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Free Software Magazine
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Atop, when you need to know exactly what's happening at the system-resource level

Free Software Magazine - Mon, 29/06/2015 - 8:04am

System resources are always limited, no matter what type of computer or server you're using. You never seem to have enough RAM, CPU threads, or disk I/O. High level tools like top, htop,sar, iostat, or vmstat do help, but they only give you the 10,000 foot overview of resource usage. They don't allow you to see what part of which program or process is eating up too much RAM or which part is creating race conditions on lock files.

Interview with Mikeal Rogers: Node.js fork that ended up as a giant, unifying step forward

Free Software Magazine - Thu, 18/06/2015 - 4:43am

Node.js is the software that allows you to run Javascript to create amazingly powerful server-side applications by using Google's V8 Javascript Engine. As a Node developer myself, I have always felt frustrated by seeing that Joyent, the company behind Node.s, was extremely conservative in terms of upgrading node to use the latest V8 version; the project was also struggling to get developers to actually contribute to code.

How to protect your GNU/Linux computer from remote attacks with Fail2ban

Free Software Magazine - Tue, 16/06/2015 - 6:51am

Governments around the world are hacking into any computer that they can find. They are not just targeting large companies, but any computer that has information that they can sell. Is there anything on your computer that some hacker could sell for money? When was the last time you looked at your /var/log/auth.log file?

It's 2015, writing a simple 6 screen application is still too hard

Free Software Magazine - Mon, 15/06/2015 - 6:53am

Last night I saw a message from a friend of mine in Facebook: she is trying to organise a baby sitting community where people who trust each other will exchange "tokens" when they babysit each other's children. My first reaction was something I just couldn't resist: I drew up a normalised bunch of tables (6, to be precise) which will organise carers, children homes, and bookings.

The simple guide to bitcoins using Electrum

Free Software Magazine - Sat, 13/06/2015 - 7:56am

Bitcoin is the most established digital currency available today. It provides a safe, anonymous way to send and receive a virtual currency everybody trusts. However, managing bitcoins is not quite as simple as managing a bank account. In this article I will explain how to manage your bitcoins using Electrum.

Secret Maryo Chronicles: a wonderful GNU/Linux game

Free Software Magazine - Thu, 11/06/2015 - 9:42am

For those people who grew up on the "classic", 2D version of Super Mario, and -- why not -- those who like simple, but very refined games, Secret Maryo Chronicles is not to be missed. Mind you, it's not Mario, but Maryo; however, it's just as much fun.

If you are familiar with Super Mario, you will find right at home here: you will find turtles, mushrooms, nasty plants, pipes, and many other elements that are typical of this classic game.

Create an encrypted disk image in GNU/Linux

Free Software Magazine - Wed, 10/06/2015 - 9:20am

In my previous article about creating a "mountable" disk image in GNU/Linux, I explained how to create a file that effectively mimics the functionality of a disk: I explained how to create a file which will then be used, in turn, to contain directories and files. In this article I will explain how to make the next natural step: encrypt that file.

Why we need anonymity on the Internet -- even if it hurts

Free Software Magazine - Tue, 09/06/2015 - 9:47am

I have recently restarted Free Software Magazine, after working full time on a free software project. One of my articles ended up on Slashdot. In the past, this meant hours of frantic work: on one hand, being "slashdotted" meant dealing with a huge influx of traffic which normally brought our server to its knees; on the other hand, it meant discussing the article with very intelligent people.

Netflix: the crumbling borders of geolocation and the thieves who happily pay for what they "steal"

Free Software Magazine - Mon, 08/06/2015 - 9:20am

One upon a time, movies were released in different countries at different times. This could be done because there was no easy way to copy and store away a movie. If you lived in Italy, you could wait up to two years before you saw a popular movie. Then two things happened: it became easy to copy and store movies; and everybody in the world suddenly became interconnected.

Opening large PDF files in GNU/Linux: muPDF comes to the rescue

Free Software Magazine - Sat, 06/06/2015 - 8:13am

I was recently given an ebook by a friend. It was a photography book, with tons of hi-res images and very little text. When I opened it with Ubuntu, Evince (the default PDF viewer that comes with Ubuntu) gave in: after a few pages, it slowed to a crawl. I did a bit of research, and found the program that rescued my viewing needs: MuPDF. The good news was that I could finally read my book.

Create a "mountable" disk image in GNU/Linux

Free Software Magazine - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 4:11am

In this article I will explain how to create a file that works like a USB drive -- without the "physical" side of a USB disk. The advantage of making such a file is that you can make it encrypted; as a result, nobody will ever be able to see what's in it unless they know the passphrase.

Ubuntu Software Center: proprietary and free software mixed in a confusing UI

Free Software Magazine - Thu, 04/06/2015 - 7:20am

I have been watching the evolution of the Ubuntu Software Center for quite a while now. I had doubts about its interface and its speed, but I liked the fact that it offered an easy, down-to-earth interface that allowed users to install software easily.

However, I have to say that the way the Ubuntu Software Center has evolved is worrying me -- a lot.

Read RSS news feeds with Liferea

Free Software Magazine - Wed, 03/06/2015 - 8:41am

Nowadays, the Internet is all about the Web. Users seem to have forgotten that it's possible to receive updates about anything that is posted on multiple web sites in seconds: this non secret is called RSS. Liferea is a neat, great piece of software that allows you to read RSS feeds and more.

Watch Netflix outside the US, for nearly free (without paying for a tunnel)

Free Software Magazine - Tue, 02/06/2015 - 12:08pm

Some services line Netflix have an annoying geolocation restriction that made them unavailable outside the United States. In case of Netflix, this is due to licensing issues. In case of Netflix, it's not a slim difference: do you want to be able to access just over one thousand movies, or would you prefer to have access to over thirteen thousand movies?

Simple Photo Manipulation in GNU/Linux with Fotoxx

Free Software Magazine - Sat, 23/05/2015 - 4:59am

Image manipulation in GNU/Linux has always been associated with The Gimp. However, most users will find Gimp vastly oversized for their needs. Fotoxx is a neat, simple and yet very advanced photo manipulation software that is definitely worth installing and playing with.

The rebirth of Free Software Magazine

Free Software Magazine - Sun, 12/04/2015 - 7:09am

When I started Free Software Magazine, over 10 years ago, it was

"Lunatics!" is back - Crowd-funding, Free-culture, and Free-Software

Free Software Magazine - Thu, 25/07/2013 - 9:25am

After an additional year of production work, our free-film project "Lunatics!" is back up on Kickstarter. We have a lot more done - some "finished" animation, voice acting and soundtrack mixing, a lot more completed 3D models, including some of the toughest mech modeling, and several characters.

Finding changes in a sorted list: a trick

Free Software Magazine - Sat, 22/06/2013 - 8:34am

Think of a phone directory listing with a lot of Browns followed by some Brownes, Brownings and Brownleys. Is there a simple way to identify the places in the sorted list where Brown changes to Browne, Browne to Browning and Browning to Brownley?

If you're a programmer, you've probably just thought of an 'if, then' test for items in the list. If you're an AWK-lover (like me!) you may have started thinking about the getline option.

The Googlisation of Surveillance: The UK Communications Data Bill

Free Software Magazine - Fri, 07/06/2013 - 6:17am

There is a belief that democracies respect the rights of their citizens. Well, they don't. There is a great deal of cant written about that but even the democratic modern state has become so big, so intrusive and utterly overbearing that its cancerous tentacles have insinuated themselves into every orifice of the body politic.

Save time with AWK print

Free Software Magazine - Thu, 30/05/2013 - 7:10am

Since discovering AWK last year I've been using it regularly with tables of data. It seems like everything I do with those tables is faster and easier with AWK on the command line than the same jobs would be with spreadsheet software.

Great book giveaway from Packt Publishing: GIMP Starter Guide

Free Software Magazine - Thu, 23/05/2013 - 4:50pm

If you want to learn how to use GIMP, this is your chance to win a book that will teach you just that!

Packt made available 5 copies of the great book GIMP Starter Guide by Fazreil Amreen.

Ubuntu Touch: the (natural) next step in personal computing?

Free Software Magazine - Mon, 20/05/2013 - 7:45am

I don't think many people have realised that we are on the verge of a technological revolution. The computing world is changing, and this is the first time GNU/Linux is catching the revolution as it begins. Computers are getting smaller and smaller, while phones are getting bigger and bigger. Everybody can see that they about to converge -- but in what form? Well, the answer is: GNU/Linux -- before anybody else. The ingredients?

Wikiweapons and Printing 3D Guns. It's Just a Stalking Horse for What's to Come

Free Software Magazine - Fri, 17/05/2013 - 5:25am

When I wrote an article for FSM a few years ago about 3D printing it was a big topic in the open-source community but it had not yet gone fully mainstream. If there was one thing guaranteed to make 3D printing explode onto the mainstream news media it was an item about someone "printing" a gun.

Refactoring in a Multimedia Project with Inkscape, Blender, and Audacity

Free Software Magazine - Wed, 17/04/2013 - 4:16am

One of the special problems with managing a multimedia project (versus a text-based software project), is that there are often links to external data files which can get broken when you try to move the files around -- such as you might do when re-factoring the source code to make it more navigable.

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