Emacs: a tutorial for beginners


We're all set to put our feet up and wait for Santa to deliver nice presents, but before we do that we have a present for you: an all-encompassing Emacs tutorial that takes you from getting started all the way through customisation and how to use it for different purposes. So, if you're looking for something to do to give you an excuse to avoid festivities around the Christmas tree, read on. And regardless of whether Emacs is your thing or not, we wish you a very merry Christmas and an awesome, Linux-flavoured new year!

Podcast Season 1 Episode 24


Title: Linux Mint

In this episode: The Gnome community considers dropping GNU, while a Gnome screensaver is found to contain malware. We trawl through our favourite TuxRadar comments of the year and ask whether it's good to sue for GPL violations.

Linux Format issue 127 - don't miss it!


Here's a quick heads-up about the latest issue of Linux Format. We're giving it a special mention here because we're expecting it to sell out quickly! Why, you ask? Well, just like every issue it's packed to the gills with Linux and free software reviews, features and guides, but this month we've gone the extra mile:

  • A monster double-sided, 8GB DVD with Ubuntu 9.10 (special Linux Format remaster with 300 extra packages), Mandriva 2010 and OpenSUSE 11.2
  • A free, bonus wallchart: one side is crammed with quick Linux tips, shortcuts and links, while the other side has awesome Ubuntu artwork for your wall

LXF 127 is available in UK newsagents today, and for US-based readers it should be stocked in your nearest Barnes & Noble or Borders soon!

Update: copies have already sold out at our online store, so you'll need to buy it in brick-and-mortar stores instead. Heck, buy five, put them on eBay, and make yourself a tidy profit.

Update part 2: we've got some more copies available in our online store, so grab one before they sell out again!

Open Ballot: is it good to sue for GPL violations?


The Software Freedom Law Center has announced a lawsuit against 14 companies, including Best Buy, JVC and Samsung, for GPL violations relating to BusyBox, which is a GPL-licensed bundle of Unix tools. The SFLC said it "gave each defendant ample time to comply with the requirements of the license", but what do you think: is suing necessary in today's world, or does it reflect badly on the Free Software community? Moreover, should we be encouraging the naming and shaming of offenders, or does it generate bad feeling towards the GPL?

As per usual, the best comments will be used in our podcast, so please leave a name other than Anonymous Penguin, please state your view clearly, then back it up with some sort of logical reasoning.

Get the best KDE Linux distro


Not all distros are made equal, particularly if you're a KDE user. KDE has had something of a rough time over the last couple of years. The transition from version 3.5 to 4.x hasn't been easy, and over this period many distributions have decided to use either Gnome or stick with KDE 3.5 as their default desktop.

But we feel KDE 4 has now matured to a point where most KDE users can safely dump their old desktop and move on to the new one. There are very few stability issues, and most of the functionality found in 3.5 has been migrated to 4.3. The question is, which Linux distro provides the best experience for KDE users?

Rather than providing simple packages for KDE, a real KDE distro is likely to include GUI refinements, usability tweaks, custom themes, artwork and a good selection of KDE applications. It's also nice when Gnome and GTK applications play happily with their KDE counterparts, especially if a compatible theme has been chosen from them both. KDE-based distros should be able to do this better than simple Gnome desktops.

So, we took eight of the top KDE-focused distros and pitched them head-to-head to find which ones really rock, and which ones just limp along with a vanilla set of packages. Read on!

Make Linux look awesome!


It's now fair to say that the Linux desktop is at the forefront of visual effects, a cornucopia of eye-candy overflowing on to your desktop. And with a few tweaks, it can look even better.

With both Windows and OS X continually upping the ante in what the average desktop user expects from their desktop experience, it's vitally important that Linux stays ahead of the game - even if that only means turning on a genie effect for minimized applications when your friends come over, or using a more usable version of virtual desktops when you lend your machine to someone.

Adding eye candy should never be about purely cosmetic changes. Instead, it should enhance the usability of the desktop and make the average session more productive and more streamlined. We're going to show you how to do just this, and in the process we'll help you turn your Linux desktop into the envy of your proprietary OS-loving friends.

Code Project: upload pictures to Flickr with Python


Python is a great way to make apps quickly, and what better source of data is there than the world wide web? We've already shown you how to control Digg with Python and how to create a Twitter bot in Python, and now we turn our beady eyes towards Flickr, the home of more cat photos than I Can Haz Cheezburger knows what to do with. If you want to try your hand at uploading photos to Flickr, while learning just a smidge of PyGTK along the way, this project is for you.

If you're desperate for even more things to code, don't forget our complete code projects archive is waiting for you...

Get started with Tonido


Cloud computing is now firmly embedded within the IT mainstream, with companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft offering a range of cloud services. And now you can too: in this tutorial we're going to create a cloud server using a piece of software called Tonido.

We'll set it up initially so we can access the various services from within our home network and also over the internet so we can share music and documents and remotely access a calendar, to-do list and other services. Let's go!

Reviewed: SheevaPlug development kit


Is it possible to cram a whole Linux server into something the size of a plug? Apparently it is - Marvell has combined gigabit Ethernet, flash storage and an ARM CPU with a full install of Ubuntu to produce the tiniest Linux server we've seen for some time. Can you resist the power of your geek hardware lust? If not, don't read on...

Podcast Season 1 Episode 23


Title: Chromium Carousal

In this episode: The Linux version of Google's Chrome browser is now officially in beta and Linux netbook share appears to be growing. Nokia releases Qt 4.6 and we ask whether Linux documentation could be improved and is Google's Chrome operating system a good thing?

Open Ballot: Chrome OS: zero or hero?


Now we all know that Google's Chrome OS really is little more than a full-screen Chrome browser window running on top of Linux, it's time to weigh in with your views for our podcast: is Google onto something with the super-slim and light design, or do users want more than a window onto the web in their personal computers? Furthermore, do you think having Chrome OS around is going to be a good thing for the growing Linux netbook market?

Add your comment below, preferably answering either "Yes, Google has the right idea" or "No, I need more than just a browser" plus some sort of explanation/wit/assorted cleverness, along with a username that isn't Anonymous Penguin, and we'll read the best out when we record the podcast.

From the archives: the best graphics tools of 2001


With The Gimp not being bundled as standard with Ubuntu 10.04, we thought it was time to get out the shovel, chainsaw and fork-lift truck and do some digging through the archives of the world's best Linux magazine to see how far The Gimp - and its competitors - have come.

Well, it just so happens we did a group test of image manipulation programs over eight years ago, in which the Gimp featured rather centrally. Would you like to know more? Of course you would - so read on!

Drupal: Get started the easy way


You probably already have a few ideas about what it takes to set up a website, but put those to one side for now, because we're going to look at a different way of doing things. With Drupal, all you really need is a name and an idea of the type of content you want. However, before we get going, the big question you have to answer is: with all the free hosting services available today, do you really need your own website at all? If the answer is yes, read on to discover how you can create anything from a simple blog to a complex website using Drupal in a matter of minutes.

Clutter: a beginner's tutorial


There are lots of cool things in Moblin, but Clutter is our #1 most favourite thing of all. Why? If its OpenGL-accelerated, object-oriented, GTK-integrated API isn't enough to convince you, then perhaps its powerful animation framework, easy texture manipulation, and lightning-fast object picking system might.

But one problem with Clutter is a distinct lack of documentation - a lot of folks want to learn how to use it, but the web is somewhat lacking in tutorials right now. We hate to see awesome free software projects without the userbase they deserve, so we spent a few hours putting together a kickstart guide for people who want to get into Clutter in the minimum time.

Podcast Season 1 Episode 22


Title: The Sound of Fail

In this episode: Google releases the source code to its new operating system, Chrome OS. The Fedora 12 distribution makes its way onto the mirrors and The Gimp is too powerful and too complex for Ubuntu 10.04. We present the results of our two-week Bing research project and ask whether we'd switch to Bing if it was the only place to find News Corp. coverage.

Open Ballot: Microsoft/News Corp deal - would you switch to Bing?


Word has it that Microsoft is in talks with News Corp to discuss paying the publisher to de-index its websites from Google. With Redmond struggling to get a major foothold in the search market, the company is seeking to have content exclusively indexed on Bing - content from Rupert Murdoch's vast media empire (encompassing The Sun, The Times, FOX News, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal...).

Now, imagine that this deal goes ahead. Technically, hypothetically, Bing would be able to turn up search results that Google couldn't. Would you switch to Bing? Would you stay with Google? What matters more: the number of search results you can get, or the company operating the search engine? Let us know and we'll discuss the results in our podcast.

TuxRadar by the numbers 2.0: the rise of Karmic


Many moons ago we posted some stats about TuxRadar, explaining the breakdown of our visitors, which pages were proving popular and more. That article proved popular enough with you folks that we think it's time to rinse and repeat to see what we find this time. But - thanks to sifting through 32GB of logs - we have some even more interesting numbers for you this time, showing that Ubuntu 9.10 adoption is outpacing that for both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard...

Command line tricks for smart geeks

Command line

Everyone knows the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything is "42", but for the first time we can reveal the question. It is this: how many command-line tricks must a man memorise? You see, graphical user interfaces are all well and good, but when you want to get real work done it's time to switch to the terminal.

And so, we squeezed our brain cells, dug through dusty piles of old issues of Linux Format, and sat reflecting quietly over many a pint of ale, all with the goal of bringing you this: 42 awesome new command line tricks we think you ought to commit to memory. We've tried to include a few that are easier for our, er, less-experienced readers to enjoy, but we think even the most hardened Linux veteran will learn something new over the next 12,000 words.

So, strap yourself in and get ready for command-line heaven: it's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and we're all out of gum...

Microsoft open sources .NET Micro Framework


Back in July, Microsoft announced it was making .NET available under its Community Promise, which in theory allowed free software developers to use the technology without fear of patent lawsuits. Unsurprisingly, many free software geeks were unconvinced by the promise (after all, what's a promise compared to an actual open licence?), but now Microsoft has taken things to the next level by releasing the .NET Micro Framework under the Apache licence. Yes, you read that correctly: a sizeable chunk of .NET is about to go open source.

TuxRadar originals


If you've been too busy playing with [Ubuntu 9.10/OpenSUSE 11.2/Mandriva 2010 - delete as appropriate] to check in with us every day for your latest Linux learnings, never fear: here's our pick of the best that you missed:

Plus: Christmas is coming, so it's time to deploy pester power to have your loved ones buy you a year's subscription to the world's best Linux magazine, Linux Format. Yes, we put a lot of content here on TuxRadar every month, but it's only about 1/5th of what we publish in the magazine, and with 13 issues a year delivered to your door it's the easiest way to keep yourself overflowing with new tutorials to try, new apps to play with and new news to be, er, new.

In addition, all our subscribers to get access to over 2000 PDFs from back issues, with new PDFs uploaded as soon as they leave for the printers, plus BitTorrent access to our DVDs.

We have special Christmas subscription rates online for the next ten days, so place your order now to avoid disappointment:

(NB: Some people may find that the subscriptions deal we include in our awesome Linux podcast gives them an even lower price - it pays to shop around, folks!)

Win one of two free annual subscriptions: if you want the chance to get a year's supply of LXF for the princely sum of $0, all you have to do is retweet our message: Identica users can find it here and Twitter users can find it here. Yes, you're eligible regardless of where you live in the world. If an existing subscriber wins, we'll tack a year onto their existing subscription and send them a freebie for being so awesome. Good luck!

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