OpenBallot: Ubuntu + Yahoo = evil?


As you probably already know, Firefox in Ubuntu 10.04 will use Yahoo as its default search engine because Canonical has struck a revenue-sharing deal with Yahoo. This potentially leaves us with a small dilemma: if you're an Ubuntu user then you probably want to help support the distro at least a little, but on the flip side Microsoft Bing is the search engine behind Yahoo, which means using the default means supporting Microsoft.

So, we're looking for your input: will you give Yahoo+Bing a try and help Ubuntu a little, or will changing to Google be the first thing you do on any 10.04 machine? Perhaps more importantly, is Canonical's move a step away from its free software roots while also arguably providing users with inferior search results by default, or just sound business sense?

Post your comments below, make your answers clear, and please provide a name other than Anonymous Penguin otherwise we're likely to ignore you. (NB: we'll be releasing the first podcast of season 2 on Thursday.)

Now available: Hudzilla Coding Academy in print!


If you've been following the Hudzilla Coding Academy - our free Mono and C# tutorial series - you'll be pleased to know that it's now available as a special edition magazine, on-sale worldwide and available online.

The magazine version includes another six all-new projects (taking the total to 15), many corrections to the original online text, plus dozens of new tips that take your knowledge further. So, if you're looking to learn to program and aren't sure where to start, Paul Hudson's Coding Academy takes you from zero to hero with minimum theory with maximum fun.

On the included DVD you'll find all the software you need to get started, pre-configured with all the source code from the projects in the magazine. In short, it's all you need to get started and take control of your computer today.

Click the Buy Online button below to buy the magazine now wherever you are in the world, or click here to see what's inside the magazine.


Win a free subscription to Linux Format


We just stumbled across this video of a happy reader getting his copy of the world's best Linux magazine, and we think he deserves a free year's subscription to Linux Format for his trouble. We're always happy to see this sort of thing, so if you upload to YouTube a video of yourself reading/enjoying/reviewing your copy of LXF then send us a link in the comments below, we'll pick the coolest/funniest video and give its creator a free year's subscription too.

(PS: if you're already a subscriber, we'll add a free year to your existing subscription. RPCJerkobi: drop us an email at to claim your prize)

Linux Format issue 127 - don't miss it!


Here's a quick heads-up about the latest issue of Linux Format. We're giving it a special mention here because we're expecting it to sell out quickly! Why, you ask? Well, just like every issue it's packed to the gills with Linux and free software reviews, features and guides, but this month we've gone the extra mile:

  • A monster double-sided, 8GB DVD with Ubuntu 9.10 (special Linux Format remaster with 300 extra packages), Mandriva 2010 and OpenSUSE 11.2
  • A free, bonus wallchart: one side is crammed with quick Linux tips, shortcuts and links, while the other side has awesome Ubuntu artwork for your wall

LXF 127 is available in UK newsagents today, and for US-based readers it should be stocked in your nearest Barnes & Noble or Borders soon!

Update: copies have already sold out at our online store, so you'll need to buy it in brick-and-mortar stores instead. Heck, buy five, put them on eBay, and make yourself a tidy profit.

Update part 2: we've got some more copies available in our online store, so grab one before they sell out again!

Open Ballot: is it good to sue for GPL violations?


The Software Freedom Law Center has announced a lawsuit against 14 companies, including Best Buy, JVC and Samsung, for GPL violations relating to BusyBox, which is a GPL-licensed bundle of Unix tools. The SFLC said it "gave each defendant ample time to comply with the requirements of the license", but what do you think: is suing necessary in today's world, or does it reflect badly on the Free Software community? Moreover, should we be encouraging the naming and shaming of offenders, or does it generate bad feeling towards the GPL?

As per usual, the best comments will be used in our podcast, so please leave a name other than Anonymous Penguin, please state your view clearly, then back it up with some sort of logical reasoning.

Open Ballot: Chrome OS: zero or hero?


Now we all know that Google's Chrome OS really is little more than a full-screen Chrome browser window running on top of Linux, it's time to weigh in with your views for our podcast: is Google onto something with the super-slim and light design, or do users want more than a window onto the web in their personal computers? Furthermore, do you think having Chrome OS around is going to be a good thing for the growing Linux netbook market?

Add your comment below, preferably answering either "Yes, Google has the right idea" or "No, I need more than just a browser" plus some sort of explanation/wit/assorted cleverness, along with a username that isn't Anonymous Penguin, and we'll read the best out when we record the podcast.

Open Ballot: Microsoft/News Corp deal - would you switch to Bing?


Word has it that Microsoft is in talks with News Corp to discuss paying the publisher to de-index its websites from Google. With Redmond struggling to get a major foothold in the search market, the company is seeking to have content exclusively indexed on Bing - content from Rupert Murdoch's vast media empire (encompassing The Sun, The Times, FOX News, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal...).

Now, imagine that this deal goes ahead. Technically, hypothetically, Bing would be able to turn up search results that Google couldn't. Would you switch to Bing? Would you stay with Google? What matters more: the number of search results you can get, or the company operating the search engine? Let us know and we'll discuss the results in our podcast.

TuxRadar by the numbers 2.0: the rise of Karmic


Many moons ago we posted some stats about TuxRadar, explaining the breakdown of our visitors, which pages were proving popular and more. That article proved popular enough with you folks that we think it's time to rinse and repeat to see what we find this time. But - thanks to sifting through 32GB of logs - we have some even more interesting numbers for you this time, showing that Ubuntu 9.10 adoption is outpacing that for both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard...

TuxRadar originals


If you've been too busy playing with [Ubuntu 9.10/OpenSUSE 11.2/Mandriva 2010 - delete as appropriate] to check in with us every day for your latest Linux learnings, never fear: here's our pick of the best that you missed:

Plus: Christmas is coming, so it's time to deploy pester power to have your loved ones buy you a year's subscription to the world's best Linux magazine, Linux Format. Yes, we put a lot of content here on TuxRadar every month, but it's only about 1/5th of what we publish in the magazine, and with 13 issues a year delivered to your door it's the easiest way to keep yourself overflowing with new tutorials to try, new apps to play with and new news to be, er, new.

In addition, all our subscribers to get access to over 2000 PDFs from back issues, with new PDFs uploaded as soon as they leave for the printers, plus BitTorrent access to our DVDs.

We have special Christmas subscription rates online for the next ten days, so place your order now to avoid disappointment:

(NB: Some people may find that the subscriptions deal we include in our awesome Linux podcast gives them an even lower price - it pays to shop around, folks!)

Win one of two free annual subscriptions: if you want the chance to get a year's supply of LXF for the princely sum of $0, all you have to do is retweet our message: Identica users can find it here and Twitter users can find it here. Yes, you're eligible regardless of where you live in the world. If an existing subscriber wins, we'll tack a year onto their existing subscription and send them a freebie for being so awesome. Good luck!

Open Ballot: should we all be contributing to open source?


Everyone loves the New Distro feeling: great new features, more efficiency, fewer bugs (usually!) and general computer improvement. But how many people actually take the time to contribute back to the free software movement? Given the vast number of ways that people of differing skill levels are able to take part in the community, should we be actively encouraging people to help out more, even if it's only a small thing such as correcting typos in documentation or by donating money?

Remember, this is the Open Ballot for our podcast: please include a name with your comment, and please answer the question "yes" or "no" along with some sort of reasoning. Also, if you have contributed to free software - either by helping in forums, submitting patches to someone else's work or even perhaps releasing your own open-source project, please include that too!

Solve your own Linux problems


We've been relatively quiet over the last few weeks, because we've been busy pulling together 60 issues of Linux Format magazine, converting all the reader questions and answers about Linux into web-friendly formats. Fortunately, that work is now done, so we're proud to present the TuxRadar Linux Answers Archive - a searchable database of over 700 common Linux problems and their solutions from the last five years.

The goal of this project is pretty straightforward. Even though we know many of these questions aren't relevant to the majority of users any more (unless you're still running Mandrake 10.1!), we know what it's like when you encounter obscure problems in Linux and Google searches aren't turning up the goods. And so, if even only a few hundred people are helped using all these Linux solutions, it will still have been worth the effort.

So, dive in, take a look around, ping us on or Twitter if there are any egregious errors (although we'd rather not hear about typos simply because we have more important things to be doing!), and pass the URL on to friends if they have trouble:

Linux frequently asked questions for newbies


Many Linux users pride themselves on being highly technical geeks. And, while that's great for finding people to contribute code patches to projects, it means that a lot of first-time Linux users get branded a "newbie" and are made to feel stupid when they ask fundamental questions about things we take for granted.

To be blunt, that situation sucks. If people have honest questions about Linux, we need to be helping them find answers, and we need to do so without sarcastic comments, without "RTFM" and without telling people "just use Google."

Here at TuxRadar, and in the magazine behind the website, Linux Format, we get a lot of really basic questions from new users. We've taken the most common questions and printed them verbatim below, providing Plain English answers along the way, trying to simplify technical information as much as we can. We didn't write the questions, so more experienced users might look at them and think "wow, that's a stupid question," but if you're a newbie asking Linux questions or if you have friends asking you questions that you don't have time to answer, we hope this information will prove useful.

NB: if you have technical questions about Linux, we have an archive of common Linux problems and their solutions - you should check there first.

Open Ballot: Should we embrace Microsoft's open source work?


Want to contribute your views to our podcast? Sure you do, and here's your chance to have a say: do you think we should embrace Microsoft's new-found open source policies, or should we keep them at arm's length? Recently Microsoft has announced the CodePlex Foundation for supporting its own open source code, it has contributed code to the Linux kernel, it has announced that .NET is available under its community promise, and much more. Should we be afraid, or should be happy to take support and code from anywhere as long as it's open?

Our usual Open Ballot rules apply: please state either "yes" or "no" backed up by some sort of cogent reasoning, and give yourself a name that's a bit more original than Anonymous Penguin otherwise we're quite likely - no, very likely - to ignore your intellectual meanderings.

NB: our podcast will be coming out on Thursday this week rather than Wednesday. Can you hold out that long? Can you?

Open Ballot: Are distro release cycles too short?


Back by popular demand, it's our Open Ballot. This is an opportunity to air your views on the important Linux issues of the day, which we'll be chewing over in our regular podcast. We'll read out the most incisive/witty/flamebaity responses on the show, so get posting!

The question is: with many distros adopting a six-monthly release cycle, is this a good or bad thing? Should we be looking at longer development phases so that there are bigger changes between releases, and users don't have to upgrade so often? Or perhaps you think six months is not rapid enough – maybe you'd rather have three months, or abandon releases altogether and just have rolling upgrades. Let us know what you think!

TuxRadar originals


It's been a busy few months here at TuxRadar HQ, largely because it's summer so we spend our time playing cards and drinking cider.

If you too have spent far too much time away from your computer and thus have missed out on the great stuff we've put online in the last few weeks, this is your chance to catch up: here's our pick of unmissable features from recent weeks.

If you've made it through that entire list and are still thirsty for more Free Software goodness, then we challenge you to read our article "100 Open Source Gems" (part two is here) and install as many apps as you can.

Of course, there's much more still to come - you should 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 worldwide. Click here for the latest subscription deals - starting at just $US99 for 13 issues!

Wanted: your Linux tips


Have you found a crafty command-line trick that makes your daily admin chores much easier? Perhaps you've discovered a shortcut in your desktop environment of choice that saves you heaps of time. Or you've come across an amazingly useful program on Freshmeat that you can no longer live without. Well, we're gathering together the best compilation of Linux tips in existence, and we'd love your input. From tiny CLI tweaks to major workflow changers, whatever you've found that makes your life easier, we want to know. Share your knowledge with the world and post your tips in the comments - thanks!

Win a subscription to Linux Format magazine


In Episode 12 of our podcast, Mike sang the Free Software song. If you want the chance to win a free subscription to Linux Format magazine - that's 13 issues delivered to your door wherever you are in the world, plus access to all our back issues as PDFs - read on...

Open Ballot: Do version numbers matter?


We'll soon be recording podcast episode 12, and our big debate is about version numbers. After the fun and flamewars surrounding KDE 4.0 and KOffice 2.0 - major version number bumps for "developer-focused" releases - we're wondering if the system needs to change. Why is Window Maker still at version 0.92, despite being stable for years? Should we have more 1.0s to make free software appear more complete and mature? Or should we just scrap major/minor numbers and follow the lead of less, which is at version 429?

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