Open Ballot: would you hire the FSF for the role of Linux PR department?

TuxRadar

The Free Software Foundation has always done a great job defending the various free software licences, promoting their use, and asking for Linux to be referred to as GNU/Linux. But we're asking whether, regardless of its good work in this field, the FSF has helped free software grow or whether its hard stance against proprietary software has harmed Linux up-take. Add your comments below, preferably answering "Yes, they're the voice of free software" or "No, I prefer open source and Linux without GNU."

Get a lifetime of Linux learning for under $110

LXF

If you wanted to learn about Linux, you might think spending $40 on a book is a smart investment. Well, we're here to tell you in our Entirely Unbiased Way that you're wrong, because we've got a better deal: for US$107 we'll give you 2,119 tutorials, features and reviews from Linux Format magazine to download as beautiful DRM-free PDFs. And whether you're in Canada, Australia, France, the UK or indeed anywhere else in the world, we've got an equally great price for you too.

You're probably thinking that's a great deal, but wait - there's more! Your money also gets you 13 monthly issues of Linux Format magazine for the next year, which means you get the magazine delivered to your door every issue wherever you are in the world, as well as all those magazines available to download as PDFs if you want them. Once your subscription expires, those PDFs you downloaded as still yours to keep, because we hate DRM as much as you. Plus, you also get our awesome free DVD with every issue, or you can download it through our BitTorrent server.

Still not convinced? Here we've put a list of just some - maybe half - of all the incredible content you get for your money. Feast your eyes on what you're missing out on, then, when you simply can't bear it any longer, click the button to subscribe online.

Subscribe to Linux Format magazine

(PS: if you were wondering, it's $107 because of the conversion rate between Queen Elizabeth's very own British pounds and the US dollar - it fluctuates, see. If you wait two weeks it might get more expensive!)

Open Ballot: will you take KDE 4.4 for a spin?

TuxRadar

KDE 4.4 is here, bringing with it improved support for social networking and online collaboration, plus thousands of bug fixes. The question is, do you intend to try it out? Post a comment below with your thoughts!

Usually our answers come down to a simple yes or no, but here you're welcome to prevaricate as much as you want - are you going to upgrade to 4.4 simply because your distro will sooner or later? Are you still using 3.5 and are going to stay there until you die? Are you a Gnome user tempted by all the new features, but unsure about switching desktop? Does the sheer number of bugs fixed scare you a little, or is it all progress in the right direction?

As per usual, we'll read out the best comments in our podcast, but please do make sure you leave a name other than Anonymous Penguin!

Learn Python with our free tutorials

TuxRadar

If you're a beginner who wants to learn Python programming, you've come to the right place. If you're a more advanced coder who wants to push their skills even further, we've got your covered there too. Below you'll find our list of code projects for Python: tutorials that help you learn Python without boring you to death with hello world nonsense - we want to help you learn how to Make Cool Things, and you'll learn along the way.

We'll be adding more tutorials as time goes by, but for now just jump in - click here to visit our Python tutorials page and get started!

(PS: if you're looking for all our coding tutorials regardless of language, visit our programming tutorials section)

OpenBallot: Ubuntu + Yahoo = evil?

TuxRadar

As you probably already know, Firefox in Ubuntu 10.04 will use Yahoo as its default search engine because Canonical has struck a revenue-sharing deal with Yahoo. This potentially leaves us with a small dilemma: if you're an Ubuntu user then you probably want to help support the distro at least a little, but on the flip side Microsoft Bing is the search engine behind Yahoo, which means using the default means supporting Microsoft.

So, we're looking for your input: will you give Yahoo+Bing a try and help Ubuntu a little, or will changing to Google be the first thing you do on any 10.04 machine? Perhaps more importantly, is Canonical's move a step away from its free software roots while also arguably providing users with inferior search results by default, or just sound business sense?

Post your comments below, make your answers clear, and please provide a name other than Anonymous Penguin otherwise we're likely to ignore you. (NB: we'll be releasing the first podcast of season 2 on Thursday.)

Now available: Hudzilla Coding Academy in print!

Code

If you've been following the Hudzilla Coding Academy - our free Mono and C# tutorial series - you'll be pleased to know that it's now available as a special edition magazine, on-sale worldwide and available online.

The magazine version includes another six all-new projects (taking the total to 15), many corrections to the original online text, plus dozens of new tips that take your knowledge further. So, if you're looking to learn to program and aren't sure where to start, Paul Hudson's Coding Academy takes you from zero to hero with minimum theory with maximum fun.

On the included DVD you'll find all the software you need to get started, pre-configured with all the source code from the projects in the magazine. In short, it's all you need to get started and take control of your computer today.

Click the Buy Online button below to buy the magazine now wherever you are in the world, or click here to see what's inside the magazine.

 

Win a free subscription to Linux Format

LXF

We just stumbled across this video of a happy reader getting his copy of the world's best Linux magazine, and we think he deserves a free year's subscription to Linux Format for his trouble. We're always happy to see this sort of thing, so if you upload to YouTube a video of yourself reading/enjoying/reviewing your copy of LXF then send us a link in the comments below, we'll pick the coolest/funniest video and give its creator a free year's subscription too.

(PS: if you're already a subscriber, we'll add a free year to your existing subscription. RPCJerkobi: drop us an email at paul.hudson@futurenet.com to claim your prize)

Linux Format issue 127 - don't miss it!

LXF


Here's a quick heads-up about the latest issue of Linux Format. We're giving it a special mention here because we're expecting it to sell out quickly! Why, you ask? Well, just like every issue it's packed to the gills with Linux and free software reviews, features and guides, but this month we've gone the extra mile:

  • A monster double-sided, 8GB DVD with Ubuntu 9.10 (special Linux Format remaster with 300 extra packages), Mandriva 2010 and OpenSUSE 11.2
  • A free, bonus wallchart: one side is crammed with quick Linux tips, shortcuts and links, while the other side has awesome Ubuntu artwork for your wall

LXF 127 is available in UK newsagents today, and for US-based readers it should be stocked in your nearest Barnes & Noble or Borders soon!

Update: copies have already sold out at our online store, so you'll need to buy it in brick-and-mortar stores instead. Heck, buy five, put them on eBay, and make yourself a tidy profit.

Update part 2: we've got some more copies available in our online store, so grab one before they sell out again!

Open Ballot: is it good to sue for GPL violations?

TuxRadar

The Software Freedom Law Center has announced a lawsuit against 14 companies, including Best Buy, JVC and Samsung, for GPL violations relating to BusyBox, which is a GPL-licensed bundle of Unix tools. The SFLC said it "gave each defendant ample time to comply with the requirements of the license", but what do you think: is suing necessary in today's world, or does it reflect badly on the Free Software community? Moreover, should we be encouraging the naming and shaming of offenders, or does it generate bad feeling towards the GPL?

As per usual, the best comments will be used in our podcast, so please leave a name other than Anonymous Penguin, please state your view clearly, then back it up with some sort of logical reasoning.

Open Ballot: Chrome OS: zero or hero?

TuxRadar

Now we all know that Google's Chrome OS really is little more than a full-screen Chrome browser window running on top of Linux, it's time to weigh in with your views for our podcast: is Google onto something with the super-slim and light design, or do users want more than a window onto the web in their personal computers? Furthermore, do you think having Chrome OS around is going to be a good thing for the growing Linux netbook market?

Add your comment below, preferably answering either "Yes, Google has the right idea" or "No, I need more than just a browser" plus some sort of explanation/wit/assorted cleverness, along with a username that isn't Anonymous Penguin, and we'll read the best out when we record the podcast.

Open Ballot: Microsoft/News Corp deal - would you switch to Bing?

TuxRadar

Word has it that Microsoft is in talks with News Corp to discuss paying the publisher to de-index its websites from Google. With Redmond struggling to get a major foothold in the search market, the company is seeking to have content exclusively indexed on Bing - content from Rupert Murdoch's vast media empire (encompassing The Sun, The Times, FOX News, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal...).

Now, imagine that this deal goes ahead. Technically, hypothetically, Bing would be able to turn up search results that Google couldn't. Would you switch to Bing? Would you stay with Google? What matters more: the number of search results you can get, or the company operating the search engine? Let us know and we'll discuss the results in our podcast.

TuxRadar by the numbers 2.0: the rise of Karmic

TuxRadar

Many moons ago we posted some stats about TuxRadar, explaining the breakdown of our visitors, which pages were proving popular and more. That article proved popular enough with you folks that we think it's time to rinse and repeat to see what we find this time. But - thanks to sifting through 32GB of logs - we have some even more interesting numbers for you this time, showing that Ubuntu 9.10 adoption is outpacing that for both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard...

TuxRadar originals

TuxRadar

If you've been too busy playing with [Ubuntu 9.10/OpenSUSE 11.2/Mandriva 2010 - delete as appropriate] to check in with us every day for your latest Linux learnings, never fear: here's our pick of the best that you missed:

Plus: Christmas is coming, so it's time to deploy pester power to have your loved ones buy you a year's subscription to the world's best Linux magazine, Linux Format. Yes, we put a lot of content here on TuxRadar every month, but it's only about 1/5th of what we publish in the magazine, and with 13 issues a year delivered to your door it's the easiest way to keep yourself overflowing with new tutorials to try, new apps to play with and new news to be, er, new.

In addition, all our subscribers to get access to over 2000 PDFs from back issues, with new PDFs uploaded as soon as they leave for the printers, plus BitTorrent access to our DVDs.

We have special Christmas subscription rates online for the next ten days, so place your order now to avoid disappointment:

(NB: Some people may find that the subscriptions deal we include in our awesome Linux podcast gives them an even lower price - it pays to shop around, folks!)

Win one of two free annual subscriptions: if you want the chance to get a year's supply of LXF for the princely sum of $0, all you have to do is retweet our message: Identica users can find it here and Twitter users can find it here. Yes, you're eligible regardless of where you live in the world. If an existing subscriber wins, we'll tack a year onto their existing subscription and send them a freebie for being so awesome. Good luck!

Open Ballot: should we all be contributing to open source?

TuxRadar

Everyone loves the New Distro feeling: great new features, more efficiency, fewer bugs (usually!) and general computer improvement. But how many people actually take the time to contribute back to the free software movement? Given the vast number of ways that people of differing skill levels are able to take part in the community, should we be actively encouraging people to help out more, even if it's only a small thing such as correcting typos in documentation or by donating money?

Remember, this is the Open Ballot for our podcast: please include a name with your comment, and please answer the question "yes" or "no" along with some sort of reasoning. Also, if you have contributed to free software - either by helping in forums, submitting patches to someone else's work or even perhaps releasing your own open-source project, please include that too!

Solve your own Linux problems

TuxRadar

We've been relatively quiet over the last few weeks, because we've been busy pulling together 60 issues of Linux Format magazine, converting all the reader questions and answers about Linux into web-friendly formats. Fortunately, that work is now done, so we're proud to present the TuxRadar Linux Answers Archive - a searchable database of over 700 common Linux problems and their solutions from the last five years.

The goal of this project is pretty straightforward. Even though we know many of these questions aren't relevant to the majority of users any more (unless you're still running Mandrake 10.1!), we know what it's like when you encounter obscure problems in Linux and Google searches aren't turning up the goods. And so, if even only a few hundred people are helped using all these Linux solutions, it will still have been worth the effort.

So, dive in, take a look around, ping us on Identi.ca or Twitter if there are any egregious errors (although we'd rather not hear about typos simply because we have more important things to be doing!), and pass the URL on to friends if they have trouble: http://www.tuxradar.com/answers.

Linux frequently asked questions for newbies

TuxRadar

Many Linux users pride themselves on being highly technical geeks. And, while that's great for finding people to contribute code patches to projects, it means that a lot of first-time Linux users get branded a "newbie" and are made to feel stupid when they ask fundamental questions about things we take for granted.

To be blunt, that situation sucks. If people have honest questions about Linux, we need to be helping them find answers, and we need to do so without sarcastic comments, without "RTFM" and without telling people "just use Google."

Here at TuxRadar, and in the magazine behind the website, Linux Format, we get a lot of really basic questions from new users. We've taken the most common questions and printed them verbatim below, providing Plain English answers along the way, trying to simplify technical information as much as we can. We didn't write the questions, so more experienced users might look at them and think "wow, that's a stupid question," but if you're a newbie asking Linux questions or if you have friends asking you questions that you don't have time to answer, we hope this information will prove useful.

NB: if you have technical questions about Linux, we have an archive of common Linux problems and their solutions - you should check there first.

Open Ballot: Should we embrace Microsoft's open source work?

TuxRadar

Want to contribute your views to our podcast? Sure you do, and here's your chance to have a say: do you think we should embrace Microsoft's new-found open source policies, or should we keep them at arm's length? Recently Microsoft has announced the CodePlex Foundation for supporting its own open source code, it has contributed code to the Linux kernel, it has announced that .NET is available under its community promise, and much more. Should we be afraid, or should be happy to take support and code from anywhere as long as it's open?

Our usual Open Ballot rules apply: please state either "yes" or "no" backed up by some sort of cogent reasoning, and give yourself a name that's a bit more original than Anonymous Penguin otherwise we're quite likely - no, very likely - to ignore your intellectual meanderings.

NB: our podcast will be coming out on Thursday this week rather than Wednesday. Can you hold out that long? Can you?

Open Ballot: Are distro release cycles too short?

TuxRadar

Back by popular demand, it's our Open Ballot. This is an opportunity to air your views on the important Linux issues of the day, which we'll be chewing over in our regular podcast. We'll read out the most incisive/witty/flamebaity responses on the show, so get posting!

The question is: with many distros adopting a six-monthly release cycle, is this a good or bad thing? Should we be looking at longer development phases so that there are bigger changes between releases, and users don't have to upgrade so often? Or perhaps you think six months is not rapid enough – maybe you'd rather have three months, or abandon releases altogether and just have rolling upgrades. Let us know what you think!

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