When did you first use Linux?

Linux

That's the question cropping up on various websites at the moment. If, like us, you love to reminisce about the olden days, when you had to recompile your kernel just to use your keyboard and FVWM2 was the most amazingly new tech on the planet, then get commenting below. What was your first distro? What did you think of it at the time? Were you one of the original Oxford Beer Trolls, plying Torvalds with ale in return for his efforts?

Open Ballot: Netbook distros

Netbooks

Now that we're back from our short Easter break, the podcast juggernaught rolls on like a leviathan standing on the shoulders of a colossus. As it's just us this month we'll not need a CLICK BEEEP WHIRR photographer, but we do need to know what you think of this fortnight's open ballot question: Should netbook manufacturers persist in using their own bespoke versions of Linux, or should they put their efforts into one base distro, like Debian or Moblin, that they can tweak themselves?

Gtk 3 plans laid out

Gnome

For the last few years, Gtk 2 has done a grand job as the widget toolkit for Gnome, Gimp, Firefox, AbiWord and other top-tier free software projects. But it's getting a bit long in the tooth now, so the Gtk team has knocked together a preliminary roadmap for the next major release. The highlights? Resolution independence for ultra-smooth GUI scaling, along with offscreen rendering for animations and special effects.

From the archives: the best games of 2001

Archives

If you've already read our articles, "The Best Distros of 2000" and "The Best Window Managers of 2000" and crave even more retro geekery, we descended back down into the dark cellars below the Linux Format head offices to dig out more gems from the archive. This time we've surfaced with another group test: the best Linux games of the time, which is both fun (we all had fun playing these back in the day) and depressing (Linux games have sadly not moved on that much!) at the same time.

So, if you want to hitch a ride back to 2001 to see just what the cool kids were playing, read on...

Want to build your own distro?

Distros

PC Plus has just uploaded an excellent tutorial teaching you how to build your own Linux distro - worth checking out! From the article, "If you find yourself making the same adjustments each time you install a new distribution, it's worth creating your own customised version. Revisor is a tool that lets you do just this, and in this tutorial, we'll show you how..."

Mozilla outlines plan for Firefox 3.6

Firefox

OK, so Firefox 3.5 isn't out yet, but the industrious hackers in the Mozilla project are already plotting and scheming for the release after that, 3.6. Codenamed "Namoroka", 3.6 will focus on a number of areas including performance. "Common user tasks should feel faster and more responsive" says the roadmap -- pretty vague at present, but no doubt we'll see more details of the actual implementation soon.

Qt Creator

Apps

Reviewed: Linux isn't short of a few integrated development environments, but if your chosen development arena happens to be Qt, and/or KDE, the only viable option for the last eleven years has been KDevelop. KDevelop is a powerful application that supports many more languages than just C++, but the bewildering array of icons, panels, tabs, menus and windows are likely to scare beginners back to Blitz Basic.

There's a new version of KDevelop on the horizon, but Nokia has beaten them to the punch with Qt Creator, which comes included in the latest release of Qt 4.5 - that's the one with the LGPL licence.

xPUD, the ultra-fast booting Linux flavour

Distros

Weighing in at a mere 48MB, xPUD boots up before you can even decide how to pronounce it. This mini distro is built upon Mozilla's XUL and Gecko engines, with an interface called 'Plate' which includes a web browser, media player, BitTorrent client and other tools. There's not a great deal of information on the website just yet, but read on for a video of its über-rapid bootup.

Microsoft: "Windows on 96% of netbooks"

Hardware

Here's a nice stat. According to the Microsoft Windows Team Blog, Windows market share in the blossoming netbook market has reached a whopping 96% as of February this year. "Not only are people overwhelmingly buying Windows, but those that try Linux are often returning it", says the blog, claiming that "customer confusion" has led the Carphone Warehouse, a major UK mobile phone (and now netbook) retailer, to drop Linux.

Mandriva 2009.1 RC 2 released

Distros

Can you hear that noise? It's the sound of a brand new distro coming over the hills. Mandriva 2009.1 (aka 'Spring') is almost here, and the second release candidate is available for testers to iron out any last-minute crinkles. It's available in full-whack DVD incarnations or diet-friendly Live CD versions. Summary of changes since 2009.0 after the break.

Guake 0.4.0 is here

Apps

If you find yourself frequently launching terminal windows to Get Stuff Done, you should by now have discovered Guake - a drop-down, always-on terminal for Gnome (screenshots).

We usually set F12 to display/hide the terminal, which means multi-tabbed command-line power is only a keypress away. What's more, a new version has just been announced, so download Guake 0.4.0 today!

PS: KDE users - has YaKuake been replaced by something else now?

How's our driving?

TuxRadar

We've posted up a lot of content in our first two months, and we think it's about time to take stock of where we are, what you guys liked and didn't like, and what articles you think we need more of.

Remember, most of TuxRadar.com is taken from Linux Format magazine, which means there's about 100 pages of new Linux reviews, features and tutorials every four weeks, plus a huge back catalog of articles we can draw upon - only a small part of this makes it onto TuxRadar.

So, if you could take the time to post a comment below on any or all of the following questions, it would be really helpful - thanks!

Nexuiz 2.5 pumps up Linux gaming

Games

If anyone tells you that Linux gaming is all about Nethack, show them Nexuiz. This ace-looking first person shooter has just been updated to version 2.5, with a whopping 3,000 changes to the code, graphics and sounds since 2.4. We've long been fans of Unreal Tournament here at TuxRadar HQ -- so we'll certainly be putting this through its paces. Our hardcore gamer chums over at Phoronix are highly impressed: "We have been trying out this release since it was announced today, and to say the least, Nexuiz 2.5 is stunning. This is really the best open-source first person shooter we have ever played." Summary of the biggest changes follows.

Master the Linux command line

LXF

In depth: The Linux platform is becoming a stronger desktop solution day by day, and part of the reason for this is the commitment by distribution authors to provide an exclusively graphical user interface, from installation to upgrade. We shouldn't forget, though, that the command line interface still exists. It may not be as pretty as a GUI but this alternative interface has flexibility, and there are many cases where it can save you a lot of time.

If you've already worked your way through our Command-line Phrasebook and had a go at our Exploring filters and pipes tutorial, then you're more than ready to move on to greater things. Read on!

Portable Ubuntu: Linux on Windows for the masses?

Ubuntu

Live distros have done a fantastic job of getting timid Windows users to try Linux. No installation, no faffing around with hard drive partitions and bootloaders -- just pop in the CD/DVD and go. But one of the downsides is performance, with optical-based Linux not running as swiftly as its hard drive-installed counterpart. Well, Portable Ubuntu is here to save the day using a crafty combo of free software technology.

Get started with GnuPG

Apps

In depth: Thanks to software like GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG or even just GPG), the kind of encryption that was used only by top secret government departments is now open to all. In many ways GnuPG is more than just a free software implementation of Phil Zimmermann's notorious Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) software, and a lot more than just another piece of cryptographic software.

With GnuPG you can check the integrity of an email message, authenticate the sender and keep its contents safe from prying eyes without going near a patented encryption algorithm.

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to liberate your files and communications from the tyranny of snoopers. For further instructions, calmly place this tutorial in your suitcase, put on the goggles and the hat, and make sure no one's following you as you exit the GUI lounge and make your way to the keyboard.

TuxRadar Originals

TuxRadar

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

  1. Managing your log files
  2. How to set up a web server with Apache
  3. Detox your Linux box!
  4. Free software on Windows and Mac
  5. Code Project: Build a simple mouse game with Python
  6. Diagnose and fix network problems yourself
  7. Find files the easy way
  8. Exploring filters and pipes

Plus there's much more to come - add us to your bookmarks or 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 in Europe, North America, Australasia and indeed anywhere geeks band together to exchange stories around the fire. Click here for the latest subscription deals - starting at just $US99 for 13 issues delivered to your door!

LaTeX made easy

Apps

OpenOffice.org and other word processors do a perfectly decent job for basic text, but sometimes you want better typesetting than that. LaTeX (pronounced "lay-tech" and commonly written Latex much to the annoyance of geek pedants) may look formidable, but once you get into the swing of it, it's remarkably straightforward, and manages to give you excellent control over how your deathless prose appears on the page without undue fuss.

This article will cover the basics, but you can do more or less anything else you have a mind to - although it's easy to leave Latex to do the heavy lifting for you, there's also scope to control your formatting more closely if you prefer. If you've already read MythTV made easy, LTSP made easy and Nagios made easy, read on to see what you can do with Latex...

Ubuntu Format magazine: on sale now!

LXF

While visiting Mark Shuttleworth to record our podcast with him, Mark agreed to give his backing to an idea we've been experimenting with for some time. So it's with great excitement that we can now announce the launch of Ubuntu Format magazine: your #1 resource for Ubuntu news, reviews and tutorials.

Ubuntu to rewrite Linux kernel using Mono

TuxRadar

Mark Shuttleworth, the Benevolent Dictator for Life of the popular Ubuntu Linux distro, has announced his plans to rewrite all of Gnome, X11 and the Linux kernel using the Mono platform.

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