Podcast Season 1 Episode 21

Podcast

Title: Mammoth Mammoth

In this episode: Firefox turns 5, Microsoft allegedly borrows some GPL code and the Fat Elf is no more. We talk about what our perfect Linux distribution would look like and ask whether everyone should be compelled to contribute to free software projects.

Code Project: control Digg with Python

Code

Everyone knows that Digg is a hugely popular social news website where like-minded folks gather and flame each other to death. But if you're a Digg user and want to flex your coding skills to get a little more from the site, we've got the perfect code project for you: we're going to show you how to write a Python app to read Digg submissions and geo-locate them using GeoIP.

You should know that, even though there's a perfectly reasonable - if slightly out of date - API for Digg, we're going to create our own miniature one instead that does just what we need. If you want to go further you'll find this an easy place to start, and it also gives you some good practice in working with XML.

Open Ballot: should we all be contributing to open source?

TuxRadar

Everyone loves the New Distro feeling: great new features, more efficiency, fewer bugs (usually!) and general computer improvement. But how many people actually take the time to contribute back to the free software movement? Given the vast number of ways that people of differing skill levels are able to take part in the community, should we be actively encouraging people to help out more, even if it's only a small thing such as correcting typos in documentation or by donating money?

Remember, this is the Open Ballot for our podcast: please include a name with your comment, and please answer the question "yes" or "no" along with some sort of reasoning. Also, if you have contributed to free software - either by helping in forums, submitting patches to someone else's work or even perhaps releasing your own open-source project, please include that too!

Solve your own Linux problems

TuxRadar

We've been relatively quiet over the last few weeks, because we've been busy pulling together 60 issues of Linux Format magazine, converting all the reader questions and answers about Linux into web-friendly formats. Fortunately, that work is now done, so we're proud to present the TuxRadar Linux Answers Archive - a searchable database of over 700 common Linux problems and their solutions from the last five years.

The goal of this project is pretty straightforward. Even though we know many of these questions aren't relevant to the majority of users any more (unless you're still running Mandrake 10.1!), we know what it's like when you encounter obscure problems in Linux and Google searches aren't turning up the goods. And so, if even only a few hundred people are helped using all these Linux solutions, it will still have been worth the effort.

So, dive in, take a look around, ping us on Identi.ca or Twitter if there are any egregious errors (although we'd rather not hear about typos simply because we have more important things to be doing!), and pass the URL on to friends if they have trouble: http://www.tuxradar.com/answers.

How to clone hard drives with Clonezilla

Sysadmin

Clonezilla is a Ncurses-based front-end to a set of scripts that use several open source disk utilities such as Partimage, ntfsclone, Partclone and dd. It'll jump at your command and duplicate particular partitions, or better still complete disks. It'll also restore the partitions, and help you mirror an old disk onto a bigger new disk.

How to install software in Ubuntu

Ubuntu

So, you've heeded the security warnings, run Ubuntu's update manager and you're happy that your system is now bang up to date with the latest whizz-bang software. But is it?

The truth is that packages are only added to Ubuntu's main repository as and when the maintainers deem them stable enough, so often users are left for months waiting for packages with the latest killer features. You can download these packages and compile from source, but you then have the trouble of satisfying the list of dependencies. Also, when you come to update the package you've compiled from source, you have to purge the current install from the system, satisfy any new dependencies that have sprung up, apply patches and then recompile, which is a messy solution.

Ubuntu Personal Package Archives (PPAs) are APT directories provided by third parties on Launchpad (Ubuntu's third-party developer platform). This is where the latest and greatest software is bundled into a Debian package and made available for download. The likes of Google and the Wine community are well known for using this service, so if you'd like to take advantage of their hard work and install some cracking new software for your Ubuntu, read on...

Mandriva 2010 released

Mandriva

Clearly not ones to bother about such trifling matters as the year we're actually in, the Mandriva team has delivered a shiny new release. Codenamed "Adelie", Mandriva 2010 brings a bunch of improvements as detailed in the announcement. The new "Smart Desktop" technology lets you assign tags and notes to documents, images and other files, while boot times have been reduced and the latest desktop environments (KDE 4.3 and Gnome 2.28) are included. Read on for a summary of the changes.

Ubuntu 9.10: the net's opinion

Ubuntu

It has only been out for a week-ish, but already the reviews of Karmic Koala are scurrying around the intertubes. Jamie's Random Musings at ZDNet has "mixed impressions" of the release, comparing it to 9.04 which he thought was "truly excellent". The Globe and Mail, meanwhile, looks at the Koala from a non-geek perspective, describing it as "a package that won't be a horrible stretch for the novice". Linux Critic gives thumbs-up to the faster boot times, improved artwork and inclusion of the Empathy IM client, but criticises the poor integration of the Ubuntu One cloud storage service.

Make Linux faster and lighter

Linux


With just a few tweaks, your Linux box can be lighter, sprightlier and quicker than ever before. Read on for the best ways to speed up your boot sequence, optimise KDE and Gnome, and get better performance from your favourite apps. We've also got some top tips from our favourite free software gurus...

Vista, Windows 7, Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10 boot speed comparison

Linux

The Great Boot Race

Hot on the heels of the final release of the Karmic Koala, we've put together a video montage of 64-bit versions of Microsoft's Vista and Windows 7 operating systems booting alongside Canonical's Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10. Watch all four at once and see which one wins!

Each operating system has been freshly installed and features exactly the same hardware configuration. Auto-login is enabled, and each will launch Firefox which will then proceed to load our homepage.

Podcast Season 1 Episode 20

Podcast

Title: Manky Monkey

In this episode: Ubuntu 9.10 has been released! To celebrate, we talk about what's new and what's old, review a version of Ubuntu each, discuss what we love and loathe and set our minds on the future with Lucid Lynx. Koala Ho!

The BBC takes on Linux

Ubuntu

A few days ago, a BBC journalist was on air saying that Ubuntu was "a whole sort of little community of enthusiasts building operating systems for absolutely nothing." Since then, as you can imagine, he's had some angry emails from Linux users, so Canonical sent him over a laptop with Karmic Koala Netbook Remix installed.

The result, sadly, isn't great for Linux, but there's a lot we can learn from the results of the test.

It's official: we love Windows 7

Microsoft

This might be a strange thing to hear on a Linux website, but it's true: we're big fans of Windows 7. Is it because of the new features? Is it because of the new user interface? Is it because of the blazing speed vs Vista? Is it because it's anything but Vista? The answer is "no" to all those.

Instead, we love Windows 7 because it seems to be providing Linux with a massive PR boost and indeed may well backfire on Microsoft - people are more curious than ever about how Linux stacks up against Windows 7. Read on for more information...

Linux frequently asked questions for newbies

TuxRadar

Many Linux users pride themselves on being highly technical geeks. And, while that's great for finding people to contribute code patches to projects, it means that a lot of first-time Linux users get branded a "newbie" and are made to feel stupid when they ask fundamental questions about things we take for granted.

To be blunt, that situation sucks. If people have honest questions about Linux, we need to be helping them find answers, and we need to do so without sarcastic comments, without "RTFM" and without telling people "just use Google."

Here at TuxRadar, and in the magazine behind the website, Linux Format, we get a lot of really basic questions from new users. We've taken the most common questions and printed them verbatim below, providing Plain English answers along the way, trying to simplify technical information as much as we can. We didn't write the questions, so more experienced users might look at them and think "wow, that's a stupid question," but if you're a newbie asking Linux questions or if you have friends asking you questions that you don't have time to answer, we hope this information will prove useful.

NB: if you have technical questions about Linux, we have an archive of common Linux problems and their solutions - you should check there first.

Reviewed: Gnome 2.28

Gnome

The Gnome project's latest release, comes just in time to be bolted on to Karmic Koala. But with KDE making big strides forward with each point release of KDE 4, are the Gnome team doing enough to keep up? Only just... read on to find out more!

SCO fires CEO McBride, still loves litigation

Linux

Ah, SCO vs the world. It seems like it has been going on forever, but occasionally a bit of good news crops up. Everyone's favourite Unix company has decided to "terminate" Darl McBride, its outspoken CEO and key figure in the ligitation dramas. While this move will allow the company to "preserve cash and the value of the business", SCO still expects to "raise additional funding and sell non-core assets to bolster working capital". In other words, it needs to flog off some of its products (UnixWare?) to make sure the piggy bank still rattles when shaken.

Podcast Season 1 Episode 19

Podcast

Title: A Hero's Welcome

In this episode: Linux is reported to be safer for online banking and international stock exchanges than Microsoft Windows, we reveal our personal geek heroes and our Open Ballot asks whether we should embrace Microsoft's open source work.

Open Ballot: Should we embrace Microsoft's open source work?

TuxRadar

Want to contribute your views to our podcast? Sure you do, and here's your chance to have a say: do you think we should embrace Microsoft's new-found open source policies, or should we keep them at arm's length? Recently Microsoft has announced the CodePlex Foundation for supporting its own open source code, it has contributed code to the Linux kernel, it has announced that .NET is available under its community promise, and much more. Should we be afraid, or should be happy to take support and code from anywhere as long as it's open?

Our usual Open Ballot rules apply: please state either "yes" or "no" backed up by some sort of cogent reasoning, and give yourself a name that's a bit more original than Anonymous Penguin otherwise we're quite likely - no, very likely - to ignore your intellectual meanderings.

NB: our podcast will be coming out on Thursday this week rather than Wednesday. Can you hold out that long? Can you?

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