux distributions. It includes some conveniences over LILO, the LInux LOader. One advantage is not having to remember to run /sbin/lilo every time you make a configuration change. It also can function as a boot loader for removable media such as floppies, CD-R/W and USB flash memory keys. It is short-sighted to view GRUB only as a boot loader to be installed on a hard drive of a GNU/Linux system.

Book review: Programming Ruby by Dave Thomas (with Chad Fowler and Andy Hunt)

Many say that the Ruby language has clearly overtaken both Python and Perl as the popular choice for software development, both for standalone applications and also for web based solutions (through the magic of Ruby on Rails). Programming Ruby, by Dave Thomas was almost certainly instrumental in that process. The first edition of the book has been credited—by Yukihiro Matsumoto, the developer of Ruby—as a key reason for the popularity of the Ruby language outside of Japan.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Free software technology review—December

As far as hosting services are concerned, WordPress is a good example. At its heart, WordPress is a simple blogging application, and it can be used as such, but behind the basics of the ability to blog comes an array of powerful features and the ability to extend the functionality of your blog through the use of various plug-ins.

Book review: Write Portable Code by Brian Hook

How many times do programmers have to port software written to run on one particular architecture into another (or more than one) architecture? Does it always go smoothly? If you answered “yes”, you might not need this book. But if your answer was “no”, then this book is for you.

The book’s coverThe book’s cover

Brian Hook is a professional software developer, and has worked primarily in the gaming and entertainment industry. He collected his experiences in this book in order to advise us on how to write portable software.

Free software sites review - December

In this newsletter I’m going to try to point out the paramount free software sites. Or at least try to point out a few that will make you think for a minute, and maybe get your older computer to do something new.

I’ve asked around a bit to try to see what others feel are the best free software sites around, and I’ve chosen 5 of the best to show you for this article. Don’t be afraid to explore for yourself and find your own favourites.

I’m going to try to point out the paramount free software sites

KDE

KDE.orgKDE.org

Hosting service and free software

Check out any web hosting service and they will probably be providing a number of different applications and technologies, most likely based on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

The most common of these technologies employed in this way are the components of the LAMP stack. LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL and the all-encompassing Perl, PHP and Python.

Book review: Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith

Over the course of a typical computer’s lifetime you will probably create all sorts of files, temporarily install software and generate lots of information and data that you don’t really want to keep. Unfortunately, computers tend to have a terrible habit of keeping these files and information about. In Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith you’ll find hints on how to clean and, as the title suggests, degunk your Linux installation to help free up disk space, CPU time and help optimize your machine. You’d be amazed how much of a difference degunking your machine can make.

Replacing proprietary anti-virus software

One of the major software programs we should be using every day, is a virus scanner. This single piece of software can be found on almost every PC in the world.

It is also a major source of funding for companies like McAfee and Norton. So I was pleasantly surprised when I got a note about a new free software alternative to these costly proprietary anti-virus programs, ClamWin Free Antivirus.

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