About this site......

The software

Phear the Penguin

The About this site... server is running Slackware Linux. Linux is free software which is developing primarily on a volunteer basis by hundreds of programmers from around the world. Not only is Linux available at no cost, but it is also open source software which is licensed under the GNU General Public License. The GPL mandates that the source code be available for free for anyone who would like to use it, improve it, or simply learn from it.

RedHat is one of dozens of companies who release their own Linux “distribution.” A distribution is a combination of the Linux kernel (the core of the operating system), many utilities and compilers (many of them developed by the Free Software Foundation), and sometimes commercial software. Although the software is available for free (usually minus the commercial programs), many people choose to purchase an “official” copy that usually includes printed documentation and technical support.

Though not technically a version of Unix, Linux is POSIX compliant and offers a viable alternative to larger, more expensive, commercial Unices. My reasons for using Linux include its cost, adherence to open standards, and reliability. There are a number of sites that provide much more information about using Linux. They include:

  • Linux.com is owned by VA Linux, a Linux hardware company. This is intended to be a portal site for the Linux community.
  • Linuxworld is an online magazine dedicated to Linux.
  • Slashdot.org is the place to go for the latest, hot-off-the-presses news about Linux and related technology. Be careful. Slashdot is definitely habit-forming.

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About this site... is built using Zope, an open source Web application server. Zope is written in Python, an object-oriented scripting language. Zope provides for dynamic Web content such as news, weather, user membership, searching, and easy integration with external databases. Zope's object-oriented design facilitates quick development of sites that would be very difficult to code in pure HTML.

The server that runs the About this site... site also uses MySQL for the database backend. MySQL is a high quality, open source SQL database that interfaces very well with Zope.

There is a very active development community working on further developing Zope. I hope that the About this site... Web development effort will contribute to the Zope and larger open source software community. In addition to the excellent quality of the software, another benefit of using open source products is that the total cost of the software that drives this site was $0.00!


If you have any questions or comments, please contact Eric.

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