TuxRadar originals


If you've been too busy to visit the site every day, relax - here's our pick of unmissable features from recent days.

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How to choose the best Linux distro for you


At the time of writing, there are three hundred and twenty three distributions being tracked on distrowatch.com. There's one called Ehad. And another is called Estrella Roja. Many include the letter 'X' in their name, and many feature hand-drawn mascots and disparate communities. Not all are Linux-based, and not all are actively developed, but the overwhelming majority are. This is the world of choice, and it's a world made possible by free and open source software.

Choice is the best thing about Linux. Without choice, we may as well use an operating system where the developers make those choices for us. As we've covered in the past, anyone can create a Linux distribution. If it is different enough, it will survive, but most disappear without a trace. There is a flip side to all this choice however, and that's finding the time to find the perfect distribution for you. You really need to try several before setting on the one you prefer, and downloading, installing and testing a Linux distribution takes a lot of time.

Write your own web browser


Our cohorts at PC Plus have been particularly prolific with their Linux content recently, explaining how to create your own distro and build a Linux-powered cluster. Now they've turned to programming, with a tutorial on writing a portable web browser with Qt and WebKit. Thanks to the drag-and-drop goodness of Qt Creator, coupled with the embeddability of WebKit, writing a simple browser doesn't require a zillion lines of code. It's a great project if you want to get started with Qt.

LVM made easy

Command line

Imagine you had a magic knife that would allow you to slice a loaf of bread and spread some butter on the slices. There's nothing magical about that, is there? Now imagine this knife will let you join the bread slices together again or make them thinner without affecting the butter. This is exactly what a technology called Logical Volume Manger (LVM) enables you to do. The loaf is your disk, the slices are the disk partitions, the butter is any filesystem and LVM is the magic knife.

If you enjoyed our articles Virtualisation Made Easy, MythTV Made Easy and Find Files the Easy Way, then read on to take your skills a bit further with LVM!

Hands on with the GP2X Wiz


Our GP2X Wiz finally arrived and, although we've literally only had this Linux-powered handheld in our grubby mitts for an hour, we wanted to give you our first impressions. You may recall the original GP2X, a Korean-manufactured portable media player and retro gaming box - well, the GP2X Wiz bumps it up a few notches in power and design.

The GP2X Wiz is smaller and faster than the original GP2X.

Open Ballot: Time to dump OpenOffice.org?


We all enjoy moaning about how slow OpenOffice.org is, but is it time we voted with our package managers and ditched OOo in favour of lighter office apps, such as AbiWord and KOffice?

As always, we're looking for a yes or no, backed up with your thoughts/prejudice/fear. What keeps you using OOo? Should distros come with lighter alternatives as standard? Please also provide a name other than "Anonymous Penguin", because we're sick of reading that out. Let us know what you think!

ReactOS 0.3.9 boasts insanely huge speedups

Operating systems

Naturally we focus mostly on Linux here at TuxRadar HQ, but we keep tabs on the wider open source world too. For the last few years we've been intrigued by the progress of ReactOS, a free software Windows implementation that could one day give Microsoft the chills. Well, ReactOS 0.3.9 is now here, with major performance improvements, initial sound support and the latest WINE DLLs for improved compatibility. Summary after the break.

Group test: project planners


Computer-based project management and planning (PM for short) is a strange beast. Real geeks love to hate it: "What planning and deadlines? We'll release when it's ready!" PM, however, is vital in all large organisations and remains one of the reasons that keeps many desktop users locked into their old proprietary operating system - Microsoft Project does after all, run only on Microsoft Windows.

Don't despair, however. If you were suffering in silence because you thought you couldn't draw a Gantt chart or an RBS diagram on Linux, you were wrong. In this article we'll present five project managers that are aimed at non-geek desktop users. They're all programs that can work without an internet connection or relying on external servers, so their installation is really easy, even if they aren't already included in your preferred Linux distro.

Creating local backups of TuxRadar


Listen, guys, we know you like our articles, and we're flattered that so many people use tools like Wget to take a copy of our entire website for their offline use, but please be nice about it. We're happy for you to take a local copy if you really want to - please, go ahead, and we hope you learn a lot from our articles.

All we ask is that you set your software to leave at least a five-second delay between page requests so that you're less likely to affect performance for other users. When one of our articles appears on high-traffic sites such as Digg or Reddit, a lot of visitors come our way in a short space of time, and if several people are simultaneously getting their offline mirror software to download 200 articles plus pictures in 10 seconds, it's not really fair on other users.

So, you have our blessing to copy our content for your offline use. We appreciate that not everyone has 24/7 internet access, and we want to help as many people learn to love Linux as we can. But in return, we ask that you put a delay on your software so that it doesn't bombard our site with requests.


Code Project: Build an Ncurses UI with Python


Picture the scene: you're logged into a remote server via SSH, or you've installed a new graphics card and you're left staring at the command line. You need to enter a command, but you can't remember the zillion options that go along with it. You're stuck - all you can do is consult the manual pages and pore through pages of waffling technical gobbledygook. We've all been there, and no matter how experienced you are with Linux, sometimes you need to accomplish a job quickly without sifting through masses of reading material.

In this coding project, we're going to solve this problem - and have fun along the way! We'll show you how to write a dialog-based program that gives you options one-by-one so that you don't need to consult the man pages. In this guide, we'll show you how to write a nifty front-end for the useradd utility, a command which (unsurprisingly) lets you add user accounts to your Linux installation. Like many administration tools, useradd requires a long string of options and parameters; we're going to make it much simpler by creating an interactive dialog-driven version called UserMaster.

Benchmarked: Firefox 3.5 beta 4


Previously we've told you that Firefox performance on Linux sucks, and, worse, that even Windows Firefox running on Wine is faster than Linux Firefox, so as Firefox 3.5 edges slowly (very slowly!) closer to release, we joined in the Firefox 3.5b4 testday to see how performance is coming along in these later development stages...

Ubuntu 9.04: 32-bit vs 64-bit benchmarks


In depth: Most Linux users run a 32-bit distro, and many of them run a 32-bit distro on a 64-bit computer. The question is, why? We put 32-bit Ubuntu 9.04 head-to-head with its 64-bit counterpart to see what difference it really makes, and whether old compatibility worries are justified.

Ubuntu 9.04 frankenreview


It's official: Ubuntu has taken over the Linux world. On Digg's Linux/Unix section at the time of writing, four of the top five upcoming stories are about Jaunty (with the other one being a TuxRadar story on programming the Arduino - w00t!). In fact, 11 of the top 15 are about Ubuntu, which is astonishing in a week where Oracle gobbled up OpenOffice.org and MySQL and the first full release of the hotly hyped Ulteo came out.

We've already given you The Road to Jaunty: a look back at Ubuntu's history and an interview with Mark Shuttleworth, and to round out our three-part celebration of Ubuntu's 10th release, Jaunty Jackalope, we wanted to round up some of the web's views on the release then add a few of our own. Read on!

Shuttleworth on Jaunty, netbooks and more


Exclusive: To celebrate the 10th Ubuntu release - Jaunty Jackalope - we're giving you three in-depth articles about the world's most popular distro. Hopefully by now you've already read our article The Road to Jaunty: a look back at Ubuntu's history and our frankenreview of Ubuntu 9.04, so we're following them up with an interview with Mark Shuttleworth, the founder and Benevolent Dictator for Life of Ubuntu.

We went to visit the Canonical HQ deep in Mount Doom London, England, and asked Mark about his favourite Jaunty features, the netbook push, cloud computing and more...

The road to Jaunty: a look back at Ubuntu's history


People have been saying for a long time that there are too many Linux distros, and yet that didn't stop Mark Shuttleworth from launching Ubuntu in the crowded Debian spin-off market five years ago. What made Ubuntu succeed where Libranet, Corel Linux, Storm Linux and others had failed?

Some might argue that having half a billion dollars in your bank account was a good start, but we think Ubuntu's success can be wrapped up in one quote from Mark Shuttleworth: "I firmly believe that there's nothing an open source team can't do - except do everything." That is, Ubuntu works because it dedicates a lot of effort to refining the complete product rather than individual parts.

Well, to celebrate the release of Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope" we're going to kick off a three-part celebration of this tenth release of the world's most popular distro with a quick look back at the highs and lows over the years, complete with lots of PDFs from Linux Format magazine from our archives. We've also gone back and installed all ten Ubuntu releases to discover just how much performance has changed over the years.

Along with this article, we've also posted an exclusive interview with Mark Shuttleworth about his favourite features in Ubuntu 9.04 plus a frankenreview of Ubuntu 9.04 that brings together opinion from across the web - check them out!

Virtualisation made easy


Unless you're running a PC more at home in 2001 than today, you can benefit from virtualisation. In fact, we're so utterly convinced that almost every reader will be happier having discovered virtualisation that we've devoted this tutorial to helping you - yes, you - get started with it.

Inside the Aspire One


A few months ago, Linux Format printed a pocket-sized mini-book called "Inside the Aspire One" that aimed to introduce Linux to first-time users through Acer's popular netbook. The distribution was limited to Linux Format subscribers and the UK, but now you can read the book for free because we're putting it online for everyone to download and enjoy.

Oracle buys Sun - what now for MySQL, Java and OOo?


Oracle has announced it is purchasing Sun Microsystems for just over $7 billion. The official word from Oracle is that the purchase gives it two key assets - Java and Solaris - but open sourcerers will understandably be more interested in MySQL and OpenOffice.org, two apps that form core parts of many free software installations.

Release candidate frenzy underway


A few days ago Ubuntu 9.04 Release Candidate arrived for our testing pleasure -- you might still have time to submit last-minute bug reports before the final release on Thursday. Over in BSDland, meanwhile, the first release candidate of FreeBSD 7.2 has been announced, and if the team sticks to the schedule we should see the final version in early May. The NetBSD folks are charging ahead with 5.0 release candidate 4 of the outrageously portable Unix flavour, sporting this whopping list of changes.

A quick guide to backups using tar


Though tar is widely used for archiving it is rarely used for daily backups because it has no incremental capability - or at least, most people don't think it has. In fact, the GNU version of tar has a perfectly good mechanism for creating and restoring incremental archives; it just isn't very well documented on the man page and you have to hunt around to find a proper description.

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