Open Ballot: Is Android fragmentation a problem?


This revealing chart is causing a bit of a stir around the internet. Basically, it points out one thing: that Android phones aren't guaranteed to get timely updates, or even any updates at all. Many devices are released with previous versions of the operating system, and fall rapidly behind, never getting to sample the latest Android goodness. Compare this to Apple, where the situation is somewhat rosier (although iOS has its own limitations as we all know).

So as we stoke the boiler for our next podcast recording, we want to hear your opinion: is this a problem? Have you bought an Android phone, and dismayed when you can't get the latest Android releases? Perhaps you've very carefully chosen a phone with a guaranteed update lifespan, or you simply don't care, and just want the beeping gizmo thing to work well. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and we'll read out the best in the podcast.

Issue 2 of Tap! now available


OK, we know that many readers of this site aren't massive Apple fans, but we just wanted to give a quick mention of some work by our sister magazine, Tap!. And especially because the former Linux Format editor, Paul Hudson, helped to create it. Take it away, Team Tap:

"The first issue of the Tap! interactive app hit the streets last month to the resounding sound of applause from iPad pundits across the globe. Featuring the 100 Greatest apps of all time the Tap! app used video, 360 degree photography and iPad compatible features to receive such reviews as 'Interaction as it's meant to be', 'Perfect iPad app', 'The way to the future', 'Best magazine by far!', 'Ace app!'.

Peg Solitaire


Jon says:

This is the latest in my project to re-implement many of Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection in Javascript.

I've hopefully taken on board some of the comments made previously, particularly about not polluting the global namespace. I don't think it's particularly elegant code - far too many nested ifs - but it works.

Bizarre pink MIPS mini-netbook up for grabs


See that? It's an Elonex ONEt, and it's a pretty unusual bit of kit. For starters, it's powered by a MIPS-like chip, so it's not x86, PowerPC, 68K or any other architecture you're likely to have used on the desktop. It's also very, very small. The Elonex ONEt arrived in early 2009 when the netbook market was booming, and sports these specs:

Podcast Season 3 Episode 20


Title: Whisky Galore

In this episode: Ubuntu 11.10 has been released and includes lots of innovation and fixes. LibreOffice is coming to both a web browser and Android device near you, and co-founder of UNIX, Dennis Ritchie, has died. Share in the joy of our discoveries, hear us rant and rave, and listen to your own opinions in our Open Ballot.

Whisky! Thanks!


When we asked listeners of TuxRadar to send in beer, we all thought we were being a little optimistic. Well, thanks to Wayne Rooney (not the football player, though he assures us that is his real name) our optimism and faith in our listeners proved to be well placed!

Hailing from New Zealand, where it's legal to own a still and make your own spirits, he kindly sent two bottles of his homebrew whisky. None of us expected to be whisky tasting on a Monday morning, but it was a definite plus.

Open Ballot: Has Ubuntu 11.10 fixed the problems with Unity?


Flamewars and controversies are ten-a-penny in the ever-changing world of computing, but Ubuntu 11.04's switch away from Gnome to Unity caused a particularly large dollop of anger to be spooned onto the internet. While some users cheered the new desktop design, many others felt frustrated by its limitations and glitches. So as we gear up to record our next podcast, we want to hear from Ubuntu users: how do you feel about 11.10's Unity? Has it changed sufficiently to fix any problems you had previously? Is it worse in any respects? Or has it made you simply switch to Xfce?

Let us know in the comments below, and we'll read out the best in our next podcast. Ta!

Linux Format now available on the iOS App Store!


Update: You can now download issue 149, Seed Your Own Cloud, for free through our app.

Love the UK's biggest-selling Linux magazine? Also have a secret soft-spot for shiny Apple gadgets? Well, Linux Format is now available on the iOS App Store, through both Newsstand and as a standalone application for older devices. You can download the most recent issue on its own, or take out a subscription. Click (or tap!) here to get the latest offer and carry info-packed LXF goodness on your tablet today.

Gnome 3.2 Review


Jon says:

After my rant on the podcast, in which I got sidetracked for a whole minute on the uselesness of Gnome 3.2's new GDM login screen, I thought I'd post a fuller review here of the latest Gnome release. Has it fixed all or some of the little frustrations that so many people had with Gnome 3.0? Or has it become more annoying?

Podcast Season 3 Episode 19


Title: Best Laid Schemes

In this episode: Canonical launches an app developer portal and there's a new mobile Linux initiative. We create a whole new section of the podcast, discover lots of things and discuss whether secure booting will hinder Linux adoption.

Open Ballot: Will "secure boot" hinder Linux adoption?


By the end of the decade, you might not be able to install Linux on a random, off-the-shelf PC. At least, not easily. This is because the UEFI "secure boot" system is being pushed by Microsoft, and could restrict the installation of other operating systems. You see, in order to boot an OS, the bootloader will need to be signed with special keys, which causes complications for totally open, free-as-in-freedom GPLed software. There may be ways around it, but it'll be fiddly.

Fifteen Puzzle


Jon says:

I've been doing more programming, and wanted to share my latest project with TuxRadar readers (if only because everyone else is tired of listening!). It's a simple implementation of the 'Fifteen' puzzle in Javascript and HTML5 canvas. You can check it out here, so if you want to try it, go ahead. Feedback and comments are welcome, especially about the quality of my code (I expect it's low quality, so be constructive!).

Podcast: rescheduled


Quick Update: We're planning to record our new podcast early next week, which means we'll probably switch to a Tuesday release schedule rather than Thursdays.

Also, for those wondering what Paul Hudson has been doing over the last few months, he's been helping to develop the new Tap! App - and you can find evidence of his work (and even a video with him talking!) here:

Podcast Season 3 Episode 18


Title: Maybe Baby

In this episode: Ubuntu should move to a monthly release, according to Scott Remnant. Bruce Perens has come up with a new scheme for copyright ownership and Linux Format turns 150. Hear how successful we are at discovering things, building mesh networks and thinking up excuses.

Baby causes podcast delay


Silly babies. They can't talk about cricket, they have stumpy little limbs, and they don't know the difference between an Imperial Courier and an Imperial Trader. What's the point of them? Still, they happen, and the uncertainty of their exact arrival dates can cause problems in the workplace. So yes, due to the potential arrival of a new mini LXF crew member in the next few hours, we've had to delay the podcast by a bit. We're hoping to have it done by Monday or so - can you handle the excitement?

LXF 150 On Sale Today!


Well, after reading everyone else's favourite LXF moments from the last 150 issues, today's the day that issue 150 goes on sale! To celebrate, you get to enjoy these reflections from the newest member of our team, Jonathan Roberts:

I'm still relatively new to the LXF staff, but that doesn't mean I'm new to LXF. Before joining the team here, I was a reader for many years and enjoyed going in to Smiths once a month to buy the new issue - I'd then get it home and read it almost cover to cover.

Linux Format 150: the countdown continues


It’s Graham Morrison’s turn to divulge his choice picks from his time at Linux Format:

There have been many memorable moments. And the vast majority have been positive. But inevitably, as I'm sure any Linux writer will concur, it’s the tough projects that stick in your mind.

Open Ballot: Is Linux really so secure?


As Linux users, we watch our poor Windows-suffering brethren battle with viruses, spyware, malware and other problems, safe in the knowledge that our operating system is designed to minimise such risks. But is Linux really as secure as we like to think? The recent hacking of and impact on related sites has given us much food for thought.

You could argue that Linux is intrinsically very secure, but a high-profile site such as the home of kernel development is going to be a big target. Or maybe Linux isn't really that secure - it's just that the users are typically more tech-savvy and are less likely to run HOTBRITNEY.EXE attachments in their emails. What would happen if all Ubuntu users started installing random .deb packages in emails? Is it all down to the users?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and we'll read out the best in our upcoming podcast. Gracias!

Linux Format 150: the countdown continues


Solar Power (LXF79)

What does he know of Linux who only Linux knows (asks Andrew Gregory)? Well, lots actually, but whatever your specialist subject it's always useful to take a step back and look again at what you know from a different angle. That's why Mike's look at OpenSolaris back in issue 79 is worth reading even now, despite the fact that free software has moved on so much in the intervening five years.

Linux Format issue 150 is approaching!


Here at Linux Format Towers, we're about to reach a milestone in the history of the magazine: 150 issues. A lot has happened in the last 11 years, and before LXF150 goes on sale this Thursday, 15 September, we're asking the team to recall their favourite moments from the magazine's life. Kicking it off is Mike Saunders who clearly wants darn kids to get off his lawn. Take it away...

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