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WordPress: Hero With Half a Dozen Faces

WordPress is a widely used PHP/MYSQL blog platform or to quote directly from the source: “WordPress is a state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability.” See the OSLiving Archive entry for more information.


In Retrospect
WordPress (WP) began in 2003 as a fork of the blog engine known as b2. The project was a joint venture by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. 2003 was in many ways a significant year in blog history; not only did it mark the launch of WordPress, but it was also the year in which Pyralab’s 4 year old platform, Blogger, was taken over by Google. And whereas Pyralabs had previously charged for a number of its services, Google stepped in and offered the ‘premium’ elements for free.

The third pillar underpinning the ‘blogopshere’ at that point was Movable Type (MT). It was only last year (June 2007) that the decision was made to release MT software under a GPLv2 license; prior to this it had been a closed source, fee-based platform. Then in 2004 came the release of version 3.0 and with it the famous/infamous decision to adopt tighter restrictions on licensing fees. This decision prompted a significant portion of the MT userbase to shift to the up and coming Open Source platform known as WordPress. Click here to continue reading

Dreamlinux 3.0 RC3 Hits The Web

Dreamlinux is a modern and modular Linux system that can be run directly from a CD and optionally be easily installed onto your hard drive. See the OSLiving Archive entry for a quick overview.

Dreamlinux 3.0 RC 3

The dev guys from Dreamlinux brought us the third release candidate for Dreamlinux 3.0, with the gnome-applets revised and a better installer. Some of the installer’s features were rolled back due to some security issues.

They say that they’ve tested Dreamlinux RC3 and no serious issues were detected, but to be sure, they are releasing it out in the wild, so the users can get their hands on the distro and check everything out. There will certainly be some things that ‘slipped through the testing net’.

I haven’t had the chance to seriously test the RCs, so I never encountered any problems with the reported Places and Desktop menu items that didn’t show up correctly – this now seems to be fixed. However, I did have problems installing the distro on my hard disk, due to the installer not using an entire disk and formatting it correctly. I had to manually edit the partition table and then use the partitions I made. I hope that the roll back fixes this annoying bug, since its enought to make a ‘normal’ user give up and choose a different distro.

There are a number of new codecs in this current release candidate, such as monkeys-audio and ape from xmms for example. AWN is much more user friendly now, with a nice set of applets set up by default. We now have a brand new service, called “Preload”, that optimizes memory usage on systems with more than 256 MB of RAM. You will have to turn it on manually, by going in to the Dreamlinux Control Panel – a very, very Mac-style thing – at the Services option. A restart is also required to make the changes available the next time you start your computer.

Dreamlinux’s own apps for detecting and managing the X.org configuration file for standard input/output devices got their share of improvements, thus making Dreamlinux a much more stable distro.

If you want to find out more about Dreamlinux, visit the official site or take a look at the release notes for Dreamlinux 3.0 RC3.

UPDATE: Dreamlinux 3.0 Final was released a couple of hours ago!! Read the announcement here. I’ll be covering the changes over the next few days, so stay tuned!

Log Book Part 1: Starting out

Welcome to part 1 of the OSLiving Log Book. This is a special category on Sourced that chronicles the development of the site since its inception. Piece by piece the log book will paint the picture of collaborative website building based on Open Source ethics and ideas. Part 1 in this series looks at the origins of the OSLiving site from fragments to initial development.

The original OSLiving started out in November 2007 as a simple html page listing some of the key components in the Open Source software field. The site was built as a consequence of an overflowing browser bookmark list and its purpose was to be a remotely accessible reference point – one step up from a bookmarks folder. There was no intention at that stage for it to be anything other than a series of personal references. Then one day in early December, I noticed a sudden shift on my hosting’s bandwidth readout in cpanel. Someone had submitted the page to Stumble Upon and within a few hours it had begun to spread virally. But it was met with a barrage of criticism about its lack of functionality, lack of aesthetics and lack of logic in including OSS and freeware side by side. That last point would become one of the most heated topics in the site’s short development history. More on that in the next Log Book entry.

OSLiving 1st incarnation Front Page view OSLiving 1st incarnation Single Page view OSLiving 1st incarnation Forums view

This sudden surge interest got the blood flowing. There was clearly a demand for a new Open Source software list, particularly one that was simple and accessible, so I decided to build on it. I added categories and arranged the list into an intelligible multi-page strucutre. I began adding logo graphics and a basic summary for each piece of software and made use of an html template from Open Source Web Design.This took a week or so to construct and by then this ramshackle list actually looked like a website. I submitted the new site to digg with the hope that it would generate more interest and it did. The collective power of digg and stumble upon is astonishing to watch. It resulted in over 200 software recommendation emails, numerous offers for support and requests for involvment in the ‘project’. In the space of a few weeks OSLiving had gone from a mere list to a veritable project.

The next stage in the process was the addition of the community forums. This was partly a response to the email I was receiving by visitors interested in contributing to the site and partly a way of allowing the site to continue to evolve in as much an ‘organic’ way as possible. The forums brought me into contact with some of the people who now form the core OSLiving team. It worked as a sounding board to get critical feedback on development ideas and to steer the project in a direction that would turn this list of Open Source Software into a fully fledged archive.

In the next Log Book entry I will go into more detail on some of the key decisions that were made, including the points of contention, the ideas that sparked outrage and the working methodology that emerged as a result of collaboraion.

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The OSLiving blog addresses issues of import in a broadly based Open Source context. It is a space for information, opinion and informed debate.

Discover software reviews and interviews with leading figures in the field, commentary on current Open Source issues and musings on all things WordPress.

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Sites We Like

SourceForge - one of the longest running portals devoted to housing projects from the Open Source community. A great place to find OSS projects to collaborate on.

Open Source Initiative - the OSI maintains the Open Source Definition and offers a range of information on OSS licensing and standards.

OSALT - a brilliant site devoted to open source alternatives. The site compares quality OSS with its commercial peers.

Got a great OSS link? Let us know.