Linux Format 163 On Sale Today - Linus Torvalds!


They say you should never meet your heroes, but we ignore their advice and travelled to the home of Linus Torvalds to ask him about Gnome, KDE, Android, Apple, Ubuntu and Google. It was pretty cool, and you can read everything that he had to say to us in this issue.

Open Ballot: Too many geeks spoil the OS?

Open Source

'Scratch your own itch' is a popular mantra for open source developers. And the principal is a good one: programmers working on software they want tend to produce good code. However, the itches of most coders are very different from the itches of most ordinary users.

The end result is that we have the best selection of text editors of any OS, yet (according to Miguel de Icaza) an audio framework that breaks so frequently it's not worth setting up.

Hack a Hockney with Gimp

Turn an ordinary digital image into a convincing pop-art masterpiece.

Turn an ordinary digital image into a convincing pop-art masterpiece.

Ubuntu vs Windows 8


Ubuntu and Canonical have come a long way since their 7.04 Feisty Fawn release, which followed Microsoft’s Windows Vista. Back then, Canonical failed to capitalise on Vista’s universal rejection by its users. But it's now 2012, and things are different. Does Ubuntu 12.04 have what it takes to position itself as a more usable alternative to Windows 8? We put both operating systems in front of 18 testers to find out...

Podcast Season 4 Episode 16


Title: Patent orgy

In this episode: Apple vs. Samsung woes. Mageia is getting very popular. Twitter joins the Linux Foundation and Miguel de Icaza thinks OS X killed the Linux desktop. Share in the wonder of our discoveries, hear Andrew and Graham rant and rave and feel part of the team in Open Ballot.

Open Ballot: should technical court cases be decided by technical people?

Open Source

In a recent court case, a jury took just three days to decide that Samsung have infringed all over Apple's patents. The decision was reached so quickly that it looks like they didn't even have time to check their maths.

Linux Format 162 On Sale Last Week - Best Distro 2012


Best distro 2012: we put the top contenders head to head.

Complete with 2 distro packed DVDs; 15 top distros, 14 of which are bootable!

Mint takes on Ubuntu in the classic battle between father and son. OpenSUSE Tumbleweed takes on the most popular rolling distro, Arch. Gnome desktops compete for dominance when we pit Fedora against Sabayon, and we fulfill our KDE obligations by looking at both Mageia 2 and Rosa - two closely related distributions that have yet to make their mark. It’s not close to being an exact science as there will be as many opinions as there are distributions. But it will be fun. Let the games commence!

Podcast Season 4 Episode 15


Title: And then there were three

In this episode: Abandoned by Jon, Graham and Effy, three brave LXFers soldier on. We discuss CDE, Debian, XFCE, iCloud, the Ubuntu App Showdown and the Liberated Pixel Cup. We discover Linux Mint 13, dd, the Cask Corner, and Stella (the distro, not the beer). We Get upset about the British transport system and Ubuntu's package management, and happy about Rasbian's setup tool. And we get your views on whether Linux can corner the gaming market. Oh, and apologies for the audio quality: there were some gremlins in the recording software. Normal service will be resumed in a fortnight.

Open Ballot: Will Linux become the next gaming platform?


Valve have announced that their upcoming release of Left 4 Dead 2 will run faster on Linux than Windows, and this got us thinking. Could Linux become the new gaming platform of choice?

Podcast Season 4 Episode 14


Title: Silver lining

In this episode: There's a problem with Nvidia's proprietary graphics drivers and it looks like Nokia might sell its interest in the Qt toolkit. There's another Linux audio framework on the horizon and we meet Linus Torvalds. Share in our discoveries, listen to fellow listeners' brains and hear your own opinions in our Open Ballot.

Gnome: Seen it all before


Jon says: A little update to the situation mentioned in our open ballot.

Christian Schaller and Emmanuele Bassi have both posted to Planet Gnome saying that while there are some issues with Gnome (sponsors have been lost, as have users, and they are understaffed), things have never really been any different in the Gnome project. A few choice quotes:

Open Ballot: What does Gnome have to do to win back users and developers?


A few months back, we asked whether or not KDE had become a third class citizen on desktop Linux, but maybe we got the question wrong.

A recent post on Planet Gnome revealed to the world that not all is well in the land of gnomes. Gnome and GTK, according to the post, are understaffed, with some key developers having left the project, Gnome has no real goals left, and perhaps most importantly, Gnome is losing mind and market share: distributions like Mint and Ubuntu are dropping Gnome and many important applications aren't planning to port to GTK 3.

While the discussion in the comments reveals that not all of the author's arguments stand up to criticism, there's truth in much of what is said. We want you to tell us, and the developers of Gnome, what do they need to do in order to win back users and developers?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and we'll read out the best in our internet famous open ballot.

Using a VPN


A common complaint for Linux users goes along the lines of: “I want to make service XYZ available over the internet but only to authorised users. How do I do this securely?” where XYZ could be VNC, NFS, Samba or a local web server. The solution to this problem depends on the exact service you want to forward and what methods it has for authentication and security. Some are better than others, but it still means potentially having to take care of several services and making sure all are secure.

Linux Format 161 On Sale Yesterday - Upgrade Your PC Today!


Upgrade today: take the fear out of buying new hardware.

We've been benchmarking, testing and generally doing time-consuming things for this issue, sifting through piles of SSD's graphics cards and other bits and bobs to find what works best with Linux. To be honest, it's been a massive pain in the behind, which is a good thing: we've taken one for the team, so when you come to upgrade your Linux machine you'll be able to stand on our shoulders and things will Just Work.

Podcast Season 4 Episode 13

Title: Uncle Effy

In this episode: Steam'd Penguins. New hope for MeeGo. Buy loads of Raspberry Pis. Redphone is now open source. Project Sputnik has entered beta. Ouya open source console breaks Kickstarter records. Hear our on topic discoveries, your own opinions in the Open Ballot and some ranting and raving.

Open Ballot: What's your ideal distribution look like?


Package managers, desktops, installers, multimedia codecs, proprietary driver support, start up and shutdown, and release models. All these things, and many more, separate the different distributions from one another. In this week's open ballot, we want to know if you were king for a day, what combination of components would you pluck out of which distributions to recombine into your perfect operating system?

Tell us what you think in the comments, and as ever, we'll discuss a selection in this week's podcast.

Build your own CCTV system with Zoneminder


The three main reasons for surveillance are security, safety and nosiness. Whether you need a visual check on a sleeping baby, or a video of a stranger putting your cat in a wheelie bin, Zoneminder fits the bill. Zoneminder is a sophisticated camera manager, including support for multiple image sources, motion detection, email alerts, and X10 automation. It supports most V4L (Video for Linux) devices, and can control network IP cameras. The web interface makes it ideal for use on our headless server.

In the following tutorial, we will take you through the process required to build a headless surveillance server which can manage image feeds, upload images to another PC, and is accessible from the internet, even using a mobile phone.

PHP Coding Academy: Build an online calendar


In the last tutorial, we covered the basics of PHP, including how the language was created and subsequently grew. We were also introduced to various parts of the language, such as variables, strings, integers and PHP’s internal date() function. In this tutorial, we’ll expand on those parts, but we’ll also introduce the concept of arrays and functions to make a fully working calendar.

Podcast Season 4 Episode 12


Title: Higgs Boson

In this episode: The Higgs Boson has been discovered-ish. An extra nano second has wreaked havoc on Linux servers. Diablo III runs on Wine. Ubuntu drops Grub 2 over secure boot worries, and your comments from the last podcast are internet famous. Hear our better-than-average discoveries and your own opinions, in their original format, in our Open Ballot.

Complete Set of LXF Back Issues For Sale

We just came across a post on our forums, where vcoen is selling his complete set of Linux Format back issues. If anyone is interested or looking for missing issues to add to your collection, take a look.

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