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Open Source Solutions

Talking to people who are in IT or IT-related fields (resellers, analysts, and even press), you find that even though most have heard of open source, five out of six don’t know the breadth or depth of open source solutions that are available. It’s also generally assumed that open source mainly means Linux or maybe Linux and Apache. As the open source movement gains momentum, and particularly as established vendors market open source concepts, these perceptions will change. Offerings include the following:

  • Operating system—Linux

  • Server services—Beowulf, Samba

  • Desktop services—OpenOffice, Xfree86, GNOME, KDE, Mozilla

  • Web applications and services—Apache, JBoss

  • Development tools—GCC, Perl, PHP, Python, Mono, Eclipse

  • Databases—MySQL, PostgreSQL

  • Documentation—The Linux Documentation Project

  • Open source project sites—sourceforge.net, freshmeat.net, forge.novell.com

At this point, it’s possible (although maybe not practical for the majority of organizations) to completely run a small or medium business using open source solutions. A $20 million Utah business in Novell’s backyard is entirely open source—it has never paid a dime for software licensing fees. This company supports 70 users, provides an external website, includes desktop applications, customer resource management applications and internal databases, and even sells its main line-of-business products packaged with open source components. Open source produces savings in licensing fees, hardware costs (the average company computer is a Pentium II), and management resources (the CTO is also the IT manager and spends about two hours per week on administration). Estimates of open source savings are between 7%–10% gross annual sales, which, in this case, is a significant portion of net profit. This is an example of a viable company that, without open source, probably wouldn’t be in business.

This example isn’t typical (nor will it be) of open source implementations, but it is pointed out to illustrate the breadth and depth of solutions that are available and the market expansion that’s possible though open source. Open source adoption will be a matter of substitutes and complements: Substitute where open source is as reliable, scalable, and feature equivalent to proprietary software and complement existing and established and proprietary IT services with open source when it’s cost-effective.

A more detailed discussion of what’s currently available follows.

Operating System—Linux

We’ve already talked about Linux and its place in the application stack. It’s the foundation or basis for any IT service or application. In general, the Linux operating system provides the following features:

  • User interface—Methods for interacting with an operating system, including BASH

  • Job management—Coordination of all operations and computer processes

  • Data management—Tracking and management of all data on a computer and attached devices

  • Device management—Control of all peripheral devices, including disk drives, printers, network adapters, monitors, keyboards, and so on

  • Security—Mechanisms for restricting access to data and devices by authorized users

The following are just a few of the general, high-level Linux services available:

  • File system support—ext, JFS, Reiser, and more than 15 other different file systems

  • Printing—Configuration, print-job interpretation, and printer sharing

  • Network services—Basic protocols and services that connect computers:

    • TCP/IP—Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (manages, assembles, and transmits messages between computers)

    • DNS—Domain Name System/Service (matches IP addresses to computer names)

    • DHCP—Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (shares and assigns IP addresses)

    • FTP—File Transfer Protocol (transfers files between computers over TCP/IP network)

    • SLP—Service Location Protocol (announces services across a network)

  • Security—Mechanisms include encryption and digital certificate handling:

    • SSL/OpenSSL—Secure Sockets Layer (encrypts data transmission)

    • Certification authority—Trusted source for identity verification

  • Identity management—Management tool that grants/denies access based on identity or role

  • LDAP—Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (provides directory query and directory management capability)

Of course, many more features and services of the Linux operating system are available, but those just listed are the most common and are found in practically every distribution for every platform. Part of the appeal of Linux is that it is available on a broad variety of hardware platforms from custom-built microdevices to IBM mainframes. The following is a short list of available Linux platform ports:

  • x86—Intel’s x86 or IA-32 was the original development architecture used by Linus Torvalds and is still the primary core development platform.

  • Itanium—Itanium or IA-64 is Intel’s next-generation, 64-bit architecture, providing faster and more powerful processing. Linux was ported to the Itanium Processor Family (IFP) during early platform development by a group of companies, including IBM, HP, Intel, and others. Continued support for Linux on Itanium is coordinated at http://www.gelato.org/.

  • Alpha—Linux is available on the Alpha platform, a family of RISC-based, 64-bit CPUs available from HP. See http://www.alphalinux.org/ for more information.

  • PowerPC—Linux is also available on a wide range of machines from handhelds to super computers. PowerPC is a RISC-based chipset designed by Apple, IBM, and Motorola and owned by IBM. Motorola offers the chips for sale and they show up in Apple PowerMacs and IBM RS/6000 and AS/400 machines, as well as in embedded systems. See http://www.penguinppc.org/.

  • PA-RISC—This is an implementation of HP RISC architecture utilizing workstation and server hardware. See http://parisc-linux.org.

  • SPARC—The Scalable Performance Architecture (SPARC), a 32-bit RISC CPU developed by Sun, is also supported with a Linux port. Details are at http://www.ultralinux.org/.

  • M68K—Workstations running the Motorola 68000 chipset (Sun3, Apple Macintosh, Amiga, Atari, and so on) can run Linux.

  • Z/Series—IBM’s eServer zSeries computers are enterprise mainframes with advanced workload technology. Linux allows a wide range of applications plus scalability and flexibility on zSeries. See http://www-1.ibm.com/servers/eserver/zseries/os/linux/.

Linux distributions are available from multiple sources. Again, a distribution usually consists of the core Linux operating system packaged with administration utilities, documentation, installation media, custom libraries, desktop interfaces, and common drivers. Distributions can be use-specific (for example, workstations, servers, or applications) or hardware platform-specific. The following sections discuss the most common Linux distributions and a little background for each.

SUSE Linux

SUSE’s (pronounced soo sah) development history includes extensive experience with enterprise organizations. SUSE has both workstation and server versions of Linux and was used to leverage integrated and bundled software through Linux to provide quality solutions. These aspects all mesh well with Novell’s history and strategic direction. This is discussed in more detail later.

SUSE originated in Germany as a Unix consulting company. With the advent of Linux, SUSE evolved to provide personal and professional versions of Linux plus distributions that included services geared to corporate networks and enterprise use. SUSE includes an extensive and unique (to SUSE) administration program called YaST (Yet another Setup Tool) that has become the most powerful installation and system management tool in the Linux world. Driver support is excellent, and desktops included are KDE and GNOME.

All of these factors plus the company culture, market share, and market potential contributed to the decision for Novell to acquire SUSE (http://www.novell.com).

Red Hat

Red Hat is probably the most widely known of the Linux distributors because it was one of the first to provide Linux in an easy-to-install package—and it was the first Linux-centric company to go public. Formed in 1994, Red Hat specialized in providing Linux packaging, service, and support while keeping everything included with their offerings open source. Red Hat employs between 600–700 employees and retains developers who have contributed to the Linux community, most notably Red Hat Package Manager (RPM), a system for updating Linux services and utilities, which is open source (http://www.redhat.com).

Red Hat’s product line has evolved to provide the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) line, several versions of Linux targeted at enterprise companies, including workstation (WS), advanced server (AS), and enterprise server (ES). Each of these versions require license fees and an ongoing subscription fee for maintenance and support—a requirement that has drawn ire from customers and has been the basis for disparaging comparisons to Microsoft and their "vendor lock-in" strategy. Red Hat also now "sponsors" Fedora Core, a Linux distribution supported by the open source community that is freely available and intended to replace the consumer version of Red Hat Linux.


The Debian distributions are prominent for several reasons. First, the Debian Project is solidly based on "free software philosophies" with no official ties to any profit-oriented companies or capitalistic organizations. The second head of the Debian Project, Bruce Perens, was instrumental in the development of the Debian Social Contract and the Debian Free Software Guidelines, which are the basis of the Open Source Definition (OSD), the guidelines that are used to determine whether a software license is truly "open source." Debian’s free heritage is a draw for organizations that are leery of corporate control.

Debian distributions are also available on a wide variety of platforms, including 11 different computer architectures, and there are a wide range of services, with over 8,500 packages in the current distribution. Entry to the Debian community requires proficiency levels and philosophy commitments, and results include thorough testing across all distributions.

The Debian development process is a structured system of voting and hierarchy that tends to produce stable releases. The major voiced concern with Debian is that officially stable code is too dated to be valuable (http://www.debian.org).


Mandrakelinux is a classic example of forking. The objective of MandrakeSoft, a French software company, was to provide a version of Linux that was optimized for the Intel Pentium processor. Mandrake started with a version of Red Hat and added a control center that simplified the management of peripherals, devices, hard drives, and system services for Linux. Mandrake is a popular desktop distribution and more widely used among Europeans (http://www.mandrakesoft.com).


Turbolinux is a major supplier of Linux distributions in the Asia Pacific countries, with strengths in the area of Asian language support. Turbolinux is particularly popular in China and is being used to build backbones for both government and corporate networks (http://www.turbolinux.com).

Other Distributions

In addition to those mentioned previously, several other Linux distributions are platform- or geographic-specific. Gentoo Linux is a modular, portable distribution that is optimized for a single, specific machine according to one of thousands of package-build recipes. Red Flag Linux is a distribution supported by a venture capital arm of China’s Ministry of Information Industry. Conectiva is a Brazilian company that provides Linux in Portuguese, Spanish, and English for Latin America.

United Linux was an attempt by several Linux distribution companies to consolidate efforts around common installation and integration issues for enterprise companies. These companies included SUSE, Turbolinux, Conectiva, and Caldera (now SCO), and their objective was to dilute the dominance of Red Hat in the enterprise market. SUSE provided most of the engineering on the project that produced an enterprise-based distribution, but the effort was disbanded after SCO filed suit against IBM.

Server Services

Linux, as an operating system, has appeal across a broad spectrum from embedded devices to mainframes. There is, however, a superset of enhanced services that are available for mission-critical applications. Two open source projects that have evolved to become significant elements of an enterprise-class IT infrastructure are Beowulf and Samba.


Beowulf is a commodity-based cluster system designed as a low-cost alternative to large mainframes or supercomputers. A cluster is a collection of independent computers that are combined and connected to form a single unified system for high-performance computing or to provide high availability.

Donald Becker at NASA started the Beowulf Project in 1994 for solving highly computational problems for Earth and Space Sciences projects. Using off-the-shelf commodity hardware connected via Ethernet, Becker was able to build a 16-node cluster that immediately was of interest to universities and research institutions. Succeeding implementations of Beowulf have provided cluster-computing solutions that rival some of the fastest supercomputers.

Today, Linux is the operating system of choice for Beowulf clusters (called Beowulfs). Beowulf is managed and enhanced through an open source community (http://www.beowulf.org) and consists of a number of pieces of software that are added to Linux. The Beowulf architecture is flexible and accommodates a broad range of applications ranging from science to engineering to finance, including financial market modeling, weather analysis, simulations, biotechnology, data mining, and more. For an application to take advantage of cluster processing, it must be enabled for parallel processing, which allows computing tasks to be divided among multiple computers with messages between them.


Samba provides seamless file and print services to SMB/CIFS clients. In simple terms, Samba makes a Unix or Linux computer look like a Windows computer to anyone who is accessing it through a network. Samba was originally developed by Andrew Tridgell at Australian National University, who was trying to link a Windows PC to his Linux system for file access. The Microsoft networking system is based on the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol—Samba is SMB with a couple of "a"s added. From a Windows workstation, a Unix or Linux server appears just like a Windows server with the capability to map drives and access printers.

Samba has evolved to include the next generation of SMB, the Common Internet File System (CIFS) and currently includes file and print services as well as the capability to provide domain services, Microsoft’s NT version of access management. Samba is also available on IBM System 390, OpenVMS, and other operating systems.

Samba is available under the GNU General Public License (GPL) with an online community at http://us1.samba.org. Samba has been very popular for two reasons. First, it simplifies the process of network management and administration by providing more access without additional client requirements. Second, and probably more important, it provides a stealth entry point for Linux, eliminating barriers to interoperability and adoption.

Desktop Services

The open source equivalent to Microsoft Windows isn’t a single package solution. As the movement continues, a potential Windows killer is feasible. Today, open source desktop solutions include desktop interfaces (GNOME, KDE), an office productivity suite (OpenOffice), client libraries (Xfree86), and a client application platform (Mozilla).


The GNU Network Object Model Environment, or GNOME, is a graphical desktop environment for end users running Linux or Unix. The GNOME free desktop project was started in 1997 by Miguel de Icaza and, in addition to providing a desktop, provides a framework for creating desktop applications. Most commercial Linux distributions include the GNOME desktop as well as KDE. More information on GNOME is found at http://www.gnome.org.


K Desktop Environment (KDE) originated with Mattias Ettrich in 1996 at the University of Tuebingen as an effort to provide a desktop for Linux in which all applications could have a common look and feel. KDE was built using the Qt toolkit and concerns about licensing restrictions from the toolkit spawned GNOME. Qt was later relicensed under the GNU GPL, eliminating any problems. Both GNOME and KDE are part of freedesktop.org and work to standardize desktop functionality. There are many KDE desktop applications and the community is headquartered at http://www.kde.org.


OpenOffice.org (OOo) is a full office productivity suite designed to compete directly with Microsoft Office. It includes a word processor, spreadsheet, graphics program, presentation program, and an HTML editor, as well as database tools, macros, and more. It also includes conversion tools so that users can go between OpenOffice.org files and Microsoft Office files with little difference.

OpenOffice.org (not OpenOffice due to a trademark dispute) originated as StarOffice, a commercial office suite produced by StarDivision. In 1999, Sun Microsystems acquired StarOffice and in 2000 renamed it and contributed it to the open source movement. OpenOffice.org is available for Unix, Linux, Windows, and Macintosh computers in a host of languages and can be downloaded at http://www.openoffice.org.


The X Window System (X) was originally developed as a windowing, graphical interface for Unix. Graphically, it functions like Microsoft Windows, but architecturally, it is more sophisticated with the capability to graphically display applications from any machine on the network as if it were local according to a true client server model. Xfree86 is an open source implementation of X that consists of a set of client libraries to write X applications in which client and server communicate via the X protocol (http://www.xfree86.org).


Mozilla, as has been mentioned, originated with the release of Netscape Communicator source code to the public. Eric Raymond’s paper and philosophies gained traction at Netscape during the time that Microsoft was foisting Internet Explorer on the market. The Mozilla platform enables more than just a browser and includes an email client, instant messaging client, and HTML editor, as well as other standalone applications. Currently, a full-featured Internet suite is available and Mozilla can be found at http://www.mozilla.org. There are similarities between Mozilla and GNOME as far as being a client application platform. Desktop applications that have been written using GNOME include contact management, accounting, spreadsheet, word processing, instant messaging, and more.

Web Applications and Services

Moving from the operating system toward applications, there are several open source solutions that are available for the creation of applications, such as web application development components and tools. Two major web services are Apache and JBoss.

Apache HTTP Server

The Apache Web Server (its roots were detailed earlier) is the leading HTTP server on the Internet today, hosting over 67% of the websites according to http://www.netcraft.com. Apache is open source with versions running on Linux, BSD, Unix, NetWare, and Windows, as well as other platforms. Apache includes a powerful feature set with scripting, authentication, proxy, and logging capabilities. Popular features include multihoming, the capability to host multiple sites on the same machine, and the capability to password protect pages. Apache is also highly configurable and extensible for third-party customization and modules. Apache has been termed the killer application for the Internet. The Apache community is located at http://httpd.apache.org/.


JBoss is a Java-based application server. In the Web sense, an application server is a collection of protocols and services that exchange data between applications. Applications are often written in different languages and run on different platforms, but as long as they are based on open standards, an application server will support them with querying, formatting, repackaging, and customizing content for consumption.

JBoss was designed to be an open source application server that supports the entire Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) suite of services, including Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), Enterprise Java Beans, Java Servlets, and Java Server Pages (JSP), as well as other content exchange standards such as Extensible Markup Language (XML). With JBoss, distributed applications can be developed that are portable across platforms, scalable, and secure. JBoss can be used on any platform that supports Java.

JBoss Application Server is owned and supported by JBoss, Inc. (http://www.jboss.org), an employee-owned company backed by venture capital and Intel. JBoss provides a line of middleware products and consulting services that support the development of JBoss Application Server.

Development Tools

Open source projects are not limited to packaged solutions only but extend to every facet of solution creation, including programming languages, compilers, and integrated development environments (IDEs). To create good software, you need good development tools, and several options are available depending on the task at hand, the amount of sophistication required, and, of course, personal style.


Python is a portable, interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language. Python and Perl are commonly referred to as scripting languages because they are interpreted, but Python developers have great flexibility. Python is a multiparadigm language, making it possible to develop in any of several code styles, including structured programming, aspect-oriented programming, object-oriented programming, and more. Powerful, high-level data types and an elegant syntax are distinguishing characteristics. Python has been extensively used at Google and is considered by programmers, in addition to being powerful, to be more artistic, simple, and fun. Python was started in 1990 in Amsterdam, is owned by the Python Software Foundation, and can be found at http://www.python.org.


Practical Extraction and Report Language (Perl) was originally designed by Larry Wall in 1987 as a practical language to extract text from files and generate reports. Perl, like Python, is multiparadigm and is referred to as the mother of all scripting languages. Perl has been described as the "glue language" for the Web that enables developers to integrate and tie disparate systems and interfaces together. This is possible, as Perl has borrowed bits and pieces from many programming languages. Slashdot.org, "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters." is a popular technology weblog that was built using Perl technology.

If you’re looking for evidence that open source isn’t controlled by stuffy corporations with sanitized marketing communications restrictions, you can find it in the industry humor. The name Python was taken from the TV show Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Mozilla was the internal code name for Netscape Communicator and is a contraction of "Mosaic-killer Godzilla." Perl is known as the "Swiss Army Chainsaw of Programming Languages."


PHP is a prevalent, general-purpose scripting language that is used for web development and can be embedded into HTML. PHP was originally started in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf as a way to post his résumé and collect viewing statistics, and was called Personal Home Page Tools. It was rewritten by two Israeli developers, Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, and renamed PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is popular as a server-side scripting language and enables experienced developers to easily begin creating dynamic web content applications. PHP also enables easy interaction with the most common databases, such as MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, DB2, and many others. See http://www.php.net/ for more information.


Scripting languages such as Perl, PHP, and Python are great tools for certain types of solutions, but if you are going to create fast, native applications for a platform, you need a compiler. Richard Stallman wrote the initial GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) in 1987 as a free compiler for the GNU Project. Ten years later it was forked and in 1999, the forked enhancements were integrated back into the main product. GCC is the primary compiler used in developing for Linux and Unix-like operating systems and currently has been ported to support more processors and operating systems than any other compiler, including Mac OS X and NeXTSTEP. Programming languages supported include C, C++, Java, Fortran, Pascal, Objective C/C++, and others. The GCC open development environment community is located at http://gcc.gnu.org/.


Although Eclipse is commonly known as an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), it is more accurately a platform-independent, application development framework. Originally developed by IBM, Eclipse is unique in that it uses a plug-in model to support multiple programming languages. The Eclipse framework was used to develop the popular Java IDE and compiler that most developers know as Eclipse. Eclipse uses a graphical user interface that includes an intuitive workbench with navigator, task, and outline views that help integrate and access web services, Java, and C++ components. You can download Eclipse at http://www.eclipse.org.


To understand Mono, you need to know a little about .NET. .NET is the Microsoft answer to the complexity of developing Internet applications that integrate existing and often diverse Microsoft development and web services components. .NET is an initiative with the major task of integration being enabled through the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI), a virtual machine, and Common Language Runtime (CLR) that are standard class libraries. CLI and CLR combined allow developers to write applications using any language and a wide range of components and have them compiled and executed in a common byte code. .NET replaces Microsoft’s earlier (and somewhat vulnerable) component object model (COM).

Mono is an open source version of .NET that was originally developed by Miguel de Icaza of Ximian (now Novell). Mono includes both the developer tools and infrastructure needed to run .NET client and server applications on platforms other than Windows. Mono overcomes the single biggest drawback for developers using .NET from Microsoft—the requirement to run on the Windows platform. By bringing the shared source release of the .NET framework to multiple platforms and then building an open source project around extending it, Mono has made the strengths of .NET available to a much wider range of developers. The capability to develop using a variety of languages, all using a common interface and deployable on a number of platforms, is a very compelling development strategy. The Mono community is based at http://www.mono-project.com.


The bulk of all data has no relevance unless it is presented in context—in relation to other data. The majority of what we see on the Internet, whether it be news clips, product catalogs, directories, customer information, manufacturing statistics, or stock quotes, is content that is extracted from a database. Without underlying database services to provide relation and context as well as querying and reporting, what we see would be far less valuable.

Two relational databases have evolved through open source that contain a respectable amount of the Internet’s web-accessible data: PostgreSQL and MySQL.


PostgreSQL (pronounced post-gress-Q-L) originated with the Ingress project at UC Berkeley in the early 1970s. Ingress was commercialized and became the roots for databases Sybase, Informix, and SQL Server. After commercialization, a new effort was started at Berkeley called Postgres. The Postgres project evolved through several versions with new features, but was ended at Berkeley in 1994 because of demands for support. Because Postgres was available through the open source–like BSD license, it was then adopted by the open community, enabled with an SQL language interpreter, and soon renamed PostgreSQL.

PostgreSQL is comparable to commercially available databases, but includes even more advanced technology, such as the capability to simplify object-relational mapping and the creation of new type definitions. A PostgreSQL strength is the capability to eliminate impedance-mismatch that occurs when manipulating data that results when combining object-oriented programming with relational tables. The PostgreSQL site is located at http://www.postgresql.org/.


The MySQL database, as mentioned earlier, is a relational database server owned and sponsored by Swedish company MySQL AB, which profits by selling service, support, and commercial licenses for applications that are not open source. MySQL works on a comprehensive collection of platforms, including Linux, Windows (multiple versions), BSD, Solaris, Tru64, AIX, HP-UX, Mac OS X, and more. It is also accessible from multiple languages, including Perl, Python, PHP, C, C++, Java, Smalltalk, Tcl, Eiffel, and Ruby, and it supports the ODBC interface. MySQL is very popular for web-based applications in conjunction with Apache. More information is available at http://www.mysql.com.


Early open source projects were known to be light on descriptive documentation. As the movement has matured, reference information for open source projects has become more plentiful and more informative. The open source model itself is being used to generate documentation, training resources, and teaching aids. The most notable body of content is the Linux Documentation Project located at http://www.tldp.org/.

The Linux Documentation Project (LDP for short) originated in 1992 as a place on the World Wide Web where Linux developers could share documentation with each other and with those who were using their software. The LDP is maintained by a group of volunteers who provide a fairly extensive library of help, including feature man pages (feature or command documentation), guides, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

A guide usually contains lengthy treatment of a general topic, such as network administration, security, understanding the Linux kernel, and so on. The LDP includes guides for beginners as well as advanced developers. HOWTOs are detailed, step-by-step treatments of specific topics from 3-D modeling to battery management to installing Oracle. The current number of HOWTOs is more than 500.

Other open source projects have followed the LDP model, and fairly comprehensive documentation is available for most major projects. Python documentation, for example, ranges from tutorials for beginners who have never programmed to detailed documents on parser generators. Documentation is often translated in multiple languages. LDP guides are available in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Slovenian.

Open Source Project Sites

Everything discussed to this point can be classified as application enablers—things that get us to the point at which we can create the types of IT solutions that enhance productivity and enable business. Open source components—including the operating system, network services, desktop, development tools, databases—all exist to support applications. In addition to open source infrastructure and tools, thousands of open source applications are available that run the gamut from games to enterprise resource planning (ERP). Most of these projects are hosted at one of several websites that are tailored to hosting, categorizing, and servicing multiple open source projects and their associated communities.

These project sites provide access to and information about open source development efforts based on the type of application field, intended use, platform or environment supported, license type, programming language, and development status. In addition to providing downloads, these sites often include forums for comments, online chat capabilities, mailing lists, news on software updates, and more. Several of the more popular sites are SourceForge, FreshMeat, and forge.novell.com.


VA Software produces a web-based software collaboration and development application called SourceForge (http://sourceforge.net/index.php). SourceForge.net is an online instance of SourceForge that is available for the management of open source development projects. Several services, including Concurrent Versioning System (CVS) for version control and distributed collaboration, are available to facilitate online development and management of code. SourceForge.net markets itself as "the world’s largest Open Source software development website, with the largest repository of Open Source code and applications available on the Internet." As of September 2004, SourceForge.net claimed more than 87,000 projects and 913,000 registered users. Basic membership and project management is free, but for $39 per year, users can access a collection of premium services.


The freshmeat collaboration site (http://www.freshmeat.net) was a central gathering point for developers writing to the Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), a common Unix (now Linux) standard. Freshmeat hosts applications released under the open source license for "Linux users hunting for the software they need for work or play. freshmeat.net makes it possible to keep up on who’s doing what, and what everyone else thinks of it."

Novell Forge

In April 2003, Novell publicly presented its road map for Linux and open source. At the same time, it announced the launch of Novell Forge, an open source developer resource. Through the Novell Forge site, developers can download, modify, exchange, and update open source code released by Novell, share projects and ideas with the broader Novell development community, and participate in vertical market and technology communities. Since that time, Novell has contributed several products to open source, including the Novell Nsure UDDI Server and Novell iFolder. Novell Forge is located at http://forge.novell.com.

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This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020