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Mike McCallister

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Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software, by Sam Williams. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 2002. 225 pages. $22.95 Richard Stallman is easily the most controversial figure associated with Linux and the open source movement. And the controversy begins with this very terminology. Stallman, fairly or not, believes the operating system is and should be called GNU/Linux, and the movement that he is a part of is not favoring "open source" but "free software." For those of you just getting acquainted, Stallman is the founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project, the creator of the GNU C Compiler, and the emacs text editor. He is also the father of the GNU General Public License. He is firm in his belief that proprietary and restrictive software licenses, and the non-disclosure agreements that underpin them, are Evil and counter... (more)

KDE 3 More effective, more fun

The Linux desktop world reached another milestone in April when the third major version of the K Desktop Environment (KDE 3.0) hit download servers. As many as three-quarters of all Linux desktop systems use KDE as their primary desktop. While the GNOME desktop has made great strides over the last few years, KDE is clearly the more stable and mature choice for business users. This is a basic overview of what's new, what works and changes in store for current KDE 2.x users. Those changes center around a new basic architecture for the desktop, which means a big download for those ... (more)

Tools of the Trade

Sure, there's a JVM for Linux and applets will run in any Linux browser, but can you actually code from a Linux box? When the GNU/Linux boom hit in the late '90s, all the hype was directed at the server. How Linux would save enterprises great gobs of cash in storage. How stable it was for next-to-no cost. How Apache stoked the furnace for the underfunded dot-coms slated to rule the universe. In the face of all that hype, some may have thought that Linux was really just an OS for sys admins. What those people forgot is that Linus Torvalds invented the OS just so he could code at h... (more)

Konqueror 3.0.1 makes file management easy

Real Linux geeks do everything from the command line. Run programs, manage files, administer networks-all that fun stuff. We don't need no stinkin' mouse clicks. There is no doubt that the command line is a most powerful thing. It does things quickly and with little fuss. And a keyboard is nearly always faster than a mouse, if you know your way around the keyboard. Yet there's just no avoiding the awful truth: If you are making the transition from a proprietary operating system, you are addicted to using the rodent. You know how it works. You can right-click with the best of them... (more)

Making Friends with the GNOME Desktop

In my last article I showed you some of the basics of the KDE desktop environment. The primary challenger to KDE is the GNOME desktop environment. The GNU Network Object Model Environment project began, in part, in a political dispute in the free software community. KDE is based on Trolltech's Qt libraries. These development libraries were originally released under something other than the GNU General Public License (GPL). Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation issued a call to create a new desktop environment based on GPL'ed libraries. While the political dispute was r... (more)