Open Ballot: does a lack of games hold Linux back?


After getting sucked into Osmos last night when he should have been doing something far more useful, Andrew got to thinking about games on Linux. Osmos is beautiful, intelligent and original, but our neighbours on PC Format would likely scoff at anything less than the latest Assassin's Creed or Counterstrike iteration.

That got us thinking: is the lack of big-name games for the Linux platform a deterrent to first-time users? Or is a handful of independent games (plus ZSNES and DOSBox) enough to satisfy their gaming urges?

Podcast Season 2 Episode 21


Title: The one without Paul

In this episode: Ubuntu may ditch the X Window system for Wayland, Fedora 14 has been released and Nokia takes Symbian back from the Symbian Foundation. Share our fortnight's discoveries and hear whether we think Qt and KDE should merge APIs.

(we recorded this episode yesterday, before we knew about Paul's announcement).

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.

Podcast Season 2 Episode 20


Title: Longer than expected

In this episode: The London Stock Exchange is super fast, thanks to Linux, while Android celebrates its 100,000th app submission. We discover things and talk about tiling window managers, while our listeners talk about Ubuntu's Unity.

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!

Podcast Season 2 Episode 19


Title: Welcome to the Jungle

In this episode: Ubuntu 10.10 has been released, and Microsoft attacks with a video. Discover our all-new challenge for the next episode, and we judge the level of anticipation for Panasonic's Jungle.

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.

Podcast Season 2 Episode 18


Title: Asbestos Gloves

In this episode: Both Mandriva and have been forked, while Microsoft sues Motorola for bits of Android. Try the results of our text adventure challenge and hear your own comments in our Open Ballot.

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.

Podcast Season 2 Episode 17


Title: 88 Miles Per Hour

In this episode: We each predict a news story that may or may not have happened over the last seven days. Play the final results of our 'build a game' challenge, and we ask, is it finally time to do away with the command-line?

What's the best Linux BitTorrent app?

Group Test

Not all BitTorrent apps are made equal. Yes, there's a big range of features such as support for encryption and random port access, but at the same there's also a huge range of speeds - some BitTorrent apps are simply much faster than others. To save you the time of trying them all to find which one works best, we've done it for you: we've put the best BitTorrent apps through their paces, and tried to find which one offers the blend of features and speed that makes it stand out from the rest.

So, if you want to make the most of your internet connection, read on!

Podcast Season 2 Episode 16


Title: Mike May Vary

In this episode: Sony was legally allowed to remove the 'Other OS' feature from the Playstation 3, according to Australian lawmakers. Glibc is now really free and KSplice gets into Fedora. We report back from the mid-point of our games development challenge, and ask, what's your favourite Linux improvement?

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!

Reviewed: Linux Mint 9 KDE


Ubuntu is dominating the mindshare for desktop distros, but there’s still a place for rivals – even those built on the Ubuntu foundation – to take things in different directions. Mint attempts to create a more polished desktop with a focus on usability and elegance. The core version, like Ubuntu, is based on Gnome, but is accompanied by packages based on other environments – in this case, KDE. But the big question is, can a KDE flavoured Mint do better than Kubuntu? Read on to find out.

Reviewed: KDE 4.5


Trepidation. That about sums up the feeling of upgrading to a new version of KDE. You want to like it, but are afraid that whatever has been fixed will be counterbalanced by something rather sucky. This version of KDE has seen 16,022 bugs fixed and 1,723 new feature requests added, so the balance is in favour of not-sucky. Or is it?

Podcast Season 2 Episode 15


Title: Gnaborretni

In this episode: Ubuntu 10.10 is going to add gesture support and 11.04 is going to be called the Natty Narwhal. Debian 6.0 has been feature frozen while Oracle sets its sights on Google. Discover how we fared with our Nethack challenge and how we filled the Open Ballot section without an Open Ballot.

Reviewed: Pandora Console


If you're familiar with the original GP2X and GP2X Wiz, the Linux-based handhelds produced by Korean techno-alchemists Game Park Holdings, you'll be acutely aware of just how close they came to greatness; both consoles suffered from compromises that prevented them from truly fulfilling their potential. Interestingly, some of the guys in charge of distributing these two machines internationally felt the same way and back in 2008 they set about creating their own dream machine that would avoid the pitfalls that afflicted those two consoles. Read on to discover whether it was worth the effort.

Podcast Season 2 Episode 14


Title: KDelay

In this episode: Gnome 3.0 has been delayed while the Gnome team releases its first census results. KDE 4.5 should be here, and Mark Shuttleworth dislikes tribalism. Discover our new 'You Dare Us' challenge, and we reveal our discoveries from the last two weeks. Finally, hear us discuss one of the most compelling Open Ballots in living memory.

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!

Username:   Password: