xdotool: Script your mouse


Back in the day, we were all told that computers would make our lives easier. They’d automate everything, and we’d have to give them only the minimum of input to get extraordinary results. Well, the calendar on the wall of LXF Towers says that it’s officially The Future(™) now, so how far have we come? Oh wait, we’re still spending ages pushing a plastic box around to move a cursor on the screen to point at fiddly little icons. For all the advancements we’ve seen in GUI technologies over the years, we still spend far too long clicking bits and bobs to get work done.

Podcast Season 4 Episode 8


Title: Odysseus Returns

In this episode: Electronic Arts and Canonical make an important announcement. Microsoft won't allow Firefox on Windows RT. Ubuntu will ship on 5% of PCs worldwide next year and Linux Format magazine gets into the news. As ever, share our discoveries, hear our rants and raves and listen to your own opinions in the Open Ballot.

LPI: Learn Linux and get certified. Part 3: filesystem layout, partitioning and shared libraries


Guess how many files you end up with on your hard drive after a single-CD Debian 6 installation. Go on – we’ll wait. Well, the answer is 82,698. That seems almost unbelievable – and impossible to manage – but fortunately the Linux filesystem layout handles this vast number of files well, providing everything with a sensible place to live. You don’t need to know what each individual file does in great detail, but from its location you can determine its overall purpose in the grand scheme of things.

Open Ballot: Should Apache abandon OpenOffice?


In 2010, Libre Office, a new fork of OpenOffice was created. The main goal was to return control of the premiere free office suite to the community and creating new processes that would reinvigorate its development. By all accounts, it succeeded. Developers are getting behind the project, as are companies, and it seems that there's something of a feature gap opening up between the two projects.

This would be a straight forward good news story if it wasn't for the fact that the Apache Foundation took on development of OpenOffice and have continued to develop and support it.

Is competition good, or is the split effort just silly and a waste of resources? Given that Libre Office now has so much momentum, should the projects be merged and all efforts focussed on creating one amazing free office suite?

Let us know what you think in the comments and we'll read out a selection in this week's podcast!

Learn to Hack pulled from Barnes and Noble


We've just learned that issue 154 of Linux Format, the one with 'Learn to Hack' on the cover, was removed from Barnes and Noble bookstores in the US after a complaint was made. We'd like to apologise if you were affected and couldn't find a copy.

As a reminder, we’ve put the contents of the main feature online: http://www.tuxradar.com/content/learn-hack

Here's a quote from Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram Newsletter from August 2003 where he announces his book 'Beyond Fear', and explains why demystifying security is so important:

“This is a book for everyone. I believe that security, as a topic, is something we all can understand. And even more importantly, I believe that the subject is just too critical, too integral a part of our everyday lives, to be left exclusively in the hands of experts. By demystifying security, I hope to encourage all of us to think more sensibly about the topic, to contribute to what should be an open and informed public discussion of security, and to participate vocally in ongoing security negotiations in our civic, professional, and personal lives.”

We feel exactly the same, which is why we ran that feature.

LPI: Learn Linux and get certified. Part 2: booting


You press the power button on your PC. A bunch of messages scroll by, or perhaps a flashy animation if you’re using a desktop-oriented distro, and finally you arrive at a login prompt. What exactly happens in the mean time? That’s what we’ll be explaining in this instalment of our School of Linux series.

Snoopers' Charter?

Ben writes:
As listeners to the podcast will know, I've written to my MP (Peter Luff, the Conservative MP for Mid Worcestershire) to protest against the proposed legislation allowing the UK government to intercept electronic communication in real time. He's written back to me with the official government position which I've included here (with his permission).

Podcast Season 4 Episode 7


Title: UCubed

If you're in the UK this Saturday, why not head over to Manchester for the fantastic UCubed open source unconference. There are only 40 tickets left!

In this episode: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS has been released. Steam might be coming to Linux again. Google Drive should be on Linux, but isn't. And Linus wins the Millenium Technology Prize. Hear our compressed discoveries and your own opinions in both the Open Ballot and Speak Your Brains sections.

Linux Format 158 On Sale Today - Beat the CIA


Keep prying eyes out of your Linux box – including those of the CIA!

There`s always someone trying to get into your data, whether that be an insurance company wanting to find out how much of a risk you are, a non-evil search engine company wanting to target its advertising at you or a government agency trying to extend the powers of the state onto your hard drive. But help is at hand: with our ultimate guide to privacy and data protection you can keep them all out of your /home folder, whatever their nefarious intentions.

Open Ballot: GNU/Linux or Linux?


That dreaded question came up again recently in the magazine. Jason Irwin wrote to us protesting that we had used 'Linux' as opposed to 'GNU/Linux' in our beginners guide; Andrew replied with a robust defense of our usage. The issue was picked up on in the Linux Format forums, and now there's a poll running. Perfect timing, we thought, for our fortnightly open ballot. So, readers, let us know your thoughts in the comments, and do take the time to vote in the poll!

LPI: Learn Linux and get certified. Part 1: Hardware


How do you prove just how good your Linux knowledge is? To your friends and family, it’s not so hard – set someone up with a Linux box, let them see you doing a few intricate operations at the command line and they’ll soon be pretty convinced that you’ve got the nous. For companies, however, it’s not so easy. They can’t necessarily tell from a CV, covering letter or interview whether your brain is swelling with useful information on package management, the Linux boot process and so forth. That’s something that has to be confirmed somewhere else.

Seasons 1 and 2 are back!


After a bit of a delay, we just wanted to let you know that seasons 1 and 2 of the podcast are back! After nervously shuffling some files around on our server, hoping not to mess up an rm command, we've now got everything fixed so the error that caused the last crash should be banished to the past.

That said, if anyone notices any other missing files around here, do drop us a line!

Podcast Season 4 Episode 6


Title: Skeleton Crew

In this episode: Kubuntu has a new sponsor. Many OS X users are suffering from a trojan called Flashback. The awesome Raspberry Pi has passed CE testing. Microsoft is now a significant contributor to the Linux kernel. There's a major update to MythTV, Android has been merged with the Linux kernel 3.3 and the UK government wants unprecedented access to your online life. As ever, share our discoveries and hear your own opinions in the fabulous Open Ballot.

Open Ballot: You've got to fight, for your right, for privacy.

The government of the United Kingdom has proposed legislation which will allow them to monitor their citizens online activity in real time: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17576745. This, in our opinion, is a massive and unwarranted intrusion into our lives.

Of course, there are ways of evading this snooping (like Tor), but now is the time for political solutions so that technical ones don't become necessary.

Hello, Microsoft


Jon says:

This feels weird to write. Over the past few years, Microsoft seem to have been doing a lot of good work.

Windows Phone 7, despite struggling to pick up market share, is an attractive, innovative mobile OS and is available on some very good looking hardware - Nokia Lumia 900, for instance. Internet Explorer, too, seems to have been coming on leaps and bounds, with much better support for standards and nice privacy features. In fact, according to Ars Technica, IE has actually seen an increase in market share over the past year.

Presentation Skills Training Course


Graham says:

Just a quick heads-up: I'm hoping to head over to London in a couple of weeks to catch Damian Conway's 'Presentation Skills Training Course' (16th April). Widely known as a Perl hacker, Damian is also one of the most entertaining and educational presenters I've had the good fortune to see, and it's going to be fascinating to hear his particular bent of insight as he tries to coerce a room full of strangers to engage with their audience. If I come away with a flake of his talent, I'll be happy. If there's anything you'd like me to ask Damian, leave a comment, and you can get further information on the course from here: http://www.flossuk.org/Events/PresentationSkills2012

Linux Format now available on Ubuntu’s Software Centre


A quick update: we’ve uploaded digital versions of the latest issue and our previous issue to Ubuntu’s Software Centre, and we’ll try to do the same for future issues as well.

Issue 157 is here: https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/lxf157

And issue 156 is here: https://apps.ubuntu.com/cat/applications/lxf156

Podcast Season 4 Episode 5


Title: Penguin Jazz Cafe

In this episode: Even more Raspberry Pi delay. Munich saves the euro by switching to Linux. Vivaldi has sold out, Gnome 3.4 has been released and Microsoft releases lots of ASP stuff under the Apache 2.0 licence. Share our discoveries, hear us rant and rave and study your own opinions in the internet famous, Open Ballot.

Linux Format 157 On Sale Today - Linux Wins!


If it’s brilliant, Linux had it first.

Find out just how awesome your machine really is. We're not idiots. We know that Apple's OS X is great, and Windows 8 is shaping up nicely too. But we also know that all of the cutting-edge tech and brilliant ideas that are forming the next generation of computer operating systems were all available in Linux before Microsoft's 3D desktop effects were a twinkle in Bill Gates' eye.

Open Ballot: Do you care about software freedom, or is it just because it's free?


It's time for another open ballot! This week, we want to know, why do you use free software? Is it because you think the values espoused by the four software freedoms are important in and of themselves, because you think its technically superior to the proprietary alternatives, or just because it's free? We're open to other possibilities too, so let us know what you think in the comments.

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