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The free and open source software community has been waiting for the G1 cell phone since it was first announced in July. Source code for Google's Android mobile platform has been available, but the G1 marks its commercial debut. It's clearly a good device, but is it what Linux boosters and FOSS advocates have long been anticipating?
Many public administrations already use open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to let citizens look at public geographic data trough dedicated Web sites. Others use the same software to partially open the data gathering process: they let citizens directly add geographic information to the official, high-quality GIS databases by drawing or clicking on digital maps.
The Interclue extension is supposed to give you a preview of links in Firefox before you visit them, saving you mouse-clicks and, with a little luck, allowing you to move quickly between multiple links on the same page. Unfortunately, the determination to monetize the add-on and keep its source code closed results in elaborations that make the basic idea less effective, and its constant pleas for donations make Interclue into nagware. As much as the usefulness of the basic utility, Interclue serves as an object lesson of the difficulties that the decision to go proprietary can take.
Shell programming is heavily dependent on string processing. The term string is used generically to refer to any sequence of characters; typical examples of strings might be a line of input or a single argument to a command. Users enter responses to prompts, file names are generated, and commands produce output. Recurring throughout this is the need to determine whether a given string conforms to a given pattern; this process is called pattern matching. The shell has a fair amount of built-in pattern matching functionality.
Many religions have some sort of holiday during this season, where we look back at the joyful moments of the year that's coming to a close, and look ahead with anticipation and hope to the year to come. We hope your year is filled with all you wish for.
At a time when new and buggy features cloud basic computer functions, it's refreshing to see a new release of a distro like Slackware that stays true to its core philosophy. Slackware has an unfair reputation of being a distro only for experienced users. Granted it doesn't sport many graphical configuration tools, but it balances that with stability and speed.
Documentation is one area in which free/libre/open source software (FLOSS) is weakest. A project called FLOSS Manuals is trying to remedy this situation. The idea behind project is to create quality, free documentation for free software.
A next-generation package manager called Nix provides a simple distribution-independent method for deploying a binary or source package on different flavours of Linux, including Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE, Fedora, and Red Hat. Even better, Nix does not interfere with existing package managers. Unlike existing package managers, Nix allows different versions of software to live side by side, and permits sane rollbacks of software upgrades. Nix is a useful system administration tool for heterogeneous environments and developers who write software supported on different libraries, compilers, or interpreters.
Managing buddies on a few online social networks isn't too much of a hassle, but throw in your contact list from instant messaging platforms and online apps and services like Flickr, Digg, and Twitter, and you have a contact list that'd rival that of Kevin Bacon. Managing so many people can be a headache, but here are three browser plugins that can help you manage your online presence more efficiently.
As a regular browser of the Firefox Add-ons site, I'm troubled by the apparent proliferation of proprietary extensions in the last year. Maybe I've simply exhausted the free-licensed extensions that interest me, but recently every interesting-looking extension seems to be a proprietary one -- especially in the recommended list. Nothing, of course, in the Mozilla privacy or legal notice prohibits proprietary extensions simply because they are proprietary, but I find them not only contrary to the spirit of free and open source software (FOSS), but, often, annoying attempts to entangle me in some impossible startup.
The past couple of years have seen an explosion of open source programming languages and utilities that are geared toward children. Many of these efforts are based around the idea that, since the days of BASIC, programming environments have become far too complex for untrained minds to wrap themselves around. Some toolkits aim to create entirely new ways of envisioning and creating projects that appeal to younger minds, such as games and animations, while others aim to recreate the "basic"-ness of BASIC in a modern language and environment.
It's that time of the year again. No, not Christmas -- it's the time of the year we get the latest versions of our favorite Linux distributions. Version 11.1 of openSUSE is being released today. Designated as a point release, there are enough new goodies to warrant a new install or upgrade.
Let's take a look at three projects that are aimed at showing calendar information through a Web interface: WebCalendar, VCalendar, and CaLogic. These projects run on a LAMP server and provide a Web interface to calendar events.
For many years Spamhaus has been top dog in the anti-spam world of DNSBL (Domain Name System Block List; also known as Realtime Blackhole Lists or RBLs). But Spamhaus is no longer a 100% free service. Even small nonprofits are now expected to pay at least $250 per year for a subscription to the Spamhaus DNSBL Datafeed Service. Now a new, free alternative to Spamhaus has arrived: the Barracuda Reputation Block List (BRBL), provided by well-known, open source-based Barracuda Networks. And Barracuda CEO Dean Drako says the company has no plans to charge for the service in the future. He says that BRBL (pronounced "barbell") "does cost us a little bit of money to run, but we think that the goodwill, the reputation and the understanding that Barracuda is providing the service will do us well in the long run."
If Parkinson's Law for computers holds true, then no matter how much disk space you have, it will get used up. If you're already feeling a pinch, consider using a disk space analyzer tool to see what's eating your space.
The week-long Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) meets every six months at changing locations to discuss what will be in the next release of Ubuntu. The mostly unpublicized FOSScamp always meets the weekend before. The FOSScamp un-conference has no program, no invited speakers, and costs nothing. Like some sort of geek Woodstock but smaller, the Ubuntu hip just show up.
Pulse is a build server that can monitor your source repository and trigger a build and test cycle every time somebody does a commit. With Pulse you will always know if the most recent sources in your revision control system compile and if they pass your unit and system tests. Better yet, Pulse allows you to build and test your current working copy of checked-out source, during a so-called Personal Build, so you can see if your code breaks things before you commit your changes to the central repository.
Properly speaking, Nadav Rotem's Open Text Summarizer (OTS) is not a summarizer at all. True summaries generally involve rewording contents at a higher level of generality while preserving the meaning, not just producing a condensed version of the original the way that OTS does. However, within its limits, OTS is an efficient tool for automatically producing abstracts of non-fiction, that, in the last 15 months, has received favorable mention from at least four academic publications, including one in which it outperformed similar utilities, including commercial ones such as Copernic and Subject Search Summarizer.