The Latest

Of Macros And Drum Machines

This week in my random survey of activity on the mail-lists for Linux sound & music software I'll look at two very different software drum machines and a keystroke macro that enters LilyPond music notation into an Open Office text document. And if that isn't enough I've included four thrilling screenshots and links to three entertaining audio files to entice and maintain your interest. Read on for more... more>>

More on Ruby Implementations

"Rubinius is a project to watch", so says Charles Nutter in his post Rite, Rubinius, and Everything — I think he's right. Evan is hard at work making things work better in rubinius. He's now got continuations working (I think this makes him the first alternative implementation of Ruby to do so), and says he should have serializable continuations soon (see his post on it here). W00t! more>>

LDAP Series Part IV - Installing OpenLDAP on Debian Plus Some LDAP Commentary

I can imagine the comments we'll see on this article. What about X distribution? And so on... I'm not going to justify my reasons for choosing Debian. You can use whatever distro you want. It's just a matter of preference. more>>

Manipulating lists in OpenOffice.org Calc

When asked to explain the purpose of spreadsheets, most people think of calculations first. And it's true that spreadsheets like Calcs have hundreds of different functions for performing calculations. However, probably the most common tasks in spreadsheets is manipulating lists. more>>

LDAP Series Part III - The Historical Secrets

The origins of LDAP begin with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) based in Geneva. ITU began setting email standards which required a directory of names (and other information) that could be accessed across networks in a hierarchical fashion not dissimilar to DNS. The result of their work resulted in the X.500 series of standards which defined DAP (Directory Access Protocol), the protocol for accessing a networked directory service. more>>

A Snarly little graph of Ruby's Grammar

Nick Sieger, who attended the RubyConf 2007 implementers' summit has started exploring the seedy back alleys of Ruby, and is taking notes for the rest of us. After he spent some time with the yacc grammar, he came up with a nice little graph. Follow the link to see his travelogue, then you can do what I'm doing — waiting impatiently for the next iteration. more>>

GPLv3: What the Hackers Said (Update)

When I wrote about the wrangling over the GNU GPLv3 licence a month back, it provoked a lively conversation in the comments. Given this evident passion among readers, I thought it would be interesting to ask the top hackers - the ones actually involved in the discussions - for their thoughts on the matter. So I contacted Richard Stallman for the FSF angle, and a bunch of the top kernel hackers - Linus, Alan Cox, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Andrew Morton and Dave Miller - for their view. more>>

A Question of Choice

Choice: it's one of the key ideas at the heart of free software.  The right to choose how to use your software, the right to choose who you share it with.  Who could be against choice?  Certainly not the Initiative for Software Choice, except that it has a slightly different view of what choice implies:

To encourage continued software innovation and promote broad choice, governments are encouraged to consider the following neutral principles:

Procure software on its merits, not through categorical preferences

Promote broad availability of government funded research

Promote interoperability through platform-neutral standards

Maintain a choice of strong intellectual property protections more>>

At The Sounding Edge

Over the next two or three entries I'm going to provide summaries of activity represented on some of the mail-lists most relevant to the development and use of audio software for Linux (and other platforms). I'm subscribed to a variety of such lists, and it occurred to me that a summary of their traffic would be a good indicator of the breadth and depth of our corner of the larger Linux world. I'll proceed through my lists in loose alphabetical order, starting with news from the Ardour camp. more>>

Let's do for news what we did for software

There have always been problems with distributing urgent public safety information. These problems show up, over and over, with every hurricane, tornado, flood and wildfire. At this moment in history, problems fall in three areas of responsibility (and, for that matter, responsiveness):

The old official channels (radio, TV, newspapers) are scaling back on live news coverage (or on news coverage, period) The new official channels (web sites and services, "reverse 911") are still, as we've been saying since 1995, "under construction". The new unofficial channels (cell phones, blogs, RSS feeds, phone trees) are still no substitute for the Real Thing, whatever it will become.

Lately I've been thinking about some simple hacks we can do in #3 that will give some needed assistance to #s 1 and 2 as well. more>>

Blocking hardware accessibility through software: a printer's tale

What are you getting when you buy a printer to use under GNU/Linux? The LinuxPrinting.org site can tell you how well a printer will work with free software, but often that's only part of the story. I came face to face with this simple fact when I recently bought a Hewlett-Packard PhotoSmart C3100, a low end inkjet printer that includes scanning and copying features. Besides basic features, like many today, the printer includes features that run without a computer, if only with the specific Windows or OS X software that accompanies it. My experience is one data point for measuring the current state of hardware support for GNU/Linux -- as well as how companies, deliberately or otherwise, are withholding it. more>>

LDAP Series Part II - Netscape Directory Server

Two years ago today, Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik confirmed the purhase of two prized enterprise products from AOL - Netscape Directory Server and Netscape Certificate Management System. He also noted than Red Hat intended to open source the products within 12 months.

Red Hat paid $25 million for the assets. You could say that was pretty good considering that in 1998, AOL paid more than $4 billion for Netscape. Matthew's purchase represented the last divestiture of Netscape's assets by AOL.

If you wander on over to the Fedora Directory Server (FDS) site you can take a look at an enhanced version of the Netscape Directory Server. This isn't your older brother's directory server. Aside from open sourcing the Netscape server, you'll find an abundance of documentation to help you learn and operate a stellar product.

In the case you have little familiarity with FDS, it has features you will not find in other open source LDAP servers. These include: more>>

Multi-master replication Hot-backups and restores Integration utility for Microsoft Active Directory users and groups A graphical management console and web available administration

LDAP Series Part I - "Bulldozer"

I don’t like self-proclaimed prophets. So, you'll rarely see me quoting them. I guess my aversion originates in so many presentations where the next [insert application or company here] “killer

Going live, part 2: Introducing Musix and Studio To Go

In this week's entry we'll look at two more "live" CDs of Linux systems optimized for multimedia creation and performance. I've been having a great time with these systems, and I hope that my mini-profiles inspire you to try them all. They're a great way to introduce someone to Linux, they show off the system optimized for multimedia performance and they provide a wealth of high-quality sound and music software to exploit that system. They all include the standard cornucopia of applications for the mundane tasks, word processing, text editing, graphics, networking, and so on. All that, for the cost of a download and a disc. more>>

A New JRuby Interview and More

Okay, non-interview stuff first. I've recently picked up several 'shortcuts' from O'Reilly and Addison-Weseley. I love this format. For about 10 bucks, you can get a PDF only copy of a 50-100 page "book". The shortcuts (so far at least) have been very focused, which allows them to cover a reasonable topic in sufficient depth without creating a monstrous 600+ page tome. The shortcuts I've looked at so far have been timely, useful, and a great value. October marks the beginning of Apress' push into Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Apress also has Practical OCaml coming out soon to help soothe your inner functional programmer. Now, on to interview news! more>>

The Pet Peevo with TiVo

I'm sorry to see that my blog entry on recent controversies over freedom turned into a thread about TiVo. But since TiVo seems to be such a hot button, I would like to address that issue directly. I made the point in the discussion that TiVo did not license its hardware under the GPL (duh, GPL is a software license, after all), or even a GPL-like license. So all the fuss about what rights you have with respect to TiVo hardware is nonsense. Sure, you have the right to modify the hardware because you bought it. But you will void your warranty, and TiVo is under no obligation to provide you with the schematic, BIOS, or anything else to make it easy to modify the hardware. Having said that, let's cut through all the posturing about what rights we have, and get to the real issue here, which is what motivated TiVo to use a digital signature, and what would motivate people to modify the TiVo software and run the modified version on a TiVo box. more>>

The Great Software Schism

Following Nicholas Petreley's discussion of the GNU GPLv3 debate from one angle, I'd like to look at it from another - that of the cultures of the two groups involved - and what this implies for the future. more>>

A fight against evil or a fight for attention?

Two hot issues are making the rounds. First, Debian and Firefox are having a spat, and the end result may be that Debian will distribute Firefox under a different name. Second, the war betwen Linus Torvalds and other Kernel developers and the Free Software Foundation over GPLv3 is continuing, with Torvalds saying he's fed up with the FSF. Here is my take on both, and related issues. more>>

Website Review: The Family Guide to Digital Freedom

The Family Guide to Digital Freedom is a website and an accompanying book created by Marco Fioretti, a part-time journalist who writes about free and open source software (FOSS). The site is interesting for its attempt to do two things at once: to provide a guide for non-technically inclined computers users to the advantages of open standards and free software, and to critique the FOSS communities. Both goals are overdue for widespread attention, although they sometimes sit uncomfortably beside each other on Fioretti's site. more>>

Arrh. Shiver me links, and haul me URLs.

Okay, totally off-topic, I know. Well, the keyboard is computer-related. But when I came across these links on my site, VarLinux.org, I couldn't resist sharing them. more>>

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