The Latest

What could you do with fat fiber?

Two years ago, Bob Frankston wrote Why Settle for Just 1%? while in the midst of his ramp-up as a Verizon FiOS customer. The question is still on the table. I'd like us to help answer it by re-phrasing the question: What could we, as Linux developers and users, do with fiber to our homes and businesses? more>>

A Look at Sourceforge Enterprise Edition

Did you know you can download SourceforgeEE for 15 users for free. You'll find it on Sourceforge.net and it comes in a VMWare appliance. That version will accommodate 50 users if you want to pay for more than 15 seats. From an enterprise point of view, the cost is quite reasonable. more>>

Quick Ruby Hits

Not too long ago I wrote that I would be covering a number of big Ruby happenings, then I let the summer run away with me. Let me run down a quick list of things, and then try to come back and cover them in August. more>>

Troubleshooting Linux Audio, Part 2

In my last installment of this series I introduced a variety of GUI-based tools that can help you discover more about your system to help identify potentially troublesome components. This week we'll look at some of the command-line utilities that do similar work. In fact, some of these utilities are the engines underneath the more attractive GUI tools, and there may be good reasons to employ the engines directly instead of relying upon their graphic incarnations.

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How high is the LAMP stack?

When we first started talking about LAMP, it stood for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Perl, Python... and other M and P projects, such as mod_perl, mod_python, PostgreSQL and so on. The letters were arranged horizontally, but many IT builders began talking about them vertically: as a "stack": Linux on the bottom, and a pile of other stuff on top.

So here's a simple question: how high (or wide) is that stack now? Put another way, how many open source projects sit on Linux today?

I just asked Ethan Zuckerman, who said the question was "interesting", and that one approach would be to subtract out the non-Linux projects from SourceForge. Right now there are 154,092 projects on SourceForge. I don't know how many run on Linux, though I'm sure it's a huge percentage. But SourceForge isn't the only place where open source development projects live.

You can go looking with directories such as Linux.org's, collections such as Freshmeat's or Tucows', or code search engines such as Google's, Koders' or Krugle's. But so far I haven't been able to find a number. more>>

OpenOffice.org Calc: Pivot tables by another name

DataPilots are OpenOffice.org Calc's equivalent of what MS Excel and other spreadsheets call pivot tables. Under any name, they are a tool for extracting and summarizing the information contained in spreadsheet cells in a more convenient form. Using a DataPilot, you can immediately see relationships between different pieces of data that would be difficult -- if not impossible -- to find using formulas, and tedious to extract manually. In effect, a DataPilot gives you something of the power of using a database without actually switching out of a spreadsheet. Small wonder, then, that over half of spreadsheet users are said to use datapilots or pivot tables. more>>

Open Source Being Repositioned in Corporate America

Open Source methodology has gained some ground in one of the last places you and I might expect: In the development area of corporations. Consultants are calling environments like Sourceforge Enterprise Edition a Digital Development Environment. more>>

Pleasant Diversions At Studio Dave

Judging by the number of hits tallied for Troubleshooting Linux Audio Part 1 it seems the topic is of interest to many readers. Alas, I must apologize to everyone waiting for the next parts of the series. Various events have kept me from completing it in short order, but you may rest assured that it will return in my next installment. Meanwhile, this week we'll look at two excellent applications that are coming into greater use here at Studio Dave, the LiVES video editor for Linux, and Reaper (yes, again), a native Windows audio/MIDI sequencer running under Wine.

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What's the Story Behind Apache?

Most people in the free software world know two things about Apache. The first is that its name derives from the fact that it was “a patchy server

Seeing yellow over color printer tracking devices

A series of encodings on printouts from color laser printers to discourage counterfeiting? At first, the idea sounds like the urban legend from a couple of decades ago that claimed you could hear Satanic messages when you play vinyl records backwards. Yet the evidence from the Electronic Frontier Foundation is that the encodings are embedded in color printers from all major manufacturers. Moreover, the issues raised by the practice have caused Free Software Foundation director Benjamin Mako Hill and other members of the Computing Culture group at the MIT Media Lab to begin the Seeing Yellow campaign to stop the practice. more>>

The Real Meaning of GNU GPLv3

Now that the final version of the GNU General Public Licence version 3 has been released, the in-depth analysis of its implications can begin. Two of the first commentaries to be published have come from the legal world, and there are doubtless many more being prepared for purely internal use within software companies wondering whether to adopt the new licence. But important as both the legal and commercial details are, I believe the true significance of the GPLv3 lies elsewhere. more>>

What's new in the Ruby World: rocaml

Last week, Mauricio Fernandez announced a new Ruby to OCaml bridge that he’s working on, called rocaml. With the growing interest in functional languages in the Ruby world, this seemed like the sort of thing I needed to talk to him about, so I sent off a quick set of questions, and this is what I heard back1. more>>

Troubleshooting Linux Audio, Part 1

I have a friend who has had nothing but nightmares result from his attempts at setting up the fabled low-latency high-performance Linux audio system. In sympathy with his plight I present here a primer in three parts for troubleshooting common and uncommon problems with the Linux sound system. Parts 1 & 2 will present programs used to analyze and configure your audio setup. Part 3 will list the most frequently encountered problems along with their suggested solutions.

This week, Part 1 introduces some useful system analysis tools and utilities with graphic user interfaces.

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Options in OpenOffice.org Calc

Like other OpenOffice.org applications, Calc has several dozen options in how it is formatted and operates. These options are available from Tools -> Options -> OpenOffice.org Calc. Thanks to OpenOffice.org's habit of sharing code between applications, some of the tabs for these options resemble those found in other OpenOffice.org applications. more>>

The Federal Government Sanctioned Spam Trap

Would you like to buy a mailing list and start a Broadcast Campaign? Then just put some kind of message at the bottom of the email that says unsubscribe or opt-out and a physical address like 201 Mullview Place, Bigfoot, Montana 59106. Make sure you have a subject line and a header. more>>

What's new with Ruby

Wow! There have been big events in the Ruby universe recently. I’ll be writing about several of them over the next couple of weeks, but today I want to touch on one that gets pretty deeply into Ruby. more>>

Welcome to Open Source 2.0

There is no doubt that 3 February 1998 was a historic day. For it was then, at a meeting in Mountain View, that a small group led by Eric Raymond came up with the term “open source

Re: 32-bits, CLAM, and TAPESTREA

During the construction of my 64-bit box I collected enough spare parts to build another machine, one destined for a 32-bit Linux system. Last week I finally got that machine built and running with a sparkling new version of the Jacklab Audio Distribution (JAD). I've been using JAD in its alpha releases, but the new box is running the first beta version.

Various improvements have been made in JAD since my earlier review, including the adoption of a 2.6.19 kernel optimized for superb realtime performance. Since I've profiled the system in an earlier blog entry I decided to briefly review some of the more unusual software included with the distribution or built with the help of its development packages. JAD contains more than 70 applications for audio and video composition and production, most of which are at their most recent release versions, so come join me in a look at some less typical sound & music software running on one of the best of the new breed of multimedia-optimized Linux distributions.

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Should We Fight for Ogg Vorbis?

I'm a big fan of Richard Stallman and his work – even though, the first time I interviewed him, he proceeded to criticise my questions before answering them, not a journalistic experience I'd had before. Without his vision and sheer bloody-mindedness in the face of indifference and outright hostility, we would not have the vast array of free software we enjoy today. more>>

Why are privacy and advertising strange bedfellows?

In A Race to the Bottom: Privacy Ranking of Internet Service Companies, Privacy International spray-paints the façades of landmark companies that line today's Main Street on the Web. The painted colors are assessments of each company's performance on privacy issues. Though the rankings are colorful, what they say isn't pretty.

Nobody in the "interim rankings" (.pdf) gets the top (green) mark for "Privacy-friendly and privacy enhancing". The bottom (black) mark, for "Comprehensive consumer surveillance & entrenched hostility to privacy", goes to just one company: Google. more>>

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