Reviewed: OpenSUSE 11.3


The recent series of OpenSUSE releases seems to have been oscillating between trying to deliver the finest up-to-date apps and providing the easiest, most intuitive experience for users. History tells us that it's hard to do both simultaneously, but this release might just have managed to pull it off. We reckon it's worth 9 out of 10 - but why?

Linux Format wallpapers


Updated: We've had a number of reader requests to make available some of the imagery we use in Linux Format magazine. Naturally we're happy to share with you all, so we've put this page online where we'll upload artwork as it's requested.

The URL for this page is fixed so you can come back here and check for updates later. As with our podcast, we're releasing this artwork under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0, so feel free to monkey with it if you want.

Android vs iPhone vs Palm Pre vs Maemo: which is best?


In-depth comparison: We've looked at three Linux-based phones that give the iPhone a run for its money. There's the Palm Pre, running WebOS; Nokia's Maemo 5-based N900, and the HTC Legend, running Android. Each is a strong challenger to Apple's device, and they beat it today in significant areas. So, which is best for you?

Reviewed: KOffice 2.2


Over the last 12 years KOffice has grown in scope and ambition pushing out both good and bad iterations and occasionally suffering from hyperbolic claims that it had no chance in hell of satisfying.

Version 2.2 of the suite, which comprises KWord, KPresent, KSpread, KPlato (project manager), Krita (image editor) and the prodigal Kexi (database), comes into a very changed world. Desktop applications now face serious competition from cloud-based offerings, Microsoft no longer seems indomitable, and mobile has become a vital platform. We put KOffice 2.2 through its paces - read on to find out more.

Podcast Season 2 Episode 13


Title: Live from OSCON.

In this episode: A SCO representative finally reveals some of the Linux code SCO had a problem with and OpenSUSE 11.3 is here. Listen to the results of our new challenge, and we ask whether the likes of Red Hat, Novell and Canonical contribute enough back to the community.

How to create an open source community


Community. This little nine-letter word is the lifeblood of open source. Barely a day goes by without some aspect of it impacting our lives, be that via Linux, a local book club, your closest group of friends or any one of a million other places. In an age when anyone over 45 seems to have stories about the end of local communities, the open source community is thriving.

But there's not a huge blob of people called 'the open source community'. Instead, there are thousands of smaller groups, each interested in a specific portion of the wider community - such as documentation, translations, local advocacy, mapping, testing, gaming or programming. There's a phenomenal diversity of contributions, despite our common aims. And while each group focuses in on its particular area, each segment fits together like a jigsaw puzzle to form the global open source movement we know and love.

Most of us enter this community by installing Linux, playing around with it and realising we want to contribute. Then we figure out what kind of contributions interest us and look for a community that suits our preferences. Often, we find the perfect place to contribute, but sometimes we reach a dead end or, even worse, stumble upon a community that's doing nothing.

Here, we'll look at how to build a community. Whether you want to help an existing but struggling one get back on its feet or create an entirely new group, the next six pages are designed for you. Everything here can be applied to both online and offline communities, from technical software communities to local book clubs. So go grab yourself a cup of coffee, sneak a biscuit, and get ready to build an empire...

TaskJuggler: a tutorial


TaskJuggler is a complete project management solution in that you can use it right from the planning stage through to project completion. It offers comprehensive reports and makes it easy to manage tasks, costs and resources. You can follow the exploits of each of the teams working on the project and determine instantly where you need to allocate more workers to make sure you stay on course. Want to learn how to use it? Then read on!

Z shell made easy

Command line

Following on from our other articles that make various Linux tasks easy, in this article we'll introduce Zsh (Z shell), a shell that has many of the benefits of Bash and others, plus a lot more on top. After reading this, you'll have a good idea about the power of Zsh and will be able to make an informed decision whether to switch from your distro's default shell. We'll be looking more at the interactive use of Zsh, and less at non‑interactive shell scripts - that is, we'll focus on daily use, and not on scripting and automating tasks.

Podcast Season 2 Episode 12


Title: The shortest episode, ever.

In this episode: The first Mozilla 4 beta is here while Nokia is moving rapidly forward with MeeGo for mobiles. We report back on our You Dare Us challenge and hear Paul tackle Python.

Mandriva is alive!


Finally, after weeks of uncertainty, we've just received a press release from Mandriva, and we're pasting it verbatim so you can read the news for yourselves. Let us know what you think this all means.

Podcast Season 2 Episode 11


Title: The one without Andrew, mostly.

In this episode: Google releases its own command-line tool, Ubuntu drops F-Spot, and has anyone seen Mandriva? Listen to the results of our haiku challenge, and we ask, do you use open source software for freedom or function?

Open Ballot: freedom or function?


For our next podcast, we want to know whether the primary reason you use open source software is for its freedom or for its function. It's a choice between the freedom to potentially redistribute and modify the code, and the festival of functionality that can be found within most open source software when compared against other tools at the same price.

We realise that, for most, the answer is likely to be a mixture of both, but we're interested in which you think is the most important. If you'd like your views read out on our podcast, please post your answer below. Anonymous Penguins post at their own peril.

Text editing with Nano made easy

Command line

Nano supports syntax highlighting. Nano supports text justification. And yet, Nano is so much easier than Emacs or Vim. Discover the hidden power of this versatile command line text editor - you may never want to go back to the GUI again! Oh, and it's well worth knowing a great CLI text editor too - if you end up at the shell prompt with X not working, you'll need a backup plan. Here are the tricks, tips and shortcuts you need to know...

Podcast Season 2 Episode 10


Title: Japanese giant flying squirrel

In this episode: Fedora 13 is out. Google drops the Windows option for new staff and yet Windows is still doing well as a server. Discover how we fared with a minority distribution and we tout our ideas on how Linux devices can beat Apple's iPad.

Podcast Season 2 Episode 9


Title: Google Gaggle

In this episode: We discuses the three big Linux-related announcements from Google. We present our amazing discoveries from the last fortnight and ask whether anyone is excited by the HP Slate.

Say hello to Fedora 13


Yes, it slipped by a couple of weeks - but perhaps that's not such a bad thing when you've got bugs to fix very close to a release, eh Ubuntu? So, Fedora 13 is here, and hopefully the release number won't bring bad luck for the world's third most popular distro. As with previous versions, there's a live CD along with a more beefy DVD version, and you can grab it from here. The biggest changes include: Shotwell, a new photo management tool that replaces F-Spot; Pino, a microblogging client for and Twitter; a new scanning utility; the Nouveau video driver for NVIDIA cards; and wider PackageKit integration (so that, for example, the Brasero disc burner can grab codecs from the internet if need be). Full list of changes after the break.

Open Ballot: are you excited by HP's Slate?


With the news that HP intends to use Linux-based WebOS on its Slate tablet, do you think this is Linux's big chance to take on Apple's iPad, or do you think WebOS on Palm Pre didn't do enough to justify you parting with your cash to buy a Slate? Or do you perhaps think that an Android tablet has a better chance of success?

If you'd like your views read out on our podcast, please post your answer below and make sure you use a name other than Anonymous Penguin.

How Linux works: the ultimate guide


Ever wanted to learn how the internals of your Linux desktop work? Yes, we've already published detailed "how it works" articles about things like sound, the kernel, LVM, PAM and filesystems, but in this article we're going to take a wider view and explain how everything in a modern Linux distro works, start to finish.

We've opted for a top-down view, tackling each stratum of Linux technology from the desktop to the kernel as it appears to the average user. This way, you can descend from your desktop comfort zone into the underworld of Linux archaeology, where we'll find plenty of relics from the bygone era of multi-user systems, dumb terminals, remote connections and geeks gone by. We're also going to be showing you some commands you can use to poke around on your own system, because where's the point of learning stuff you can't use?

This is one of the things that makes Linux so interesting: you can see exactly what has happened, why and when. This enables us to dissect the operating system in a way we couldn't attempt with some alternatives, while at the same time, you learn something about why things work the way they do on the surface. Sound awesome? Sure it does - read on!

Code Project: build a PyGTK language translator


Once you understand the basics of PyGTK, you can make some neat apps just by drawing upon some of the incredible APIs that are available from well-known companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo. In this video tutorial you'll learn how to work with Google's Translate API, which can translate a huge range of languages on the fly, then back up your knowledge with a simple PyGTK user interface that puts a pretty face on it all.

Code Project: build a PyGTK RSS reader


As we saw in part one of this video series, Python makes it easy to create GTK apps. Well, it turns out that Python also makes it easy to read XML from the web, which means we can make something like an RSS reader in no time at all. In this video tutorial you'll learn how to work with XML, using RSS as an example, while also learning how GTK handles data in multi-line text fields and combo boxes.

This tutorial is dedicated to Evan, who donated at least $50 to support free software - if you want to see more video tutorials like this one, all you have to do is donate to support the Libre Graphics Meeting. Easy!

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