OpenSolaris vs Linux

Operating systems

So you've been playing around with alternative OSes for a while and you reckon you've got this Linux thing mastered. Maybe you're tried Mac OS X and found it a bit too restrictive (or expensive); perhaps you've kicked the Hurd's tyres and thought you'll come back to it when it's something more than just a clever name.

If you're looking for something else to play with, we humbly suggest OpenSolaris. Like Mac OS X, which we looked at recently, OpenSolaris is based on Unix; also like OS X, it's best known for running on a specific processor (in this case Sun's SPARC architecture) but now works on a range of architectures including x86. Unlike OS X though, OpenSolaris is open source, so you can download it for free and start fiddling with it.

We're not interested in a direct, head-to-head comparison, because for many people it's largely a matter of taste which one they choose. But we do want to help people see what makes OpenSolaris a little different from Linux, so read on for our quick-start guide for Linux users wanting to dip their toe into OpenSolaris and see which they prefer...

Group test: newsreaders

Group Test

Ah, Usenet newsgroups... Online communication and file sharing for the masses, still equal today to what it was before the advent of blogs, instant messaging and P2P networks: a fascinating universe with its own culture, from emoticons to killfiles and Godwin's law.

But with such a wide range of newsreader software for Linux, it's not easy to find the right one for you. In this group test we present six news clients - aka NNTP client amongst the truly hard-core - chosen according to two simple criteria. The programs must be developed mainly, if not exclusively, to deal with Usenet Newsgroups, and the application must be in active development, in order for it to run happily on a modern distro. Read on to find out our picks of the best newsgroup readers for Linux...

LinuxCon 2009: see you there!


LinuxCon 2009: see you there!

There aren't many Linux conferences worth going to, but the Linux Foundation is seeking to change that with the first annual LinuxCon due to take place in Portland, Oregon later this month. We'll be there, natch, and we think you should attend too. If you're not already going, read on to find out why we think it's going to be a great event...

Untangling Debian package dependencies


The author of debtree, a program that illustrates dependencies between .deb packages, has posted a brief rant about the size of Gnome desktop installations in recent Debian releases. Specifically, he notes that a default Gnome install in Etch (4.0) was 1,360MB - but in the upcoming 6.0 release it'll be over 3,000MB.

Repair damaged drives with Linux


While Linux is rock-solid reliable in day-to-day usage, when you start poking around at the command line (especially as root) then things can get a bit hairy. Equally, if you're living life on the razor's edge, installing new kernels and boot scripts every other day, there's a chance you can make your system unbootable. However, Live CDs come to the rescue: PC Plus shows you how to fix drive problems using Linux, whether you need to restore the bootloader, fix the partition table or back up your data.

Podcast Season 1 Episode 16


Title: The Shrieking Sister

In this episode: Nokia announces a new Linux handset, Sony drops Linux support from its new Playstation 3 console and Google creates a 64-bit version of its Chrome browser. Listen to the results of our two weeks with text-mode challenge and we ask whether we should be more zealous when promoting Linux and open source.

How to be anonymous online with Incognito


At first glance Incognito may seem suited only for the extremely paranoid, because of the totality of tools it offers to hide your online presence. But those tools, each designed to mask a certain aspect of your online activity, have been around for quite a while. This 430MB-ish live CD has many faithful users, but I can't quote any on its usefulness since their identities couldn't be confirmed. Yes, Incognito is that good.

If you're looking for the ultimate way to encrypt absolutely all your internet communications and be untraceable on the internet, you're looking for Incognito. Find out how to get started by reading on...

TuxRadar originals


It's been a busy few months here at TuxRadar HQ, largely because it's summer so we spend our time playing cards and drinking cider.

If you too have spent far too much time away from your computer and thus have missed out on the great stuff we've put online in the last few weeks, this is your chance to catch up: here's our pick of unmissable features from recent weeks.

If you've made it through that entire list and are still thirsty for more Free Software goodness, then we challenge you to read our article "100 Open Source Gems" (part two is here) and install as many apps as you can.

Of course, there's much more still to come - you should follow us on Identica or Twitter 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. Click here for the latest subscription deals - starting at just $US99 for 13 issues!

Code Project: create an ffmpeg front-end


There's nothing wrong with the command-line. For many of us, it's one of the best reasons for using Linux. You can accomplish almost anything by typing things out, and command-line tools will often provide an unprecedented degree of control over how they can be run. But the command-line isn't for everyone, and there there's a surprising number of Linux users who find it unfathomable and intimidating, perhaps even a reason to avoid the Linux completely. And while it's true that you no longer have to use the command-line if you don't want to, it still means that you're missing out on some great utilities.

And this is where Qt can save the day. It's the perfect tool for creating a warm and fuzzy GUI around your favourite command-line tools. It doesn't require any ace programming skills, and only a little bit of effort, but in the process you can help your command loathing friends and make your own contribution to open source application development. Creating GUIs for command line tools is one of the best ways of getting started!

If you already finished our previous Qt Creator code project, how to create your own media player, you're more than ready to tackle this...

Reviewed: Scribus 1.3.5


We've reviewed Scribus a number of times in the past and even included a feature made using the tool in one of the back issues of Linux Format magazine. However, each revisit tends to throw up the same old problems: Scribus's lack of reliability and poor interface. Thankfully, after two years of solid development, these woes have been banished. Well, mostly - read on to find out what's changed...

Linux vs Windows 7


It's something of a tradition that we pit the latest version of Windows against our trusty old operating system. This isn't because we want to raise the profile of Windows, or ignite further flamewars on which is better or worse. It's about understanding the market and understanding the competition. Microsoft Windows is by far the most dominant operating system on the planet, and as Linux users, we need to keep on top of new developments, new technologies and new ideas. This gives Linux the best possible chance to grow and remain relevant.

So, if you read our benchmarks comparing Windows 7, Vista and Ubuntu and are looking to find out more on what separates Windows 7 and Linux on the features front, read on...

Linux vs Windows 7

Podcast Season 1 Episode 15


Title: PodKastigation

In this episode: There was a hole in the kernel for eight years. Dell announces that its Linux netbook returns are a non-issue and we look at Ubuntu One. We report on our two weeks with the KDE desktop and our open ballot asks whether open source licences should be viral.

Code Project: create a media player


Amarok is a great music player for KDE when judged by both its capabilities and its size. But it's hardly a quick point and click music player - it takes several clicks and some careful GUI navigation to listen to your music collection and that takes a toll on both your CPU and your head. We're going to offer an alternative by building the most simple and straightforward music player we could think of.

We're going to take some inspiration from Apple's new iPod Shuffle, and only offer the bare minimum of controls. One button for selecting your music, another button for play and pause, and a third button for skipping to the next track. For most people, and most uses, these are the only controls you need, and it makes a refreshing contrast to the bloated frippery of players like Amarok.

Hands on with SUSE Studio


Novell has launched SUSE Studio, a service that allows anyone to create their own Linux distro respin using nothing more than their web browser. But did you know Novell already has plans to open source the new technology it contains? We spoke to Nat Friedman to get more information, then took it for a test drive ourselves...

Podcast Season 1 Episode 14


Title: Tron with Ponies

In this episode: SUSE Studio is out; Debian adopts timed releases, should we be giving coverage to companies who don't support Linux and should geeks prefer Free internet services over free internet services?

Debian adopts time-based release freezes


We love Debian, but it's hardly the most spritely distro around when it comes to popping out regular releases. Historically, part of the problem has been determining when it's finished - and the old adage "it's ready when it's ready" doesn't really make much sense unless you have a very clear set of goals. Now the Debian team has announced that it's moving to two-year time-based release freezes. This doesn't mean that a release date will be announced well in advance, as with Fedora, Ubuntu and co, but that there will be a cut-off point for adding new features.

Get started with HomeBank


With HomeBank you can automate recurring transactions, set reminders for future transactions, assess your future account balance so you can plan your spending sprees and manage your expenses expertly. You see, we work hard for our pay cheques - well, some of us work harder than others - and we spend money on groceries, utilities and, ahem, fun Fridays. But keeping track of what's coming in, when the bills are due and how much is left after the recurring monthly expenses is not something that many of us make the effort to do. It's time-consuming and boring and there's always that episode of 24 that you'd rather be watching.

If you take the time to master some good home accounts software - such as HomeBank or one of the other great apps we featured in our home finance software group test - you'll find these accounting chores much less painful. Read on!

Build a realtime audio studio


Who says Linux isn't a great platform for professional audio editing? Crazy people - that's who! Our friends at PC Plus have posted a detailed guide to creating a Linux audio studio using a real-time kernel, JACK and Ardour. The tutorial also makes use of a software synthesiser called Zynaddsubfx, which gets our thumbs-up just for having such a cool name.

Reviewed: Fedora 11


Leonidas (either named after the king of Sparta who led his troops to victorious annihilation in the Peloponnese or the chain of chocolate shops), is the 11th release of the Fedora operating system. Along the way there have been a few duds, but in recent times Fedora has been really delivering on its promise of the four Fs: "Freedom, Friends, Features, First". Fedora 10 was a rock-steady release that introduced a slew of new features, and Leonidas is promising more of the same.

Other smart folk were quick off the bat to review Fedora 11, but we're not like that. Instead, it takes us a few weeks to properly settle down into a distro to see what we make of it. Read on for our findings, then read the comments to our earlier post to see what other people think...

OSCON interview snippets


OSCON 2009 is now drawing to a close, and, before we hop on a flight back to the UK, we spent an hour or two typing up just a few snippets from some of the interviews we conducted at the conference. So, if you'd like to read what Jacob Kaplan-Moss thinks about Google, what Jim Zemlin thinks about Larry Lessig, what Michael Tiemann thinks about lobbyists, what Stormy Peters thinks about KDE, what Evan Prodromou thinks about Miguel de Icaza and what Bradley Kuhn thinks about Mono, read on...

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