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Spend our money

I'm sitting on a huge pile of cash, and want to spend it commissioning awesome Linux articles for you awesome people to read and say, "hey, that was awesome." So, tell me: what do you want to read? Seriously - pitch your ideas here and I'll do my best to find someone to write them up.

I don't care whether you read LXF once a year or only ever skim the forums now and then; your opinion is very welcome, so post a comment below listing the things you'd like to read. Be as specific as you like!

Your comments

Packaging 101

That's easy! I sent a wish for articles on packaging and deploying an app (Python, C++ etc.) on more than one distro (as meastp to Tuxradar). What's the easiest way for Python apps, what is automake etc.

In short : Articles on deploying (packaging) your own applications! :)

Offline Software Installation

How does one install software on a machine not connected to the Internet? All the package management systems are keen on logging into repositories and grabbing dependencies. While you can buy DVDs of (for example, Ubuntu's) repos, there has to be some other way to conveniently grab software from an Internet connected machine to install on an non-Internet connected linux machine (ok, buy repos, and install from source: one's convenient but pricey, the other less convenient...) This is a simple "grab the exe or msi and install" on windows phenom. How about for Linux?

More hardware reviews

Most of the time when we buy a new hardware, be it a printer, a scanner, whatever, we'll find mswindows software in it for optimal use. I would like to hear more about Linux friendly hardware, with more tests and reviews in your magazine.

Linux Sound

Can some one please explain the way sound is piped around the Linux system? I've just spent ages trying to get Audacity working so I can record off live audio streams through the web. I've now got it working (but I'm not sure how!!)

It would appear Pulse Audio is at the root of many peoples problems, (as pointed out on the latest podcast, No. 12).

Back to Audacity ~ until you've set it up right it will either only record half a second or none at all. I would have thought that if the input was wrong you would just get a straight line graph not a void.

By the way, as someone who has a scanner which works on Windows but not with Linux, (I just get I/O error messages), I agree with regBobzr too.

Making a Remote Support Application from Start to Finish

I've got a project idea, anyone who has used something like Kaseya or LogMeIn IT Support version will have seen the power behind it.

My project intention is to use something like python to create a cross platform client which has an SSL certificate installed which was generated from the server before pushing the client out via download or manual install and using the SSL certificate and SSL connection back to the server it logs into the web interface.

You can then initiate commands on the client using this interface, you click remote connection or any other command and the client is querying the server for updates every 30 seconds or so, just a brief, command waiting query, if its 0 then it carries on waiting, if its 1 is checks for queries and runs them on the local client. For example initiating a reverse VNC connection.

Having this as a tutorial would be a MASSIVE help as A) it would help me understand python and try and make more of an effort, B) save me the effort of writing the project and C) it would be SO useful in my job and anyone elses jobs who use remote support.

Just a though

Putting Windows inside linux

My job pretty much requires that I use Adobe Creative suite, but for pretty much all other things Linux would be fine. I don't really want to go down the Mac road, and the alternatives really don't cut the mustard (on any platform) so how about a feature on integrating windows into the Linux desktop (via vmware, virtualbox, wine, Remote Desktop to another machine, whatever) so that I can use a lean, stripped down version of Windows for just the apps that require it, and Linux for everything else. I've tried this myself unsuccessfully in the past and am about to try again thanks to my second virus infestation this year.

Unless you can convince Adobe to do a Linux version of CS4, I think this might be of interest to a lot of people. Purists might not agree though.

I've been using Linux on and off for the last 12 years or so, but the lack of Adobe apps has constantly been the main reason I can't switch permanently.


I was going to ask for a good intro to SELinux (as what I've found online is either too advanced or just plain cryptic), but then I saw you'd done it two years ago. Still, things have moved on in two years, so how about revisiting it - perhaps a comprehensive update, with a decent introduction for those of us still mystified?

Aside from that, here's another vote for an 'offline installation' article: |X|

SELinux, +1

I would also appreciate a good article on SELinux using the new GUI tools that are available now; how to get around common errors in the correct manner without disabling enforcing mode.

How about an article (or a

How about an article (or a series of articles) explaining how to build the best Linux-based computers for a range of needs (from a simple machine for basic word-processing to a complex, multi-core computer for processor-intensive tasks like video-editing etc.) and then which Linux distro to install and the ideal programs/apps for each task.
That should reduce our "huge pile of cash" and provide you with a running article I'm sure you could stretch over at least 6 months' issues.

Install Sugar Linux onto old laptops without CD/Floppy or USB

I would like to see more details about installing this type of Linux onto older machines without the above hardware. Such as network installs bot with and without an existing OS on them (I have some of both!). I and to use old Fijutsu touch screen systems to help me teach disadvantages children and the simple interface would be great

Sorting out sound as already

Sorting out sound as already mentioned. Getting 32bit code running on 64bit. Hardware compatability, also mentioned above.

How it really works

How does the kernel actually *do* the stuff it does - Scheduling, prioritising, i/o, etc. ... In other words, what is the 'API'?

Coding in penguin

Coming from Windows land, I'm spoilt for choice when it comes to programming languages.
What's available for linux other than c/c++ ?
I've tried the pascal compiler but it didn't work and the "Basic" one is well...crap!

Would be nice to see some articles on programming languages and their dependencies.

BTW, by languages I mean the ones that compile into executable code and not scripting languages such as Perl,PHP,etc.

Coding in penguin (part 2)

I would also like to see a series of articles on the API.

Linux Networking

A while ago (I forget the issue) Paul reviewed a book about networking and said it would've been nice if it'd been purely Linux based. How about a series on networking that gives us that? Covering all the various bases from simple file servers to media streamers would be benificial to a lot us I feel.

One that gives practical 'walk-throughs' on setting up the various servers to attaching the client(s) and administering therafter.

More Coding + Inkscape

Three cheers for coding! I moved to Linux last October and having so much to develop with, all so easily available has been a dream for me. I'd like to see more articles about coding.

Any of the aforementioned suggestions will do, but particularly, I'd like to see either a feature about exotic languages with some working examples. Or perhaps a small project that lets you build your own GUI app. Building things is quite empowering you know.

Also, something for the right sides of our brains, I work with SVG vector artwork (coding it by hand) a lot, and Inkscape seems really powerful that I could use. A guide to using the venerable Inkscape would be much appreciated if possible at all.

Android Programming

It would be nice to see a series on coding for Android phones. They *are* Linux based and you *can* (unlike the iPhone) develop for it on Linux (with the Google SDK and Eclipse).

More apps

I buy other Linux magazines but the reason why I now and then buy Linux Format is because you always write about applications I would never notice otherwise and you put them on the DVD. Also you mention useful applications that are not for free. No one else does that. I usually find your roundups very interesting. And of course, I'm a lazy techie so any articles that explains how things actually works interests me. The reason why I don't by the magazine every issue is that it is too expensive.

What are the real

What are the real differences between distros? Is is just their choice of software and package management or are there deeper differences?

Why do software applications need to have seperate packages for each distribution? Why not have packages based only on the package format (deb, rpm, etc)?

Each distro that I have tried has their own repository, but they are all different. What am I missing by just using the pre setup repositories? Are there thousands of other programs out there that are not in the distro specific repositories? Where are they? How do you access them? Could you have a monthly disk that is a complitaion of all available applications rather than the newist distro that repeates much of the same applications from the previous month?

gui vs terminal, 64 bit and more

How about a comparison on how to do things in the terminal compared with gui apps.

and/or a guide on running 64 bit distros, including using the native 64 bit flash binary in firefox. Maybe also to show how 32 bit apps run in 64 bit distros too.

it might be worth having some programming fundamentals for your coding tutorials, like your codeit! special for those who missed it (i didn't).
a series on using certain free IDE's. (netbeans, eclipse etc)

the compose,design, create special only barely touched on inkscape, so how about a refresh on this? i've been asked to re-designing a business logo and it would be nice to learn some tips and tricks.

and maybe a guide on the linux community ecosystem, sites to use for help, ways to ask for help and how to run your own forum?

a guide on building a linux pc on a budget in these economic times

or you can give me the money ;-)

Penguin in education

I want more articles related to HOW-TO and Linux usage in Education. I'm not talking about hardware or what, just a what to use for what in education.

Linux in Education

I too would like articles that could help get linux in schools, for example a how-to article about setting up an old machine as a web kiosk for pupils to use through a windows network.

Full Screen Penguin

Now there's something usefull, web kiosks in Linux.
But try as I may, can never get any of the browsers to display in full screen.

By full screen I mean no title bar, no tool bar, no address bar, nothing but the web pages.

Is this even possible without resorting to mucking about with the actual app?

linux in commerce

My reason for subscribing to Linux Format is to find indepth technical knowledge, I can get paid for. I don't bother with other computer mags as they just contain general consumer advice I could easily find on the internet.

I would like more articles on integrating Linux with ecommerce environments, Java and multicore programming techniques.

By full screen I mean no title bar

pressing F11 on firefox on this ubuntu box does just that :P

Hobby specific uses

For example, I am an amateur radio operator in the states (callsign NE2Z.) I have
an old Athlon 1GHz machine running Xubuntu dedicated to my radio station activities running software that transmits digital modes through my radio.

Yes, we've read audiophiles and budding cinematographers. I would be interested in hearing from those who use their Linux stations for designing and building electronics devices, etc. I know you have covered Arduino but perhaps more on where the Arduino and Linux worlds meet and how they benefit one another.


- Joe


I'd love to see an article on setting up a running e17 desktop, from install to customisation. I'd also love so see articles on some of the more esoteric distros.

Perhaps also a series on setting up an Arch Linux install?

Database Open Source Style

How about an in depth article on PostgreSQL? Actually it may be a good idea to have a dedicated article in every issue on PostgreSQL.


how to setup a cluster, what hardware is required, what can a cluster actually do?

there are specific distros that are designed to set up clusters quickly.
A nice article with a step-by-step "how to" would be great.

I would very much like to

I would very much like to see articles about how linux is being used in education. I know of one UK school, skegness grammer school, that is running linux across most of their site and there may be many others.
My own website is aimed at introducing windows users to open source, but another useful link is BECTA's open source website,

I'm sure that you may find enough material to run a special on linux in education.

It's Your Freedom Of Choice!

Linux Format is a absolutely brilliant and awesome!!!! I'm sure that the Linux Format Ultimate Geek Gods (the Entire LXF Team) can work out what to do but allowing the community to help out is a brilliant idea as well.

You could take some of the Linux Foundation's ways of laying out news such as:

-Main categories: Software, Hardware, Enterprise Computing, Embedded and Mobile

-Distribution specific news for popular Linux flavours such as: Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Mandriva, Debian, Linux Mint, Slackware, PCLinuxOS, Gentoo, CentOS. Even include derivatives (e.g. Kubuntu). Maybe even provide news on BSD, an LXF first!

-Providing specific news could be expanded to other topics such as KDE or GNOME.

-You could use your categories on TuxRadar

My last suggestion would be (which will spend the hundreds of pounds you seemingly own (epically in times of economic recession downturn)) you could try spending the money by giving it to the developers to let you get exclusive 'Insider' news. Not only will you be getting news before anybody can put it on Wikipedia, but you will also be supporting those projects in their development there by helping make Linux better.

Example: LXF pays money to KDE -> KDE Provides News = LXF gets exclusive article + KDE Increases Development and keeps website along with many new improvements.

Making Partnerships with Companies/Projects Will be one of the best things to do!

Hope you take some of these suggestions in! Thanks

Funding something to write about...

How about using some of that cash to fund a replacement infrastructure for a public ‘body’ inflicted with MS lock-in, i.e. schools, universities, museums, blah, (the final choice of beneficiary institution(s) from a shortlist could be voted for by readers?).

On condition that LinuxFormat is given unrestricted access to all stages of the implementation, for reporting back to the magazine (deploy interviewers perhaps, to write home the fears / concerns of the management down to the cleaners?). I’m most interested in how unforeseen, devil-in-the-detail, problems are tackled, and so on. Also of interest would be the “amount” saved by the said institutions in a couple of years time, and their retrospective views.

Obviously depending on how big that pile of cash actually is.....

What we really want to see

What we really want to see in Linux Format is a more extensive Hardware review.
I mean, from time to time and almost in every magazine you get your occasional hardware review about some product,
but it would be more insightful to have an actual section of the magazine dedicated to review: sound cards, video cards,
motherboards, etc, etc.
The newest and not so new hardware out there.
I want to buy a Graphics Card, but I'm confused on which one to pick!

We know Linux can run in almost everything but... we need to know our hardware too!
I loved that one magazine about building your Linux Dream Box, it was very interesting, why can't we have more of the same?

Also, why not advocate the power of Linux to the companies out there by having
you review some serious hardware? I mean, if they start to know that their stuff
can run with with Linux, we'll see more products aimed towards it.

Oh! and those tutorials about sound production were awesome!
We need more of those and more video too!

Take care.

Dan's Guardian

My 8 yr old daughter uses pclos 2009.1 and she very capable using it, but i would like to install dan's guardian as a server on her laptop, i think this could be very useful for many young users to stay away from dubious sites... and their parents knowing they're safe online too...

Full Screen Pains

Hi Towy72, thanks for the tip on using F11 in FF, but it don't work too well as once a user hovers the mouse pointer over where all the buttons normally are, they all pop up again....pretty useless.

Check out the following url to see exactly what I mean by everything being a real pain in linux to make even the smallest of changes.

That's exactly why a couple of articles on this kind of thing would not doubt be pretty usefull to many.

Embeded Linux

How to compile & install linux on mobile phones and hand held devices? I think this would create huge possibilities of expanding linux user group and more possible linux distros.


A good article on the various desktops (not the history), Pros and Cons, resources req'd., benefits, etc. would help.


Networking - All flavours - Linux file server - samba - printing - security - backup - Virtual LAN - printing - VIOP.

Why not have a series where you set up a SOHO? This could move on from the hardware to the software, you've recently covered servers, so an intranet could be covered - what about scheduling software, say five or six family members (or employees), methods on how to manage email, photo albums, music, video, backup.

OOo Basic

I know that your OOo special had some material on OOo Basic, but that was for people who had already used other forms of Basic. I'd like something for the newcomer to programming that takes them from a simple macro to more in-depth OOo Basic programming. OOo has got to be one of the most widely used packages for Linux and something on OOo Basic has got to be more widely useful that that stuff you've just been running on unzipping ODF files and mincing about with them!

before staking my own claim

before staking my own claim on your untod millions, I would like to say that I agree with the requests for articles on how to install software on a machine not connected to the Internet. I know of several people (like myself) who cannot connect their PC to the internet for a myriad of reasons, so their distros package manager is next to useless.

Mainly, I would also like to see more articles for beginners wanting to use sound and music programs such as Auadcity, Rosegarden, Jack, etc. For example, you briefly mentioned 64 Studio in LXF118, I would like to see an article (preferable a series of articles) on how to set up and integrate the different applications that are contained this suite. Some of the individual applications have been covered in older issues of LXF, but it would be nice to have these articles updated and to show how these applications can be integrated. Eg You could show how to compose a tune, record it, enhance the recordings with sound samples or drum tracks, etc, convert it into FLAC or Ogg and finally play it on your sound system. I have found many articles that cover this ground, but although they claim to be basic they seem to require a degree in musicology, electronics and advanced sound engineering within three paragraphs.

By the way, my son came in while I was trying to decipher the CAPTCHA, read what I had written, and mocked me mercilessly.

Linux Shells

I would like to see a round-up of Linux shells. I find the vast array of shells available to be bewildering. I currently use Bash, but I would like to know the alternatives and their best features.

Linux Shells - Part 2

Ignore my previous comment. I just found exactly what I was looking for by searching the LXF archives. It appears that today is my lucky day.

Contribute to an existing project

We keep hearing how we should pool our efforts and help an existing project rather than create yet another music player or tetris clone, but that seems to be a difficult thing to do.
How about picking a project that lots of people like (e.g. Gimp), and going through how to contribute it it? Then we would have two benifits, helping a project and educating the masses. And me.

Applications Analyst

Time is running out for owners of PALM TX database users who have to sync on Windows systems only. Every time I try using Evolution it does not work. I would be happy if I could upload my Palm TX contact and calendar data even to the web if need be. I just want to go 100% Linux. I am on on a new Dell Ubuntu 64bit home PC. Is there anything else out there that will work with Palm TX? I don't want to lose nearly 5 years of data. Also please publish another special Coding magazine with DVD. This time only include ( PHP,PERL,RUBY,PYTHON ) that will work either on Linux or Windows. Do not include Java or C# or anything else that requires .NET
I would also like to see an article on single or home network PC's and Linux anti virus programs which are best. Not an article made for Sys Admins in charge of company networks.

Please run a chart or something that simply lists each category of device that is compatible with Linux keep it up to date every month.
Whenever I see something that actually states on the package or box that it is Linux compatible I buy it.

Offline installs re (un?) loaded

To add to the 'offline install' requests, it strikes me that a simple(ish) answer would be a script to parse the output of the package manager and find all the "failed dependancies" when you try to install a package. Then it would save the package names to a text file on a USB stick. Another script (and preferebly a .BAT file to do the same thing if you have to use a Windows system at a library) would be kept on the stick, which would use wget to grab a package list from the appropriate repository, match the names to those in the text file, and download the packages, again with wget.

Sounds like a handy coding tutorial to me - especially if you could make the Linux end link to some of the GUI package mangers.


Benchmarks for distros, filesystems, graphics cards and the kernel "ala" Phoronix but in a linux format stylie. :)
Linux format test suite?

A comprehensive round up of the new features added to stable upstream software releases as found in the changelogs for said software.

Lots of interviews with key developers and pay them lots of money for that. He, he.

Sponsor a few charities by providing them advertising and computers with Linux pre-installed.

Buy Ubuntu from Shuttleworth and call it Linux Format Linux (Sorry that last one was a joke.) :)

I would like to see some

I would like to see some articles / tutorials on the built in firewall that comes with Linux distros (particularly Fedora) and how to go about configuring SELinux. I have played around with both the command line and the GUI but would like something definitive.

I love your magazine and although it takes forever to arrive here on our shelves and the price can be pretty inflated I purchase your magazine regularly.

Keep up the good work


More on the kernel, more Administration articles. Example; my clusters are running great thanks to LXF and Dr. Brown.

System tuning. I mean serious, squeak out the very last drop of performance out of a system. Not just turning off a desktop environment, but things like specific settings in Samba's conf file. Semaphores? Sure it might not work in every environment but what the heck.

Keep up the good work. And please send my next issue, cause I'm getting tired of standing here by the post box waiting for the mail man.

I would like to see a

I would like to see a straight novice guide on how to setup a Linux server for home use including how to configure mail,firewall,samba,apache
the article should be a series starting out on which hardware to choose and gradually taking the reader to the end result of having a fully functioning server.

A clear explanation of Samba would be most useful, also the process of installing Open Source Solutions into a work environment would be a awesome article. Covering areas such of Windows Domain Intergration i.e getting Linux and Windows to Coexsist on the same Network.

I am interested in the Networking / Server side

Keep up the excellent work


More Coding projects, but NOT in python!!

In c or c++, that would really be nice.

Also some php and mysql stuff could be cool :)

and also, tutorial/guide/reference to some the shell, like cool commands, how to use them, examples, how to combine them together (and please, not just basic stuff)

- Loyal Norwegian Reader

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