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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


I'd like to see:

1. Really authoritatively written articles on

a. Fixing your hard disk when something goes wrong including an article on

b. The boot process, start to finish from a 'system failed what do I do'

c. Overclocking Tools for Linux - a major issue right now

2. VirtualBox by Sun. This product/project has a major story to tell, and it
could be of interest to MOST of your readers. Simple to install, incredible
commercial documentation, and IT WORKS. This is how you run Adobe on Linux
and I'll let you in on a secret - Adobe runs faster in a VM running Windows
than it does on the same box running Windows XP AND Adobe Acrobat does not
take over the entire machine (Virtual) like it does on a Windows Box when
you try to do something intensive like OCR.

3. Application reviews. You do these now, but more is better.

4. An overview of release status and differences. I use Fedora. It's simple
to understand, 3,4,5...11 with names for those who have trouble with math
and you can get the differences on line easily. Most of the other distros
are hard to figure out. I guess what I mean is a DECORDER RING for each of
the major distros.

5. I'd like to know which distros will install in which type of VM. When I
first started with VM's only a couple of them would really install
properly in a VM. I bet this has gotten better, but I'd like to know.
It would be great to have the top 10 distros all on my Fedora box for Fun.

6. I'd like some serious gaming info/setup. Not that I play games, but most
of the people I try to get to run Linux do. I'd like to have an article
about getting the top 10 games to run on Linux for Fedora, Ubuntu, etc....

7. Every issue should have an article on software. I mean a nuts and bolts
article. Cover Perl, PHP, Python, Shell Scripting, HTML. Pack it with
information. No grandmother story filler, just stuff that will make me
put LF in my briefcase so it's with me all the time! You could start with
some well done "cheat sheets" for each language, but ultimately cover a
small application in each language.

8. I'd like to see someone make sense out of email. For each major package
I'd like to have a guide for moving your email. How is it stored, how to
import/export including attachments. This is still a black art unless you
are just importing from Outlook.

9. I'd like a well thought out disk strategy for newbies. You've got an XP
box but you want to run Linux. What's the best overall strategy to add
it. Make some assumptions like:

a. You have 1 hard drive.
b. You have 2 hard drives.
c. You have 3 hard drives of increasing density.

How do you take your existing Windows installation and make it a VM and
not lose data? What about the licensing key issues? Should you use LVM?
(I vote NO after using it for a year) Is it better to make a single
/home disk and a single /, /boot, /tmp disk?

10. I saved the best for last. We really need some PDF coverage. Nothing beats
what Adobe has done with Acrobat in terms of scanning, compression,
OCR and utility - WHY? What's close? Can you pull together a group of
packages that do the same thing or almost?

OK, I decided not to stop at 10....

11. What about speech from text? What's the best solution? How does it compare
to Microsoft? Is anything on the horizon?

12. How the hell do you really configure squid and make it work with 2009
disk/memory capacity?

13. What about those solid state drives? What can you really get in terms of
performance and how do you get it? Are they safe to write to repeatedly?
How would you deploy it in Linux - /boot /tmp / or /home - to get the
best performance?

14. UPS systems. Is APC really worth it? Are all of these things the same
or is any vendor better? How long do batteries last? Can these boxes
be modified easily for larger external batteries? What's a VA? Why
does it fail when I plug my 800 watt computer into a 300 watt UPS? What
about monitoring software. Which works, which doesn't?

15. Clustering. Why, how, does it really work or is it just a convieniance to
automate manual dispersal of intensive apps? What's the best strategy for
building one?

16. Who really makes the best hard drives? Who has the best warranty? Who is
the easiest to obtain a warranty replacement from? Who has the best
disk checking software?

17. What are the top 10 motherboards for Linux users? From cheap to super

18. What about benchmarking? There's an app for it that compares various
machines and clock speeds (I think you originally covered it a couple
years ago) but is that still the best thing out there? Just how
important is a large cache chip that costs $$$ to Linux performance?
Will you really notice the difference?

19. How do you make use of all that RAM that Microsoft has made so cheap?
Systems now are typically coming with 4 GB and many support 16 GB. Linux
works with much less, but could it be used more effectively? For example
should we be copying our system drive to a RAM drive and then operating
out of that with a write back to the hard drive if we make config
changes? How would you do that? If you have a good UPS, would that
be safe?

OK, got more, but need to get something done!


Round Up

How about a regular summary of the top rated items from previous comparisons of software? A sort of buyers guide type thingy.

Re: Fullscreen Web Kiosk

I seem to recall a few years ago LXF did an on KDE's Kiosk system - not when it was, some time between issue 1 and the current issue.

Re Gui vs Terminal

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

Trouble is, the best things that you can do in a terminal aren't even possible in a GUI (except maybe with something like Kommander) or if they are, they will be very tedious - same goes for the best things in a GUI.

Replacing/Implementing a "Windows Server"

I'd quite like to see an article detailing how to piece together LDAP, SAMBA and what else is needed to setup a Linux Server so that it can serve files and authenticate accounts for Windows clients - sometimes you just can't replace a Windows desktop (sounds defeatist, I know).

easilylinux compatible

easilylinux compatible hardware reviews (though i understand hardware is not you're true remit.) would be seriously helpful. maybe a monthly best laptop for linux or something?

easilylinux compatible

easilylinux compatible hardware reviews (though i understand hardware is not you're true remit.) would be seriously helpful. maybe a monthly best laptop for linux or something?

Linux apps and utilities on Windoze.

Great mag.

I'd like to suggest an article on how to run linux apps in windoze at work. There must be a lot of people (the majority of linux users I suspect) who have to use 'doze at work but would really like to use their linux tools and s/w. The problem is most work machines are locked down to some extent or another in both installation privilages and in network access.
I'd like to see the options available for some different scenarios to be outlined, along with details on how to get it working. The scenarios would be:

a) Windoze user having full admin rights and network access.
This would extend the article to home users. Options would include dual-boot, wubi etc.

b) Some s/w installation rights but a locked down web access.
Dual boot, including Wubi is out if you can't change the boot up, have an encrypted hard drive or for several other reasons.
Andlinux/colinux, UlteoVD will allow linux to mostly run, but linux apps are restricted to accessing shared folders which the user sets up. Setting up network access through the firewall doesn't seem possible. No possible to install extra s/w from the online repositories - but is is possible to have a repository on DVD/iso from which extras can be installed.

Cygwin is a possibility.

DOS/Win equivalents of various command line tools are available and can be run. The advantage of those is that they should be usable on any drive/network that the user can access with windoze.

Virtual PCs such as virtualbox - again the problem I think is access to other drives outside the VM.

c) No install rights and locked web access.
Live (portable) versions of open source apps along with DOS/Win command equivalents might be the only options.

An Extensive review on Video Editing Packages...

Followed by and Extensive how to on video editing using say the top 3 of the packages reviewed.


So many responses/requests.
Got any money left before I bother to type any more?


I'd love to see C++ tutorials! Even better, QT!
If that's too hard, how about some PHP or even QT PHP :P.

I'd also like to see some article on the works of the linux kernel or in other words how to control your linux box from the CLI :P.

Creating GUIs without IDEs


Can you please give us a series of articles that shows us how to write program with interfaces of good quality in laguages such as C++, Java, Perl and Python? I am tired of using IDEs and they annoy me a lot being a self-taught Linux user. I would also like to know which files are necessary to make a small project that can be compiled entirely in a terminal leaving aside the use of any IDE.

Please also make them available as PDF files in the Archives section for any student like me to download and have a proper look at the code.

James - dyging to learn programming GUIs in a terminal..........

xorg and comic strips

I would like to see a breakdown of xorg and how to configure it. Oh and also I find it so sad that only 2 comics make it into the mag each month.

On the whole I love the mag, the humour just makes it, well done guys.

Readers' distro reviews

Here's the scenario - a real one - from a few months back: Fedora 9 is running nicely on my laptop, Compiz working, the lot. Out comes Fedora 10 and out of curiosity I install it and ... Aaaargh! KDE version: screen refresh is so slow I could do cartwheels in the time it takes a window to move where I want it to. Gnome version: scarcely any better. Package management: so slow I think it's crashed half the time. LXF review of F10 appears a couple of weeks later: 10/10! Blow me down! I already know from the Fedora forum that there are severe problems with Radeon cards and other pains just above the rear of the legs. I and others have already ditched F10. But LXF doesn't mention the problems and encourages other to use said distro - thereby wasting many a loyal reader's time. So why not use the website to gather reader feedback on distros and either incorporate them into the reviews or have a 'Readers say . . .' page, which compiles some of the responses into an alternative review. Get Susan Whats-her-name to do it: she does a bit of this anyway (using distro forum posts) and is usually spot on in the Distrowatch section.

FOSS for Small Business

Are any distros aimed at small business? Hotpicks for bookkeeping, inventory, on-line selling, CRM etc. Safe and easy backup, merits of online apps (eg Zoho) vs local vs hosted, VOIP for business. DIY or buy in some expert help?

This could become a series, talking the aspiring penguin-powered business through each of the key decisions, and showing how to glue everything together.


Article on Squid setup & optimization

As stated earlier an article on Squid setup & optimization would be very useful to all of us Network Adminis out here. This magazine rocks keep up the good work guys!

Encryption of USB drive

Command line stuff please for encrypting a USB drive. I have been using truecrypt but I can't get it to work with all distros and can be flaky when compiz is enabled.

Are you sure?

Hey anonymous Robin,
Are you sure you actually loaded Fedora 10?
By the sounds of things you might have got the discs confused and actually loaded Vista. ;-)

Networking Hardware and Puppy Linux

An article on setting up the Hardware for a Network - just the perfect epilogue for your (currently) nine part tutorial series on Networking.

Also, the Puppy phenomonen. I'm sure there isn't a distro around that can claim so many derivatives (called puplets). Even a ridiculous know-it-nothing like me has made my own LiveCD flavour of Puppy. An interview with Puppy creator Barry Kauler or one of the Team Leaders like Mark Ulrich on taming the Puppy would be fascinating. Also, it must be noted that Puppy Linux has stayed in the top 10 Distrowatch for nearly the entire year (so it ain't a fly-by-nighter).


I have been searching for years for a solution that blocks/restricts access to the internet by 'Application', not by port. There are tons of windows programs to do this and many do it well (i.e. Zonealarm Pro, Online Armor).

If this exists, LXF experts would be the most qualified to present this to us all. This is a sad, dark cloud that prevents me from having linux on my laptop (Debian prefered).

Someday in Linux I'll be able to have a pop up warning that shows me a program is trying to connect to the internet, then I could restrict it by address, host, protocol, source/destination port , etc. Like I can do now in Windows.

Coding projects ! :) ( C# preferred)

As I write this, I'm currently printing out the old LXF C# series (of which I have the mags *somewhere*, but it's easier to just print them out again!)

Anyway.. They were good, good as in interesting and very to-the-point.

What I really like to see is more C# and Linux interaction. Anyone can teach (or preach :P ) on generics and design patterns, but no books will go into great depth about how to tie in to various aspects of Linux.

Suggested subjects:
- wrapping linux libraries
- Greater detail of developing GTK apps, perhaps using Glade (does it do XML files like QT's designer? If so, how to interact with this)
- Calling native binaries and writing proper gui wrappers for CLI programs
- Handling command-line arguments properly (like other CLI programs)
- Exploring the environment variables, getting and setting them

Obviously this needs to be tied in with some sort of project but you guys seem to have vast imaginations so... :)

On a side-note: a good C/C++ series which showcases good Linux dev tools (IDE's, debuggers and so on) would be appreciated also!

another vote for hardware compatibility/reviews

perhaps as a half page spread on the backpage with (as noted in the letters section of the latest issue) the anatomy of a geek desktop resurrected (!), or perhaps in the form of the book reviews section so could cover a few things an issue...

In particular, a list of mobile phones that work successfully with linux would be useful...

(apologies for accidentally posting this on the Latex made easy article, I was doing two things at once!)

A vote for games and portables

I would like to see articles on games that work on Linux. Not the usual 'made for *nix', but games put out by independent and major gaming companies. Including online and standalone games.

Also a review on Wine based systems such as Crossover, PlayOnLinux, Cedega, etc.

Reviews of Linux based MIDs and UMPCs would be good. I would like to know what 'features' are available before buying.

Your side by side review system is very nice in deciding which one fits my needs.

Games and Portable PCs

I would like to see articles on games that work on Linux. Not the usual 'made for *nix', but games put out by independent and major gaming companies. Including online and standalone games.

Also a review on Wine based systems such as Crossover, PlayOnLinux, Cedega, etc.

Reviews of Linux based MIDs and UMPCs would be good. I would like to know what 'features' are available before buying.

Your side by side review system is very nice in deciding which one fits my needs.


I apologize for the double post. :(

Sounds Of Silence

I would like to echo the guy talking about sound. My sound comes and goes and goes at times. ( Usually because of some other app using the same pipe. ) At times this can get annoying. Usually whe I reboot, I have my sound back. I don't fully get the whole "Jack" thing. Would like to see an issue or two on how sound works.

Simple 2D games

I'd very much like o see the continuation of small 2D games writing Tutorials, but different games, using slightly different libraries - Trout wars was good - but do a version using GTK or QT libs as well. It would be nice to see these done using C/C++ as well, and if they could be supplemented with a "how to create your own sprites using GIMP" - even better !

Keep the embedded news and hardware reviews going - especially on the Netbooks based on ARM type processors !

How about a small programming tutorial on using assembly on linux x86 as well ?

BASH scripting

I'd love to see some cool stuff done with BASH scripting. The more I learn about scripting in BASH (or SH) the more I am amazed at it's power.

Along side this, it would be great to have some standards established and explained. For example I always indent for readability, I learned this ages back when programming in TURBO PASCAL, however are there accepted standards like:
while test ; do
(do something)

... or ...

while test
(do something)



How about a good few articles or special edition dedicated to Samba. I would like things like replacing a window domain with samba as a primary controller. Using Samba to set up a dedicated machine with lots of disk for network shares. Things like that with Samba would be helpful.

mov ax, penquin

How about a BIG programming tutorial on using assembly on linux x86 plus a description of the most important system calls.

How to's, How to's and some more How to's Please!!.

Tutorials please on how to implement, set up, activate, organise, use, modify this n that. Anything for me is good, from networking to sound to firewall to codecs. For me they would all have to be " the basics of", the "essentials to" the a,b,c's or the 1.2.3's of. Articles on how to use your pc and linux in particular to do "real life" stuff. Tasks such as LP's to Linux, all in the best possible sound,(you understand). Casettes to CD in one fell swoop, Videos to flat screen monitor, to (flatscreen) tv with (improved) picture quality? How do I use Linux to make a telephone call to anyone anywhere in the world. And oh by the way CLI for me please, i.e. for beginners.
While i can agree with alot of the requests above, i fear that they are all for "proper geeks" - a place from which i am somewhat removed from.
I basically Love Linux - but want to learn (much) more about it. Is there also a recommended reading list for Linux beginners? College courses for interested amateurs? I could go on but fear tat i may have already bored/alienated many. So I will stop here.
Thanks In Advance.
Noob Guy.

FOSS for Small Business +

1) I'll second the vote for FOSS in small business - how to migrate non-tech user in business to Linux. SMB specific distros anyone?

The timing is perfect - as yet another zero value/you-don't-have-a-choice upgrade from Windoze makes your average non-tech wonder if they have another choice.

2) Also migrating distros/upgrades without pain. Advice and how-to's on /home partitions, user settings in applications, bookmarks, not breaking graphics card drivers that took hours to sort out etc..

Cheers, and thanks for asking.

Overclocking PC

Overclocking a PC with linux tools. I am struggling to find decent benchmarking utilities and any other software that may help an aspiring overclocker who doesn't want to keep booting to Lo$edow$ just to benchmark.

What about more small game development

I really enjoyed the small games in python, maybe some more about game development, and just do small things in the beginning. How about making a small lemmings game or somethin... (maybe other programming lang than python)

I know it's a huge topic, but it wouldn't hurt to start a series of something of the topic...



Progress on all fronts

I'm waiting for the day I can go Microsoft free in the enterprise area. How about an article on setting up Samba 4 with LDAP - to replace your Active Directory domain controller?
What's the status of the apps that we all seem to want the latest and greatest? Wine - for example, articles that show features and bug fixes for applications you may not have tried in a while (since the last time you tried it and it didn't work). I still grab my old issues of LF to get some insight into apps that I was interested in, yet havent seen anything new on them (that may have had significant updates or features) since.
I like Linux Format for the application coverage, (tutorials are always handy) but what about what's on the radar like some other tech magazines feature? Also, I'm a fan of Puppy Linux though I don't see a whole lot of reaching out to that distro's authors to offer up an article on what they're up to.
What about a professional app, like document imaging? (our company spent thousands for a windows app, then the company died once Microsoft patched - and they didn't want to update their product).
Linux in thumbsticks computers - those really small x86 flash drive looking real computers (what can you do with them?).
What to do with your old notebook - (bad screen? make a headless something or other).
Just throwing it out there, not sure if it's what you're into but those are some of the things I'd like to see.

Linux Solutions for Small Groups and Business Enterprises

I support the "FOSS for Small Business" with the following suggestions:

"Linux Solutions for Small Groups and Business Enterprises"
( or "Free Software for Small Business" or anything similar, but suitably avoid acronyms such as FOSS in the title because it may close the door for the main target group)

Windows or Mac OSX system administrators, IT technicians, IT managers.
Articles containing an entertaining introduction that will talk to the heart of a reader that has experienced all the hassle with Windows and is thinking about testing Linux. It should have the small push to make them dare to start with a small test system and later scale up the adoption level.

Why you will Save Time and Money with Free Solutions (free as free beer & free as free speech)
How to Get Into Linux and Start Using it (on small groups and small business enterprises)
Set Up Your Office Desktops and Workstations
Set Up Your Small Group Server I (file and printer sharing)
Set Up Your Small Group Server II (additional functionality)
Avoid these pitfalls ...
and so on

Hi, I'd like to see an

Hi, I'd like to see an article on how the developers of the Linux kernel work together (or bicker among themselves) something along the lines of this presentation by Greg Kroah Hartmann:

where he explains how new code gets into the kernel. With Microsoft now submitting code it could be helpful for people to understand how it all works in practice.
Along with perhaps a little of the background history of the Linux kernel.

Another thing I'd like to see is a tour of the root / filesystem, some explanation of what the heck goes on in /opt /var /proc /tmp /usr /etc would make it appear a little less like a black box to a user like myself.

Retro Emulation Special.

A great big article on emulation of all the classic computers and consoles. Amiga, Snes, Nes, Mega Drive etc... I would love that.
aw the good old Commordore Format and Amiga format days.

I still use Blitzbasic on linux :) (well blitzmax)

HW stuff, Arduino and the like.

Same as Joe.

Call is G0LCU and would also like to see HW specific
stuff for a change...

BTW CAPTCHA OR NOT, you may mock me mercylessly... ;o)




Remote Desktop

I'd love to see a step by step article describing how to "Remote Desktop" over the internet. At the moment I use the excellent LogMeIn from my Ubuntu laptop to support various family members' PCs which run Windows. I would love to convert their systems to Ubuntu, but I don't know how to go about remotely and securely logging into them to offer them help if needed. LogMeIn currently doesn't offer a way to log into a remote Linux box, as far as I can see. I wish it did!

So, what's the best way to do this on Linux systems? I would want to be able to see the full, remote desktop.

NAS or Media server reviews

Having read the review of the Synology DS209+II NAS server in LXF123 then re-read an article in LXF111 about making your own media server, I would love to see an article comparing and contrasting the different commercially available ones and the advantages (and disadvantages) of building your own.

I would recon that media servers will become more and more common as the majority of us download media files and collect video and pictures that need storing centrally in the house. An article for first time buyers would be great.


First of all I am to point out that I am not a perl afficionado. But for some most IT-sportive sourced reasons I am looking for a portable perl-stick for Linux. To my regret I only found solutions for Windows (Strawberry Perl 5.10.0/Vanilla).

I think it is an ill-condition that there is a solution for Windows but not for Linux.(Or at least my different searches got no fast hit.) Well, maybe WINE may help - I have not tried.

Is there a solution possible by an LXF-struggle?


BB, subscriber

PS: Thanx for the interesting LXF content! Go ahead!

How-To Article on PostgreSQL?

Please, Please, could we have an article or series of articles on PostgreSQL. I have very little info on it other than it works better than MySQL. Thank you in Anticipation!

Hugo Shepherd


Its been a while since I saw an article on setting up a secure NAS for SOHO. Maybe throw in discussions on setting up FreeNAS and building a box with the right hardware (without having to invest in large servers) that can be used with RAID arrays with two or four drives.

Scanning -> OCR -> PDF document digitisation toolchain

I have tons of paper cluttering up my house and I can never find what I want. Wouldn't it be great to put together a FOSS toolchain to scan it, extract the text, put it into a searchable open format such as PDF and stow it away on the hard disk.

There are tools out there. My scanner can drop scans straight into a network share, which could simplify the article - you could have a short article one month on scanning options and SANE, and the next month you could pick up images from a directory, OCR them (tesseract?, ocropus?), and combine the image and text into a multipage PDF file (OOo?).


Basic hand holding on how to set up a NAS, sorting out backups from a number of different machines and pulling a really messy wireless and wired home network in to something that is lean and functional.

If not that, then a pointer to the best place to start.


- New subscriber

DVD authoring

There are many Linux DVD authoring packages. All rely on backends (command line based programs and scripts) and have features which could be plugged into each other but how to do it? Q-dvdauthor always crashes. I have never been able to make a slideshow in any of the available programs and the only animated menus I have ever successfully created were in Mythtv or this program called KDE DvdAuthoring wizard (no longer being developed I believe). My Apple user friends laugh at the pain I go through to create a DVD and the lack of easily created slideshows and animated menus. This would be a great article especially if I knew how to tailor plugins and programs to add features (like animated menus, slideshows) to such programs as Man DVD, tovid, deevedee or dvdstyler or even the promising but crash prone Q-dvdauthor. On some level they all rely on the same backends and scripts. Your articles have been immensly helpful over the years and I have been a regular newstand reader of Linux Format since fall of 2001. I know your crew is up to such a task. PS - I have no clue what your CAPTCHA is about.

USB Touch Screens

An article detailing makes and models as well as how to get them working would be fantastic.
Myself and a few mates are a bit "power challenged" when camping feeding all our Amateur Radios. Even the EEPCs chew through around 17 Watts and we reckon a USB touch screen on a Sheeva Plug would be the duck's whatsits.
We don't want to take the chance with all the different makes and models out there so hope you can reel in a few favours to educate us.

Scanning/OCR Software. Colour Management

A review/tutorial on OCR and Scanning Software would be great. I am Interested both in the document side and images. From the Document and OCR side - How do You integrate OCR with your Scanning Software? Which combinations work best? How do You set up tesseract or OCRopus?

Looking at Images - perhaps some hardware review/tutorial on finding/getting scanners working under linux - I want to find a good 35 mm slide scanner

Finally - how to set up a colour managed work flow for a photographer under linux. I've tried to get my head around all of these and retired injured. ...


Business archival system

Considering all the likes and dislikes of Linux Distros I would like to see / read which distro and how to setup a company wide archival system comprising of over 30 users what is needed and why also the type of Open source software that can be secure but not too complex also the best database to utilize the system. Considering far too many window type app's that are simple but not business ready are a plague to those who have need of an archival system that can handle more than two people on a network without crashing would be nice, not to put too fine a point on it. I would be great if some of the team would put their two cent's on such a project giving the readers how truly great open source Linux is. And add more coins into the coffers.
Anthony S.

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