The tragedy of Creative Commons


In depth: What if we told you that not everyone welcomes the growth of Creative Commons? And we're not referring to the RIAA and their friends - instead, many people openly fear Creative Commons as little more than a friendly face on unwelcome copyright laws, saying that it has too many varieties to be easily understood, and that, worst of all, it gives people who otherwise hadn't even considered copyright before a perhaps unwelcome taste of the Western legal system. Marco Fioretti reports...

Linux tips every geek should know


What separates average Linux users from the super-geeks? Simple: years spent learning the kinds of hacks, tricks, tips and techniques that turn long jobs into a moment's work. If you want to get up to speed without having to put in all that leg-work, we've rounded up over 50 easy-to-learn Linux tips to help you work smarter and get the most from your computer. Enjoy!

How to fix Linux boot problems


Booting, or "bootstrapping" for us older folk, is that deeply mysterious sequence of operations performed by your computer between the moment when you switch it on and the moment it's ready for you to log in. During this time, all kinds of incomprehensible messages scroll up the screen, but they're not something you usually take much notice of, and most linux distros cover them up with a pretty splash screen and a nice encouraging progress bar. This is all fine, of course, until it stops working.

Error messages explained


In depth: Some people are scared of Linux because the error messages it produces seem to imply the coming of the apocalypse. And there's a great number of them. If you search for the word 'Error' on the Linux Format forums, you get more than 150 pages of results. That's a lot of people experiencing a lot of problems!

The biggest difficulty for these users isn't the number of error messages; it's trying to get something useful out of them. What does 'Kernel Oops' mean, for example, or 'PCI Can't Allocate'? Linux error messages are obtuse, difficult to understand and rarely helpful. Which is a pity, because the vast majority of problems can be solved quite easily, and a considerable number involve the same problems recurring again and again. In business speak, these are low-hanging fruit. And it's these problems we want to target.

You shouldn't need to be a Linux expert to get your machine to boot, or a programmer to play a movie file. Yet it's this level of expertise that most error messages seem to assume of their users. We want to demystify these common errors, and provide solutions that should help ordinary Linux users side-step the problem and get their machine back on track. We've chosen areas we think are the most problematic. These include booting problems, general software usage, the filesystem, networking and distro installation.

We've picked a few of the most common errors from each, and explained what's happening along with the solution. The intention is that even if the problems don't apply to you, you can get an idea of how and why Linux error messages might seem arcane and a little intimidating. And hopefully, this will leave you with the knowledge to find a better solution that might help you to solve your own problems.

Hudzilla Coding Academy: Project Four

How you can help Windows users quit


What’s wrong with using Windows? As with other addictions, informed recreational use has few drawbacks, but continual dependence on particular software is a different matter. If you simply can’t boot a computer without using Windows or can’t get anything meaningful done without it, then you’re an addict who needs to be weaned off this habit.

Most addicts will tell you that kicking a habit needs to be done in stages and that the support of friends and relatives is vital. This feature will look at a step-by-step process for giving up Windows and moving to an alternative that doesn’t involve being locked into using one vendor.

20 all-new tips for KDE 4.2


The road from KDE 3.5 to KDE 4 has been a long and winding one. It's had its bumps and several false summits, but there's no doubt that over the last 12 months things have dramatically improved for KDE lovers everywhere.

But KDE is still KDE, and that means that many of its best features are undocumented and undisclosed. Which is why now is the best possible time for a feature crammed full of the best tricks we can find for getting the most out of KDE 4. It doesn't matter if you're a new convert, an experienced user, or a potential switcher, you'll find something here that will make you feel a micron of pride of what open source can achieve.

Download the Linux Starter Pack


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!

Lenny has landed!


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


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


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!

Master - a Linux Format Special

Are you looking to master 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 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 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


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


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?


The awesome debut episode of the TuxRadar podcast has been brightening up the interwebs at 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


As you might have guessed from our domain name,, 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.

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.

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...

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