Open Ballot: What is Linux's killer feature?


As we rev up our podcast engines for the next recording, we want to hear your words: what do you think is the killer feature of Linux? What's its strongest selling point, the thing that makes it better than its competitors? Perhaps you reckon the kernel's rock-solid stability is key, or maybe you think the plethora of desktop environments gives it an advantage.

Let us know in the comments below, and remember that leaving your name as boring old Anonymous Penguin will make kittens cry.

Podcast Season 3 Episode 8


Title: Nutty Narwhal

In this episode: Ubuntu 11.04 is almost here, while Oracle drops and there was a third humble indie bundle. Discover our discoveries, hear how we fared with Gnome Shell and the results of our Open Ballot.

Open Ballot: Has desktop fragmentation gone too far?


First there was TWM. Then we had multiple window managers. Then KDE came along, and Gnome started as a result of licensing issues. Xfce grew up. And now, after a decade of the three big desktops slugging it out, it's about to get a whole lot more complicated with the addition of Unity and Gnome (3) Shell. Some distros are talking of forking Gnome 2.x to keep the older desktop alive.

Podcast Season 3 Episode 7


Title: Better late than never

In this episode: Gnome 3.0 has been released while Nokia takes back its Symbian operating system. Red Hat is approaching $1b in revenue and Groklaw is calling it a day. Share in our discoveries, hear our responses to your emails and letters and join us in welcoming a new member to the team.

Podcast update


Just to let regular listeners know: we won't be putting up the podcast today, as we're busy finishing Linux Format magazine (the deadlines are a bit earlier than usual because of Easter). Rest assured, we'll be back to normal next week though! So, go out and enjoy the sun, and we'll be with you again very soon...

Linux Format issue 144 is on sale now!


MythTV usually conjures up two thoughts amongst Linux users: it's a brilliant digital TV platform, but it's also notoriously difficult to set up correctly. Fortunately, then, this month's cover feature teams up with the mighty Mythbuntu (on the DVD) and helps you configure a powerful, attractive and feature-laden personal video recorder. You can watch TV over the web, cut out annoying adverts and never miss your favourite shows again.

Open Ballot: is Android's success good for Linux?


There's no doubt that Android is a storming success, with 37% of the North American smartphone market share in January, and over 150,000 applications available. At its core is a customised Linux kernel. But there's a big question here: is all this success actually good for Linux? Millions of people now have Linux in their pockets and are using it every day, but will this ever help Linux in its more familiar server and desktop settings?

New podcast section: Speak Your Brains!


Are there things you want to tell us? Perhaps you've got a question about choosing a Linux netbook, or you've written a limerick about KDE. Maybe you want to announce a funky new project you're working on, or just rant about Microsoft. Either way, we have a shiny new section of the podcast for you.

It's dead simple. Email Mike with the subject line "Speak Your Brains" and we'll read out our pick of the best in the next podcast. Think of it like a traditional magazine letters page, but with more sound atoms involved. And the possibility to ask Effy to say things in Spanish.

Podcast Season 3 Episode 6


Title: A message from our sponsors

In this episode: Canonical and Gnome may benefit from some relationship counselling. GTK+ 3.2 will enable you to run Gnome apps through a web browser. The Debian Derivatives Exchange (DEX) project has launched and Firefox 4 is here. Share our discoveries, listen to our marketing slogans and hear your own opinions in our Open Ballot.

Open Ballot: is Canonical good for free software?


Love them or hate them, the folks behind Ubuntu have changed the Linux landscape. Many users have discovered Linux thanks to Canonical's marketing efforts and free CD programmes, but recently we've see a lot of controversy such as the Banshee affair and spat with the Gnome team.

Podcast Season 3 Episode 5


Title: Stallman wasn't stalling

In this episode: Gnome drops both the maximise and minimise buttons. Mark Shuttleworth admits mistakes were made over the Banshee debacle and Nokia sells most of Qt. Discover our discoveries and challenge results, and hear your own opinions in the Open Ballot.

Open Ballot: does free software need a figurehead?


We're prepping up for our next podcast, and having just returned from interviewing Richard Stallman (coming to an issue of LXF soon!), we want to ask you: does free software need a figurehead? We all talk about the freedom and democracy that FLOSS brings - but does it also help to have a strong character at the top keeping us on the right path?

Let us know what you think in the comments, and we'll read out the best musings in our podcast. This does not apply to grey, soulless drones who call themselves Anonymous Penguin, of course.

Linux Format issue 143 is on sale now


At heart, we're all system administrators. That doesn't mean we all have big beards and spend our time reminiscing about punch cards - it just means we all have to do things like securing our networks, accomplishing tasks at the command line and so forth. With this in mind, this month's cover feature is all about sysadmin secrets: tips from the pros to make your Linux box faster, safer and smarter.

Ask Richard Stallman anything!


Well, within reason. In a few days we're going to meet up with the great man, the founder of the GNU project and free software movement as we know it. Never one to mince his words, RMS has strong views on software freedom and has campaigned rigourously to stop us being locked into a world of proprietary code and DRM.

We'd love to put a selection of your questions to Richard, so please drop them into the comments. We'll pick the best and print his responses in a forthcoming issue of Linux Format. Fire away!

Podcast Season 3 Episode 4


Title: Qt, or not Qt?

In this episode: Microsoft and Nokia form an alliance and the GPLv3 might not be welcome on Windows Phone. Canonical gets controversial with Banshee while openSUSE and Fedora users might have to wait for Unity. Hear our discoveries, our limited success with the challenge, and your own opinions in our Open Ballot.

Open ballot: does Qt have a future?


Nokia's recent bombshell announcement that it would team up with Microsoft has generated much brow-furrowing in the free software community. The Finnish mobile giant claims that it still plans to launch some kind of MeeGo-related product this year, and that Qt has an important role to play in it. But can we really believe that? Will Qt be alive and healthy 12 months from now, or is it really destined for the dustbin when the Micronokia deal gets into full swing?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and we'll read out the best in our upcoming podcast. Unless you call yourself Anonymous Penguin of course, which is so Web 1.0.

Subs gifts: you decide!*


You've seen LXF binders, stickers, USB keys, pint mugs and more, and now we want to offer our latest subscription gift: pin badges.

Er, but the thing is, we're not sure what to put on them. So we thought we'd ask the people who know best: you. So please, tell us what sort of design you'd like to see on an LXF pin badge and we'll take the four most popular ideas to the Big Budget Boss and make it happen**.

* Kind of.

** The MikeOS kitty already has one vote.

Podcast Season 3 Episode 3


Title: Flying Pigs

In this episode: We try to bury the news, which includes the release of Debian 6.0 and KDE 4.6, along with some Android rumours. Hear how we faired with our challenge to contribute to an open source project, and share our discoveries from the last two weeks.

Open Ballot: will you attend a Linux event this year?


From friendly little LUG gatherings at the pub, through to massive conferences sponsored by technology giants, there are loads of Linux events taking place throughout the year. We want to know: will you be attending anything this year? If so, what sort of event is it, and what do you plan to do there? If not, why not - is it due to time limitations, or distance, or reluctance to get into a whopping great KDE vs Gnome debate?

Please let us know in the comments, and we'll read out the best bunch in our upcoming podcast. Don't be a square and just call yourself Anonymous Penguin though - you're an individual.

Linux Format issue 142 is on sale now!


Some things make us cry: kittens with sad faces, chopping onions, and the cost of rail tickets in the United Kingdom. But nothing makes us cry as much as losing a file, especially when it's a prized photo or piece of writing that can't be reconstructed without vast effort. So in this month's cover feature, we show you how to never lose a single file again. Our tips, tools and strategies for making backups will ensure that your data never goes walkabouts and you always have a spare copy, just in case.

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