The Latest

Miguel de Icaza plays fast and loose with the facts and history

Miguel de Icaza, in this weblog entry says, "Facts barely matter when they get in the way of a good smear. The comments over at Groklaw are interesting, in that they explore new levels of ignorance." This comment rings especially true of his weblog entry. For example, Miguel states...

We have been working on OpenOffice.Org for longer than anyone else has. We were some of the earliest contributors to OpenOffice, and we are the largest external contributor to actual code to OpenOffice than anyone else.

Say what? Who created OpenOffice? Who bought it? Who opened it? Anyone ever hear of Star Division gmbh or Sun? Since when did Novell become the earliest contributor to OpenOffice.org? The earliest and largest external corporate contributor, maybe. I'd like to see some hard facts to back up an assertion like that (not that facts matter, as Miguel admitted), but his hyperbolic boasting of Novell's contribution is obviously overblown. And is a contribution that doesn't make it into the main code base really a contribution? After all, in the same blog entry, Miguel himself makes much of the fact that Novell's OpenOffice.org really isn't THE OpenOffice.org. It's Novell's unique version, patched and modified. more>>

The Ruby Way

I've wanted to tackle Ruby for quite some time. Luckily, Addison-Wesley just sent me a copy of The Ruby Way, Second Edition by Hal Fulton. This is one of those books that makes me think publishers feel the need to sell books by the pound. The sad part about that is that, in many cases, books printed by the pound contain tons of fluff and useless information. Not so with The Ruby Way. Every page contains gems valuable for anyone who wants to program with Ruby.

But this isn't a book review, per se. If it were, I'd recommend The Ruby Way without reservation. Anyone even remotely interested in Ruby should get this book, now. It's worth every penny of $39.99 US.

But here's what really inspired me to write about this book. There are pages upon pages devoted to the unintuitive twists in the Ruby language. There are so many quirks that I'm almost afraid to tackle my first Ruby program. more>>

Let's go bust some silos

The Internet Identity Workshop starts tomorrow (Monday, December 4) and runs for the next two days, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Every time we have one of these, progress happens. It's a remarkable thing to watch, and to participate in.

But the challenges remain very high. To illustrate how high, I'll start with a conversation I had one year ago, when we were driving back from a Thanksgiving visit to relatives who live 250 miles away.

With the kid asleep in the back seat of the car, my wife asked me to fill her in on a subject that had preoccupied me over the last several years, yet had remained opaque to her. "Tell me about this whole identity thing", she said. more>>

LDAP Series Part VI - Directory Service Modeling

LDAP services exist in a TCP/IP context. It's an Internet service that uses daemons, requires an administrator, configuration files and structure. In some ways LDAP resembles a Linux file system with a root, limbs instead of directories, etc. Unlike the directory configuration of an operating system, LDAP is flexible in its structuring. That flexibility translates into a design makeup you can simply create. We call the hierarchical model a Directory Information Tree (DIT). Whoever designs the DIT needs to know something about how to model data. more>>

LDAP Series Part V - Getting a Grip on Directory Service Modeling

I have an observation I'd like to disclose about the Open Source community: We tend to leap into all kinds of things before we have all the facts and/or information necessary to make intelligent decisions. We criticize other communities, laugh at things like directory services from the two major NOS players, talk about all our great applications, etc. We hang on to old notions about what makes Linux tick. Sorry, but that model ESR defined doesn't fit any more. The community natter appears to come mostly from people who lack deep technical skills and knowledge of enterprises. more>>

RubyConf*MI Videos Now on the Web

Well, this is some news I've been wanting to share for a while, but I've had to wait until everything was ready. During the summer, I spoke at RubyConf*MI, one of the first regional Ruby Conferences (I think San Diego held the only one earlier than the Michigan folks). At the time, they filmed all the presentations. more>>

Why We Need an Open Source Second Life

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last six months, you will have noticed that the virtual world Second Life is much in the news. According to its home page, there are currently around 1,700,000 residents, who are spending $600,000 – that's real, not virtual, money – in the world each day. These figures are a little deceptive – there are typically only 10,000 to 15,000 residents online at any one time, and the money flow is not a rigorous measurement of economic activity – but there is no doubt that Second Life is growing very rapidly; moreover, we are beginning to see it enter the mainstream in a way that has close parallels with the arrival of the Web ten years ago. more>>

Printing in OpenOffice.org Calc, Part 2: Print selection and printer options

In part 1 of this entry, I discussed how to use Calc's page styles to control how spreadsheets print. However, although page styles are one of the most useful tools for the task, they are far from the only ones. How you setup pages for printing and the printer or export options are also part of the arsenal. None of these tools is useful on every occasion, and you may have to mix and match them to get the results you want, but, the more you know about them, the less of a nightmare printing a spreadsheet becomes. more>>

A Novellization clause for the next GPL

Forget about Tivoization. How about adding a clause to the next version of the GPL that counters Novellization? The clause would say (in proper legalese), that if any code infringes on intellectual property or patents held by third parties, and the third parties take legal action, the contributors of the offending code assume 100% liability. In short, if Novell injects Microsoft IP into open source and Microsoft wants to sue, it must sue Novell and nobody else, because Novell assumes liability under this new license. This would render any "promise not to sue the end customer" agreement with Novell meaningless. more>>

Ruby Related Conference Announcements

It must be the season for big announcements, because they seem to be flying right now. I'd like to point out two of them from the Ruby community. more>>

Novell is loading Microsoft's gun

It is with regret that I urge all FOSS developers to treat anything Novell has contributed to the community as suspect, scrutinize any Novell contributions and purge them as deemed appropriate.

This threat is real, and it is not necessarily contingent upon whether or not Microsoft would actually sue customers for patent infringements. This is a classic case of posturing. Novell is leveraging its agreement with Microsoft in a way that harms all other Linux distributions and other FOSS projects. It is actively exploiting its unique position in ways that seem beneficial, but will pose risks to anyone but its own customers (and even their own customers are only protected for the next five years). more>>

Printing in OpenOffice.org Calc, Part I: Page styles

Spreadsheets are primarily used online. For this reason, printing them can be challenging even to experienced users. However, OpenOffice.org offers more help than most spreadsheets with printing, starting with the introduction of page styles. In this entry, I'll explain how Calc page styles can help with printing spreadsheets. In Part II, I'll continue by explaining the other tools available for printing in Calc. more>>

Getting My Kicks On Route 64

Some months ago I started collecting the pieces I needed to build my own 64-bit computer. I'm not a complete stranger to building machines, I've put together a dozen or so during the past twenty years, but it's been quite a while since I started one from scratch, and my experience with this machine was more instructive than it was meant to be. Nevertheless, at long last Studio Dave has gone 64-bit crazy. Well, not really crazy, but certainly more than mildly enthusiastic. more>>

Who Else Gains from a GPL'd Java?

Sun's announcement that it would be releasing Java under the GNU GPL confounded many of its critics (including myself) who had feared that the company was incapable of making such a bold move.  Quite rightly, it has garnered praise from across the hacker world.  But Sun's relationship with free software has not always been so idyllic. more>>

Follow the lack of money

Jeff Jarvis is looking for better stewards of journalism's future. He explains,

I don’t see enough development going on in new news efforts — enough to save journalism from the sinking news business. And that’s what’s troubling me. The old players are proving to be quite ineffective stewards — we knew that — but there aren’t enough new stewards joining the church.

Problem is, you can't make a new business out of an old business that's turned into a church. Wall Street isn't up for that, and most of the big papers work for Wall Street. The word "stewardship" alone is a boat anchor on any company's stock price. more>>

A five year deal with Microsoft to dump Novell/SUSE

Wake up little SUSE, Wake up. No, that's not good enough. Wake up SUSE customers, wake up. Novell is jeopardizing the future of Linux for its own short-term rewards. If you want to see Linux flourish, let alone survive after Novell's five year deal with Microsoft expires, I suggest we make an alternative five year deal with Microsoft. In this case, our part of the deal is to spend the next five minutes, months, or years migrating away from every shred of Novell/SUSE software in our home, office, or enterprise. more>>

Ten ideas about Ideas

Which has more leverage in the marketplace — A) disclosure or B) secrecy? Which is more supportive of growing markets — A) public infrastructure or B) private platforms? Which is better for inventive entrepreneurs — A) sharing one's great ideas to drive development and adoption, or B) patenting and keeping secret one's "intellectual property"?

I'm sure most Linux Journal readers would answer "A" to each of those questions, plus other questions like them. Yet I suspect that most venture capitalists would rather fund the "B" choices. more>>

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>>

Webinar
One Click, Universal Protection: Implementing Centralized Security Policies on Linux Systems

As Linux continues to play an ever increasing role in corporate data centers and institutions, ensuring the integrity and protection of these systems must be a priority. With 60% of the world's websites and an increasing share of organization's mission-critical workloads running on Linux, failing to stop malware and other advanced threats on Linux can increasingly impact an organization's reputation and bottom line.

Learn More

Sponsored by Bit9

Webinar
Linux Backup and Recovery Webinar

Most companies incorporate backup procedures for critical data, which can be restored quickly if a loss occurs. However, fewer companies are prepared for catastrophic system failures, in which they lose all data, the entire operating system, applications, settings, patches and more, reducing their system(s) to “bare metal.” After all, before data can be restored to a system, there must be a system to restore it to.

In this one hour webinar, learn how to enhance your existing backup strategies for better disaster recovery preparedness using Storix System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin), a highly flexible bare-metal recovery solution for UNIX and Linux systems.

Learn More

Sponsored by Storix