Get started with GnuPG


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


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 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!


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


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.

Podcast Season 1 Episode 5

Title: Space Shuttle

Guest presenter: Mark Shuttleworth

In this episode: We celebrate the release of Gnome 2.26 and talk about the Chromium browser. Could the Linux community have done more to capitalise on the weak take-up of Windows Vista, and how can we prepare ourselves for Windows 7? And is it a good thing to have two competing desktop environments?

Exploring filters and pipes

Command line

When many newbies first encounter Linux, the 'cool stuff' that often gets their attention is the incredible array of command line tools, and something called a pipe that allowed you to connect them together. Together, these provide an incredibly powerful component-based architecture designed to process streams of text-based data.

If you've never dabbled with filters and pipes before, or perhaps you've just been too scared, we want to help you out, so read on to learn how you can make powerful Linux commands just by stringing smaller bits together...

Free books!


While we're busy working on each issue of Linux Format magazine, we get sent a huge number of books to read and review in the magazine. But once we're finished with them, where do they all go? The answer is: into a huge pile. And now a small part of that huge pile can be yours, because we're giving away free books to people who ask for them.

How PAM works


PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) is one of those dark corners of Linux where most users don't venture - in fact, I'd be willing to bet that the majority of Linux users don't even know what it is. And yet, PAM is at the heart of every single thing in Linux to do with authentication.

Take our guided tour of PAM, join our science lab and perform our experiments (no bunsen burner necessary!) and see how PAM gives you fine-grain control over your security policy.

Group test: getting things done apps


Turning to time management software to organise your life is fine, just as long as it doesn't become another obstacle to actually Getting Things Done. David Allen's decision to give his time management method the acronym GTD is a good omen, then.

Another is that GTD has more cultists than GNU Emacs. The common faith goes like so: dump everything you must do out of your head and into a trusted system based on next actions, regular reviews and a 'tickler', which remembers everything and magically shows what you have to do next. That way you'll be much more productive.

Nagios made easy


In depth: What's the best way to monitor multiple Linux servers for configuration errors, high load or other problems? The answer is Nagios, which is a fantastic (and free!) networking monitoring system that lets you track multiple servers (HTTP, SMTP, SSH and more) across multiple machines, all backed by a neat user interface.

Nagios gives you an unbeatable overview of all your machines, meaning that you can fix upcoming problems before they turn critical and be certain that you're not missing anything about your network. The basic structure of Nagios is pretty simple: you set up one machine as your Nagios server, and it gathers information on the client machines you point it at, then displays it in a neat web page format. Read on to learn how to get started with Nagios on your own network!

New releases catch-up


Here's some recent updates for those of you too busy to hit F5 on Freshmeat every 10 seconds. Ardour 2.8 is now available featuring track and bus templates, distributable VST support and AudioUnit state saving -- stuff which has to be cool if you're into digital audio. Gnumeric 1.9.5 brings everyone's favourite non-OOo spreadsheet closer to 2.0 with bugfixes en masse, while HardInfo 0.5 displays a shedload more details about your system, and remains the essential fact-gathering tool when you need to get Linux help. Some more updates after the break.

BitDefender Antivirus for Unices


Reviewed: Just because you use Linux, it doesn't mean your computer doesn't have viruses or worms. They are just lying dormant, embedded in the EXE files on the NTFS partitions, or hiding beside those DLLs on the dual-boot computers, waiting for you to send them to your Windows-using friends.

Unless you sadistically enjoy seeing your non-Linux peers suffer, you should act responsibly and get yourself an anti-virus scanner that runs on Linux. One such is the latest BitDefender Antivirus Scanner For Unices. If you agree to use it on your home computers only, you can have it for free - that's free as in freeware, not Richard Stallman free.

Free Linux DVDs for schools and unis


Here at LXF Towers we have a bunch of spare DVDs from previous issues of the magazine, and we'd love to get them into the hands of potential Linux convertees. They include Fedora 10, Ubuntu 8.10, CentOS 5.2 and Mandriva One 2009. If you work at a school, college or university and want to distribute them amongst students, email Mike DOT Saunders AT futurenet DOT com with the school/uni's address and we'll put some discs in the post.

Now, because we don't know how many people will request discs, we can't guarantee the amounts we'll send out. So we'll wait a week for all requests to come in and then split up the DVDs accordingly. Any questions? Just post a comment!

Update: the discs have been sent out. We'll do another run sometime in the future -- watch this space!

Find files the easy way

Command line

One way of estimating the relative importance of the tasks that folk use Linux for would be to count the number of different applications that have been written to perform each of those tasks. Given the rather large number of programs that exist for "finding stuff", we might conclude that the thing users do most often is to lose it in the first place!

In this tutorial you'll learn how to find files on the command line by specifying all sorts of different search criteria.

Code Project: Make talking RSS feeds


On the face of it, writing a script/program to download and parse an RSS feed, and from there send news items to a speech synthesizer, sounds ambitious - even for TuxRadar. But as it turns out, it's actually rather straightforward.

Principally, this is thanks to three technologies, Python, Festival and Linux. Python, the world-dominating scripting language par-excellence makes it easy to construct a script without too much thought or effort. The open source Festival Speech Synthesis System sounds fantastic, and can be installed with just a couple of clicks from your distribution's package manager. And Linux itself; without its powerful pipes and process scheduling, we'd have to spend a lot more time writing that functionality into our program, and we'd also need to add a GUI to make it all easily accessible.

Luckily, all we need to do is write a small Python script and use a little command line magic to tie all these things together. We're going to write a simple script in Python that will output plain text news stories than can then be piped into Festival, which will then speak the news through your speaker or headphones. This gives you maximum flexibility. This two-pronged approach (Python script piped to Festival) can be modified to suit almost any purpose. In less than an hour, you'll be able to sit back and listen to the dulcet tones of a female voice synthesizer reading the latest happenings from

Diagnose and fix network problems yourself


A recent and typical case of Linux network failure was the friend who rang up to say his "network had stopped". As error reports go, this is on a par with the classic Apollo 13 line "Houston, we've had a problem", though a little less life-threatening. Luckily, Linux has a goodly collection of network tools to help us figure out exactly what had gone wrong. (To eliminate any stress-inducing suspense, let me reveal that we eventually discovered that he had been disconnected by his ISP as a result of forgetting to renew his subscription.)

So, follow along with us now as we review some of the network diagnostic tools in Linux and see how to use them to get answers to the question "what's wrong with my network?"

Red Hat: no money in desktop Linux

Red Hat

No mincing of words here. Ever since Red Hat dropped its Linux boxed set in favour of Fedora, the company has demonstrated a lack of interest in the mainstream desktop. Now, at the InfoWorld Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has reaffirmed his company's position on Linux for the masses.

Code Project: Build a mouse game with Python


Most modern games take thousands of man-hours to create, not to mention an army of artists and musicians, but there's still some scope for solitary hacker to write something entertaining. After all, it didn't take a team of 500 coders and a Hollywood movie-set budget to create Tetris - Alexey Pajitnov managed pretty well on his own (until various filthy capitalist running-dogs of the West ran off with his idea, of course...)

In this tutorial, you're going to learn how to make a really simple mouse game with Python. If this is the first coding tutorial you've read - and you've certainly never written a line of Python code before - you'll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to understand; Python code is famous throughout the programming world for being very much self-explanatory.

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