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Simon Phipps on Free, Open and Liberty

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 18th November 2012

This is so simply and beautifully stated:

Simon Phipps:

“Free” is the ethical construct; “Open” is the practical method; “liberty” is the shared objective.

 

18 November 2012 from web at Southampton, England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in context

Simon Phipps is President of the Open Source Initiative, blogs at Wild Webmink and writes a column at Infoworld.

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How To Use OpenStreetMap with Thunderbird’s “Get Map” button

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 9th October 2012

Thunderbird’s address book has a “Get Map” button to show an address location on a map. By default, Thunderbird uses Google Maps to display a location. Wouldn’t it be nice to use OpenStreetMap in Thunderbird instead? Here’s how!

OSM

OpenStreetMap

OpenStreetMap uses Nominatim to search for and display a location. The Wiki tells us the URL query is processed left-to-right, and the example shows the address elements from greatest to least resolution:

http://nominatim.openstreetmap.org/search?q=135+pilkington+avenue,+birmingham&format=xml&polygon=1&addressdetails=1



Thunderbird

Thunderbird

The Thunderbird Knowledgebase for Mail and News settings gives us the following address-related parameters:

Substitution variables:
@A1: address, part 1
@A2: address, part 2
@CI: city
@ST: state
@ZI: zip code
@CO: country

Now we combine the two in Thunderbird’s configuration file prefs.js:

user_pref("mail.addr_book.mapit_url.format", "http://nominatim.openstreetmap.org/search.php?q=@A1,@A2,@CI,@ST,@CO");



If you prefer not to edit the pref.js file, here’s a step-by-step procedure to do it with the graphical interface.

If you’re using Linux, select Edit, Preferences from the Thunderbird menu. On Thunderbird for Windows select Tools, Options. Click on the Advanced toolbar button, then the General tab.

Screenshot of the Preferences window, Advanced tab

Click on the Config Editor… button.

Screenshot of advanced configuration warning

Click on the I’ll be careful, I promise! button.

Screenshot of Thunderbird advanced configuration window

Type mapit in the Search field,

Screenshot showing the mail.addr_book.mapit_url.format setting

Double-click on the line for the mail.addr_book.mapit_url.format parameter.

Screenshot of input dialogue

Delete what’s there, and type http://nominatim.openstreetmap.org/search.php?q=@A1,@A2,@CI,@ST,@CO

Screenshot of input box with OSM value

Click OK, close the about:config window, and close the Preferences window.

Now we need to find an address book entry with enough data to generate a map.

From the Thunderbird menu, select Tools, Address Book, and double-click on an entry. Click New Contact if there’s nobody in your address book (and you can enter your own address).

Screenshot showing address book general info entry form

Click on the Private or Work tab to show the screen for address entry.

Screenshot showing address book work info entry form

At minimum, fill in the Country field. Adding State/Province, City and Address will improve the resolution of the map. If you do fill in higher resolution fields (Address or City) then you also need to fill in the lower-resolution fields (State/Province and Country), or the Nominatim search won’t work.

Note that the Nominatim URL query doesn’t include the @ZI variable, so the ZIP/Postal Code field isn’t used to create the map.

When all the data is entered, click OK.

Screenshot of Thunderbird Address Book showing Bob Jonkman

With any address field filled in, the address book entry now displays a Get Map button.

Go ahead, click it!

Screenshot of OpenStreetMap

And there we have it! An OpenStreetMap of the address in the Thunderbird address book.

If you’ve done this, or have suggestions for improving these instructions please let me know in the comments or by e-mail at bjonkman@sobac.com.

–Bob.

All screenshots taken by Bob Jonkman, and freely available for re-use (CC0CC0).

The new OpenStreetMap logo by Ken Vermette from http://blog.osmfoundation.org/2011/05/13/new-openstreetmap-logo/, used under a Creative Commons LicenseCC BY-SA license.

The Thunderbird Logo and Wordmark are used according to the Mozilla Foundation Visual Identity Guidelines for Thunderbird.

Maps © OpenStreetMap contributors, CC BY-SA

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Lightweight GNU/Linux distributions

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 13th June 2011

This is a list of lightweight GNU/Linux (or other free/libre OS) distributions.

I’m specifically looking for a free/libre operating system that will run a Graphical User Interface on a 10-year-old laptop, 700 MHz Intel CPU, 256 MiBytes RAM (but 128 MiBytes would be better), an 8 GiByte hard drive and an 800×600 screen.

If you know of any other lightweight distributions please leave a comment. Also please leave a comment if you can help fill out the chart – the distributions’ documentation is pretty inadequate when it comes to listing minimium system requirements.

Name Minimum System Requirements Windows Manager
CPU RAM Disk Space Video
Mandriva XFCE 2010 Spring         Xfce
Xubuntu         Xfce
Lubuntu 10.04 Pentium II or Celeron 128 MB 1.5 GB   LXDE
Linux Mint Xfce (201104)   114 MB     Xfce
Linux Mint 10 “Julia” – LXDE x86 processor 256 MB 3 GB 800×600 LXDE
Trisquel Mini         LXDE
Crunchbang         Openbox
SlimPup   35-50 MB 150 MB ISO    
Debian         Fluxbox
Arch Linux 2010.05 i686 or x86_64 64 MB 7.5 GB   xmonad
Tiny Core Linux i486DX 48 MB   TinyX
WCLP 25 MHz 486 16 MB 400 MB    
antiX PII 266 MHz 64 MB 2.2 GB VGA  
Dragora GNU/Linux-libre Intel 486 64MB (1GB suggested) 4 GB VGA  
Bodhi Linux 300+ MHz 128 MB 2.5 GB   Enlightenment

I expect this post to be a continuous work-in-progress.

–Bob.

Added 14 June 2011: Thanx for the suggestions from @dwa, @headphonica, @darkestkhan, @flying_squirrel and @circuidipity, all added above.

Added 17 June 2011: @schestowitz points me to a Linux Devices article on Tiny Core Linux.

Added 28 July 2011: @chaslinux reminded me of The Working Centre’s distribution, WCLP.

Added 4 August 2011:Just saw antiX mentioned on Identi.ca.

Added 12 October 2013: @tekk writes: @bobjonkman If driver support isn’t an issue, maybe look at http://dragora.org . I’d also put slackware on the list for that, maybe freebsd as well?

Added 23 November 2013: Bodhi Linux

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