The Future in Open-Source


This is not a revelation at this point in time, especially to those who have been following the progress of open-source, or have been studying its economic advantages to proprietary software. Our societies have been moving towards open-source for a long time now, to the point where it is not a matter of opinion, it is simply a fact.

Out of all the open-source code there is out there, the one that is expanding the most is Linux, a free as in freedom kernel, which is being used on multiple OS’s in all areas of computing. The most common of which are Ubuntu, Red Hat, Cent OS, and Debian. All these have their specific areas in the economy. Ubuntu does a great job at providing an alternative to Windows and Apple on PC’s, while Debian is mainly used as either a PC OS for programmers, or a server OS, seeing that the Debian community has a version of Debian for servers. Red Hat and Cent OS are often used for super-computers and clusters. Finally, the newest member to the big league Linux OS’s is Android, which has dominated the mobile and tablet markets.

Again, this is not a matter of opinion, these are facts. In the following link, you can see how Android is dominating the mobile market. If you look at the following Wikipedia article (yes, I know Wikipedia isn’t meant to be a valid source, but you can look up the information yourself and you’ll find about the same thing), it shows how Linux has dominated the mobile market, the server market, it’s rising in the tablet market, and it has taken over the supercomputer market (the supercomputer market is no surprise though).

However, open-source is also dominating the gaming mark. The new PlayStation 4 that has recently come out is using FreeBSD underneath as an OS. Recently Steam (a game distribution platform owned by the Valve corporation) is creating their new SteamOS which is based on Debian GNU/Linux, therefore, it must be open-source by law.

However, the reason why Linux and open-source are becoming such an important part of the technological world, is because they allow flexibility and stability. Flexibility because it allows, not only companies and governments, but also every day people, to change the source-code to their own needs, apart from knowing exactly what is in there. This is why the U.S. military uses Linux (specifically Red Hat, which is U.S. owned), because they can modify it and change it to their needs, and know exactly what is in there. So the flexibility makes it very attractive to companies, governments, and individuals alike. And Stability because open-source will always be open-source (especially if it is under a GNU Public License). Even if Linus Torvalds (the creator of the Linux kernel) decided to close the source-code to his kernel, all the people that previously worked on the Linux kernel would then just use the previous source-code and create a new kernel based on Linux, and there will always be an open-source kernel, and there will always be an open-source OS. And because it is open-source, for the most part it is also free. Therefore, companies, governments, organizations, communities, and individuals alike, have a guarantee for life that they will always have a free, and free as in freedom OS.

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Linux Distributions


I find that most people say they like free stuff, but when I ask them why they run windows or mac instead of a Linux distribution, their responses are either: “What’s Linux?“, “Linux is communist.“, “Linux is free?“, or “Nobody uses Linux.“. Well, to get things straight, Linux is not communist, that’s just something that the windows CEO spread around with this idea that open-source is communism; another, yes, Linux is free, free as in you don’t pay, and free as in freedom; finally, it’s not that nobody uses Linux, it’s that barely any normal users use Linux. Most super computers run Linux, along with 80% of the servers in the world, you know what server runs Linux, here’s a list: Facebook, Google, YouTube, Yahoo, etc. If you want, you can go to this website <http://www.infobyip.com/>, and look at the field called “operating system” and check which operating system your router is running.

There are many different distributions of Linux, some of the most popular being Mint, Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora (also known as Red Hat), but there are many others, many of which are available at DistroWatch (here’s the link:<http://distrowatch.com/>), a website where people submit their distributions to make it easier for anyone to find them. There is also a search page where you can look for Linux distributions that fit what you are looking for, with many different choices of categories, such as: beginners, desktop, gaming, high performance computing, multimedia, old computers, scientific, security, privacy, education, and more; all for free (here’s the URL for the search page: <http://distrowatch.com/search.php>).

Debian, the distribution I am currently using, supports the most architectures, uses very little memory and processing power, runs rather fast, and supports the most amount of desktop environments. Now, for those of you who don’t know what a desktop environment is, it’s the style of the Graphical User Interface (GUI), that is most commonly known as the desktop to most modern day users who are technologically illiterate (no offense meant, it’s just a term), or in other words, how your desktop looks. For example, a windows GUI doesn’t look the same as a mac GUI. I am currently using the gnome interface, which is the default in Debian, but for beginners there are graphical interfaces that look a lot like the windows GUI or the mac GUI, such as Macbuntu (here’s a link: <http://lifehacker.com/5665765/macbuntu-makes-your-linux-desktop-look-like-mac-os-x>),  or Xfce (here’s a link: <http://www.xfce.org/>).

Also, there is a Linux distribution from Argentina called Estrella Roja, which was maintained up to version 2.6. The people who made it are a communist group of hackers (reminder, there is a difference between hackers, crackers, and people that make stupid posts on your Facebook account while you are logged in and not looking) who made this distribution to be able to work on relatively old computers, that may not even have a hard drive. This is because they have written it to be able to run on a CD, all you need is a computer that can read CD’s and you can run it. This operating system is also hard to find, now that the group has left the project for another one called EcuRed, which is a project to spread open-source and free software (here’s a link: <http://www.ecured.cu/index.php/ALBASOL>). But there is still a place where you can find version 2.6 of the Estrella Roja distribution, here’s the link: <http://estrellarojagnulinux.wikispaces.com/>.

On other terms, when I went to school in Spain, they used a distribution of Linux called Guadalinex (here’s a link:<http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=guadalinex>), a distribution made by the Junta de Andalucía for schools to run on their computers. This distribution is meant for education and comes with many educational programs automatically installed. But when I came to the U.S.A. to study, I found that they used mac and windows, both operating systems which they had to pay for, but that’s not the part that gets on my nerves, the bad part is that then they ask the parents to donate money to the school, while I see a bunch of still working 5 year old computers going to the dump, just because mac/windows doesn’t make operating systems supporting its hardware anymore. I have told the teachers that it would save them a lot more money in the long term (and maybe even in the short term) if they switched to a Linux distributions, but their excuses are the same as always, and invalid, when they respond: “Yes, but no one uses Linux.“, “Yes, but we already use this, and it’s easier to continue with what we have.“, or “Yes, but this is what everybody knows.“. The one thing that really gets me about that last excuse, is that the school is the one always saying that they promote variety.

The main reason why I suggest schools to use Linux, is because then the students won’t be as repelled to try using Linux. Now, how is this a good thing? Well, first off, it will help the students become more technologically literate, allowing them to have an easier access to the command line, and more access to the computer itself. Does this mean that they might screw things up a little sometimes, yes, but then they will learn from their mistakes. Now, having this knowledge, they will be able to use Linux at home, this is important because that way students from poor families can get a USB drive that has down to 0.5 GB of space on it, and a really old computer (which you can buy for very little these days), and they will be able to boot into the flash drive running a very small simple version of Linux, such as Finnix, which I run myself on a USB that only has 0.5 GB, and the USB still over half of the space left.

All in all, I think that if we get the newer generations used to using Linux, it will help  greatly in the future. Thanks for reading!

Jamendo


Pirating has become a big issue when it comes to companies trying to get their money, and people are wanting to get stuff for free instead of paying for them. The one things I always ask myself is, why don’t they just download music and games that are given to them for free. If you have ever used Linux, you’ll know that they have a synaptic package manager (in most distributions) that is filled with free software, including games; most of which is open-source, allowing you to access the code, and even make your own version. Then, when it comes to music, there is a great site I found called Jamendo. Jamendo is a music site where people upload music they make themselves under a creative commons license (here’s some more info about the creative commons license: <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/>). On this website there are songs by millions of people around the world of many different genres. You may think that since they are free to download they don’t get any money, well, that’s not entirely true, there are people who will put their music under a cc (creative commons) license in such a way that you need their permission to use it for commercial use, there are also donations to the artists that make the songs. Here’s the link to the website: <http://www.jamendo.com/en>.

If you look online, you will find a ton of music, art, games, applications, operating systems, movies, and more, that are under a creative commons license. For example here’s an electronic song from an artist from India:

Please take a look at the music they have on this website, maybe you’ll like something!
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.

HaXe


Hello world!

I was looking for a free programming language or tool to write my own flash program in, when I came across HaXe. HaXe is an open-source multi-platform programming language. This means that the code for it (which is written in Ocaml) is open to the public, and multi-platform meaning that it can be compiled into many different programming languages, HaXe in specific can currently be compiled into C++, flash, flash8, JavaScript, Neko, and PHP, and they are currently working on compiling it in Java and C#. This makes programming a lot easier, learning one programming language, you can make programs for 6 other languages.

Now, of course, learning HaXe and compiling it in C++ won’t be nearly as powerful or flexible as learning C++ itself, but if all you want to do is a relatively simple program (that is, don’t use this for work) it’s fine. And it’s way better than wasting $700 on a puny Adobe flash program.

The HaXe syntax is a lot like Java, and even more like JavaScript, which makes it relatively easy for people coming from those backgrounds to adjust to it. There are also a lot of tutorials and snippets that beginners and intermediates can look at for help, along with a forum where you can ask questions. And if you aren’t satisfied with the libraries that they have on their main page (http://haxe.org/) there is another website with many more libraries that can be downloaded at <http://lib.haxe.org> and installed for free.

I hope this comes of use to all of you that are reading this. Thanks for reading, and have a nice day.

Hacking Mac iPod


About a month ago or so I learned how to hack my mac iPod so that I could sync it on my computer running Debian Linux. It was a pain in the ass for me to do, but I’m going to make your lives a little easier if you ever have to do this.

If you need to transfer your songs to the Linux computer because your hard drive is broken and you can’t access your iTunes or something like that, then you can do as following, if not, then skip to the next paragraph. This is a pain in the ass to do, but it’s necessary to copy the songs from your iPod and keep the same name. I don’t think you need to do this if you don’t care about the actual files having that name, because if you want to use them on Rhythmbox or Banshee or something like that, the tag should show up. In that case all you need to do is to copy the directory /media/<Your_iPod>/iPod_Control/Music to your Music directory or you can simply do the simple drag and drop the Music folder from the iPod device you will see on your desktop. If you want your songs labeled you’ll have to open Rhythmbox. After that you select your iPod and it will show you all the songs you have on it. Drag one into your Music directory, you’ll notice it has a different name made up of four capital letters. Apple does this to make it a pain in the ass to use their products on any computer except theirs. So what you need to do is to copy one into your Music folder, rename it, and then go to the next and do the same thing.

Now for the next step, you’ll need to install Banshee on your Linux operating system and a mac computer (it can be any mac that you can access as long as someone can put in the administrator password, so it can be a friends mac or someone you know who has a mac computer). OK, now that you have that, first you need to unsync your iPod with the mac computer. To do this, you need to plug in the iPod to the mac. It will ask you if you want to transfer songs or not, click no. Then, open iTunes and change the iPod settings to manage songs manually or something like that, then delete all the songs that are still on your iPod. Now this part you will need the admin password for, but remember, you can use any mac computer as long as  long as there is someone who will put in the admin password. You’ll need to open an application called the “Disk Utility”. When you have your iPod plugged in, select it and do as following while holding down the option or alt key: click on file, then click on Disable Journaling, now the journaling has been disabled on you iPod.

After this you may plug the iPod into your Linux computer and start up banshee. What should happen is that banshee will detect it and tell you that it cannot read from the iPod because of the data structure of the iPod, which iTunes makes to try and prevent you from using the iPod on any other OS. What you need to do is to clink the button “rebuild data structure” or something like that. After that you should be able to sync the iPod with the “sync” button in the upper right corner. It might take a while to sync the iPod depending on how much music your putting in there. There might be some problems with the syncing and it may go slower than on iTunes, but don’t press the”Sync” or “Disconnect” buttons while it’s syncing, it could cause problems. And most of all, don’t delete any directories or files in your /media directory, there will be a file there used for the journaling options for the iPod, if you delete it, it will prevent you from writing to your iPod.

I hope this helps, I’m going to try to create a video to make it more visual, when I do I’ll update this post with it attached. If you have anything to improve this post, please state it in the comments below and I will add it in a new post.

By the way, when you have your iPod synced to Linux do not change the name, that seems to cause problems with the syncing sometimes.

Thank You! I hope this helps!