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Linux audio uncovered

We dig to the centre of the Linux kernel to uncover why sound can be so... unsound.

CLI: Work on the command line

There's no need to be scared of the command line - we take the terror away from text mode and reveal awesome power. Plus: managing users and groups.

Linux Works

IT managers! Stop spending a fortune on licences and support and switch your office to free software...

Python: Stream video

Combine the video power of GStreamer with the graphical cunning of Clutter and you get what is officially known as 'neat stuff'.

What on Earth: MicroXwin

This new and snappy windowing system could be music to the ears of embedded Linux developers...

Free vs Open: What's the difference?

Free as in freedom, libre, open source and all that stuff. Here's the LXF Editor's view...

OpenVZ: Fast virtualisation

Ignoring virtualisation because of the overhead? Here's a way that's incredibly quick and doesn't require any special hardware.

gLabels: Make wine look fine

Little ol' wine dinker Mo saves cash, brews a tasty beverage and decorates the fruit of his labours with some simple free software.

Dr Brown's Administeria

Virtual classrooms: the doctor reports on his own experience with two competing technologies. Plus: Minix, and processes demystified.

10 years of LXF

We cast our hive mind back 10 years to see just how much Linux Format has changed since it launched in the days of Slackware 7 and Debian Slink.

apt-get: Master your packages

Ever wanted a one-stop place to do your package management and the associated housekeeping? We explain how.

Distrowatch: Zorin OS 2.0

Get a distro that looks like Windows but is faster and more customisable. Plus: Sidux 2009-04, BlackPanther OS, Linux netbooks at CES

Interview: Søren Hansen

He's the man behind Ubuntu's push towards cloud computing. We asked him what it feels like for Canonical to be innovating for once...

Tiny distros

On test: Damn Small Linux, CrunchBang, Lubuntu, Puppy Linux, Slitaz, Tiny Core, Unity, VectorLinux

Android: Next steps

In the second part of our two-part series on coding for the Android platform, we explain how to improve your app and publish it to the world.

SELinux: Guard your system

Here's how to lock down your Linux system without the added security hindering you as you go about those all-important day-to-day tasks.


If you've always wanted to plug a mini USB monitor into your Linux box and use it as an info display, we have the goods you've been waiting for.

Distrowatch: Linux Mint 8

Small incremental changes to this smart Ubuntu derivative ensure system stability. Plus: SimplyMepis and PLD betas, Puppy-based distros, who uses Ubuntu stats.

Your kernel needs you!

You don't need a PhD in computer science to hack the kernel - everyone can help to make it better. We show you how.


Listen to your music wherever you are - we show you how using a free web-based media streamer.

Elgg: DIY social networking

It wouldn't make you millions, but a personalised social network could still be useful. Here's how to customise and deploy one.

Dolphin: Manage your files

Andy swims with the cetaceans and explores the data-wrangling power of the default KDE file manager. Plus: editing config files.

Twitter clients

On test: Spaz, Destroy Twitter, Twitux, Gwibber, Choqok, Tweetdeck, Mitter, Mixero

Android: Run with the robots

Android is an open source OS for smartphones, which makes it easy to write and publish software for it, as we will now demonstrate.

What on Earth: SPDY

We purrsuade spead freak Marko to slow down long enough to tell us how Google is going to rewrite the web to make Lolcats even faster.

Interview: Stormy Peters

We tracked down the executive director of the Gnome Foundation to ask her views on KDE 4, marketing, and, of course, Gnome 3...

Orca: Read text aloud

Whether you need help interfacing with your computer because of a visual impairment or you simply want to boss it about, we show you how.

Python: Clutter animations

Our evil code master gets his head in a spin with the help of a news feed and some clever clutter animations.

Dr Brown's Administeria

All change for upstart: how Ubuntu 9.10's boot process has changed and its documentation improved. Plus: the life of a datagram.

The future of Linux

Our soothsayer casts the runes of Linux fate and finds a lot to get excited about in the months to come...

UEC: Run your own cloud

Do you want to run a private compute cloud on your own hardware? We think you do, so read on and expand your mind...

Gimp: Product design for geeks

Geek is Chic! We show how a little penguin (and a little bit of Wilber) makes for fine fashionable wear.

Dr Brown's Administeria

IPv4 address exhaustion: with IPv4 addresses running out, will we finally extract our binary digits and roll out IPv6? Plus: managing hundreds of machines on heterogeneous networks with Puppet.

Antivirus software

On test: AVG Free, Avira Antivir Pro, ClamAV, Sophos, ClamTk, Avast, BitDefender.

Chrome OS vs Ubuntu

Google Linux is finally here in the shape of Chrome OS, but how does it fare against the netbook leader, Ubuntu Netbook Remix? We put both distros through their paces...

Get started with Linux

Our complete and easy guide to get you from the disc drive to the desktop as quickly as possible.

SuperCollider: Design your own ringtones

Create sounds and music from scratch with this sonic scripting language.

TestDisk: The data diviner

Lost partition stolen your mojo? Here's how to get it back with TestDisk.

Interview: Jacob Kaplan-Moss

He's one of the core contributors to the Django project, and tells us about taking ideas from Rails, why clarity is good and how Vi users don't deserve to die...

Amazon EC2: Up in the cloud

Are you tired of all the hype about cloud computing? Here's proof that it's not vapourware as we explain how to run Ubuntu in the cloud.

Grub 2: Using Super Grub Disk

Last issue's Grub tutorial was wasted on anyone running the latest version of Ubuntu. Carl makes amends with the ultimate guide to Grub 2.

DansGuardian: Web filter

Here how to make sure that using the internet is a safe and education experience for all the family, with a selection of open source tools.

Nine projects in 90 minutes

We prove just how amazingly adaptable Linux can be by delving into nine projects that should take no longer than the kettle does to boil.

What on Earth: NAPI

We uncover the reason why the Linux kernel is fast becoming the de facto choice for servers on high-speed networks.

Gwibber: Social networking

Here's how to manage your tweets with Gwibber and make the most of microblogging and the social web. Plus: sharing files with Dropbox.

Clutter: Code a system monitor

Tidying up some Python code with Clutter, we take you far from the command line to a new realm of technicolour graphical possibilities.

Distrowatch: Mandriva 2010

With stability issue cast aside, could this turn out to be the best distro of the year? Plus: OpenSUSE 11.2, Fedora 12 and favourite distro survey.

Grub: Booting in-depth

Make the course of dual-booting run smooth.

Python: Using OAuth

We authorise an explanation of the OAuth specification to keep your login and password details secure online.

Interview: Bradley Kuhn

LXF meets one of the men behind GPLv3. He thinks licence proliferation is bad...

Gimp: Shattered face

She's breakin' up, captain! Our Gimp supremo shows how to make someone's face fragment and drift away in a few simple steps.

Remote control for your home system

We save your pet guinea pig using Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, all while enjoying the sun in Spain.

SSH: Get access anywhere

Our man on holiday tunnels SSH traffic over HTTP to get around over zealous packet filtering at Wi-Fi access points. And you can too!

Distrowatch: Fresh distros

Ubuntu 9.10, Fedora 12, OpenSUSE 11.2 and Mandriva 2010. Plus: Sabayon, GoblinX, Linux 2.6.31 features.


We show you how to tweak audio recordings on the command line so that they sound crisper, cleaner and more professional than ever.

What on Earth: Maemo

Discover how Nokia plans to beat Apple's iPhone. Its secret weapon, as it happens, is a Linux-based OS, packed with features.

Desktop search tools

On test: Beagle, Google Desktop, Tracker, Strigi, Recoll

LilyPond - engrave your music

We dive into Tex-esque notation software.

Linux on the move

We uncover the very latest advances in portable Linux, how things are changing and what we can expect to see next. Using forms

Here's how to create and process forms and save the extracted data in a text file or a Base database.

Empathy: Chat online

There are many ways to chat online - one of the best is using Empathy, the default instant messaging client in Gnome.

Dr Brown's Administeria

Build your own cloud with some Karmic Koalas and a sprig of Eucalyptus. Plus: first steps with the Xen Live CD, and renting bits of the cloud from Amazon.

Super Snooper

We show you how to sniff the traffic on your network using Wireshark, and protect your private data from being revealed to the world.

Email: Set local accounts

If managing your mail is a drag, you can take the power back.

Get to grips with /proc and /sysfs

Did you think that everything-is-a-file was ancient Unix gibberish? Think again: we delve into the virtual files that keep your box going.

Shell scripting: automate common tasks

If repetitive operations bore you, here's how to automate them.

Chromium: Get browsing

Chromium, the Linux version of Google Chrome, is the shiniest browser on the market. We show you what to do with it. Plus: keeping up to date in OpenSUSE.

Distrowatch: Slackware is back

It's causing controversy in the community, but could this be lucky number 13? Plus: Puppy Linux 4.3.0, DesktopBSD 1.7, distro hoppers.

Ultimate eye candy

We take the fight for the best-looking desktop to Windows 7 and Mac OS X. Have at you!

DVDStyler: Edit home videos

Part 3: Having assembled some great footage, we show you how to make it available to friends and family.

What on Earth: Google Wave

Bob looks at the key features of Google's latest web innovation, and explains why it could soon leave email feeling all washed-up.

Dr Brown's Administeria

LimeSurvey - construct and conduct your own web-based surveys with zesty free tools. Plus: Apache virtual hosts and modules on Debian, and understanding the Tomcat server.

Privoxy: Control web access

Shashank dons the latex gloves of a HM Customs officer to strip, inspect and sanitise web pages with the Privoxy web filter.

Python: Get on the map!

Nick is plotting again, but this time it's for a good cause. Discover the most photogenic part of your neighbourhood with geodata maps...

KDE distributions

Explore the kream of Linux distributions that don't treat the Kool Desktop Environment as a second-class citizen.

Gimp: Leopard-style icons

A Leopard-based desktop starts with professionally styled icons. This month our Gimp expert makes icon design a breeze.

Interview: Evan Prodromou

The founder explains status as a service and why it's awesome.

What on Earth: Telepathy

We explain how all the pieces of your desktop - and indeed anybody else's for that matter - can talk to each other in real time.

Collection managers

On test: Data Crow, GCStar, Moll, StuffKeeper, Tellico.

Python: Mount a Google drive

On-demand document conversion with the Frankenstein's monster-esque mix of Google Docs, Python and Fuse.

Interview: Jim Zemlin

The Linux Foundation's executive director talks kernel code, collaboration and why Microsoft isn't all bad.

Distrowatch: Take control with Arch Linux

Has combining customisability with ease created the arch-enemy of the pre-built distro? Plus: SAM Linux, Linux From Scratch and Mono-free distros.

Generate choons with Chuck

Tired of the same old music in the charts, we create our own music from a series of pseudo random numbers.

Virtualise the easy way

There's a huge amount of literature out there on virtualisation, but really all you need is KVM, Qemu and our guide.

Remix Linux

Break away from the mainstream - we show you how to tailor Linux for your own purposes.

Security: control user privileges

It's good to protect your files from external threats, but we've identified a bigger risk factor for your data... your family! Plus: updates with APT.

Perl: Record Freeview TV

User Perl to automate your TV recording. We show you how to create a multi-tuner TV recorder the easy way.

BackupPC: Get backups sorted

Part 12: Making backups is boring, but we show you how a server can take the pain out of the process with just a few lines of code.

Serve pages at the speed of Lighttpd

Lighttpd is a fast, lightweight alternative to Apache designed for high-traffic sites. It's also a doddle to set up, as we explain.

Kdenlive: Refine your edit

Part 2: Join Andy as he walks you through editing with Kdenlive, selecting, cutting and processing content to create a short film.

Gimp: Sin City style

Our art guru goes all Frank Miller in this month's rainy, grainy Gimp graphics tutorial. One day a real rain's gonna come...

Dr Brown's Administeria

Maximise uptime with KSplice - keep servers busy and save upgrade hassle. Plus: access control lists (ACLs) and setuid.

Gimp: Summer of love

Our Gimp wizard lets you ride the retro rave of sunbeams and silhouettes in this month's tutorial be-in.

Distrowatch: Minnow's big splash

Pardus Linux 2009 - new distro on the block brings simplicity and convenience to the desktop. Plus: Kongoni GNU/Linux, Supergamer Supreme, KDE 4 verdicts.

Python: Flickr uploader

Things in our Python lab are about to get GUI as we teach you how to upload pictures straight from the web to your desktop.

WebDAV: Share over the web

Allowing several people to work on a document increases overall quality and reduces your workload - here's how.

UPnP: Stream your media

Stream music, videos and photos from your Linux machine to almost any other box with a DLNA logo...

Ubuntu: install almost anything

If you can't wait for the latest and greatest releases, we show you how to beat the crowds and stay one step ahead of the rest.

Drupal: quick and easy websites

Want to make your mark online? Here's how to create a Drupal website in minutes.

Dr Brown's Administeria

Seeing the boot process with Bootchart, customising Bash, and recovering deleted files with PhotoRec.

Interview: Theodore Ts'o

He's a kernel contributor since 1991, a Buffy fan and the man who keeps your data safe.

Groupware servers

On test: Citadel, eGroupWare, Open-Xchange, Horde Groupware, Synovel CollabSuite.

Drop and roll: immersive gaming on Linux

Grab the yellow key and join us as we explore the latest in interactive gaming.

Power up Linux

With just a few tweaks everyone's favourite OS can be lighter, faster and more powerful. Here's how the experts do it.

Kdenlive: Edit home videos

Andy has fallen in love with the moving image, so join him as he explores the best ways to prepare footage with Linux.

What on Earth: Vala

It's a platform that works like Mono, but doesn't need the Mono libraries. Confused? You won't be when you read this.

Shortcuts: Boss the keyboard

Power users know that working without a mouse can make you a better Linuxer, so we really want to see those fingers.

Recoll: Find files efficiently

Come out, come out, wherever you are. We discover how long-hidden secrets come falling out of the attic when Recoll searches your filesystem.

MD5: verify your files

If you've ever wondered if a file is from a legitimate source, we can help negate your paranoia.

7 cool Linux projects

As the raindrops slide down the window pane, we turn to our Linux machines for entertainment. Dear readers, this is what happened...

Photos: Digitise your snaps

Do you have boxes full of photographs waiting to go into your computer? We show you how to do that and get your cupboard space back.

Media burners

Tested: K3b, Brasero, X-CD-Roast, GnomeBaker, Gear Pro, Nero Linux.

Squid: Run your own web proxy

Part 10: Would you like faster and safer web browsing? Here's how to do it and reduce your bandwidth use at the same time!

What on Earth: Clutter

We clear up the confusion and explain how to tidy graphics code.

Distrowatch: One big 'meh'

Fedora 11: Enterprise elements in Leonidas leave target demographic underwhelmed. Plus: German distro Toorox; Linux-gamers Live; opinions on Mono.

Dr Brown's Administeria

Moblin - the netbook distro. Plus: Bash auto-completion and Webmin.

MaxMenu: Tool smorgasbord

Are your application menus filled with too many tools? We suggest you ditch them in favour of the lightweight and efficient MaxMenu.

Tonido: Explore workspaces

Don't want to entrust your data to the web? Then follow our guide to setting up a cloud-based PIM service.

Do more with Ekiga

Video conferencing isn't new, but it can be a convenient replacement for IM when you've got it hooked up to your network and your website with Ekiga...

Gimp: Travel to the stars

Revel in the majesty of creation as our Gimp guru leads you through the process of making stunning stellar art.

Python: Digg through XML

Part 4: We unlock the web's API with the power of XML. Your intrepid guide to all things Python won't rest until he has dug Digg.

Tonido: Create a cloud server

Cloud computing doesn't have to be remote - why not build your own cloud? A brighter, more connected tomorrow is here.

Distrowatch: OpenSolaris 2009.06

Updated Unix-like OS with enterprise capabilities and contracted support. Plus: Puppy Linux 4.2.1, Linux Mint 7.0, components of the Linux Standard Base.

ODF: Pull data out of

We show the easy way to process OpenDocument Format data from spreadsheets, text documents and more with just a little code...

Dr Brown's Administeria

A quarter of a century of Gnu's Not Unix. Plus: inside the info and man documentation systems.

Video players

On test: Helix/Real Player, MPlayer, Ogle, Totem, VLC, Xine.

What on Earth: Social desktop

Even if you shun Facebook and MySpace, your desktop might well be on its way to making a socialite out of you yet.

Ntfsprogs: Fix NTFS filesystems

Just because NTFS is a native Windows filesystem, it doesn't mean you can't use Linux to fix it when things go wrong. We show you how.

VPN: Extending your network

Part 9: Do you need full access to your network from across the internet? Follow Neil as he tackes Virtual Private Networking.

Linux vs Windows 7

There's so much hype surrounding the next version of Windows, but Linux already has it beaten. Find out why.

Gimp: Going to warp speed

Want to explore strange new worlds and seek new inspirations in your art? Here's how to make the jump using Gimp.

Python: I speak your tweets

Part 3: Nick continues his Dr Moreau-esque web experiments, this time creating a half-Python, half-Twitter servant that can talk.

Interview: Rasmus Lerdorf

The PHP creator tells us how his language became such a world-storming success, and what he makes of the various competition.


So you're a Linux guru? That doesn't impress Koen much. Real geeks use even more niche operating systems.


Keep it secret, keep it safe - discover this tiny Live CD distro that lets you pull a Keyser Soze on the internet.


Gnuplot is more than a simple plotting program - it can even draw graphs for you while you sleep.

Benchmarking and profiling

Sometimes your code is annoyingly slow. Here's how to identify why using the dark art of benchmarking.

Security: Protect your server

We show you how to manage your ports, deal with vulnerabilities and stop crackers from taking advantage of your server.

Interview: Michael Simms

He heads both Linux Game Publishing and Tux Games. That means you have him to thank for bringing X3, Cold War and more to your desktop.

Dr Brown's Administeria

Take the pain out of joining your Linux server to an Active Directory domain with Likewise Open. Also: SSH security tips and Wireshark.

Sox: Hack your audio files

Learn how to perform surgery on your audio files with Sox, the versatile command line sound processor.

Distrowatch: Mandriva 2009.1

The spring version of this beginner-friendly distro brings some seasonal excitement. Plus: SliTaz GNU/Linux, future hardware choices.

Python: Create a chatbot

Part 2: Think like could be better? It really could if you follow our advice and create a chatbot to do your bidding.

Gimp: Create a fire goddess

Our graphics guru continues his journey on the fickle wings of inspiration this month. He invites you to fire up Gimp and join him on his travels.

Mail server: Get rid of spam

Part 8: Complete your mail server setup with Postfix, and filter out spam and viruses in the process.

Pick the perfect netbook

We locked Mike in a room with eight netbooks, a week's supply of oxygen and one mission: to find the ideal machine for every type of user.

What on Earth: APML

A novel way to let websites know what interests you.

OOo: Automate your work

We reveal how to create a slew of OpenDocument invoices and multiple choice tests automatically to save you from monotonous chores.

Sockso: build a music server

Tired of having to transfer music around? Here's how to create a personal music server so you can listen to your tunes anywhere.

Mac OS X and Linux

We delve deep behind the gloss of OS X and find that Macs and Linux have a lot in common.

Picard: Organise your music files

Disorganised music files bothering you? We show you how Picard can update your music collection and restore order to chaos.

Python: Mash your web up

Part 1: Not content with leaving things well enough alone? We show you ho to subvert the web to fulfil your own purposes.

Interview: Mark Shuttleworth

Team LXF battles past the sharks with laser beams on their heads to talk to the Ubuntu and Canonical founder.

Screencasting tools

Tested: RecordMyDesktop, DemoRecorder, Pyvnc2swf, Xvidcap, Istanbul, Byzanz.

Ubuntu turns 10

To celebrate the 10th release of the Ubuntu distribution, we examine the whys and wherefores of its success and legacy.

Intel inside

New chips, virtualisation and admin tools - Intel's pulling out all the stops, and Linux is first to take advantage of it. Automate slideshows

After looking at spreadsheets, we explore a way to have your computer create slideshows for you.

Dr Brown's Administeria

LDAP with a GUI, the Munin system monitor, and discovering DHCP.

Asterisk: Control your phone

Dive head-first into the world of open source telephony with our expert, Asterisk and a bunch of screaming monkeys.

Take control

We compare three of the big contenders for managing your data changes: Bazaar, Subversion, and Git.

What on Earth: Chromium

If you love all things Google, here's the browser for you...

Web apps: Serve content globally

Part 7: With an Apache web server up and running, you can make your applications available everywhere.

Gimp: Decay in the city

Even experts can learn something new. Our graphics guru shares his experiences using a Wacom tablet with Gimp Paint Shop.

Basket: Capture your thoughts

Do you rely on a small forest of note paper to keep track of your ideas? Then let us reveal how Basket Note Pads could change your life. Plus: outlining in

Distrowatch: Deal with the devil?

SUSE Linux Enterprise 11: Novell's commercial release. Plus: Elive, Parsix and kernel 2.6.29 features.

OOo: Automate spreadsheets

We show you how to transform obscure raw numbers into normal spreadsheets with charts and formulas that will look good in any office.

Gimp: Enhance the interface

Gimp contains a little-known back door to some powerful layour and preset features. We pick the lock and root through the stack.

Dr Brown's Administeria

Deliver online training with Moodle, understand the structure of Debian/Ubuntu package repositories, and use those repos via proxies and mirrors.

Orthodox file managers

On test: Krusader, EmelFM2, Gnome Commander, MuCommander, Midnight Commander, Beesoft Commander.

What on Earth: Metalink

We explain why there's space for one more download file format.

Distrowatch: Slack attack

Two Slackware derivatives hit the version 6.0 milestone. Plus: SimplyMepis 8, PCLinuxOS 2009.1, Xfce 4.6 released.


Are you in charge of your money, or is your money in charge of you? Here's how to look after the pennies with HomeBank.

Caveat browser

Few people like paying for content on the web, but are free services 'free'? JavaScript brings the fight for freedom to the forefront...

Slack to the future

It's the longest-running Linux distribution in existence, but just what is it that makes Slackware so popular among hardcore Linux fans?

SSH and VNC: work remotely

Do you need to access your home computer while at work? We explain how SSH and VNC can do this, and keep it all secure.

Trickle: Control network traffic

Learn how to control network bandwidth available to individual applications with Trickle and a very sharp, very tiny sword.

Interview: Zeev Suraski

We talk to Zend's CTO about Zend Server, taking on Java and the approach of the long-awaited PHP 6.

FFmpeg: Clean up your music

Mayank makes up for missing South by Southwest by encoding his entire audio and video collection - and Robbie never sounded so good.

Smile: Create a slideshow

Andy whips out his pointer and shows you how to raise your slideshow delivery above the ranks of the mundane with the brilliant Smile. Plus: hosting videos on YouTube.

Work smarter with Linux

We take a tour of the best, most innovative and gosh-darned coolest ways to get more productive on your Linux desktop.

Aspire One: install a new distro

Part 3: Straining at the limitations of the default distro, we beef up the Aspire One with a specially tailored version of Ubuntu.

Gedit: Extend and improve

Gedit can be so much more than just a Gnome-flavoured text editor. Explore the potential of this essential tool.

Find the perfect distro

Power users, newbies, hackers, gamers - whatever your computing needs, there's a Linux distro for everyone. Find out what's best for you.

Greasemonkey: Hack the web

The web is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it doesn't work exactly as you want it to. Greasemonkey can help you fix that.

Distrowatch: Say hello to Lenny

Debian releases 5.0 to great community excitement. Plus: Knoppix Adriane, PCLinuxOS 2009 Beta, Members Choice Awards.

First steps: Sweet Home 3D and WordPress

Remodel your house with Sweet Home 3D, and join the blogospherical masses using WordPress.

Interview: Steve McIntyre

As the Debian Project leader, Steve McIntyre has a weight on his shoulder. Who better to ask why Lenny arrived later than expected?

Here's Lenny

The new version of Debian stable - 5.0, codenamed Lenny - has been released. We take it for a drive and chew the fat with some Debian people.

Clonezilla: Clone your disk

Hard disks die more often than they should. We show you how to use Clonezilla to ensure your data lives on.

Netbook distros

Want to make more of your ultraportable? On test: EeeXubuntu, GOS, Pupeee and Xandros.

Dr Brown's Administeria

Gobby - the collaborative document editing and chat tool with a pretty colour-coded interface. Plus: scalable backups with BackupPC, and build your own Debian packages.

Gimp: iPod fun

Tune into pop culture with Gimp. Our guru creates an iPod advertisement faster than you can thumb your dial.

What on Earth: Moblin

We explain why all Intel Atom-based netbooks could be running a standard open platform in the not-so-distant future...

Subversion: Get collaborative

Part 5: Do you need to work on files with other people? We show how Subversion can keep you all up to date, and off each other's toes.

Interview: Benoit Schillings

Chief Technologist of Qt at Nokia, amateur astronomer, KDE hacker and former BeOS developer - what a guy!

Can you keep a secret?

We introduce the GNU Privacy Guard, which encrypts and decrypts files sent between trusted users. Take note, UK Home Office!

Distrowatch: Mass appeal

Sabayon Linux 4 - growing in maturity and looking nice. Plus: Austrumi; Mandriva and Ubuntu alphas; Windows 7 predictions.

What on Earth: Moonlight

As if Microsoft .NET on Linux weren't bad enough, what if it managed to infiltrate your web browser too?

NFS and Samba: Share disks

Part 4: Is the file you want always on the other computer? Short of space on your netbook? We show you how to share your disks.

Inside Xorg.conf

Most distributions configure your graphics card and display automatically, but xorg.conf is still well worth fidding with.

Fix Linux

Penguin yourself happy with our guide to the most useful ways to fix your OS, from booting to networking.

Gimp: user other tools

Mixing raster, vector and text is easier than you think. We explain how to integrate Gimp with Inkscape, Scribus and

GAE: Deploy a web application

Google App Engine enables you to build scalable apps without worrying about scaling details. Here's how to get your first cloud app off the ground.

Lyx: For superior documents

We take all the stress out of Latex for complex, attractive documents without the bonkers learning curve.


On test: Gnus, Knode, Pan, SLRN, Thunderbird, XPN.

Acer Aspire One

Get new apps on your netbook by following our simple guide.

Dr Brown's Administeria

Rackspace cloud computing; Fuse userspace filesystems; the Linux Terminal Server Project.

First steps

Build a family tree with Gramps, and map your thoughts with FreeMind.

Build the ultimate MythTV box

Graham goes on a shopping spree to build a MythTV box without destroying our meagre budget for the month.

Gimp text effects

With a blur, a colourise and some guides, our expert uses digital aging to add style and credits to the wine bottle project.

What on Earth: UDP

We explain how changes to networking protocols could make BitTorrent smarter - or the rest of the internet slower.

The tragedy of the commons

The Creative Commons is full of potential for artists everywhere - so why is most of it untapped? Let's find out...


Here's a magic way to keep your backup DVDs safe even after your kids have used them as frisbees.

First steps

Create engaging slideshows with Impress and make ringtones using Audacity.

Spice up your LUG

Sick of occasional mailings and bi-monthly visits to the pub? Then regenerate your tired old Linux User Group with these golden rules.

Media: Serve your files

Part 3: Share your media. We show you how to set up a central media server and your own radio station.

Acer Aspire One

Fine-tune your desktop interface to uncover the Xfce beauty beneath.

Git: Versioning for the masses

What can the creator of Linux do to software versioning? He can make it simple and at the same time completely confusing.

Recovery: When data goes bad

If you've lost some important data, don't panic: just make a cup of tea, heed the advice of our ninja sysadmin and have faith.

Dr Brown's Administeria

USB authentication with YubiKey; making sense of DNS with Dig; the ext3cow filesystem.

Get the best from KDE 4

The koolest desktop in the world has found its stride. We unlock our 26 tips and insights for getting the most from KDE.

Distrowatch: OpenSUSE 11.1

The new release from Novell and the community. Plus: Slackware 12.2, Linux Mint 6.0, favourite distro stats.

Project planners

On test: GanttProkect, KPlato, OpenProj, Planner, TaskJuggler.

Turbo-charge your desktop

We explore the slick Enlightenment, speedy Fluxbox and keyboard-tastic Ratpoison window managers.

Scribus and F-Spot

Add style to your desktop publishing, and fix your photos.

Reader Awards 2008

You voted for the software, services and support that impressed you the most in 2008 - and the results are in!

Email: Fetch, sort and serve

Part 2: Take control of your email. We show you how to combine mail from multiple mailboxes and be able to read it from any computer.

Virtualise now!

Listen carefully: if you use virtual machines, you will save time, have fewer headaches and spend more time enjoying Linux. Get started with our hands-on guide.

Web editors

Rated: Amaya, Bluefish, Composer, Kompozer, Web, Quanta Plus, Screem

Distrowatch: Fedora force 10

Improvements and innovations across the board, wrapped up in tasty new eye candy. Plus: Ubuntu 8.10, OpenSolaris 2008.11, Ubuntu opinion poll.

What on Earth: ext4

Serial defragger Paul explains why the successor to the ext3 filesystem might not be as long-lived as its parent...

3D effects in Gimp

Master guides and paths to create 3D-looking images with ease.

Mobile device synchronisation

Getting your mobile phones and PDAs to cooperate with Linux has always been something of a dark art. We kindle a light to help you avoid that syncing feeling.

Interview: KDE UserBase

We talk to Anne Willson about this novel new approach to documentation, getting the best hints and tips out to KDE users.

Webcams: Big Brother is you

We share the delicious feeling of being able to keep an eye on your property without being there...

Dr Brown's Administeria

Understand the sysfs file system, and harden your machines with firewalls.

Top 10 Linux security tips

Lock down your machine with this checklist for beefing up your system's security. Script kiddies, begone!

Bash: Do more with the shell

If you're a power Linux user, you probably spend a lot of time in the Bash shell. We show you how to make your command-line life easier and more efficient with custom Bash autocompletion.

Personal finance apps

Rated: GnuCash, Moneydance, KMyMoney2, Buddi, Grisbi, JGnash

Free the DJ

We put our vinyl collection back into the attic and head to the dancefloor with a laptop and some free software goodness.

The state of free software

Twenty years on from the birth of GNU, we pick the brains of three wise men and find the path to freedom.

Coding: Tower of Hanoi

Part 3: In the final installment in this series, we pull together all the coding tricks we've learnt for a reader-suggested project.

Banish your daemons

They're quiet, unobtrusive and running in the background on your machine. We show you how to remove unneeded daemons and speed up your boot time.

First steps

Get chatting online with the Pidgin instant messenger, and make your own greeting cards using Scribus.

Interview: Ross Anderson

We know there are bad guys trying to get on your box and good guys trying to stop them. But who watches the watchmen? This man.

Linux in your pocket

Install Linux on a USB flash drive and take your own system wherever you go - it's easy!

Apache: Set up a web server

Part 1: A new tutorial series for everyone who likes fiddling with wires and connections. That's all of us then!

What on Earth: Google App Engine

Everyone's search engine-cum internet overlord is up to new tricks...

Gimp: Speedy colour fixes

Smile big and show your colours as we guide you through quick colour fixes for your photos.

Seq24: Play with MIDI sounds

If you've listened to the Clockwork Orange soundtrack and thought "I can do that", you're absolutely right - we show you how.

Dr Brown's Administeria

Predict hard disk failure with Smart, understand fstab, and secure your data with ecryptfs.

Distrowatch: Mandriva 2009 is here.

Plus: OpenSUSE 11.1 incoming, BSDanywhere, distro installation methods.

Mobile broadband

Can you really use Linux on your laptop while on the move? We look at the latest mobile broadband offerings and see how well they work.

Media: Karaoke and cartoons

We explore a little-known corner of the Inkscape universe and take a crash course in karaoke compilation.

Readers' round table

We venture outside LXF Towers to meet a few readers and discuss life, Linux and the lack of cheap parking in Bath.

Postfix: Build an email server

Who says that only big corporations can have a fully customised email system? Here's how to build your own...

Dr Brown's Administeria

The doctor deals with security books, Clonezilla, and chroot jails using Jailkit

Interview: Jeremy Allison

He's known to many as 'that Samba bloke', but there's a lot more to Mr Allison.

Distrowatch: Distrowatch

PC-BSD 7.0: FreeBSD 7 and KDE 4.1.1 provide the sound basis for this popular and easy-to-use package. Plus: gOS 3.0, Foresight Kids Edition, worldwide distro popularity

First steps

Learn to use KDE 4's Dolphin file manager, and tweak the desktop to your exact liking.

Build your own distro

Freedom means never having to put up with someone else's vision of what Linux should be.

Gimp: Printing and colour

Gimp, CUPS and Gutenprint are a fellowship that can lead you on your quest for high quality prints.

Coding: shuffle and shift tiles

With a few simple nuggets of PyGame nous under your belt, it's time for a more complicated game.

Ultimate Ulteo

LXF decodes the lifestyle marketing and hyperbole to explain what Ulteo is, why it's important and what it could do for the average Linux user.

What on Earth: Splashtop

We show you how to get the fastest Linux in the west.

Budget PCs

Always shy to open his wallet, Alex checks out some PCs perfect for the discerning modern pinchpenny. Tested: Acer Aspire SA90, CIS PC5E, EfficientPC Wraith, Esys EPC A40001L, Yoyotech AMD Primate

Multimedia tips

We introduce a promising editor for RAW digital pictures, enliven your desktop and help you let the whole world know what you're listening to.

Make a racing game

Expand your Python and PyGame skills with a top-down racer in under 100 lines of code. Vroom!

Get creative:

Designing a calendar in OOo is not only rewarding in itself, it can also stop you missing anniversaries, birthdays and magazine on-sale dates.

Get creative: make a website

Anybody who's anybody has a web presence thesedays. We show you how to create a website quickly and easily with the help of WYSIWYG tool Kompozer.

Web browsers

On test: Dillo, Epiphany, Firefox, Konqueror, Lynx, Opera

Hardcore: LVM

Struggling to partition your system during an installation? Need flexible filesystem sizes or filesystems bigger than one disk? Here's the solution.

Dr Brown's Administeria

Manage your servers from your iPhone, understand file permissions and audit your boxes.

Switch distros

Do you want to try the latest distros but are afraid of losing all your previous work? We show you how to get the best of both worlds.

What on Earth: GIS

We explain the power of geography-enabled databases and why you should use them.

First steps

Redesign your Gnome desktop and then head into space with Stellarium.

Tuning KDE 4.1

Now that KDE 4 is stable enough for day-to-day use, we fill the remaining cracks in the desktop with some hard-earned tips and tricks.

Get creative: music making

Linux is a great platform for audio production - even newbies can get started with making sweet music.

Get creative: video editing

Whether you're editing the video of your Christmas party or crafting a blockbuster, Linux can do it all!

Geotag your photos

Get your holiday snaps and add geographical information galore.

Interview: Max spevack

The former Fedora Project Leader tells us why Fedora is not a beta for RHEL.

Distrowatch: On schedule

Debian, Fedora, Mandriva, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu gear up for their next releases. Plus: GNewSense 2.1 and MIB Live Games.

MythTV: the answer!

As a home media app, MythTV is beyond match. Unfortunately it's also a nightmare to configure - but we have the solution.

Compiling made easy

There's a new version of your favourite program available, but no packages for your distro. What do you do? Compile its source code, of course!

Distrowatch: Debian 4.0r4

Etch-and-a-half interim release supports newer hardware and features Linux 2.6.24. Plus: CCux 0.9.9, Musix GNU+Linux.

GDesklets and dual booting

We look at Gnome's equivalent of OS X's Dashboard, and show you how to dual-boot with Vista if you're not ready to ditch Microsoft completely.

30 days with Haiku

An open source BeOS clone looking to take on the desktop: will it give Linux some friendly competition? We find out.

Multimedia: HDR and DigiKam

We kick off a multimedia tips series with news from DigiKam, the Icecast music server, LMMS and a cute time-waster from Blender.

Nagios: Monitor your network

While Big Brother is monitoring your every move, Juliet shows how you can pay similar attention to your networked machines, with Nagios.

The girlfriend test

A freelance scientist subjects Linux to the most exacting usability test yet devised: his girlfriend, Erin.

Calendars: Sync with your phone

So much to do, so much to forget. We show you how to stay organised by syncing your desktop calendar to your mobile phone.

What on Earth: DjVu

Here's the format that can save all our scrolls and movie posters...

Dr Brown's Administeria

Virtual appliances: use pre-configured virtual machine images with JumpBox. Plus: Bonnie++ and VMware

Getting things done

On test: Basket, Chandler, Emacs Org-mode, GTD-Free, Kontact, MonkeyGTD, ThinkingRock, Tracks

Interview: Carl Worth

He's a Cairo developer and has spent six years of his life working on the vector graphics toolkit. He tells us why things are starting to get really interesting...

Gimp: Know your selections

Everyone knows selections, right? But how well do you really know them? This month, we get tricky with some awkward images.

Hardcore: LaTeX document typesetting

When it comes to desktop publishing, Juliet reckons WYSIWYG is for wimps - proper geeks use code, packages and lots of curly brackets.

Make your own audio CDs

Here's how to make a good-looking (and sounding) disc to take Frank Zappa on the road using two great Free Software tools. Now sheik yer boot screen!

Game programming

Itchy trigger finger? Even itchier programming fingers? We show you how to make your own Space Invaders-like game with a mere 100 lines of code.

First steps: browsers and Vuze

We show you how to keep your browser bookmarks in sync, and download smarter with Vuze.

What on Earth: FPGAs

Fiddling with apps, operating systems and even assembly language is passe: here's the next frontier for hackers.

Distrowatch: Gentoo for you

Gentoo 2008.0, with its new installer and package options, is no longer just for the 1337 minority. Plus: Sabayon 3.5, Mandriva 2009, desktop popularity

Interview: Ian Pratt

We've seen the future, and it's virtualised. The chief architect of Xen and founder of XenSource tells us what's big, what's new and what's next.

Dr Brown's Administeria

Unison, the bi-directional synchronisation tool, explained. Plus: keep tabs on your boxes with top and vmstat.

Live CDs

On test: Damn Small Linux, Fedora, Mandriva, OpenSUSE, Puppy Linux, Sabayon, Slax, Ubuntu

25 killer apps

Photo managers, emailers, text editors and a whole lot more - we round up the very best that Linux has to offer.

Open Source City

We report from June's Open Source City micro-art festival in Liverpool, the European Capital of Culture.

Creative text with Gimp

You can do more with text than you might think, as our graphics guru demonstrates.

Linux training

Become a certified Linux expert, build your skills and start raking in the cash!

Dr Brown's Administeria

Distributed replicated block devices, Kickstart preseeding, and upstart boot system handling

Python: Build a GUI for Festival

Python and Qt are perfect for rapid application development - and to prove it, we make a speech synthesis GUI app with a mere 60 lines of code.

What on Earth: TimeVault

Get your Mr Fusion and flux capacitor at the ready, and join us on a time-travelling journey through the Linux filesystem...

Error messages explained

We decode the secret meaning behind the most common Linux error messages and help you cure the problems in the process.

Number crunchers

On test: Euler Math Toolbox, Matlab, Octave, Sage, Scilab

Rails: Add Web 2.0 features

Part 2: With our gallery now covering the basics, we show you how to use cool Ajax techniques and Ruby on Rails helpers to gain instant Web 2.0 credibility.

Gimp: Work with your camera

Gimp can do all sorts of advanced image editing, but many people only want to do the basics. We plug in our camera and Gimp up some photos.

Free music making

Instead of just writing about Linux, Daniel decided to get out there and help a local school with its IT. Here's how he got on.

SUSE: Back on top?

It's been in the wilderness for a while, and now it's back. But does SUSE 11 have what it takes to beat Ubuntu in the battle for your desktop?

Libre Graphics 2008

Talented artists, developers and Nick joined forces recently for the third annual graphics get-together - here's what happened.

Eee PC: Switch your distro

Need more versatility than the stock Xandros distribution? We explain how to get a new flavour on your micro laptop.

Linux in business

A former Head of IT at Cray and IT Director at Symantec tells us why Microsoft is about to create thousands of new Linux users...

Distrowatch: Great Geeko!

OpenSUSE 11.0 features a new installer, re-written Zypp software manager and cutting-edge 3D eye candy. Plus: Linux Mint 5, Zenwalk 5.2, and distro user stats

First steps

Explore the Flock social web browser, and get gadgets with Google Desktop

Interview: Keith Packard

He's been hacking on the X Window System for over 20 years, but he's still excited about the future of Linux's GUI foundations.

Problem solving: basic principles

With computers, there's always a brand new problem round the corner - so here are a few simple techniques to get to grips with anything.

What on Earth: T2

It's just like Gentoo, except it's not. Get your meta on...

Gimp: Work with layers

Like Photoshop, the key to Gimp lies in mastering layers. We show you how layer rotations are the cogs to your next project.

Dr Brown's Administeria

An intro to Posix, keeping your passwords safe and using AppArmor

ALSA: Advanced tips and tricks

Go deep into the sound system on your Linux machine and get the best from the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture.

Distrowatch: Slackware at 15

We wish the distro daddy many happy returns as it celebrates its 15th birthday at version 12.1. Plus: Antis (Mini Mepis), Puppy Linux 4.0, GPL violating distros

Download managers

Rated: Aria2, Curl, Downloader for X, GWget, KGet, Wget, WXDownload Fast

Speaking RSS feeds

The world-wide web can talk to you! Use a simple Python script and the Festival speech synthesiser to vocalise RSS news feeds.

Rails: Build a photo album

Confounded by C? Perplexed by Perl? We show you how quick and easy it is to get started with Ruby on Rails.

Linux on everything

Control your world by installing Linux on our video game consoles, set-top boxes, wireless router, and just about anything that has an LCD screen...

Amazon's Compute Cloud

Want your own personal, huge Linux cluster to throw your worst and most exciting problems at? Big computing is now really cheap...

Eee PC: Add a new distro

Your Eee isn't limited to a single distribution. We show you how to install another Linux flavour and back up your files.

First steps

Redirect your Gmail messages with POP or IMAP, and organise your life using Tomboy and Tasque

Note takers

On test: Basket, KnowIt, NoteCase, Tomboy, TuxCards, Zim

Desktop paradise

Had it with Human? Bored with blue? We'll guide you to form and function on the Linux desktop, whether you run KDE, Gnome or Xfce.

KDE: Customise your desktop and configure Konqueror

Andy puts some finishing touches to his personal desktop space, and shows you how to make KDE's combined file/web browser more usable.

Interview: Rob Savoye

Adobe spent ten years making Flash, but it took Rob Savoye 1/10th that time. We speak to a coding maestro...

Distrowatch: Hardy Heron

Ubuntu 8.04 LTS is here with virtualisation, Gnome 2.22, new default applications, the Wubi installer and more. Plus: Ulteo Application System, Slitaz GNU/Linux 1.0, Ubuntu variants

Dr Brown's Administeria

Esoteric system administration goodness from the impenetrable bowels of the server room.

Arduino: An LED light meter

In the final part of our series, we look at building a light sensor.

Linux Format Reader Awards 2008

The UK's only reader-voted free software awards are back! This is the nomination stage.

Eee PC: Install extra apps

Part 1: We explain how to turn your Eee PC into a perfect mini Linux workstation, by adding extra software to the default installation.

Gimp: add shade and texture

In the days before instant messaging, people sent letters and sealed them with stamped wax. We show you how to digitise your wax seals.

Inkscape: What's new in 0.46?

Inkscape 0.46 is a massive improvement of the popular vector graphics editor. We look at the whys and wherefores of great gradients.

Kernel: Modules in a nutshell

It's the indispensable bit of software at the centre of your machine, but what does the kernel actually do? We crack it open and take a peek inside.

20 Indispensible apps

If you're new to Linux, you'll be amazed by the wealth of free software included in your distro by default - and you'll be even more amazed when you realise that there's even more out there.

Hackers in the beginning

The world of hacking didn't just materialise out of thin air. We look back to reveal where it came from, where it's at and where we're going.

Linux DVB devices

On test: TechnoTrend C2300 premium, TechnoTrend TT-1500, Hauppauge WinTV-Nova-S, Elgato EyeTV, TwinHan AzureWave, TechnoTrend TV Stick

VPN: remote networking

Looking for a remote access system that will give you total control over who gets access to what? We walk you through Secure VPN Gateway.

LTSP: thin clients made easy

Do you want to run modern software on old hardware? Of course you do! We show you how, with the Linux Terminal Server Project.

Use digital maps

Summer holidays will soon be looming and you want to make the most of your two weeks off work. Explore Google Maps and Google Earth...

The Linux pub quiz

So you think you know Linux? Prove it: test yourself with our quiz. The brainteasers range from the ridiculous to the downright obscure...

Gimp: new features in 2.4

Open source graphics are back by popular demand - here's a new tutorial series on Gimp.

The Linux underworld

It's not just the bad guys who want to hack your computer. We uncover some of the ways you can make your system more secure using tools from the dark side.

Arduino: make a drum kit

Like Leo Fender, Robert Moog and Leon Theremin, Graham has taken the complicated and made it look easy - with an Arduino-powered drum machine.

Interview: Kris Kennaway

Theoretical physicist, bridge-builder and FreeBSD coder - Kris is trying to build a BSD desktop army, and we want to find out why.

Distrowatch: Joys of spring

Mandriva Linux 2008.1 brings PulseAudio, support for the Asus Eee PC and a plethora of new applications. Plus: Scientific Linux 5.1, Knoppix 5.3, Eee PC distros

Dynebolic: easy audio streaming

We show you how to set up an internet radio station with a Free Software distro made for the job.

The Eee has landed

Good things come in small packages, and you don't get much smaller than the Asus Eee PC. We explore this Linux-powered mini marvel...

Command line phrasebook

For those not fluent in the lingo, using the command line can feel like visiting a foreign country - here's a phrasebook for those who want to explore safely.

What on Earth: Android

The not-at-all paranoid Graham puts Google's Linux-based mobile phone platform through his personal Voight-Kampff machine.

Green computing

Want to save cash while doing your bit for the world? Going green does all that and more - we show you what Linux can do to make a difference...

Alternative OSes

Discover a world neyond Linux. Rated: Aranym, Aros, Haiku, KolibriOS, ReactOS, Syllable

LDAP: Remote /home access

We build on the LDAP authentication created last issue to provide secure access to your home directory from anywhere in the world/office.

Distrowatch: Feel the Fed

Fedora 9, now with KDE 4, partition resizing and encryption, and new package management options. Plus: Parsix GNU/Linux 1.0, Slax 6.0, GoblinX 2.6, versions of Enlightenment in distros.

Backups: simple data insurance

If you want more reliable backups, you need an offsite backup process that happens no matter how absent-minded you are.

Microsoft and open source

Linux vs Vista and Windows is not a fair fight. We dissect the propaganda that Microsoft is using in its battle to retain its dominance.

What on Earth: HTML 5

Graham puts on his secret Spider-Man costume and swings through the next standard for the world wide web.

Build a media server

Jack retreats into the shed with some old hardware and an Ubuntu install CD - and comes back out with a home-made media server!

Ardour: Be the music master

Part 4: We finish this series with a look at finalising your recording sessions using Jamin.

Photography: The Linux studio

Part 4: In the last of this series, we uncover command line tricks for image processing, and introduce the wonderful world of HDR.

Linux on laptops

We test four Linux-powered laptops to find out whether it's better to buy the OS with the machine, or install it yourself. Save time with templates

Are you really making the most of options available in We take you beyond the 20% of OOo that most people use.

Arduino: Add a score counter

Part 3: Before we move on to other hackery, we've got a project to finish. Let's complete our Simon-like game by adding a score indicator.

Target: Linux

Due to its widespread use on servers, Linux presents a tempting target for hackers around the world. Here's how to keep one step ahead of them...

Linux at the BBC

What do Strictly Come Dancing, the shipping forecast and open source have in common? They're all big at the BBC.

What on Earth: RPM 5

Just when you thought package management was one of the most boring aspects of Linux, things just got a lot more exciting.

Interview: Robin Rowe

The CinePaint lead developer describes Hollywood's 3D animation and visual effects houses as an upside-down world, where Linux rules the roost and other platforms just don't cut it.

Distrowatch: Micro distro

Linpus Linux 9.4 Lite - ultra mobile PCs get a minuscule new distro with mountains of functionality. Plus: SimplyMepis 7.0, DesktopBSD 1.6, KDE 4 package availability

Gnome vs KDE

KDE 4 is here - should the competition be worried? We stack it up against Gnome, comparing desktop features, core programs and internet apps.

LDAP: Support Dovecot logins

We can't let people use our mail server without authenticating the users - that would be madness! Let's keep things ship-shape with LDAP.

LXF's Wine secrets

Tasty beverage, useful in cooking and a great way to run Windows applications on Linux - we explain all you need to know about Wine.

Audio codecs

We look at the options for long-term storage of your music collection. On test: AAC, FLAC, MP3, Vorbis.

Arduino hardware hacking

Part 2 - The game we built last month was silent, so now we'll start generating audio with an Arduino board and a speaker.

Rsync: Creating a local mirror

Fed up with downloading the same updates several times for different computers? We show you how to create a local mirror for your network.

Ardour: Equalise sound levels

PArt 3 - Our audio guru covers mixing your track, mixer automation, and effects processing with LADSPA plugins.

Linux in America

From a classroom in Finland to global domination, Linux is making it big everywhere. We uncover the next step in the push for global domination - how Linux is invading America.

Picasa: Organise your photos

PArt 1 - Sharing your photos with friends and family is a piece of cake. Our newbie maestro and amateur snapper is here to help.

Photography: The Linux studio

Part 3 - Image manipulation doesn't begin and end with Adobe Photoshop. We show you the Linux alternatives to fix your photos.

Ardour: on the right track!

Part 2: We demonstrate how to add moretracks to the Ardour session, and show you how to export a complete song.

Ubuntu: pick your passion

Explore the aims, software and philosophy behind the various Ubuntu spin-offs - Mint, Studio, Edubuntu and more.

Distro heaven

Why does toast always land buttered-side down? How long is a piece of string? Why are there so many Linux distros, and what are they all for? Find out here...

Linux at CES

Lucky Blighter John takes the Linux temperature at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Photography: The Linux Studio

Part 2, Photo album managers - the best software to archive, maintain and search our digital images.

Code project: a ball game

Part 4: In the final tutorial of this series, we take a lighter look at coding with a simple (but addictive) game...

First steps: rip MP3s from vinyl

Records are making a comeback, inspiring Andy to begin ripping his collection of vinyl to the computer for the first time...

Hardware hacking revisited

Thanks to overwhelming popular demand, our hardware hacking feature is back. Here's a Simon-type game using the Arduino and a few LEDs.

Distrowatch: Back to work

A taste of Linux distributions to come: Ubuntu, OpenSUSE and Mandriva unveil early alphas. Plus: FreeBSD turns 7.0, Geubuntu, and source package statistics.

Lightweight window managers

Give your desktop a speed boost and discover a new way of working. Rated: aewm, Fluxbox, IceWM, Ion, lwm, Openbox, Ratpoison, Wmii

What on Earth: PulseAudio

We explain why you might find this cross-platform sound server useful on your desktop...

Build your own mailserver

Most people who use it haven't got the faintest clue how email actually works. Banish the darkness of ignorance today with our beacon of knowledge.

Photography: The Linux Studio

There's more than one way to get your photos into your computer - Dale shows us how.

What on Earth: Classmate PC

Why would children in countries that barely have the infrastructure to feed and clothe their populations benefit from a low-cost, open source laptop?

Help Windows addicts quit

Support friends and loved ones who are in the grip of proprietary OS addiction. Joe leads the therapy session...

Distrowatch: Desktop Solaris

Project Indiana - a UNIX with hardware detection, a package manager and GNU Bash. Plus: gOS 1.0,, 2008 distro release calendar

Trusting PHP

In some development circles, PHP's security comes in for some criticism. We dispel many of the myths...

Ardour: Rock harder!

In a new series, we explain how to use Ardour to record a band. And if you're not in a band, how to make a record anyway...

Code Project: Flash cards

Improve your programming skills and learn a foreign language with the help of Mike and your very own flash card testing tool...

Linux Virtual Server

Building load-balancing clusters with LVS is as good at keeping out the cold as chopping logs on a winter's day...

Online word processors

Is it possible to give up the OOo habit and migrate your work online? Rated: Google Docs, Buzzword, ZohoWriter, ThinkFree, ajaxWrite

Resurrect your old PC

Nostalgic for your old beige boxes? Don't let them gather dust! Proprietary OSes force users to upgrade hardware much sooner than necessary: we highlight some great ways to make your pensioned-off PCs earn their keep.

First steps with RSS

Change the way you consume blogs, news sources and loads of other stuff with the best technology you've never heard of...

Unison: set up a socket server

Here are some nifty techniques to synchronise data between Windows and Linux PCs, to ease your transition between operating systems.

Code project: config tools

Part 2: Can't remember all those fiddly command line flags? We show you how to create GUI-like alternatives for common admin utilities.


With a new update just around the corner, we look at this remarkable distro, finding out why many beginners and experts alike find it to be the perfect antidote to their lust for Linux.

Interview: Guido van Rossum

The Benevolent Dictator for Life of the Python project outlines his plans for Python 3000...

SQL from the command line

Do you shy away from databases in favour of unstructured lists? No more - embrace the power of the database from the command line...

Clusters: high availability

A failover capacity gives your cluster the means to survive power outages and other calamities. Here's how to maintain availability.

Distrowatch: Upgrade times

The big 2007 Q4 release rush is over. Which Linux distribution are you using to ring in the New Year? Plus: elpicx 1.1, NimbleX, distro market share stats and Linux

After listening to for pretty much every working moment over recent months, Andy is scared to discover that he listened to one song 15 times in a row. If music be the food of love, play on...

Export calendar mail and contacts

Part 1: Getting your data out of Outlook (Express) can be a blinding headache. We explain how to make this migration work.

Firefox extensions

Rated: AdBlock Plus, BlueOrganizer, Flock, iMacros, Greasemonkey, Mouse Gestures, StumbleUpon, Web Developer Toolbar

What on Earth: Gnome Online Desktop

Hate fighting with countless browser windows and tabs on your desktop? The Gnome team may have just the solution...

Inverting Windows

The nifty alternative to dual-booting: we explain how to convert a natively installed Windows OS into a virtual machine.


An open source Digital Audio Workstation could revolutionise the recording market, which until very recently has been dominated by ruinously expensive and hideously proprietary equipment...

First steps with migration

Moving from Windows to Linux can be daunting, but the maturity of today's distros means that the process is easier than ever.

Distrowatch: Fedora turns 8

New online desktop, graphical firewall and artwork. Plus: Sidux 2007, Red Flag Linux 6.0, package versions for major distros

Network: Booting without a hard drive

Do you want a silent HTPC, or need to run a cluster of similar computers? Network booting may be the answer - we show you how.

What on Earth: Barcelona

Taking a break from his PC Plus and PC Format duties, hardware tweaking expert Jeremy makes his own unexpected Spanish inquisition...

Code project: An IRC bot

Part 1: Love programming, but need some fresh ideas? Here's a new series on mini coding projects, starting with your very own IRC bot...

Business Intelligence: an oxymoron?

Had it up to here with memos about the cover on your TPS reports? We explain why open source BI is no BS, and can make your boss a lot less pointy haired into the bargain...

Settings: Secure your /home

Can you preserve settings across your Ubuntu reinstalls? Yes! Restructure your hard drive and increase security with ext2resize and LUKS.

Linux Podcasts

Feeling the need to hear a human voice, Andy downloads a selection of Linux Podcasts and settles down with a nice cup of tea.

New Horizons

Join some of the biggest names in GNU/Linux - including Richard Stallman, Gael Duval and Jim Zemlin - for a look back at what the community has achieved over the last 100 issues of LXF, and what's still to come...

When Linux won't boot

It's a moment that every user of any OS dreads: your computer failing to boot. Follow our methods for soothing your troubled brow.

Hardware hacking made easy

Any old geek can program software, but it takes some serious commitment to computers to want to program hardware. We show you how to get started with the Arduino board...

Choose the right distro

Your choice of distro is an important one and will affect your whole Linux experience. We lead you out of the dark and into desktop heaven...

All together now...

Could open source media production tools save the BBC enough money to halt its current crisis?

Lightweight distros

Got an old PC gathering dust? Spruce it up with a small footprint Linux distro and use it as a cutting-edge network computer.

Hot Topics

How do distro ground-troops feel about some of the most pressing issues in Linux today? We stirred up some debate with Debian and Gentoo developers at LinuxWorld 2007...


Rated: Emacs, Evolution, KOrganizer, Plan, Sunbird, Wyrd

What on Earth: CMake

Calling all developers: everyone knows that Make is confusing and antiquated, so join us for a stroll into the happy land of CMake...

Distrowatch: World domination, Ubuntu style

Heralding Hardy Heron in April 2008 and its long-term support. Plus: Mandriva 2008, ALT Linux 4.0, distro forum membership

Experiments with PAM

It's an area of your system you may have overlooked because 'it just works' - but how do pluggable authentication modules actually work?

Mono cookbook

Over the last year, we've taught you filesystems, database access, GUIs, XML and networks. Now it's time for you to stretch your wings...

Files: find what you're looking for

Ever mislaid an item in Linux? That mayonnaise recipe? Emails to Auntie Gwen? That huge file you downloaded? Fear not - help is at hand.

Get involved

Spread the love - show others why you're enamoured with Linux! Here's five ways to successfully evangelise open source.

Patching your own kernel

Patches can revolutionise your system by making everything interoperate more efficiently. Colonel Nick gives you your marching orders...

Interview: Jack Aboutboul

Imagine that you could design your own distro online, just downloading an ISO containin the packages you need... With Revisor, you can. Fedora's Jack Aboutboul speaks.

10 great DIY projects

Create 3D anaglyphs from photos, hack your router, broadcast your webcam, build a Linux media server, child-proof your machine and much more...

Interview: Dell's Matt Domsch and Judy Chavez

Dell's new Linux-powered consumer machines are a major step forward for open source on the mainstream desktop. But how did they come about, and what challenges does the company face?

Firewall front-ends

A selection of firewall GUIs: FireHOL, Firestarter, Firewall Builder, KMyFirewall, Guarddog, Shorewall

Distrowatch: Arch angel

Arch Linux: a clean, fast distro for expert users. Plus: OpenSUSE 10.3 beta, Parted Magic 1.8, Slackware 12.0 derivatives

Bash: Using the command line

Want to spend time in the shell but don't know where to start? We introduce the procedure of backing up from the terminal.

48 Linux tricks

We all love Free Software, but sometimes it just doesn't work quite how we want it to. Team LXF put their heads together to figure out the top problems that people face on a daily basis, and went about fixing them for you...

First Steps: Gnome improvements

Tired of Ubuntu's brown or Fedora's bubbly blue? We're here to help you spruce up your desktop and reconnect with your photographic memories...

KDE: Desktop Art Gallery

We show you how easy it is to turn your desktop into an art gallery with DCOP, Perl and some command-line wizardry.

Diagnosing your network problems

If your network is sick, call the Doctor! Luckily, though he can't make house calls for readers, Dr Chris Brown is here to share his diagnostic tips with us all...

The Road to KDE 4

Years of development have brought the KDE 4 development team to the cusp of a major release. We look at some of the features that have made the final grade, as well as some of those attempts that have fallen by the wayside.

Mono: Get back to Unix

Much as C# might feel fresh and cool, Mono sits on top of the ugly beast that is Posix. We make the Unix side of Linux play nicely with .NET...

VirtualBox: Windows on Ubuntu

Use Ubuntu Feisty to run Microsoft applications under Linux with Innotek's VirtualBox and Windows XP.

What on Earth: JavaScript 2

Half the world's websites use JavaScript, so why fix what isn't broken?

Mono: Encrypting your files

Just because you're not paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not following you. Paul makes a government-strength file encrypter, while he still can...

Control: Getting Things Done

A cure for some ills of the modern world (apart from using less fossil fuels) would be better organisation. Andy is a man with time on his hands...

IRC clients

Rated: Chatzilla, Irssi, Konversation, Kopete, KVirc, Opera, Pidgin, XChat

How to Slashdot-proof your server

Your web server is sick of trundling along at two requests per second. We show you how to set it free...

What on Earth: OpenMoko

Whether you believe Charles Bourseul, Philipp Reis, Antonio Meucci or Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, the controversy rings a bell with Nick...

Bash: Using the command line

Part 2: Want to spend more time at the command line? We introduce grep and pipe, plus other must-have power user commands.

Distrowatch: Released soon...

As the popularity of desktop Linux grows, distributions such as OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora and Mandriva compete on features. Which will you be using in 2008? Plus: Webconverger, Yoper Linux 3.0, exotic distros

Manage music files with Python

Fed up with misleading tags and silly filenames? Don't put up with problems; code them out of existence with some Python magic.

Building a better Ubuntu

Gutsy Gibbon is almost here - but how does the Ubuntu team make sure it's still the world's most popular distro? We investigate...

Filters and pipes

Grab your snorkel and flippers, and join us in an exploration of the murky underwater world of filters and pipelines.

What price freedom?

Living with free software is often a life of compromise. We look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of open source development, the choices many of us face, and the effects on our favourite operating system - Linux.

Gentoo: Write your own ebuilds

Need the latest and greatest software that's not in portage yet? We show Gentoo Linux users how to track down an ebuild or write your own.

Interview: Louis Suarez-Potts

He's the Community Development Manager and Community Lead for the vast project. But what's he doing at the Libre Graphics Meeting?

Interview: Oyvind Kolas

One-time graphic student and demo artist, Kolas is at the heart of delivering the grail of Gimp developers: the GEGL engine. We went to Montreal, where he was delivering an update at the Libre Graphics Meeting...

Evolution: Sort out your diary

Sick of leaving Post-it notes scattered everywhere to remind you of meetings? We show you the smarter, more Gnome-like way to organise your life.

What on Earth: ZFS

Is this the last word in filesystems?

Jumpcut: Online video editing

Video editing on Linux is finally easy enough for the most beginningist beginner... so long as you're happy working within your web browser.

Distrowatch: Six of the best

A chronology of innovations and ideas that have helped to shape the Linux world. Plus: Slackware 12, LinuX-gamers, 3D desktops

Power to the people

Around the world, communities are using free software to gain connectivity, IT expertise and independence. We investigate.

Audio players

Rated: Amarok, Banshee, BMPx, Juk, Rhythmbox, XMMS

Mono: Making a chat client

If your spider sense is tingling, there's a crime being committed somewhere. But if your Mono sense is tingling, it's because we have a new project for you...

Professional DTP with Scribus

So you think Linux can't cut it in the professional world? Perhaps you are right, but we aim to prove otherwise by constructing this entire feature using open source software.

Detox your Linux box

Linux is only secure and stable if you keepo to a strict diet of official packages and updates. Most of us don't. Graham purges the detritus to reveal and installation that keeps important data intact.

APT: Advanced user tricks

Just when you thought it was safe to install software, Paul shows you some fresh power features in APT...

Bash: Learning about users

Want to spend time at the command line but don't know where to start? We have some basic commands that can empower a beginner.

The Ultimate Linux newbie test

We've heard it time and time again: this is surely the year of Linux on the desktop. But is Linux really ready for the masses?

Vim: A guide to the basics

The venerable Vim remains the editor of choice for many Linux professionals. It has a reputation for being hard to learn, but it's worth it.

Akelos: Build a code-lite app

Don't think that just because Ruby has Rails, PHP doesn't. Dynamic programming is at your fingertips with Akelos...

Cron: Automate your Linux box

A Cron job a day helps you work, rest and play. We show you how to configure crontabs and use Anacron to have your system running like clockwork.

The great Linux filesystem tour

Have you got lost in the Linux filesystem? Given up trying to figure out why things are where they are? Join our tour!

Defending GPL 3

Proposals for the GPL 3 have come under fire. But Paul, speaking to Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens and others, believes it deserves support.

What on Earth: JavaFX

We shine a light on Sun's fresh new brew for rivalling Flash, Ajax and Silverlight interactive web applications...

DCOP: Mod the KDE desktop

How would you like a virtual desktop manager for KDE? We show you how to use KDE's powerful DCOP functionality to script one.

Mono: Accessing data easily

There's only so much that XML can do before it starts getting slow and unweildy, so maybe it's about time you tried databases...

Email clients

Pick out the best way to stay in touch. Rated: Balsa, Evolution, GNUMail, Kontact, Mutt, Opera Mail, Thunderbird

Distrowatch: Go faster!

VectirLinux 5.8 SOHO - a Slackware-based OS that's prettier and packed with performance. Plus: Ubuntu Studio 7.04, Famelinux 2.0, distro software recentness

Enterprise support on test

Just how good is the business support of the top Linux distributions? We go undercover as Linux newbies to find out...

Hardware Guide 2007

Stop! Before you go and splash out cash on new peripherals for your PC, read this guide to find out what works and what doesn't.

F-Spot: Publish photos online

Going away for the summer? Why not send the 21st Century answer to the postcard and make everyone jealous? We show you how.

Interview: Jim McQuillan and Ron Colcernian

These two men founded the Linux Terminal Server Project eight years ago. Since then it has become an important springboard for many seeking to gain the power of terminal-based computing at low cost. Calc: Load data with macros

Tired of trawling through stock exchange data, only to find that you definitely won't be buying that yacht today? Here's how to make your life easier.

Canvas: A web graphics app

The new HTML canvas element gives you the ability to do real graphics programming in your browser.

Online backup

Services that store your data via the net. Rated: FilesAnywhere, FlipDrive, IBackup, IceBackup,, XDrive

Distrowatch: CentOS 5.0

Leading the field of operating systems built by recompiling the Red Hat Enterprise Linux recompilations. Plus: Linux Mint 2.2, Fedora 7, RHEL clones

What on Earth: E

Is it a new class of programming language, or does it just follow the template laid down by C and D?

FOSS beyond Linux

It's still hard to fully avoid alternative operating systems. But even in the arid desert of a proprietary platform, we find that free software is flourishing.

Interview: Andreas Typaldos

He believes that not all businesses are willing (or able) to have a perfectly pure Linux setup. If Linux -- and his company, Xandros -- are to thrive, he tells LXF, they need to accept that it's a mixed platform world.

Putting Google to work

Web-based tools may be low on features and high on minimalism, but for collaborative work they're unbeatable.

Windows into Wine

Can't tear yourself away from a cherished Windows program? Wine may provide the answer, as we explain in the first of two cross-platform specials.

Distro showdown

If you look beyond version numbers, what are the real differences between today's top Linux distros? We look at security, hardware compatibility, performance, community, software selection and more -- and find the best all-round distro.

Mono: Code with multithreading

Dual cores do more, or at least that's what Intel's marketing department tells us. Put that to the test!

Wireshark: Capture network data

It's amazing what kind of information you can find flowing through your network. We use packet analysis to expose the insecurity of your data.

System: How to share files

What do you want? Files. When do you want them? Now! We show you how to get your stuff no matter where you are...

SELinux explained

Government-strength security is within your reach, if you have the patience to figure out how it works. We make it easy...

Hamachi: Set up a secure VPN

GHamachi is the Gnome GUI front-end for the VPN application Hamachi. It's open source, easy to install, secure... and has nothing to do with sushi. We show you how to install it.

What on Earth: D

Bored of B? Sick of C? Follow the alphabet and discover a new way to program.

Command shells

Never explored beyond Bash? The shell is more than a plain text box for typing commands, so try out a couple from this collection. Rated: Bash, Dash, Dsh, Fish, Sash, Tcsh, Zsh

Web: Build your own CD manager

You don't need to be a code guru to make your own program. We give you the tools and skills to create a cool little web-based application.

Mono: Use OOp to code a game

Claim your inheritance with C# as we show you how objects favour nature over nurture in this second OOP installment.

The sysadmin's toolkit

You might be the benevolent overseer of a single machine or the manic operator of a thousand, but you can always learn something new. We hunt out the best tips for improving a system's performance, security and networking.

Blender: Code a chat application

Using Python and the multimedia masterpiece Blender, we present a quick and dirty chat framework, opening the door to all manner of online work.

KDE 4 gets wheels

Moving house is a right pain. Moving between desktops can be a bit awkward too. We reveal a new KDE app to ease the pain of migrations.

Interview: Jeremy Allison

He's an open source hero for quitting Novell, but Jeremy Allison just wants to work on Samba. And play Half-Life.

Distrowatch: Ubuntu Feisty Fawn 7.04

Desktop distro with improved installer and new migration tools. Plus: Frugalware Linux 0.6, BackTrack 2.0, Ubuntu-based distros

Explore the filesystem

Don't stumble through your filesystem: navigate /usr/, /opt and /dev with the grace of an accomplished Linux user.

Adventures in sound

Ready for a new project? Amias Channer, electronic artist and Linux veteran, finds out how easy it is to build an open source music studio.

Interview: Ian Murdock

These days he works on bringing order to what he describes as the "chaos" of Linux. But what does Ian Murdock think about how Debian, the project that he created, is being run?

What on Earth: Libferris

The Unix philosophy is that everything is a file, right? But can that really mean everything? The Libferris author would like to ask himself the same thing.

Web editors

Daunted by the prospect of creating a website? We take a look at HTML editors that can make the job a breeze.

The ultimate Linux box

Four cores, 4GB of RAM and 1,500GB of disk space. But does it run Linux? Of course it does...

Code on the Greenphone

You don't need elite programming skills, or even a Greenphone, to develop your first mobile phone application.

Ant: Run Java projects better

If you use Java you should really be using Ant. We show you how to take the pain out of packaging and make Java development a lot easier.

Log file lumberjack

Can't see the wood for the trees? Prune log files with some clever configuration and your data will be much easier to manage.

Kill Spam

With deadly efficiency, SpamAssassin blocks the emails other spam filters let through.

Mono: Objects and generics

Object-oriented programming scares people away faster than a porcupine at a haemophiliac convention, but we're going to make it painless.

Distrowatch: Big Etch

Debian 4.0, the biggest distro in the world, gets even bigger. Plus: PCLinuxOS 2007, OpenSUSE 10.3, The evolution of Debian

System: An easy backup policy

Backups are like dock leaves, lying unnoticed until you get stung. We show you how to ensure you always have a backup when you need one.

SugarCRM: Add custom modules

In this final look at SugarCRM, we show you how to start adding your own functionality into the application - and truly make it your own.

Hardware: Set up a system monitor

Forewarned is forearmed. Monitoring your hardware is the best way of ensuring your system isn't going to fail unexpectedly...

15 essential security tips

Is your Linux box safe? Are you sure? Even on such a secure OS, a system that gets the basic wrong can be a very attractive target. We offer 15 tips to make an opportunistic cracker give up on your box and move on.

Mono: Code your own GTK app

As your Mono knowledge grows, you may already want to stretch yourself beyond text-only coding. We help you scratch your itch with this GUI project.

Interview: Eric Allman

He's one of the fathers of Sendmail, and tells us about the past and present challenges for a system of communication that many now claim is a basic human right...

Distrowatch: Spring in Paris

Mandriva Linux 2007.1 'Spring' - back to the old six-month release cycle with a brand-new desktop. Plus: Mepis-64, FreeSBIE 2.0, distro boot times

dh_make: Build your own Debs

We covered RPMs in LXF88, so it's only fair that we balance the Force and show you how to create a Deb file. Graham is your Jedi Master.

SugarCRM: How to customise it

Part 2: In this close look at configuration, we show how you can start bending SugarCRM to your own will - without breaking it (too much).

Version control systems

Which is best for your project? Rated: Aegis, Bazaar, CVS, Git, Monotone, RCS, Subversion

XSLT: Create a stylesheet

You may have the brains, but do you have the looks? Get the beauty and the geek award with a beautifully presented RSS feed.

The diaries of daemons

Learn how to read log files properly, and they will yield valuable data about your system. We open this two-part series with guidance on syslog.

System: Control your users

Just what is it that makes Linux so secure? Andy reckons it's all about permissions, privileges and power. And he's right.

Reinventing The Gimp

The Gimp has been awakened. We find out how it is being revitalised for the 2.4 upgrade, why the GEGL project looms large, and what other users are doing with the Linux graphics tool of choice.

What on Earth: XHTML2

Web standards make another push towards XML...

Skins alive!

Is it Windows? Is it Mac OS X? No, it's Linux! We show you how to style your desktop any way you want.

Distrowatch: Fedora rethink

Fedora 7 'Core' has gone and that's not all: the developers' summit reveals a change in direction for Red Hat's community project. Plus: Pardus Linux 2007, SystemRescueCD 0.3, online community sizes

Feathers in your cap

Fancy teaching your Apache server some new tricks? Learn how to use three of our favourite Apache modules for superior web serving.

Grub: Hack your bootloader

The standard distro installation may boot itself very well, but what if you have a dozen operating systems to juggle?

Linux problems solved

Feeling stuck? Our guide to the most common problems on Linux should get you moving again.

The road to Enlightenment

The fabled E17 has appeared at least... on the PlayStation 3! We explain how some bad news for Yellow Dog transformed the desktop project.

Lingua esotericas

Thought C was tough? Don't like Perl's syntax? Stop your whining, because we're about to show you some truly scary languages.

MySQL: Code with PHP

Part 3: PHP and MySQL go together like Mario and Luigi. Paul presents a project for combining them together to create an interactive database.

Interview: Damian Conway

Perl is one of the most widely used programming languages in existence. This is in part thanks to the productive relationship between its founder, Larry Wall, and its chief co-conspirator, Damian Conway.

SugarCRM: Get it installed

Part 1: A spoonful of customer relationship management is good for business. In this new series, we show you how to tame the top open source CRM.

RPM: Easily install packages

Linux software management on Fedora Core, SUSE and Mandriva is a breeze with RPM. We take a pleasant stroll through updates and installation.

Mono: Link in to libraries

Build a super filesystem searcher in under an hour? We make the impossible not only possible, but easy...

What on Earth: OpenID

Don't know who you are any more? All you need is a URL...

BitTorrent clients

To help you avoid the download bottleneck for a new distribution, we look at the latest crop of BitTorrent client software. Rated: Azureus, BitTornado, BitTorrent, Deluge, KTorrent, TorrentFlux, Transmission

Ready to assemble?

When space and CPU cycles are limited, you want to know exactly what your code is doing. That's the beauty of programming in assembly...

What on Earth: Python 3000

Rewriting a programming language, especially one as popular as Python, is no easy task. But is it time for something completely different?

Interview: Michael Tiemann

He entered free software through his extraordinary work on the GNU compiler, but his lasting contribution may be for his business brain.

Distrowatch: Music box

64 Studio 1.0a - a new distribution for creative artists. Plus: Vine Linux 4.0 and Xandros Desktop Professional

Sound trackers

After 20 years of development, sound trackers are still going strong. We look at six of the best: CheeseTracker, ChibiTracker, Schism Tracker, ShakeTracker, Skale, SoundTracker

Mono: Build an RSS reader

Do you get worried when you haven't checked Slashdot for five minutes? Read all about it with Mono - it's as easy as 0, 1, 2...

Mono has arrived

The coolest thing on Windows just became the coolest thing on Linux. If you're a user, developer or admin, Mono has something for you.

Boot Camp: Get Linux on a Mac

Plenty of Linux users have been seduced by Apple's recent hardware offerings. We show you how to get the best of both worlds with Boot Camp.

MySQL: Speed up your server

Last issue we made it work properly. This month we're going to make it work quickly, adding some go-faster stripes to your database server.

APT: Package management

You need new software and you need it now! We dispel the 'applications are difficult to install' FUD once and for all.

Gimp: layers in ten minutes

If you've been neglecting layers, you're missing out on some powerful effects.

Spread your Linux skills

Because sometimes you need to use another OS... We show you how to transfer hard-won Linux knowledge to Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.

10 top Firefox extensions

Firefox can do almost anything, so we find out how far you can push the new 2.0 incarnation.

Kernel: Compile your own!

Some say you aren't a real Linux user until you have compiled your own kernel. If you're ready to take it on, we show you how.

Ruby off the Rails

You've heard of Ruby on Rails - now we introduce you to the power behind it: Ruby, a shining example of a modern high-level language...

Distrowatch: Trash /bin

GoboLinux 013 - an alternative distro with a novel filesystem. Plus: Mandriva Linux 2007, gNewSense, distro exporters

The 15 best games for Linux

Locked in a cellar with ten PCs and a LAN, Team LXF fought, fragged and flamed to decide the 15 best games ever played on Linux.

Interview: Peter Saint-Andre

Not content with uniting the instant messaging world, Peter Saint-Andre thinks Jabber can go a lot, lot further.

Interview: Jim Zemlin

Open source is about free and open standards. But who actually sets the standards for Linux, and makes sure they are followed? Jim Zemlin has his work cut out...

What on Earth: Microformats

Want to embed even more information into your HTML? Here's the lowdown on a set of data formats to make content richer.

Gnome: Tweak your desktop

The additions, refinements and tricks that make the latest version of Gnome so gnice to use.

MySQL: Learn PhpMyAdmin

Take your sysadmin skills to the next level, with MySQL and PhpMyAdmin.

Content management systems

Need a website? We check out the latest CMS packages to help you build one. Rated: Drupal, Joomla, Mambo, Midgard, Plone, Typo3

Security: Detect intruders

Add intrusion detection to your systems with Aide and Tripwire, the sysadmin's equivalent of fingerprint dusting and, er, tripwire.

Mono: Work with files

Now that you're warmed up with namespaces and object-oriented programming, we should you how to code something useful...

RPM: Build your own packages

Packaging isn't just for Christmas. Learn how to make software install like it should all year round, by bundling it up as an RPM.

Rsync: Create a backup server

Avoid that sinking feeling when you delete a directory of critical files - use rsync for backups.

KDE 4 - taste the future!

KDE fans have heard tantalising hints about the major v4 release, but it's still months away. Key KDE developers give you an early preview.

What on Earth: Harmony

If beer isn't free, why should coffee be? We examine the latest attempt to free the Java programming language.

Web browsers

Amaya, Dillo, Epiphany, Firefox, Galeon, Konqueror, Links2, Lynx, Opera, SeaMonkey

Interview: Jeff Waugh

Jeff Waugh has left the comfort of Canonical to answer a calling from the GNU deskop. He's doing it, he tells us, for his mum... and the other billion software users who need FOSS.

Ethereal: Check network traffic

Beat the script kiddies to it, by setting up a daily sniffing routine, monitor vulnerabilities and disable compromised applications.

QuiteInsane: A scanning project

It's not just big business that can benefit from legacy hardware - we rehabilitate the humble scanner.

DocBook: Write better docs

What do the kernel, FreeBSD, KDE and Gnome have in common? Documentation, as it turns out. We present the neat new technology behind it.

Interview: Nat Friedman

The release of SLED 10 proved that Linux is ready for the business desktop. The project leader is Nat Friedman, and he maps out his vision of the future.

Security: Build a Linux firewall

Any networked computer is open to attack. We show you how to reduce your vulnerability by creating a firewall using standard Linux tools.

Tcl time

Want to spread your coding wings beyond C and Perl? Mike Saunders We kick off a new series exploring fascinating but lesser-known languages, starting with Tcl...

30 days with Gnome

Why do we prefer one desktop over another? Graham Morrison breaks a habit of a lifetime and uses Gnome for a month to find out.

Fedora Core 6 uncovered

Infinity? Freedom? Is Fedora trying to corner the market on idealism? Why is a wiki better than DocBook? Who is actually in charge? We answer all the questions.

Mono: Write a Hello World

Want to learn to program? Here's your chance, with a new series on Mono, C# and .NET.

Distrowatch: Old school

Slackware Linux 11.0. Plus: Sabayon Linux 3.1, Ichthux, Ubuntu Christian Edition, newest software table.

Konqueror: Be a power user

Don't you love it when you find a fiver in a pocket, or some pesto in the back of the fridge? Here are 30 hidden gems from Konqueror...

Kamaelia: P2P collaboration

Run a peer-to-peer whiteboard application using the new Kamaelia framework, then extend it into multimedia streaming and beyond.

Security: Probe your system

This month: vulnerability scanning. We show you how to seriously test the windows and rattle the doorknobs of your network.

Inkscape: Try it against Xara

Should it be Inkscape or Xara Xtreme for your work? Find out here...

File managers

A file manager is just a file manager, right? Not so, as we discover in this megacomparison of the best Linux has to offer. Rated: EmelFM2, Gentoo, Konqueror, Midnight Commander, Nao, Nautilus, Rox-filer, Xfm

Backwards debugging

Command-line debugging is hard to master, but here's something even more mind-boggling: backwards debugging with UndoDB.

What on Earth: DCCP

Good news for downloaders and VoIP users: here's a new technology that will help more internet traffic reach its destination.

Ogre: Fire lasers to a soundtrack

In this final installment of the series, it's time to pick some fitting music to kill robots by.

Interview: Michael Sparks

As the world's biggest broadcaster, the BBC needs some serious technology for online delivery and media codecs. Open source is an appealing solution, explains Michael Sparks.

Wine: Windows on Linux!

Software will not become free overnight. Until that day we'll need a way to run Windows apps on Linux.

15 years of Linux

A student project from 1991 has grown into a liberating operating system that businesses and users dependon on and enjoy throughout the world. We track down the hackers who made it happen.

Firefox 2.0

...from inside the Mozilla Foundation. After the Firefox 1.x honeymoon, how can the browser continue to stand out? Mitchell Baker outlines her master plan.

Interview: Nat Torkington

Linux Format can exclusively reveal why Perl 6 is taking so long: Perl Foundation member Nat Torkington is too busy... solving arithmetic puzzles.

Distrowatch: Red alert

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, first beta. Plus: Mandriva Linux 2007, Zenwalk Linux 3.0, distro derivatives

Compiz: Take on new effects

A bit of quality time with the community branch of Compiz can give you the best effects from Vista, OS X and more!

Ulteo: a new hope

What has Gael Duval been doing since he left Mandriva? How does he think the Linux world has changed since Mandrake 5.1?

What on Earth: CSS 3

As the semantic web strips the internet of its style, why not join the hordes of developers fighting back?

Novell's Linux enterprise

Three years after Novell bought into Linux with SUSE, we investigate if its new strategy is working.

OOo Base: Polish your database

Data is useless if you can't find the information you're looking for. In this second database installment, we refine our form and report on queries.

The problem with desktop Linux

Or: Why I'm afraid of Gnome 3.0. Are our desktop environments losing direction? Is this the end of the 'release early, release often' principle that has guided open source for so long?

Java IDEs

Rated: Eclipse Callisto, IntelliJ IDEA, Sun Java Studio Creator, JBuilder, MyEclipse, NetBeans IDE, Oracle JDeveloper

Security: Restrict rogue services

Unnecessay services on your machine could be the enemy within. Find out how to locate them, shut them down and keep crackers out.

Ogre: Add enemy bots with AI

Bored with wandering around your world all by yourself? Add some bad guys for company...

Interview: Kristian Van Der Vliet

An open source desktop OS that isn't yet another Linux distro? LXF speaks to the man behind Syllable v- an intriguing project to take free software to the masses.

Distrowatch: A new leaf

Fedora Core 6 - rejuvenated project wins back its fans. Plus: Dreamlinux 2.0, Linux From Scratch 6.2, development cycles

Inkscape: What's new in 0.44?

Inkscape is getting better all the time - don't get left behind! Here are some of its latest refinements.

OOo Base: Set up a database

Databases are hardcore, complex and only for experienced hackers. Well, almost! Delve into's Base.

RAID your machines!

Bugged by slow performance or the pest of SATA failure rates? Combining your hard disks can improve their speed and reliability...

Distrowatch: Making it easy

Xandros Desktop 4 - with new Windows-to-Linux migration tools and security features. Plus: SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10, Blag Linux and GNU 50000, release frequency

OOo Basic: Use VBA macros

However good is, it won't let you bring Excel VBA macros over from the other side, right? Wrong!

Ogre: Shine light on a house

How can you turn a grassy knoll into a Tudor fortress and create a sun and a moon in just four pages? Here's the answer...

Mighty Reel

A first look at the media centre you can program yourself.

Remote desktops

Rated: Krdc, NX, TightVNC, Tsclient, VNC, X11, X11vnc

Interview: Jim Hugunin

Hate .NET? So did Jim Hugunin until he tried it - then he wrote IronPython. How do the Python community feel about his irrepressible urge to hack?

Security: Harden passwords

The first line of defence on a Linux box is the user password system. We show you how it works, and how to make it even more secure.

Greasemonkey: Mod the web!

Do you itch to improve even the best websites? Use Greasemonkey to get sites to work the way you want them to.

Inkscape: Design a web page

With the internet opening up to all comers, explore Inkscape's applicability for designing web pages.

What has the OSDL ever done for us?

The Open Source Development Labs seems to have its fingers in several pies - but does anyone know what it actually does? We investigate.

Virtual smackdown

Hardware virtualisation enables you to run several operating systems on Linux at the same time, at high speed and at no cost. Everyone's talking about it - here's how to do it.

LXF Reader Awards 2006

You've had four months to cast your votes and thousands of projects to choose from. Now, we dim the lights to reveal... the winners!

Inkscape - animate your drawings

How to create a simple GIF animation - an LXF forum avatar, perhaps?


AppArmor is a superb, flexible security tool for Linux. Its architect shows you around...

Ogre: add movement and water

What good is a rolling landscape if you're stuck on the spot? Paul has the answer.

An Ubuntu desktop for kids

Kids, eh? They're curious, naive and, well, hopelessly mischievous. We show you how to keep children safe from the net and your PC safe from the children, with their own custom desktop.

PAM: tailored authentication

User authentication isn't for newbies, but with some careful application of PAM modules it is possible to set up sophisticated login systems - even using a humble USB stick.

Ubuntu forever

Ubuntu isn't a distro - it's a way of life. Where did it come from? How can you get the best from it? And what are the intentions of its super-rich founder? It's all explained here.

Distrowatch: Puppy Love

Puppy Linux 2.0 - a fast, custom-built Live distro. Plus: Freespire 1.0, BSD Live distros

XDMCP in 10 minutes

Afraid of any abbreviation longer than three letters? Here's one you shouldn't miss...

OOo Basic - tips and tricks

Take your macro knowledge further with these pearls of wisdom.

C/C++ compilers

Testing compilers is a dark, mysterious art, but if it's done in the name of better code, software freedom and blistering performance, it's worth it.

Interview: SpikeSource

There's money in stacks. Apparently. Certified, integrated open source stacks. If enterprise is to adopt Linux it will need lots - and SpikeSource, led by Kim Polese and Muragan Pal, intends to deliver them.

What on Earth: GEGL

It's been promised as the Gimp's great leap forward for years, yet the world is still waiting for the Generic Graphics Library to open its doors.

Linux on Rails

Is Ruby + Rails + Linux the magic equation to revolutionise web development as we know it?

LVM: run virtual partitions

Get away from the tyranny of fixed disk partitions. We show you how to make things much more flexible with Logical Volume Management.

How Linux beats Vista

It's the shiny, 3D-accelerated wonder desktop that's going to rule the world - yes, we do mean Linux. We finds out why Linux vs Vista is a battle that open source can win hands down.

Hidden gems

There's a treasure trove of open source apps waiting to be discovered - join us as we hunt them out.

Inkscape: make a business card

Here's a simple but complete design project: creating a business card. We show you the skills, you choose the design.

OOo Basic: query databases

More time-saving cleverness - this month our macro and database tips will help you run queries, create reports in and keep track of your books and CDs.

Hack the Gimp

From documentation to coding, there are plenty of ways to get involved with any Free Software project. Why not start with Gimp?

Distrowatch: Unfinished Symphony

Symphony OS - a new take on the desktop enters beta. Plus: GParted Live CD, Austrumi Live CD, Ubuntu growth in Google Trends

Interview: Stuart Cohen

Is the Open Source Development Labs the centre of gravity for Linux? Is open source licensing getting out of control? OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen explains all.

Ogre: create a 3D game terrain

We kick off a new tutorial series focusing on 3D game programming. This month: extreme landscape gardening.

X terminals

Ah, real computing, back to the command-line interface. Immerse yourself in the deep pool of terminals that Linux has on offer.

What on Earth: Tenor

How come you can find whatever you want on the internet, but don't know what's on your own hard drive? Will Tenor be able to help?

PHP programming essentials

As this tutorial series faces its final curtain, we deal up some final tips...

Replace your PBX with Asterisk

Tempted to use VoIP in your organisation, but not sure how to implement it? Try this open source replacement for an expensive PBX and add classy features such as conferencing to internet calls.

Live your life in Subversion

One stormy night Graham Morrison updated his Subversion server with his home directory by mistake - then realised just how useful his creation is. Here's how you can do the same.

Desktop time-saving tweaks

With keystrokes, application associations and auto-loading programs, this tutorial could save you, ooh, a couple of minutes a day. Don't knock it though! It only takes a minute to fall in love...

Interview: Greg Kroah-Hartman

Who drives Linux driver development? Meet Greg Kroah-Hartman - kernel champion, devfs headsman and inexplicable lover of PCI Hotplug subsystems.

WordPress in 10 minutes

Hosting your own blog is easier than you might think - just follow Animal Crossing fan Mike Saunders.

Distrowatch: Turbo charged

Turbolinux 11 - how to make a profit in open source software. Plus Ubuntu 6.10 plans, DesktopBSD 1.0

Open-Xchange: Set up and run an open groupware server

Organisations need to collaborate - now you can do it the free software way with Open-Xchange.

DansGuardian: Set smart filters

Tired of the distractions that you, your staff or your children find online? The censorial Marco Fioretti has an open source solution to help you set up flexible, sophisticated content filters for the web.

OOo Basic: Use macros in Calc

Keep spreadsheets at arm's length and work with data from the console!

Licence to create

Creative Commons licences let us create, discover and share a whole world of music, movies, art and more. Even for the more left of brain, there are plenty of ways to contribute.

PHP: Secure the shell

Sick of people breaking through your elite rot26 encryption? Get some security skills here.

Firefox - Cover your tracks

There are genuine security reasons for removing accidentally accessed mail-order bride sites from your PC's memory, you know. We show you the way to safer, more discreet surfing.

Weblog engines

We unleash six of the best blog engines for Alex Cox to try. Just how easy are they to make your own? Rated: B2evolution, Blosxom, Movable Type, Nucleus, Pivot, WordPress.

Inkscape: Learn artistic drawing

To kick off a new series of practical Inkscape projects, we show why this is one of the best programs for drawing - especially for those who do not consider themselves artists.

What on Earth: Elektra

If you thought Elektra was Graham Morrison's drag queen persona you'd be wrong: that's Loretta. But it is the name of a shiny new idea that promises to rid the world of Linux configuration troubles.

Lessons in Linux

Free software embodies values of learning and sharing that we'd like to see everybody schooled in. So why aren't more schools and universities using it, and what can we learn from the ones that do?

Libre graphics

Adobe, Corel, Quark et al had better look over their shoulders - free software is catching up with them. We went to the first Libre Graphics Meeting, a landmark event for open source.

A taste of freedom

The next version of Richard Stallman's Gnu General Public License is being offered up to public scrutiny. Graham Morrison takes a sip of the GPL 3 first draft, and discovers why the debate has only just got started.

Interview: Greg Mancusi-Ungaro

First Novell opens up SUSE, then it goes for Gnome, and now it wants to be like Switzerland? The company's director of marketing for Linux and open source explains all.

Boot speedups

With a few tweaks, you can halve the time it takes your machine to boot up.

Interview: Brian Behlendorf

A lot of us take Apache's dominance in the server room for granted. Brian tells LXF how it came to pass.

Live distros

Rated: Damn Small Linux, Games Knoppix, Knoppix, LG3G Live CD, Morphix, SUSE Live, Ubuntu Live

Encryption: Secure filesystems

You don't need an Enigma machine to keep your information safe. We show you how to encrypt your USB stick and laptop data using Fuse, EncFuse and a little module called dm-crypt.

Create video soundtracks

Add music, a voiceover or both to your videos with Kino or MainActor.

PHP: Offer Gettext translation

Here's an easy way to add multilingual support to your scripts. Powodyenia!

OOo Basic: Use Macros in Writer

Mark Bain laughs at the puny humans who can't use word processor macros. Now you can too!

Distrowatch: Knoppix 5.0

Live distro adds Mono, Java and limited Gnome support. Plus: Fedora 5, SUSE 10.1, Ubuntu 6.06, Berry Linux 0.68

iFolder in 10 minutes

Never back up again: we show you how to synchronise files over the network with Linux.

What on Earth: XGL

A desktop that looks like it's made of blancmange?

Regular expressions

Find your way around regular expressions, and go looking for genomes. Maybe.

Interview: Warren Woodford

Warren worked in diverse IT projects before sinking his time and money into Mepis in 2002...

Audio: Clean up recordings

Our precious recordings can be fragile things. Whether the cat ate the tape or you spilled beer on the mixer, we have a cleaning solution.

Build a Linux kiosk

Here's a guide for creating an interactive information powerhouse, whether it's for a museum, internet cafe, doctor's surgery, exhibition...

PHP: What's new in PHP 6?

How will the changes being brewed for the soon-to-be-served PHP upgrade affect your scripts? We show you how to usr the incoming features.

Understand software licences

Licences surround us: at work, at home, as customers, as developers. Lawyer David Harris shows you how to orienteer your way through a licence, open or proprietary, and watch out for catches hidden in the legalese.

DCOP: Control KDE programs

Add features to KDE apps or control them remotely - it's easy with DCOP.

Vector graphics editors

Shall I compare thee to a bitmap? Vector graphics are all the rage, so we test some of the best editors available for design, illustration or just doodling.

Distrowatch: Distros in the springtime

Fedora Core 5, SUSE 10.1, Ubuntu 6.04 - easier installation and 3D desktops. Plus: Gentoo Linux 2006.0, Kororaa Xgl 0.1, RPath Linux 1.0, busiest distro communities

Solar power

With Sun releasing source code to its enterprise-level Unix, competition is hotting up in the open source world. We investigate OpenSolaris and show you how to try it today.

Command line: Bash secrets

"It's the crontab. Chicks dig the crontab." Or at least so says Paul Hudson, who this month proves his manhood in the manly areas of job control, Linux directory browsing and environmental variables.

LXF Reader Awards 2006

Nominations are over - now it's time for LXF readers to choose the winners...

What on Earth: Solid

Hit-and-miss hardware management has been the weakness of many a Linux system, but those crafty KDE hackers have a cunning plan.

Inkscape: Play with effects

For the last in this vector illustration series, we have some truly special effects.

Audacity: Recording and editing

Follow the Pied Piper of Podcasting, Andy Channelle, and learn how to record, edit and mix audio.

Interview: Bruce Perens

Founder of the SPI, OSI, LSB and UserLinux - Bruce has done his fair share of founding. We spoke to the former Debian Project leader about freedom, Ubuntu and Red Hat...

Move to Mepis!

Switching your OS? Making the right choice can be tricky, but before you make up your own mind, why not spend the weekend in Mepis?

Distrowatch: Fedora Core 5 in final testing

Nine months after the last stable release, it's goodbye to the hat! Plus: VectorLinux 5.1, EnGarde Secure Linux 3, biggest distros

Interview: Edd Dumbill and Niel Bornstein

Edd and Niel believe that Mono could be the best choice for Linux software development - and they've written a hands-on book on C#.

Command line: Power tools

Shun the GUI, throw your mouse out of the house and let your posh graphics card have a breather - real geeks use the command line!

Gimp: Reflections in glass

In the last of his long-running series, a glassy-eyed Michael J Hammel gets reflective with some effect.

Evolution: Manage your email

If you have email to organise, contact details to store or projects to manage, this simple tutorial of Evolution hacks will make a big difference.

Realsoft 3D: SDS modelling

We help you get to grips with surface modelling - and a small, slippery fish...

Take your photos further

Open source offers all the tools you need to capture, edit, print and share your photographic masterpieces. Join us in the darkroom and learn the skills!

Syllable: pure and simple

A lightning-fast, easy-to-use operating system designed purely for the desktop - can it be true? Syllable contributor Mike Saunders presents an installation and user guide to this desktop contender, and talks to the main man behind it.

PHP: Welcome to views

Make your querying life easier by cutting down on your SQL and improving performance.

Inkscape: Working with text

A picture is worth a thousand words - but text still comes in handy from time to time. We show you how to add text to your creations in Inkscape.

The second coming

In this introduction to Web 2.0, we look beyond the haze of hype and VC funding to find some seriously cool technology - much of it built with open source software.

DVD players

Rated: GXine, Kaffeine, KMPlayer, MPlayer, Totem, VLC, Xine

What on Earth: Jingle

An open source VoIP extension for instant messaging? We're with Jingle all the way...

What on Earth: Boo

We peek at an intriguing new language written by a Python lover with a vision.

Astronomy software

Graham may be a member of the gutter press, but he's looking at the stars. Rated: Celestia, KStars, Maestro, Nightfall, Nova, StarPlot, Xephem

Xen: Virtually yours

Virtualise your hardware and impress your friends with your immense prowess. We show you how to get set up with Xen.

Emacs: Complex editing

Edit HTML, render Latex formulae and, er, write holiday brochures with this HOWTO.

Realsoft 3D: Getting started

Get a head start with Realsoft 3D - follow Nick to draw a simple wine glass 3D object.

Autopackage: Create a package

If you can learn the complex process of creating Autopackage files, Linux users the world over will thank you. We show you how it's done.

Interview: Chris DiBona

The mighty Google is bringing its wealth and expertise to open source. Chris DiBona is the man who makes it happen...

PHP: Stored processes

As if learning SQL weren't enough, MySQL 5.0 brings with it another way to program. Database whisperer Paul introduces stored procedures...

Distrowatch: Mandriva hints at more acquisitions

Will we be seeing Mandrivaski in 2006? Plus: VLOS, RR4 Linux, Kororaa, Fox Desktop Linux 1, distro up-to-date-ishness

At your service

Do you ever think your Linux box would be able to do more for you than start up and run Frozen Bubble all day? Give your PC some real work for a change by turning it into an internet superserver.

Web 2.0: The new web tools

Make the most of blogs, image sites and more...

Inkscape: Powerful shapes

Inkscape has something Adobe Illustrator lacks: easy to use, sophisticated shape objects. We show you how to put them to work.

Discover FreeBSD

Linux is not the only fruit for people who like their OS to have a Unix flavour. FreeBSD is free, stable and open source. We track its development and offer an installation guide for anyone tempted to try it...

Gimp lighting effects

Use Quick Masks and layers to scare your kinds into showing up for parents' evening.

Interview: Jeremy Allison

Samba opens Windows to a wider world, but few people realise how important it is to the free software movement. We tracked down one of those few: Jeremy Allison, the lead developer on the project.

Emacs: Developing code

Can't choose between KDevelop and Eclipse? Try Emacs instead!

Distrowatch: Double treat for home Linux users

SimplyMepis 3.4 and PCLinuxOS 0.92 arrive. Plus: Damn Small Linux 2.0, Nexenta OS

Fuse: Virtual filesystems

We delve into the kernel for an imaginative way to implement userspace filesystems.

Apt-get: Improve Ubuntu

It's great being part of a global Ubuntu community, but if you're like Scott Douglas you'll still want a proper cup of coffee. Here's how to update Java and install Flash or Adobe Acrobat on your distro.

PHP: Transactions and triggers

MySQL has finally reached the 21st century, and we're here to help you master it.

What on Earth: GPL 3

The foundation licence of the free software movement is about to be refreshed. This is why you should care... presentations

With trepidation, Andy stepped out onto the stage with only a laptop between him and his audience. Fortunately, the laptop was loaded with Impress...

Groff: Making man pages

Once you get deep into Linux you get urges to do the strangest things - like writing documentation for open source projects. This is a perfectly sane response; in fact, we positively encourage it...

Dynebolical acts

It's used by creative types as a multimedia studio, but you can also use the Dynebolic distro to create your own Live CD. Here's a step-by-step guide to modifying Dynebolic for your own ends...

Inkscape: Path editing skills

How to draw, drag, rotate and break paths in Inkscape - it's the key to vector illustration, you know. Just follow his twelve-fold path to path nirvana...

Gimp: 3D package design

Need a package design? We show you how to use the Perspective tool to go from concept to prototype.

Make your hardware work harder

Computers these days are connected to so many devices - cameras, printers, iPod-alikes - that it's essential to get your machine configured to work with them all. We help you get every last gadget working with your Linux box.


They can juggle numbers, filter data and create charts faster than any man. But are the Linux versions more Vic-20 than Blue Gene? Rated: Gnumeric, KSpread, Calc, PlanMaker, ThinkFree Office Calc

Interview: Larry Wall

Perl 6 has been in production for several years now, and still doesn't seem to be close to release. We cornered Larry Wall and asked him just what was going on.

Take on the tech of 2006

Big things are promised for Linux in 2006, on the desktop and server - and for once, those aren't empty promises. We've seen the software of the future - downloaded it, installed it and even played with it - and want to share it with you...

PHP - multibyte strings

Do your PHP scripts work smoothly across languages? Paul gets out his phrasebook...

Distrowatch: Download servers jammed by fans

Distro release teams caught off-guard by demand. Plus: Elive 0.3, distro upgrade tools

Inkscape cloning and tiling

Dmitry's evil twin introduces cloning, one of the most exciting Inkscape features.

Virus checkers

Rated: AVG Anti-Virus, BitDefender Linux Edition, ClamAV, F-Prot Anti-Virus, F-Secure Anti-Virus Linux Workstation, InterScan VirusWall, Kaspersky Workstation Word Processing

We explore one-touch text formatting, image editing and more.

Squid - set up a proxy server

We kick off a new series designed to push the limits of your Linux knowledge.

Reader Awards 2006

The nomination phase!

Emacs - installing extensions

Still wondering how to load all those .el files? Here's the answer.

Where are the women in open source?

Are sexist attitudes turning women way from Linux?

What on Earth: OpenDocument

We introduce the new format for office files that's making waves in Brussels and Boston.

Gimp selection tools

we compare the upcoming Foreground Selection tool with the venerable Quick Mask.

MythTV - the lost user-guide

You might not have heard of MythTV, a personal video recorder and multimedia plaything for Linux. It's brilliant, but a challenge to install, so we wrote a guide to this super-cool app.

Interview: Jim Jagielski

With a CV that includes working for NASA, editing Slashdot and core Apache development, Jim has pretty much done it all. Who better to ask about the world's #1 web server?

Build your own distro

Making your own customised Linux distribution is simpler than you might think - and rewarding too. Mike dons his overalls and hard hat, ready to show you how...

Interview: Andrew Morton

Top kernel maintainer talks exclusively about the latest development process and the need for increased quality control.

Learning with Linux

Linux in education is finally taking off. We report on some of the highest-achieving projects.

Gambas tips and tricks

In this final tutorial of the series, Mark hands over his secrets to this Visual Basic-alike language.

Filesystem - organise your partitions and folders

How to set up your machine so that you'll always know where to find any piece of information, photo, song or document.

Distrowatch: A brief history of Linux distributions

From half a dozen to over 300 in a decade. Plus: Slackware 10.2, Tao Live

RSS readers

Rated: Akregator, Blam, BottomFeeder, Liferea, RSSOwl, Snownews, Thunderbird

PHP: grokking the Google API

Ha-ha thisaway, ha-ha thataway - Paul picks up some SOAP for the first time in years and gets jiggy with WSDL.

Inkscape: master gradients

Doing graphics in a good vector editor is not only practical; it's also a lot of fun. We show you some advanced Inkscape techniques.

Emacs: fun with extensions

All work and no play makes Biagio a dull boy - time to lighten up!

What on Earth: Hibernate

Want to save time database coding so you can lounge around eating honey and picking fleas? Of course you do.

Gambas Application Building

Edison was wrong. Forget about perspiration: genius is 100% delegation in Mark's book. So sit back, put your feet up and let a Gambas GUI do all the work for you.

Gimp animated fractals

Take a trip with one of Gimp's creative features.

PHP: Data objects in 5.1

The best things come to those who wait. Yes, the PHP update is here...

Photo managers

If you need to get your digital photo collection in order, picture this bunch: DigiKam, F-Spot, GThumb, Kalbum, KimDaBa, KPhotoBook

Cracking the Kernel

Kernel hacker Greg Kroah-Hartman looks inside the latest kernel to show you what makes your box tick.

HAL: Auto-mounting USB devices

Resisting any reference to "I'm sorry, Dave", Neil instructs HAL to get his iRiver flowing.

Interview: Richard Hipp

If you've heard of the database engine SQLite and would like to contribute... good luck. Its author Richard Hipp is very, very picky. He tells us why.

Online chat: how to use Skype, IRC and Google Talk via Gaim

The launch of Google Talk and eBay's purchase of Skype have pitched VoIP and instant messaging back into the headlines...

Free as in freedom

Is open source really the same as free software? Paul Hudson doesn't think so...

Interview: Eben Moglen

Super Linux evangelist! Software freedom fighter! Defender of the GNU and the Open Source Way! No, it's not Linux Lass - it's Eben Moglen, the general counsel for the Free Software Foundation.

PHP: Website authentication

We explain how to set up authenticated areas of a website with PHP and MySQL.

What on Earth: Parrot

Originally planned to help run new Perl code, this bird could go far. We examine Larry and the Perlmongers' latest creation.

Interview: Michael Meeks

A key developer at Novell, Michael Meeks is committed to free software with the urgency of a true evangelist.

PHP: A* path-finding

Paul couldn't find his way out of a paper bag, but can somehow program a path-finding script. If you're a keen games programmer you might want to follow him...

Emacs: Shaping .emacs

Part 4: Make your text editor do what you want it to do. The power!

Perl functions and modules

Part 4: Not all scripts must be built from scratch. Marco 'Prefab' Fioretti shows you how to reuse code.

PDF readers

You read PDF files every day - so it would be silly not to use the best software out there: Rated: Acrobat Reader, Evince, GGv, GPdf, KGhostview, KPDF, Xpdf

What on Earth: Podcasting

Need to spread your ideas far and wide? Andy discovers a new way to get his annoying voice heard by the masses.

72 Speedups

Is your distro feeling sluggish? Looking for that extra injection of pace? Mike has spent the last six years performance-tuning Linux distros and still feels the need for speed. Additional writing: Graham Morrison and Mark Bain.

Hardware: Set up your printer

Printing needn't be painful. Just listen to us, and things should get a lot easier.

Gimp: Create a metallic emblem

Learn blending and embossing techniques.

Gambas modules and classes

Part 2: Let's keep this our little secret, but programming is really easy. We show you the line of least resistance.

The rise and fall of an open source project

The rewards and frustrations of nurturing your own Linux app...

Compression: Ark and File Roller

In which a smallerified Andy Channelle spends too long playing with the excellent compression software available on Linux. Dial-up readers: let this be a warning to you.

The problem with desktop Linux

Every year since 1993 has been predicted to be the year of Linux on the desktop. But what's needed to make that happen?

What on Earth: Cairo

Actually, it's a vector graphics library that will revolutionise the way Linux applications create graphical output - we'll fill you in.

Interview: Mark Shuttleworth

He has transformed the Debian community by putting his money where his mouth is. The result is Ubuntu, but why was it started, where is it going in the future, and what does its success mean for Debian?

The Linux diaries

Freak wormhole gives Linux Format readers an exclusive preview of a distropian future!

Perl: Flow, files and reports

Part 3: Here we introduce techniques for sophisticated Perl scripting.

Custom appearances in Emacs

Part 3: Bored with your Emacs interface? Add a little flair to your editor's look and feel.

Sudoku - the LXF bounty

Write a Sudoku solver, and win a share of £500!

Unisys opens up

Global computing groups don't announce major Linux strategies every day, and it's rarer still do do so on the Cote d'Azur...

Lock out hackers

Surely we don't need to worry about security when we use Linux? Sadly we do, and in an increasingly inhospitable network environment, you need these tools.

PHP: SimpleXML and XPath

In another cheap attempt to give you all a leg-up in Sudoku bounty, we delve into the use of XML files for fun and profit.

Gambas: Easy database access

Part 1: Do you need to build a nice GUI front-end for your database? Have you only got ten minutes to do it? Gambas is here to help.

Gel effects in Gimp

Text doesn't have to be flat. We show you how to use layers, filters, curves and blurs in the Gimp to turn the ordinary into the eye-catching.

Gimp: Fixing smiles

We help you brush up on masks, scissors, the Clone tool and other Gimp techniques to create a dentist's vision of the perfect smile.

Perl: Sort your code

Part 2: Scared by abstruse Perl operators and regular expressions? Even more scared of the word abstruse?

Playtime on the web

While we've been getting excited by innovation on the desktop, web developers have been making great strides in interaction, content delivery and pure, raw speed. We look at BBC Backstage, AJAX and Google Maps...

Go fetch!

It'll sniff out documents and emails you thought you'd lost forever: is Beagle man's new best friend? Get it running with our guide.

Subversion: Branches, tags and mergers

We explain how to manage your repository once development starts to expand.

Interview: Gael Duval

The founding father of Mandrakesoft has seen his baby go from the brink of disaster to becoming part of a multinational Linux empire. How did he do it? And what's next for Mandriva?

Debian at a crossroads

Sarge is out at last - a release that at one time seemed as likely as soaring swine - but it's delays and waning influence, not features and improvements, that people are talking about. We assess the road ahead for this freest of Linux distributions.

Text editors

Rated: CoolEdit, gEdit, GNU Emacs, Kate, Nano, NEdit, Minimum Profit, Vim

Emacs: The custom buffer

Part 2: We add extras to your newly compiled text editor.

Upgrades: Get the best from Gnome 2.10

Andy dons a pointy red hat and grabs his toy fishing rod to look at some of the new features of Gnome 2.10.

What on Earth: PDTP

Nothing annoys Paul more than choosing a mirror; but will PDTP manage to end the rule of BitTorrent?

PHP: The Monty Hall problem

Having problems with last issue's LXF Sudoku bounty? We show you how to solve such problems using brute force, a dash of brain power and a highly-trained team of goats.

Linux at Wimbledon

Others may end up with the flowers, champagne and silverware at Wimbledon this week, but in the background Linux is doing all the hard work.

10 backup rules for business

Don't grieve over lost files - follow these tips for a strong backup strategy and you and your data need never be parted.

Audio editors

Rated: Audacity, Freecycle, FreeWheeling, Glame, ReZound, Sweep, WaveSurfer

Battle of the distros: SUSE vs Mandriva

Mere hours before his wife is due to give birth to their first child, Andrew Hudson takes some time out to argue with his brother Paul about whether it's Mandriva Linux or SUSE that rules the Linux desktop roost...

What on Earth: Open Carpet

While Novell is bringing Linux software distribution to the enterprise, Open Carpet brings integration to the humble software developer.

Emacs: Compile from source

Part 1: Test your install skills and roll your very own Emacs.

Competition: Sudoku

Write a GUI program to solve Sudoku puzzles and win a share of £500!

Subversion: Using a client

Part 2: You've set up a Subversion repository - now get back to work using Subversion as a client.

Upgrades: Get more from KDE 3.4

Drop shadows! Transparent windows! Always-on apps! We bring all these KDE riches and more to your desktop.

PHP: Curses on the console

We find out there's a reason why this library is called curses...

Interview: Alan Cox

He has the beard and the attitude to match - Alan Cox is the archetypal kernel hacker, and he's here to talk to you.


Dust off the greatest games ever made - then play them using emulators for the Amiga, Spectrum, C64, Mega Drive, SNES, Arcade machines and more.

Gimp: Work with transparency

Michael J Hammel reveals his surrealist side for this transparency workout.

Infosecurity Europe 2005

Every year, security pros and the paranoid converge on London for Europe's biggest IT event. This year Nick slipped past the guards to ring back this report.

Mini distros

Looking for a lightweight Linux for an old machine? We dive into a pile of distro CDs and pick the bets. Rated: Damn Small Linux, Feather Linux, INSERT, muLinux, Puppy Linux, ZipSlack

What on Earth: XDMCP

LXF's serial networker Amias finds a way to run graphics apps on a rusty old laptop at the speed of light (well, nearly).

Shell: Exit codes and flow control

Marco helps you to come out of your shell and structure your code for group projects.

Interview: Michael Robertson

Linspire's leader has a vision of an open source future. But is he in it for the money, the love of Linux - or just to madden his old foe Microsoft?

PHP: The curl library

Sockets are shiny, and FTP is efficient, but why must you treat them separately? Paul gets on the ice to show off his curling skills.

Subversion: Set up a repository

Subversion is an excellent open source application for managing your projct development. Appropriately enough, LXF's very own subversive, Graham, is on hand to talk you through it.

How to win friends and influence people

Or: effective evangelism for geeks. Two professional evangelists show you how to turn friends, colleagues and clients on to free and open source software.

ICC: Fast optimisation strategies

Biagio feeds his need for speed with the Intel C Compiler.

The X factor

Far from its clunky image, Linux is poised to introduce key new display technologies ahead of both Windows and Mac OS X...

Upgrades: Exploit apt and RPM

Don't get left behind. We explain how to get package management tools sniffing out the latest upgrades on your behalf.

Gimp: Transform humdrum images

If you fancy revitalising an old photo - or can't afford to buy images from a stock library - try these Gimp techniques and feel like a graphics god.

X11: Set up a dual-head system

There are several ways to configure multiple monitors in X11, so prepare to start seeing double...

Extreme Programming: a failed process?

Extreme Programming was supposed to safeguard software development - but your project would have a better chance of survival with ICONIX Process...

Shell: Arrays, dialogs and Images

In which teacher's pet Marco adds weight to Nick's argument that the console CAN do graphics, with a lesson for creating an image gallery.

Is the Mac mini your next Linux box?

The Mac mini is small, square and almost silent - but is there an open source heart beating inside it?

Email clients

Rated: Balsa, Evolution, KMail, Mahogany, Mutt, Pine, Sylpheed, Thunderbird

Interview: Matthias Ettrich

Someone has to answer for all those applications starting with a K. Who better to ask than the KDE founder (and Trolltech development leader)?

Is the password dead?

Tim of Gemplus argues the case for a smarter way to protect your IT system.

Burning videos to DVD with Kino

Part 3: The end is in sight. After ripping and editing his film, Andy works up to the final presentation of "Sports Day: The Director's Cut" to a ravenously expectant public.

Xen - virtualisation breakthrough

Xen is a new virtualisation technology promising huge speed increases over traditional implementations - have we finally attained nirvana?

Command line vs the GUI

PC GUIs are 20 years old. Nick wants to get back to the console; Rebecca thinks he's mad. Here's their polite debate.

PHP: Add a spell-checker

Paul's threat to replace Rebecca with a very small shell script finally comes true.

What on Earth: Groovy

This time last year, Groovy was talked about as an essential tool for Java developers. Then all went quiet. We explore the hiccups in its development and see if it can still compete.

GCC compiler options

Explore the myriad GCC options for better optimisation and profiling.

Gimp: Shadows and reflections

We show you how to do shiny stuff properly in Gimp.

Emacs: Advanced features

Part 4: Biagio has saved the best 'til last. As the final part in this series, here's his guide to some of the features that make Emacs unique.

SuperCollider: Build a synthesizer

For the ultimate in sound manipulation and generation, SuperCollider is hard to beat. We create a simple synthesizer out of a complicated environment.

Mail servers

Rated: Courier IMAP, Exim, IEMS, Insight Server SE, Postfix, Qmail, Sendmail

Warping text in the Gimp

Twist and scale, shear and pinch. To the Gimp, text is just another bunch of pixels to play with. We show you how to warp letters while keeping them crisp.

Practical PHP programming

Mischief-makers want to crash your site; hackers want to steal your visitors' data. If you're feeling under siege, follow these three steps to logging in users securely while keeping out internet riff-raff.

A beginner's guide to Emacs

Part 3: We open some windows and give Emacs a good airing.

Linux Pro: Intruder alert!

Don't trust your defences to a firewall alone - set up some booby-traps with Tripwire.

Linux Pro: The next big threat?

Worried about the future? Given the growth of spyware, perhaps we all should be.

Connect your devices with udev

We explain how to code a name for your hardware when 'Bob' just won't do.

What on Earth: Plone

Updating a website with fresh content is a pain - but if you give the job to inexpert users, they might ruin your carefully designed pages. Here's a free system that does the work for you.

Interview: Stephen Tweedie

Writing a filesystem takes a programmer a cut above the rest. Writing a filesystem that's reliable to the extreme? Meet ext3 coder Stephen Tweedie...

Firefox - Take Back the Web

Firefox is one of the most successful open source projects ever. With help from its creator, Blake Ross, we reveal how it made the breakthrough in five key areas.

Shell secrets

Part 2: Time-saving tips for modifying and processing text from the command line.

Desktop duel: KDE vs Gnome

Two LXFers fight it out and decide once and for all which is better - KDE or Gnome?

First steps with Kino

Part 2: With footage captured in the correct format, we move onto the editing phase to create the perfect home video - My First Sports Day meets The Big Channellski.

Audio and music production

Part 4: Mastering an audio project involves fixing all its minor inconsistencies. Take to the controls for the final stage in the process.

GCC 4.0 up close

The compiler at the heart of open source is heading for a new release. GCC fan and sometime contributor Biagio talks to leading developers for an exclusive preview.


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