PCLinuxOS 2009.1 released

Distros

You'd expect the seventh most popular distro on DistroWatch to pump out new releases more often, but it has been a quiet couple of years for PCLinuxOS. The last release arrived in May 2007 -- which is, like, a bajillion years ago in the distro world -- but we're not complaining. We're super glad, as no doubt many other Linuxers are, that the distro is still thriving and we have a new version to explore thanks to the awesomely named Ripper Gang.

Group test: note takers

Apps

Paper - don't you just hate it? We live in the 'information age', and yet the much promised era of the paperless office still seems decades away. Our desks are cluttered with notes, reminders and scraps of random information that desperately need to be sorted, but it's hard to find the time.

You've probably tried the brute-force method of computerising your notes: keeping a plain text file (or word processor document) on your desktop, ready at hand to tap in phone numbers, reminders and other tidbits that you need to store in a hurry.

This system works fairly well at first, but it soon becomes unwieldy. As much as you try to keep notes together in categories and purge expired information when necessary, eventually you end up with a morass of data that's impossibly hard to manage. Sure, it's a slightly better system than playing 'hunt the Post-It Note', and it certainly saves on trees, but there has to be a more elegant solution...

Practical PHP Programming has a new home

Code

We've had a number of complaints from people saying that the Hudzilla.org e-book Practical PHP Programming (also available in print, albeit cutdown, as PHP in a Nutshell from O'Reilly) was running on a slow server, which made it rather hard to read.

So, thanks to the fact that the author also just happens to be the editor of Linux Format and TuxRadar, we've moved the entire book to our super-fast server. What's more, he also took the time to update the text for the first time since it was originally released, so it now covers lots of new functions and features added to PHP in recent releases.

So, update your bookmarks: the new home for Practical PHP Programming is www.tuxradar.com/practicalphp. This is just the beginning of our plans to upload a great many more programming tutorials in coming weeks - watch this space!

From the archives: the best window managers of 2000

LXF

A lot people read and enjoyed our previous article, "From the archives: the best distros of 2000", so we had a hunt around in the dark, damp cellar where old copies of Linux Format magazine live, and dug up another gem, this time from issue 2: a group test of the best window managers, complete with screenshots. Read on!

Get more netbook screen space with PekWM

Apps

Netbooks, eh? Lovely little devices for light computing on the go, but they usually have pretty limited screen resolutions (by normal laptop standards). It doesn't help that most desktop environments and window managers cram panels and widgets onto the screen, leaving little room for the most important stuff -- your apps. O'Reilly Broadcast looks at PekWM, a cheeky little window manager which frees up valuable screen real estate, giving more room for your Firefox/OOo/Emacs/Nethack sessions to flex their muscles.

Out of the Park

Games

Reviewed: Management games, of any genre, are not for the faint-hearted. Not only is there a mountain of information to deal with, but if you're into the subject matter, it doesn't take long before the simulator takes over your entire life.

If baseball is what gets you cooking on gas, prepare to say goodbye to your family, become a recluse, and thrive on a world of management decisions and statistics: Out of the Park 9 is available on Linux.

How to fix the most common Linux problems

Linux
Fix Linux!

We'll come right out and say this - Linux breaks. There, we've got that off our chests. No matter how much we might like our chosen distro, there is no denying that things can go wrong, or that it might not even be right in the first place.

Of course, Linux distros are not alone in this - a computer system is a huge, complex collection of interacting software and hardware, even more so when the basic install includes several gibibytes of extra software over and above the OS.

We can't show you solutions for every problem that might arise, but we can show some of the common issues people face and, more importantly, show you how to go about identifying a problem. One more thing to bear in mind as you're reading is that even if you can't work out the solution yourself, an accurate description of the problem will be of great help when asking others for advice.

Open source microbloggers you should follow

TuxRadar

If you're a fan of Identi.ca or Twitter and want to follow the alpha geeks of the free sofware world, we've put together a list of people to make it easy for you to find them.

Automate Linux with Cron and Anacron

LXF

How's your Greek? Did you know that Χρόνος (chronos) means 'time'? Sure you did! And in Greek mythology, Chronos was the god of the ages, the personification of time. Hence we have words like chronometer and chronology. Given that programmers have never been famous for being that great at spelling, we also have Cron – a Linux service that arranges for actions to take place at specific times.

In this tutorial you'll learn how to configure Cron to schedule your own jobs, and how to make sense of the Cron configuration that comes with your Linux distribution. Cron is great for machines that are left running continuously, but in the second half of the tutorial we'll look at its younger sister, Anacron, which may be more appropriate for personal computers that spend a lot of their time switched off.

Resurrect your old PC

LXF

Rather than throw old hardware away because it can't cope with Vista's bloat, we show you how to put it to good use - read on to learn how to transform your old computer into a mail server, a fileserver, a web server, a spam blocker, a PC for kids and more!

Amarok vs Songbird

Apps

Reviewed: Most migrants from other operating systems will seek out a Linux alternative to the ubiquitous iTunes, and chances are they'll come across Amarok 2.0 and Songbird 1.0. They're both contenders for the Linux music player crown, but take different approaches. Which one is right for you?

Save time with Gedit snippets

Apps

Some people think that Gedit is a toy text editor not suitable for more experienced users. And while it might lack Emacs's psychiatrist or Vim's undo branching, it turns out that Gedit has a lot of power under its hood - if you know where to look.

One feature that is guaranteed to save you time is Snippets, a plugin that enables quick insertion of commonly used text, and something we use frequently here on TuxRadar. We're going to show you how to get started using the built-in snippets, and how you can use shell commands and even Python code to make your own...

Vim: master the basics

Apps

In depth: There are more text editors for Linux than you can shake a stick at. Every man and his dog seems to have had a go at one. The ones written by dogs usually involve a lot of sniffing around the connectors at the back of the computer and are probably best ignored, but that still leaves quite a lot - emacs, kedit, gedit, kwrite, kate, mousepad, leafpad, fte, joe, jed, nano, pico... the list goes on.

But the one that most Unix and Linux professionals prefer is the grand-uncle of them all, Vi, and its younger brother, Vim. (Vim stands for "Vi improved" and is a 1991 Vi rewrite produced by Bram Moolenar.

World of Goo

Games

Reviewed: Two whizz-kid programmers exit EA, decide to create a game to enter the Independent Games Festival, snatch awards for design innovation and technical excellence, and Linux gets a cracking new game as a result.

World of Goo for Linux already makes up 10% of the direct sales of the game - who said Linux users didn't play games? Read on for our full review...

More Linux tips every geek should know

LXF

If you've already read and memorised our "Linux tips every geek should know" and "20 all-new tips for KDE 4.2" features, we've picked out 50 more Linux desktop tips for you to enjoy.

And remember, if you don't ask, you don't get - follow us on Identi.ca or Twitter to have your say on what we post next...

MythTV made easy

Apps

In depth: MythTV is an incredibly ambitious suite of applications designed to sit at the heart of your home entertainment centre. It records, pauses and rewinds television, plays music and videos, catalogues your photo and DVD collections, browses the internet, makes phone calls, delivers the news and the weather and plays games - and it does all this thanks to the power of Linux.

Read on for our guide to installing MythTV and getting it to do just about everything you could want from a Linux box in your lounge...

Code Project: Build a flash card app

Code

In this coding project, we're going to create a flash card program to help you remember foreign words. It displays an English word and asks you to choose its German equivalent from a list of three randomly chosen options, keeping a score as you progress.

But it's not just limited to German – you'll be able to use it for any language, or indeed for anything else you want to learn! You could even set it up to display the name of an animal, having the program test you on its species.

Tell us what you want

TuxRadar

If you're on Identi.ca or Twitter follow us (tuxradar) and send us a message telling us what you want us to post. We have thousands of articles of all types - coding projects, reviews, command-line hacks, newbie tips, MythTV tutorials and more, so just send us a message with your request and we'll do our best to supply what you asked for.

KDE 4.2.1 includes slew of bugfixes

KDE

Most KDE fans regard 4.2 as the first proper, fully usable desktop in the 4.x series, and now it has its first minor update. KDE 4.2.1 rolls together improvements in Ocular, Kopete, KMail and KHTML -- the uber-detailed changelog is here.

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