Our Made Easy tutorials are designed to take topics that can sometimes overwhelm users, and present them in a simplified, hands-on way to help you get started. If you're just dipping your toe into the world of MythTV, LaTeX, LTSP and more, give one of these a try!

Z shell made easy

Command line

Following on from our other articles that make various Linux tasks easy, in this article we'll introduce Zsh (Z shell), a shell that has many of the benefits of Bash and others, plus a lot more on top. After reading this, you'll have a good idea about the power of Zsh and will be able to make an informed decision whether to switch from your distro's default shell. We'll be looking more at the interactive use of Zsh, and less at non‑interactive shell scripts - that is, we'll focus on daily use, and not on scripting and automating tasks.

Text editing with Nano made easy

Command line

Nano supports syntax highlighting. Nano supports text justification. And yet, Nano is so much easier than Emacs or Vim. Discover the hidden power of this versatile command line text editor - you may never want to go back to the GUI again! Oh, and it's well worth knowing a great CLI text editor too - if you end up at the shell prompt with X not working, you'll need a backup plan. Here are the tricks, tips and shortcuts you need to know...

LyX made easy


Regular readers will no doubt remember our LaTeX made easy tutorial on the Latex typesetting application. But although Latex is a hugely powerful piece of software, getting to grips with it can be a real headache if you'd rather just sit down and get to work.

Luckily, that's where Lyx comes in: if Latex has a steep learning curve, Lyx is the cable car that whisks you two thirds of the way up the mountain so you can enjoy the views without having to break a sweat. And just as web editors can create websites without you needing to know HTML, Lyx is able to prepare documents for typesetting without getting too involved in all the intricacies of Latex.

If you enjoyed our other Made Easy tutorials, try this one for size!

FFmpeg made easy


So you've got those expensive headphones you always wanted. You put them on, set your playlist on shuffle, lean back on the recliner, and hit play. And Robbie Williams sounds just as bad as he did on the older cheapo headphones. What gives? Unless you aren't a Robbie fan, the music doesn't sound great because it isn't encoded to.

If you've already read MythTV made easy and want to take your media knowledge to the next level, read on for our guide to audio conversion with FFmpeg, Mplayer, HandBrake and more...

Slackware made easy


Slack to the Future

Give a man Ubuntu, and he'll learn Ubuntu. Give a man SUSE, and he'll learn SUSE. But give a man Slackware, and he'll learn Linux. Well, so the old internet maxim goes, but while it's normally used with a touch of humour, there's a great deal of truth in it too.

If you've ever wondered what it is about Slackware that makes it so popular amongst Linux veterans, read on for a bit of history, and hands-on installation guide, plus some tips to help you get started...

LVM made easy

Command line

Imagine you had a magic knife that would allow you to slice a loaf of bread and spread some butter on the slices. There's nothing magical about that, is there? Now imagine this knife will let you join the bread slices together again or make them thinner without affecting the butter. This is exactly what a technology called Logical Volume Manger (LVM) enables you to do. The loaf is your disk, the slices are the disk partitions, the butter is any filesystem and LVM is the magic knife.

If you enjoyed our articles Virtualisation Made Easy, MythTV Made Easy and Find Files the Easy Way, then read on to take your skills a bit further with LVM!

Virtualisation made easy


Unless you're running a PC more at home in 2001 than today, you can benefit from virtualisation. In fact, we're so utterly convinced that almost every reader will be happier having discovered virtualisation that we've devoted this tutorial to helping you - yes, you - get started with it.

LaTeX made easy


OpenOffice.org 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...

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!

LTSP: Thin clients made easy


In depth: One of the main advantages of using LTSP is its cost-effectiveness. Instead of 30 mid-range computers for a classroom or office, you buy one high-end machine and 30 cheap terminals. The terminals don't even need to be new computers, as the hardware requirements are so low that old hardware can be reused instead of thrown away. When the time comes for a hardware upgrade - to cope with more resource-intensive programs, for example - only the server needs to be upgraded, with the terminals carrying on doing the same job as before.

In this tutorial we're going to show you how to install LTSP on your distro of choice, then configure thin clients to connect up to the server with the minimum of fuss.

MythTV made easy


In depth: MythTV is an incredibly ambitious suite of applications designed to sit at the heart of your home entertainment centre. It records, pauses and rewinds television, plays music and videos, catalogues your photo and DVD collections, browses the internet, makes phone calls, delivers the news and the weather and plays games - and it does all this thanks to the power of Linux.

Read on for our guide to installing MythTV and getting it to do just about everything you could want from a Linux box in your lounge...

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