What is this website?

    This is a website by M. Fioretti, freelance author specialized in Free as in Freedom software and digital rights issues, co-author of the Open Government book and board member of the Free Knowledge Institute. I regularly write about digital rights and other, more or less related topics at the Stop!, which you are all invited to visit, of course. What you will find here This other website (which you can support as explained here) is a place where I plan to slowly collect in a readable, easily usable format a lot of tips and tricks that I have discovered myself or read on some mailing lists over the years about configuration, automation and performance optimization of Linux, OpenOffice and other Free Software.
  • Why can't Ubuntu 16.04 LTS shut down?

    update 2016/07/01 6pm: SOLVED. Details here (but DO read anyway the whole post, because the cause of this problem on your computer may still be one of those below!) I just installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on a relative’s laptop (HP Pavilion G6, in case it matters) alongside Windows 8. So far, everything works so well (*) that Ubuntu doesn’t want to shut down. If I click on shutdown, the user session ends, and nothing happens.
  • How to restore a Drupal website too old for manual upgrades

    Owners of websites that remained frozen for a year or more, because the _projects _they represent also were closed, or greatly slowed down their activity, face a big problem when those projects restart: updating the website without losing all its old content is really, really hard, if not impossible. Here is how I faced this problem with an old Drupal website, with an approach that can work on many other websites running off some database.
  • Review, CentOS System Administration Essentials

    I just finished to read a copy of “CentOS System Administration Essentials”, written by Andrew Mallett, which I got from the editor for review. Here is what I found. CentOS System Administration Essentials Virdict: a good book, except a couple of (small) points I have enjoyed reading this book, which I am going to call CSEA from now on for brevity. I think it is, indeed, a useful, synthetic tool for beginner system administrators.
  • Review, The CentOS 6 Linux Server Cookbook

    The CentOS 6 Linux Server Cookbook is a Packt Publishing title first published in April 2013. You can buy it in paper format (about 370 pages) or as an ePUB or PDF file (black and white only, whereas the ePUB version is in colours). In general I believe, especially in these times of PRISM and widespread economic crisis, that the more people learn how to run their own Free Software servers, the better.
  • Two questions about (Free) software development, copyright assignment and non-commercial use

    update 2012/07/13: I have realized only today that from March 2012 Scratch is also available with a GPL v2 license.

    Recently there have been two separate discussions on two italian Free Software mailing lists, about the meaning and obligations of the license for the source code of the educational software Scratch. In both cases, I asked (and received) confirmation of my understanding of the license directly from the “Help@Scratch”. The discussions were about two topics that are, I believe, interesting and relevant for everybody considering usage or development of Free Software, especially (but not only) in educational and non-profit contexts. Therefore, I’m publishing the answers I got from the Scratch team here (with their approval), hoping they may be useful to everybody else with the same doubts in the future (but please see the disclaimer below!).

  • How to download RSS feeds with a simple script

    Background Rss is a wonderful system to get headlines of online news from many independent sources and browse them as quickly as possible, without subscribing to any website, giving away personal information and/or depending on any third-party website to aggregate everything for you. In order to save time and to not depend on any Rss reader, I have written two simple scripts. One downloads all the RSS feeds I want to read and saves them in a format suitable for further processing.
  • Major gaps of Open Office Impress versus Microsoft Power Point, what do you think?

    Yesterday Sergio, a user of OpenOffice Impress, sent to the OpenOffice.org discussion list his list of the “Major Gaps of OpenOffice Impress 3.3 vs. Microsoft Office PowerPoint”.Sergio compiled the list because, as much as he likes OpenOffice, “after struggling for over 1 year, sadly he had to stop using Open Office Impress and go back to Microsoft Power Point”. Personally, I have experienced and can confirm most of what Sergio lists as “File Processing issues”.
  • How to automatically replace files when updating WordPress

    WordPress is quick and easy to install and update, but the quicker you can make these operations the better, right? If you have shell access to the server where your WordPress copy is installed, it is possible to perform all the operations in Step 1 of the Manual WordPress Update Procedure with the shell script below. It will save you a few minutes, which may seem too little, but is great if you maintain more than one copy of WordPress.
  • Dbmail? A great Open Source email system, especially for LAMP/MySql administrators

    A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about how I may build an advanced search utility for my own email archive. One way to make complex queries on the archive seemed to be to put it all into a relational database. Since the Dbmail system stores email in that way, I asked its developers and Harald Reindl (an email administrator at The Lounge who already uses Dbmail: I found him in the PostFix Mailing list archives) if Dbmail could be used in that way.