We Need to Save What Made Linux and FOSS Possible

If we take freedom and openness for granted, we'll lose both. That's already happening, and we need to fight back. The question is how. I am haunted by this passage in a letter we got from reader Alan E. Davis (the full text is in our Letters section):

FOSS Project Spotlight: Drupal

Drupal is a content management framework, and it's used to make many of the websites and applications you use every day. Drupal has great standard features, easy content authoring, reliable performance and excellent security. What sets Drupal apart is its flexibility; modularity is one of its core principles. Its tools help you build the versatile, structured content that ambitious web experiences need. With Drupal, you can build almost any integrated experience you can imagine.

Thoughts from the Future of Linux

By technology standards, I'm an old man. I remember when 3.5" floppies became common ("Wow! 1.44MB! These little things hold so much data!"). My childhood hero was Matthew Broderick war-dialing local numbers with his 300-baud modem. I dreamed of, one day, owning a 386 with more than 640k of RAM. At the pace that computing moves forward, I'm practically a fossil. So, if you were to ask me, "What is the best way to encourage kids, today, to get into open source?" Well, I honestly haven't a clue.

FOSS Means Kids Can Have a Big Impact

An eight-year-old can contribute, and you can too. Working at a company that creates free and open-source software (FOSS) and hosts all of our code on GitHub, my team and I at UserLAnd Technologies are used to seeing and reviewing contributions, which are called pull requests, from users. Recently, however, we received a pull request that is very special to me. It was from an eight-year-old, and not just any eight-year-old, but my daughter.

The Asian Penguins

When I was young, Apple computers dominated the schools I attended. The Apple II and, later, the Macintosh Plus were kings of the classroom in the late 1980s.

Open Source Is Winning, and Now It's Time for People to Win Too

Teaching kids about open source? Don't forget to teach them ethics as well. Back when I started college, in the fall of 1988, I was introduced to a text editor called Emacs. Actually, it wasn't just called Emacs; it was called "GNU Emacs". The "GNU" part, I soon learned, referred to something called "free software", which was about far more than the fact that it was free of charge. The GNU folks talked about software with extreme intensity, as if the fate of the entire world rested on the success of their software replacing its commercial competition.

What Linux Journal's Resurrection Taught Me about the FOSS Community

"Marley was dead, to begin with."—Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. As you surely know by now, Linux Journal started in 1994, which means it has been around for most of the Linux story. A lot has changed since then, and it's not surprising that Linux and the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community are very different today from what they were for Linux Journal's first issue 25 years ago. The changes within the community during this time had a direct impact on Linux Journal and contributed to its death, making Linux Journal's story a good lens through which to view the overall story of the FOSS community. Although I haven't been with Linux Journal since the beginning, I was there during the heyday, the stroke, the decline, the death and the resurrection. This article is about that story and what it says about how the FOSS community has changed.

The 25th Anniversary Issue

"Linux is an independent implementation of the POSIX operating system specification (basically a public specification of much of the Unix operating system) that has been written entirely from scratch. Linux currently works on IBM PC compatibles with an ISA or EISA bus and a 386 or higher processor. The Linux kernel was written by Linus Torvalds from Finland, and by other volunteers."

FOSS Project Spotlight: Daylight Linux Version 3

Daylight Linux is the only official distribution for the Raspberry Pi to work with the Fluxbox interface. With Fluxbox, Daylight Linux is one of the lightest and fastest distributions for all Raspberry Pi models. Many programs, games and system tools were developed during a long year of work in Python 3 to create version 3.

Weekend Reading: FOSS Projects

Linux Journal's FOSS Project Spotlights provide an opportunity for free and open-source project team members to show Linux Journal readers what makes their project compelling. Join us this weekend as we explore some of the latest FOSS projects in the works. FOSS Project Spotlight:, an Open-Source Over-the-Air Software Update Manager for IoT Devices by Ralph Nguyen

Open Science, Open Source and R

Free software will save psychology from the Replication Crisis. "Study reveals that a lot of psychology research really is just 'psycho-babble'".—The Independent.

FOSS Project Spotlight:, an Open-Source Over-the-Air Software Update Manager for IoT Devices

Mender is an open-source (Apache 2.0) project to address over-the-air (OTA) software update management for Linux-based IoT devices. When we researched this five years ago, there were no open-source end-to-end (device-to-server) options to manage the lifecycle of OTA updates for connected devices. Some open-source options were available, but they either had a proprietary management server, or they were client-only and required integration with another back-end server.

Some Thoughts on Open Core

Why open core software is bad for the FOSS movement. Nothing is inherently anti-business about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). In fact, a number of different business models are built on top of FOSS. The best models are those that continue to further FOSS by internal code contributions and that advance the principles of Free Software in general. For instance, there's the support model, where a company develops free software but sells expert support for it.

FOSS Project Spotlight: Appaserver

An introduction to an application server that allows you to build MySQL user interfaces without programming. Assume you are tasked to write a browser-based, MySQL user interface for the table called CITY. CITY has two columns. The column names are city_name and state_code—each combined are the primary key. Your user interface must enable users to execute the four main SQL operations: select, insert, update and delete. The main characteristics for each operation are:

How Can We Bring FOSS to the Virtual World?

Is there room for FOSS in the AI, VR, AR, MR, ML and XR revolutions—or vice versa? Will the free and open-source revolution end when our most personal computing happens inside the walled gardens of proprietary AI VR, AR, MR, ML and XR companies? I ask, because that's the plan.

Reinventing Software Development and Availability with Open Source: an Interview with One of Microsoft Azure's Lead Architects

Microsoft was founded in 1975—that's 43 years ago and a ton of history. Up until the last decade, the company led a campaign against the Open Source and Free Software movements, and although it may have slowed the opposition, it did not bring it to an end. In fact, it emboldened its supporters to push the open-source agenda even harder. Fast-forward to the present, and open-source technologies run nearly everything—mobile devices, cloud services, televisions and more.