The Linux Pub Quiz

LXF
The Linux Pub Quiz

 

How well do you know your free software people, apps and commands? Put yourself to the test and see just how much you know - we don't think even Linus Torvalds knows all these...

How to install Linux on a USB flash drive

Distros

Nothing can beat having a great Linux distro installed on a super-fast hard drive, with all your favourite apps configured just how you like them and all your files at your fingertips. But this has one major drawback: perfect as your setup is, it's also just one machine, and sooner or later you'll be forced to leave that computer behind and use something else. Something that might run Windows. Something that might not even have Firefox.

Because no one likes being parted from their data for too long, we present a smarter option: store it all on a USB flash drive...

Hudzilla Coding Academy: Project Three

From the archives: the best distros of 2000

Distros

Back in May 2000 the first issue of Linux Format magazine hit the newsstands. One of its features was a group test of Linux distributions, reflecting the state of play in Linux flavours at the time. If you fancy a trip down memory lane or just a quick look at how beautiful Linux wasn't all those years ago, we've dug out the original article complete with screenshots - read on!

How to turbo-charge your Linux desktop

LXF

Manufacturers and PC vendors would have you believe that there's only one way to speed up your machine: buy new kit. And then, in 18 months, buy new kit again. However, it's usually our software that's the real bottleneck. If you've been using Linux for a while, you'll already have discovered lighter alternatives to some of the platform's bloatfests - for example, using AbiWord and Gnumeric in the place of OpenOffice.org.

But what about the desktop itself? That's where you can get some real speed gains...

Gnome Do does dock doozy

Gnome

Whatever you think of Apple, there's no denying that the OS X interface has won over many fans with its glitzy effects. Gnome Do 0.8 introduces Docky, a Mac-style dock that lets you organise applications and folders in a spiffy-looking panel. And yes, it shows little lights beneath running programs. Hopefully Steve Jobs Tim Cook won't be too miffed.

Hudzilla Coding Academy: Project Two

Fedora 11 hits alpha

Fedora

Codenamed Leonidas, the first alpha release of what will become Fedora 11 is now available, sporting a handful of new features. Along with Ext4 and Btrfs filesystem support, the alpha also includes easier firmware installation via PackageKit and a development snapshot of Gnome 2.26.

Group test: home finance software

Apps

In the past, Linux was not overly blessed with decent budgeting software, and installing GnuCash was regarded by many as the epitome of a descent into dependency hell. Thankfully, things have since changed, and anyone using a modern distribution could now have the software ready to go in just a few minutes.

Is SCO lost for words in 2009?

Enterprise

SCO's chief operating officer Jeff Hunsaker seems to be short on rhetoric right now, posting "Blah. Blah. Blah. Best regards" in the SCO Partner News newsletter. Presumably they are too busy finding new people to sue...

Reviewed: Popcorn Hour A-110

Hardware

If you've ever tried to build yourself a multimedia PC for watching videos on a television, there are a few things to bear in mind. The PC needs to be as quiet as possible. Few people are going to accept the hum and whirr of a computer while you're trying to watch the conclusion to Miss Marple Investigates.

The machine also needs to be powerful enough to play CPU-intensive high-definition content, which means that the PC is going to generate plenty of heat, which will in turn require a beefy fan or two. Finally, you need to squeeze all of this technology into a case that isn't going to look out of place next to your television. Combine these three issues and building your own media PC seems harder than fitting the 1,186 surviving pieces of the Forma Urbis together. Which is where the stupidly named Popcorn Hour steps in.

Podcast Season 1 Episode 1

Podcast

Title: Jesus Jelly

In this episode: Torvalds switches to Gnome, should we encourage people to run free software on a non-free OS, and is Mono a force for good or one big anti-Microsoft troll?

Benchmarked: Ubuntu vs Vista vs Windows 7

Distros

In depth: A lot of people have been chattering about the improvements Windows 7 brings for Windows users, but how does it compare to Ubuntu in real-world tests? We put Ubuntu 8.10, Windows Vista and Windows 7 through their paces in both 32-bit and 64-bit tests to see just how well Ubuntu faces the new contender. And, just for luck, we threw in a few tests using Jaunty Jackalope with ext4.

CrunchBang Linux hands-on

Distros

In depth: Ubuntu has a lot to answer for - in four short years it has risen to dominate the Linux landscape. It has also spawned several re-spins, including the excellent Mint Linux, and now CrunchBang Linux. The principal method of installing CrunchBang is by using a Live CD, which will enable you to get a taste of the distro before installing, and never before has this been more important than it is with CrunchBang.

For starters, it's designed to be minimalist in order to increase performance, but not to lose any functionality in the process. To aid this, the developers have opted to use the Openbox window manager, which is extremely minimalist.

Hudzilla Coding Academy: Project One

Tweak KDE 4 to your liking

KDE

In depth: Have you been clinging to KDE 3.5 like a polar bear to the last Arctic ice shelf? If so, now is a good time to consider jumping on to the mainland - hundreds of bugfixes and refinements mean that the KDE desktop is now a stable, functional and productive environment. It's faster, more streamlined and full of eye candy, and is also where all the developers' effort is now concentrated.

Things are only going to get better for KDE users. But, as with all these big changes, there are still teething problems - things don't always work the way you expect them to and many of the newer features are poorly documented. We've spent the last few weeks delving into KDE and making a note of everything we changed to help the desktop environment feel a little more comfortable, as well as to sidestep a few of the issues we ran into.

Make your Bash scripts more efficient

Code

We all hack together quick Bash scripts to perform mundane jobs, but rarely do we spend a lot of time wringing every bit of performance out of them. Still, if you're writing code that'll make its way into the hands of others, it's worth spending a bit of time making it more efficient. HackTux's 10 tips cover arrays, compound commands and other tidbits you can use to make your scripts faster and cleaner.

30 days with Haiku

LXF

In depth: Haiku is a free operating system and an alternative to Linux. It celebrated its seventh birthday on 18 August, and it's still being actively developed. Haiku is nowhere near being considered a finished product, but it's now stable enough for everyday use.

Most importantly, it's very interesting. The design of Haiku closely mimics that of BeOS - but Linux Format magazine's Graham Morrison has never used BeOS. He doesn't know if it has a web browser, a file manager or even a command line. He has no idea how packages are installed, or even if they can be. This is his story...

Firefox 3.1 pushed back

Mozilla

Following a status meeting, the Firefox devteam has opted to delay the third beta of Firefox 3.1 due to 18 outstanding bugs. Some niggles with the JavaScript engine still remain, and the team can't guarantee that the final release will appear in Q1 2009 as originally planned.

Version control with Git

Code

In depth: Anyone who's used SVN, CVS or one of the other major versioning tools for backing up, reverting and (trying to) collaborate will understand what drove Linus Torvalds to give in and write his own. Versioning software often drives coders mad - and Git has been called the versioning system that you need a PhD to understand. The complexity comes from its simplicity and its aim to make it easier to work in large groups of distributed developers, but if you approach Git calmly you'll get a lot from it.

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