Linux Format Newsletter -- #45, February 2009

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Linux Format Newsletter -- #45, February 2009

Postby M-Saunders » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:15 pm





1. Welcome

2. LXF 116 on sale

3. In the news...

4. This month on the forum

5. Special Newsletter feature

6. Coming up next issue

7. Receiving this Newsletter

8. Contact details

1. Welcome

Hello! It's been a busy few weeks for us here at LXF Towers, and we
have three cool things to announce:

1) A brand new website, TuxRadar. Fear not -- the LXF website isn't
going anywhere, but that'll now focus on the magazine, forums and
blog. TuxRadar includes all the latest happenings in the Linux
world, along with exclusive features and our very own twice-monthly
podcast. Join Team LXF for a natter about Linux news, big issues and
random nonsense that happens to go through our heads! See

2) A new Linux Format Special Edition: Master Make
your own website, create gorgeous presentations and put together
CD/DVD labels with our bumper 130-page guide to the leading free
office suite. We also show you how to save time with templates,
automate your work with macros, and get to grips with databases.
It's a must for all OOo users -- see
for more info, and buy it now from

3) A great online subscription offer. You can now save up to 40% by
subscribing via the website -- and not only will you save money, but
you'll get access to 50 complete back issues of the magazine in PDF
format! See

Meanwhile, enjoy this month's Newsletter. Scroll down for our Linux
quiz and find out your penguin power!

Mike Saunders
Newsletter Editor

2. LXF 116 on sale

While we love everything Linux at LXF HQ, occasionally we get an
email accusing us of being biased towards Gnome. Without doubt, the
rise of Ubuntu and Fedora and our related coverage has led to lots
of Gnome screenshots in the magazine, but we love KDE just as much
too. And to prove it, issue 116's cover feature is totally devoted
to KDE, showing you how to tweak, tune and twiddle your Kool Desktop
Environment to perfection.

Are you a member of a LUG (Linux User Group)? Do you find it a bit
stale and boring at times? We explain ways to spice up your LUG
meetings, from choosing a good location to organising events online.
Give our ideas a go and let us know how you get on!

Also in the mag: we explore the Creative Commons and discover why it
has yet to reach its full potential, and show you how to make
ultra-reliable DVD backups with DVDisaster. On our 4GB DVD we have
OpenSUSE 11.1, a highly polished release from Novell and the
community, together with Linux Mint 6 and Slackware 12.2. In our
HotPicks section, along with nine other great apps, Andy Hudson
looks at this mini distro for fiddling with filesystems:

# Parted Magic 3.4 --

In the early days of Linux distros, you had to rely on third-party
software to help you partition your drive, particularly if you
were intending to have a dual or multi-boot solution involving
Windows. At that time there were a few options open to you, but by
far the most popular program was PowerQuest's PartitionMagic,
which allowed you to resize your Windows partitions to make room
for your new Linux system.

As distros have become more and more sophisticated, such
partitioning work has been moved into the installation of the
distro. However, we've yet to come across a tool that is perfect
(at least during install time) and that allows you to have the
level of control that a specialist tool such as PartitionMagic
would give you.

GParted is one of the tools we'd single out as being particularly
powerful, and you'll find it on most distros thesedays. However,
sometimes you don't have Linux installed on the machine that you
want to work on, so it's then that a dedicated Live CD comes in,
giving you access not only to GParted, but a host of other
utilities to help you manage partitions on disks.

Among the veritable treasure horde of Parted Magic, you'll find
G4L (Ghost for Linux), which gives you the ability to clone disks
- useful if you're mass deploying the same desktop. There's also
Grsync, which provides a GUI wrapper for rsync. A new trend with
Live CDs is the ability to carry out a Live USB install, meaning
that you don't even have to worry about carting a CD around as
long as the machine you're intending to work with allows you to
boot from USB drives.

Parted Magic follows this vein, giving you a simple interface to
create your own portable copy of the OS. The benefits are clear,
particularly when you realise that there are also file and
partition recovery tools included in this distro.

Head over to the LXF website and click on the right-hand issue cover
picture for more information on Linux Format 116!

3. In the news

Sourced from the brand new TuxRadar...

# Ubuntu meets Windows 7 ... -windows-7

A lot of people have been chattering about the improvements Windows
7 brings for Windows users, but how does it compare to Ubuntu in
real-world tests? We put Ubuntu 8.10, Windows Vista and Windows 7
through their paces in both 32-bit and 64-bit tests to see just how
well Ubuntu faces the new contender. And, just for luck, we threw in
a few tests using Jaunty Jackalope with ext4.

# Firefox 3.1 pushed back

Following a status meeting, the Firefox devteam has opted to delay
the third beta of Firefox 3.1 due to 18 outstanding bugs. Some
niggles with the JavaScript engine still remain, and the team can't
guarantee that the final release will appear in Q1 2009 as
originally planned.

# PS3 + Ubuntu = awesome retro gaming ... tro-gaming

Gizmodo has a guide to installing Ubuntu 8.10 on the Sony PS3. Why,
you ask? Well, with a bit of time and elbow grease, you can set up
your machine to emulate the classic consoles of yesteryear such as
the Super NES. Ubuntu is mentioned as being better than Yellow Dog
for this task because setting up the wireless PS3 controller is a

# Moblin 2 comes to life

Intel's Linux-based netbook OS, Moblin, is starting to take shape
with the first alpha release. Based around Xfce, Moblin aims to
unify the clump of Linux distros currently shipping on netbooks, and
is working pretty nicely on the Acer Aspire One and Dell Mini 9. Eee
901 users will have to do without WiFi support for now.

4. This month on the forum

After great times with previous versions of Ubuntu, Heiowge was
hugely disappointed with 8.10, aka the Intrepid Ibex. Taskbar bugs,
sound problems and other glitches forced him to investigate Fedora
10 which he enjoyed much more. Other forum regulars noted their woes
with the Ibex; Lok1950 suggested that perhaps the Ubuntu team "puts
new stuff into the mix" in the summer, and it "takes until the
spring release to clear things up". Let's see how 9.04 fares... [1]

Captain Tux pointed to a news story that has been doing the rounds
over the last few weeks. In short: a woman bought a Dell machine
with Ubuntu Linux, then complained that she couldn't take her online
classes. Some forumers noted that it's still quite hard to get a
machine with Ubuntu from Dell -- you have to look around the site
for a while. [2]

[1] ... pic&t=9365

[2] ... pic&t=9391

5. Special Newsletter feature


Just how good is your Linux knowledge? Do you know your glib from
your glibc? Have you kept count of every time Richard Stallman has
said the word 'freedom'? Pit your wits against these 10 questions,
which gradually increase in difficulty, and tot up your results at
the end!

1. What is Linus Torvalds's mother tongue?

A) Finnish
B) Swedish
C) Esperanto

2. What does GPL stand for?

A) GNU Public License
B) General Public License
C) GPL Public License

3. Which distro has been running for longest?

A) Yggdrasil
B) Debian
C) Slackware

4. To which CPU architecture was the Linux kernel first ported?

A) Motorola 68K
C) Alpha

5. What is the directory /lost+found used for?

A) Files moved from /tmp after a cleanup
B) Files that have no user and group ID attached
C) Files retrieved after a fsck disk check

6. How would you output a text file and insert 'FOO' at the start of
each line?

A) insert file.txt FOO
B) cat file.txt | sed s/^/FOO/
C) cat file.txt | sed s/$/FOO/

7. What is the name of the kernel patchset maintained by Andrew

A) mm tree
B) am patches
C) morton devbranch

8. How would you use 'du' to get the total size of two files?

A) du -c file1 file2
B) du --full file1 file2
C) du -a file1 file2

9. Mandriva Community Manager Adam Williamson recently moved to
which company?

A) Novell
B) Canonical
C) Red Hat

10. Which Magic SysRq Key operation sends SIGTERM to all processes
except for init?

A) t
B) e
C) i

Now there's a brief interlude (in case you're on an ultra high-res
monitor, and didn't want to see the answers while you were reading
the questions above)...


And there we go! Check your answers below to determine your level of
Linuxocity. If you scored 8 or above: congratulations, Tux would be
proud! In fact, the only way to be even more of a Linux guru would
be to adopt a penguin at the local zoo. Do it!


1 - B: Torvalds was born in Finland, but in a Swedish-speaking area
2 - B: Hence why it's often called the 'GNU GPL'
3 - C: Yggdrasil started before Slack, but is no longer running
4 - A: See
5 - C
6 - B: Using '$' as in answer C tacks the text on to the end
7 - A
8 - A
9 - C
10 - B: See

6. Coming up next issue

Linux Format 117, on sale Thursday 5 March...

# Fix Linux -- We round up the most common Linux problems,
then show you how to solve them - you can't miss it!

# MythTV hardware explained -- Get Linux in your front
room without noise or hassle

# Inside Xorg.conf -- Quick tips for optimum settings

7. Receiving this Newsletter

If you've been forwarded this Newsletter from someone else, and want
to sign up for future issues, just follow the steps below. Each
month you'll receive a sparkling new LXF Newsletter straight in your
Inbox, and the 30-second sign-up process is even easier than slicing

1. Go to the website forums and log in (or sign up first):
2. At the top of the main forum page, click on 'Usergroups'
3. Join the 'Newsletter' group, and you're done!

If for some reason you no longer wish to receive this newsletter
(which'll make the internet sad) you can opt-out like this:

1. Log into the LXF site and go to the forums
2. Click Usergroups at the top of the page
3. Select Newsletter and then View information
4. Click Unsubscribe next to 'You are a member...'

8. Contact details

If you have any questions or suggestions, please send them to the
Newsletter Editor at the address below:

Newsletter Editor: Mike Saunders --

Letters for the magazine:

LXF website:

Subscriptions: 0870 837 4722 (overseas +44 1858 438794)
Website subscription page:

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