Bash tips for power users

Command line

If you're a power Linux user, you probably spend a lot of time in the Bash shell. But with the addition of some functions, autocompletion, configuration tweaks and shortcuts, we reckon we can make you even more productive. You doubtless already have aliases set up in your .bashrc file – shortening commands that you use frequently. Aliases are limited, though, in that (at least in Bash and related shells) you can't pass arguments in from the command line. Functions enable you to do this, so you can minimise your typing further still.

Arduino hardware hacking: Part 2


In part 1 of our Arduino tutorial seres we covered the basics of how the Arduino works, and we're going to use that knowledge in a hands-on project and see how this open-source hardware programming environment works when we're actually trying to get something done with it.

After this, you'll have more than enough information to be able to tackle your own projects with confidence - we're going to build on the existing foundations to work on an entire project using nothing but cheap components and open source.

Podcast Season 1 Episode 6


Title: Monologue

In this episode: Gtk+ developers announce plans for version 3. Microsoft proclaims 96% domination of the netbook market and both Mono 2.4 and MonoDevelop 2.0 are released. Is the new Linux Spotify library a good thing and should netbook manufacturers standardise on a single distribution?

Build a monster Linux cluster


Our chums at PC Plus have put online their detailed guide to building an ultra-powerful Linux-based cluster. "It's easy to use any spare machines you may have to create a single homogeneous computing mega-matrix and calculation engine just by wiring them all together and running the right software." So, don't leave those old boxes sitting abandoned in the loft - link them up and start crunching numbers like there's no tomorrow.

SUSE Linux Enterprise 11


Reviewed: With SUSE Linux Enterprise 11, Novell builds upon OpenSUSE 11.1, the community distribution that shipped last summer. It comes in two versions for the enterprise market: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and Desktop (SLED). Striking new features are the Compiz Fusion 3D compositing window manager, KDE 4.1, Gnome 2.24 and a redesigned installer, but Mono-haters won't be happy to see the large amount of Microsoft .NET software that ships as standard.

When did you first use 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


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


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


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?


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


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


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


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"


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


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


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?


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 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


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


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?


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.

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