Back in the days of the Apple ][, Apple recognized the advantage of getting their systems into schools. Microsoft later ran with the idea as well. It's both a good idea for the companies and the grants and discounts are good for the schools. While there have been some progress made getting Linux into schools, tuXlab looks like it may be an important part of the future.
The project is to get Linux systems into primary schools in South Africa. You will likely not be surprised to find that Mark Shuttleworth of Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu/Edubuntu fame is involved. The project is derived from the Xubuntu and Edubuntu projects and is now deployed in 200 primary schools in South Africa. Plans are to provide a complete distribution that can be installed in other locations in early 2007.
For anyone interested in the bleeding edge in Kubuntu and Ubuntu Linux systems, the first alpha release of Feisty Fawn is now available. This is far from ready for prime time on the average desktop but it is a chance to see what is happening.
You can see the details and, if you wish, download it here. The final release is due out in April 2007.
Cory Doctorow recently wrote this article. It is a bit of a scary read. Microsoft has been trying to prevent the world from reading and writing their documents for years now. In fact, maybe I could even say "decades" (!). The scary part, is that this time it looks like they are just about to manage.
Trusted computing has been slipping into our motherboards for quite a while. A lot of us felt that something nasty - really nasty - would eventually happen. File formats, and the ability to lock people in, is absolutely crucial to Microsoft. Now... here we are. some nasty could indeed be about to happen.
Generally my posts here are in the form of information or answers. This one is really a question. I have been thinking about this problem for quite some time and looking for a solution and finally realized it made perfect sense to ask here. If I don't get a good answer, I will have to build my own and I will share the results with you folks.
I have a few hundred logins for various things. They include different things for TUX-related stuff such as my login to our computers, root access information, database user information and even this web site. I then have multiple email accounts and logins on different computers at home. Add to that login information for web sites where I have accounts--from freshmeat.net to powells.com. While some of this is remembered by my KDE wallet, all can't be and I am not always accessing these sites from this machine.
In my past life (ok, about 34 years ago) I was a Systems Programmer. I worked for what was the world's largest independent software company, Computer Sciences Corporation. In 1972 I moved to Richland, Washington to do systems programming work for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation where CSC had the contract to run the computer center.
This was back in the time of card punches and multi-million dollar mainframe computers. One of my responsibilities was to upgrade and maintain what was called the "premium billed library". This was a set of programs running on a Univac 1108 mainframe where the users were charged a royalty to pay for the cost of the software.
I have been at least playing with computers for over 40 years and earning my living from them for over 35. Yeah, that statement scared me as much as it probably scared you but my point is that I have seen a lot of computing and a lot of changes over the years.
As for the *ix/*ux world, I have been using Unix-like systems for 25 years and Linux for half of that. So I guess I have a bit of Linux-specific experience. But, for most of my Linux life, Linux has been a programming environment, a tool to send and receive email, run applications used in my business or just generally do, pardon the four letter word, work.
You have seen many TUX stickers on the web, but I am sure you've never seen anything like this before:
The best part is yet to come: you can have these stickers for free!
All you have to do is run to the post office and send us a postage-paid, self-addressed envelope:
TUX Magazine PO BOX 980985 Houston, TX 77098 USA
For additional information about sending postage-paid envelopes internationally, please refer to our FAQ
Google mail, gmail, is a web-based email system. I have hated web-based email systems for many, many years. That said, I am going to confess that I actually like gmail. No, I don't love it but I do like it.
Most web mail applications are pretty much the same. You see some message titles and from addresses, you can view, delete, respond or save in another folder. You have some limited amount of storage for your messages and when you run out you need to clean up your mess.
Some are prettier, some allow you to do things to multiple message at a time and some are more configurable. But, they just don't present anything radically different. In fact, they convinced me there really wasn't room for anything radically different until I started using gmail.
I was cleaning up my officea euphemism for moving the junk around but never getting rid of anythingyesterday and ran across my old laptop bag. Ok, let's be honestit's a backpack. It has padding on one side that is about the size of my current laptop.
As I mentioned in my last entry, I mean to help those of you that will be taking charge of your computers. The first task I'd like to help with is choosing applications for your computer. As I mentioned in the introduction to this series, let us not forget that it might be easier for you to just accept the choices made by others. If you'd rather not deal with all of the hassles, then maybe you should just stick with Linspire or Xandros. If you do, however, you might miss out on a wealth of software available that could help you get more out of your computer.
Later on in this first series of articles, I'll get into rules of thumb you can use to make your choices, but first let's review web destinations that might help you make your choices. These web sites all offer volumes of information about hundreds of thousands of projects. That said, let's review quickly the relationship between an open source software project and software. You should always remember that behind every free and open source software package, there is a community. These communities vary wildly in size, but in general consist of developers and users. These communities use some of the sites, besides their own home pages, to announce and even build their software. The five sites I find interesting are Freshmeat.net, SourceForge.net, swik.net, openbrr.org, and ohloh.com. Let's first start with (in order of age of the Internet)...