7 cool Linux projects

Linux


As autumn begins, the nights start drawing in and you're no doubt itching for new things to do with your Linux box. Well, we asked our projects expert to rustle up 7 great things you can do on your penguin-powered machine - host a photo album, make sweet music, create stop-frame animations and more. Read on to get cracking!

When you use your Linux machine every day, it's easy to forget that there's a world of experimentation, creativity and fun lurking behind the package manager. In our biased opinion, Linux is the best possible operating system for those who like to play with new software. There's so much variety, and unlike most software on other operating systems, it's all completely free.

The only problem - if you can call it that - is that there's too much choice, and it's often difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff in the bewildering number of applications that are available.

We want to provide a starting point for fun hackery, a distraction and a reason to enjoy using Linux. We've come up with seven small projects that can be completed in just an hour or two, on whichever distribution you prefer. They'll take you from running Linux as a server hosting your own photos, creating and recording a podcast or a piece of music, stop-frame animation with Gimp and even writing your own text adventure game. They're a great example of the breadth and quality of software you can now install on your Linux box, and often the perfect starting point for bigger and better things.

1. Host a photo album

Time it takes: 60 minutes

There are plenty of online services that offer to host your photos for free, and sites like Flickr and Picasa are excellent tools for expanding your online social presence. But for most of us, they're not ideal for sharing personal photos with family and friends. Even when they offer password-protected collections with restricted access, sometimes you want to keep your own photos closer to your own storage. So why not host your own photo collection?

The software we've opted to use is called Zoph. It's built using PHP and a MySQL database, and enables you to import your collection of photos through a Zip or Tar file, organise them into albums, set attributes for author and geographical location, and share them with your friends and family.

Zoph is a comprehensive photo management application that runs on HP through a web browser.

Zoph is a comprehensive photo management application that runs on HP through a web browser.

Install the software

Taking Ubuntu 9.04 as a base, you need to install Zoph from the package manager, and this in turn will install the several Apache 2 dependencies, which is all we'll need for a working web server. You will also need to search for and install the mysql-server package to grab the database back-end, and the installer will ask you for a password to protect the root MySQL account. Remember this password, because you'll need to enter it after typing the following two lines on the command line. The first will create the database that Zoph uses to store the photo information, while the second will import the default table data provided by the Zoph package install into the MySQL server:

mysqladmin -u root -p create zoph 
mysql -u root -p zoph < /usr/share/doc/zoph/zoph.sql

If you're using a distribution other than Ubuntu, there's a chance that the zoph.sql file could be in a different location. Your distro's package manager can tell you where if you look at what and where has been installed with the Zoph package.

Configuration

The next step is to set up the permissions for the database we've just created. Log into your MySQL server by typing mysql -u root -p, and type these two lines, replacing password with your own password.

grant select, insert, update, delete on zoph.* to zoph_rw@localhost identified by 'password';
grant all on zoph.* to zoph_admin identified by 'password';

All we're doing here is creating a MySQL user account called zoph_rw and giving it the permissions required to read and write to the database. Zoph expects to find this account, and you next need to tell Zoph what password you've allocated to the zoph_rw user. You can do this by editing /etc/zoph/config.inc.php and changing password in the following line:

define('DB_PASS', 'password');

Sharing photos

That's all there is to the configuration. You should now be able to point a browser running on the same machine to http://localhost/zoph, which will in turn redirect you to a login page. Enter admin for username and admin for the password, and you'll find yourself within Zoph running on your own web server. The first thing you'll want to do is import your own photos, and this can be done by clicking on the Import button at the top of the screen. You can then select photos individually, or archives of photos within Zip or Tar files if you want to upload a folder or collection. Each upload can be given a description, and you can also create locations and photographer accounts, which can then be attributed to each import. This information can make a larger collection easier to navigate, but it's not necessary.

After adding your photos, you can browse them by switching to the 'photos' page or, if you've sorted them into albums, the 'albums' page. You can now share your photos with anyone else who can access your LAN by giving the IP address of your machine (or the hostname if there's a DHCP router sitting at the heart of your network). If you want to access your site from the internet, you need to make sure port 80 is forwarded from your gateway or access point to the machine running Zoph. You can then use the IP address of your internet connection from elsewhere on the internet, but you'll need to make sure that you keep Apache up to date on that machine. You can limit who can see your photos by creating user accounts for those people, and limiting those accounts to groups of photos if you need to to.


2. Build a media server

Time it takes: 120 minutes

Linux is brilliant at serving files. It's this ability that keeps the enterprise world turning to Linux for its heavy lifting jobs and that keeps the world Googling 24/7. But it's just as good at serving files from a computer tucked away under the stairs or stuck in the loft, and a server in your house is now becoming an essential accessory. Mobile phones, games consoles and even televisions are rapidly developing the ability to read, display and play files held on a media-centre PC, and Linux is the perfect free software solution. All you need is a relatively low-powered PC, a decent amount of storage and somewhere safe to hide it.

Install the software

We've chosen to use Ubuntu Server Edition for two reasons. First, it's the same distribution that most people know and love, only optimised for use on a server. Second, you still have access to exactly the same packages and repositories as you do with with the desktop version, which makes installing and using software easy.

Put the disc into the machine you want to use as the server and select your language followed by 'Install Ubuntu Server'. Unlike the desktop version, there's no graphical installer. Instead you'll need to choose your configuration settings from the pages of options that appear throughout the installer. Don't let this put you off; there aren't any questions that can't easily be answered, and the installation is effectively no different from a standard desktop installation. The first question asks you again for the language, the second for your location and the third for your keyboard layout. After a brief pause, you'll be asked for a hostname. You might want to change this to something like 'mediaserver', rather than the default 'ubuntu' to avoid confusion with any other Ubuntu installations you may have running on the same network.

When MediaTomb is running, you can add files and folders to your media collection through the web interface.

When MediaTomb is running, you can add files and folders to your media collection through the web interface.

Partition the disk

The next installation step is disk configuration. This is a much more important consideration for a media server than it is for a standard desktop installation, because of the sheer volume of files that you'll be storing on it. The most convenient solution is to use an old disk of around 10GB (or less) for the Linux installation and a high-capacity drive for your media content. You can then select 'Guided - Use Entire Disk' on the installation page, then select the disk for the installation and give Ubuntu complete control over how it creates the installation. Your media storage disk can be configured later.

The second-best option is to create two partitions on a single drive, using the smaller partition for the root filesystem and the other partition for your data. This way, you can update the root partition if you need to, or easily back up your data partition without infecting it with system files. After skipping through the partition section you'll be asked for your real name, username and password. You should give this a little more thought than with the desktop, as it's likely that your server will be on all the time and accessible from the internet, so a secure username/password combination is vital. Press Continue to skip the HTTP proxy installation, and choose to install security updates automatically when asked. Finally, don't select any of the default server packages unless you want to enable SSH for remote administration then click on Continue to install the system.

Configure MediaTomb

We're now only a couple of steps away from a completion. When your machine restarts after installing all the main packages, you need to log in and type sudo apt-get install mediatomb into a terminal. This will grab the media-streaming software and install it on your system. All you need to now is type mediatomb to run the server. Watch the output, because you should see something like the following:

2009-07-16 15:20:52    INFO: MediaTomb Web UI can be reached by following this link:
2009-07-16 15:20:52    INFO: http://192.168.1.89:49152/

This is the port and the IP address for the server, and you should now be able to point a web browser on the same network at this address and use the simple user interface to add the files and folders that contain your various bits of media. After a few moments, the media should appear on any UPnP streaming client, such as those on a Playstation 3 and XBox 360.


3. Make sweet music

Time it takes: 30 minutes

You shouldn't need any training or musical skill to make music - all you need is the ability to tell the different between what you like and what you don't. We're going to prove this point by creating a piece of music using nothing but the mouse cursor and a single Linux application - Rosegarden. From Rosegarden, you can create drum tracks, melody and chords, all played through internal instruments, and save the output to a file.

Getting started

Rosegarden uses Jack to talk to your audio hardware and other audio applications, so you'll need to include QjackCtl when you install the packages. We also installed as many DSSI synthesizers as our package manager could find. QjackCtl is the GUI front-end to Jack, and you'll need to launch this before starting Rosegarden. We've had best results restarting the machine, opening QjackCtl, clicking on the Setup button, disabling the real-time checkbox, setting the sample rate to 48000, clicking OK and then clicking Start. This should work for the vast majority of audio hardware, and when Jack is running you should see 'Started' in the QjackCtl window. You can now safely launch Rosegarden.

Create something

We're going to start with the bass track. Make sure track number one is selected within Rosegarden, and, in the Track Parameters panel on the left, use the Device drop-down menu to select Synth Plugin (this configures the track to use one of the DSSI synths we installed earlier). In the Instrument Parameters panel below the Track Parameters, click on the 'No Synth' button. This will open a new window asking for the DSSI synth to load into slot one. The synths that are listed will depend on what you've installed, but we've opted for the XSynth plugin. If that's not available on your distribution, try something else. A synth parameter window will open, but you'll need to close this for the moment.

Back at Rosegarden's main view, make sure the pencil icon is enabled in the toolbar and draw a couple of new bars on the first track. A long block of yellow should appear. Now right-click on this block and select Open With The Matrix Editor. This will open a new window into which you can point and click to add notes to play on the synth. Click on the piano keyboard on the left of the matrix to preview the note, then click in the matrix to add notes. Drag the right border of notes to alter their duration, and if you enable the 'Show Velocity Property Ruler' from the View menu you'll be able to change the volume of each note by dragging the orange blocks that appear.

Put it all together

Now close the matrix editor and enable the loop icon in the transport window, then use the right arrow next to the loop icon to extend the white looped area around the block of notes, and press Play. Your notes will now play back in a loop, and you should go back to the track properties panel for that track, click on Editor, and tweak the sound assigned to the synth.

After this, it's a matter of repeating the process for several more tracks, using different sounds and clicking on a different selection of notes. If you keep looped playback running in the background, you'll be able to gradually build the complexity of the track. At that point, copy and paste the blocks of notes on each track, and move them horizontally to build a whole song.

Step by step: Export audio

1. Launch Audacity, open the Edit, Preferences windows and change the recording device to Rosegarden, then press Record.

2. Switch back to Rosegarden, make sure the cursor is at the beginning of the track and click on Play.

3. Go back to Audacity. You should see the project being recorded, and when the playback has finished you can save the file.


4. Write interactive fiction

Time it takes: 60 minutes

Text adventure games were massively popular at a time when all computers could do was display text, and there has recently been a strong resurgence in their popularity thanks to mobile devices. The games eat few CPU cycles, burn very little power and don't require too much dexterity. You don't need to be a coding guru to write one either: the games are programmed using a form of natural language. For example, the game parser will understand the name and relative positions of the two locations described by the line 'The library is west of the landing.' This makes developing games almost as much fun as playing them. Secondly, there's a brilliant development environment that can help you map out the ideas and locations for your game, as well as help you enter and understand the source code. And to show just how easy it is, we're going to create the beginnings of an interactive masterpiece.

Install the IDE

The IDE is called Gnome Inform, and you'll need to grab packages for your distribution as they're seldom included in the average repository. The project's page on SourceForge includes binary packages for most popular distributions, and there shouldn't be any weird dependencies. Installing the application using a package manager should be a simple point and click process, and it can be executed by either typing gnome-inform7 on the command line, or finding the application hidden within your launch menu.

Games created using Inform 7 can be played on anything from mobile phones to wristwatches.

Games created using Inform 7 can be played on anything from mobile phones to wristwatches.

Get writing!

The main Gnome Inform window is split into two panels, both of which can be switched to display any one of seven screens. Normally, you'd use the panel on the left to type the source code for the game, and the panel on the right for testing the current build, documentation and debugging, but you're free to use each panel as you choose. To create a game, make sure one side has 'Source' selected, and type:

"Wretched Exchange" by "Anonymous Penguin" When play begins:
say "[italic type]It's one of the hottest days of the year. You're stuck in the office trying to get OpenExchange installed on to one of the crusty old Linux servers, and you can't leave until the CEO's Blackberry starts whirring with new email."
The Office is a room. "Why do all offices look alike? There's the low-slung polystyrene ceiling, complete with ambient lighting, and various desks and chairs littered across the lino floor tiles. The server room is to the north and an emergency exit to the south."

This is all you need to create a working title. Gnome Inform knows how to parse this data automatically, taking the title and author from the first line, and the intro text that follows 'When play begins:' But the most essential part of this code is the room description, as locations such as this are the core components within a text adventure. Inform automatically extracts the room description and is able to work out that the server room is to the north while the emergency exit is to the south from the natural language in the description.

Rooms aren't much good without objects, and you can add one to the office atmosphere with the following lines:

A coffee cup is here. The description is "On the inside, the cup is stained black by years of caffeine addiction. The outside sports the image of a penguin."
After taking the cup:
say "Taken. You sure wish you could find some fresh coffee."
After dropping the cup:
say "Dropped. So much for getting a caffeine hit."

In this chunk of text, we're saying there's a coffee cup in the room as well as defining a couple of actions - taking and dropping. Both of these are automatically understood by the parser, but there are going to be times when the parser doesn't understand an action, and in those cases you'll have to create your own. In the server room to the north, we're going to place an air-conditioning unit, and create a new action that activates the unit and solves the game.

The Server Room is a room. It is north of the office. "It's difficult to hear yourself think in here. Racks of servers are humming away, filling the air with an acrid damp humidity."
An air conditioning unit is here. The description is "Attached to the wall, this yellowing unit seems to have been bought on the cheap from the local Pub after the smoking ban made it redundant. Water is dropping from the unit on to the floor."
Activating is an action applying to one thing. Understand "activate [something]" as activating.
Before activating the air conditioning unit:
say "Wow! You turn on the unit and the servers gradually stop complaining.";
end the game in victory.

You can now run the game and complete it by going north and activating the air-conditioning unit. It's a ridiculously simple solution, but you should be able to see the massive potential in the natural way a game can be created. It's designed to feel much like reading a book, and the results can be fantastic.


5. Secure remote desktops

Time it takes: 60 minutes

Not only do remote desktops enable you to access your old familiar machine from anywhere on the internet, they also enable you to build a multi-desktop, multi-user environment out of a single machine that doesn't necessary even need a screen. This is a great solution on netbooks, for example, where you may occasionally need the extra horsepower of a full-blown PC. Just connect to the server from your netbook desktop and you've got a full desktop on top of a small one.

VNC

There are several ways to run a remote desktop from Linux. The X server itself was designed to run remotely, and you can still forward windows from a local server to a remote one with relative ease, especially if you use SSH. But the X protocol is inefficient, and only fast enough for general use if you're connected to the same network as the server. A far better alternative is FreeNX. This breaks window and cursor movement up into a series of commands that can be transferred much more efficiently than X, and the remote desktop is much more responsive as a result. But there's a problem with FreeNX: It can be a complete pain to install, and there seems to be a different method for every distribution we look at. The day FreeNX becomes easy to install is the day we'll write instructions on how to get it to work.

This leaves us with VNC. VNC sends chunks of compressed image data rather than interpreting any drawing routings, and as a result sits half-way between the X server and FreeNX for efficiency. But it does have one big advantage, and this is that you can find VNC clients everywhere. Many mobile phones, PDAs and netbooks will have a VNC client available, and both Windows and OS X have free and paid-for client applications that can connect to VNC running on your Linux box. From a Linux perspective, KDE and Gnome both have built-in support for connecting to VNC servers.

Running the server

There are several variations of VNC, but our favourite is called TightVNC, which includes a few performance improvements over the original VNC protocol. On your server, you should be able to install the tightvncserver package from the package manager. To start a VNC session, you need to open a command line and type vncserver :1. This will launch a new server which will be attached to the second (:1) graphics console on the machine. The first would be :0, but this will be the current display on that machine, unless it's running in pure console mode. Any other machine running on the LAN will now be able to connect to the VNC server by using the IP address of the server followed by :5901.

As VNC uses just one port (5901) you can easily tunnel this port to a remote connection through SSH. This is a great solution if you want to access your Linux box from the wilds of the internet, as it means you only need to leave the relatively secure SSH port open (port 22), with just the SSH server facing the internet. The VNC server is safely tucked away behind the firewall. An SSH tunnel is a little like a wormhole.

It takes the data from port 5901 on the server, for instance, tunnels this through the standard SSH data connection on port 22, and reconstitutes the data on the client at the local port 5901. All you then have to do is use a VNC client to connect to localhost:5901 rather than the remote IP address.

Step by step: VNC through SSH

1. Type 'vncserver :1' followed by a password to launch the VNC server.

2. Type 'ssh -l 5901:localhost:5901 server_ip' to connect to the server using SSH.

3. Use a VNC client such as KRDC to connect to localhost:5901.


6. Record a podcast

Time it takes: 60 minutes

There are now thousands of podcasts available, but if you've taken the trouble to listen some of them, you soon realise that many are mediocre at best, and they probably left you feeling that you could do better. Well, now is the time to give it a go. Whether the subject covers open source, Linux or your favourite band, creating and publishing a podcast is a hugely rewarding process. After several months of recording the TuxRadar podcasts, here's our guide to getting the best possible output.

Setup

The most important thing to get right when creating a podcast is the recording. You need to make sure you've got a quiet environment for your performers, so avoid noisy air conditioning units and photographers. You also need to make sure you're using a reasonable quality microphone. If there's more than one person in the recording, each person should have their own mic. If not, you need to make sure they speak as close to the microphone as possible - ideally no more than 18 inches away. LugRadio used cheap piezo microphones for each member of the team, while we use general-purpose condenser microphones. Most soundcards will only record two inputs at once, which means you'll need a more professional solution if you need to record more, and a small external mixer can help balance the levels from the microphone before it makes it to your Linux machine. You need to make sure the signals are as loud as possible without clipping, as this will create distortion.

Recording

The best piece of software we've found for making the recording is Audacity. It's capable of recording multiple channels at once, and it's the only option for chopping your podcast down to size after the recording. Use the Preferences window to set up the inputs for your hardware and press Record when you're ready to start. Just leave the recording running for the entire duration of the show, and re-speak any fluffed lines or unwanted insults. We also recommend that you split your podcasts into sections, rather than leaving it as a two-hour-long stream of consciousness, but the choice is yours.

After you've finished the recording, you'll need to listen to the whole thing again in Audacity, cutting any areas that need to be cut. You don't need to be too exact about these cuts, as Audacity will try its best to avoid clipping noise. If you want to a musical interlude between each section, use the 'Add New Track' option from Audacity's track menu, copy the music from another Audacity session and paste it into the new track at the appropriate points.

Audacity is the best audio software we've found for recording, editing and mastering a podcast.

Audacity is the best audio software we've found for recording, editing and mastering a podcast.

Mastering and output

There's a lot you can do within Audacity to make your recordings sound better. The Noise Removal effect is quite good at removing low levels of background noise, for example. We'd also suggest using the Compression effect. Unlike normalise, which amplifies the recording until the highest signal is maximised, compression amplifies only the quieter sections. With a vocal recording, this can help reduce the highs and lows of conversation by making a more uniform level for the whole recording. If you keep the Normalise option enabled in the compression window, you get the best of both worlds. When you're happy with the recording, use Audacity's export function to create either an Ogg Vorbis file or an MP3. If it's the latter, you'll need the Lame library installed. We found that you can use the lowest-quality settings for output; it makes very little difference to the sound quality and it keeps file sizes low.

To publish your podcast, just upload it to some online storage and post a link from a blog or web page. If you want people to be able to subscribe to your podcast so that their clients automatically download a new episode, you'll need to create an RSS text file containing certain specific tags. The typical RSS feed is too large to print, but you can easily grab the one for TuxRadar and change our details. Make sure the latest podcast comes first in the RSS, and that date formats conform to the ISO standard. Each time you create a new podcast, you simply need to add a new 'item' section within the RSS file, and you're ready to go.


7. Stop-frame animation

Time it takes: 120 minutes

Before processing power was abundant, stop-frame animation was the preserve of the professional. You needed some serious equipment and the enough patience to set each shot up, make a small change to your scene, take the photograph and move on to the next shot. Only then could you develop your frames and construct your animation. Computers remove most of the tedium, and turn what might have been hard labour into a few hours of fun.

Create the art

There are several ways to generate the images you'll use to construct an animation. One of the easiest is to use a digital camera to take photographs of your scene. This is great if you wanted to animate plasticine models, for example. Alternatively, stick purely to Gimp and create each frame manually using its drawing tools.

If you're importing images from a digital camera or a scanner, the trick is to make sure that each image is placed on a different layer within the same Gimp project. You can do this by opening the first frame of your animation, then selecting 'Open As Layers' from the File menu and Shift-selecting all the other image files in your animation. Each frame will then be listed in the layers panel on the right, and you should save your project as a native XCF document before you make any further changes. You can't flick through the animation at this stage, but you can use layer opacity to make sure the subject in each image is aligned. If there are any problems, Gimp has dozens of editing and filter functions that can help pull the quality of your animation up a notch.

Draw it yourself

For our manual approach, we selected the brush tool with a white background and a black paint colour, created a blank canvas at a resolution of 800x600 and started to draw, creating a new layer for each frame. We found it easier to see successive changes if each new layer had a transparent background, as this allowed us to see the previous frames. If you do this, you'll need to right-click on each layer and select Remove Alpha Channel before rendering the final animation. On your first attempt, we'd recommend keeping things simple. We drew a ball falling on to a single-lined trampoline, and the complete animation was 20 frames.

Export

Whether you drew the frames yourself or imported images from your camera, you can export a working animation from Gimp using the animated GIF format. Choose File > Save As from the menu and make sure the format you choose is GIF. Gimp will inform you that the project needs to be exported before it can be saved, and you should choose Save As Animation and then click on Export. This will create a GIF file on your system, and you can view your animation for the first time by right-clicking on this and opening it with Firefox. If you find the GIF format too restrictive, you can use a tool such as MEncoder to convert your animation to something you can share with other people.

Step by step: Animate your doodles

1. If you're using digital camera images, open the first in the animation and then use Open As Layers to load the rest.

2. When drawing each frame, create the layers with transparency and remove the alpha channel before saving.

3. Save the image as a GIF file and Gimp will ask you whether you'd like to create an animation from the file. Yes you do!

First published in Linux Format

First published in Linux Format magazine

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Your comments

Sweet

Yet another great how-to article. I never knew about the interactive fiction software. Thanks for putting this together.

Jokosher?

Have you looked at Jokosher for podcasts? Jokosher got a lot of press while it was still in early development but has fallen off the radar since; I'd like to hear what people think of it in production settings.

Setting up Jack taking less than 30 minutes?

It's taken me the best part of a week of evenings to get my Audacity card set up working nicely with Jack and Rosegarden, let alone actually writing any music!

Love, Light and Peace, Crispibits

Excellent Work, will try Gnome Inform

Gnome Inform is something new to me, let me try this. i like the concept too.

Secure Remote desktop

You should look into MX from nomachine.com. There is a server and client component, including Windows clients. MX, by default, uses SSH for secure communication. I have also found it to be surprisingly fast making it completely usable even over a sub-1Mb/s DSL pipe.

Some more easy hacks

Stopmotion is a great tool for using your webcam to grab a few frames to put with your GIMP moving back drop.

Gnump3d makes a real easy LAN music server with very little overhead.

If you can afford a few dollars and don't mind using proprietary, RuntimeRevolution gives you a really easy scripting language to make your shell scripts run in a point and click GUI window. The runtime build is freely distributable. I use v1.1 but the latest has drag and drop.
Using lines like "put the shell of ("/home/stomfi/bin/myshell.sh" && MYVAR) into field "SHOWIT",
I can build a really sophisticated application that does what I want. And I have fun trying to work out what shell tools to use.

I've been doing this ever since v1.1 came out on a magazine CD.

I use runrev to shell firefox to youtube using antbar, when firefox is closed, the shell returns to runrev which saves the antbar files in a media folder and give the options of ripping out the mp3s or building a DVD by shelling out the devede. Other options grab the CDDB info for renaming, normalize the sounds, etc all from one GUI.

Keep it up, we need more fun hacking.

Tuxradar is OUTSTANDINGLY brilliant!!! (but...)

Definitely my favourite linux site, both for the audio and the text. Hats off, genuine applause, etc, etc, on a job VERY well done.

but (you knew there would be a but!) with so much inevitable overlap, I'm starting to wonder why I still pay for the mag, with all the best bits available here for free!)

So tell me why I should - this is your excuse to give the mag a big plug!

Inform - export options?

I wonder if it is possible to export an Inform adventure to web? It could be extremely funky to be able to easily create text adventures for one's own web site.

@Tedious old grump

Why continue to buy Linux Format? Simple: flick through your copy of this magazine, then count up how many pages of it are on TuxRadar. Answer: not many. And even when we do put articles online, like this one, we usually end up missing some bits out, simply because we can do things in magazines that are harder to reproduce online, or just don't work so well.

If you were buying LXF for the cover feature alone, then you should absolutely stop and just read it online. But we print about 100 other pages of news, reviews, tutorials and features every month, you get it in a pleasant-to-read format, you get it in a timely manner (unlike TuxRadar stuff which is always at least four weeks older than the magazine, but usually much more), and, perhaps most important of all, TuxRadar is only possible because of the people who buy Linux Format. No Linux Format, no TuxRadar.

Of course, if you subscribe to Linux Format, you get the content two weeks even earlier (giving a minimum of a six-week lead time over TuxRadar), and you get about 1400 articles available for download from our back issues archive.

So, yes, reading things on TuxRadar is great, and we're really glad to be able to give back to the community in any way, but we also think readers of Linux Format get more, faster, and in a much more readable format.

kudos

Excellent article - thank you!

Poor excuse for a Linux article

Ooooh..... Truly, this "Linux" machine does things NO Windows box could ever do! "Audacity", you say? And what is this "VNC" you speak of? Such things surely aren't possible on stodgy old Windows! Oh wait... That's right: VNC and Audacity are available for Windows, and for free, just like Linux! If I'm going to read about "7 cool linux projects", I want to know that these are "Linux" projects, not "just about any old operating system".
G-

Top Notch

I just want to add to the props given up by Tedious_old_grump; I'm a linux Noob and i was looking for something to help me along. after a bit of research i picked the LXF magazine because it had a much more friendly appearance than other more serious looking pulications amd also reminded me of the hobbyist computer mags of my youth.
Gotta say i've been very impressed, mag is definitely good value, consider me subscribed.
Thanks,
K

understanding the purpose of an article

the earlier comment by "Winster McRoesoft"

is an anagram of "microsoft newster"
but sounds more like a microsoft whinger

I understood the article to be about using the Linux systems
to deliver 7 projects.

Perhaps mac, mainframe and other flavoured operating systems can do this but they would meet on their websites to inspire each other to look for new areas to enjoy their computing.

If you want a reason to say mine is better or shinier than yours then search for forums where this is important to the audience.

Ok, granted...

Ok, Winster McRoesoft, Grantedthese things can be done on other OS's and for the most part for free. However, for the Linux community, it has always been free and some new users out there are not aware that these options exist or are still stuck in the loop of proprietary software thinking that you need to buy an Adobe product or a Apple product to get projects finished, these articles serve as a reminder to think outside of that commercial software box. It has certainly help me, as I didn't know it was this easy to set-up my box to make music. this information will come in very handy in future projects.

ever since i made the change to linux as my primary OS, i havent regretted it. I find now that the Free software solution is usually the best solution.

by the by.. for some of the new users out there that like to do video work. KDENLIVE is a great video editor and easy to use. You can also use Blender's sequence editor to edit video. as Blender grows its very quickly becoming a one-stop-shop for all my video production needs. all they need to do now is integrate an audio suite into it and it will reach the perfection level for me.

Great stuff

I love learning new stuff. I have followed Linux since it came out but never had a computer that could run it. About 2 years ago a friend gave me RHLinux and I installed it on a dying computer and it worked. For a few months I played with linux. I started getting Linux Magazines with live CD's and playing with them. I just finally got rid of Windows from my desktop and put Ubuntu on it. I love it. I want to thank everyone in the Linux Community for a great product. Because it a community effort to bring this to the masses. I hope for more support from vendors who think only Windows and Mac OS's are out there. Don't be afraid to get rid of Windows, It will save to thousands over the long run and give you plenty of fun. You just might learn something along the way.

Thanks again.

sandmannc40 - a new penguin citezen

:) ya ya ya

How did you manage to get all these "Time it takes: XXX"

ummmm from cold clapping hands and eating fish you may have got a time compression disorder... I bet you did not install and test successfully any of the above, recently... it took less than 10 min to write this bulshit and I bet you did copy paste (thanks to Bill Gates by the way) and if I'm wrong you have a bucket of ice and a fish from me.

....free and open source... well if you sit and think free is not quite free it comes at a price because time is money... and prepair yourself to spend quite some time configuring securing and troubleshooting a NIX box... unless your a dumb penguin that will install all defaults and click next next next...

Awesome article. I

Awesome article. I understand what human resources are. LX does very good job and indeed what you get is worth the money.

But would you please publish some <outdated> articles here too?

Dont forget people, what RMS sayd. Apples are apples, words are words. You take an apple and its away. You repeat a word and its doubled. Connecting this two worlds is what GPL does.

media-server

I used the media server project as an school project and it worked briliantly! I also used top -p to monitor the mediatomb process and iptraf to look at the networktraffic. this is also a very good resource if ou want to try something new! great job!

the problem with a media

the problem with a media server is that you actually have to have some media to serve

vnc server

please if anybody have knowledge about VNC and freeNX than give some suggestion and some latest project on linux os.

JACK. That word makes me

JACK. That word makes me want to kill every living thing.

Pure Epic Awesomeness.

This is awesome.
I think I'll try these all, one at a time.
Zoph is actually a pretty logical concept.
You have more administrative control, and it's on your own server.
I've got Apache up and running now and have the database ready to go.

Thanks for this article.

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