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Posts published in “Tutorial”

‘Meeting for Good’ – Schedule Meetings in Multiple Time Zones

The Screening Room

One of the great joys of open source is that it can unite geographically dispersed people to work together on software and other projects. This often happens asynchronously, via email and other tools. However, sometimes there are real benefits to having a live meeting. When that happens, keeping track of people’s availability in different time zones becomes a challenge.

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

Using SlideWiki for OpenCourseWare

Open source is about much more than free (as in beer and speech) software and hardware designs. It’s being harnessed to do things like bring free or affordable health care to undeveloped nations, and as the underpinning for free education.

The Screening Room

Collaborative teaching and learning can theoretically occur via a text wiki, but SlideWiki looks like it goes far beyond text wikis. This Google Hangout explains the rich feature set of SlideWiki, including machine translated versions of your digital presentations.

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

Review of BeansBooks, Released Under ‘Open Code’ License

Before using BeansBooks, be sure to take a look at its “open code” license, which is a free software license but incompatible with the GPL and all GPL compatible licenses, whether “copyleft” or “permissive.”

The Screening Room

Open software often reduces the barrier to entry for small businesses. FOSS fans might well have heard of personal and small-business accounting software GnuCash, which is taught in the Penn Manor School District in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and described in Charlie Reisinger’s book The Open Schoolhouse. Less well known is BeanBooks, an “open code” SaaS accounting program created by the well-known folks at System76, which came onto my radar just recently. This screencast review of the software does a good job showing you its features.

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

Four Things a New Linux User Should Know

When you move from “that other operating system” to Linux, you’re going to find that in most ways you’ll be in familiar territory. However, that’s not always the case. We sometimes do things a little differently around here.

LinuxLinux

If you’re making the move from Windows or Mac (or even from Android or iOS), welcome to our world.

These days, using Linux for doing everyday computer tasks isn’t that much different than using other operating systems — meaning the learning curve is only slight. In fact, my colleague Phil Shapiro works at a library that uses Linux on the computers its patrons use and says that hardly anyone even notices they’re not using Windows. It’s that easy.

However, there are some things about using Linux that are quite a bit different — and we think better — than with the other brands. Here’s a brief heads up on some things that might be good for you to know before you cross the bridge from you-don’t-realy-own-it Windows to free-open-and-yours Linux.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Growing Young FOSS Programmers With Help of Scratch and Al Sweigart

If your young child is showing an interest in learning computers, an introduction to Scratch and these instructional videos by Al Sweigart might be in order.

The Screening Room

Scratch CatScratch Cat
Scratch Cat, the programming language’s mascot.

Talented book author Al Sweigart is a name familiar to many in the FOSS community. He writes books for kids and for adults — including the recently released Scratch Playground. Scratch is a free visual programming language developed at MIT Media Lab as an introduction to computer programming.

His zeal and talent for explaining is remarkable. I’ve been enjoying the “60 Second Scratch” screencasts (explanatory videos) he has been uploading to YouTube in the past two weeks. For example, check out this little gem:

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

Take Linux From Zero to Boot in Less Than a Second

Some of us here at FOSS Force don’t mind waiting for a computer to boot. It reminds us of the old days when, after turning on the TV, radio or record player, we had to wait for the tubes to warm up.

The Screening Room

Booting LinuxBooting Linux

At 2015’s Embedded Linux Conference Europe, Jan Altenberg, who works for Linutronix in Germany, explains how Linux can be optimized to boot in less than one second. Find out more in this fascinating video.

Phil ShapiroPhil Shapiro

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

Eight Things to Do After Installing Linux Mint Xfce 18.x

After you get Linux up and running on your computer, there are still a few things left to do. Here’s a short list that newcomers might find helpful.

Linux Mint update policyLinux Mint update policy

Linux for Newcomers

Those who are new to Linux might just go to work right away after installing, or having someone else install, GNU/Linux. However, there are a few things you should do first. Some of them, such as updating your system and activating the firewall, are essential. Others are just things you do to customize your Linux experience.

Here’s a short checklist of things to do after you get Linux up-and-running on your computer. You should consider the first two items on this list as being required, with all the other items being optional. The list is specific to Linux Mint 18.x Xfce Edition, so if you’re using another flavor of Linux, you’ll be better off searching for another list.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Dear CIO: Linux Mint Encourages Users to Keep System Up-to-Date

Regardless of what you may have read elsewhere, the Linux Mint team takes security very seriously and wants you to keep your system up-to-date.

Linux Mint 18.0 Update ManagerLinux Mint 18.0 Update Manager

Swapnil Bhartiya gets it wrong.

Let me start by pointing out that Bhartiya is not only a capable open source writer, he’s also a friend. Another also: he knows better. That’s why the article he just wrote for CIO completely confounds me. Methinks he jumped the gun and didn’t think it through before he hit the keyboard.

The article ran with the headline Linux Mint, please stop discouraging users from upgrading. In it, he jumps on Mint’s lead developer Clement Lefebvre’s warning against unnecessary upgrades to Linux Mint.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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