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"Linux Gazette...making Linux just a little more fun!"

Open Source is Open for Business

*100% free of Monopoly code*

By Bill Bennet

So there I was at ComputerAvenue talking with Lynn the Wanton and her mates behind the counter. They know I am a Linux user and they like to bring out their complaints about the Monopoly to see what I say. They may bring up the death of Corel just to get a rise out of me. This time the subject turned to credit card access for your business and how do you get it if you are a 100% committed Linux user. You can have any number of helpers and agents and credit card companies at your door, ready to sell you some credit card action for your eBusiness. Oh, they just love you to death because there is so much peer pressure on small business to "get online". It smells of money and that is blood in the water for these sharks.

It seems that every one of these credit card sellers is on something called IIS and it only runs on NT or Windows of various mutated varieties. That is not in itself a bad thing. A webserver is a webserver. However, the company that makes this software has been found guilty of anti-competitive monopolistic practices in a court of law. A scrupulous business will avoid any involvement with such an unsavoury element. It is obvious to you and to your conscientious customer that when you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

The question is "How can a committed Open Source business avoid getting caught up in this IIS webserver for its most important transactions?"

The answer is that Open Source and non-Monopoly solutions can be found. I am going to share with you:

online for free

That is right, my website is hosted for free. There are no annoying popup browser windows. There is no monthly fee. There was no money up front. There has never been any money change hands to keep the site up.

Simple code on each of your html pages will make sure that only a nice controlled banner will appear at the top of each page instead of an annoying popup browser window.

The simple code:

<!--#echo banner=""-->

That is it. Just make darn sure that the "echo banner" is the first thing after the end of the "body" tag.

use the force Luke

I see that advertising money can force a search engine to cough up a well financed site to the top of the search results. If your search engine site owns some other sites, it can also get its own sites forced up to the top of the search results. This is not in itself a bad thing, but it will educate you as to how the internet is shaping itself. A search for "free hosting site" will always turn up some very big operations in the first page or two of results. This works in your favour if you can further winnow out the IIS/NT chaff. My tool for this job is and their feature page for "What's that site running now?".

I found hypermart that way. They did not use any Monopoly code, so I gave them the business, literally. The nice folks at hypermart have a very fine web-based site manager for you and yes, you can do a little check mark to insert banners automatically. However, you know and I know that automatic switches can sometimes get turned off; especially on a big site like this.

I have listed several sites that are free hosts for your website. Funny, none of the listed sites are using Monopoly coded webservers.

credit card access

The hard part about shopping for an online credit card merchant account is that you have to know how to approach each new vendor. It helps if you can get a nice professional response because then you can do some straight business without posing.

I must admit, I did do some posing. Here is the result of the search: you are going to need 300.00 bucks US to purchase your very own merchant credit card account. The only advantage to this that I can see is that you can then take "air money" for intangibles like Service, Licensing and Donations.

There are many credit card agents that can sell you a merchant credit card account. Most of these are using a thing called IIS on something called NT or another one called Windows, with various version numbers. They are sold by the Monopoly and you should be concerned about exactly how much information is being sent to the Monopoly headquarters from each transaction on these sites.

no money up front

There are some credit card agents that can do the credit card transaction for you with no money up front because you are using their merchant account to sell products on your site.

Many times here in Canada I have been sent spam to inform me that I can set up credit card access on some agent in the USA. For the Canadian merchant, it was not available.

Here is one for you that can be used by a Canadian vendor. It is called CCNow.

Verify the operating system and web server at

You will find that CCNow runs on Solaris and uses Netscape Enterprise server. This is Unix, folks, the Monopoly has nothing to do with your customers or their precious information. It is locked down on a secure Unix server. It is safe.

There are many Linux and Open Source sites available for other payment options. The most well known of these is PayPal, who have recently started just this kind of credit card access for you. Be cautious; the paypal site uses Apache Stronghold on Linux but the parent site is and they use that IIS thing on NT. You will not be able to know if your information is safe and secure on a Unix system in that group of sites. Make a check of the https server at to be sure. Select "What's that SSL site running?".

transactions 100% free of Monopoly code

I can not tell you how important this one registers in the minds and hearts of your Open Source customers. I can say that the Monopoly has created the Open Source movement by abusing their customers. Maybe that is self-evident.

To hammer the point home, I want you to remember that on a Monopoly controlled machine secret information is passed between Monopoly headquarters and your machine on the internet. The privacy statements that you see on every website are there because the Monopoly threatened to pull advertising revenue from sites without a privacy statement. The reason such a big show was made about privacy is because the Monopoly was caught sending user profiles to the Monopoly headquarters from every Monopoly machine every time they went online on the internet. So there, now you know.

At my little shop, we avoid this secret pitfall by not using any Monopoly code on our credit card transactions. This is done by making sure that our credit card agent uses Sun technology or Open Source technology. If any other source for software comes up, let them be a sworn enemy of the Monopoly like Sun or let them be as free with their source code as BSD. I have spoken.

pennies per click

First, you have to have content on your site. A site full of sites is nice, but every yahoo and his dog is making portal sites that are sites full of sites. What you need is actual readable, stealable content in order to get your fair share of visitors. You can not be MacDuffie's or Windy's but you can offer a solid meal at great prices and add something to set you apart.

Now that you have some traffic to offer to a potential advertiser, you can do the rounds of pay-per-click agents. These are websites full of advertisers willing to pay for clickthrough from your site to their site. They often pay per click.

You can identify a clickthrough advertiser when it offers an affiliate program. In contrast, a reseller program requires that you actually do some selling in order to get a commission. Go to the affiliate program site, give your information and maybe you can get some code to put on your pages to refer your clickthrough pennies. They will add up.

Open Source eCommerce

Yes, we are under a lot of peer pressure to set up eCommerce, eBusiness, eFood, eToilets, ad nauseum. Your typical commercial sales outlet for eCommerce is waiting for you to submit thousands of dollars for a very nice eCommerce software package. Well, you now have a freely distributed Open Source eCommerce solution. Put your money into service and technical support because the code is released under the GPL.

The package is nicely wrapped up into a very beautiful "lady store" put together by very smart folk at Zelerate. You simply download the source code and put the store into operation on your web server. Then after you have worked out any kinks, you go online with a professional eCommerce site.

Open Source and open for business

When it is all built and bug-tested, you will have created an Open Source based, free-economy, world-beater of an eCommerce site. How much did you pay for hosting? Zero. How much did you pay for credit card access? Zero. How much did you pay for your world class eCommerce software? Zero. How much do you love this concept? You be the judge. It is all right here, waiting for you. Now go and tell your friends.

Rants and References

A click is a LeftButton MouseEvent. It is caused by the carpal tunnel sufferer twitching downwards on his Left Rodent Button while the cursor on the screen is inside the borders of the advertiser's little button or hypertext link.

Agents for credit cards are able to create a merchant credit card account for you with the credit card companies. You really do need a merchant credit card account because there are so many ways to get money for services rendered. You see, if you go to a credit card agent that lets you use their account for your sales, then the legal relationship requires that you sell something real and tangible. If you want to get rental fees, or fees for time spent, then you will need your own merchant credit card account.

Submit is a word that I expect to hear when you have knocked me down and you have your foot on my neck. It is not so friendly as it could be. Please consider converting all of your "Submit" buttons into "Send it" buttons. I refuse to submit!

Death may be too strong a word. How about infection? With the Monopoly propping up all of their dying competition, we can seriously consider that only the Monopoly has enough money to go into the software business under the old model for proprietary code. Look, you wonder why I write this article? It is because so much of the movement in the business world is driven by foolish decisions to go with the money rather than make a new ballgame. Paying thousands of dollars for software that can not do as much as Linux is just plain stupid. Unless of course, you go with Open Source and Linux for all of your needs. Then this moaning becomes redundant. Anyway, beware any Linux binaries coming out of Corel now that 24% of the company is in convicted monopolist hands. Source code is ok with me; it is the secret binaries that frighten me. My fear is only based on the Monopoly's past behaviour and convictions in a court of law.

Yahoo is one of a growing number of real words that are getting appropriated by stupid trademarks and silly patents. I hope I have offended all yahoos at Yahoo by using `their' word. Yahoo, yahoo, yahoo.

My meaning for a very beautiful "lady store" is one where even a discriminating and classy woman can shop at ease and comfort. You see the clean site layout and feel secure in the knowledge that you are in the very nicest of company. A "lady store" is one you can show off to designers, graphic artists, print media professionals and even your mom.

The Monopoly has mutated their software many times and each time the captive has to purchase a new version. Mutation is in the eye of the beholder, as evidenced by this advertisement.

Here are the sites that I have found to be free hosting sites. In the search engine at netscape I gave the keywords "free hosting site". It is in no way an exhaustive list. It is an Open Source list as far as I could tell. My apologies to anyone who is not listed. I did not know about you. You can check their webserver at to see what operating system is reported.

Here are the sites that I have found to be Open Source or non-Monopoly merchant credit card account access sites. In the search engine at netscape I gave the keywords "online merchant credit card account". It is in no way an exhaustive list. It is a clean list as far as I could tell. My apologies to anyone who is not listed. I did not know about you. You can check their webserver at to see what operating system is reported.

Here is what the article will help you to find: the Operating System changes.

The above example looks like a fine safe Unix style of site for your eCommerce. Look again. NBCi is owned by the Monopoly. I did not see much of the Olympics. I have three TV channels over here that I skip over and do not watch. That is right, MSNBC has infected my TV. They already have your WebTV, your Windows Me (them?) and your NT box.

Open for Business

excellent Linux documentation references:





Made with mcedit on an i486
running RedHat 5.0 GNU/Linux 2.0.35
because nobody forced me to upgrade a working system.
All references to revolution are purely intentional.

"Linux--where the only monopoly we support has a Boardwalk and a Baltic Avenue."

[If you didn't follow that link above about the dirty tricks Microsoft has been caught doing, here it is again. It really is worthwhile reading. -Ed.]

Copyright © 2000, Bill Bennet. Copying license
Published in Issue 59 of Linux Gazette, November 2000

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