Mike and Jon's Bet


Jon had never had a Pot Noodle. Mike was shocked.

Mike had never tried Arch Linux. Jon was shocked.

A bet followed...

Newbie Guide: Your Thoughts Wanted


Here at LXF towers, we're working hard to get ahead of ourselves so we can enjoy a well earned break over Christmas. As such, we've planned the content for Issue 155, to be published in January (keeping three issues in mind at once is very confusing!) and decided that for the cover story, we'd create the ultimate newbie guide to Linux - and your insights are the key to us really making this the 'ultimate' newbie guide.

The plan is to explain what Linux is, what free and open source software is, how to get started with it, all the cool things it lets you do, and so much more.

But, we were wondering, when you first started using Linux, is there anything you know now that you wish you knew then?

Please, let us know in the comments, and help us to make this the ultimate newbie guide.

Open Ballot: Who should buy WebOS?


Ahhh, lovely WebOS. It's Linux powered, it looks great, and it boasted fluid multitasking capabilities back when iOS users were still struggling with push notifications. Unfortunately, it hasn't managed to make a big impact in the mobile market, with Palm's smartphone devices and the HP TouchPad failing to get much traction. But it's sad when such great software dies, so many pundits around the net are speculating that a company such as Oracle will buy it up.

We'll be recording our next podcast on Monday, so we want to hear from you: who should buy WebOS? Which company could make the best use of this shiny mobile platform? Would it be safe in Oracle's hands? Or should we forget about it and focus on Tizen instead? Let us know in the comments below, and we'll read out the most intriguing musings in our upcoming episode.

LXF stickers and fridge magnets up for grabs


We're having a bit of a clear-out here at LXF Towers, and we've come across some goodies to give away. We have three sheets of stickers (readers loved these) and six boxes of fridge magnets. If you fancy some of these goodies, simply leave your best Linux joke in the comments below (tasteful, please!) and we'll choose the best in a week or so. Please also leave your email address in ROT13 format (to avoid spambots) so that we can contact winners for their addresses.

Go on -- make us laugh!

Work for Linux Format!


If you've read Mike's farewell blog post on the LXF site, you'll know that he's heading off to Weißbier-land. Well, this opens up a new position at Linux Format Towers -- we're looking for a Digital Media Editor. In a nutshell, you'll be the next Mike, creating the multi-booting DVD, writing articles for the magazine, helping out with the websites and buying the odd round at the pub.

Open Ballot: Is Android fragmentation a problem?


This revealing chart is causing a bit of a stir around the internet. Basically, it points out one thing: that Android phones aren't guaranteed to get timely updates, or even any updates at all. Many devices are released with previous versions of the operating system, and fall rapidly behind, never getting to sample the latest Android goodness. Compare this to Apple, where the situation is somewhat rosier (although iOS has its own limitations as we all know).

So as we stoke the boiler for our next podcast recording, we want to hear your opinion: is this a problem? Have you bought an Android phone, and dismayed when you can't get the latest Android releases? Perhaps you've very carefully chosen a phone with a guaranteed update lifespan, or you simply don't care, and just want the beeping gizmo thing to work well. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and we'll read out the best in the podcast.

Whisky! Thanks!


When we asked listeners of TuxRadar to send in beer, we all thought we were being a little optimistic. Well, thanks to Wayne Rooney (not the football player, though he assures us that is his real name) our optimism and faith in our listeners proved to be well placed!

Hailing from New Zealand, where it's legal to own a still and make your own spirits, he kindly sent two bottles of his homebrew whisky. None of us expected to be whisky tasting on a Monday morning, but it was a definite plus.

Open Ballot: Has Ubuntu 11.10 fixed the problems with Unity?


Flamewars and controversies are ten-a-penny in the ever-changing world of computing, but Ubuntu 11.04's switch away from Gnome to Unity caused a particularly large dollop of anger to be spooned onto the internet. While some users cheered the new desktop design, many others felt frustrated by its limitations and glitches. So as we gear up to record our next podcast, we want to hear from Ubuntu users: how do you feel about 11.10's Unity? Has it changed sufficiently to fix any problems you had previously? Is it worse in any respects? Or has it made you simply switch to Xfce?

Let us know in the comments below, and we'll read out the best in our next podcast. Ta!

Linux Format now available on the iOS App Store!


Update: You can now download issue 149, Seed Your Own Cloud, for free through our app.

Love the UK's biggest-selling Linux magazine? Also have a secret soft-spot for shiny Apple gadgets? Well, Linux Format is now available on the iOS App Store, through both Newsstand and as a standalone application for older devices. You can download the most recent issue on its own, or take out a subscription. Click (or tap!) here to get the latest offer and carry info-packed LXF goodness on your tablet today.

Open Ballot: Will "secure boot" hinder Linux adoption?


By the end of the decade, you might not be able to install Linux on a random, off-the-shelf PC. At least, not easily. This is because the UEFI "secure boot" system is being pushed by Microsoft, and could restrict the installation of other operating systems. You see, in order to boot an OS, the bootloader will need to be signed with special keys, which causes complications for totally open, free-as-in-freedom GPLed software. There may be ways around it, but it'll be fiddly.

Baby causes podcast delay


Silly babies. They can't talk about cricket, they have stumpy little limbs, and they don't know the difference between an Imperial Courier and an Imperial Trader. What's the point of them? Still, they happen, and the uncertainty of their exact arrival dates can cause problems in the workplace. So yes, due to the potential arrival of a new mini LXF crew member in the next few hours, we've had to delay the podcast by a bit. We're hoping to have it done by Monday or so - can you handle the excitement?

LXF 150 On Sale Today!


Well, after reading everyone else's favourite LXF moments from the last 150 issues, today's the day that issue 150 goes on sale! To celebrate, you get to enjoy these reflections from the newest member of our team, Jonathan Roberts:

I'm still relatively new to the LXF staff, but that doesn't mean I'm new to LXF. Before joining the team here, I was a reader for many years and enjoyed going in to Smiths once a month to buy the new issue - I'd then get it home and read it almost cover to cover.

Linux Format 150: the countdown continues


It’s Graham Morrison’s turn to divulge his choice picks from his time at Linux Format:

There have been many memorable moments. And the vast majority have been positive. But inevitably, as I'm sure any Linux writer will concur, it’s the tough projects that stick in your mind.

Open Ballot: Is Linux really so secure?


As Linux users, we watch our poor Windows-suffering brethren battle with viruses, spyware, malware and other problems, safe in the knowledge that our operating system is designed to minimise such risks. But is Linux really as secure as we like to think? The recent hacking of kernel.org and impact on related sites has given us much food for thought.

You could argue that Linux is intrinsically very secure, but a high-profile site such as the home of kernel development is going to be a big target. Or maybe Linux isn't really that secure - it's just that the users are typically more tech-savvy and are less likely to run HOTBRITNEY.EXE attachments in their emails. What would happen if all Ubuntu users started installing random .deb packages in emails? Is it all down to the users?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and we'll read out the best in our upcoming podcast. Gracias!

Linux Format 150: the countdown continues


Solar Power (LXF79)

What does he know of Linux who only Linux knows (asks Andrew Gregory)? Well, lots actually, but whatever your specialist subject it's always useful to take a step back and look again at what you know from a different angle. That's why Mike's look at OpenSolaris back in issue 79 is worth reading even now, despite the fact that free software has moved on so much in the intervening five years.

Linux Format issue 150 is approaching!


Here at Linux Format Towers, we're about to reach a milestone in the history of the magazine: 150 issues. A lot has happened in the last 11 years, and before LXF150 goes on sale this Thursday, 15 September, we're asking the team to recall their favourite moments from the magazine's life. Kicking it off is Mike Saunders who clearly wants darn kids to get off his lawn. Take it away...

Open Ballot: What are your highlights and lowlights of the past 20 years?


It has been 20 years since Linus Torvalds made his famous announcement about a certain kernel that we're all using today. Yes, Linux is now two decades old (and we know that GNU/Linux is older than that, RMS fans!) and a lot of things have happened in that time. For our upcoming podcast, we want you to tell us: what've been your high and low points of the last 20 years? Like, for instance, the release of a certain distro or desktop environment, or the battles against SCO and Microsoft.

Tap your musings into the comments box and we'll read out the most awesome in our podcast. Except for you, Anonymous Penguin. That ain't a proper name.

Open Ballot: Does Tux help or hinder Linux?


Penguins are cute, right? Pretty much everyone agrees with that, but whether a penguin makes a good mascot for an operating system - that's open to debate. On the one hand, Tux's cheerful face and relaxed posture could be the perfect way to express what we love about Linux. It's not too corporate, it's fun, and it's happy to welcome anyone into its fold. But on the other hand, it could be argued that such a toy-like mascot stops big business from taking the community seriously. Would a more conventional logo make us look more professional? How about a different, more powerful sort of animal?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and we'll read out the best in our podcast. (If you are an actual penguin, please note that in your message, and we will put on the appropriate voice.)

Open Ballot: What will Linux look like in 10 years?


It's crystal ball time as we get prepared for the next TuxRadar podcast. We want you to tell us: how do you think Linux will look like, one decade from now? We don't mean in a cosmetic sense (although you're free to comment on that if you want). But rather, what sort of OS will it be, and how will most people be using it? For instance, you might predict that the desktop wars will die out and most users will be running little more than a browser on the kernel. Maybe via Android it'll morph into a free alternative to iOS.

Whatever the case, and no mater how ker-azy your ideas, let us know in the comments below and we'll read out the best in our podcast. Extra points will be awarded to those who fit MikeOS into their visions of the future.

Back from OSCon


And we're back! Graham and Mike have returned from talking to awesome FOSS developers, looking at mountains and drinking Indian Pale Ales. Stay tuned in the next few issues of Linux Format magazine for interviews, features and more - including a special look at Free Geek, a great service in Portland that refurbishes computers (and puts Linux on them). In the meantime, have a gander at a few pictures after the break.

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