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?

Fedora 11 - aka "Leonidas" - is here


It's a wee bit later than originally planned, but finally we have a shiny new version of Fedora to play with. Codenamed Leonidas, Fedora 11 brings together a bunch of tweaks and enhancements, described in boring business-like language in the official announcement and with a fantastic, surreal slant in the Fedora mailing list post. Grab a full-on DVD installer ISO or a smaller CD Live version from this page, and see after the break for a summary of the changes.

Introducing Gloss


Taking a short break from his coding academy, Hudzilla has spent the last few weeks touring Italy and - believe it or not - fiddling around with Python. The first fruits of his effort are now available for world + dog to try, so if you're looking for something new to hack on, continue reading to hear from the man himself...

Open Ballot: should we thin the licensing herd?


Everyone knows the GPL and what it stands for, but it has many friends in the free software world - the LGPL, the BSD licence, the MIT licence, the artistic licence, the Creative Commons family, the Apache licence, the PHP licence, the Python licence, plus licences from Sun, Microsoft, IBM and many, many more all having been accepted by the Open Source Foundation.

Our Open Ballot for this fortnight asks, "should we as the open source community be trying to reduce the number of licences?" Is "choice is good" a valid answer for software licensing, or are we just hurting ourselves by fragmenting usage terms? Should more work be done to make licences interoperable? Tell us your answer below, and please make sure you use something other than "Anonymous Penguin" otherwise it's likely your words of wisdom will be ignored!

Run Linux applications on Windows


"Why would you want to do that?", you're probably asking. If you can run Linux 24x7 on any machine you come across, great -- but given the ubiquity of Microsoft's OS, chances are you'll end up sitting at a Windows-only PC at some point. Never fear: even if you can't vape the drive and install your favourite distro, you can still get a Linux fix thanks to a new tutorial from our friends on PC Plus: Run Linux applications on Windows. Specifically, it focuses on installing and running KDE in Microsoftland, which isn't as tough as it sounds.

Spice up your LUG!


Spice up your LUG

Do you attend or run a Linux User Group (LUG)? Looking for some fresh ideas to give it a new lease of life? Read on and discover how your LUG meetings can be more than a general Linux-related chit-chat down the local pub...

KOffice 2.0 is here, sort of


KOffice 2.0

It's been a long time coming, but KOffice 2.0 has finally arrived. But before you rush off to grab the brand-spanking-new KDE office suite, heed these words from the developers: "This release is mainly aimed at developers, testers and early adopters. It is not aimed at end users, and we do not recommend Linux distributions to package it as the default office suite yet." It looks like the KOffice team have learned some lessons from the KDE 4.0 release - don't make a big deal of a major version number bump if there's still a lot of functionality to be implemented. Changelog summary after the break.

Linux Mint 7 gloriously released


Linux Mint 7

If you like your Ubuntu green and with loads of extra add-ons, you'll be chuffed to bits with Linux Mint 7, codenamed Gloria. Highlights include a new 'suggestions' feature in the mintMenu panel that tries to guess what you want to do. There's also a "featured applications" panel in mintInstall that lists useful apps that you might not have heard of, while mintUpdate can now show changelogs from Mint-specific packages, and not just Ubuntu.

Podcast Season 1 Episode 9


Title: Catafalque

In this episode: Our favourite TuxRadar comments so far, how can we help convert people from Windows and a special feature on netbooks.

Reviewed: Yoggie Open Firewall SOHO


Here's a device that started out as a firewall and ended up as a powerful embedded development platform. It's based around an ARM CPU and includes an SDK to let you develop your own tools.

An attractive price, but how good is it? Read on for our verdict...

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