Joe Barr

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Latest Articles from Joe Barr
Sam Williams filled in a few missing tiles on the mosaic of the history of Richard Stallman and the free software movement with his unauthorized biography of Richard Stallman with his book Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software. (1,200 words)
Knoppix is an 'instant demo' distribution. You make (or buy) a bootable CD, plop it in your CD drive, and reboot. Voila, THAT is your installation. (1,200 words)
I expected Windows 2000's installation would be seamless, fast, and lightyears ahead of upstart Red Hat's by any measure I could concoct. It turns out the Windows 2000 Pro installation is superior to Linux, but in two dubious categories. (2,000 words)
What would motivate Microsoft to participate in an event celebrating a cancer-causing, communist-inspired, anti-American miscreant of an operating system called Linux? (1,200 words)
StarOffice is a complete package. It's no longer free as in beer, but it's a good buy, especially if you get it as part of a bundle such as a Linux distribution or Ximian's Red Carpet Express. (1,000 words)
When Gobe Software announced it was adding Linux to its stable of supported platforms, I immediately requested a review copy. There wasn't one at the time, but I was recently informed there was an alpha version I could look at if I wished. (1,200 words)
Joe Barr installs Mandrake's new Powerpack 8.2 for workstations on a Sony Vaio laptop computer. Workstation on a laptop? You bet. It went on like warm butter on a hot biscuit. (1,200 words)
Mention RMS in a Linux crowd and you'll find people who love him, hate him, and those who simply roll their eyes. People call him a whacko, egotist, genius, saint, and communist. Precious few are ambivalent about Richard Stallman.
PureSecure is much more polished, more complete, and more fully featured than its free software counterpart ACID. It's not free for commercial use, however. (1,200 words)
SuSE Linux Professional Linux version 8.0 will include an open source version of Sun's Grid Engine 5.3. (550 words)
Missing certificates for Microsoft software on 2,000 five-year-old PCs lands Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice in hot water. We've said it before: You know those official-looking proofs of purchase that come with Microsoft products you may have kept but probably lost? You need them. (1,3...
All it takes is time and free software to set up a powerful intrusion detection system for your Unix system. Follow along as Joe Barr installs ACID on his system and discovers a big security hole. (1,450 words)
'Linux? Step to the back of the bus, please. This section is reserved for Windows users only.' That's the message everyone but Microsoft Windows users get when they wish to do more than browse the FCC's Web site. Ironic that an agency bearing the name 'communications' does such a lous...
Have you ever daydreamed about being a movie producer? Or sitting in the director's chair and bringing it all together? With Linux and the right video card you can. (1,660 words)
If you feel yourself longing for a little bit of community, get in touch with the Linux root system. You can find it at your local LUG. (1,260 words)
With more use, it becomes clearer that Evolution and Sylpheed are built to serve different types of users. Is one better than the other? Depends on what you need from a Linux e-mail client. (1,500 words)
Sorcerer allows you to build and maintain a Linux system based on the very latest stable source code for each component, from the kernel to X, compiled on and for your machine. Unfortunately, Sorcerer's magic might vanish soon. (1,300 words)
Why am I giving up my faithful, trusted Sylpheed? Many little reasons. One is Ximian pestered me. A better reason is Evolution handles images embedded in e-mail messages with aplomb. Here is what it's like to switch from Sylpheed to Evolution. (1,200 words)
The 802.11 wireless standard allows computers near each other to communicate using high bandwidth at an attractive price. Products based on the standard are very popular. Unfortunately, the networks these devices create are not secure. Ride along with our wardriving columnist. (1,500 w...
Are the problems with the 2.4 kernel indicative of a failed source code control system, weak programming, poor management, increasing kernel complexity, or an overwhelmed lead developer? The debate rages in the Linux community.
Expect from HP at LinuxWorld Expo pay-per-use pricing, a new developer's kit, support of Ximian, a raft of user success stories, and more to be revealed at the show. (800 words)
Attitude makes a world of difference. Xine installs easily, offers clear documentation, and is supported by development community that encourages newbies. Oh, and as a streaming media player for Linux, Xine performs fabulously. (1,200 words)
Are IBM's newest television ads simply about the enterprise versus the perils of the Internet, or do you think the way I do, that they portray another chapter in the Microsoft-IBM battle? (1,100 words)
Gnumeric has many of Microsoft Excel's features, but it's not a copy. Gnumeric adds new tools not available anywhere else, and thanks to clean code and a dedicated team of developers, it's only going to get better. (1,300 words)
Joe Barr was dead-right about the events in the Microsoft antitrust suit in 2001, but was dead-wrong about Linus Torvalds stepping away from kernel development. Ten new predictions for Linux in the New Year. (1,000 words)
Who is this Joe Sixpack, and what gives him such magical powers? Why is it that when -- or if -- GNU/Linux is suitable for his desktop it will be for everyone's desktop? Are you personally linked at the hip to Mr. Sixpack in such a way that you follow his choice in desktops without que...
MPlayer exemplifies a form of inverse-logic karma. It's a fine video player, but you need to work through an amateur-written installation, documentation that exemplifies how not to communicate with an audience, and boorish developers who think of themselves as a sort of intellectual je...
Unlike many other struggling startups in search of angels, Rocksteady already has customers, and big name customers, at that. Is the path to financial stability sought by entrepreneurs in the hybrid open source and proprietary software communities? (1,200 words)
You are standing on a small ledge. One wrong step and you fall into a pit of molten lava. To your left, the narrow walkway curves along the outer wall to a small opening where a railgun slowly spins. To your right, the ledge disappears into shadows. You hesitate, unsure of which way to...
Mix a powerful RAD tool with lots of features, no out-of-pocket cost, and the GPL, you get a compelling IDE. (1,300 words)
The Mandrake 8.1 installation program does most things well, and for some computers the installation is as painless as installing Windows. However, on Joe Barr's desktop machine, getting Mandrake 8.1 to install correctly took four tries. (1,200 words)
Reasons why the Microsoft-Department of Justice settlement agreement is bad for PC makers, software developers, and users. (1,800 words)
Given its size, when IBM talks about Linux, people listen. Two years after IBM laid out its Linux strategy, the company seems to have met its goals and then some. Joe Barr talks to IBM's Linux czar to find what's ahead for the computer giant and open source. (1,100 words)
Joe Barr prepares for a speech and, taking a cue from an audience member, rediscovers the most important reason why organizations need open source software. (1,400 words)
Sometimes, it's the way someone says something that makes all the difference in the world. Just ask a Borland engineer who ranted about the Linux library loader. (1,200 words)
The open source community needs to step in and bring the drivers up to parity with what users get in the world of Windows. (1,200 words)
Those interested in finding a migration plan away from the Microsoft monopolies would be well advised to start looking at StarOffice 6.0, since it runs not only on Windows but on Solaris and Linux as well. (970 words)
HancomOffice 2.0 isn't done, but what Joe sees today looks svelt, full-featured, multi-platform, multi-lingual, and promising. (900 words)
Adding public-key encryption to Linux e-mail clients is easier than you may think, thanks to GnuPG and gpgme. (1,200 words)
Although IRC is hardly a high-tech environment, it does provide a medium for quick and easy two-way communication among large groups of people. There was a very real need for people to be able to vent their feelings about the attacks. Sitting passively in front of a television set is n...