In this article, I respond to Robert McHenry’s anti-Wikipedia piece entitled “The Faith-Based Encyclopedia.” I argue that McHenry’s points are contradictory and incoherent and that his rhetoric is selective, dishonest and misleading. I also consider McHenry’s points in the context of all Commons-Based Peer Production (CBPP), showing how they are part of a Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) campaign against CBPP.
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In the online world, security plays a role in all online activities. Passwords are the most commonly used method to limit access to specific people. In my previous article I discussed assessing the relative value of systems protected by passwords, and grouping passwords across locations with similar trustworthiness.
In a nutshell, don’t bother creating and remembering strong passwords for low value systems, and certainly don’t use the same passwords for low value systems that you use in high value systems.
There is a company in the UK that provides Unix shells to their users: Mythic Beasts. They offer fantastic service to people who need a shell account on a very fast server, and don’t want to fork out silly amounts of money. Let’s talk to Chris Lightfoot, one of the company’s owners.
TM: Who is behind “Mythic Beasts”? How did everything start?
The $3.6 billion worldwide market for IT management software is ripe for competition from free software. Leading products from HP, CA, BMC and IBM are overkill for the vast majority of the market. Licensing costs can reach seven figures, and deployment and system administration costs are several times that. Not to mention that these products are widely known to be inflexible, monolithic and difficult to use.
Being a “computer person” these days is a very stressful business. Forget about angry customers, missed deadlines, unreasonable bosses and co-workers, shrinking wages, etc. Those are just things you get used to after a while.
Bolivia (La Paz) (August 12, 2004 to August 17, 2004)
I am now visiting La Paz, Bolivia. The city is on the edge of the altiplano, starting on the plain at 13000 feet and running down through a connected series of valleys. The result is amazing beauty. Traveling between neighborhoods often means seeing marvelous vistas. The snow-capped mountain Illimani can also be seen from much of the city.
I’ve seen a lot of new users—and even kids—using Linux comfortably. And everything goes fine—until they decide to install new applications.
You see, in Mac people can install an application by simply downloading it, copying it wherever they like, and double-clicking on it. In Windows, it’s a matter of running an ugly installer, answering a few questions, and letting it copy a zillion files all over the place.
In Linux... it depends.
Your dog’s name... your anniversary... your childrens’ initials, birthday, or birth weight... your favorite hobby, or the name of your boat. Which one do you use for your password? Network Administrators and hackers know that most people choose passwords like these to protect anything from logging into web-based bulletin boards to buying things online.
In a few years viewing source code within the major components of software infrastructure will probably be a routine way of doing business. In the meantime it seems that the only reason managers want free software is because it is free (as in free of costs). That’s not a good reason in itself: in the long run there are compelling reasons that robust, mission critical infrastructure software should be made free software.
This magazine was inspired by a conversation I had with a great friend of mine called Massimo. I said to Massimo “I think it would be great to start a magazine. It’s my ideal job, and I think I know what the world needs right now. It’s a pity there’s no money in publishing, and I’m not willing to run a magazine that doesn’t pay it’s contributors well...”. His answer was very simple: “Tony, there’s money everywhere, as long as you do something good and promote it well”. Well, seeing that he has a successful business, I thought I would listen.
Real programmers love their applications’ source code: the faster and more elegant it is, the better. Users are after very different things: they seem to want simplicity, flashy colors, nice icons and tons of options. In spite of these reasons, or perhaps because of them, programmers and users often forget what lies in the middle of it all: information.
Who owns the information?
I would have liked to start this editorial defining what free software is, but I found myself writing – and deleting – my sentences time and again.
The problem is that free software means different things to different people. To some, free software is a way to save money in licensing fees and technical support. To some, it’s a way of sharing their skills (which they do for different reasons: research, personal development, money, etc). And to others free software is a movement, a way of life.
Mythic Beasts is a UK company that provides Unix shells to their users. They offer fantastic service to people who need a shell account on a very fast server, and don’t want to fork out silly amounts of money. Let’s talk to Chris Lightfoot, one of the company’s owners.
TM: Who is behind “Mythic Beasts”? How did everything start?
Writing this editorial is much harder than I thought it would be. I made the mistake of leaving it last, and now the problem is that I have written so much over the last three months for this magazine (articles, emails, plans, business letters, personal diaries...) that I can’t think of anything I haven’t already said at least ten times.
Well, I have to start from somewhere, and I believe I ought to answer the most important question: what is Free Software Magazine?
Allow me to answer by explaining what Free Software Magazine is not.
All major Linux distributions include a lot of free software applicationsand libraries, which turn Linux into a powerful desktop or server.
Red Hat in particular has done a great job in including numerous applications and libraries which work right out of the box, without much tweaking required.
This is a screenshot tour of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0.
Terminal Server Client
Software patents are the software project equivalent of land mines: Each design decision carries a risk of stepping on a patent, which can destroy your project.
This article will try to give you some guidelines on writing articles. It is not meant to set down laws about how you must write; they are just recommendations. This article might be particularly useful for people who are new to writing for a magazine.
It is good to keep in mind the criteria that the editors follow when revising your article. Firstly, the article must be clear, well structured, and easy to read; it must be accurate; it must be at the right level for the target reader and it must use correct and appropriate English.