MediaWiki Review

The latest in my reviews of hosting provider open source software is available at Free Software Magazine.You can read the full review here.Wikipedia is a Wiki – basically a information storage engine that works entirely through a web interface. I describe it more succinctly in the article:

A Wiki – of which MediaWiki is one of the most widely used and best known – provides a simple, web-based environment that enables users to collaborate and provide and share information. Wikis are not about discussions, and they are not about regular articles or posts, like a blog.

I have a number of installations, including one that I use to record and document the internal systems here. A companion blog documents changes. There’ll be more about that over on MCslp Coalface soon.

Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation review

My review of the Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation had made it into Issue 11 of Free Software Magazine.Here’s a taster:

Sun have made some headlines in recent months through the release of their Ultra 20 workstation and a number of new servers based on the AMD CPUs. For some this is seen as major change of direction for a company that is well known for the use (and continued interest and development) of the SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) CPU. With so many new machines being based on the AMD CPU it will be surprising to some that Sun’s new mobile units are based on SPARC technology.The Sun Ultra 3 Mobile Workstation is based an 64-bit UltraSPARC CPU. There are two main models, a 15″ unit that comes with a UltraSPARC IIi CPU at 550 or 650MHz, and a 17″ model with a 1.2GHz UltraSPARC IIIi CPU. Both are standard CPUs-these are not cut down or restricted versions designed to work within a laptop-and that is a key parameter for identifying the target market for the unit.

Read the full article.If you don’t get the vibes, I like this machine, and Solaris as a laptop operating system is pretty good too. In fact, I’ve start up a new blog, Laptop Solaris to talk about my experiences with this machine and Solaris on a laptop in general.

Gallery 2.0 Review

My review of Gallery 2.0, part of the ongoing hosting service FOSS technology series for Free Software Magazine, has now been published. From the intro:

Sharing photos has become one of the more popular methods of sharing information on the internet. A wide range of different people, groups and organisations are using photo sharing as a way both to promote their activities or simply to share their photos with friends and family. Some companies, for example, are using online photo systems to show product shots, others to enable users and customers to provide examples of the company products in use. Many professionals are using photo software to advertise and show off their expertise and portfolios.

Read the full review.You might also want to read my review of WordPress and the Hosting services and free software introduction to the series.

Agile Web Development with Rails

My review of Agile Web Development with Rails (by Dave Thomas and David Heinemeier Hansson with Leon Breedt, Mike Clark, Thomas Fuchs, and Andreas Schwarz) has just made it to the the front page of Free Software Magazine. It’s an excellent guide to programming Ruby and Rails and if you want to do any kind of web development and are tiring of the tradtional web programming environments. The full review is readale on line.

WordPress Review

My latest Free Software Magazine newsletter article is on WordPress – a package I use quite a lot for my own blogging.The article is part of the newsletter series on Hosting Service open source software. Read on for my thoughts on what makes WordPress so appealing to hosting services.

Hosting Services and free software

I’ve started a new series, through the Free Software Magazine newsletter, on the use of open source technology by hosting services, including the ready-to-run applications such as WordPress, phpBB and Gallery. The aim is to look at these individual products and how they can provide a quick and easy solution to building your websites, communities and brand. The first in the series, an overview of FOSS technology in hosting services, can be read here. You can also subscribe and get the newsletters sent to you automatically. Subscription is free once you’ve filled in a form

Randal Schwartz’s Perls of Wisdom

If you don’t associate Randal Schwartz with Perl then you obviously don’t know how much of an influence Randal has been in spreading the Perl gospel. Randal has been talking about Perl for years, writing articles and contributing to books like the ‘Camel’ (Programming Perl, from O’Reilly). He’s also contributed to the built-in documentation and has worked with the internals of Perl and built various modules and examples. In short, when it comes to Perl, there’s little that Randal either isn’t aware of, or hasn’t already written about. Hia book, Perls of Wisdom, is a collection of the articles that he’s written over the years that look at specific problems or issues that users have asked him to solve with Perl. Mostly, these are reprints of the original article, but sometimes they have been updated. In all cases you get more than just the scrip that solves the problem, you also get the theory behind it, detailed information on the problem and issues being addressed, and some potential ways to extend it. For more details, read the full review of the book at Free Software Magazine.

Degunking Linux

It may seem like this is all I’ve been doing for the past few months, but I have yet another book review that has made it on to the ‘free’ area of Free Software Magazine. This time it is Degunking Linux by Roderick W Smith. At its heart, this book is about trying to get the best performance – from CPU speed, to application performance and even disk space – out of your machine by doing some regular maintenance. This includes removing old applications, keeping your system up to date, flushing out the old caches and keeping your system spick and span. This book has a rather interesting layout, in that it not only covers the mechanicss, but also provides multi-step programs for what to do on your machine when you have a few spare minutes right up to days to spend spring cleaning your machine. If you use Linux regularly on your server or desktop, this book is well worth a read.

Linux Server Security

Frequently you will hear about how secure Linux is as an operating system. Although a lot of the security of the OS comes from the many eyes examining the code and the strong developer spirit that means software is frequently updated and improved, it doesn’t automatically mean that Linux is automatically secure out of the box. You still need to ensure some good basic security practices and principles. If you are securing specific applications and services then there are still steps to follow, other software to install and some tricks and traps for the unware. All of this is covered in detail in Linux Server Security, by Michael D Bauer. A review of the book that I did for Free Software Magazine has just reached the Free Software Magazine website.