Group test: project planners

Apps

Computer-based project management and planning (PM for short) is a strange beast. Real geeks love to hate it: "What planning and deadlines? We'll release when it's ready!" PM, however, is vital in all large organisations and remains one of the reasons that keeps many desktop users locked into their old proprietary operating system - Microsoft Project does after all, run only on Microsoft Windows.

Don't despair, however. If you were suffering in silence because you thought you couldn't draw a Gantt chart or an RBS diagram on Linux, you were wrong. In this article we'll present five project managers that are aimed at non-geek desktop users. They're all programs that can work without an internet connection or relying on external servers, so their installation is really easy, even if they aren't already included in your preferred Linux distro.

Creating local backups of TuxRadar

TuxRadar

Listen, guys, we know you like our articles, and we're flattered that so many people use tools like Wget to take a copy of our entire website for their offline use, but please be nice about it. We're happy for you to take a local copy if you really want to - please, go ahead, and we hope you learn a lot from our articles.

All we ask is that you set your software to leave at least a five-second delay between page requests so that you're less likely to affect performance for other users. When one of our articles appears on high-traffic sites such as Digg or Reddit, a lot of visitors come our way in a short space of time, and if several people are simultaneously getting their offline mirror software to download 200 articles plus pictures in 10 seconds, it's not really fair on other users.

So, you have our blessing to copy our content for your offline use. We appreciate that not everyone has 24/7 internet access, and we want to help as many people learn to love Linux as we can. But in return, we ask that you put a delay on your software so that it doesn't bombard our site with requests.

Thanks!

Code Project: Build an Ncurses UI with Python

Code

Picture the scene: you're logged into a remote server via SSH, or you've installed a new graphics card and you're left staring at the command line. You need to enter a command, but you can't remember the zillion options that go along with it. You're stuck - all you can do is consult the manual pages and pore through pages of waffling technical gobbledygook. We've all been there, and no matter how experienced you are with Linux, sometimes you need to accomplish a job quickly without sifting through masses of reading material.

In this coding project, we're going to solve this problem - and have fun along the way! We'll show you how to write a dialog-based program that gives you options one-by-one so that you don't need to consult the man pages. In this guide, we'll show you how to write a nifty front-end for the useradd utility, a command which (unsurprisingly) lets you add user accounts to your Linux installation. Like many administration tools, useradd requires a long string of options and parameters; we're going to make it much simpler by creating an interactive dialog-driven version called UserMaster.

Benchmarked: Firefox 3.5 beta 4

Firefox

Previously we've told you that Firefox performance on Linux sucks, and, worse, that even Windows Firefox running on Wine is faster than Linux Firefox, so as Firefox 3.5 edges slowly (very slowly!) closer to release, we joined in the Firefox 3.5b4 testday to see how performance is coming along in these later development stages...

Ubuntu 9.04: 32-bit vs 64-bit benchmarks

Distros

In depth: Most Linux users run a 32-bit distro, and many of them run a 32-bit distro on a 64-bit computer. The question is, why? We put 32-bit Ubuntu 9.04 head-to-head with its 64-bit counterpart to see what difference it really makes, and whether old compatibility worries are justified.

Ubuntu 9.04 frankenreview

Distros

It's official: Ubuntu has taken over the Linux world. On Digg's Linux/Unix section at the time of writing, four of the top five upcoming stories are about Jaunty (with the other one being a TuxRadar story on programming the Arduino - w00t!). In fact, 11 of the top 15 are about Ubuntu, which is astonishing in a week where Oracle gobbled up OpenOffice.org and MySQL and the first full release of the hotly hyped Ulteo came out.

We've already given you The Road to Jaunty: a look back at Ubuntu's history and an interview with Mark Shuttleworth, and to round out our three-part celebration of Ubuntu's 10th release, Jaunty Jackalope, we wanted to round up some of the web's views on the release then add a few of our own. Read on!

Shuttleworth on Jaunty, netbooks and more

Interviews

Exclusive: To celebrate the 10th Ubuntu release - Jaunty Jackalope - we're giving you three in-depth articles about the world's most popular distro. Hopefully by now you've already read our article The Road to Jaunty: a look back at Ubuntu's history and our frankenreview of Ubuntu 9.04, so we're following them up with an interview with Mark Shuttleworth, the founder and Benevolent Dictator for Life of Ubuntu.

We went to visit the Canonical HQ deep in Mount Doom London, England, and asked Mark about his favourite Jaunty features, the netbook push, cloud computing and more...

The road to Jaunty: a look back at Ubuntu's history

Distros

People have been saying for a long time that there are too many Linux distros, and yet that didn't stop Mark Shuttleworth from launching Ubuntu in the crowded Debian spin-off market five years ago. What made Ubuntu succeed where Libranet, Corel Linux, Storm Linux and others had failed?

Some might argue that having half a billion dollars in your bank account was a good start, but we think Ubuntu's success can be wrapped up in one quote from Mark Shuttleworth: "I firmly believe that there's nothing an open source team can't do - except do everything." That is, Ubuntu works because it dedicates a lot of effort to refining the complete product rather than individual parts.

Well, to celebrate the release of Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope" we're going to kick off a three-part celebration of this tenth release of the world's most popular distro with a quick look back at the highs and lows over the years, complete with lots of PDFs from Linux Format magazine from our archives. We've also gone back and installed all ten Ubuntu releases to discover just how much performance has changed over the years.

Along with this article, we've also posted an exclusive interview with Mark Shuttleworth about his favourite features in Ubuntu 9.04 plus a frankenreview of Ubuntu 9.04 that brings together opinion from across the web - check them out!

Virtualisation made easy

Enterprise

Unless you're running a PC more at home in 2001 than today, you can benefit from virtualisation. In fact, we're so utterly convinced that almost every reader will be happier having discovered virtualisation that we've devoted this tutorial to helping you - yes, you - get started with it.

Inside the Aspire One

LXF

A few months ago, Linux Format printed a pocket-sized mini-book called "Inside the Aspire One" that aimed to introduce Linux to first-time users through Acer's popular netbook. The distribution was limited to Linux Format subscribers and the UK, but now you can read the book for free because we're putting it online for everyone to download and enjoy.

Oracle buys Sun - what now for MySQL, Java and OOo?

Enterprise

Oracle has announced it is purchasing Sun Microsystems for just over $7 billion. The official word from Oracle is that the purchase gives it two key assets - Java and Solaris - but open sourcerers will understandably be more interested in MySQL and OpenOffice.org, two apps that form core parts of many free software installations.

Release candidate frenzy underway

BSD

A few days ago Ubuntu 9.04 Release Candidate arrived for our testing pleasure -- you might still have time to submit last-minute bug reports before the final release on Thursday. Over in BSDland, meanwhile, the first release candidate of FreeBSD 7.2 has been announced, and if the team sticks to the schedule we should see the final version in early May. The NetBSD folks are charging ahead with 5.0 release candidate 4 of the outrageously portable Unix flavour, sporting this whopping list of changes.

A quick guide to backups using tar

Backup

Though tar is widely used for archiving it is rarely used for daily backups because it has no incremental capability - or at least, most people don't think it has. In fact, the GNU version of tar has a perfectly good mechanism for creating and restoring incremental archives; it just isn't very well documented on the man page and you have to hunt around to find a proper description.

Bash tips for power users

Command line

If you're a power Linux user, you probably spend a lot of time in the Bash shell. But with the addition of some functions, autocompletion, configuration tweaks and shortcuts, we reckon we can make you even more productive. You doubtless already have aliases set up in your .bashrc file – shortening commands that you use frequently. Aliases are limited, though, in that (at least in Bash and related shells) you can't pass arguments in from the command line. Functions enable you to do this, so you can minimise your typing further still.

Arduino hardware hacking: Part 2

Code

In part 1 of our Arduino tutorial seres we covered the basics of how the Arduino works, and we're going to use that knowledge in a hands-on project and see how this open-source hardware programming environment works when we're actually trying to get something done with it.

After this, you'll have more than enough information to be able to tackle your own projects with confidence - we're going to build on the existing foundations to work on an entire project using nothing but cheap components and open source.

Podcast Season 1 Episode 6

Podcast

Title: Monologue

In this episode: Gtk+ developers announce plans for version 3. Microsoft proclaims 96% domination of the netbook market and both Mono 2.4 and MonoDevelop 2.0 are released. Is the new Linux Spotify library a good thing and should netbook manufacturers standardise on a single distribution?

Build a monster Linux cluster

LXF

Our chums at PC Plus have put online their detailed guide to building an ultra-powerful Linux-based cluster. "It's easy to use any spare machines you may have to create a single homogeneous computing mega-matrix and calculation engine just by wiring them all together and running the right software." So, don't leave those old boxes sitting abandoned in the loft - link them up and start crunching numbers like there's no tomorrow.

SUSE Linux Enterprise 11

Distros

Reviewed: With SUSE Linux Enterprise 11, Novell builds upon OpenSUSE 11.1, the community distribution that shipped last summer. It comes in two versions for the enterprise market: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and Desktop (SLED). Striking new features are the Compiz Fusion 3D compositing window manager, KDE 4.1, Gnome 2.24 and a redesigned installer, but Mono-haters won't be happy to see the large amount of Microsoft .NET software that ships as standard.

When did you first use Linux?

Linux

That's the question cropping up on various websites at the moment. If, like us, you love to reminisce about the olden days, when you had to recompile your kernel just to use your keyboard and FVWM2 was the most amazingly new tech on the planet, then get commenting below. What was your first distro? What did you think of it at the time? Were you one of the original Oxford Beer Trolls, plying Torvalds with ale in return for his efforts?

Open Ballot: Netbook distros

Netbooks

Now that we're back from our short Easter break, the podcast juggernaught rolls on like a leviathan standing on the shoulders of a colossus. As it's just us this month we'll not need a CLICK BEEEP WHIRR photographer, but we do need to know what you think of this fortnight's open ballot question: Should netbook manufacturers persist in using their own bespoke versions of Linux, or should they put their efforts into one base distro, like Debian or Moblin, that they can tweak themselves?

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