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TrueCrypt's Mysterious Vanishing Act
June 02, 2014
Anyone would be distressed to discover the disappearance of a favorite piece of software, but when the software in question was open source and endorsed by Edward Snowden -- and when the developer's site begins offering instructions for migrating to a Microsoft product instead -- alarm bells are sure to begin ringing throughout the FOSS world. That, sure enough, is just what's been going on.
Microsoft Opens .Net, Hops on Devops Bandwagon
May 23, 2014
Microsoft recently established a .Net foundation and open sourced substantial parts of the popular programming language, continuing to spread its newfound love for open source software. However, devops may be more of a driving factor. In establishing the independent .Net Foundation and making more key pieces of .Net open source, Microsoft was promoting collaboration and community, it said.
SuiteWorld's Vision
May 22, 2014
Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, talked a lot about CRM in his recent keynote at SuiteWorld. You might not think that's unusual, given that the company has a whole suite of cloud-based ERP-CRM-E-Commerce, but it represents a departure -- and I don't know if even Nelson is fully aware of it. NetSuite built its reputation and a half-billion dollar business around front- to back-office integration.
Blue Pup Distro: Pride of the Puppy Linux Litter
May 21, 2014
It had to happen sooner or later. It turned out to be sooner. It is here. The Blue Pup Linux distro brings the Metro view to the Linux desktop. This arrangement is not a true Metro interface the likes of the much criticized Windows 8. Instead, it is a Puppy Linux derivative distro, or Pupplet, built around the Chromium Web browser with a Chrome extension.
The Inescapable Logic of Language Localization
May 20, 2014
Tailoring language translations for software documentation and GUIs can make or break an open source project. Localizing language is a unique undertaking, with a number of moving parts. The process of translating language in releases for different target markets presents costly cultural and language translation barriers that often are beyond the financial abilities of the open source community.
The Neverending Systemd Saga
May 19, 2014
Here in the Linux blogosphere, controversies come and go like the wind, leaving a trail of broken chalk and empty whiskey bottles in their wake. Most pass quietly into the annals of time of their own accord, however, so when a luminary such as Eric Steven Raymond weighs in with an opinion, it's a safe bet there's something big going on. That's what happened in March on the topic of Systemd.
Enlightenment Linux: It's Not What You Think
May 16, 2014
The Enlightenment desktop environment is not for everyone. Experienced Linux fans may delight in some new light bulbs switching on, but Linux newcomers may find themselves groping in the darkness. For the Linux-initiated, Enlightenment offers some powerful new flexibility in how to set up and use the operating system. Enlightenment is radically different from other lightweight interface shells.
AV Linux Dazzles Both Eyes and Ears
May 08, 2014
AV Linux can turn a new or old PC, or an Intel-powered Mac box, into a workstation for audio/graphics/video enthusiasts. AV Linux is a specialty distro much in the style of the CAELinux distro for engineers and scientists and the Musix distro for audio and music production that I reviewed in recent weeks. AV Linux is not your typical Linux desktop. It has a custom-designed Linux kernel.
GitHub Unleashes Atom Into Open Source Realm
May 06, 2014
After launching its Atom text editor into beta back in February, GitHub on Tuesday announced that the software is now fully open source under the MIT License. "Much of Atom's functionality is provided by packages, and every Atom package has been open source since the day we launched the beta," explained GitHub developer Nathan Sobo. "Today, we're open sourcing the rest of Atom."
uGet Gives Great Downloads
April 17, 2014
The latest version of the uGet Download Manager rekindled my interest in grabbing files without relying on a Web browser. uGet version 1.10.4. was released last month. Written in C, it uses GTK+3 for its user interface, and it is packed full with improvements. It is very reliable and stable, with 11 years of growth behind it. The uGet website has received a makeover to better support users.
Micro Brings 3D Printing to the Mainstream
April 09, 2014
The Micro is the latest consumer-targeted 3D printer to generate buzz after flying past its $50,000 Kickstarter goal. It took only 11 minutes for the printer to reach its goal. As of mid-day Wednesday, the Micro had brought in more than $1.8 million from more than 6,400 backers. The Micro is the world's "first truly consumer 3D printer," its makers claim, in part because of its affordable price.
Calligra 2.8 Is Too Sweet for Words Alone
April 03, 2014
If you spend any amount of time creating documents, graphics or organizing data into reports or visual presentations, drop whatever collection of tools you use and put the Calligra Suite to the test. The Calligra Suite is a forked set of office tools for the KDE desktop that branched off the stalled KOffice suite. However, you do not have to run the KDE environment to get it.
New Linux Office Suite Too Soft to Be King
March 27, 2014
The Kingsoft Office Suite holds the promise of bringing a near perfect clone of Microsoft Office to Linux desktop users. However, Kingsoft's developers still have some work to do on the Linux Alpha release to make it a beta deal. Other than OpenOffice and LibreOffice, the Linux platform lacks any full-featured office suite. Both of these more in common with each other than distinguishing features.
Dear Adobe: Make Software for Linux Too
February 18, 2014
What if commercial software developers for popular Windows products sold Linux versions to a waiting market of open source users? Think in terms of paying a subscription fee to use a Linux version of Adobe's Photoshop image manipulation software, for starters. Is porting commercial products like Photoshop as a paid product for Linux a viable idea?
Tech and the Art of Text
January 15, 2014
In 1999, Chris Baty was looking for inspiration to write a novel. He got together with some friends in coffee shops and started writing, with rewards of coffee for those who reached their word counts. It was the birth of National Novel Writing Month, which the following year would become NaNoWriMo, a Web-based community of writers who commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.
NoSQL, Part 2: Grappling With Big Data
January 14, 2014
Back in 2009, SQL databases began emerging, mainly to handle modern Web-scale databases. They could handle massive amounts of data; tackle the exponential growth of newly created digital content from social media sites and websites; and help build value around data by connecting the dots -- no small task when a plethora of data is continuously being created.
All Things Appy: 5 Best Number-Crunching Apps for Firefox
January 10, 2014
When you need to deal with numbers, nothing beats the old PC, along with its full-sized screen, keyboard and browser. Firefox is a robust PC browser with numerous add-ons that's well-suited to mathematics. This week, we look at the top five best and must-have add-on apps for crunching operations in that browser. First up: Status-Bar Scientific Calculator, a calculator that lives in your status bar.
CrashPlan: A Good - but Not Perfect - Linux Backup Plan
January 09, 2014
CrashPlan is an automated backup system that does the job, but it's not without its pitfalls. The software offers a cross-platform backup solution that's reliably easy to use once you configure the software. Installing it to your Linux system, however, is anything but user-friendly. More than a few Linux users will emerge looking for a less-finicky solution.
App Answers Universal Question, 'Where'd My Money Go?'
January 08, 2014
Managing a household's expenses isn't the sexiest task in our lives. Nevertheless, it has to be done -- so why not add a dash of fun to it? That's what a program by Raj Kumar Shaw of iLifeTouch does for the chore. Called simply "Daily Expenses," the software -- available from the Mac App Store for $19.99 -- offers a streamlined and colorful way to keep tabs on family finances.
NoSQL, Part 1: Coming of Age
January 07, 2014
Amadeus, which handles bookings for 95 percent of flights worldwide, uses a variety of NoSQL databases to deal with the massive amounts of data that it handles. Amadeus enables 3.7 million bookings on more than 700 airlines, 110,000 hotel properties, and 30 rental car agencies each day. "NoSQL databases are part of our technology stack to deal with Big Data," said VP Dietmar Fauser.
Outline Sings Dandy OneNote Duet
January 06, 2014
Note-taking applications are very popular with many users, and that's probably why developers have flooded Apple's Mac App Store with those kinds of programs. A notable exception, though, has been Microsoft. That's not to say it has ignored the thirst of note-takers -- it makes a robust outline-notepad hybrid called OneNote. The thing is, it doesn't make it for the Mac.
Retiring in Sanctuary Belize: Tarnished Dreams
January 06, 2014
I've been executing on a long-term dream of retiring in Belize. I've been putting some rigor into the effort to make sure the perception of the dream doesn't outpace reality. I've often been brought in on projects that should have been shut down early, largely because executive staff had lost track of reality. I don't want to make the same mistake with this important project.

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