Download the Linux Starter Pack

LXF

New to the wonderful world of Linux? Looking for an easy way to get started? Download our complete 130-page guide and get to grips with the OS in hours rather than weeks or months. We show you how to install Linux onto your PC, navigate around the desktop, master the most popular Linux programs and fix any problems that may arise.

We put the Linux Starter Pack on sale one year ago, and in our quest to support the community we're giving it away as a free download. Please go ahead and tell everyone about this offer -- all we ask is that you link to this page rather than directly to the zip below.

Click here to download now!

After reading the guide, head over to Linux Format for more information on the world's finest Linux magazine. Each month we include all the tutorials, features, tips and help you need to get the most from your operating system. Don't miss it!

Stop! DragonFlyBSD HAMMER time

BSD

DragonFlyBSD has reached a major milestone with its HAMMER filesystem in the new 2.2.0 release. DragonFly was forked from FreeBSD in 2003 in order to "grow in an entirely different direction from the one taken in the FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD series" - its ultimate goal being to provide native clustering support in the kernel. Besides supporting such clustering, HAMMER "has been designed to solve numerous issues and to add many new capabilities... such as fine-grained snapshots, instant crash recovery, and near real-time mirroring." Sounds lovely, but we're waiting for Netcraft to confirm that it's still alive...

Under the hood of Palm's webOS

Hardware

Palm recently announced its potentially iPhone-beating Pre to much acclaim. Small, shiny and featuring a pop-out keyboard, the Pre is an attractive bit of kit, but best of all it runs the Linux-based 'webOS'. Ars Technica has dug into the tech behind the platform, looking at the JavaScript-based application engine and various layers that make up the OS. Oh, and Palm has more documentation online for your perusing pleasure.

Podcast Season 1 Episode 2

Podcast
Title: Was that Mike or Tony Blair?

In this episode: Moonlight 1.0 is released, how will the recession affect Linux, is Ubuntu a 'good thing' and just what exactly is Slime Forest Adventure?

Red Hat keeps graphics chips chilled

Hardware

Historically, most power management work in Linux has been focused on the CPU -- keeping it cool, making sure it switches to a slower speed when idle, and so on. But as graphics chips continue to improve, they're starting to munch through battery life too. Our hardware-loving chums at Phoronix have looked at the latest work from Red Hat to conserve power on GPUs, which focuses on 'clock-gating' and frame-buffer compression techniques. As always, though, much of the work depends on access to spec-sheets from the hardware vendors.

More Linux-powered netbooks on the way

Linux

HP's decision to stop shipping Linux on its European netbook range has been a bit of a blow, but now there's some good news. Chip maker Freescale has announced that it will use Android for its netbook chipsets later in the year. So far, the Google-made Linux-based Android OS has only been used on mobile phones, but Freescale's move could strengthen Linux's position in the netbook market, especially if the final hardware is cheaper and has better battery life than current offerings.

Google snubs Qt; chooses Gtk for Chrome

Apps

Despite Qt's cross-platform credentials Google has opted to use Gtk+ with its Linux port of the Chrome browser. Ben Goodger (Chrome's Interface Lead) stated that this choice was to avoid using a framework which "limits what you can do" to its lowest subset, and to avoid more obscure problems when porting the program between platforms. Goodger describes the latter as the application "speaking with a foreign accent".

The Chromium team initially felt that a Windows clone would be acceptable for Linux users (eg via Wine), but was later convinced that this was not a permanent option. However, as one pundit (Alex Russell) said, the solution they need was one which "would work for *most* Linux users", because building a separate version for each platform was "out of the question". See OSNews.com for further analysis.

Lenny has landed!

Distros

After almost two years of work since the release of Etch, the Debian team has finally released Debian 5.0 "Lenny" to the world - their tenth major release. When we spoke to Steve McIntyre, the Debian Project Leader, he said "we basically decided that if we were happy that stuff looks and is legal, as in there isn't any source missing or anything like that, then screw it - we'll go with that." To find out what he was talking about and see our initial views on the new release, read on...

The command-line phrasebook

LXF

Not everyone who's into Linux is a dyed in the wool techie. While some people need to know the intimate workings of their PCs and what runs them, others are quite happy simply to use them. There will always a certain amount of crossover, but the one thing that neatly distinguishes the techies from the power users is the command line interface (CLI).

Old-school Linux users swear that it's the only real way to do things properly, while the rest of us often avoid it like the plague. But what if we gave you just enough command-line knowledge to let you do all the important things, without having to don sandals and a fake beard?

Group test: download managers

Apps

Download managers exist for two reasons. Firstly, they help organise your downloads, moving them to a single, central location on your desktop. Secondly, they help to improve download performance. But with so many around, which to choose? Let us help you...

Get more from OpenOffice.org!

Apps
Master OpenOffice.org - a Linux Format Special

Are you looking to master OpenOffice.org? Or do you want to help one of your friends or family make the switch from Microsoft Office (or, worse - Microsoft Works!) to something free and just as good?

Look out for our new special edition magazine on OpenOffice.org 3.0 in your local magazine outlet, or buy one from our online store with delivery available worldwide - it's 132 pages of tutorials and tips to help everyone get more from OOo, and includes OpenOffice.org for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux on the free disc.

Contains 40 hands-on tutorials: Writer, Calc, Impress and Base are all covered, as is Draw, macro scripting, extensions, web-site creation, working with templates and more!

More proof that Linux is on the rise

Linux

Some people have said that Mac OS X is eating away at the Linux market as hardcore Unix-heads get their Posix fix on Macs. Others have said that Linux marketshare is as tiny as it was several years ago and that Windows 7 might even kill Linux.

Well, today we have something positive to announce: Linux Format magazine sales are up 13.3% over the last year, as measured by the Audit Bureau of Circulations - an independent body founded to track and verify magazine circulation data. You might think that a 13% is fairly small, but keep in mind that many other magazines are reporting steep sales drops right now, so any rise at all is a good sign!

People are crying out for good Linux knowledge, and we think it's great to have some more irrefutable numbers that Linux continues to be on the march against closed-source software.

Group test: web editors

LXF

Way back at the beginning of the web (or when it started to become mainstream) it was popular to spend hours hacking away at a keyboard to type your first web page. These early efforts were horrific mish-mashes of colour, style (or lack thereof) and seemed to consist entirely of people telling you just how they felt about certain topics. - you only have to spend some time with the Internet Archive to see shining examples of the terror that could be wrought with a simple text editor and far too much knowledge.

From there web development got a bit smarter, and it wasn't long before GUI-based tools became available to make the whole process more speedy and user friendly. Sadly, they didn't improve on the whole colour clashing, but they did make a lot more people a lot more productive. Even Microsoft, having previously dismissed the power of the web, did a complete U-turn and ended up releasing FrontPage to fuel even more abuse of the senses.

So, if you're looking around for a great web editor for Linux, just what is the state of editors for Linux and does it get any better than Vi or Emacs? Let's take a look at what options are on offer today.

Your views wanted: is Ubuntu a good thing for Linux?

TuxRadar

The awesome debut episode of the TuxRadar podcast has been brightening up the interwebs at www.tuxradar.com/podcast for a while now – so long in fact that we’re about to produce episode 2.

For the Open Ballot section we’re revisiting a topic we’ve had loads of emails about recently; namely, the rise and rise of Ubuntu. Is it a force for good, unifying the masses behind a single banner? Or is it an inhibitor of free choice, herding us into the kind of narrow computing landscape associated with closed operating systems such as Windows and OS X?

Let us know your thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears, and we’ll shoehorn as many as we can into the next podcast.

Benchmarked: Firefox Javascript on Linux and Windows - and it's not pretty

TuxRadar

As you might have guessed from our domain name, TuxRadar.com, we're big fans of Linux. But being a fan of Linux doesn't necessarily make you a Linux fanboy - the kind of person who blindly ignores anything negative about their passion of choice as if that somehow made it better.

In fact, we think more Linux users need to admit there are some places where Linux isn't quite as good as its competitors. And one place where that's certainly true is in web browsing. Don't believe us? We did some simple JavaScript benchmarks of Firefox 3.0 using Windows and Linux to see how it performed across the platforms - and the results are pretty bleak for Linux.

Code Project: Build a Space Invaders clone

Code

Programming is great. You get to create something new, stimulate your brain and have fun along the way - especially if you're programming games. So we're going to show you how to write your very own Space Invaders lookalike called PyInvaders - but don't panic if you're tired of dull programming theory: take that palm away from your forehead. Here we'll focus on doing Cool Stuff(tm), making a game work instead of warbling about algorithms, data structures and object oriented polymorphism encapsulation. Or whatever.

Consequently, to follow this guide it helps if you have some prior programming experience. We're not going to explain everything in depth; if you've dabbled in some code before, and know your arrays from your elbow, you won't have any problems. For those completely new to programming, you might find some of the terminology a bit bamboozling, but you don't have to understand it all. Just take in what you can, grab the source code from the DVD and start experimenting by making changes yourself. That's how all great programmers got started!

So, as mentioned, we'll be making a mini Space Invaders clone. Our choice of programming language is Python due to its simple syntax and code cleanliness - it's very easy to read. PyGame, a language binding that wraps the SDL multi-media library around Python, will provide the graphical plumbing for our program, saving us from the chore of manipulating images by hand. Most distros have Python pre-installed, and PyGame is available in nigh-on every repository, so get the tools, open up a text editor, and let's get cracking...

TuxRadar originals

TuxRadar

If you've been too busy to visit the site every day, relax - here's our pick of unmissable TuxRadar original features from the last seven days.

  1. Want to switch distros without losing data? Here's how you do it
  2. Learn how to tweak KDE 4 to your liking
  3. Benchmarked: Ubuntu vs Vista vs Windows 7
  4. TuxRadar podcast episode 1 - don't miss it!
  5. From the archives: the best distros of 2000
  6. Try your hand at the Linux Pub Quiz - we bet you can't get them all right

Plus there's much more to come - add us to your bookmarks or subscribe to us on Identi.ca to make sure you don't miss a thing.

And remember, TuxRadar is brought to you by Linux Format magazine - the #1 source for Linux news, reviews, tutorials and wit, available from all good magazine outlets worldwide.

As HP dumps Linux for netbooks, Linutop powers on

Hardware

In the words of Frederic Baille, the CEO of Linutop, “an open source, Linux-based operating system is the ideal platform that allows users to get most of their devices. Additionally, open source allows running systems more cost-effective because users do not have to pay for an operating systems and applications from the established vendors. We are convinced that open source operating systems will become even more popular amongst many professional and semi-professional users in the future."

But then he would say that, wouldn't he - Linutop being a vendor of Linux micro-PCs, after all. Not that we mind - we rated it 9/10 in Linux Format issue 110, calling it "a flexible, powerful, silent and low-power device that could be used in many different situations."

Is it really such a bad thing if HP pulls support for Linux netbooks in the UK? Have your say below.

Get broadband on the move with Linux

Hardware

Mobile telecoms companies are now pushing "mobile broadband" in the form of a connection that uses the 3G mobile phone networks. While the bandwidth available can be variable, you don't need massive bandwidth for most tasks, as long as it has sufficient throughput for the main business tasks: email, Facebook and YouTube. That leaves us a few questions. Has mobile productivity come of age? How do these systems work? What sort of coverage and speeds do they provide? Most importantly, do they work with Linux?

We're going to try to answer all of these questions, using the USB mobile broadband dongles provided by three UK mobile telecom companies: O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone...

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