Free Software Magazine

by Andy Oram

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I've just been notified of an intriguing new online publication called
Free Software Magazine. The
first issue
has just been released. It's really fun to read, if you have any
interest in programming or software innovation. The articles are
distributed as PDFs in typical LaTeX output. The double-column format
and (on my system, anyway) unappealing screen fonts make printing the
best option.

There's no simple way to classify the articles in this issue, which is
why it's so interesting. Would you expect an article on the popular
vim editor (written by its main creator) that's divided
roughly equally between a justification of the project, a very
readable description of some internals, and an explanation of the
author's "charityware" fund-raising project? Several articles are like
that: you can never guess what you'll come across when you turn the
page. (I get the sense there's very little editorial intervention or

There are articles for newbies (like a review of seven Linux
distributions and an introduction to Objective-C) and for hard-core
hackers ("Psycopg: A New DA between Python and PostgreSQL"). There are
articles on social implications and articles meant to stir controversy
("SourceForge drifting," which actually accuses SourceForge of worse
things than drifting). A rather generic preface by Richard M. Stallman
heralds more incisive columns to come. A news update about the spread
of Zope in Japan reminds us both that the magazine's staff is
international and that the magazine is quite catholic (small "c") and
supports all free software efforts, not just those driven by the FSF.