Get started with Fetchmail, Procmail and Dovecot


Having already shown you how to run your own web server using Apache, we'll now turn our attention to the most important application of networking: email. Running your own mail server may seem like overkill, but there are a number of good reasons for doing so. And if you consider yourself well-versed in the lore of sysadmin, this is definitely a topic you need to be comfortable with. Read on!

Win a subscription to Linux Format magazine


In Episode 12 of our podcast, Mike sang the Free Software song. If you want the chance to win a free subscription to Linux Format magazine - that's 13 issues delivered to your door wherever you are in the world, plus access to all our back issues as PDFs - read on...

Reviewed: AVG Anti-virus 8.5 for Linux


As long as NTFS partitions continue to sprawl over heterogeneous networks, anti-virus companies will dole out scanners for Linux. No surprise then that AVG Technologies, makers of the popular AVG Anti-Virus, has a scanner that runs on Linux in its latest 8.5 series bouquet.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.5 for Linux (hereafter abbreviated to AVG Free) isn't AVG's first scanner for Linux. The company has released binaries for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures for Linux and FreeBSD, and the scanner itself is loaded with features up to the brim. Despite all this, it is utterly useless for the intended audience.

Hands on with Mint 7


Now in its seventh iteration, codenamed Gloria, Linux Mint aims to bring easy-to-use Linux to the masses. It's based upon the ubiquitious Ubuntu, and as such it shares many of the same features; the installation routine, for example, is virtually identical and takes under 30 minutes to complete. However, there is far more to Mint than just Ubuntu minus the brown colour scheme.

If you read our guide to choosing the best Linux distro for you and want to know why this new release of Linux Mint is worth trying, read on to find out why we gave it a 9/10 rating...

Podcast Season 1 Episode 12


Title: Mike's Song

In this episode: Mono is finally safe to use while the HTML 5 specification is causing trouble. Canonical's Design and User Experience team launch the One Hundred Paper Cuts project for their next distro release and do version numbers really matter?

Group test: screencasting apps


Screencasts - digital movies with the desktop as a backdrop, the mouse as the protagonist and a voiceover - have become an integral part of electronic learning and form the basis of the computer-based training industry. As bandwidth becomes affordable and video-sharing websites start popping up, there's a huge influx of free and open source tools.

Not all tools follow the same methodology of capturing activity on your screen. Some rely on desktop sharing services such as VNC, some take a series of screenshots in quick succession and stitch them together into a video. Some give you the option to select an output format, and some will spew the video in patent-free formats only. Using these tools you can screencast your complete desktop or a particular window. Some enable you to narrate audio along with your videos and others don't.

Which to choose? Read on for our group test of the best screencasting apps available for Linux...

Organise your music with Picard


Organising your digital music collection can be a Herculean effort. Yet when you have several gigabytes of tracks to sift through, your only chance of finding what you want to hear is if your music files are properly tagged.

Don't panic if your machine can't tell Barry White apart from the White Stripes, though: the creators of Picard feel your pain. That's why, by the time Picard is finished with your music collection, each file will know the album it belongs to, the artist who performed it, its track number within the album and a host of other details.

Microsoft makes Mono tastier


Here's some news to pacify (perhaps) the anti-Mono crowd: Microsoft will apply its Community Promise to the C# language and CLI execution framework. Essentially, this means that anyone can implement a C# compiler and the CLI without the threat of Microsoft jumping in and throwing patent claims around.

Open Ballot: Do version numbers matter?


We'll soon be recording podcast episode 12, and our big debate is about version numbers. After the fun and flamewars surrounding KDE 4.0 and KOffice 2.0 - major version number bumps for "developer-focused" releases - we're wondering if the system needs to change. Why is Window Maker still at version 0.92, despite being stable for years? Should we have more 1.0s to make free software appear more complete and mature? Or should we just scrap major/minor numbers and follow the lead of less, which is at version 429?

Ubuntu: brought to you by Microsoft


...or at least so says Dell on their website. This neat little netbook apparently comes with a 1.6GHz Atom CPU, 8GB of disk space, and the, er, well-known Microsoft operating system Ubuntu 8.04.

Microscobuntu 8.04

Thanks to submitter, Chris Brown.

Creeping Unix featurism


Doug McIlroy once said, "write programs that do one thing and do it well," but even Linux developers aren't immune to the desire to add more features over time.

We counted the number of options described in the man pages of 16 common commands, and compared them across three Unix/Linux distributions. Read on to see just how some of the core Unix commands have, er, "blossomed" over the years...

Control your bandwidth with Trickle


Ever had one of those situations where you pause for a moment, think back to a time long ago, and say, I wish I knew this back then? Even if you haven't, Trickle will trigger many such memories. With Trickle you can control the upload and download speeds for applications such that no single application hogs all the bandwidth. This gives you the power to ensure that downloads from Firefox don't interfere with your attempts to download a file through FTP.

Which version control system is best for you?


Version control systems are indispensable if you're working on a multi-person project, and they're pretty damn useful even if you're just working solo. Keeping a full history of the changes you've made gives you a basic backup and enables you to revert back to an earlier version if you screw something up.

But with so many options available, from the rather dated CVS onwards, which one is best? What about distributed versus centralised? Read on as we look at three of the big names - Bazaar, Subversion and Git - to give you an idea of which one might best suit you and your project, whether that's large-scale software, small-scale coding, keeping track of config files or anything else that might spring to mind.

Code Project: Use weather for wallpapers


Not all information on the web is static, connected in a meaningful way, or even as cool as it should be. Which is why one of the post-web 2.0 movements of note is the mashup - the repurposing of data from the web into new and exciting forms. Welcome to the world of data punk.

Reviewed: KOffice 2.0


Free software is often developed with the mantra 'release early, release often'. This is a great idea, because new tools can be tested, trialled and critiqued as they're developed, rather than waiting for some arbitrary point of readiness.

Which brings us to KOffice 2.0, the latest productivity package designed specifically for KDE. Like the completely rewritten KDE 4 release, KOffice 2.0 has been let loose in a state that isn't quite ready for production use. Read on for our views of the new release from the KOffice camp...

Podcast Season 1 Episode 11


Title: The Battle of Thorne Waste

In this episode: Android isn't as good as Windows CE on smartbooks. Debian bundles Mono. Crossover 8 is released while Opera 10 and Firefox 3.5 are nearly here. Is sound a disaster on Linux? And should geeks boycott closed platforms like the XBox 360, Playstation 3 and iPhone?

Slackware made easy


Slack to the Future

Give a man Ubuntu, and he'll learn Ubuntu. Give a man SUSE, and he'll learn SUSE. But give a man Slackware, and he'll learn Linux. Well, so the old internet maxim goes, but while it's normally used with a touch of humour, there's a great deal of truth in it too.

If you've ever wondered what it is about Slackware that makes it so popular amongst Linux veterans, read on for a bit of history, and hands-on installation guide, plus some tips to help you get started...

Open Ballot: should geeks boycott closed systems?


Sure, the iPhone is shiny, the Xbox 360 has some good games and the Tivo is very useful, but should Free Software geeks resist from buying them because they're all closed platforms, or is it more important to use what works regardless of how it is licensed?

That's the Open Ballot we'll be recording for our next podcast, so if you'd like to contribute your views to the discussion all you have to do is post your answers below. Remember: use a username other than "Anonymous Penguin" otherwise we'll ignore you, and please try to explain your reasoning at least a little!

Addendum: Is a system "open" just because it has an SDK, or does the whole thing need to be open? Is the ability to run apps on an iPhone using Apple's SDK good enough, or is there no point being able to run some code on a non-free base system?

Firefox 3.5 RC2 released


After a short break in the sun, we're happy to return to the land of Linux and see that Firefox 3.5 has now gone into its second release candidate. Codenamed Shiretoko, it now has many more new features compared to the 3.0.x releases, including: support for HTML 5, adding <audio> and <video> tags so you can now watch embedded Ogg Vorbis and Theora content, and a new, faster JavaScript engine called Tracemonkey, featuring faster code execution. More after the break...

Podcast Season 1 Episode 10


Title: Episode X

In this episode: Unix is 40 years old, Google releases an alpha Linux version of its Chrome browser and ARM-powered laptops are spotted at Computex. Is Linux a difficult development platform and should we thin the licensing herd?

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