All articles

No avatar August 05, 2000 23:59 Systems Software Research is Irrelevant

The ubiquity of PC hardware has been mirrored in the software market, where a handful of operating systems are firmly entrenched and new systems find it difficult to attract interest to themselves. In today's editorial, Rob Pike of Bell Laboratories gives his reflections on the state of systems software research, drawing on his own experiences working on Plan 9 and Inferno.

No avatar July 29, 2000 23:59 The World Free Web

Eric Ries has spotted an irony in the Slashdot effect: When a site is Slashdotted, the information on it becomes harder to reach not because it has become scarce, but because it is being copied to thousands upon thousands of other machines. Shouldn't this make it easier to get instead of harder? In today's editorial, Eric suggests a way to turn the situation around so popular information becomes instantly more accessible rather than less.

No avatar July 22, 2000 23:59 How to Market Free Software

Approximately three microseconds after the world discovered that I had an email address ending in "", it started slamming me with press releases for new software, hardware, services, Web sites, etc. Over the past year, I've watched the clue level of many Linux companies steadily decline, and I'd like to offer some suggestions on how it could be brought back to a level at which we'd all be willing to at least start listening again.

No avatar July 15, 2000 23:59 Response to Troll Tech on Qt, KDE, and the QPL

This editorial by James Ramsey "attempts to counter Troll Tech's apparent misconceptions about the QPL/GPL controversy, and attempts to walk through the GPL to explain why it conflicts with the QPL."

No avatar July 08, 2000 23:59 Modularity

In today's editorial, David Symonds shares his views on what's good and what's bad about modularity, and suggests that more tools should take advantage of modular techniques.

No avatar July 01, 2000 23:59 Trolltech on Qt, KDE, and the QPL

In today's editorial, Eirik Eng of Trolltech responds to Joseph Carter's comments on KDE and Debian with a discussion of the original intent of the QPL, an explanation of how Trolltech views the current situation, and a preview of the future of the license.

No avatar June 25, 2000 23:59 Inroads to Free Software Development

In today's editorial, David Burley of the Marble Horse Free Software Group offers suggestions for anyone wondering how to get started helping with Free Software.

No avatar June 21, 2000 07:40 Possible Threat to French Open Source Sites

John Fremlin writes: "Next week, the French National Assembly will vote on appending a chapter to the law limiting freedom of communication. As written, it would unambiguously prohibit hosting of content of unspecified provenance; that is, sites on which users could post material would be legally obligated to somehow determine the true identities and postal addresses of their users. The free software community is directly affected, as large Open Source projects don't have the requisite information about their contributors and could not legally be made available in France. Incidentally, several Open Source projects are hosted by (for example, consoletools and all of my programs), which would have to shut down."

No avatar June 17, 2000 23:59 Why Debian Doesn't Include KDE

Joseph Carter has spent "countless hours" working on licensing issues with the KDE team in the hopes of fixing the problems that have kept KDE out of the Debian distribution. In today's editorial, he gives his view of the impasse that has been reached and why it's been a loss for everyone in the community.

No avatar June 14, 2000 23:59 You Can't Be a Herder Unless You've Been a Nerd

In a followup to his Nerdherding editorial, Cal Evans suggests that when it comes time to find a manager, we never look in the most obvious place.

No avatar June 10, 2000 23:59 Blame the UI: Why Linux is Not Immune to ILOVEYOU-style W...

It's easy for Free Software users to laugh at the misfortunes of their Windows-using colleagues as they suffer through the virus du jour, but if you can set your superiority complex aside for a moment, can you point to anything in Melissa/ILOVEYOU/etc. that couldn't be accomplished by a badly-written MUA running on Linux? In today's editorial, Joe Pranevich urges the programming community to learn from Outlook's mistakes if they want to continue having the last laugh.

No avatar June 03, 2000 23:59 The Coming Storm

While data locked in a proprietary format may be an inconvenience, it isn't a dead end for computer users; hackers can always find a way around software limitations. But what if the limitation is in the hardware? In today's editorial, Bruce Bell considers a world in which information is locked inside "trusted client" devices and explains why he thinks the Open Source community should be worried.

No avatar May 28, 2000 23:59 Selling Your Soul

Today, we offer an editorial from Bodo Bauer, who writes: "The ethics of OSS development have been on my mind for a while. I never really found an answer, and talking to coworkers brought up the fact that they are having similar issues. That's why I put my thoughts together in this little essay about OSS developers in today's business world."

No avatar May 27, 2000 23:59 Piracy and Its Split Personalities

James Williams writes: "It seems like no matter where I go, I hear people talking about piracy and its destructiveness. There seems to be a general consensus that piracy is harmful to the industry. It's easy to understand why people share this view, since on the surface, piracy seems to lead to lost revenues. However, I've looked into the problem at a deeper level and come to the conclusion that piracy is actually quite beneficial. How, you ask? Well, keep reading."

No avatar May 20, 2000 23:59 Negotiating for Nerds

From endless semesters of CS classes and/or endless cola-filled nights, hackers learn all the skills of their trade... or almost all. Who sat you down and taught you how to navigate an interview to make sure your next job is right for you? Since the answer is probably "no one", we're presenting an editorial today from Dennis Faust, who has spent a lot of time on the company side of the interview desk and offers his suggestions about what he should have heard coming from the other side.

No avatar May 13, 2000 23:59 Security Issues of Auto-upgrades

Package managers with download capabilities make it easy to download and install the latest software releases, bugfixes, and security patches. Could they also make it easy to download and install the latest exploits without your knowing about it? In today's editorial, I put that question to representatives of Red Hat and Debian, makers of the two most widely-used Linux package management systems.

No avatar May 07, 2000 23:59 Has Open Source become derailed?

In today's editorial, Bruce Smith takes a "What have you done for me lately?" look at Open Source development, and shares his concern over the answer he finds.

No avatar May 06, 2000 23:59 Netpliance: An Inside Look

Last month, Kalin R. Harvey wrote about the i-opener and the lessons it could teach companies about how they can interact with the Open Source community to everyone's mutual advantage. He's since discussed the issues with Netpliance directly, and today tells us how it went.

No avatar April 29, 2000 23:59 Nerdherding

Hacker culture is filled with the lore and legend of the Pointy-Haired Boss and the myriad ways management can inhibit or kill a project. Today, we get a view from the other side as Cal Evans tells us what it's like to be the administrative part of a hacking team.

No avatar April 22, 2000 23:59 The Importance of Non-Developer Supporters in Free Software

Jacob Moorman of the Marble Horse Free Software Group writes: "With the increase in size of many new and long-term Free Software development projects, it is important to recognize the crucial value non-developers may hold in advancing the efforts of these projects."

No avatar April 16, 2000 23:59 Client As Server: The New Model

David Weekly writes: "A new model is emerging from the Internet. It represents the culmination of years of incremental evolution in the structure of the network and the clients that feed upon it. It is based upon the same principles upon which the Internet was founded. It is this: the client is the server."

No avatar April 08, 2000 23:59 The i-opener and Open Source

Kalin R. Harvey writes: "The i-opener from Netpliance has realized a level of brand recognition that no one could have predicted a month ago. It seems that everyone has an opinion about the loss-leader hardware produced by the Austin, Texas start-up, which was subsequently hacked and repurposed by a bunch of hardware wizards. The rhetoric on the technical discussion boards has ranged from absolute love to complete hate, nuanced by all of the shades one would expect to find in a complex relationship. The way the story has developed raises questions about the future of Internet appliances, the "customer acquisition at all expenses" business model, and, more than anything, the complex relationship between the commercial interests, the Open Source community, and the great unwashed masses who have never been online."

No avatar March 25, 2000 23:59 Developing with Open Source

Peter 'darkewolf' Crystal writes: "The Open Source phenomenon threatens to overtake us all. IBM is supporting it strongly, Sun is doing it, and even the bane of existence -- Microsoft -- has an interest in it. But where does that leave developers and potential developers that have found themselves called to this clandestine world?"

No avatar March 18, 2000 23:59 Linux in Education

Today's editorial is brought to us by Doug Loss and Pete St. Onge of the Simple End User Linux education project. They write: "How to use Linux in education, specifically in schools: it's a topic that was hardly thought about even eighteen months ago, but now there are many people around the world working on that very idea. Let's take a look at how Linux can currently benefit the educational experience, and where it needs some work."

No avatar March 11, 2000 23:59 Big News at ApacheCon

Jim Jagielski writes: "It was at the closing plenary of ApacheCon 2000, in Orlando FL, that a long-anticipated release of software was announced: an alpha release of Apache 2.0. With a few short keystrokes, the Apache Software Foundation announced to the crowd of developers at AC2K that Apache 2.0a was available for download."

No avatar March 04, 2000 23:59 The Official HOWNOTTO

Ryan Gordon writes: "So, you've found your niche in the open-source world, and now you want to be noticed? You're producing cool, original, k-rad elite apps, and you want to get the recognition you deserve? There can only be one solution: FRESHMEAT."

No avatar February 26, 2000 23:59 How to Report Bugs Effectively

There are a number of ways in which non-programmers can contribute to software projects; documentation and testing are among the most frequently-requested services, but testing that results in useless bug reports accomplishes nothing but frustrating the programmer. Today, Simon Tatham shares what it's like to be on the receiving end of bug reports, and offers suggestions for how you can help resolve problems as quickly as possible.

No avatar February 23, 2000 23:59 The Dangers of UCITA

Skip Lockwood writes: "Virginia and Maryland are racing to be the first states in the U.S. to enact a new law governing software and Internet information transactions. No matter which state wins, local consumers, businesses, and libraries will lose."

No avatar February 19, 2000 23:59 Is Software Testing Production or Service?

Chang Liu writes: "Most of us would probably agree that any software package, open-source or not, can gain high quality only after rigorous testing. One source of the credibility of open-source software is the fact that it is tested by a large number of knowledgeable testers who have access to the source code and know what's going on. Yet we seldom discuss what contributes to good testing practices. Sure, everybody tests in a different way, just as everybody codes in a different fashion. But in the end, there are good practices and bad practices. It benefits the community to spread the word about good testing practices."

No avatar February 12, 2000 23:59 The Universal Source Package

Bud Bruegger writes: "This paper discusses the need for extending the philosophy of GNU autoconf into the world of package management. Such an extension could be seen as a 'universal source package' standard and tools. It was written with the hope of stimulating a discussion on the feasibility of such an approach."

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