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Many Flaws, Upgrading Schemas, Open MMORPG Engines, and the Whole Open Source Product

by chromatic
Linux Newsletter for 10/20/2003

Welcome to the Linux newsletter, your guide to the weekly antics of There's much to discuss this week. First, though, an announcement from the Helping the Community department.

Your editor is very pleased to announce that O'Reilly is sending important and usually underrepresented open source projects to COMDEX. Our editors have narrowed the field to 21 projects. It's up to you to vote for the six most deserving projects to be represented in the Open Source Innovation Area.

And now, the articles.

Noel Davis again took an early lead with Problems Aplenty, his all-too-frequent Security Alerts column. Remote vulnerability possibilities exist in Stunnel, Exim, wu-ftpd, pam_smb, pam_ldap, Horde, and Node. Take a few moments to make sure you're running appropriately patched versions.

Now that you're safe, you've a few minutes to think about gaming. How does a nice round of massively multiplayer online role playing strike you? If you're a Linux or *BSD user, you might have resigned yourself to the fact that very few MMORPGs will ever target your platform (and if you're using a non-x86 platform, Wine won't come to the rescue). Enter NeL: the Software Behind the Next Great MMORPG?. Howard Wen explores an open source MMORPG engine — used in a commercial offering — and talks to two of the project leads.

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After you're done gaming, it's time for some development. If you've done much LAMP work, you've probably experienced the equisite joy of upgrading a database. *Shudder...* There has to be an easier way, right? Russell Dyer thinks so. Upgrading a MySQL Application explores some practical solutions for changing and updating schemas in existing applications without losing data. (Be sure to check the Talkbacks, as there are other valuable strategy notes there.)

Perhaps you're stuck in the darkness and would much prefer to use a LAMP (lest you be eaten by a EULA). It can be difficult to convince a highly conservative, risk-averse company that open source software is valuable and, possibly, even better as a strategy. Fear not. Bernard Golden provides the ammunition you might need in Open Source: the Whole Product. Here's how to consider open source software, documentation, and support as really good for business — even better than the proprietary alternatives.

This week's weblogs feature William Grosso remarking that Forbes Magazine doesn't understand capitalism, Steve Mallett questioning conventional wisdom about software monocultures, Jonathan Gennick discussing worm attacks on fresh installs, Chris DiBona outlining large site caching strategies, and Rob Flickenger reporting on Rendezvous at FOO Camp.

That's all for this week. Next week, we finish our advanced mail server!

Until then,

Technical Editor
O'Reilly Network and Linux Devcenter Top Five Articles Last Week

  1. Building an Advanced Mail Server, Part 2
    A modern mail server just isn't quite complete unless you allow your users to roam; while secure IMAP works for some people, others swear by webmail. In the second installment of "Building an Advanced Mail Server," Joe Stump explains how to install, secure, and extend your mail server with SquirrelMail.

  2. NeL: The Software Behind the Next Great MMORPG?
    Several people have theorized that the best mix of open source and gaming is to release the engine's source code while keeping the art, levels, and music restricted. Nevrax is doing just that with their upcoming Ryzom game. NeL, the engine code, is an actively- developed open source project. Howard Wen examines the company and the project and talks with a founder and a lead developer.

  3. Building an Advanced Mail Server
    Email is crucial to many businesses. Setting up a mail server doesn't have to be difficult, though. Joe Stump demonstrates how to install and configure qmail with support for virtual domains, IMAP, POP3, and SSL.

  4. Open Source: The Whole Product
    As open source software becomes more popular and widely known, it moves into a new category of users: technology pragmatists. Pragmatists have wildly different goals from early adopters; how can open source software and companies meet their needs? Bernard Golden explains how his team developed a working open source strategy that alleviates risk.

  5. Problems Aplenty
    Noel Davis looks at problems in XFree86, Stunnel, Exim, wu-ftpd, pam_smb, gdm2, pam_ldap, whois, the atari800 emulator, Horde, MPlayer, and Node.

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