Linux Format issue 143 is on sale now


At heart, we're all system administrators. That doesn't mean we all have big beards and spend our time reminiscing about punch cards - it just means we all have to do things like securing our networks, accomplishing tasks at the command line and so forth. With this in mind, this month's cover feature is all about sysadmin secrets: tips from the pros to make your Linux box faster, safer and smarter.

Ask Richard Stallman anything!


Well, within reason. In a few days we're going to meet up with the great man, the founder of the GNU project and free software movement as we know it. Never one to mince his words, RMS has strong views on software freedom and has campaigned rigourously to stop us being locked into a world of proprietary code and DRM.

We'd love to put a selection of your questions to Richard, so please drop them into the comments. We'll pick the best and print his responses in a forthcoming issue of Linux Format. Fire away!

Open ballot: does Qt have a future?


Nokia's recent bombshell announcement that it would team up with Microsoft has generated much brow-furrowing in the free software community. The Finnish mobile giant claims that it still plans to launch some kind of MeeGo-related product this year, and that Qt has an important role to play in it. But can we really believe that? Will Qt be alive and healthy 12 months from now, or is it really destined for the dustbin when the Micronokia deal gets into full swing?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and we'll read out the best in our upcoming podcast. Unless you call yourself Anonymous Penguin of course, which is so Web 1.0.

Subs gifts: you decide!*


You've seen LXF binders, stickers, USB keys, pint mugs and more, and now we want to offer our latest subscription gift: pin badges.

Er, but the thing is, we're not sure what to put on them. So we thought we'd ask the people who know best: you. So please, tell us what sort of design you'd like to see on an LXF pin badge and we'll take the four most popular ideas to the Big Budget Boss and make it happen**.

* Kind of.

** The MikeOS kitty already has one vote.

Open Ballot: will you attend a Linux event this year?


From friendly little LUG gatherings at the pub, through to massive conferences sponsored by technology giants, there are loads of Linux events taking place throughout the year. We want to know: will you be attending anything this year? If so, what sort of event is it, and what do you plan to do there? If not, why not - is it due to time limitations, or distance, or reluctance to get into a whopping great KDE vs Gnome debate?

Please let us know in the comments, and we'll read out the best bunch in our upcoming podcast. Don't be a square and just call yourself Anonymous Penguin though - you're an individual.

Linux Format issue 142 is on sale now!


Some things make us cry: kittens with sad faces, chopping onions, and the cost of rail tickets in the United Kingdom. But nothing makes us cry as much as losing a file, especially when it's a prized photo or piece of writing that can't be reconstructed without vast effort. So in this month's cover feature, we show you how to never lose a single file again. Our tips, tools and strategies for making backups will ensure that your data never goes walkabouts and you always have a spare copy, just in case.

The Linux Convert Corner


Share your Linux conversion success stories here! If you've switched your friends, family or workplace to Linux, we want to hear about it. Please post below! (This page originally started as an Open Ballot for our podcast, but it became so full of positive reports that we want to keep it as a permanent feature.)

Open Ballot: will you be buying a tablet in 2011?


Happy new year! As we prepare to kick-off a new series of the TuxRadar Podcast, we want your musings for the Open Ballot section. For episode 1 we're asking: will you be buying one of those new-fangled tablet computers (or "media consumption devices") this year? Maybe the shiny videos of Android 3 have whetted your appetite, or perhaps you'd rather have a full-on Linux installation with all the Gnome/KDE bells and whistles. Alternatively, you could be getting tempted by Apple's famed Reality Distortion Field, or you just think that tablets are a silly fad that will go away soon.

Whatever the case, we want to know! Leave your comment here and we'll read out the best/funniest/most rhyming comments in the podcast. And please, for the love of Tux, give yourself a more interesting name than Anonymous Penguin...

Open Ballot: what was the biggest Linux event in 2010?


We're gearing up to record our last podcast of 2010, and in this episode we'll be looking back on a very eventful year for the Linux community. In our Open Ballot - which isn't really an Open Ballot this time, we'll admit - we want you to tell us: what was the biggest event in the Linux world for you? Maybe it was the Mageia fork of Mandriva, or perhaps it was the release of MeeGo 1.0. Or maybe Ubuntu's decision to transition away from X is your killer moment of the last 12 months.

Whatever it is, let us know in the comments, and we'll read out the funniest and/or most interesting and/or most Smiths-referencing on air in the show. Unless you're boring and just call yourself Anonymous Penguin, of course.

Open Ballot: will 2011 be the year of Linux on the desktop?


OK, so it's a bit of a clichéd question, but with the awesome developments that have taken place in the Linux world over the last year, it's worth asking again. Will 2011 - finally - be the year that Linux makes serious inroads into the desktop space? Are all the pieces in place to mount a major assault on Microsoft and Apple? Or are we barking up the wrong tree, and we should be looking to the mobile space with Android and Chrome OS for Linux's future?

Let us know your musings, and we'll read out the best in our upcoming podcast. And as always, add a bit of spice to your life and don't just call yourself Anonymous Penguin.

Open Ballot: should KDE and Qt libraries merge?


"Let's merge Qt and the KDE development platform. Let's put all KDE libraries, support libraries, and platform modules into Qt." So says Cornelius Schumacher, long-time KDE coder and the current president of KDE e.V. Such a bold move would be a "massive effort and require huge changes", he says - and the community would have plenty to talk about as well. See here for the full story, and then let us know what you think for our next podcast. Is this a good move to simplify the Linux desktop stack and eliminate redundancy, or are the projects simply far too separate and distinct?

Oh, and please give yourself a slightly more imaginative name than Anonymous Penguin if you want your comment to be read out. Don't just do what the man tells you to.

Open Ballot: do you support Ubuntu's move to Unity?


This is a big one: the world's most popular Linux distribution is getting a radical desktop overhaul in 11.04. Ubuntu will switch from the standard Gnome layout, as used in all previous desktop releases, to the Unity interface featured in the netbook edition. As we prepare to record our next podcast, we want your opinions on the change: is this a bold leap forward for Linux, giving it a unique GUI to clearly differentiate it from Windows and Mac OS X? Or are changes like this too risky, and Ubuntu should stick with the tried-and-tested Gnome layout?

Let us know what you think, and give yourself a more interesting name than Anonymous Penguin if you want us to read your comment out!

Open Ballot: are you excited by Panasonic's Jungle?


Coming just a mere week after our last recording (sorry, we're struggling to get back on schedule!), it's time for another open ballot question where you - yes, you! - get your views read out on our podcast. This time our topic is Panasonic's "Jungle", an all-new, Linux-running device designed to be the perfect platform for online gaming. Some have described it as a non-starter, others have said that the choice of Linux could be a problem, but what do you think: is the Jungle a worthy entrant for Linux into the mainstream gaming marketplace, or is it just another attempt to make quick profit using free software?

Our standard rules apply: put a name on your post so we can read it out, and write interesting stuff!

Free Linux discs for schools and LUGs!


Note: due to the quick responses, this offer is now finished, so that everyone gets a good share of discs!

Here at Linux Format HQ we've got oodles of spare discs from previous issues of the magazine. Instead of sending them all to the recyclers, we'd love to get them in the hands of prospective Linux users. So, if you work in education, run a Linux User Group or have any other opportunity to spread the word of free software, email Mike DOT Saunders AT futurenet DOT com with your address and we'll put a collection in the post. Some of the distros are a bit older than the latest releases (eg Fedora 12) but they're nonetheless full of great Linux software.

Open Ballot: is Graham Morrison wrong?


Our kid Graham has had a rough time of it on the internet recently. His article for our sister site TechRadar, "The trouble with Linux: there's too much choice", sparked off a few flamewars. Most notably, Caitlyn Martin over on the O'Reilly blog delivered a no-minced-words response: "Are you intimidated by breakfast cereal?".

We want to know what you think, for the podcast we're about to record. Read both sides of the argument and let us know. Is Graham on the right track, and the vast range of options in the Linux world is confusing for newcomers? Or is he wrong, and having many choices of distros and packaging systems is like having choices of breakfast cereals? Post your thoughts below - and use a name other than Anonymous Penguin if you want to sound like an awesome person in our podcast.

Open Ballot: what's your favourite Linux improvement?


We're gearing up to record our next podcast, and we want you - yes YOU! - to contribute your views in our Open Ballot section. This time the question is, out of all the changes we've seen in the Linux world in the last year, what's your favourite? If you want to go big and say "all of Fedora 13", or if you want to go small and cite the SSE improvements introduced into Glibc 2.11, we don't mind as long as your stick to our simple rules: keep it short, and use a name other than "Anonymous Penguin."

So, if you want your opinion in our podcast, post a comment below!

Open Ballot: what would you change about Linux?


We're gearing up to record a new episode of our great Linux podcast, and you - yes, you! - get to have a say. The question we're asking is this: if you had the resources, what single thing would you change? Would you merge KDE and Gnome? Would you introduce a new package manager? (eek!) Would you find all mentions of "Linux" and replace it with GNU/Linux?

If you'd like your views read out on our podcast, please post your answer below. Make sure you include a name, and please avoid running off a large list - pick one thing and one thing only!

Linux Format wallpapers


Updated: We've had a number of reader requests to make available some of the imagery we use in Linux Format magazine. Naturally we're happy to share with you all, so we've put this page online where we'll upload artwork as it's requested.

The URL for this page is fixed so you can come back here and check for updates later.

Open Ballot: freedom or function?


For our next podcast, we want to know whether the primary reason you use open source software is for its freedom or for its function. It's a choice between the freedom to potentially redistribute and modify the code, and the festival of functionality that can be found within most open source software when compared against other tools at the same price.

We realise that, for most, the answer is likely to be a mixture of both, but we're interested in which you think is the most important. If you'd like your views read out on our podcast, please post your answer below. Anonymous Penguins post at their own peril.

Open Ballot: are you excited by HP's Slate?


With the news that HP intends to use Linux-based WebOS on its Slate tablet, do you think this is Linux's big chance to take on Apple's iPad, or do you think WebOS on Palm Pre didn't do enough to justify you parting with your cash to buy a Slate? Or do you perhaps think that an Android tablet has a better chance of success?

If you'd like your views read out on our podcast, please post your answer below and make sure you use a name other than Anonymous Penguin.

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