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Interview with Jon “Maddog” Hall about the upcoming LinuxWorld UK

I was lucky enough to interview Jon “Maddog” Hall, one of the speakers of the upcoming LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in London.

TM: Your name is so well-known that you don’t even need an introduction. How are you keeping yourself busy these days?

Book review: Beginning Ubuntu Linux: From Novice to Professional by Keir Thomas

Are you, or do you know, a non-techie? A non-techie who takes pride in their lack of techno-savvy, who still clings to the belief that while other people might use GNU/Linux, it’s a bit technological for the likes of them? Someone who takes pride in being a passive computer user, who wants it all spelled out in black and white?

Book review: Foundations of Ajax by Ryan Asleson, Nathaniel T. Schutta

In case you’ve been living in a cave, Ajax is the hot new buzzword in web development, made popular by Google applications like gmail and Google Maps, and also by Yahoo Mail. It isn’t really a new technology, but rather an emergent phenomenon in web design, made possible by improving de facto standards compatibility among browsers, better programming and debugging tools, and of course, motivated programmers. In brief, Ajax uses remote callbacks to the originating webserver from a Javascript program in a webpage, allowing for much more responsive interfaces.


When I first started thinking about Free Software Magazine, I was feeling enthusiastic about the dream. I had Dave, Gianluca, and Alan willing to help me, I had established members of the free software community willing to help me out, I had writers volunteering their time and energy for free, and I had a generous offer from OpenHosting for servers, all before I'd proved myself. There was a sense of excitement in the air, and I thought maybe, just maybe, I could make this work.

FSM newsletter - 2nd of October 2006

Mon, 2006-10-02 12:20 -- admin

Hi readers and subscribers, and welcome to Free Software Magazine’s fortnightly newsletter - keeping you up to date with what’s going on with us, and free software... enjoy!

General announcements

Our last newletter said that if you wanted the Issue 14 in PDF format versus on paper, you would have to wait 30 days. But due to our delays actually releasing the paper issue, the good news is, Issue 14 is NOW AVAILABLE in PDF! Two weeks earlier than anticipated! Happy reading!

FSM newsletter - 18th of September 2006

Mon, 2006-09-18 14:55 -- admin

Greetings, readers and subscribers, and welcome to Free Software Magazine’s new and improved fortnightly newsletter.

In the past, our newsletters have consisted of article-style content that we here at FSM thought would be of interest to you. Don’t worry, these articles haven’t disappeared - they will appear as online articles on our site. Our new newsletters are designed to keep you up-to-date about recent articles, competitions and issues, new site features, and keeps you informed about what’s going on at FSM.

General announcements

Edubuntu, Linux Terminal Server and thin clients

You walk into the room. It’s cool and quiet. You see thirty new workstations giving great service. Your cost of hardware was CAD$350 for each workstation, CAD$10 to connect it to an existing 100Mbps LAN, and about CAD$60 for a share of a server in another room (CAD$1 = US$0.87). Your software costs were only some download and CD burn time and forty minutes for installation. Your operating costs are virtually nil. The server runs for months without a reboot. The workstations have nothing but network boot loaders. You back up only one machine, the server.

Book review: Building Online Communities with phpBB 2 by Stoyan Stefanov, Jeremy Rogers, and Mike Lothar

Before the World Wide Web, many people discussed topics on a bulletin board server, or BBS. The main drawback is that many of these BBSes were not connected together, so a user would only be able to converse and leave messages for other users on that same BBS. The Internet, and also the WWW, have enabled users from around the globe to meet in an online community to discuss common topics, anything from animals, computers, music or anything else that anyone would want to discuss.

Software patents

Demonstrations over the proposed “Software Patent Directive” in Europe (since rejected by the EU Parliament) were sometimes quite theatrical, and involved at least one “naval battle”. Mikko Rauhala created an ingenious way to counteract the influence of large corporations who were promoting the idea that software patents should be allowed in Europe—he collected pledges of money from the public to offer as bribes to politicians. A “Software Patent Violation Contest” was also organised.

Managing users in Ubuntu

As you notice from day to day use of Ubuntu, most tasks are easily accomplished. But what happens when you’re ready to expand your use of Ubuntu to include new applications, or connect to a home network and add new users? This brief guide shares the key steps necessary to create and manage other users, helps clarify some essential differences with other flavors, and provides tips regarding “root” user. Perhaps most importantly, these steps help empower the use of your Ubuntu system to become far more than just another desktop PC.

Understanding users in Ubuntu


I don’t like writing controversial editorials. Controversy is an effective means to get a lot of accesses: most people seem to enjoy reading controversial articles, maybe because they like torturing themselves. (And yes, I used to read a lot of Maureen O’Gara’s articles myself!). Besides, controversy is a double edged sword: there’s very little chance that I would ever go back to those sites!

And yet here I am.

Changing the recipe

There is a tradition amongst computer game aficionados which may be little known to people accustomed to proprietary games. This activity is called mod’ing—making small changes to a game to customize the play experience. Without a game’s source code, such changes are extremely difficult to implement. Games licensed as free software, on the other hand, are quite amenable to mods. This article presents two example mods for single-player games and proceeds to discuss mod’ing in general.

It may be news to you that it is usually easy to tinker with the source code for games

Freedom, as in fighting for

The battle between individual rights and the powers of the State is reaching a frenzy across the globe. Never before has technology given us such freedom to create, to invent, and to escape traditional boundaries. And never before has technology given the State such a chance to control us. In this series of articles exclusive to Free Software Magazine, I’ll take you into some of the warzones and show you what it’s like at the front-line...

The rise of the machines

I hope the year for Linux never comes

Toward the end of 2005 I was reading about “the year for Linux” everywhere I went. No matter where I looked, I always found articles by GNU/Linux fans (like me) that expected this year (2006) to be “the year for Linux” (once and for all). In fact, it’s been quite a few years now that I’ve been reading that “this will be the year for Linux”. And let me tell you something: I don’t want the year for Linux to come... ever! Period.

Interview with Kevin Carmony

Kevin Carmony is the president and CEO of Linspire. Kevin kindly agreed to answer a few questions, and talk about his new project: Freespire.

In Free Software Magazine, we choose to use the terms “free software” (rather than Open Source) and “GNU/Linux” (rather than Linux). However, this is an interview and answers will be left unedited.

TM: Thanks for the interview Kevin! Well, first of all tell us something about you and Linspire...


The IT world has a reputation of being extremely fast-paced. And it is: an accounting program in the ’80s would have been written in COBOL. In the ’90s it would have been written with a RAD (Rapid Application Developer) environment such as Delphi or Visual Basic. In the... ’00s (noughties?), today, the same application would probably be written as a web system, possibly using all of the “Web 2.0” technologies to make it responsive and highly usable.

Interview with Simon Peter, creator of klik

It's the year 2006, and installing applications in GNU/Linux can still be a nightmare (especially if they are not available in your distribution's repository). Simon Peter is the developer of klik, a piece of software that tries to resolve this problem. Simon kindly accepted to answer a few questions for FSM.

TM: Hello Simon! Please tell our readers about yourself...

Book review: Pro Apache Ant by Matthew Moodie

This book covers the popular Java-oriented build tool, Ant. It is a combination of reference manual and user guide, which demonstrates how to create Ant scripts that can compile projects, test them, and perform the many other manual tasks involved in the build pipeline, above and beyond standard compilation phase.

Pro Apache AntPro Apache Ant

Interview of Frank Mittelbach

Free Software Magazine and the TeX Users Group (TUG) both like to publish interviews. Recently, Gianluca Pignalberi of Free Software Magazine and Dave Walden of TUG both approached Frank Mittelbach about interviewing him. Rather than doing two separate interviews, Mittelbach, Pignalberi, and Walden decided on a combined interview in keeping with the mutual interests already shared by Free Software Magazine and TUG.

DW: Frank, please start by telling us a bit about yourself and how you got involved with LaTeX.


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