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Feed Car dealership uses Asterisk VoIP to stay on "cutting edge" (

O'Brien Automotive Team is a large car dealership conglomerate based in Peoria, Ill. When the company built new headquarters recently, it needed a phone system flexible and cost-effective enough to satisfy the needs of 200 employees at the home office, and hundreds more staff at nine local dealerships in four states. After evaluating options and wrangling with incompetent vendors, O'Brien went with an open source Asterisk solution.

Feed Make Gmail better (

Many people have embraced Google's Gmail service due to its slick interface and ample storage -- but like any application, Gmail leaves a few things to be desired. To trick Gmail out to your specifications, take a look at Lifehacker's Better Gmail, a Firefox extension that brings all sorts of extra goodness to Gmail.

Feed First interview: Sam Hocevar, new Debian Project Leader (

Sam Hocevar recently became the next Debian Project Leader (DPL), defeating seven other candidates while running on a platform that emphasized ways to improve how project members interact. Hocevar's election comes at a time when Debian may be losing mindshare among both users and developers to Ubuntu, and looking for ways to improve its efficiencies and to mend internal divisions. Recently, discussed these challenges with Hocevar via email in his first interview since his election.

Feed OLPC: Fading or stronger than ever? (

Recent events -- $3 Windows for the developing world, competition from Intel, and a $175.00 pricetag for OLPC's $100.00 laptop -- have some reporters and analysts suggesting the project may be in trouble. But are those dire forecasts credible or are they simply wishful thinking by the Wintel faithful?

Feed Debain WrEtch: review of an UnAmerican Linux system (

Debain is the only group of software developers who still believe that Richard Stallman invented programming. Everyone else now correctly credits Bill Gates for doing so. Debain developers hold themselves separate from the rest of the Linux community because of their pride in not stealing from other operating systems to build their version of Linux. All other versions of Linux are based directly on Windows.

Feed SimpleCenter hopes open source community will give back (

Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI), best known for its line of universal remote controls, also sells SimpleCenter, an all-in-one application for Windows PCs that ties together in a single interface all of a user's multimedia devices and software. It streamlines the management of photos, music, and movies, and even acts as a Universal Plug and Play server so you can stream your files to any device on your home network, while the software converts files to the proper format for the device. Recently, UEI released the basic version of SimpleCenter under the terms of the GNU General Public License in order to take advantage of the community's ability to make the software better faster than the company can do it alone.

Feed Review: Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (

Another six months, another release from the Ubuntu folks. The Ubuntu 7.04 release, better known as Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, is another cutting-edge, but not bleeding-edge, release that shows what Linux is capable of on the desktop. I've been running it since the early betas, and have found that it's the best Ubuntu release yet.

Feed Win4Lin Pro Desktop 4.0 lags behind free alternatives (

One of the oldest virtualization products, Win4Lin, is starting to show signs of aging. Win4Lin flourished in 2000, when competition was sparse and expensive. But seven years on, not only are there several virtualization products, but almost half a dozen are available for free. With no visible improvements over its previous version, Win4Lin Pro Desktop 4.0 is now outdated and outclassed.

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben