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Showing posts from April, 2007

Open Source for Beginners Part 2 - Open Source Licenses

I must confess, I'm struggling to write this post. There's so much to say about Open Source, and I'm not sure that I'm saying it in the right order. I guess I'll just bash on and hope for the best!

So... Open Source software is software which is given away freely, and for which the source code is freely available.

But what is to stop someone taking this source code, packaging it up as a new application and selling it as a closed source program? Sometimes nothing, but usually it's the license!
Some Open Source programs are given away with no license at all, but most are copyrighted and distributed under the some form of Open Source license.
There are dozens of such licenses. The most popular and famous is the GPL. The preamble offers a beautifully succinct description of the purpose of the GPL - take 2 minutes to read it (bearing in mind that the document uses the word "free" as in "liberty" rather than as in "no cost").
One aspec…

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn - feel the mindshare!

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I saw this today when I logged in to Technorati - Ubuntu Feisty Fawn is the second most popular search term at the moment!

Great explanation of RSS

I've tried in the past to explain what RSS is about, but this video does a much better job - check it out!

Open Source for Beginners Part 1

If you have ever wondered what "Open Source software" means, what Linux is, what the difference is between Open Source software and "freeware", or why so many people in the Open Source movement (yes, it's a movement!) seem to dislike Microsoft so much, read on...

The idea behind Open Source is very simple, but there is a degree of subtlety in it's application to the world of software that leads to a lot of misunderstanding. To understand what Open Source is really about, and why people are so passionate about it, you need to understand a little bit about how computer programs work.

Most computer programs are written in compiled languages. A programmer writes a set of instructions - the program code - in a plain old text file. Program code may not be comprehensible to the average computer user, but it is human-readable:

int main()
{
Power x(4.0, 2), y(2.5, 1), z(5.7, 0);
cout << x.getPower() << " ";
cout << y.getPower() <<…

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn is here!

The latest release of Ubuntu hit the servers today.  If you are still labouring under the misapprehension that Linux is too hardcore for regular folks, now might be the time to take the plunge.  If you would like to see Ubuntu in action, check out the videos on youtube, or pop 'round to mine :)

Tonsilitis and Snowboarding

I've spent the last 10 days with Tonsilitis, and this morning I'm off to the Alps to snowboard.  Thankfully I'm pretty much fully recovered.  I would not wish Tonsilitis on anyone!

More on Python based feed readers, Geogebra, Glow, pulling teeth and life in general when I get back :)