Photon entanglement is an essential ingredient for linear optics quantum computing schemes, quantum cryptographic protocols and fundamental tests of
quantum mechanics. Here we describe a setup that allows for the generation of polarisation-entangled N-photon states on demand. The photons are obtained by mapping the entangled state of N atoms, each of them trapped inside an optical cavity, onto the
free radiation field. The required initial state can be prepared by performing postselective measurements on the collective emission from the cavities through a multiport beamsplitter.
The principal obstacle to quantum information processing with many qubits is decoherence. One source of decoherence is spontaneous emission which causes loss of energy and information. Inability to control system parameters with high precision is another possible source of error. Strategies aimed at overcoming one kind of error typically increase sensitivity to others. As a solution we propose quantum computing with dissipation-assisted quantum gates. These can be run relatively fast while achieving fidelities close to one. The success rate of each gate operation can, at least in principle, be arbitrary close to one.