The Windows 7 License can make you love free software
Dec 04, 2009 GMT
If you need to renew your dedication to free software -- if you ever find yourself wondering if your support of open source is worth the effort -- find a copy of the Windows 7 End User License Agreement (EULA). You will immediately stop taking software freedom for granted.
Yes, I realize that reading EULAs is as exciting as watching a progress bar during a download. But the effort is illuminating, especially if, like me, you have fallen out of touch with proprietary licenses. As I found out last week, using the Windows Ultimate edition while... more »
Information sources for documenting free software
Nov 23, 2009 GMT
Last week, I wrote about the problems of writing documentation for free software. This week, I'd like to write about the practical challenges -- specifically, what knowledge you need to write free software documentation, and the available sources of information.
To take advantage of the information available, you need a reasonable grasp of the written language. Contrary to the impression that... more »
Shedding commercial attitudes towards documentation
Nov 19, 2009 GMT
Six years ago, I made my living as a technical writer. I wouldn't want to return to the profession, but, when Esther Schindler recently blogged about the importance of detailed code comments and Carla Schroder about the need for better documentation in free software generally, I noticed.
But, as much as I agree with Schindler and Schroder, I... more »
All my eggs in one Basket
Nov 10, 2009 GMT
One application I am always looking for is a better desktop wiki. Not for collaboration, but for dumping various pieces of information into as I research and organize them. For a time, I used Basket Note Pads, but I drifted away when it didn't run on KDE 4.x and the original maintainer quit. Happily, the project has overcome both those setbacks and is moving slowly towards a new major release.
Basket is one of those applications that you can navigate at a glance. The left pane serves as a table of contents, showing a... more »
Review: Linux in a Nutshell (Sixth Edition)
Nov 06, 2009 GMT
For years, Linux in a Nutshell's third edition has been the closest book to my keyboard. The new sixth edition -- the first in several years -- is going to continue that tradition. The new edition shows the same indispensable qualities as its predecessors, giving an accurate snapshot of the operating system, solid introductory information, and concise, accurate command summaries in a well-organized format.
Changes in Technology
One of the reasons I value Linux in a Nutshell is that its editions provide an accurate summary of the... more »
Goggle is my candidate for a lightweight music player
Oct 28, 2009 GMT
Like many people, I've always had a few tracks of music on my computer. However, I've only started taking a strong interest in music players since I started digitalizing my music collection a few months ago. I'm relatively sure that Amarok will handle the 50 or so gigabytes of music that I'll have when I'm done, but for the netbook I'm thinking of buying, I've been looking for something lighter. Currently, I'm thinking that Goggle Music Manager (GMM) may be the lightweight and easy to use... more »
How to make free software as popular as recycling
Oct 20, 2009 GMT
Joe Brockmeier, my one-time colleague at Linux.com, has been blogging recently about how to present free software to non-technical users. He suggests that the community approach the problem as a marketing exercise, emphasizing benefits rather than the ethical issue of freedom.
My own take is somewhat different: The problem is not so much talking about ethics as the fact that we have not been talking about the benefits of ethics.... more »