- The Simple End-User Linux (SEUL) project
is a large organization trying to guide lots of other groups in the direction
of making Linux better for the end-user. Though it has several smaller projects
ongoing within the group itself (eg seul-edu
and seul-pub), a lot of the work is done
by groups that fall under the umbrella of SEUL. The end goal of SEUL is to have
a comprehensive suite of high-quality applications (productivity applications as
well as leisure/programming applications) available under the GPL for
the Linux platform. To do this, it encourages the
- Project Independence is a
subgroup of SEUL working on a Linux distribution to put some of the end-user-friendly
ideas into action. Currently their distribution is based on Redhat 5.2, and version
0.1 will be released shortly for alpha testing. It's suffering from a lack of good
volunteers currently, but hopefully the distribution announcement will encourage
people to help out more.
- WXftp is a graphical FTP client
available under the Artistic License. While development work is proceeding
very slowly these days, it's quite usable as is. Although WXftp is independent
from SEUL, SEUL provides development and distribution services.
- GNU EDA (gEDA) is a SEUL-supported
project to build a collection of tools which are used to make electrical
simulation and prototyping/production easier/doable. While this isn't directly
useful for end-users, it will encourage more commercial vendors to start taking
Linux seriously, thus adding volume to the tidal wave that's coming. gEDA is
proceeding smoothly, and has snapshots available every few weeks.
- The FreeHDL project (also
SEUL-supported) is working
to develop a VHDL simulator under Linux, available under the GPL. I believe
they're moving forward smoothly as well.
- The FreeCASE project is
a SEUL-supported project to develop Computer-Aided Software Engineering
tools. The project was almost frozen in late 1998, but they have a new
set of leaders now and will hopefully start producing something.
- Debian is the most popular
non-commercial Linux distribution. While they have a ways to go
in terms of end-user-friendliness in their apps and configuration,
they have some very impressive features, such as dpkg and especially apt.
Debian is a completely volunteer distribution, made by and for Linux
users. Their focus is on making sure that their distribution is comprised
entirely of free software. Debian is a central figure in the free software
- RedHat is the most popular
commercial Linux distribution. They've done some really good things
for making Linux easier to use, especially on the level of hardware
auto-detection. In addition to technical work, RedHat also tries to
give back to the free software community and support the idea of
free software; they're much more responsive to the Linux community
than most other commercial distributions.
- Caldera is the most commercial
of the Linux distributions. They cater to big business, and generally
have the most expensive most proprietary systems. They are notorious
for not working with the Linux community, but they are doing their part
to make Linux more widely accepted in the corporate sector.
- The Free Software Foundation, home of
the GNU project, is the primary and first site for all free software
concerns and issues. Many have critized Richard Stallman (known also
as "RMS") for his idealistic views, since they don't look like they could
be implemented easily in today's commercialized society. However, the
FSF serves as a reference point for our eventual goal -- a society
in which all software is free. While we may have to make some
concessions on the path to this goal, the FSF reminds us that it's
the free software paradigm we're fighting for -- not just Linux.
- OpenSource is on the other
side of the spectrum from the FSF. While Eric Raymond ("ESR") also
believes that a world using free software is a worthwhile goal, he
takes a much more pragmatic approach to reaching this goal: he coined
the term "open source" as an alternative to "free software",
emphasizing the business value of adopting the free software paradigm.
OpenSource exists to advocate free software specifically to the
commercial world, and has made some very impressive breakthroughs.
While Stallman is criticized for his unreasonable and stubborn attitudes,
Raymond has been criticized recently for consorting too much with the
enemy -- some people are suspicious of his motivations, and are fearful
that he will lose sight of the original goal in his quest to convince
companies that opening their source makes good business sense.
- FreshMeat is the main source of
Linux software news updates these days. It also has some other news articles,
such as distribution updates and occasionally Linux news articles totally
unrelated to software. Since Scoop is crazy enough to review himself everything that
gets posted to Freshmeat, it generally has a very high signal to noise
ratio. Subscribing to Freshmeat's nightly summary newsletter is a must for all
Linux developers, and very useful for ordinary users as well.
- SlashDot, on the other hand,