Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

"Free" and "Open Source" Software: Navigating the Shibboleths

To outsiders, software whose source code is freely distributable is open source software. However, as soon as you become involved with the community that centers around such code, you quickly find that it is also called free software -- and that the two terms are far from synonymous.

Which term you choose to use can quickly associate you with a whole spectrum of political and philosophical beliefs, and can make the difference between receiving cooperation and being ostracized. As a newcomer, you might easily imagine that you have stumbled out of the woods and into the target end of a rifle range, all because of your innocent choice of jargon.

To make matters worse, knowing which of the two phrases to use is difficult, because they are used in several different ways. At the most basic level, they indicate a specific organization and its principles. At another level, the choice of terms may reflect your audience. And, at the most important level, your choice may reflect your ethical imperatives and your vision of the future of computing.

All these meanings blur together, and are heavily dependent on context, so much so that members of the communities can switch meaning in mid-conversation, and sometimes even in mid-sentence. They also carry the baggage of over a decade of co-existence and personal animosities.

More Here




More in Tux Machines

ownCloud Desktop Client 2.2.4 Released with Updated Dolphin Plugin, Bug Fixes

ownCloud is still alive and kicking, and they've recently released a new maintenance update of the ownCloud Desktop Client, version 2.2.4, bringing some much-needed improvements and patching various annoying issues. Read more

Early Benchmarks Of The Linux 4.9 DRM-Next Radeon/AMDGPU Drivers

While Linux 4.9 will not officially open for development until next week, the DRM-Next code is ready to roll with all major feature work having been committed by the different open-source Direct Rendering Manager drivers. In this article is some preliminary testing of this DRM-Next code as of 29 September when testing various AMD GPUs with the Radeon and AMDGPU DRM drivers. Linux 4.9 does bring compile-time-offered experimental support for the AMD Southern Islands GCN 1.0 hardware on AMDGPU, but that isn't the focus of this article. A follow-up comparison is being done with GCN 1.0/1.1 experimental support enabled to see the Radeon vs. AMDGPU performance difference on that hardware. For today's testing was a Radeon R7 370 to look at the Radeon DRM performance and for AMDGPU testing was the Radeon R9 285, R9 Fury, and RX 480. Benchmarks were done from the Linux 4.8 Git and Linux DRM-Next kernels as of 29 September. Read more

How to Effectively and Efficiently Edit Configuration Files in Linux

Every Linux administrator has to eventually (and manually) edit a configuration file. Whether you are setting up a web server, configuring a service to connect to a database, tweaking a bash script, or troubleshooting a network connection, you cannot avoid a dive deep into the heart of one or more configuration files. To some, the prospect of manually editing configuration files is akin to a nightmare. Wading through what seems like countless lines of options and comments can put you on the fast track for hair and sanity loss. Which, of course, isn’t true. In fact, most Linux administrators enjoy a good debugging or configuration challenge. Sifting through the minutiae of how a server or software functions is a great way to pass time. But this process doesn’t have to be an exercise in ineffective inefficiency. In fact, tools are available to you that go a very long way to make the editing of config files much, much easier. I’m going to introduce you to a few such tools, to ease some of the burden of your Linux admin duties. I’ll first discuss the command-line tools that are invaluable to the task of making configuration more efficient. Read more

Why Good Linux Sysadmins Use Markdown

The Markdown markup language is perfect for writing system administrator documentation: it is lightweight, versatile, and easy to learn, so you spend your time writing instead of fighting with formatting. The life of a Linux system administrator is complex and varied, and you know that documenting your work is a big time-saver. A documentation web server shared by you and your colleagues is a wonderful productivity tool. Most of us know simple HTML, and can whack up a web page as easily as writing plain text. But using Markdown is better. Read more