Code Project: Build a Space Invaders clone


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


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 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


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


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...

Awn - because Linux deserves to look cool


The industrious folks behind Awn, the Avant Window Navigator, have popped out a new release. "This represents a year's worth of bugfixes, performance improvements, and new applets", with oodles of back-end work to make the spiffy dock integrate better with desktops. We like where this is going -- sure, it's very heavily inspired by the Mac OS X dock, much like Gnome Do as we've covered before, but that's not a bad thing. To get Linux in the hands of new users, a bit of eye candy never goes amiss, so having this on the next round of Linux-powered netbooks would truly rock our world.

Yes, you can read us on


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The Linux Pub Quiz

The Linux Pub Quiz


How well do you know your free software people, apps and commands? Put yourself to the test and see just how much you know - we don't think even Linus Torvalds knows all these...

How to install Linux on a USB flash drive


Nothing can beat having a great Linux distro installed on a super-fast hard drive, with all your favourite apps configured just how you like them and all your files at your fingertips. But this has one major drawback: perfect as your setup is, it's also just one machine, and sooner or later you'll be forced to leave that computer behind and use something else. Something that might run Windows. Something that might not even have Firefox.

Because no one likes being parted from their data for too long, we present a smarter option: store it all on a USB flash drive...

Hudzilla Coding Academy: Project Three

From the archives: the best distros of 2000


Back in May 2000 the first issue of Linux Format magazine hit the newsstands. One of its features was a group test of Linux distributions, reflecting the state of play in Linux flavours at the time. If you fancy a trip down memory lane or just a quick look at how beautiful Linux wasn't all those years ago, we've dug out the original article complete with screenshots - read on!

How to turbo-charge your Linux desktop


Manufacturers and PC vendors would have you believe that there's only one way to speed up your machine: buy new kit. And then, in 18 months, buy new kit again. However, it's usually our software that's the real bottleneck. If you've been using Linux for a while, you'll already have discovered lighter alternatives to some of the platform's bloatfests - for example, using AbiWord and Gnumeric in the place of

But what about the desktop itself? That's where you can get some real speed gains...

Gnome Do does dock doozy


Whatever you think of Apple, there's no denying that the OS X interface has won over many fans with its glitzy effects. Gnome Do 0.8 introduces Docky, a Mac-style dock that lets you organise applications and folders in a spiffy-looking panel. And yes, it shows little lights beneath running programs. Hopefully Steve Jobs Tim Cook won't be too miffed.

Hudzilla Coding Academy: Project Two

Fedora 11 hits alpha


Codenamed Leonidas, the first alpha release of what will become Fedora 11 is now available, sporting a handful of new features. Along with Ext4 and Btrfs filesystem support, the alpha also includes easier firmware installation via PackageKit and a development snapshot of Gnome 2.26.

Group test: home finance software


In the past, Linux was not overly blessed with decent budgeting software, and installing GnuCash was regarded by many as the epitome of a descent into dependency hell. Thankfully, things have since changed, and anyone using a modern distribution could now have the software ready to go in just a few minutes.

Is SCO lost for words in 2009?


SCO's chief operating officer Jeff Hunsaker seems to be short on rhetoric right now, posting "Blah. Blah. Blah. Best regards" in the SCO Partner News newsletter. Presumably they are too busy finding new people to sue...

Reviewed: Popcorn Hour A-110


If you've ever tried to build yourself a multimedia PC for watching videos on a television, there are a few things to bear in mind. The PC needs to be as quiet as possible. Few people are going to accept the hum and whirr of a computer while you're trying to watch the conclusion to Miss Marple Investigates.

The machine also needs to be powerful enough to play CPU-intensive high-definition content, which means that the PC is going to generate plenty of heat, which will in turn require a beefy fan or two. Finally, you need to squeeze all of this technology into a case that isn't going to look out of place next to your television. Combine these three issues and building your own media PC seems harder than fitting the 1,186 surviving pieces of the Forma Urbis together. Which is where the stupidly named Popcorn Hour steps in.

Podcast Season 1 Episode 1


Title: Jesus Jelly

In this episode: Torvalds switches to Gnome, should we encourage people to run free software on a non-free OS, and is Mono a force for good or one big anti-Microsoft troll?

Benchmarked: Ubuntu vs Vista vs Windows 7


In depth: A lot of people have been chattering about the improvements Windows 7 brings for Windows users, but how does it compare to Ubuntu in real-world tests? We put Ubuntu 8.10, Windows Vista and Windows 7 through their paces in both 32-bit and 64-bit tests to see just how well Ubuntu faces the new contender. And, just for luck, we threw in a few tests using Jaunty Jackalope with ext4.

CrunchBang Linux hands-on


In depth: Ubuntu has a lot to answer for - in four short years it has risen to dominate the Linux landscape. It has also spawned several re-spins, including the excellent Mint Linux, and now CrunchBang Linux. The principal method of installing CrunchBang is by using a Live CD, which will enable you to get a taste of the distro before installing, and never before has this been more important than it is with CrunchBang.

For starters, it's designed to be minimalist in order to increase performance, but not to lose any functionality in the process. To aid this, the developers have opted to use the Openbox window manager, which is extremely minimalist.

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